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08.18.20

Links 18/8/2020: Sparky 2020.08, KDevelop 5.6 Beta and Linuxfx 10.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Canonical demoes its Kubernetes solutions live at KubeCon EU 2020!

        The wait is over – KubeCon & ClouNativeCon Virtual EU 2020 is finally here and we’re so thrilled to open our booth’s proverbial doors to all you fellow Kubernetes folks! We’ve already mentioned a couple of things about what you can expect to find at the Canonical and Ubuntu booth at KubeCon this year, but we know some of you have been asking more about the live demos that our technical team will be giving. You’ll be able to ask questions directly to our engineers live, but you’re always welcome to pre-boko a one-to-one consultation with them beforehand!

      • 10 Years of OpenStack – Fu Qiao at China Mobile

        Storytelling is one of the most powerful means to influence, teach, and inspire the people around us. To celebrate OpenStack’s 10th anniversary, we are spotlighting stories from the individuals in various roles from the community who have helped to make OpenStack and the global Open Infrastructure community successful.

        Here, we’re talking to Fu Qiao from China Mobile. She tells the community about how she got started with OpenStack and her favorite memory from the last 10 years of OpenStack.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 96

        How a Windows user views desktop Linux, some ask us anything questions, and Félim’s attempts to solve his RSI problem.

      • 2020-08-17 | Linux Headlines

        Attackers gain access to Libretro’s GitHub account, Shellcaster 1.0 is out, SQLite 3.33 brings support for significantly larger databases, a push for standardizing APIs in Python data science libraries is gathering support, and Kdenlive’s latest version includes workspace improvements as well as a breaking change.

      • Jonathan Riddell: Scotland Open Source Podcast

        The Scotland Open Source Podcast by Ashley Nicolson of Scotland OSUM is a new listen available on all the Podcast services which interviews devs and contributors in Scotland. It’s had hacker spaces in Aberdeen with FreeBSD spod Tom Jones, Ensuring longevity after unfortunate circumstances in OSS Projects with Chocolatey dude Gary Ewan Park, Greg Sutcluiffe of Red Hat and Ansible on Education and PR and most recently me chatting about Quaker geek collectives.

      • MX Linux 19.2 KDE Run Through

        In this video, we are looking at MX Linux 19.2 KDE. Enjoy!

      • GhostBSD 20.08.04 overview | A simple, elegant desktop BSD Operating System.

        In this video, I am going to show an overview of GhostBSD 20.08.04 and some of the applications pre-installed.

    • Kernel Space

      • First Linux Kernel 5.9 Release Candidate Is Now Available: Linus Torvalds

        Linus Torvalds announces the first Linux kernel 5.9 release candidate. It is available for download right now from the kernel.org website. The final release of the Linux kernel 5.9 is expected sometime in early or mid-October 2020 so don’t use this kernel in your production system.

      • Reiser4/Reiser5 Updated For Linux 5.8

        Edward Shishkin continues pushing ahead with not only maintaining the existing out-of-tree Reiser4 file-system code but also developing Reiser5 seemingly without any major corporate support. Reiser4 and the experimental Reiser5 file-system code were updated on Monday for Linux 5.8 kernel compatibility.

        The Reiser4 kernel driver along with the unstable Reiser5 kernel code saw new patch releases for supporting them on the Linux 5.8 stable kernel (Linux 5.8.1 target to be exact)

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: Conference Is Sold Out, Watch Live Instead

        We have sold out the last ticket today. We have a lot of attendees and speakers this year for our virtual conference! Almost 1000 registrations!

        Do not despair though, because there will be the opportunity to watch the conference live streaming on YouTube. We are still sorting out our channels, but keep an eye on our blog and social media in the next couple of days, where we’ll announce how to watch live.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: LPC 2020 T-Shirts and Other Items Are Available

        We have received several requests for T-shirts this year.

        We have always produced T-shirts for attendees since the early days of LPC, and we don’t want to miss the opportunity to offer them this year too.

      • Graphics Stack

        • VALLIUM Merged Into Mesa 20.3 As Vulkan Front-End To Gallium3D

          Red Hat’s David Airlie has been on quite a spree lately with open-source graphics driver improvements from OpenGL 4 for LLVMpipe to now merging “VALLIUM” for a Vulkan software implementation.

          VALLIUM has come together in the past several months as a software/CPU-based Vulkan driver based on LLVMpipe. Airlie has been developing it on his own Mesa branch while today it was merged into Mesa 20.3-devel.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarks: Amazon EC2 C5ad Instances Launch For AMD EPYC Rome With Local NVMe Storage

        Complementing Amazon’s recently launched EPYC 7002 “Rome” CPUs in the EC2 cloud, the “c5a” series has now been extended with the “c5ad” line-up of AMD EPYC Rome processors that now have local NVMe-based solid-state storage directly attached. Initial tests of the Amazon EC2 C5ad instances are promising and indeed offering better value than the comparable Intel Xeon instances.

        Last week AWS announced the C5ad instances as AMD EPYC processors equipped with local NVMe SSD storage physically connected to the host server. Amazon advertises the new C5ad instances as “high performance processing at 10% lower cost over comparable instances…C5ad instances offer the lowest cost per x86 vCPU for a disk-backed instance in the Amazon EC2 portfolio.”

    • Applications

      • Best Graphic Design Software for Linux in 2020

        There are numerous drawing programs for Linux that will help you improve your work or create something interesting from scratch. Perhaps, the apps for Linux are not popular but they offer powerful features that may become invaluable tools for any digital artist. In this guide, we have included 8 free and best graphic design software for Linux. Some of the tools mentioned below are web-based, so you can use them on any OS.

      • Vooki – lightweight image viewer offering fast image preview

        One of our favorite adages is “A picture is worth a thousand words”. It refers to the notion that a still image can convey a complex idea. Images can portray a lot of information quickly and more efficiently than text. They capture memories, and never let you forget something you want to remember, and refresh it in your memory.

        Images are part of every day internet usage, and are particularly important for social media engagement. A good image viewer is an essential part of any operating system.

        Linux offers a vast collection of open source small utilities that perform functions ranging from the obvious to the bizarre. It’s the quality and selection of these tools that help Linux stand out as a productive environment. This is particularly true when it comes to image viewers. There are so many image viewers that are available for Linux that the choice can make selection difficult.

      • Linux For Business: Grow Your Enterprise With These Applications

        As businesses continue to grow, they are likely to look for a cost-effective solution for managing their tech infrastructure. One of the best selling points of using Linux for business is that it is entirely open-source. This means less payment to proprietary software vendors and the availability of a large community of active developers. Moreover, Linux has all the things needed for running, even the largest of enterprises. Plus, most of the things that run on Linux are completely free of charge. You will be only paying for enterprise tech supports if you want to get such services.

      • Automatically Change Color Scheme of Your Linux Terminal Based on Your Wallpaper

        Pywal is handy utility that automatically changes the color scheme of your Linux terminal based on the background wallpaper.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The 10 Best Linux Games [2020 Edition]

        Not too long ago, people had to use Wine or run virtual machines like VMware to play Windows Games on their Linux PCs. Not only was this inefficient, but it also consumed a lot of extra resources and resulted in a sub-optimal gaming experience. But standing in 2020, gaming on Linux is like a long-time dream come true.

        Users have access to a massive library of games – many of them are AAA titles designed for Windows PCs – that can be played without needing any virtualization. And the gaming performance is comparable to Windows PCs.

        A part of the thanks goes to Proton – a compatibility layer designed by Steam, which allows Microsoft Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems without any noticeable hit on performance. Read this to learn more about Steam for Linux.

      • Linux gaming overlay MangoHud version 0.5.1 released

        Continuing to be the go-to for people needing a good HUD while gaming, MangoHud has a new release up. Giving you the ability to get a real-time readout on GPU/CPU use, FPS, frame timings, RAM/VRAM use, what graphics API is used and even a little benchmarking.

      • Vagrus – The Riven Realms manages to break $100K on Fig with Early Access

        What’s become quite an ongoing indie success story is Vagrus – The Riven Realms, an incredibly interesting post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG-strategy hybrid.

        “Vagrus is an award-winning roleplaying game with a narrative focus, open-world exploration, and strong elements of strategy. The player takes the role of a vagrus – a caravan leader who strives to survive in a strange and dangerous dark fantasy world by leading a traveling company on all kinds of ventures.”

        A game that’s been featured here on GOL a few times, and with good reason. The amount of promise it shows is ridiculous, especially if you love games with deep lore and lots to explore. Lost Pilgrims Studio have been funding their game on Fig for over a year, using a hybrid model of Early Access / Crowdfunding where you get instant access. This campaign has now passed $100,000 and continues to rise as they pull in funding to work on new features.

      • Roguelike shoot ‘em up Good Robot is now open source

        Fast-paced roguelike shoot-em-up Good Robot released in 2016 from Pyrodactyl has now had the code opened up under the MIT license.

        Speaking about the open source release on the Diecast podcast with Paul Spooner, developer Shamus Young who made the original prototype and teamed up with Pyrodactyl for the full release talked a little about it.

      • An interview with Elden Pixels, creators of Alwa’s Legacy and Alwa’s Awakening

        “Hello! My name is Mikael Forslind and I’m the CEO and Lead Game Designer at a small indie company called Elden Pixels based here in Gothenburg, a small town in the lovely country of Sweden. The first game we released was Alwa’s Awakening that came out about three years ago and was met with a lot of praise. So much so, that we decided to quit our day jobs and pursue this indie dream full-time. Now two years have passed and I couldn’t be more broke, I mean happy. Two months ago we released Alwa’s Legacy, which is a standalone follow-up to our first game. Both games were of course released on Linux on day one.”

      • Anstoss 2022 / Club Manager 2022 hits the goal for Linux support

        Reviving a classic from the days of the Amiga, Anstoss 2022 / Club Manager 2022 is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter with 5 days to go. Thankfully, it’s hit the stretch-goal to properly support Linux.

        2tainment GmbH, technically a publisher, had a project in-house for a while as a hobby that they decided to take forward to bring a classic football manager game back to modern platforms along with a little help from Kalypso Media who appear to hold the licensing for it.

        “Club Manager 2022 will combine classic ‘impulse’ gameplay with modern football analysis, offering players a heat map and many other performance tracking tools. Alongside a manager talent tree and player editor, the game will also include multiplayer in the form of a ‘hotseat’ mode, where up to three friends can play together online.”

      • Libretro / RetroArch were hacked, wiping some repositories

        GitHub themselves have replied (source) to mentioned they can’t help, so they’re now relying on local backups and Git history from their developers to get it back to where it was online.

        Some good news though: for users they said no Cores or RetroArch installs should be considered compromised, as the attacker was too busy with wiping things and being a nuisance. However, thanks to it the Core installer is offline as are the ‘Update Assets’, ‘Update Overlays’, ‘Update Shaders’ functions.

        Also mentioned is how they didn’t have automated backups of their buildbot, a service which helps to automate building the application and testing. Something that’s generally vital for larger projects. They said it’s due to funding, as they don’t have enough for it with a note about supporting them on Patreon to help.

      • OpenRCT2, the open source game engine for RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 has a major update

        You don’t always have to give up classics, thanks to open source. RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 continues living on with a fresh update of the re-implementation OpenRCT2. It attempts to provide everything from RCT2 as well as many improvements and additional features, along with cross-platform support.

        Release v0.3.0 “Every Script is Sacred” is out now, which continues to improve the foundation enabling you to enjoy the game even more. Like a lot of open source game engines, it’s never really done. OpenRCT2 is very playable though, even with online multiplayer.

        Some highlights include: support for custom JavaScript plugins, .sea (RCT Classic) scenario files can now be imported, ride list sort mode is now remembered for the duration of the game, Path additions are now kept when replacing the path, a new version notification system, Guest entry points can now be removed by clicking them again, a Cheat to allow building at invalid heights was added, you can now open doors with the tile inspector and more. Multiplayer got a small tweak to allow a Custom IP address to be advertised to the master server to work around IPv6 issues. This release will also warn users running it in Wine instead of the proper build, as it leads to issues.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kdenlive Scores a Sizeable Summer Update, Introduces New UI Layouts

          To download Kdenlive 20.08 just head over the project’s official homepage. There you’ll find builds for Windows, macOS and Linux, with the latter offered as a standalone .appimage runtime as well as Snap and Flatpak builds.

          Prefer a more traditional install? The official Kdenlive PPA provides new stable builds for supported Ubuntu releases.

        • Powerful Linux video editor Kdenlive gets a huge new release

          While Kdenlive 20.08 comes with a number of new features, they also went through something of a major refactor of the project files. This should fix the long standing issue with comma/point conflicting which caused a number of crashes. As a result, projects are not backwards compatible – so make backups if you’re going to test the latest version. Additionally there’s a performance boost with audio thumbnail generation as well as JPG image sequence playback.

          As for new features? It’s big. There’s entirely new UI layouts, support for multiple audio streams, new cache data management to make it easier to clean up and save some space, a zoom ability on the effects panel making adjusting keyframes much easier, same with the clip monitor and much more.

        • Kdenlive 20.08 Released with New Interface Layouts [Ubuntu PPA]

          Kdenlive, KDE Non-Linear Video Editor, released version 20.08 today with nifty new features, stability and interface improvements.

          The software offers single executable Appimage which is available in files.kde.org.

          For those prefer native .deb packages, the kdenlive team ppa has built the packages for Ubuntu 20.04 and derivatives.

        • Kdenlive 20.08 Released For Improving This Leading Open-Source Video Editor

          Version 20.08 of Kdenlive has been released, the KDE-aligned open-source non-linear video editor platform that is among the best in the field for open-source, community-driven projects.

          Kdenlive 20.08 brings multiple audio stream support, new interface layouts, crash fixes, improved cache management handling, new keyboard shortcuts, and various other user-interface improvements.

        • Kdenlive 20.08 released

          Version 20.08 of the Kdenlive video editor is available. “Kdenlive 20.08 is out with nifty features like Interface Layouts, Multiple Audio Stream support, Cached data management and Zoombars in the Clip Monitor and Effects Panel but one may argue that the highlights of this release are stability and interface improvements”.

        • KDevelop 5.6 beta 1 released

          We are happy to announce the release of KDevelop 5.6 Beta 1!

          5.6 as a new feature version of KDevelop will bring half a year of small improvements to features across the application. Full details will be given in the announcement of the KDevelop 5.6.0 release, which is currently scheduled for in 3 weeks.

          Should you have any remarks or in case you find any issues in KDevelop 5.6 Beta 1, please let us know.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.38 – First Look at the new Features and Improvements

          The upcoming GNOME 3.38 desktop environment released its first beta and the feature additions and improvements are getting visible now.

        • GNOME 3.38 “Zacatecas”: What’s Coming In The Next Stable Release?

          GNOME is one of the most popular desktop environments adopted by major Linux-based operating systems such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Pop!_OS. GNOME 3.36 “Gresik” is the current stable branch released on March 11, 2020.

          Continuing the development cycle for the upcoming stable version 3.38, GNOME 3.37.90 has recently been released, which serves as the first beta version towards the 3.38. Hence, in this article, I’ll list down all the important features coming in GNOME 3.38.0.

        • Passing by, Beta Testers needed

          Welcome Everyone, GSoC 2020 is nearly over, during this summer of code. I have been working on creating a new module for Evolution-Data-Server. This is an EteSync sync module that will allow Evolution and EteSync users to add there account to Evolution and handle their data from there.

          In the last post I wrote about that the writing functionality is implemented for Evoluton, for who of you who don’t know Evolution. It is a personal information management application that provides integrated mail, calendaring and address book functionality. As for EteSync, it is a secure, end to-end encrypted and FLOSS sync solution for your contacts, calendars and tasks.

        • GUADEC 2020 and Flatseal 1.6.1

          Two weeks ago, I had the chance to share my experiences Flooding the desktop with learning tools, with the wider GNOME community at GUADEC Even though the event went online for the first time, due to COVID-19, it went pretty smooth!

          The event was full of great talks, including many from former colleagues, Archaeology of Accessibility by @ebassi, Parental controls in GNOME by @pwithnall, What’s new with JavaScript in GNOME by @ptomato, Communication Hacks by @1nuritzi and many, many others.

          The social hours were hilarious and was great to see so many familiar faces. I am really hoping that, whenever we go back to physical events, we can still keep this online experience for those unable to assist.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linuxfx 10.5 Windows 10 Clone Arrives with Cinnamon 4.6, Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Rafael Rachid announced today the release and general availability of Linuxfx 10.5, a new version of his Ubuntu-based distribution aimed at those who want to migrate from Windows to Linux.

          Dubbed “Windowsfx,” the Linuxfx 10.5 release is here only two weeks after version 10.4.2 and about a month after the 10.4 series with some major enhancements in an attempt to make the migration from the proprietary Windows 10 platform to the Linux and Open Source ecosystems completely possible and viable.

          The developer did such a good job transforming Ubuntu into a Windows 10 clone with the Cinnamon desktop environment that’s hard to believe. It looks and acts just like the real thing.

          The big news for this release is that it’s based on the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system series, as well as the Cinnamon 4.6 desktop environment with a Windows 10 theme.

        • Parrot 4.10 Ethical Hacking OS Released with an Xfce Edition, AnonSurf 3.0 and Metasploit 6.0

          ParrotSecurity announced the general availability of the Parrot 4.10 distribution for ethical hacking and penetration testing tasks, based on the latest stable Debian GNU/Linux operating system series.

          Parrot 4.10 is here four months after the Parrot 4.9 release, which means that it’s a massive update introducing numerous new features, updated hacking tools, and a brand-new edition featuring the lightweight Xfce desktop environment.

          Meet Parrot Xfce Edition, the first Xfce flavored edition of Parrot Security OS featuring the latest and greatest Xfce 4.14 desktop environment by default, which is now officially supported by ParrotSecurity in their repositories.

        • Parrot OS 4.10 Released, Now Officially Supports Lightweight Xfce Desktop

          Based on Debian GNU/Linux, Parrot 4.10 has included all the latest updates from upstream sources such as new security and bug fixes like BootHole and other improvements.

          Specifically for developers, it has updated development tools to its new version, which includes VSCodium 1.47.3, Python 3.8, Golang 1.14, and GCC 10.1. Additionally, v4.10 has also improved its development meta-packages.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Telegram updated to 2.3.0

          Telegram is an open source, multiplatform, modern and free graphical application that allows any Linux user to easily and quickly talk with friends, co-workers and family members who use the Telegram messenger, from the comfort of their GNU/Linux desktops.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Gentoo-Based PBXware 6.1 Turnkey Telephony Platform Released with New Features

          Based on Gentoo Linux, PBXware is a turnkey distribution that aims to provide small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises, contact centers and ITSPs (Internet Telephony Service Providers) with flexible, reliable, and scalable communication systems and VoIP solutions based on Open Source technologies and software.

          PBXware 6.1 is a major update that introduces several new features, such as Directory Sync Management (DSM), which enable validation of users via an LDAP server. This also makes it faster for users to sync Extensions, as well as to allow them to select custom settings for Extensions and apply different changes.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 106

          In August the YaST Team is focusing on bugfixing, which is a nice way to use the time while many colleagues are on summer vacation. The downside is that blog posts consisting on a list of solved bugs look pretty boring. Fortunatelly, we also found time to implement three nice new features.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • SELinux changes for KVM-separated (Kata) containers

          Many years ago, I wrote the first SELinux policy for containers, before Docker existed. I was working on libvirt-lxc at the time, and containers launched out of libvirt. Later, when the Docker project hit the scene, I adapted the container policy to the Docker engine. The container-selinux policy and package were born. Most everyone that uses containers and SELinux is using this policy.

        • IBM Details 7nm POWER10 CPUs But Not Shipping Until H2’2021

          After covering the Linux/open-source POWER10 bring-up for a number of months already, IBM has finally announced firm information on their forthcoming POWER10 processors. POWER10 looks promising but these 7nm CPUs will not begin shipping until the second half of next year.

        • Red Hat Opens Up the Edge with Enterprise-Grade Kubernetes and Automation Technologies
        • Red Hat Opens Up the Edge with Enterprise-Grade Kubernetes and Automation Technologies

          As the amount of data, number of devices and new technologies continue to grow, organizations are seeing the benefits of edge computing. According to a survey by Analysys Mason, edge computing is a top strategic priority for many operators with 30% of them already in the process of deploying an edge cloud while 57% are currently outlining their plans to do so in the next year.

        • Documenting my various arm and IoT devices: quick overview

          It’s been around ten years since I got my first arm single board computer, a Beagle-xM, which started me down the route of playing with Fedora on ARM and ultimately to my role in device edge/IoT at Red Hat. Shortly after that time I also moved into my current flat, almost ten years later I finally made the decision to move to a new place.

          In the process of unpacking the contents of boxes from the flat into my new home office I thought I would document all my devices. This is mostly for my own reference, but I have little doubt others are interested from previous conversations. I’ve broken the list down into a few broad categories, mostly so the blog post isn’t unwieldy, there’s certainly cross overs between the categories, like some generations of the Raspberry Pi can run in either 32 or 64 bit mode, some Arm SBCs also have an integrated micro controller etc. For simplicity I’m putting those cross over devices in a single list, that of which they’re most capable, I’m also not putting devices on the list that aren’t easily able to run an open source OS such as Linux or Zephyr RTOS as I have numerous micro controllers/phones etc I can’t be bothered with and hence they’re not seen as useful for this list.

        • Red Hat takes Kubernetes to the cloud’s edge

          Arpit Joshipura, The Linux Foundation’s general manager of networking, predicted “edge computing will overtake cloud computing” by 2025. IBM Services Global CTO and Vice President Bridget Karlin won’t go that far but said: “We will see an increase in edge computing due to the sheer quantity of instances compared to centralized cloud centers.” How many? IDC forecasts that by 2025 there will be 55.9 billion connected devices. Leading Linux and cloud company Red Hat will be ready.

        • Get your choice of Linux distribution on IBM LinuxONE

          When you first learn about IBM LinuxONE, many of the resources talk about security, resiliency, open source, and innovation. These benefits have been covered extensively. But on a practical level, what distribution of Linux does LinuxONE actually run?

          First, let’s back up for a moment. From a Linux perspective, LinuxONE is a mainframe (like its sister IBM Z, often referred to as the s390x architecture in the open source world) that IBM has developed to exclusively run Linux. This is enforced through specific Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors that only run Linux, and do not run some of your more traditional mainframe operating systems, like z/OS. From there, you can run Linux directly on a Logical Partition (LPAR) from the Processor Resource/System Manager (PR/SM) or, more commonly, on z/VM or KVM. Once that decision is made, you can install Linux.

        • Libre/Open-Source POWER10 Hardware Systems Unlikely Until At Least 2022

          While Raptor Computing Systems has been making fabulous 100% open-source/libre hardware systems based around POWER9 with the likes of their Talos II and Blackbird systems, don’t hold your breath on quickly seeing fully-open POWER10 systems even with “OpenPOWER” being trumpeted in recent years and similar for being more open-source friendly than the likes of Intel and AMD.

          IBM today announced POWER10 for shipping in H2’2021. But as mentioned in that article, seeing “libre” POWER10 hardware might not come so quickly. Unfortunately that was confirmed this morning by Raptor that any POWER10 platforms from them will not come until at least 2022.

        • vDPA Kernel Framework Part #1: vDPA Bus for Abstracting Hardware

          In the previous post, we provided a high level overview of the kernel vDPA framework solution. Starting with this post and for the posts, we will dive into the technical details of the architecture and use cases for the kernel vDPA framework interacting with containers and VMs.

          The audience of these technical articles are those who really want to understand the logic and details behind the vDPA kernel design. For those who only want to focus on the high level solution we recommend sticking to the previous post

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.08

          The August snapshot of Sparky 2020.08 of the (semi-)rolling line is out.
          It is based on the Debian testing “Bullseye”.

          Changes:
          • packages updated from Debian testing repos as of August 14, 2020
          • Linux kernel 5.7.10 (5.8.1 & 5.9-rc1 in Sparky unstable repos)
          • added Memory Test and Hardware Detection to the live config
          • installed qt5ct + added qt5ct config to non Qt based desktops: Openbox, MATE & Xfce
          • GCC 9 removed; the default compiler is GCC 10 now
          • LXQt 0.14.1
          • MATE 1.24.1
          • Xfce 4.14
          • Firefox 79.0
          • Thunderbird 68.11.0
          • LibreOffice 7.0.0-rc2 (7.0.1~rc1 in Debian testing repos now)
          • VLC 3.0.11
          • Calamares 3.2.24
          • small improvements

        • SparkyLinux 2020.08 Continues the Debian Bullseye Rolling Releases with LibreOffice 7.0, GCC 10

          The SparkyLinux development team announced today the general availability of SparkyLinux 2020.08 as the August 2020 snapshot of the semi-rolling release based on the Debian Testing repositories.

          Synced with the Debian Testing repos, where the development of the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series takes place, as of August 14th, 2020, the SparkyLinux 2020.08 release is here fully patched against the latest security threats and powered by the Linux 5.7.10 kernel.

          The biggest news for this release is the fact that the entire system is now using the latest GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 10 as default system installer, which should translate to some overall performance improvements. The GCC 9 packages are no longer part of the system.

        • Norbert Preining: KDE Apps 20.08 now available for Debian

          KDE Apps bundle 20.08 has been released recently, and some of the packages are already updated in Debian/unstable. I have updated also all my packages to 20.08 and they are now available for x86_64, i586, and hopefully aarch64 (some issues remaining here still).

          With the new release 20.08 I have also switched to versioned app repositories, so you need to update the apt sources directive. The new one is

          deb https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/npreining:/debian-kde:/apps2008/Debian_Unstable/ ./
          and similar for Testing.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Get To Know Ubuntu 20.04 Family

          Hello computer users! This year Ubuntu operating system releases its latest version numbered 20.04 and called Focal Fossa. However, Ubuntu 20.04 comes altogether with its six official flavors or I prefer to call them a family you may have never heard before. They are all professional modern operating systems with each own specialties you can choose for your computer. Important for you to know they are known as Free and Libre and Open Source Software you can use to make you independent from Microsoft or Apple. Use them on your computer you can enter a happiest life where you don’t worry about viruses anymore and make antivirus just a thing of the past. This short article introduces you to all seven Ubuntu in the year 2020. Hope you find the best one!

        • RPI 4 & Ubuntu MATE – Essential tweaks

          All right. So I got myself a Raspberry Pi 4 and decided to try to turn into a proper mini desktop. This meant using an operating system with a full desktop environment. My choice for this experiment was Ubuntu MATE, which I installed and configured. The overall setup wasn’t trivial, so I decided to dedicate a number of articles to showing you what you need to do to get the perfect desktop-like experience.

          Most importantly, I’ve shown you how to enable video acceleration, how to setup audio, and now, I’m going to talk about various other changes and tweaks. We’ll focus primarily on the desktop side of things, but there will be also be some pure Raspberry Pi elements. Let us begin then.

        • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Systems Running Linux 4.4 Receive New Kernel Security Update

          The new kernel update addresses two security issues, namely CVE-2020-12771, a flaw discovered in Linux kernel’s bcache subsystem that could allow a local attacker to cause a denial of service, and CVE-2020-15393, a vulnerability discovered by Kyungtae Kim in the USB testing driver, which could allow a physically proximate attacker to cause a denial of service (memory exhaustion).

          All Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) users running the stock Linux 4.4 kernel are urged to update their installations to the new kernel versions, linux-image 4.4.0-187.217 for 32-bit, 64-bit and PowerPC systems, linux-image-raspi2 4.4.0-1137.146 for Raspberry Pi (V7) systems, linux-image-aws 4.4.0-1112.124 for Amazon Web Services (AWS) systems, linux-image-snapdragon 4.4.0-1141.149 for Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, and linux-image-kvm 4.4.0-1078.85 for cloud environments.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Ian Jackson: Doctrinal obstructiveness in Free Software

        Any software system has underlying design principles, and any software project has process rules. But I seem to be seeing more often, a pathological pattern where abstract and shakily-grounded broad principles, and even contrived and sophistic objections, are used to block sensible changes.

        [...]

        I could come up with a lot more examples of other projects that have exhibited similar arrogance. It is becoming a plague! But every example is contentious, and I don’t really feel I need to annoy a dozen separate Free Software communities. So I won’t make a laundry list of obstructiveness.

        If you are an upstream software developer, or a distributor of software to users (eg, a distro maintainer), you have a lot of practical power. In theory it is Free Software so your users could just change it themselves. But for a user or downstream, carrying a patch is often an unsustainable amount of work and risk. Most of us have patches we would love to be running, but which we haven’t even written because simply running a nonstandard build is too difficult, no matter how technically excellent our delta.

        As an upstream, it is very easy to get into a mindset of defending your code’s existing behaviour, and to turn your project’s guidelines into inflexible rules. Constant exposure to users who make silly mistakes, and rudely ask for absurd changes, can lead to core project members feeling embattled.

        But there is no need for an upstream to feel embattled! You have the vast majority of the power over the software, and over your project communication fora. Use that power consciously, for good.

        I can’t say that arrogance will hurt you in the short term. Users of software with obstructive upstreams do not have many good immediate options. But we do have longer-term choices: we can choose which software to use, and we can choose whether to try to help improve the software we use.

        After reading Colin’s experience, I am less likely to try to help improve the experience of other PostgreSQL users by contributing upstream. It doesn’t seem like there would be any point. Indeed, instead of helping the PostgreSQL community I am now using them as an example of bad practice. I’m only half sorry about that.

      • Nextcloud

        • Nextcloud Desktop Client Gets End-to-End Encryption, New User Interface

          End-to-end encryption is probably one of the most requested features in Nextcloud, the most popular on-premises file share and collaboration platform. With the release of Nextcloud Desktop Client 3.0, Nextcloud has become the first vendor to offer an enterprise-grade end-to-end encryption solution designed with file sync and share in mind.

          Thanks to end-to-end encryption, users no longer need to manually exchange encryption keys, share large encrypted volumes or long and complex passwords when share files securely. Nextcloud’s solution works on a per-folder level to ensure local encryption of all files and features a fully secure key management system with Cryptographic Identity Protection in the form of server-signed certificates.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Lays Off Staff, Receives More Cash

            In a restructuring move, Mozilla lays off 250 employees, but then inks large deal with Google.

            Mozilla isn’t a stranger to struggle. Be it market share or financial issues, the foundation that delivers the most popular open source browser and email client to the Linux platform has always had to fight to keep its head above water.

            So it should come as no surprise that last week the foundation laid off almost a quarter of its staff. To this issue, Mitchell Baker (Mozilla CEO) said:

            “This will strengthen our ability to build and invest in products and services that will give people alternatives to conventional Big Tech.”

          • Mozilla cuts 250 jobs, says Firefox development will be affected
          • mozregression and older builds

            Periodically the discussion comes up about pruning away old stored Firefox build artifacts in S3. Each build is tens of megabytes, multiply that by the number of platforms we support and the set of revisions we churn through on a daily basis, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

            This came up recently in a discussion about removing the legacy taskcluster deployment — what do we actually lose by cutting back our archive of integration builds? The main reason to keep them around is to facilitate bisection testing with mozregression, to find out when a bug was introduced. Up to now, discussions about this have been a bit hand-wavey: we do keep logs about who’s accessing old builds, but it’s never been clear whether it was mozregression accessing them or something else.

            Happily, now that mozregression has some telemetry, it’s a little easier to get some answers on what people are actually doing. This query gets the distribution of build ages (launched or bisected) over the past 6 months, at a month long granularity.1 Ages are relative to the date mozregression was launched: for example, if someone asked for a build from May 2019 in June 2020, the number would be “13”.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Community Member Monday: Pulkit Krishna

          In my country, very few people know that there are other office suites than Microsoft Office. They do not know that there is a suite that’s free and open source software. I am not talking about everyone – but the majority of people.

          By becoming a member, I think I can help to spread the word, that there is a very good free office suite, LibreOffice. Also, almost everybody in my country thinks that to become a part of a software community, you have to be a developer. I want to remove this stereotype. I am not a developer and yet I am a member of TDF.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Matthias Kirschner, FSFE, Nazi comparisons

            The original FSF was founded by Richard Stallman, who has Jewish ancestry although he describes himself as an atheist.

            FSFE has taken the name of Stallman’s organization, added the letter E to make FSFE and using this similar name, scooped up millions of euros of donations and thousands of hours of volunteer effort in Europe. If the FSFE did not exist, how many of these donations and volunteers would have contributed directly to the original FSF?

            Intellectual property and reputations are the artworks of our century. The FSFE, under Matthias Kirschner, is brazenly pilfering FSF’s trademark in broad daylight and they even admitted it.

      • Programming/Development

        • Tripping over the potholes in too many libraries

          While on my most recent break from writing, I pondered a bunch of things that keep seeming to come up in issues of reliability or maintainability in software. At least one of them is probably not going to make me many friends based on the reactions I’ve had to the concept in its larval form. Still, I think it needs to be explored.

          In short, I think it’s become entirely too easy for people using certain programming languages to use libraries from the wide world of clowns that is the Internet. Their ecosystems make it very very easy to become reliant on this stuff. Trouble is, those libraries are frequently shit. If something about it is broken, you might not be able to code around it, and may have to actually deal with them to get it fixed.

          Repeat 100 times, and now you have a real problem brewing.

        • Most “mandatory requirements” in corporations are imaginary

          In my day job I work as a consultant. Roughly six months ago my current client had a non-negotiable requirement that consultants are not allowed to work remotely. Employees did have this privilege. This is, clearly, a stupid policy and there have been many attempts across the years to get it changed. Every time someone in the management chain has axed the proposal with some variation of “this policy can not be changed because this is our policy and thus can not be changed”, possibly with a “due to security reasons” thrown in there somewhere.

          Then COVID-19 happened and the decision came to lock down the head office. Less than a day after this everyone (including consultants) got remote working rights, VPN tokens and all other bits and bobs. The old immutable, mandatory, unalterable and just-plain-how-we-do-things rules and regulations seemed to vanish to thin air in the blink of an eye. The question is why did this happen?

          The answer is simple: because it became mandatory to due to external pressure. A more interesting question would be if it really was that simple, how come this had not happened before? Further, are the same reasons that blocked this obvious improvement for so long are also holding back other policy braindeadisms that reduce employee productivity. Unfortunately the answers here are not as clear-cut and different organizations may have different underlying causes for the same problem.

        • Delegation: composition and inheritance in object-oriented programming

          Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a methodology that was introduced in the 60s, though as for many other concepts related to programming languages it is difficult to give a proper date. While recent years have witnessed a second youth of functional languages, object-oriented is still a widespread paradigm among successful programming languages, and for good reasons. OOP is not the panacea for all the architectural problems in software development, but if used correctly can give a solid foundation to any system.

          It might sound obvious, but if you use an object-oriented language or a language with strong OOP traits, you have to learn this paradigm well. Being very active in the Python community, I see how many times young programmers are introduced to the language, the main features, and the most important libraries and frameworks, without a proper and detailed description of OOP and how OOP is implemented in the language.

          The implementation part is particularly important, as OOP is a set of concepts and features that are expressed theoretically and then implemented in the language, with specific traits or choices. It is very important, then, to keep in mind that the concepts behind OOP are generally shared among OOP languages, but are not tenets, and are subject to interpretation.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.33 Function Types

            Wim Vanderbauwhede continues their excellent blog series on algebraic data types with an extensive treatise on function types in not only Raku, but also Python, Rust and Haskell, with some C and Fortran thrown in for good measure (/r/rakulang, Twitter comments). Recommended if you would like to know more about functional programming and/or algebraic data types!

        • Python

        • Java

          • Which is better, Java or Python? And how?

            Blogs over the internet that are showcasing the comparison between Python and Java. But no one is giving a solid reason for “is python or java easier.” We all know that nowadays Python is competing with almost every programming language.

            Even it is also competing with the most robust programming language in the world. Yes, you are right, it is Java. Java is one of the best programming languages to create desktop applications. But it is also used in the field of data science. Therefore both of these programming languages are competing with each other in various industries. Before we dig into the comparison, let’s have a look at the overview of both of these languages.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • The API wars – 16 years later

        It is more than 16 years since Joel Spolsky wrote How Microsoft Lost the API War. The bonds of the win32 API lock-in is broken and the free web is here to take over.

        The web has come a long way in the past 16 years. Richer APIs, dramatic performance improvements, and an ubiquity that surpasses anything else that we as a human race have experienced. Easy of deployment is king and the easiest deployment of all is to simply browse to a web page.

        Creating web apps has always been riddled by browser compatibility caveats. Various services have been around to test rendering across browsers and versions, and frameworks to address common scenarios have evolved to create a write-once, deploy-everywhere story.

        The modern web browser has become our universal runtime environment. It is what Java and .net aspired to on a crazy scale. However, it is not only a runtime environment. It is the perfect client server setup to provide everything as a service.

      • Style Stage: A modern CSS showcase styled by community contributions

        In 2003, Dave Shea began a legendary project called CSS Zen Garden that provided a demonstration of “what can be accomplished through CSS-based design” until submissions stopped in 2013.

        Style Stage seeks to rekindle that spirit by providing this page as the base HTML for contributors – like you! – to re-style by submitting an alternate stylesheet.

  • Leftovers

    • Jen Cloher – Analysis Paralysis (Live at Milk! Records)
    • The Two Maria Schneiders

      There have been two Maria Schneiders in the cultural arena—or three, counting the late French actor from Last Tango in Paris—until now. The first is an internationally esteemed composer and conductor, the recipient of five Grammy Awards and 12 nominations for jazz and classical works lauded for their luxurious beauty, enveloping warmth, and connectedness to the natural world. The second is a fiery political activist, an advocate of musicians’ rights and a critic of tech companies, who has organized creative artists in resistance to the oppressive practices of Google and YouTube. Both Maria Schneiders have inhabited the same body but at different times: one by night, onstage in concert halls and jazz clubs around the world, the other by day, at lecterns at universities and behind a microphone at congressional hearings.

    • Science

      • Homo sapiens Exonerated, Scientists Find

        But in a recent paper, an international team of scientists* found this not to be the case. The paper, entitled “Pre-extinction Demographic Stability and Genomic Signatures of Adaptation in the Wooly Rhinoceros,” Current Biology (2020), presented evidence that this is not the case. Wooly rhinoceros populations in northern Siberia went extinct about 14,000 years ago. The species were “widely distributed” in northern Eurasia in late Pleistocene (2.58 million to 11,700 years ago). These researchers determined the sequence of one sample of genome gDNA (from an ~18,500 year old specimen) and 14 mtDNA samples ranging in age from more than 50,000 years ago to about 14,000 years ago. These authors identified more than 28 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gDNA sample, having an average heterozygosity of 1.7 sites per 1000 basepairs, which is higher than what has been reported for the mammoth genome (1.25 heterozygous sites/1000bp), the Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis (their closest living relative) (1.3 heterozygous sites/1000bp), or the Northern or Southern White rhinoceros (1.1 and 0.9 heterozygous sites/1000bp, respectively). Runs of homozygosity (ROH) analysis was also consistent with relatively low levels of inbreeding, “on par with non-African human populations,” although higher than that detected in the mainland mammoth from this period.

        A closer sequence comparison between the gDNA from the wooly rhinoceros and the Sumatran rhinoceros of 19,556 coding genes showed 1,524 genes with non-synonymous mutations, consisting of 1,386 missense mutations and 138 with loss-of-function or non-sense mutations. These genes were associated with “cellular component organization or biogenesis, cellular process, localization, reproduction, biological regulation, response to stimulus, developmental processes, and metabolic processes.” Not detected were such mutations in genes relating to fat deposition or circadian rhythm changes, which was different from the patterns found inter alia in wooly mammoth. There were 89 genes in both wooly mammoth and wooly rhinoceros that showed non-synonymous mutations, including Transient Receptor Potential subfamily A (involved in adaptation to cold tolerance), and a member of potassium channel subfamily K analogous to TWIK-Related Arachidonic Acid-Stimulated Potassium Channel Protein involved in cold perception. Finally, a more in-depth assessment of the amino acid sequence changes these mutations caused (and their expected effects on encoded protein structure) showed 284 variants of the 17,888 genes analyzed having maximal change in protein structure, and 83 of these were in olfactory receptor genes.

    • Education

      • Schools Can No Longer Be Our Social Safety Net

        Teachers are not social workers, police, doctors, or psychotherapists. They are educators. 

      • After Organizing Mass ‘Sick-Out,’ Arizona Teachers and School Staff Applauded for ‘Bold’ Collective Action to Stop Unsafe Reopening

        “Teachers are in a position to have a voice, and they just weren’t being heard.”

      • England’s Exam Fiasco Shows How Not To Apply Algorithms To Complex Problems With Massive Social Impact

        The disruption caused by COVID-19 has touched most aspects of daily life. Education is obviously no exception, as the heated debates about whether students should return to school demonstrate. But another tricky issue is how school exams should be conducted. Back in May, Techdirt wrote about one approach: online testing, which brings with it its own challenges. Where online testing is not an option, other ways of evaluating students at key points in their educational career need to be found. In the UK, the key test is the GCE Advanced level, or A-level for short, taken in the year when students turn 18. Its grades are crucially important because they form the basis on which most university places are awarded in the UK.

      • Are America’s Schools and Colleges Safe? Are Students Actually Learning? Help Us Find Out.

        We want to hear from teachers, other school staff, students and parents about school, college and university reopenings around the country this fall in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

        We know K-12 and higher education communities are thinking about safety and learning, and we want to hear how things are going as the school year progresses. We also want to hear about the children and young people who might be left behind — including those who have disabilities, lack internet access or face other challenges while trying to learn.

      • UK ditches exam results generated by biased algorithm after student protests

        The UK has said that students in England and Wales will no longer receive exam results based on a controversial algorithm after accusations that the system was biased against students from poorer backgrounds, Reuters and BBC News report. The announcement followed a weekend of demonstrations at which protesters chanted “fuck the algorithm” outside the country’s Department for Education.

        Instead, students will receive grades based on their teachers’ estimates after formal exams were canceled due to the pandemic. The announcement follows a similar U-turn in Scotland, which had previously seen 125,000 results downgraded.

    • Hardware

      • Using a Yubikey as a touchless, magic unlock key for Linux

        Yubikeys are great for security, but not when you leave them in your computer unattended. At that point, anyone can take the key and use it for 2-factor authentication/SSH/GPG signing, so it’s not much better than just using a normal password. I unfortunately have a habit of forgetting my key when I walk away from the computer. I also have login passwords that are way too long and easy to typo.

        Thankfully, there’s a way to solve both of these problems: use a Yubikey to unlock your computer when you put it in and lock your computer when you remove it!

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Why The Fight for Paid Sick Leave is a Civil Rights Issue

        As our nation grapples with its grievous legacy of racism, it is imperative to call out policies and practices that exacerbate inequality.

      • Trump’s America Fails Coronavirus as 170,000 to 204,000 Die, Child Cases Spike, While Other Countries Are Back to Normal

        This situation is the fault of Donald J. Trump, whose team did not put in place national, quick testing.

      • Wear a Mask If You Can, Don’t Bully Those Who Can’t

        I’ve been seeing memes online advocating shaming people who aren’t wearing masks. Please don’t.

      • The Dystopian Coronavirus America

        A parade of armed white nationalists took over the Michigan statehouse demanding that Gretchen Whitmer “Liberate Michigan” and reopen. The police stood there and did nothing, with some likely smiling inside. Fast forward two months to Portland, Oregon, where protesters outside a federal building were tear gassed and beaten with batons by federal agents.

      • “I Cannot Vote for This Platform”: Rep. Ro Khanna on Why Democrats Must Support Medicare for All

        As the Democratic National Convention kicks off virtually in Milwaukee, we speak with Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna, who says he will be voting no on the Democratic platform because it does not support Medicare for All. Khanna, who served as national co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, says ensuring universal healthcare is crucial for the Democratic Party, especially during a pandemic. “I am very enthusiastic about supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to defeat Donald Trump, but I cannot vote for this platform that does not have universal healthcare as a right,” says Khanna.

      • The Cost of ‘Singapore Inc.’? A Coronavirus Outbreak Among Migrants.

        On August 9, Singapore celebrated its 55th year as an independent nation with a parade split into morning and evening sections and with fireworks displays spread out across the island. That same day, the country marked another milestone: its 55,000th Covid-19 case.

      • Near Misses at UNC Chapel Hill’s High-Security Lab Illustrate Risk of Accidents With Coronaviruses

        The mouse infected with a lab-created type of SARS coronavirus was squirming upside down, dangling by its tail as a scientist carried it to a weighing container one day in February 2016. But the mundane task turned dangerous in seconds inside the North Carolina laboratory, which has drawn scrutiny for its partnership on similar research with China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.

        In that moment, it wasn’t enough that the experiment was taking place inside a biosafety level 3 lab, the second-highest security level, which was layered in high-tech equipment designed to keep dangerous pathogens from escaping. Or that the scientist was covered head-to-toe in gear to protect against infection: a full-body Tyvek suit, boot covers and double gloves, plus a powered air-purifying respirator.

      • Here Are Six Accidents UNC Researchers Had With Lab-Created Coronaviruses

        From Jan. 1, 2015, through June 1, 2020, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported 28 lab incidents involving genetically engineered organisms to safety officials at the National Institutes of Health, according to documents UNC released to ProPublica under a public records request. The NIH oversees research involving genetically modified organisms.

        Six of the incidents involved various types of lab-created coronaviruses. Many were engineered to allow the study of the virus in mice. UNC declined to answer questions about the incidents and to disclose key details about them to the public, including the names of viruses involved, the nature of the modifications made to them and what risks were posed to the public, contrary to NIH guidelines.

      • The Pandemic Has Revealed America’s Zip Code Map of Inequality

        It is understandably tempting to drop all the blame for America’s catastrophic response to COVID-19 on the big desk in the Oval Office. But there’s more to the story than epic incompetence, grift and delusion at the highest levels of government. The stark divide in the level of health care from testing to treatment is divided by wealth and the legacy of systemic racism.

      • Engineered COVID-19-Infected Mouse Bites Researcher Amid ‘Explosion’ of Risky Coronavirus Research

        University researchers genetically engineer a human pandemic virus. They inject the new virus into a laboratory mouse. The infected mouse then bites a researcher…..It is a plot worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster about risky coronavirus research.

      • The COVID-19 Crisis: Our Pandemic Coverage
      • Universities Are Playing Fast and Loose With Students’ Health

        Update: The existence of a fourth Covid-19 cluster has now been reported at UNC-Chapel Hill. Also, in the hours since this article was published, the UNC administration announced that it would be moving to all-remote classes starting August 19 and trying to reduce the population living on campus.

      • PPE Shortage Could Last Years Without Strategic Plan, Experts Warn

        Shortages of personal protective equipment and medical supplies could persist for years without strategic government intervention, officials from health care and manufacturing industries have predicted.

      • Pentagon Weighing $2.2 Billion in Cuts to Military Health Care

        Just weeks after both chambers of Congress approved a $740 billion Defense Department budget for fiscal year 2021, Pentagon officials are reportedly pushing for more than $2 billion in cuts to military healthcare over the next five years, potentially threatening the coverage of millions of personnel and their families amid a global pandemic.

      • ‘What a Disgrace’: Pentagon Weighing $2.2 Billion in Cuts to Military Healthcare Just After Passage of $740 Billion Budget

        “The Trump administration is always looking for ways to cut your healthcare, regardless of who you are, where you live, or what you do.”

      • The astroturf effort promoting hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 continues apace

        A mere two weeks ago, I characterized the antimalaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as the Black Knight of COVID-19 treatments. The reason is that evidence randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) can’t seem to kill the claims of advocates that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a highly effective treatment for COVID-19. One example I discussed was the Newsweek article by a Yale epidemiologist named Harvey Risch that was rife with bad arguments, cherry-picked studies, and a reliance on less rigorous retrospective observational studies over the RCTs that have been published over the last couple of months. Unfortunately for Prof. Risch, the RCTs published thus far have consistently failed to find a benefit to using the drug to treat COVID-19, be it in hospitalized patients, in patients with disease mild enough to be treated as outpatients (with or without the magic drug azithromycin, which Didier Raoult insists to be an essential component of treatment), or as post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent the development of symptomatic COVID-19 in patients who had had close contact with patients with known COVID-19. Elsewhere, I noted a truly ridiculously incompetent “study” touted by the John Birch Society-like group masquerading as a medical professional society, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), that claimed to find that countries that adopted the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 had fewer fatalities than those that did not use the drug.

      • Facebook Sued Over Warning Labels on Anti-Vaccine Posts

        Facebook Inc.’s practice of putting fact-checking warning labels on anti-vaccination posts triggered a lawsuit accusing the social media company of censorship.

      • College towns brace for a new wave of COVID-19

        That phase is showing up in models tracking the course of the pandemic across the US. The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) PolicyLab has a model that tracks and projects the spread of COVID-19 in hundreds of counties across the country. “What’s really worrisome right now is many college towns are already — even as they just start to repopulate — showing significant evidence of increased transmission,” says David Rubin, the director of the PolicyLab.

      • Solidarity Across Species

        The destruction and exploitation of non-human life has forced different kinds of animals into closer and closer contact with each other, increasing the likelihood that viruses like COVID-19 will emerge.

        [...]

        We are animals. While human beings often repress this basic fact, the novel coronavirus has revealed our connection to and dependence on the well-being of other creatures. In various ways, our disregard for other species led to and worsened this pandemic. To mount an adequate response—and to prevent future disasters—we need to start taking animals into consideration.
        Like countless fearsome diseases, including Ebola and AIDS, COVID-19 is zoonotic in origin, meaning it jumped from one species to another (likely from bats to humans). The destruction and exploitation of non-human life has forced different kinds of animals into closer and closer contact with each other, increasing the likelihood that such viruses will emerge.

        While Chinese wet markets have received abundant (and xenophobic) media attention as a possible source of the outbreak, the American meat industry has also helped to create pathogen-friendly conditions worldwide. The increased demand for meat in China, and indeed globally, is hardly spontaneous—it is engineered by a powerful industry that spends vast sums advertising its products and promoting the misconception that meat is key to a healthy and desirable diet. This propaganda has its roots in the United States, which leads the world in per capita meat consumption.

        Factory farms fuel the spread of viruses by cramming thousands of increasingly genetically similar animals together in environments where they often have no access to sunshine or exercise and cannot escape their own filth. Rather than provide the conditions and care under which animals could stay healthy, they are fed an antibiotic-laced diet in a foolhardy effort to ward off disease that actually breeds drug-resistant superbugs in the long term.

        In the United States, meat is a $900 billion industry. Hunger for flesh and for profits are intertwined in a system that shows profound disregard for animal and human life. Vegetarians should not be too smug about what they eat, since those who harvest vegetables are also mistreated and underpaid. But meat-plant and slaughterhouse workers endure particularly horrific and dangerous working conditions. Meat factories are staffed largely by low-income immigrants and the majority have no health insurance or sick leave. Workers are quickly fired and replaced for being sick or injured. These facilities process thousands of animals a day with hundreds of employees standing shoulder to shoulder conducting grueling, repetitive, and hazardous work.

      • world community grid – crowd computing grid search system – how to fight covid19 and cancer with computers

        So Scripps Research is partnering with World Community Grid, an IBM social impact initiative that allows anyone with a computer and an internet connection to donate their device’s computing power to help scientists study the world’s biggest problems in health and sustainability. By using this donated computing power, the scientists aim to identify promising chemical compounds for further laboratory testing.

      • Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia resist camp closure amid COVID-19 fears

        A plan by the Ethiopian government to relocate around 27,000 Eritrean refugees to two already overcrowded camps is yet to be shelved, despite concerns by aid organisations over both the risk of spreading COVID-19 and the confusion the stated policy has caused.

        The government announced plans in April to close Hitsats refugee camp and relocate its residents to Adi Harush and Mai Aini, two other Eritrean camps also located in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.

        The UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, has warned that both Adi Harush and Mai Aini are “already operating at full capacity”, and says that moving the Hitsats residents could “expose the refugees to the risk of COVID-19 infection and outbreak in the camps”.

        Aid workers say all four Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia, sheltering a total of about 100,000 people, are severely overcrowded, food is in short supply, and there is poor access to water – crucial for the additional sanitation needs as a result of COVID-19.

        Underlining the threat, a 16-year-old Eritrean girl in Adi Harush in June became the first refugee in the country to test positive for the coronavirus.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • LibreSSL documentation status update

        Note that this is not an update regarding LibreSSL status in general because i’m not the right person to talk about the big picture of working on the LibreSSL code, my work has been quite focussed on documentation. All the same, it is fair to say that even though the number of developers working on it is somewhat limited, the LibreSSL project is quite alive, typically having a release every few months. Progress continues being made with respect to porting and adding new functionality (for example regarding TLSv1.3, CMS, RSA-PSS, RSA-OAEP, GOST, SM3, SM4, XChaCha20 during the last two years), OpenSSL compatibility improvements (including providing additional OpenSSL-1.1 APIs), and lots of bug fixes and code cleanup.

      • Proprietary

        • The 2020 Democratic Convention Could Be a Tech Debacle or an Ambitious Feat

          What do you suppose the Democrats will be talking about at their “convention” this week?

        • Microsoft’s ‘can’t uninstall Microsoft Edge’ support page is hilariously telling

          But instead of telling users what effectively boils down to “you can’t uninstall it because we decided not to let you,” perhaps Microsoft could take a hint and give users what they apparently want. Here’s how Google search volume for “uninstall Microsoft Edge” has evolved in recent months: [...]

        • How to Watch the Democratic National Convention

          From 9 to 11 p.m. ET each night, the convention will be televised on all major networks and broadcast on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch. Viewers can also watch on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV by downloading the free app Endavo onto their devices. In addition, the event will be livestreamed directly from the DNC’s website.

        • How to watch the Democratic National Convention

          The official live stream of the event will be available on the DNC’s website, but you’ll be able to catch it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch as well. It will also be made available on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, and you can find the stream by searching for “2020 DNC.”

          ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox News will air the last hour of the convention from 10PM to 11PM, and C-SPAN, CNN, MSNBC, and PBS will carry the full two hours each night this week.

          If you’d rather just listen to the convention, you can ask your Alexa device to play it as well. Just say, “Alexa, play the Democratic National Convention.” Spotify will be rounding up speeches at the DNC and the Republican National Convention in playlists for people to listen to at the end of each convention day as well.

        • How to Watch the 2020 Democratic National Convention

          The full primetime block of the 2020 DNC will air on CNN, C-Span, MSNBC and PBS, while ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News will carry the main events between 10 p.m. to 11 p.m ET. The convention will also livestream on the DNC’s website, as well as on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. Streams will be available through services like Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Prime Video (Amazon Prime members can search for “DNC;” get a 30-day free trial to Amazon Prime here).

        • During the pandemic a digital crimewave has flooded the [I]nternet

          This surge has been driven by a dramatic shift online of many forms of economic activity because of the constraints of stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing. According to an index compiled by Adobe Analytics, a consultancy, online spending by American consumers was 76% higher in June than in the same month in 2019, and 55% up in July. Retail fraud has climbed similarly. By June 30th, the US Federal Trade Commission had received almost 140,000 reports since the start of the year, already nearly as many as in all the whole of 2019. And it had had more than 570,000 reports of identity theft—also almost as many as in all of last year—as criminals took advantage of the unfolding economic downturn and people’s general anxiety about the pandemic to exploit them for their personal information, credit-card numbers and banking details.

        • Slack, Atlassian deepen ties with app integrations and account ‘passport’

          Slack has also introduced linked accounts, which allow a Slack account to be used as a “passport” to access Atlassian apps without needing to log in. Once set up, users within Slack can quickly switch to an Atlassian application by clicking a link in a channel or DM. Account creation occurs in the background, saving time. Admins can disable the feature, which is still in development.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Facebook becomes a top-tier Linux Foundation member

                With Facebook signing up as a Platinum member, Kathy Kam, head of open source at the company, gets a seat on the Linux Foundation’s board. Kam has 20 years of experience in open source software, and previously worked for Google and Microsoft.

                “The Linux Foundation has and continues to play a crucial role in the continued success of not only Linux but also in broader open-source ecosystems as well,” Kam said in a statement. “We hope that this sponsorship will further the goal of keeping Linux and all of open source thriving for years to come.”

                Facebook is one of the best-known contributors to the world of open source software. The company contributes to projects such as the React JavaScript library, the Open Compute Project, and Data for Good, a programme that enables geographic data to be shared with the aim of addressing some of the humanitarian issues including COVID-19.

              • New Open Source Project Provides Early Warning for Earthquakes

                The OpenEEW initiative will share data, sensor technology, and detection algorithms through The Linux Foundation’s Code and Response framework. According to the OpenEEW website, this will “enable others around the world to start building their own EEW systems based on our approach, it will also, we hope, lead to the creation of a global community collaborating to develop ever-better EEW systems, always with the end goal of providing life-saving alerts and increasing resilience against earthquakes.”

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (dovecot, htmlunit, jruby, libetpan, lucene-solr, net-snmp, and posgresql-9.6), Fedora (firefox, nss, qt, and thunderbird), Mageia (glib-networking, mumble, webkit2, and znc), openSUSE (balsa, chromium, firejail, hylafax+, libreoffice, libX11, perl-XML-Twig, thunderbird, wireshark, and xrdp), Red Hat (libvncserver), SUSE (libvirt and perl-PlRPC), and Ubuntu (dovecot and salt).

          • Getting Started in Cybersecurity

            Interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Whether you’re considering specializing in the field or want to round out your current job skills through courses and certification, this article will provide tips and resources to help you get started.

          • Digital Security Is as Easy as PGP

            Average computer users would be forgiven for not having any idea what PGP is. There is so much going on below the surface of the modern computing experience that even critically important security tools like PGP are tucked away.

            To be sure, there are specialized circles that make regular explicit use of PGP. Diligent Linux users would have at least a passing familiarity with PGP, since the fact that manufacturers didn’t install our OS for us means we have to verify its integrity ourselves.

            Otherwise, if your work doesn’t touch on information security, PGP would understandably be a mystery to you. But like I said, it is no less important for this reality. In fact, PGP played a significant part in why we have secure communications on the Internet. This actually isn’t because it’s widely used, although it definitely is utilized in software installation utilities the world over. Rather, its significance stems from its defiant challenge to an overzealous government that sought to compromise encryption long before most Americans used the Internet regularly.

            My aim in treating PGP here is twofold. The first is to shed some light on it for the uninitiated. The second, and more importantly, is to teach the daring among you how to wield this powerful tool. Hopefully, you found your way here after reading my security guide. If not, check out the last installment, and you will see that PGP can be useful in certain high-stakes threat scenarios.

            Before we proceed, keep in mind that, as with any tool, the usefulness of PGP adheres to the network effect. Its practicability is extremely limited due to scant adoption software development circles. If you seek to apply PGP toward interpersonal communication, those you communicate with must do the same.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • FBI Lawyer Criminally Charged For Lying To The FISA Court

              Earlier this year, the DOJ Inspector General released a report that — surprise, surprise — showed the FBI abusing its FISA privileges. The FBI had placed former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page under surveillance, suspecting (but only momentarily) that he was acting as an agent of a foreign power. (Guess which one.)

            • So Now We Needed Another Ridiculous Executive Order About TikTok That Goes Beyond The President’s Authority?

              A week after issuing his first ridiculous executive order about TikTok, barring any transactions involving the company if it is still owned by ByteDance, President Trump decided he needed to issue a second executive order about TikTok, this one more directly ordering ByteDance to sell it. The authority used in this one is different. The first one was using the IEEPA, which is what Trump has used to claim “national security” reasons for imposing tariffs on China without Congressional approval. This time he’s using 50 USC 4565, which allows the US treasury to block certain mergers, acquisitions and takeovers that might impact national security.

            • Google Responds To Hong Kong’s New National Security Law By Rejecting Its Government’s Requests For Data

              Google’s on-again, off-again relationship with China is off again. A decade ago, Google threatened to pull out of China because the government demanded a censored search engine. Fast forward to 2018 and it was Google offering to build a censored search engine for the China market. A few months later — following heavy internal and external criticism — Google abandoned the project.

            • Trumps’ Coy Snowden Mystery: The Kiss of Death

              I’m tired of the bullshit.

            • Bipartisan Group Of Elites Freak Out As Trump Says He’s Considering A Pardon For Snowden

              The bipartisan freakout over the mere possibility that President Donald Trump might pardon Edward Snowden is a reflection of the deep-seated prejudice that exists against the National Security Agency whistleblower. Prejudice formed among elites immediately after Snowden revealed he was behind disclosures that exposed the United States’ global mass surveillance programs, which violated people’s privacy both domestically and abroad. It intensified as he was trapped in a Moscow airport after the State Department revoked his passport and was forced to seek asylum from Russia. Yet, with Trump, the hostility has grown even more feverish because—although there is no proof whatsoever—this coalition of neoliberals and neoconservatives sees the hand of Russia President Vladimir Putin behind the sudden interest in Snowden’s case.Days after an exclusive report in the New York Post suggested Trump was considering a pardon, Trump was asked about Snowden. “Well, I’m gonna look at it. I mean, I’m not that aware of the Snowden situation, but I’m going to start looking at it,” Trump replied. “There are many, many people—it seems to be a split decision. There are many people that think that he should be somehow treated differently and other people think he did very bad things.” Trump added, “I’ve seen people that are very conservative and very liberal, and they agree on the same issue. They agree both ways. I’m going to take a look at that very strongly, Edward Snowden.” In 2013, Trump fiercely objected to Snowden’s actions. “This guy is really doing damage to this country, and he’s also making us look like dopes. We can’t allow this guy to go out there and give out all our secrets and also embarrass us at every level. We should get him back and get him back now.”But what Trump said suggests he never had a firmly held viewpoint on Snowden. It was all part of his vitriolic opposition to President Barack Obama’s administration.

              Democratic Representative Adam Schiff appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer and said, “Where is this coming from? You know, I have to say it makes you wonder because we know so little of what the president discusses when he talks to Putin, and Snowden is of course finding his safe refuge in Putin’s Russia right now.”Quite a few delusions related to Russia influence in the Trump administration have been perpetuated by Schiff, who is the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). In August, he also was responsible for ensuring dragnet internet surveillance was not eliminated from a bill for reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.According to Demand Progress, a grassroots advocacy organization that fights to protect privacy and civil liberties, Schiff cut “Dreamers,” young immigrants protected from deportation, and other immigrants from a proposed protection that apparently “served as a loophole to protect something else: potential undisclosed surveillance of Americans’ internet browsing and search histories.”Snowden revealed an NSA program called XKeyscore that collected “nearly everything a user does on the internet.” It swept up a person’s emails, social media activity, and browser history. And he also exposed PRISM, which allowed the NSA to access to the servers of companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other companies to “collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers, and live chats.”In other words, Schiff is a key defender of the very mass surveillance programs that systematically violate privacy, which Snowden exposed. Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, declared, “Edward Snowden is a traitor. He is responsible for the largest and most damaging release of classified info in US history. He handed over U.S. secrets to Russian and Chinese intelligence putting our troops and our nation at risk. Pardoning him would be unconscionable.”There is zero evidence that China or Russia ever obtained access to documents. In fact, Snowden did not take copies of the documents with him when he left Hong Kong because he did not think it would be in the “public interest.”

            • No to Expanded HHS Surveillance of COVID-19 Patients

              The federal government plans to process more of our personal data, in the name of containing COVID-19, but without showing that this serious privacy intrusion would actually do anything to protect public health. EFF filed comments in opposition to these new plans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

              The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) leads our nation’s efforts to contain infectious diseases. Thus, CDC for decades has managed the federal government’s processing of personal data about infection. It did so during the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak. But in July 2020, HHS stripped this tracking authority from the CDC, and transferred it to a new program called “HHS Protect.”

            • Microsoft’s Panos Panay is joining Sonos’ board of directors

              It might not be worth reading too much into a tech executive serving on the board of another tech company without a change in job status. But it’s hard not to think about how odd of a position this puts Panay in: on the one hand, with Microsoft, things seem to be going well with Google, as the Surface Duo, a Microsoft-branded phone running Android 10, is set to launch in September. Sonos, on the other hand, is in the midst of a legal battle against Google on the grounds that Google stole its smart speaker technology.

            • Donald Trump has caused panic among millions of WeChat users

              In America most users of WeChat are first-generation Chinese-Americans as well as migrants and students who are still Chinese citizens. Mr Trump is right to be wary of its impact. WeChat in China vigorously censors content that might embarrass the Communist Party and saturates discussion of current affairs with pro-party propaganda. It is also used by police to monitor political dissidents and other people who grumble about the government. A man in China who shared news in a WeChat group about anti-government protests in Hong Kong was sentenced last month to more than a year in prison.

            • Secret Service bought access to cellphone location data

              Products like Locate X typically rely on data brokers who offer access to large amounts of theoretically anonymous user data, officially intended for marketers or other non-government entities. (In practice, it’s often possible to identify individual users.) They let law enforcement agents bypass getting a warrant and requesting data from companies — a process that provides more accountability and privacy.

            • Facebook Messenger starts taking over Instagram Direct messages
            • Confidentiality

              • How Purism avoids Intel’s Active Management Technology

                With recent chipsets, Intel offers a mechanism called Active Management Technology (Intel AMT, part of the “vPro”* featureset, specifically the Intel Management Engine) which, Intel says,“allows IT or managed service providers to better discover, repair, and protect their networked computing assets”. This means somebody can control devices remotely, even when powered off—what is officially called out-of-band system access.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Domestic Violence in the Time of the Pandemic

        One of the most neglected consequences of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 is the increasing violence against women of all ages. UN Women has called it “the shadow pandemic,” and António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General has said, “Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.”

      • Does this village in Niger hold a key to defeating African jihad?

        With thousands of French troops struggling to contain the bloodshed elsewhere, and the United States mulling a drawdown of forces, Agadez leaders say their methods offer a possible blueprint for defeating militants – without weapons.

        “Agadez shows that it can be done. With the right leadership and the right relationships, you can have stability,” agreed Hannah Armstrong, analyst at the International Crisis Group think tank.

        Agadez’s fortunes stand in stark contrast to the Tillaberi region in southwest Niger, which borders Mali and Burkina Faso.

      • Burkina Faso’s new conflict front: Jihadists against jihadists

        When 60 jihadists were killed and 40 captured in Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region one day in April, the country’s beleaguered armed forces didn’t claim victory: A rival jihadist group did.

        The attack was among three reports of infighting in as many days between the al-Qaeda linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (JNIM) and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), a regional offshoot of the so-called Islamic State.

        The rival organisations, which had previously tolerated each other – appearing to even cooperate on some level – are now in open conflict. And as competition over territory heats up and ideological differences become increasingly pronounced, civilians are bearing the brunt of much of the violence.

        The infighting has added a dangerous new dimension to an already multi-sided conflict that has uprooted nearly one million people in Burkina Faso – the vast majority since January last year – and left more than three million severely food insecure, compared to 680,000 by this time in 2019.

        More than 90 people have been killed in the country overall this year in 10 separate clashes between the two jihadist groups – up from just one such recorded death in a single skirmish last year, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a conflict monitoring group.

        Some hoped the clashes – also occurring in neighbouring Mali – might weaken one or both groups as combatants and resources are allocated away from targeting civilians, military personnel, and local fighters defending their homes and villages against the militants.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • The NYPD Is Withholding Evidence From Investigations Into Police Abuse

        Last summer, New York City police officers drove by two friends sitting on a bench outside a Brooklyn school. The officers stopped, later telling investigators that they suspected the two — a 16-year-old and 21-year-old, both male and Black — of carrying marijuana. As the teenager ran, one of the officers grabbed the 21-year-old from behind, lifted him up and slammed him into the pavement.

        The officer, who was 60 pounds heavier than the young man, broke three bones in the man’s left foot, and among other injuries caused a brain bleed, leaving him hospitalized for six days.

      • Lawyers and academics call on Government to end Julian Assange extradition

        On the day of Julian Assange’s final administrative hearing before his substantive extradition hearings scheduled for 7 September, 152 legal experts and 15 lawyers’ associations have today written to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accusing government authorities of violating “national and international law” in the Australian WikiLeaks founder’s case.

    • Environment

      • Annual planetary temperature continues to rise

        More than 500 scientists from 61 countries have again measured the annual planetary temperature. The diagnosis is not good.

      • Climate Activists and Scientists Raise Alarm After Death Valley Endures Potentially Record-Breaking 130ºF

        “It’s not a record that will last,” says author and activist Bill McKibben.

      • Facebook left 6,500 gallons of drilling fluid off the coast of Oregon

        Facebook determined that there wouldn’t be any “negative environmental or public health impact” from leaving behind the drill head, it said in an email. But the Oregon Department of State Lands thinks that other solutions might have been considered had it been notified earlier. Facebook didn’t inform the state that it had left behind the materials until June 17th, seven weeks after the drill broke. That delay “eliminated any potential options for recovery of the equipment,” Department of State Lands spokeswoman Ali Hansen told The Verge in an email. “The opportunity to fully evaluate recovery options was lost” when Facebook sealed the borehole without notifying the state, Hansen said.

        The original permit for the project doesn’t allow Facebook subsidiary Edge Cable Holdings to “store” materials at the site. As a result, the Department of State Lands gave Facebook a month to come to an agreement on damages owed to the state for violating the permit. They also gave the company 180 days to either file a new permit or safely remove the equipment. Facebook plans to continue the construction of the cable landing in 2021. It will be the endpoint for the JUPITER cable system, which will connect the US to Japan and the Philippines. Amazon and SoftBank own parts of the cable also.

      • Public Lands Are Key to Fighting Climate Change

        A new administration must stop this fossil fuel madness and rapidly work to heal our degraded public lands. 

      • Energy

        • The Decline in Power of the Oil States

          President Donald Trump is cock-a-hoop over the United Arab Emirates becoming the first Arab Gulf state to normalise its relations with Israel. He needs all the good news he can get in the months before the US presidential election.

        • Oil Companies Wonder If It’s Worth Looking for Oil Anymore

          Yet a decade after the discovery of as much as 1.7 billion barrels of crude in surrounding waters, the British overseas territory known for sheep rearing and tension with Argentina looks as remote as ever. Rather than the next frontier, the project to extract energy risks being added to a list of what companies call “stranded assets” that could cost them huge sums to mothball.

          As the coronavirus ravages economies and cripples demand, European oil majors have made some uncomfortable admissions in recent months: oil and gas worth billions of dollars might never be pumped out of the ground.

          With the crisis also hastening a global shift to cleaner energy, fossil fuels will likely be cheaper than expected in the coming decades, while emitting the carbon they contain will get more expensive. These two simple assumptions mean that tapping some fields no longer makes economic sense. BP Plc said on Aug. 4 that it would no longer do any exploration in new countries.

        • The oil industry faces deepening uncertainty

          The oil industry is facing an immense amount of uncertainty, even for a sector that bobs along in the currents of global markets and geopolitics despite its enormous power.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Confused Critic Of Section 230 Now In Charge Of NTIA

        Multiple experts on Section 230 have pointed out that the NTIA’s bizarre petition to the FCC to reinterpret Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is complete nonsense. Professor Eric Goldman’s analysis is quite thorough in ripping the petition to shreds.

      • It Doesn’t Make Sense To Treat Ads The Same As User Generated Content

        Paid advertising content should not be covered by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Online platforms should have the same legal risk for ads they run as print publishers do. This is a reform that I think supporters of Section 230 should support, in order to save it.

      • WeChat Is a Trap for China’s Diaspora

        Anyone outside the country who wants to connect with people in China has to use what is available in China and thus also gets sucked into the Chinese government’s machinery of censorship and surveillance. International WeChat users are estimated at between 100 million and 200 million; there are an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States. A recent study by Citizen Lab showed that WeChat surveils its users outside China to build up the database it uses to censor China-registered accounts. As international users are governed by terms of service and privacy policies of Singapore, it is unclear whether WeChat shares this information with the Chinese government. But it is essential to remember that all Chinese companies are subject to government control.

        Those free speech implications don’t just apply inside China. The centrality of WeChat in information acquisition and communication among the Chinese diaspora, especially first-generation immigrants from China, should be a source of real concern elsewhere.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Neither Snow Nor Rain Nor Heat Nor Fascists
      • How to Fund the Salvation of Humanity

        In our greatest moment of crisis, some of the most imaginative minds on the planet could become our heroes.

      • What to Know When Someone Blames Black People for All the Riots

        An honest review of the facts should compel a rational thinker to redirect his or her disgust—away from racist conclusions, and toward the outrageous indecencies that a well-to-do society forces on its less fortunate members.

      • White Christian Bigotry

        Racism is much stronger among America’s white Christians than among churchless whites – and it always has been. That’s the message of a new book by social analyst Robert Jones, head of the Public Religion Research Institute.

      • Activist Voices Missing From Corporate Coverage of Uprisings

        Throughout all the coverage, there was heavy focus on whether the protests were violent or nonviolent, rather than on the demands of the protesters.

      • Whiteness
      • About Portland: An Interview with Author Jennifer Robin

        Writer Jennifer Robin shares her experiences at the Portland Protests.  One of the most compelling writers in America, Jennifer’s first book, Death Confetti: Pickers, Punks, and Transit Ghosts in Portland, Oregon, is a series of vignettes of jarring experiences vividly portraying people struggling in the apocalyptic shadow of America.  She was writing then about the surreal reality we are all experiencing now.

      • Never Surrender in Portland, Oregon

        I took these photographs on the night of August 13, 2020.

      • Racist Neoliberal Response to Hurricane Katrina Foreshadowed Response to COVID

        We are in the middle of an alternative world struggling to be born while the nastiness of a decaying one adapts to the currents of change. This is evident within the United States as COVID-19 and structural racism coinfect our communities. In a short period of time, the novel coronavirus has mutated in its pursuits to circulate and infect human life. U.S. racial domination has also mutated, albeit over a much longer span of time, adapting from earlier forms of chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation and “colorblind” multiculturalism. In this moment, we witness racism’s altered expressions in the heightened disdain for Black humanity, the systematic detention of immigrant children, revamped expressions of anti-Asian xenophobia and shameless enunciations of white supremacy. While communities continue in their struggle against structural racism — including a rising Black-led youth movement calling to defund the police — there is optimism that the development of a coronavirus vaccine can free us from this global pandemic. Yet, even if a vaccine were to be safely manufactured in a timeline unprecedented in human history, it cannot save us from COVID apartheid.

      • We Are in Danger Daily: Honduran Afro-Indigenous Garífuna Demand Return of Kidnapped Land Defenders

        At least 212 land and environmental defenders were murdered last year — the highest number since the group Global Witness began gathering data eight years ago. Some 40% of those killed were Indigenous peoples. We get an update from Honduras, where the Afro-Indigenous Garífuna community continues to demand the safe return of five Garífuna land defenders who were kidnapped by heavily armed men who were reportedly wearing police uniforms and forced them into three unmarked vehicles at gunpoint. This was the latest attack against the Garífuna community as they defend their territory from destructive projects fueled by foreign investors and the Honduran government. “We are in danger daily — all the leaders of the Garífuna community, all the defendants of the land in Honduras,” says Carla Garcia, international relations coordinator at the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras.

      • “We Have to Expand the Squad”: Cori Bush on Her Upset Primary Win, Defunding Police & Kamala Harris

        We speak with Cori Bush, a nurse and single mother who was formerly homeless, who joins the growing number of young Black progressives likely headed to Congress this November, after she won a stunning primary upset over 10-term incumbent Congressmember William Lacy Clay Jr. in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District in the St. Louis area. Bush says her campaign’s victory was a result of a grassroots effort from across her district and beyond. “We believed that it’s time for a change, it’s time for an active leader, someone who knows the streets, someone who knows the struggle of what’s happening in our country, especially with COVID-19 and how that’s devastated communities,” she says. The Black Lives Matter activist says she supports defunding the police and that she’s looking forward to working with other progressive women in Congress. “We have to expand the Squad,” she says, referring to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.

      • Arizona Republicans Urge Voters to “Join President Trump” and Vote by Mail

        As President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim that voting by mail is rife with fraud and doing so in this year’s presidential race will be an untrustworthy endeavor, the Arizona Republican Party is sending mailers to state residents urging them to request absentee ballots — and they are doing it with a mailer featuring a picture of Trump.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Charter Spectrum Tells FCC Broadband Caps Are ‘Popular’ As It Tries To Kill Merger Conditions Preventing Them

        To be very clear: American consumers don’t like broadband usage caps. At all. Most Americans realize (either intellectually or on instinct) that monthly broadband usage caps and overage fees are little more than monopolistic cash grabs. They’re confusing, frustrating price hikes on captive customers that accomplish absolutely none of their stated benefits. They don’t actually help manage congestion, and they aren’t about “fairness” — since if fairness were a goal you’d have a lot of grandmothers paying $5-$10 a month for broadband because they only check their email twice a day.

      • Charter Can Charge Online Video Sites for Network Connections, Court Rules

        The ruling overturns two merger conditions the Obama administration imposed on Charter when it bought Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • The 3.5 mm headphone jack

        The 3.5 mm headphone jack is such an elegant and under-appreciated piece of engineering; the rare occurrence of a design getting it so right that it stands the test of time. I was starkly reminded of this yesterday when I lost my Lightning adaptor for my iPhone 8, and had flashbacks to when the industry decided to wholesale drop it.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook criticizes Apple’s App Store policies–Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle also stand to gain from Epic’s app store battle royale against Apple and Google

        The fight over App Store policies and, especially, commissions is escalating fast. The day after Epic Games brought its antitrust lawsuits against Apple and Google in the Northern District of California (which have for now been assigned to judges in San Francisco and San Jose), Facebook went public with harsh criticism of Apple’s unwillingness to waive its 30% App Store commission (which Facebook, like Epic’s lawyers, labels a “tax”) in connection with an effort on Facebook’s part to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

        Normally, companies don’t blog about their App Store submissions. They just make them, wait for approval, and that’s it. But Facebook published screenshots comparing how its “paid online events for small business recovery” will look on Android (where small businesses get to keep 100% of that income as Facebook doesn’t take a dime) versus iOS (where Apple charges 30%). This is an apparent attempt to up the pressure on Apple’s App Store team not to reject Facebook’s submission over the fact that the iOS version of Facebook’s app states: “Apple takes 30% of this purchase.” And beyond just securing approval of this version of its app, Facebook is probably still hoping that Apple might match Google’s generosity in this politically sensitive context. All of this is obviously also meant to make Apple look bad on Capitol Hill.

      • How Apple’s and Google’s defenses to Fortnite maker Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuits over their app store policies will likely differ

        Meanwhile I’ve found the time to juxtapose the two complaints–Epic Games v. Apple and Epic Games v. Google–in an effort to identify their overlaps and differences. By just looking at the (largely consistent) tables of contents as well as the (almost identical) prayers for relie, one can tell that the narrative and the thrust are pretty much the same. But there are significant differences from an antitrust law perspective. While not very likely to be outcome-determinative, the delta will have an impact at all stages of proceeding.

        What matters only in the court of public opinion–mainstream and social media–is how Epic’s complaints recall Apple’s and Google’s idealistic communications of many years back (Apple’s “1984″ commercial and Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto as well as its promises of Android openness). Hypocrisy isn’t an antitrust violation. In terms of geographic market definition, Epic defines the relevant markets with respect to Apple as worldwide markets, but excludes China with respect to Google, which won’t lead to a different outcome either. Instead, let’s focus on legally relevant differences.

      • Patents

        • Post Thrive: PTAB Decision Affirmed rather than Vacated

          Bennet owns U.S. Patent No. 5,810,029 (Anti-icing of gas pressure regulators, now expired). Back in 2012, Bennett sued Atlanta Gas for patent infringement. That case had been filed in N.D. Ohio and the court there dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction over the Georgia-based defendant. Three years later (2015), Atlanta Gas filed for inter partes review (IPR). The PTO Granted review and the PTAB eventually found the challenged claims unpatentable. In a 2018 appeal, the Federal Circuit vacated — holding that the statutory time-bar precludes the PTO from instituting a petition in this case. 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) (“An [IPR] may not be instituted if the petition requesting the proceeding is filed more than 1 year after the date on which the petitioner … is served with a complaint alleging infringement of the patent.”). Atlanta Gas then petitioned for Supreme Court review and in April 2020, the Supreme Court issued the following decision:

        • The EPO and User Friendliness

          Searching the EPO’s website for the terms “user-friendly” and/or “user friendliness” will result in your screen being flooded by hits describing the remarkable achievements and ongoing efforts by the EPO to be a fantastic (in the UK they would probably even call it world-beating) service provider for its users. As with other noble goals such as quality, transparency, social responsibility etc., it is certainly to be welcomed that the EPO commits itself to these values. Yet, it would be even more important and welcomed by the EPO’s users, if these objectives were also matched by reality.

          This is not to make the case that the EPO would not be user-friendly; on the contrary, I think it is doing quite okay on the whole. Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement. In this spirit, let us look at two more developments where user-friendliness has somewhat suffered in the recent past.

          [...]

          Once upon a time, when the EPO was even more user-friendly than it is now, it was possible to download any public EPO file from register.epo.org as a zip archive. This was incredibly convenient and useful for us practitioners, particularly when we had to take over a new case, prepare an opposition etc., as it allowed us a convenient access to a bulky file in a structured form. Alas, if you try this now, and if the file you are trying to access is voluminous (1000 pages or more), which in my technical field is nothing out of the ordinary, you are no longer able to do that.

          [...]

          So why is access and use of the European Patent Register ”fair for all users” now, as opposed to in the past? In my humble opinion, the opposite is the case: Now there is an arbitrary limit distinguishing applications for which a zip archive is downloadable, from others where this is impossible.

          To be honest, I have no idea about who normally downloads files from the EPO register. I appreciate it is a public service and so I would not exclude that some data-crawling search engines may be eager to retrieve every page on the EPO server in real time. Yet, if this was the problem, there must be other ways to deal with it. At least a page limit of (only) 1000 pages is clearly doing the opposite of providing a “fair access for all users” – it provides easy access to a file in only some cases, i.e. for some users, while severely cutting easy accessibility for others. At the very least, the page limit of 1000 is clearly inadequate for defining a “fair” access to a zip archive of the file.

          Why not limit the access to a download of a zip archive (if it has to be limited at all for whatever reason) to one archive per day per user? This is probably more than any normal EP practitioner is able to digest in a day anyway.

        • Software Patents

          • $4,000 for prior art on Remote Concepts

            On August 17, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $4,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claims 13 and 14 of U.S. Patent 7,016,942. This patent is owned by Remote Concepts, an NPE. The ’942 patent relates to client-server network connectivity technology allowing a client computer to act as the host or server for other clients for direct client-to-client communications. This patent is currently being asserted against BlueJeans Network, Inc. in the Northern District of California.

          • Oceana Innovations patent challenged as likely invalid

            On August 14, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,508,678, owned by Oceana Innovations LLC, an NPE and subsidiary of Endpoint IP. The ‘678 patent is generally directed to USB electrical connector assemblies with the patent being asserted against HDMI cable assemblies. In 2017, the previous patent owner, Interface Linx, LLC, asserted the ‘678 patent against TTE, Haier, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sherwood, Sound United, VOXX, and Hisense. Those cases terminated in 2019. The current patent owner, Oceana Innovations LLC, began a new campaign in May 2020, filing suits against JVCKenwood, Charter Communications, and Roku.

          • $2,000 Awarded for Terrestrial Comms ’552 prior art

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winners, Rahul Vijh and Joonyoul Maeng, who split a cash prize of $2,000 for their prior art submissions for U.S. Patent 7,411,552. The ’552 patent generally relates to a “variety of techniques to achieve the desired impedance matching so that there are more opportunities available to a designer, such as choice of geometry, size, or the like, to achieve the desired operating frequency without compromising the performance of the wireless communication device”. The patent is owned by Terrestrial Comms, LLC, an entity associated with Texas monetization firm, IPValuation Partners, LLC. Terrestrial Comms had asserted this patent in U.S. district court against Best Buy, Perixx Computer, Acco Brands, and NEC.

            To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

      • Copyrights

        • YTS Operator Helped Movie Companies Catch a Pirating User

          A group of movie companies is demanding nearly $100,000 in statutory piracy damages from US army veteran Mical Mesot. While the evidence is often flimsy in piracy cases, the rightsholders managed to get logs from the popular pirate site YTS to back up their claim. That evidence is corroborated by the operator of YTS, under penalty of perjury.

        • From CC’s New CEO: Working Towards Our Shared Future

          For nearly two decades, this organization has worked to make the world a more open and equitable place.

        • Kim Dotcom Predicts NZ Supreme Court Will Rule in Favor of Extradition

          Kim Dotcom is predicting that the New Zealand Supreme Court will decide in favor of extraditing him to the United States. The Megaupload founder says that he has faith in at least one judge on the panel, claiming that she knows the “U.S. govt is a rogue operator” and “knows what her fellow Judges are doing and why.”

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