Links 27/8/2020: Kubernetes 1.19, 2020 Linux Kernel History Report, Linux Foundation Board Member From Microsoft Liaises With Microsoft Tim

Posted in News Roundup at 10:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • HBO Max cranks up the Widevine DRM, leaves Linux users in the cold

      Unfortunately, trying again later won’t help—the root cause of the problem is that the Widevine DRM attempting to protect HBO Max’s content from pirates is refusing to recognize any Linux system as a known platform. We saw the same thing happen in January, when CBS All Access suddenly stopped working on Linux in the same way. When we asked CBS executives if they had enabled the Verified Media Path (VMP) requirement on their Widevine server, they suddenly clammed up—but later that day, the service miraculously worked for Linux users again.

      We did verify that HBO Max will not work on Linux browsers and that the problem is—once again—Widevine DRM refusing to issue a license. Although HBO Max has not returned requests for comment at press time, it seems very likely that the cause here is the same as it was for CBS All Access back in January. It seems like somebody enabled Verified Media Path on the Widevine server, and since the Linux kernel is not a verified media path, Linux users can’t get a license and can’t watch the content.

      We’re hopeful that once HBO Max gets the word that this decision locked out a small percentage of their users—and getting them back is as simple as toggling an option “off” again—they’ll get their Linux users back online, just as CBS did back in January. We’ll update here if and when we hear back from HBO Max executives, or if the situation otherwise changes for their Linux users.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 593: TrustyAI – Combining Machine Learning Algorithm, and Decision Logic

        TrustyAI is a new open-source initiative from within the Knowledge Is Everything (KIE) Group that’s designed to increase trust in the decision-making processes that depend on AI predictive models. With TrustyAI, decisions can be regulated to go against human bias and can be used in multiple different areas including, medical diagnosis, loan approvals, and so much more. Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennett talk with an executive at Red Hat, Rebecca Whitworth who is leading the team and research into TrustyAI. They discuss the importance of having artificial intelligence be open and fair and what it truly means to “Trust” AI.

      • Destination Linux 188: BASH vs ZSH vs FISH: What Is The Best Linux Shell?

        On this week’s episode of Destination Linux, the #1 video-centric Linux podcast on the planet. We’re going to talk about the subject of the best Unix Shell is it time to switch away from BASH? We have a new Kali Linux out with some surprising changes. A new games just dropped for Linux and it has a very dark premise. Later in the show we’ll give you our popular tips/tricks and software picks. Plus so much more, coming up right now on Destination Linux.

      • Unfettered Freedom, Ep. 4

        Unfettered Freedom is a video podcast that focuses on news and topics about GNU/Linux, free software and open source software.

      • VimWiki Diary: Who Needs Schedling App When You Have Vim

        I’ve been using vimiwiki to do all of my note taking for quite a while now and I recently did a video on a scehduling app but it didn’t click with me until someone mentioned in the comments section that Vimwiki has a built in diary feature called Vimwiki Diary, it doesn’t require any extra plugins it just works out of the box.

    • Kernel Space

      • Theoretical vs. practical cryptography in the kernel

        Shortly before the release of the 5.8 kernel, a brief patch to a pseudo-random-number generator (PRNG) used by the networking stack was quietly applied to the kernel. As is the norm for such things, the changelog gave no indication that a security vulnerability had been fixed, but that turns out indeed to be the case. The resulting controversy had little to do with the original vulnerability, though, and everything to do with how cryptographic security is managed in the kernel. Figuring prominently in the discussion was the question of whether theoretical security can undermine security in the real world.
        Port numbers assigned to network sockets are not an especially secure item — they are only 16 bits, after all. That said, there is value in keeping them from being predictable; an attacker who can guess which port number will be assigned next can interfere with communications and, in the worst case, inject malicious data. Seemingly back in March, Amit Klein reported a port-guessing vulnerability to the kernel’s security team; properly exploited, this vulnerability could be used to inject malicious answers to DNS queries, as one example.

        The source of the problem comes down to how the kernel selects port numbers, which should be chosen randomly so as to not be guessable by an attacker. The kernel is able to generate random numbers that, as far as anybody knows, are not predictable, but doing so takes time — more time than the network stack is willing to wait. So, instead, the networking code calls prandom_u32(), which is a much simpler PRNG; it is effectively a linear-feedback shift register. That makes it fast, but unsuited to cryptographic operations; its output is a relatively simple function of its state, so anybody who can figure out what its internal state is can predict its output going forward. Klein, it seems, was able to do exactly that by observing the port numbers assigned by the kernel.

      • 5.9 Merge window, part 2

        By the time Linus Torvalds released 5.9-rc1 and closed the merge window for this cycle, 12,866 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository. Nearly 9,000 of those came in after the first 5.9 merge-window summary was written. Clearly the kernel-development community remains busy. Much of what was merged takes the form of cleanups and restructuring, as always, but there was also a substantial set of new features.

      • OpenZFS Support Merged Into Mainline FreeBSD

        Following ongoing work for over a year on moving to OpenZFS for FreeBSD’s ZFS file-system support, FreeBSD HEAD overnight has imported the OpenZFS code-base.

        Earlier this year OpenZFS saw the FreeBSD support added. In the months since OpenZFS has continued seeing BSD improvements as well as other improvements on its own like Zstd compression for OpenZFS.

        The milestone now being crossed is the OpenZFS file-system code is imported into FreeBSD HEAD.

      • OpenZFS 2.0-RC1 Released With Unified Linux/BSD Support, Zstd Compression & Much More

        The first release candidate of the forthcoming OpenZFS 2.0 is now available for testing on both Linux and BSD systems.

        OpenZFS 2.0 is a huge feature release for this well maintained, portable open-source ZFS file-system implementation. OpenZFS 2.0 brings unified support for both Linux and now FreeBSD too. FreeBSD just mainlined the OpenZFS code and has been working for many months now on transitioning over to this more maintained and active ZFS file-system code-base.

      • Relying on plain-text email is a ‘barrier to entry’ for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

        Linux kernel development – which is driven by plain-text email discussion – needs better or alternative collaborative tooling “to bring in new contributors and maintain and sustain Linux in the future,” says Sarah Novotny, Microsoft’s representative on the Linux Foundation board.

        Said tooling could be “a text-based, email-based patch system that can then also be represented in a way that developers who have grown up in the last five or ten years are more familiar with,” she added.

        Novotny has been at Microsoft for just over a year, working in Azure’s Office of the CTO where she describes herself as an “open source wonk.” She came from Google, where she was head of open-source strategy for the web giant’s Cloud Platform. “I have a broad remit to investigate and engage in open source across the company,” she told us.

      • Download the 2020 Linux Kernel History Report

        Over the last few decades, we’ve seen Linux steadily grow and become the most widely used operating system kernel. From sensors to supercomputers, we see it used in spacecraft, automobiles, smartphones, watches, and many more devices in our everyday lives. Since the Linux Foundation started publishing the Linux Kernel Development Reports in 2008, we’ve observed progress between points in time.

        Since that original 1991 release, Linux has become one of the most successful collaborations in history, with over 20,000 contributors. Given the recent announcement of version 5.8 as one of the largest yet, there’s no sign of it slowing down, with the latest release showing a new record of over ten commits per hour.

      • Commit 1 million: The history of the Linux kernel

        While the Foundation has issued several Linux kernel history reports before, this one is unique. That’s because, thanks to the work of Dr. Daniel German and his cregit tool, it’s now possible to track all three of the kernels’ different development stages: Pre-version control, September 1991 until February 4, 2002; BitKeeper, February 4, 2002 to April 15, 2005; and git, April 16, 2005 to today. Cregit enables developers and researchers to track who’s responsible for significant source code changes.

        If you’re new to Linux, you may not know that version control was a hot-button issue in the 2000s. For over a decade, Linux had no version control system (VCS) at all. You’d post your patch to the mailing list, and if Torvalds accepted it he’d apply it to his own source tree and then post a new release of the whole tree.

        There were VCSs available, such as Concurrent Versions System (CVS) and Subversion, but Torvalds didn’t like any of them. Thanks to community pressure, however, Torvalds finally picked one: BitKeeper.

      • DigitalOcean & Others Still Working On Core Scheduling To Make Hyper Threading Safer

        With vulnerabilities like L1TF and Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) prominently showing the insecurities of Intel Hyper Threading, DigitalOcean and other organizations continue spearheading a core scheduling implementation for Linux that could allow HT to remain enabled but with reducing the security risk.

        DigitalOcean has been working on Linux core scheduling for more than one year as a means of ensuring only trusted applications get scheduled to run on siblings of a core. At the same time, the scheduler aims to try to avoid using SMT/HT in areas where it could degrade the performance.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Softpipe Set To See Better Performance, Introducing New NIR-To-TGSI Path

          Mesa Gallium3D is close to seeing a major change in their intermediate representation path for drivers consuming Gallium’s TGSI rather than NIR directly. Eric Anholt has been working on a NIR-to-TGSI path so that drivers still relying on TGSI can benefit from the NIR optimization paths and improvements while ultimately hoping to eliminate the existing GLSL-to-TGSI code-path currently relied upon by these drivers.

        • hipSYCL Seeing New Runtime For This SYCL Implementation For CPUs + ROCm/CUDA GPUs

          The hipSYCL effort has been about supporting the Khronos SYCL single-source language built on C++ across any CPU with OpenMP as well as AMD Radeon GPUs via ROCm and NVIDIA GPUs via CUDA. The hipSYCL effort has a new “Lite” experimental runtime under development.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Clear Out

          Once more jumping around, here’s a brief look at an interesting issue I came across while implementing ARB_clear_texture.

          When I started looking at the existing clear code in zink, I discovered that the only existing codepath for clears required being inside a renderpass using vkCmdClearAttachments. This meant that if a renderpass wasn’t active, we started one, which was suboptimal for performance, as unnecessarily starting a renderpass means we may end up having to end the renderpass just as quickly in order to emit some non-renderpass commands.

          I decided to do something about this along the way. Vulkan has specific commands for clearing color and depth outside of renderpasses, and the usage is very straightforward. The key is detecting whether they’re capable of being used.

        • NVIDIA’s Director of Software Development Talks Up Open-Source

          While NVIDIA’s desktop graphics drivers may not be open-source, there are other open-source projects maintained by NVIDIA that we have covered over the years particularly in the high performance computing and visual design space, among other interesting bits. Dirk Van Gelder who is NVIDIA’s Direct of Software Development gave a talk this week about some of the open-source efforts engaged in by the company.

          Not related to any open-source driver work/announcement but rather open-source at large within the graphics giant, Dirk presented at the Academy Software Foundation’s Open-Source Day about the areas they are engaged in with open-source. Dirk joined NVIDIA earlier this year as their Direct of Software Development after serving the prior two decades at Pixar.

    • Applications

      • Kubernetes 1.19: Accentuate the Paw-sitive

        Finally, we have arrived with Kubernetes 1.19, the second release for 2020, and by far the longest release cycle lasting 20 weeks in total. It consists of 33 enhancements: 12 enhancements are moving to stable, 18 enhancements in beta, and 13 enhancements in alpha.

        The 1.19 release was quite different from a regular release due to COVID-19, the George Floyd protests, and several other global events that we experienced as a release team. Due to these events, we made the decision to adjust our timeline and allow the SIGs, Working Groups, and contributors more time to get things done. The extra time also allowed for people to take time to focus on their lives outside of the Kubernetes project, and ensure their mental wellbeing was in a good place.

        Contributors are the heart of Kubernetes, not the other way around. The Kubernetes code of conduct asks that people be excellent to one another and despite the unrest in our world, we saw nothing but greatness and humility from the community.

      • Bpytop – An Efficient Resource Monitor in Linux

        For terminal lovers, having the ability to monitor your system resource usage is just as crucial. Being aware of your systems’ resource utilization helps you make informed decisions in general system maintenance. There are a few options out there such as top and htop, but these only display a few system metrics such as CPU and memory usage. Bpytop is an efficient and visually appealing terminal-based resource monitor with a game inspired theme that displays various system resources.

      • Protect your Privacy and Freedom with Session: A Free Onion-powered Messenger

        Privacy is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Unfortunately, It’s hard to find privacy-focused applications that really consider its users. Our topic today is about one of this rare privacy-focused app: Session. So what’s Session?


        Session is an open-source project that is released under GPL-3.0.

      • Jonas Meurer: cryptsetup-suspend

        Today, we’re introducing cryptsetup-suspend, whose job is to protect the content of your harddrives while the system is sleeping.

      • Intel To Release OSPray Studio Scene Graph Application Soon As Part Of oneAPI

        As part of the virtual SIGGRAPH20, Intel is using the opportunity to talk up their ray-tracing efforts.

        Intel’s SIGGRAPH20 focus is largely on their software side with oneAPI.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Mono Won’t Bother With .NET 5.0 – The Official Microsoft Binaries Should Work Fine

        Microsoft announced on Tuesday that the .NET 5.0 release is now “feature complete” for this major overhaul of .NET that breaks compatibility with prior versions. Microsoft .NET 5.0 has many changes to its libraries and runtimes, introduces WebAssembly support, support for single file applications/executables, new APIs, better performance, and much more.

        While normally new .NET releases are a major pain for the likes of Wine in trying to support Windows .NET applications on Linux and other platforms, the .NET 5.0 milestone shouldn’t be such a pain point.

    • Games

      • Hacking GOG.com for fun and profit

        If you have a GOG account, you might have received an email announcing a Harvest Sale. While it’s unusual for harvest to last only 48 hours, but apart from that naming blunder, the sale is no different than many that came before it. What caught my attention was somewhat creative spot the difference puzzle that accompanied it. Specifically, as pretext to share some image processing insights.

      • Linux Format has a Collabora dev talk about Steam’s Linux container ‘Pressure Vessel’

        Linux Format issue 267 went out today (not affiliated) and in it there’s a rather wonderful interview with Simon McVittie, a software engineer at Collabora who also works on things for Valve to do with Steam on Linux.

        In the latest interview, McVittie talks a little about all the work they do including being a Debian contributor and for GNOME too. If you’re interested in learning more about the people working behind the scenes, it’s quite an interesting interview. Especially so, if you’re a Linux gamer. McVittie has also been working on Pressure Vessel, a container system for Steam on Linux to run games inside and hopefully ensure they work pretty much everywhere. For regular readers here at GOL, this hopefully won’t be brand new news, as we’ve written about it a few times (#1, #2) before.

      • Drone building game ‘Nimbatus’ has a first major post-release update

        Nimbatus is a game where you can let creativity flow and design some really wild and explosive stuff, now even more so with a major update out.

        Not played it or seen it? You get to go through a random campaign, hopping from one planet to the next as you build up a powerful drone block by block. This can be entirely manual to get into the action, or you can attach various simple logic blocks and sit back to watch the fireworks. There’s also various PvP modes too.

        It released in full back in May, with the first major update out now. This free upgrade includes the ability to multi-select drone parts when editing, store drone parts as templates to re-use, new tutorials, a free camera option for the Programmer captain and various bug fixes. There’s also some new building parts you can use including wheels, a grappling hook and a ballast tank. Certainly will be amusing to see what drones people come up with to use them. Springs also gained a linear option, which they say allows for better suspension on wheels.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • What is the KDE Project and Community?

          The KDE Project, which is short for K Desktop Environment, is an international organization that started as a desktop environment but soon evolved into a community whose main aim is the development of free, open-source software for different platforms.

          KDE is one of the largest open-source international communities out there that have become well known for creating stable and high-quality applications for both the desktop and mobile. The community of KDE is made up of all sorts of people with a diverse set of skills – programmers, writers, translators, artists, and so on.

          It is precise because of this diversity that has allowed KDE to reach the heights that it has touched upon right now.

        • Virtual Conference Setup Details

          While the OBS-based setup is certainly very powerful (and this isn’t even scratching the surface), it’s also complex and fragile, particularly given my limited familiarity with the involved technologies. Not ideal, as the last thing you want is fighting setup issues during a live presentation. So let’s see how well this holds up at KDE Akademy in less than two weeks :)

        • Sending Multimedia messages, KDE Connect (GSoC 2020 – Final evaluation)

          So GSoC’s final evaluation has started. I am really happy that all tasks have been finished on time. Most of them already merged into master and I hope last ones would also merge soon.

          For the last three months I have been working on MMS support in KDE Connect SMS app and plugin. Since my last status update I had been working on adding support to allow the users to attach multimedia files to the MMS messages and also added support to record audio and send it to the destination. Apart from these I have also worked on fixing some bugs and implementing an event notifier for SMS plugin which notifies the desktop SMS app about the failure in sending the messages and changes of settings on the remote device.

          Here is a short demonstration of the overall features of KDE Connect which I have worked upon till now!

        • Google Summer of Code 2020 – Post 9

          During the last days I finished adding a directed acyclic graph layout algorithm to the Rocs graph-layout plugin. This includes an implementation of the algorithm itself, functional tests, non-functional tests, documentation and the following user interface.

        • Google Summer of Code 2020 – week 12

          Hello! This is the post about my week 12 and, probably, also my final post for GSoC 2020.

          You can see my Merge Request in regards to the support of text annotation here. Today I will talk about what I have done this week and also show the progress of marK so far near the end of GSoC.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Andrei Lisita: GSoC 2020 Final Submission

          This summer is slowly coming to an end and with it the final month of Google Summer of Code. This blog post will serve as the final submission for my participation. I’ll go one by one over the Merge Requests that got accepted into Epiphany and give a short description of my work.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • What’s new in Kubernetes 1.19

          Thanks to Sascha Grunert for the technical content of this post. In addition to being a member of the Containers Squad of the SUSE CaaS Platform team, Sascha is Technical Lead in the Kubernetes Release Engineering Subproject, which is part of SIG Release. He participated in many Kubernetes release cycles from different roles and is thrilled to give you an update about the next version.
          SUSE congratulates the Kubernetes Project on another evolution of the most popular container orchestration and management platform, which forms the basis of our SUSE CaaS Platform. You can expect to see Kubernetes 1.19 supported in a future SUSE release.


          Two Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) will be fixed in Kubernetes v1.19.0.
          The first one is CVE-2020-8559, which allows a privilege escalation from a node inside the cluster. This means if it is possible to intercept certain requests to the Kubelet, then an attacker could send a redirect response that may be followed by a client request using the credentials from the original request. This can lead to compromise of other nodes inside the cluster.

          The other fixed vulnerability is CVE-2020-8557. This CVE allows a Denial of Service (DoS) via a mounted /etc/hosts file inside a container. If a container writes a huge set of data to the /etc/hosts file, then it could fill the storage space of the node and cause the node to fail. Root cause for this issue was that the kubelet does not evict this part of the ephemeral storage.

        • SUSE plots edgier Kubernetes with Linux behind the wheel

          SUSE has had a busy year, with a switch of CEO, the ditching of OpenStack, and the buy of Kubernetes darling Rancher Labs.

          The Register spoke to the veteran Linux flinger’s president of Engineering and Innovation, Thomas Di Giacomo, and CTO and openSUSE chair Gerald Pfeifer, about cars, Kubernetes, open source and life free from the clutches of its previous owner.

          Last month’s Rancher Labs slurp highlighted the freedom SUSE now enjoys after it was jettisoned from Micro Focus in 2018.

        • The Dog days of Summer means we are that much closer to SUSE Digital Partner Summit

          Two weeks – we’ll be firmly in September with kids in some form of school AND the SUSE Digital Partner Summit beginning its first day (hint: register!). As mentioned in an earlier post day, 1 features a keynote from Melissa Di Donato and Paul Devlin and the announcement of the SUSE One Partner Program and why the program is evolving to the specializations of INNOVATE, BUILD, SELL, MANAGE, SERVICE and TRAIN to be covered by Rachel Cassidy. Rachel will be joined by Julie Baldwin as they discuss how one of our partners have found ways to stay relevant in a cloud-first world.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • MIR JIT Aiming For First Release Later This Year By Red Hat Developer

          Vladimir Makarov of Red Hat spoke at this week’s Linux Plumbers Conference during the GNU Tools Track on lightweight JIT compilers and the effectiveness (or not) of GCC’s JIT implementation as well as LLVM’s JIT in the context of just-in-time support for Ruby. But following those shortcomings with GCC/LLVM JIT, he’s been working on MIR as a lightweight JIT compiler.

          We first covered MIR at the start of the year as the Medium Internal Representation and aims to be a lightweight JIT inspired by shortcomings off GCC and LLVM JIT support. MIR so far remains catered towards Ruby usage though there is work on going from LLVM IR to MIR.

        • Build Smart on Kubernetes Hands-on Learning Journey

          As containerization grows in popularity, Kubernetes continues to lead as an open source system for container orchestration. From process automation to the simplification of scaling applications, it is truly an exciting time to be building the next generation of services that are ushering in a new age of technology. However, as the popularity of Kubernetes continues to grow, we know that it’s hard to keep track of new capabilities and resources to continuously improve the efficiency of builds. To address this issue of the overabundance of useful information, IBM Developer created the Build Smart on Kubernetes Hands-on Learning Journey workshop, which is happening September 15-17.

          The Build Smart on Kubernetes Hands-on Learning Journey is a virtual progressive workshop in 3 parts, held 2 hours per day. This workshop jumpstarts your understanding and experience of application development on Kubernetes featuring Red Hat OpenShift. Starting with an exploration of containers, you rapidly move into a series of hands-on experiences that demonstrate why Red Hat OpenShift is a rich, enterprise Kubernetes platform for the development of cloud-native applications.

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for Btrfs

          The Fedora Project is changing the default file system for desktop variants, including Fedora Workstation, Fedora KDE, and more, for the first time since Fedora 11. Btrfs will replace ext4 as the default filesystem in Fedora 33. The Change is code complete, and has been testable in Rawhide as the default file system since early July. The Fedora Workstation working group and QA team have organized a test week from Monday, Aug 31, 2020 through Monday, Sep 07, 2020. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

      • Debian Family

        • Andrew Cater: The Debconf20 song

          The DebConf 20 song – a sea shanty – to the tune of “Fathom the bowl”

          Here’s to DebConf 20, the brightest and best
          Now it’s this year’s orga team getting no rest
          We’re not met in Haifa – it’s all doom and gloom
          And I’m sat like a lifer here trapped in my room

        • SparkyLinux 2020.08 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue Editions Are Out Now

          The SparkyLinux developers announced today the general availability of three more editions in the latest SparkyLinux 2020.08 release, namely GameOver, Multimedia, and Rescue.

          Shipping with the same improvements that are present in the SparkyLinux 2020.08 LXQt, MATE, Xfce, MinimalGUI (Openbox), or MinimalCLI editions announced last week, the SparkyLinux 2020.08 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue editions have been synced with the Debian Testing “Bullseye” repositories as of August 24th, 2020.

          Among the biggest changes in SparkyLinux 2020.08, there’s the Linux 5.7.10 kernel for better hardware, which is accompanied by the Linux 5.8.3 and 5.9 RC2 kernels in the SparkyLinux unstable repositories for those who want bleeding-edge support, and the latest GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 10 as default system compiler.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

      • The design behind a modular and secure mobile phone
      • Nexcom launches four Linux-driven in-vehicle edge-AI PCs with Google’s Edge TPU

        Nexcom announced two Coffee Lake and three Apollo Lake in-vehicle systems that ship with Google’s Coral Edge TPU mini-PCIe cards and 4x to 8x PoE ports. Google recently released an open source runtime for the Edge TPU.

        Google’s Coral AI family of Linux-driven products built around its 4TOPS @ 2W Edge TPU neural accelerator has yet to seriously challenge Nvidia’s Jetson modules in edge AI. Yet, we’re starting to see some third-party products supporting the Edge TPU, including Asus’ Tinker Edge T variant of Google’s Coral Dev Board, which similarly runs on its i.MX8M and Edge TPU equipped Coral SOM. Yesterday, Nexcom announced four variations of existing Intel Apollo Lake and Coffee Lake based vehicular computers plus one upcoming model that ship with the Edge TPU equipped Coral PCI-E Accelerator mini-PCIe card. (See farther below for brief summaries.)

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • NODE Mini Server V3 Transforms Raspberry Pi 4 Into a Server or Mini PC

          Hardware hacker NODE has had a busy month starting with the announcement of Zero Terminal V3 modular Raspberry Pi Zero W powered handheld PC, and now he’s just showcased NODE Mini Server V3 that transforms a Raspberry Pi 4 into a compact server or mini PC.

        • MIDI-controlled slide whistle made with an Arduino Due

          Slide whistles and recorders can be great for learning music, and perhaps a bit of fun, but what about teaching a robot to play such a wind instrument? The Mixed Signal’s MIDI-controlled system could be used for just that.

          The project is comprised of a 3D-printed fipple and piston that go into a PVC tube, while air input is via a centrifugal blower fan. A plunger with a rack-and-pinion gear are used to move the piston back and forth, changing the note being played.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Bright side of LibreOffice

          LibreOffice has a very useful sidebar so it’s time to make them shiny even more. I made an proposal for an sidebar upgrade.

        • Physics Based Animation Effects Week#12

          Past week, all of the changes in my private experimental branch got merged to master \o/.

          Since it is the last week of GSoC, I will be finalizing the project this week by creating some animation effect presets, documenting the code, fixing bugs and preparing a work product submission.

        • LibreOffice GSoC Week 12 Report

          Hello, I want to share with you the progress of this week. Last Week: Sort functions are done.Patch Rating images are implemented to UI, rating will be shown from the UI. Patch Install function is implemented. Path Documentation will be done today, or tomorrow at the latest Thanks to my mentors, Muhammet Kara and Heiko Tietze, and LibreOffice community.

        • Exploring LibreOffice 7.0

          The Document Foundation (TDF) has announced the release of LibreOffice 7.0. This major release is a significant upgrade from version 6.4.6, focusing on interoperability with Microsoft Office, general performance, and support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) version 1.3. A complete list of new features and bug fixes can be found in the release notes.

          When talking about the latest LibreOffice release, one must also talk about ODF, the default format for LibreOffice documents. ODF version 1.3, which was approved as an OASIS Committee specification back in December 2019, offers several improvements to the format that LibreOffice can now take advantage of. For the security concerned, document encryption using OpenPGP (PGP) is a welcome addition. Further, while LibreOffice has supported digital signatures in past releases via SSL/TLS certificates, PGP keys can now be used to sign documents in LibreOffice 7.0.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • European Consultation +++ 100 days in Munich +++ Open Science Coordinator

            The FSFE has published a first feedback to the European Commission’s public consultation regarding the update of the “Intellectual Property (IP)” regulatory system. In this feedback, the FSFE expresses to the Commission our understanding that the term “intellectual property” is ideologically charged and dangerously oblivious to the significant differences that exist between the many areas of law that it tries to subsume. In addition, the effect of patent law, copyright and other related areas is to create temporary monopolies that exercise private power over other people. Monopolistic market actors can often benefit from such a structure, at the expense of healthy competition and other benefits for the commons.

            In contrast, Free Software regulatory and management models around the world have shown in the past 40 years that allowing the broadest amount of knowledge to be shared in society is a sustainable and more equitable regime to foster societal progress and wealth. The FSFE therefore urges the Commission to use this opportunity to question the outdated notion that expanding monopolies over knowledge would lead to more progress. The Free Software model represents one of the best examples the Commission can take to deepen its understanding on how new models based on knowledge sharing are fundamental for a more innovative, fair, and socially just society.

        • GNU Projects

          • Voxel plotting with gnuplot 5.4

            In this followup to our coverage of the release of gnuplot 5.4, we look more deeply at one of the new features: voxel plots. We only briefly touched on these plots in that article, but they are the most conspicuous addition in this release of the free-software graphing tool. Voxel plotting provides multiple ways to visualize 3D data, so it is worth looking at this new plot type in more detail.


            The first six lines of the script set the ranges of the display bounding box, the angle of view, the position of the bottom plane, and set the borders to surround the box on all sides. The next line, beginning with $charges, defines a “data block” consisting of the following two lines. Each line contains x, y, z, coordinates and, in the fourth column, the magnitude of the charge. The final command, broken over two lines, plots the two charges using their positions, extracted with the using 1:2:3 piece, and the charge value from the fourth column, extracted with the :4. This value is used to decide which colors the plotted points should be, by mapping the value onto the color palette, which is what the “linecolor palette” tells gnuplot to do. The other clauses set the pointsize to be five character widths and the pointtype to a circle (7).

            Next, we will make a graph of the 3D structure of the potential field around these two charges. For this, we turn to the voxel grid. Just as a 2D image, such as a photograph, is a rectangular array of pixels, data in 3D can be represented as a 3D rectangular array of voxels, or volume pixels. Each voxel has x, y, and z coordinates, and a numerical value attached to it, so the voxel grid can represent a function of three variables, f(x, y, z). Note that this is completely new in gnuplot 5.4; previously, 3D plotting was confined to the plotting of surfaces or other representations of functions of two variables

      • Programming/Development

        • Meeting C++ 2020

          The Schedule, Talks and Speakers are now online for this ever growing ‘partly virtual ‘event for the European C++ community. KDAB is proud to be a sponsor again this year.

          This year’s online conference features eleven talks in one track. On November 14th you can see a talk from KDAB’s Marc Mutz: Partially-Formed Objects For Fun And Profit.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #29: Easy, Reliable, Fast Linux CRAN Binaries via BSPM

          Welcome to the 29th post in the randomly repeating R recommendations series or R4 for short. Our last post #28 introduced RSPM, and just before that we also talked in #27 about binary installations on Ubuntu (which was also a T4 video). This post is joined with Iñaki Ucar and mainly about work we have done with his bspm package.

        • SwiftIO Arm Cortex-M7 MCU Board Targets Apple Swift Programming Language

          Swift programming language has been developed by Apple for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. The programming language works with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, as well as existing Objective-C code written for Apple products.

          MadMachine has now created an Arm Cortex-M7 development board, named SwiftIO, specifically designed for Swift programming language through MadMachine IDE and SwiftIO framework.

        • The Three Characteristics of Fast Growing Programming Languages [Ed: Microsoft-funded 'analyst' boost Microsoft-controlled language, probably based on rankings limits to Microsoft-controlled GitHub]

          The justifications for creating a new programming language vary. If you’re a computer scientist like Mary Hawes or Grace Hopper, your concern is economics: the cost of programming generally, and for porting applications to new hardware platforms specifically. If you’re Dennis Ritchie or Ken Thompson, your issue is that the prior letter of the alphabet is too slow. Or if you’re Rasmus Lerdorf, you want something simpler to maintain your homepage so you write a surprisingly cromulent language that still powers wide swaths of the public internet.

          The intent, in turn, informs the execution. COBOL is human readable, C is fast and PHP is, or at least was, simple.

          None of which guarantees anything. As engineers need to be reminded regularly, not only doesn’t the best technology win in every case, it doesn’t win in most cases. The quality of the technical implementation is but one among many factors in the adoption – or lackthereof – of a given piece of technology.

        • Searching code with Sourcegraph

          Sourcegraph is a tool for searching and navigating around large code bases. The tool has various search methods, including regular-expression search, and “structural search”, which is a relatively new technique that is language-aware. The open-source core of the tool comes with code search, go-to-definition and other “code intelligence” features, which provide ways for developers to make sense of multi-repository code bases. Sourcegraph’s code-searching tools can show documentation for functions and methods on mouse hover and allow developers to quickly jump to definitions or to find all references to a particular identifier.

          The Sourcegraph server is mostly written in Go, with the core released under the Apache License 2.0; various “enterprise” extensions are available under a proprietary license. The company behind Sourcegraph releases a new version of the tool every month, with the latest release (3.18) improving C++ support and the 3.17 release featuring faster and more accurate code search as well as support for AND and OR search operators.

        • PHP Debugging using Xdebug

          While PHP does not come with a full toolkit for debugging and profiling, an open-source project has existed almost as long as PHP to provide both: Xdebug. Created and maintained by PHP core developer Derick Rethans, it offers remote debugging, stack traces, profiling, and more. It is a project that anyone doing PHP development would benefit from using.

        • Python

          • Administer All The Things

            In the previous Understand Django article, we used models to see how Django stores data in a relational database. We covered all the tools to bring your data to life in your application. In this article, we will focus on the built-in tools that Django provides to help us manage that data.

          • Blackberry Released an Anti-Malware Tool Written in Python

            In case you missed it earlier this month, Blackberry released a tool of theirs that they use for reverse engineering malware. That tool is called PE Tree and is open-source and written in Python.

            Blackberry used the popular PyQt5 GUI toolkit to write that displays a tree view of portable executables, which makes it easier dump and reconstruct malware that is in memory.

          • Jupyter: JUlia PYThon and R

            Did you know that @projectJupyter’s Jupyter Notebook (and JupyterLab) name came from combining 3 programming languages: JUlia, PYThon and R.

            Readers of my blog do not need an introduction to Python. But what about the other 2?

            Today we will talk about R. Actually, R and Python, on the Raspberry Pi.

          • Top 5 Python Courses You can Join today for FREE

            Hello folks, If you are a beginner looking for some Free Python resources to start your programming journey then you have come to the right place.

            Earlier, I have shared a couple of free Python Programming eBooks sand today I’ll share a couple of good Python programming courses which are absolutely FREE!! You can take these online courses to learn Python at your own pace, at your own time, and at your place.

          • Common Python Data Structures (Guide)

            Data structures are the fundamental constructs around which you build your programs. Each data structure provides a particular way of organizing data so it can be accessed efficiently, depending on your use case. Python ships with an extensive set of data structures in its standard library.

            However, Python’s naming convention doesn’t provide the same level of clarity that you’ll find in other languages. In Java, a list isn’t just a list—it’s either a LinkedList or an ArrayList. Not so in Python. Even experienced Python developers sometimes wonder whether the built-in list type is implemented as a linked list or a dynamic array.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Kernel ASI Still Being Worked On For Protecting Against Hyper Threading Data Leaks

            At this week’s Linux Plumbers Conference there were DigitalOcean engineers providing an update on their CoreScheduling work in the era of vulnerabilities affecting Hyper Threading. Oracle meanwhile presented today at LPC2020 on their Kernel Address Space Isolation (ASI) functionality for dealing with Hyper Threading data leakage in a different manner, but the performance costs are still being evaluated.

            Oracle engineers for more than one year have been working on Kernel ASI to prevent data leakage when Hyper Threading is vulnerable from the likes of L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) on Intel CPUs. Where as DigitalOcean’s work on core scheduling is about ensuring only trusted applications are on sibling threads of a core, ASI is about isolating the address space between different areas of the kernel to prevent leaking bits as a result of attacks like L1TF or Foreshadow.

          • What is a Zero-Day Exploit?

            A Zero-day exploit is the crown prize of hackers. A Zero-day exploit is where an attacker finds a vulnerability on a system that the vendor’s and the public’s not aware of. There is no patch and no system to protect against it except removing that service of the system. It’s called zero-day because there are zero days for software developers to patch the flaw, and nobody knows about this exploit that it is very dangerous.

            For developing zero-day, there are two options either you develop your own or capture zero-day developed by others. Developing zero-day on your own can be a monotonous and long process. It requires great knowledge. It can take a lot of time. On the other hand, zero-day can be captured developed by others and can be reused. Many hackers use this approach. In this program, we set up a honeypot that appears as unsafe. Then we wait for the attackers to get attracted to it, and then their malware is captured when they broke into our system. A hacker can use the malware again in any other system, so the basic goal is to capture the malware first.

          • Kali Linux NetCat Persistent Agents

            Netcat is a network utility that can read and write to both UDP and TCP ports. It’s often referred to as the Swiss Army knife of hacking tools because it can do several things as both a client and a server during hacking adventures. We will often use it to create bind and reverse shells hood around reports to see what’s happening and send files between machines. Shell is a way that you can interact with a computer like a command prompt on Windows or terminal in Linux. Netcat allows us to perform a lot of things like reverse shelves, to communicate between two or more computers, and will enable you to perform a plethora of functions. Netcat is able to Port Scan and connect to open ports using it’s simple command arguments. It is also capable of sending files and providing remote administration either through a direct or reverse shell.

          • Unicornscan: A beginner’s guide

            Port scanning is one of the most popular tactics in use by blackhat hackers. Consequently, it is also frequently used in Ethical hacking to check systems for vulnerabilities. Several tools facilitate portscanning, nmap, NetCat, Zenmap, being a notable few.

            But today, we’ll talk about another great port scanner: Unicornscan, and how to use it in your next attempt at portscanning. Like other popular tools for portscanning such as nmap, it has several great features that are unique to itself. One such feature is that it can send out packets and receive them through two different threads, unlike other portscanners.

            Known for its asynchronous TCP and UDP scanning capabilities, Unicornscan enables its users to discover details on network systems through alternative scanning protocols.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Unified Consulting 5G study finds significant submarine patents

          Unified Consulting (UC), a sister company to Unified Patents, recently completed a study on 5G and identified using the 5G OPAL (Objective PAtent Landscape) tool which evaluated over 1,000,000 patents for essentiality based on participation and almost 100,000 self-declared patents. It is based on the OPEN 3GPP (Standard Submission Repository) with over 200,000 3GPP / 5G contributions and a methodology using an AI based semantic similarity algorithm.

          The study found a significant number of UNDECLARED patents are likely essential for 5G. They include well known companies such as Comcast, China Mobile, Coolpad, Acer, and many others. UC calls these submarine patents since FRAND may not apply to them based on some current court decisions. A table of some of these can be found in the chart below.

Links 26/8/2020: GNOME 3.37.91, Qt Creator 4.13

Posted in News Roundup at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC – OBS Studio – Week 8

      This week’s blog looks at video recording on the AK41. When it comes to software, Linux offers a fantastic array of free and open source programs. In the vast majority of areas there’s a wide range of programs to choose from. Sometimes the amount of high quality open source software is bamboozling. But there’s still a few areas which are dominated by a single program. In the case of video recording and streaming, the stand out open source program is OBS Studio.

      Modern graphic cards perform a variety of tasks. They aren’t just designed for gaming. Many cards help offload video encoding and decoding from the CPU. This helps to lower power consumption and free up resources for the rest of the system. In the case of OBS Studio, this program relies heavily on the GPU. But the AWOW AK41 doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card. This Mini PC uses the Intel UHD Graphics 605, an integrated processor graphics unit from the Gemini Lake generation. Performance of the graphics unit is widely reported as in the low-end segment.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Ryzen 4000H-powered Pulse 14 Linux ultrabooks launched by Tuxedo

        Ultrabooks powered by AMD’s Renoir-H APUs do not seem to be on the short list of priorities for most big brand OEMs, at least now that the supply chains are a bit overwhelmed. The only true ultrabooks we have seen thus far are coming from Honor, but these will have limited availability within the SEA region for now. Luckily, there are smaller OEMs like Tuxedo that try to offer slim and light notebooks with the Renoir-H APUs like the newly announced Pulse 14 model that comes preinstalled with a Linux distro.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Going Linux #395 · Listener Feedback

        Bill is still on Manjaro! The Ubuntu MATE Guide is now available online. We answer questions about MeWe, dual booting, fresh install, replacing a sheet feed scanner, System76, Crossover, and LibreOffice spell check.

      • mintCast 342 – Security Theater

        We would like to welcome Owen Peery to the team. He’s our new editor!

        1:40 Wanderings
        46:32 News
        1:05:05 Security
        1:22:05 Outro

        First up, in our Wanderings, I’ve been testing out a new keyboard, Tony Hughes tries to remove a finger (again), Joe has been soldering and reading, Moss has been adding more distros,

        Then, in our news, Pinta, Lutris and Mozilla

        In security, we talk security recommendations and the NSA

      • The Best is Yet to Come | LINUX Unplugged 368

        It’s a new day for Jupiter Broadcasting and the show, we share our big news.

        Plus our plan to help make a difference in free software, and we reunite with some old friends.

      • WESA BACK! | Coder Radio 376

        We reboot the show to capture Mike’s love of coupons and update you on what we have been up to recently since the show’s fake demise.

      • The New Show 10: The Smell of Arm

        What the rise of Arm means for Linux users, security vs convenience, having too much choice, and Dan’s favourite candle.

      • DT Does It Live

        A random live stream to see if I can live stream since I recently distrohopped. I might talk a little about GNU/Linux and GNU/Life. So hangout and ask questions. If they aren’t completely asinine, I might attempt to answer them.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8.4

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.8.4 kernel.

        All users of the 5.8 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.8.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.8.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.7.18
      • Linux 5.4.61
      • Linux 4.19.142
      • Linux 4.14.195
      • Linux 4.9.234
      • Linux 4.4.234
      • Happy 29th anniversary, Linux, and a heartfelt thank you to Linus Torvalds

        However, I don’t think Torvalds had any idea that his project would wind up being the darling of businesses across the globe. Or did he? Truth be told, even us early adopters (I started using Linux back in 1997) had an inkling that Linux was something special.

        Like most new Linux users, I’d been working with the Windows operating system (back then it was Windows 95) and had grown tired of the crashes and the inability to get the operating system to do what I wanted it to do. Sure, most people were happy with what Microsoft had to offer, but to those who were of a more curious nature, those inclined to dive down rabbit holes to find out how the sausage is made, Windows was too restrictive and problematic. So when we discovered Linux, it was like a whole new world opened up before our eyes.

      • Linux 5.10 To Bring Support For Matrox G200 Desktop Graphics Cards

        Sporting AGP, fabbed on a 350nm process, making use of a 64-bit memory interface, and clocking to nearly 100MHz, the Matrox G200 desktop graphics cards are set to see mainline open-source support come Linux 5.10.

        Yes, the 20+ year old Matrox G200 series desktop parts are finally seeing working Direct Rendering Manager driver support to support kernel mode-setting on Linux.

      • Linux 5.9 Lands Patch Adding Fallthrough Macro In 2,484 More Spots

        A single patch coming in at nearly three thousand lines was merged on Monday for the Linux 5.9 kernel that make the use of the “fallthrough” macro more widespread throughout the kernel.

        The single patch at large went through and added nearly twenty-five hundred “fallthrough;” lines of code to the kernel to replace existing areas just using a “fall through” code comment or the like. Previously there were just 1,167 references in the kernel using this macro while now it’s at more than thirty-six hundred for Linux 5.9.

      • Success Story: Linux Kernel Training Helps Security Engineer Move into Full Time Kernel Engineering

        In 2017, Mohamed Al Samman was working on the Linux kernel, doing analysis, debugging and compiling. He had also built an open source Linux firewall, and a kernel module to monitor power supply electrical current status (AC/DC) by using the Linux kernel notifier. He hoped to become a full time kernel developer, and expand the kernel community in Egypt, which led him to apply for, and be awarded, a Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarship in the Linux Kernel Guru category.

      • Linux Might Better Plan Its Code/Hardware Obsolescence From The Kernel

        One of the many interesting discussions for this week’s virtual Linux Plumbers Conference is on planning code obsolescence moving forward. While this is about kernel features too, it’s also about the steps and when to phase out old hardware support.


        This long time kernel developer is seeking to have upstream work on better documentation that tracks kernel features considered potentially “obsolete”. The documentation would include detailing the Kconfig switches / knobs for toggling the functionality, how long upstream plans to maintain the existing support, any justifications for keeping the code around, points of contact for said code, and the benefits of removing the “obsolete” code.

      • Real-Time / PREEMPT_RT Support Should Finally Be Mainlined Soon In The Linux Kernel

        In 2019 there were kernel developers talking at conferences that the remaining “PREEMPT_RT” patches for a real-time kernel should be mainlined in early 2020. That didn’t happen for the long ongoing work around the “RT” patches while at this week’s Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC 2020) is that the work should finally be close to merging to mainline.

      • Graphics Stack

        • X.Org Server 1.20.9 released

          The X.Org project has announced the release of xorg-server version 1.20.9. Among other improvements are numerous fixes to XWayland, including a bug that could cause an infinite loop at startup as well as other potential crash fixes. The release also addresses several security issues that can “lead to local privileges elevation on systems where the X server is running privileged.” Users of xorg-server are encouraged to upgrade.

        • xorg-server 1.20.9
        • X.Org Server 1.20.9 Released With Numerous XWayland Fixes

          With no one stepping up to manage the X.Org Server 1.21 release, the two year old X.Org Server 1.20 series continues seeing new point releases, particularly with 1.21 being out of the scope already for having the chance to appear in the major H2’2020 Linux distribution releases. X.Org Server 1.20.9 is the newest point release out today in shipping fixes.

        • LibX11 1.6.12 Released Due To Latest Security Advisory

          Not even one month passed since the previous libX11 security vulnerabilities were made public while today a new security advisory was issued along with releasing version 1.6.12 of this key X11 library.

          The X.Org code-base is known for being riddled with security issues in its aging and massive code-base. Security researchers have found many bugs in recent years while fortunately today’s disclosure isn’t too bad.

          CVE-2020-14363 is an integer overflow leading to a double free vulnerability in the way that libX11 is handling locales that was discovered by Jayden Rivers.

    • Applications

      • Popsicle – Multiple USB File Flasher for Linux

        Popsicle is a free and open-source USB file flasher for parallelly flashing multiple USB devices. It has a simple, themeable user interface with a straightforward workflow that makes it convenient to use. Popsicle also supports USB 2 and USB 3 devices to which it can write ISO and IMG image types. It has the ability to verify ISO images with MD5 checksum or SHA256.

        We’ve covered several flashing tools for creating bootable USB sticks such as WoeUSB, ISO Image Writer, Gnome Multi-Writer, Unetbootin, and Etcher, Popsicle takes the award for ease of use – and that is even when compared to Multisystem, a command-line tool for flashing multiple drives at once. Added to its feature list is the fact that it is the only official USB flashing tool available on Pop!_OS.

      • Glimpse 0.2.0 Released, Based on GIMP 2.10.18

        Glimpse 0.2.0 is based on GIMP 2.10.18 (this is not the very latest version) and aims to broaden the image editor’s appeal through careful rebranding, restyling, and where needed reconfiguring also.

        For instance, Glimpse 0.2.0 contains all of the tools, updates, and performance tweaks offered in the regular version of GIMP 2.10.8 plus a fair bit more…

      • Free animation overrider tuned for OpenSim

        I have written a drop-in replacement script that uses a feature of OpenSim to make these items much more gentle on the servers. It is free, based on an old script given out under the GNU General Public License. The more people who upgrade to this, the better everyone’s experience will be at crowded events.


        Unfortunately people get used to the tools they have, so many people continue to use the old fashioned wearable AOs that bog down the servers.

        In 2009, the developers of OpenSimulator added an improvement that should have solved the lag problem of scripted AOs. They added a new event, Changed_Animation, that is sent to scripts whenever the server changes the avatar’s animation. This only works on OpenSim and not in Second Life. Now a new AO can be written that doesn’t need to poll.

        But unfortunately, people continue to use 13-year-old scripts from Second Life. In a survey of a dozen or so AOs available for free around the metaverse, all the ones I found used the same free open source Zhao script from 2007 — that even includes many for sale in the Kitely Market. This script is actually very well written, it just suffers from the limitations that Second Life never fixed and OpenSim fixed after Zhao was written.

      • RSS Guard 3.7.1

        RSS Guard is a simple (yet powerful) feed reader. It is able to fetch the most known feed formats, including RSS/RDF and ATOM. It’s free, it’s open-source. RSS Guard currently supports Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian. RSS Guard will never depend on other services – this includes online news aggregators like Feedly, The Old Reader and others.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • [Godot] Announcing a new hire! (Gilles Roudière)

        In the past month, the excess donations accumulated so we are finally able to offer enough financial security to do an extra hire. Beginning November, Gilles Roudière (Groud) will be working full-time for the project, dedicated to 2D and general editor usability!

      • Linux Steering Wheel manager ‘Oversteer’ has a new release

        Have a Steering Wheel that you need to tweak on Linux for your favourite racing games? Oversteer can help with that a lot and a new release is up.

        What can Oversteer do? Depending on what’s supported by each device it can help you to change the emulation mode, change the wheel rotation range, combine accelerator/brakes pedals for games that use just one axis, force feedback gain, profiles for different games you can setup and more. It’s almost essential if you like a good UI to work with your hardware on Linux.

      • Club Manager 2022 / Anstoss 2022 fully funded, coming to Linux PC and with multiplayer

        Club Manager 2022 / Anstoss 2022 has now completed its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, and thanks to that the Linux PC version is confirmed after hitting a stretch goal during it.

        “Club Manager 2022 is all about modern football, while retaining the popular gameplay of the management classic. It offers depth of play and realism, while focusing on the truly essential tasks of a manager. Your team – your club and your success.”

        3,888 backers pledged €246,496, with the goal for full Linux support being at €180,000 so they got far more than they needed to ensure good Linux support there. The extra exciting news is that while they didn’t hit the 250K goal for online multiplayer, considering how close it was they’ve also confirmed they will be doing it to ensure it’s as big as possible.

      • 314 Arts announce Projekt Z, an upcoming free co-op zombie shooter

        Taking inspiration from Left 4 Dead and Escape From Tarkov, blending together elements for casual and hardcore gaming crowds, 314 Arts have announced Projekt Z.

        Developed in Unity, they’ve already confirmed their plan to fully support Linux with Projekt Z and even quite early on, it’s looking pretty impressive from their first announcement dev-blog style video on it. Their aim, from what they tried to explain about it is to have a mix of story and tactical shooting along with hub building and people recruitment. While a small team, they’re using some of the more advanced rendering bits in Unity to make it look rather modern and slick.

      • Make retro Game Boy games with the open source GB Studio, now with colour in the 2.0 Beta

        GB Studio is a free and open source retro adventure game creator that allows you to visually make games that can work cross-platform on Linux, macOS, Windows…and the Game Boy.

        Yep, the classic hand-held from Nintendo still has a huge homebrew community and with tools like GB Studio many more people can make games for it. GB Studio just recently had a massive 2.0 Beta release, which pulls in major new features for the project. The way it’s going, it might end up as the ultimate retro game creation tool.

      • No more games for the Atari VCS but they did just announce Plex support

        Ah yes, the Atari VCS, the Linux-powered console/PC hybrid thing that’s coming out supposedly by the end of this year has a new announcement and…nope it’s not more games.

        You would think as the release of the hardware is approaching, after numerous delays, they would be loudly talking about all those wonderful games that will support it but no. Instead, you get another streaming application. On top of Antstream for retro games, AirConsole for cheaply made multiplayer browser games and Game Jolt which is apparently helping to bring over some indies they’ve announced Plex.

      • Shadow of Aya looks like a seriously epic upcoming retro adventure

        With a detailed hand-crafted world, Shadow of Aya is a pixel-art adventure that looks and sounds pretty epic.

        “Master the elements of poison, fire, ice, and meteorite in Shadow of Aya, a top-down action adventure ode to the 8-bit classics. But beware—as your powers grow, so do the forces that conspire against you. The journey downward is choked with shadow, and the creatures who slumber among them.”

      • The Darkside Detective: Season 2 gains a demo, now releasing in 2021

        Spooky Doorway’s upcoming second helping of paranormal investigations and all sorts of weirdness with The Darkside Detective: Season 2 can now be tested out with the demo.

        Not only has it gained a demo, it’s gained a publisher too. Akupara Games announced earlier this month, that they’ve taken over publishing for the original season and for this upcoming addition. Speaking about it in a press message, they said: “Akupara Games is shifting towards a catalog of spooky and narrative-focused adventure and horror games which align with titles such as Whispering Willows and Mutazione. When we saw The Darkside Detective series we knew it was an absolutely perfect fit for our ever-growing spoopy family.” – David Logan, CEO


        Check out the trailer below, nice Linux logo included too just to be sure…

      • Turn your favourite NES games into 3D with 3dSen Maker, for 3dSen PC

        Back in June, the awesome emulator 3dSen PC was released, which gave us a whole new way to play classic NES titles into fully 3D environments. Now, you can make profiles for your favourites.

        Honestly, it’s a bit like magic. It works, very well too and genuinely looks really cool. One of those things that comes along and just blows your mind technically. Not only 3D, it also has modern gamepad support, saves states and things you would expect from a modern emulator. Need a reminder on how it looks?

      • Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York to release on September 10

        Developer Draw Distance has confirmed that Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York will be release on September 10, and it will come with full Linux PC support.

        This is a standalone companion game to the previous title, Coteries of New York. So you don’t need to have played it, although there is a small amount of crossover. Good to see Draw Distance continue Linux support after getting their tech ready with Coteries. Continuing the same gameplay found in Coteries, Shadows of New York is very much a visual novel, a fantastic look one too with some great artwork.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kubuntu Council Member, KDE Contributor, Akademy Keynote Speaker!

          heard about free software many years ago, soon after we got our first computer, a Coleco ADAM. I didn’t know much about how to use the computer so I did the only logical thing: started a user group! We all learned together; my husband and I along with our children and the group members. That was years of fun but it turned out that 240kb was not enough memory! By that time we had an early Windows computer and I got a Mac to do some design work. Eventually my oldest son told me that Linux was ready for the desktop, and put Mandrake on my first laptop. I loved it, and although it was a dual-boot, I never bothered to login to Windows after that. After Mandrake went away, I ended up on Kubuntu where I’ve been ever since. The LinuxChix helped me a lot in the change from Windows to Linux.

        • A Look at Kdenlive – Libre Video Editor for GNU/Linux

          have done my fair share (or more) of video editing in my life, primarily using Adobe Premiere Pro as I was taught in college. However, I try not to use Windows unless I have to, and so I’ve been always on the hunt for better options for my GNU/Linux systems – and I think I’ve found my personal favourite video editor; Kdenlive.

          Kdenlive is a free video editor that up until this point, has yet to let me down for my personal needs, and has also been easily the simplest and fastest for encoding and exporting videos.

        • Qt Creator 4.13 Release Brings Initial Meson Support, Updates C++ Code Model
        • Qt Creator 4.13 released

          Qt Creator supports setting multiple shortcuts for the same action now. Do you ever mix up shortcuts because your second-favorite editor uses different ones than Qt Creator? Just open Preferences > Environment > Keyboard, find the action and press Add (as long as you do not introduce a conflict with another shortcut). Personally I added some Emacsey shortcuts for splitting and some other actions to my configuration. (Since I am on a Mac, Ctrl+X is free to use for me.)

          If you wonder where some items from the Window menu went: We moved them to a new View menu, which seems to be common to have.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Gcolor3 – A GTK+ 3 Color Selector and Picker for Linux

          Gcolor3 is a color selector and picker written in GTK+ 3. It is much alike Gcolor2, but uses the newer GTK+ version to get better integrate into modern desktop.

        • Christopher Davis: New Release: Color Picker v2.4.0

          Gcolor3 is now “Color Picker”! With the rename comes a new maintiner, a new icon, lots of new improvements, and many translation updates.

        • GNOME 3.37.91 released!
          GNOME 3.37.91 is now available! This is the second beta release of GNOME 3.37. Please note: we are now in string freeze, so be kind to translators and stop changing strings! :)
          The corresponding flatpak runtimes have been published to Flathub. If you'd like to target the GNOME 3.38 platform, you can test your application against the 3.38beta branch of the Flathub Beta repository.
          If you want to compile GNOME 3.37.91 yourself, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot:
          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
          The source packages are available here:
          This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development status.
          For more information about 3.38, the full schedule, the official module lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.37 wiki page:
          Happy Wednesday,
        • GNOME 3.38 Beta 2 Released With Many Fixes

          Ahead of the official GNOME 3.38 launch in September, the second GNOME 3.38 beta (v3.35.91) is now available for testing,

          Among the new changes to find with the GNOME 3.38 Beta 2 release include:

          - A fix to the Epiphany web browser that was crashing the browser when visiting long pages, such as Planet GNOME.

        • Customize your GNOME desktop theme

          GNOME is a fairly simple and streamlined Linux graphical user interface (GUI), and a lot of users appreciate its minimalist look. Although it’s pretty basic out of the box, you can customize GNOME to match your preferences. Thanks to GNOME Tweaks and the user themes extension, you can change the look and feel of the top bar, window title bars, icons, cursors, and many other UI options.

        • Adwait Rawat: My struggle with translations

          After I made Firmware and RetroFirmware in my previous post, what I needed to do was quite simple initially. Add a new “name” field to each [Firmware] group entry in every .libretro core descriptor file that has a [Firmware] group and write a parser for it in retro-gtk. But only writing the parser is not enough (like I did when I first pushed the code :p). The whole point of adding a new field is to have a translatable name, which means the parser needs to get the name string in the user’s region’s language. Which can then later be used by gnome-games in the UI.

          Writing the parser was not that hard since there were examples in the retro-gtk. The only thing different from the other parser would be that this new one would get string from the key file depending on which locale the user is.

        • Adwait Rawat: Firmware Object

          So, what’s needed is an interface, let’s call it Firmware, with all the abstract definitions of the functions needed, and a subclass of this interface with the implementations.

          But, practically speaking only libretro-cores use firmware, so making a class by the name RetroFirmware that inherits the interface Firmware, then using RetroFirmware in places where the refactored code calls and handles firmware should do the trick, right?

          Well, not so fast. There are some other minor inconveniences that need to be solved as well. Such as, the name that’s being used by firmware is more of an ID/internal-name rather than a translatable string. Hence, these strings can not be used to display firmware name in UI.

          Another issue is that some firmware have only MD5 checksum, some have only SHA512 checksum, while others have both. This makes the code quite inconsistent when it comes to future support of firmware that is not currently being supported by games, or support for different versions of the same firmware simultaneously i.e, firmware with same internal-name but different checksums. Making it slightly harder for gnome-games to identify that both firmware are different.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • ExTiX 20.09 “The Ultimate Linux System” Released With Android Apps Support

          Arne Exton, the founder of Ubuntu-based ExTiX Linux distribution, has released a new version ExTiX 20.09. It’s a major release that comes with KDE plasma desktop and support for running Android apps using Anbox (“Android in a box”).

          Starting with a major update, ExTiX has now included a free and open-source compatibility layer, Anbox, that lets you run Android applications and games on GNU/Linux distributions.

        • ExTiX “The Ultimate Linux System” Now Lets You Run Android Apps with Anbox

          Coming three weeks after ExTiX 20.8, which was one of the first live distros to let you try the new Linux 5.8 kernel series, ExTiX 20.9 is now available with another major change, namely the ability to run Android apps.

          Yes, you’re reading that right, you can now run Android apps that you can install directly from the Google Play Store on ExTiX. How? Simple, thanks to the amazing Anbox (Android in a Box) free and open-source compatibility layer that lets Android apps run on GNU/Linux distributions.

        • Parted Magic Distro Drops 32-Bit Support, Now Powered by Linux 5.8 and OverlayFS

          It’s been three months since the last Parted Magic update and the new version (2020_08_23) is here with some major changes. First and foremost, this is the first release of the disk partitioning distribution that no longer offers support for 32-bit computers.

          The 32-bit kernel has been removed due to an initramfs size limitation in syslinux. Moreover, both 32 and 64 entries were removed from the boot menu as only 64-bit is now supported.

        • Septor 2020.4

          Tor Browser is fully installed (9.5.4)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of August 25, 2020
          Update Linux Kernel to 5.7.10
          Update Thunderbird to 68.11.0-1
          Update VLC to 3.0.11
          Update ffmpeg to
          Update Youtube-dl to 2020.07.28

      • Gentoo Family

        • Is an umbrella organization a good choice for Gentoo?

          The talk of joining an umbrella organization and disbanding the Gentoo Foundation (GF) has been recurring over the last years. To the best of my knowledge, even some unofficial talks have been had earlier. However, so far our major obstacle for joining one was the bad standing of the Gentoo Foundation with the IRS. Now that that is hopefully out of the way, we can start actively working towards it.

          But why would we want to join an umbrella in the first place? Isn’t having our own dedicated Foundation better? I believe that an umbrella is better for three reasons:

          1. Long-term sustainability. A dedicated professional entity that supports multiple projects has better chances than a small body run by volunteers from the developer community.
          2. Cost efficiency. Less money spent on organizational support, more money for what really matters to Gentoo.
          3. Added value. Umbrellas can offer us services and status that we currently haven’t been able to achieve.

          I’ll expand on all three points.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How to Switch Desktop Environment in Fedora

          This quick guide explains the steps on how to install and switch desktop environments in the Fedora Linux operating system between multiple desktops.

        • OpenEEW Formed to Expedite Earthquake Warning Systems

          A new coalition is building a low-cost solution to save lives in earthquake-threatened regions, rather than garnishing a profit from a new early-warning system. OpenEEW is an open-source IoT project with the goal to save lives by reducing the cost of earthquake early-warning (EEW) systems and accelerating their deployments globally.

          The Linux Foundation earlier this month announced that it will host the project’s developer — Grillo — in collaboration with IBM. The project includes the core components of the Grillo EEW system, comprised of integrated capabilities to sense, detect, and analyze earthquakes and alert communities.

          Nearly one-third of the world’s population live in seismically-active regions. At risk is the safety and survival of approximately three billion people living in earthquake-prone areas without early-detection systems that could cost upwards of US$1 billion to put in place.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian falsified harassment claims in Appelbaum expulsion

          In 2016, there was an enormous amount of noise about Jacob Appelbaum from the Tor Project and winner of the Henri Nannen Prize for journalism.

          An anonymous web site had been set up with allegations of harassment, abuse and rape. Unlike the #MeToo movement, which came later, nobody identified themselves and nobody filed a police complaint. It appears that the site was run by people who live in another country and have no daily contact with Appelbaum. Therefore, many people feel this wasn’t about justice or immediate threats to their safety.

          Long discussions took place in the private mailing lists of many free software communities, including Debian. Personally, as a I focus on my employer, clients and family and as there are so many long email discussions in Debian, I don’t follow most of these things. I’ve come to regret that as it is now clear that at least some claims may have been falsified, a serious injustice has transpired and this could have been easily detected.

          I don’t wish to discount the experiences of anybody who has been a victim of a crime. However, in the correspondence that was circulated within Debian, the only person who has technically been harassed is Jacob Appelbaum himself. If Appelbaum does have a case to answer then organizations muddying the waters, inventing additional victims, may undermine the stories of real victims.

        • Enrico Zini & Debian: falsified harassment claims

          The explosive emails reveal that Zini was secretly sending out messages to the media lobbying them to change their reporting to reflect the position preferred by accusers.

        • Sparky 2020.08 Special Editions

          Special editions of Sparky 2020.08 GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue released.
          It is based on the Debian testing “Bullseye”.

          • packages updated from Debian testing repos as of August 24, 2020
          • Linux kernel 5.7.10 (5.8.3 & 5.9-rc2 in Sparky unstable repos)
          • added Memory Test and Hardware Detection to the live config
          • installed qt5ct + added qt5ct config to Openbox & Xfce desktops
          • GCC 9 removed; the default compiler is GCC 10 now
          • Xfce 4.14
          • Firefox 79.0
          • LibreOffice 7.0.1~rc1
          • VLC 3.0.11
          • Calamares 3.2.24
          • removed packages from GameOver iso: balder2d, crrcsim, flare, frozen-bubble
          • added new packages to GameOver iso: gamemode
          • small improvements

        • How was Linux Australia coerced to change stance on Jacob Appelbaum?

          We’ve recently read that Debian Developer Russell Coker spread the vendetta against Jacob Appelbaum from Debian to Linux Australia. It is a vendetta that has spread through the entire free software community in a manner not unlike coronavirus.

          Shortly after that, on 22 June 2016, Linux Australia publicly stated they would wait for the matter to become clearer before deciding if any response was necessary.

          Eight days later, on 1 July 2016, Linux Australia published a long email publicly denouncing Jacob Appelbaum. They reached the decision to do that in just eight days, but four years later, the situation hasn’t actually changed: not one person ever filed a police complaint against Appelbaum.

          What forces influenced Linux Australia to set their principles aside?

          Fellowship has a lot of experience of these things and we want to put them in the open.


          Many large free software organizations have been infiltrated by companies like Google. This means there are Google employees who are members and sometimes board members in non-profit organizations like Linux Australia. If one of these companies decided that Jacob Appelbaum is bad for business, their employees would have been ordered to make the kill.

          Corporate infiltrators rarely reveal when they are acting on company orders like this. Remember the Google motto: don’t get caught doing evil.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The ROI of open source

        In the course of our work in the Open Source Program Office, we get to have discussions once in a while with Red Hat partners about the nature of open source and the best practices to start using open source for a project or two within the partner’s organization.

        These conversations are a little hard to describe. On the one hand, there’s the standard list of open source things to do beyond just tossing out a bunch of code onto an open source repository and declaring to the world “we are open!” If you’ve done this, you’ve fallen victim to one of the classic open source blunders, never just throw your code over the wall.

      • Manage your software repositories with this open source tool

        Foreman is a robust management and automation product that provides administrators of Linux environments with enterprise-level solutions for four key scenarios: provisioning management, configuration management, patch management, and content management. A major component of the content management functionality in Foreman is provided by the Pulp project. While Pulp is an integral part of this product, it is also a standalone, free, and open source project that is making huge progress on its own.

        Let’s take a look at the Pulp project, especially the features of the latest release, Pulp 3.

      • Events

        • Say Hi at GitLab Commit

          GitLab Commit starts tomorrow, Wednesday August 26! In addition to a session about how some of us at GNOME use GitLab, we’ll be present at the exhibit hall at a virtual booth.

          If you’d like to visit us during GitLab Commit, a number of staff and community volunteers will be present over the course of the day. You will find us on the following schedule. Times are in UTC. Other staff members or volunteers may also stop by to say hi.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 78.2 Released with More OpenPGP Improvements

            Coming a month after Thunderbird 78.1, the Thunderbird 78.2 release is here to further improve the recent OpenPGP implementation, which lets users send encrypted emails with ease.

            In Mozilla Thunderbird 78.2, saved drafts are now encrypted by default when OpenPGP is enabled, encrypted email is now send even if the email address contains uppercase characters, and automatic signing for encrypted messages now works in more scenarios.

          • Mozilla’s GFX-RS 0.8 Released For Vulkan Portability – Brings Big Changes

            Following the recent layoffs at Mozilla and some projects seemingly at risk moving forward, one that we have been worried about is GFX-RS as the interesting Rust-based library implementing the Vulkan Portability Initiative using GFX-HAL.

            At least for now, GFX-RS is moving along for this cross-platform Vulkan portability project and great graphics example for Rust. GFX-RS 0.8 was released today as the project’s newest milestone.

          • New Release: Tor Browser 9.5.4

            Tor Browser 9.5.4 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

            This version is expected to be the final version of the Tor Browser 9.5 series. Watch for Tor Browser 10.0 near the end of September.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Our Future is Intersectional
    • Science

      • Challenge to scientists: does your ten-year-old code still run?

        The Ten Years Reproducibility Challenge aims “to find out which of the ten-year-old techniques for writing and publishing code are good enough to make it work a decade later”, Hinsen says. It was timed to coincide with the 1 January 2020 ‘sunset’ date for Python 2, a popular language in the scientific community, after 20 years of support. (Development continues in Python 3, launched in 2008, but the two versions are sufficiently different that code written in one might not work in the other.)

        “Ten years is a very, very, very, very long time in the software world,” says Victoria Stodden, who studies computational reproducibility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In establishing that benchmark, she says, the challenge effectively encourages researchers to probe the limitations of code reproducibility over a period that “is roughly equivalent in the software world to infinity”.

      • Documents Show Law Enforcement Agencies Are Still Throwing Tax Dollars At Junk Science

        Recently, 269 gigabytes of internal law enforcement documents were liberated by hacker collective Anonymous — and released by transparency activists Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets). The trove contained plenty of sensitive law enforcement data, but also a lot of stuff law enforcement considers “sensitive” just because it doesn’t want to let the public know what it’s been spending their tax dollars on.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • DARPA, Operation Warp Speed, and the Covid-19 Ka-ching Ahead

        If/When Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca put out a viable Covid-19 solution in October, it won’t come as a surprise to DARPA.

      • How the U.S. Can Support Developing Countries Fighting COVID… for Almost Nothing

        As the world seeks to mitigate economic fallout from the COVID-19 global pandemic and its unprecedented disruptions, the United States has, to date, prioritized its domestic challenges, largely abandoning its traditional role as a provider of humanitarian assistance during times of international crisis.

      • New Face Masks: The First & Fourth Emojiments

        Get your First & Fourth Emojiment gear in the Techdirt store on Threadless »

      • Trump’s Botched Response to COVID Draws High Praise at Virtual RNC

        Much of the commentary emanating from speakers on night one of the Republican National Convention (RNC) either ignored the coronavirus pandemic completely or exaggerated President Donald Trump’s handling of it, several observers noted.

      • FDA Chief Walks Back Claims About Convalescent Plasma Touted by Trump

        On Monday night, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn corrected comments he had made the day before, responding to critics who suggested he had overstated the benefits of a possible treatment for coronavirus.

      • Nursing Homes Will Receive Fast, Cheap COVID Tests — With a Catch

        The Trump administration’s latest effort to use COVID-19 rapid tests — touted by one senior official as a “turning point” in arresting the coronavirus’s spread within nursing homes — is running into roadblocks likely to limit how widely they’ll be used.

      • Sequence Comparisons Illustrate Susceptibility to Coronavirus Infection

        The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the most severe since the 1918 influenza pandemic (colloquially known as the Spanish Flu; see, J. Barry, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, Penguin Books; Revised ed. edition (October 4, 2005)). The geographic origins of the virus in Wuhan, China is well-established for the pandemic, but the biological origin is less well understood (although bats are the most likely culprit).

        Coronaviruses have arisen in bats, pigs, and cattle and one species, HCov-OC43 from cattle or swine, was responsible for a human pandemic in the late 19th Century. These viruses appear to be promiscuous, being transmitted from bats, cattle, or swine to humans and from humans to tigers and pigs. One possible reason is that coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 infect human cells through binding of the viral Spike protein to angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a protein highly conserved in mammals related to its endogenous functions regulating vasodilation and vasoconstriction as part of the renin–angiotensin system. Adaptation of the virus to different hosts, accompanied by changes in Spike protein structure, have been seen in the masked palm civet, believed to be an intermediate host between bats and humans; in this instance, the virus mutated at two Spike protein sites to amino acids having higher affinity binding to human ACE2. However, the role of the civet has not been definitively established, with the Malayan pangolin being another possible intermediate. Comparisons between SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein binding sequence and ACE2 in vertebrate species shows conservation that may be related to susceptibility, suggests animal reservoirs and intermediates between bats (the native species) and humans, and illustrates the possibilities and likelihoods that SARS-CoV-2 may infect various species including endangered species.

      • Face coverings for covid-19: from medical intervention to social practice

        During the covid-19 pandemic, wearing face coverings is being rapidly introduced as a public health intervention in countries with no cultural tradition of doing so. For successful uptake, such interventions need to be grounded in the social and cultural practices and realities of affected communities, and campaigns should not only inform, but also work to shape new sociocultural norms (table 1).

      • Nigeria, other African countries declare polio-free

        Speaking during a media briefing on the certification of Africa Polio free, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The substantial investments we have all made in defeating polio have delivered a rich reward. Although wild polio has been driven out of Africa, those investments will continue to bear fruit for many other health needs.”

        “The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has helped to deliver vitamin A, bed nets and deworming tablets, and support for outbreaks including Ebola.”

      • Africa declared free of wild polio after four years without cases

        The Africa Regional Certification Commission on Tuesday declared Africa free of wild polio after four years without a case.

        World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanmo Ghebreyesus praised the WHO African region, which contains 47 countries, for being free of polio.

      • Progressives Call on Democrats to ‘Do the Opposite’ as Rahm Emanuel Advises Biden to Shun Medicare for All and Green New Deal

        The two policies are popular with the American public, but the Democratic Party refused to embrace them in its 2020 platform.

      • First Confirmed Coronavirus Reinfection Raises Immunity Concerns

        Researchers in Hong Kong say 33-year-old-man is asymptomatic; immunologists call case ‘no cause for alarm.’ 

      • Public Health Experts Watch ‘In Horror’ as FDA Approves Narrowly Tested Covid-19 Treatment Amid Pressure From Trump

        After the president accused the FDA of deliberately holding up approval of convalescent plasma, the agency authorized expanded use of the treatment despite a lack of randomized, controlled studies. 

      • 40 Acres and a Mule: the Plight of Black Farmers

        The most deleterious of the effects of the industrialization of farming in the United States is the drastic decline of the small white family farmers and the near disappearance of the black family farmers.

      • The Color of Contagion

        As of the first week of August, there have been at least 160,000 deaths in the United States from Covid-19. There is data indicating race and ethnicity for approximately 90 percent of these deaths; in age-adjusted numbers analyzed by the American Public Media Research Lab, the widest disparities afflicted Black, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, and Latinx populations. Black mortality rates range from more than twice to almost four times as high as for white people. Among Indigenous people, the rates are as much as three and a half times as high and are two times as high for Latinx people. The death rate for predominantly Black counties is six times that of predominantly white ones.

      • The Spanish State’s “Nationalization” of Clinics Resembles Privatization

        We hear it throughout the English-language press, both mainstream and progressive: “The Covid-19 crisis led Spain to nationalize its private clinics!” It would be great if it were true. Moreover, since governments like to say that we are “at war” with the coronavirus, shouldn’t a war involve more than just confining people in their houses, while asking them to wear face masks and wash their hands? After all, wars usually involve taking control of the economy – the private sector included – to attain victory over enemies, presumably even viral ones.

      • Pelosi Warns Trump Against “Cutting Corners” on New Unproven Vaccine From UK

        A new report suggests President Donald Trump may push for an unproven vaccine for coronavirus from the United Kingdom to be made available in the United States just one month before voters are set to decide if he deserves another term in office.

      • Why is HHS blocking FDA from regulating some diagnostics, and how will this affect COVID-19 testing?

        This week’s FDA news has been dominated by the tumultuous emergency authorization of convalescent plasma on Sunday, but let’s not forget last week’s news: On August 16, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) surprised public health experts by publishing a one-paragraph notice on its website rescinding FDA guidance related to laboratory developed tests (LDTs). The notice states that the FDA will not require premarket review of LDTs absent notice-and-comment rulemaking, including for COVID-19 tests. LDTs are tests “designed, manufactured and used within a single laboratory,” such as tests run by large academic medical centers, hospitals like the Mayo Clinic, and testing giants LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics. Former HHS national coordinator for health information technology Farzad Mostashari described this change as “bizarre” and like “[c]losing the barn door 6 months after the horse left the barn, and 3 months after she moved to a different barn!” What’s going on, and how will this change affect COVID-19 testing?


        For COVID-19, after HHS declared that the public health emergency justified the use of emergency use authorizations (EUAs) on February 4, the FDA initially said that diagnostic LDTs needed an EUA. This created a Catch-22, as former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb put it; rapid development of COVID-19 tests was needed in the emergency, but the emergency-based EUA requirement slowed them down. Shortages ensued. On February 29, the FDA changed its policy again (in this guidance, which has since been updated), allowing the use of RT-PCR LDTs to determine COVID-19 infection while developers awaited an EUA. Nevertheless, the agency retained the ability to revoke EUAs if a particular LDT turned out to be problematic. For antibody tests to identify past infection, the FDA took the opposite approach. Initially, it allowed anyone to offer tests without going through the agency, but on May 4 it began requiring EUAs—some of which have since been revoked. As the FDA’s website stated, there were important reasons for requiring LDTs to obtain EUAs during this crisis, as these tests have “serious implications … for analyses of disease progression and public health decision-making.”


        But second (and opposingly), the notice may make it easier for some labs to bring tests to market that otherwise would not have, or may make it easier to scale existing authorized tests (such as Yale’s new saliva test) to labs that have not themselves gone through the FDA’s process. At least some scientists have praised it along these lines. Professor Fyodor Urnov, at UC Berkeley, said the announcement had “simplifie[d] things moving forward and resolve[d] a substantial source of uncertainty that has lingered in the field for some time.” Some experts also note that the rescission notice relies on CLIA as a backstop, which may ensure a certain level of quality from the resulting tests.

        Unfortunately, because the effect of the notice is to make it much more difficult for the FDA to observe these tests at all, it will be almost impossible to determine whether the balance of impacts is a good one. Further, the unexpected and unexplained way this change was implemented is particularly worrisome. In the middle of a pandemic, upsetting the expectations of firms that are attempting to address the crisis is not the basis of sound policymaking.

      • How COVID-19 is demanding a new look at Indigenous healing in the Amazon

        In Latin America, the still-raging coronavirus pandemic is leading to a reassessment of the use of traditional medicine and highlighting the urgent need for humanitarian aid and health workers to better integrate Indigenous knowledge into their responses.

        As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the region, amongst the hardest hit communities have been the Indigenous peoples, long neglected by the state and with the lowest access to quality healthcare.

        Worldwide, health officials have stated that there is not yet a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, and no cure: Treatment generally consists of alleviating symptoms with anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and antiviral medications, and oxygen when respiratory symptoms are severe.

        But with drugs and oxygen in short supply and often prohibitively expensive, many people in remote rural communities and on the periphery of cities turn to alternatives. In Peru and other countries, accounts of alleged “miracle cures” – ranging from the unproven to the potentially toxic – circulate by meme and word of mouth.

        Experts at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) have warned against self-medication and sought to dispel rumours about supposed cures or inappropriate medications that could cause harm.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, ghostscript, php7.0, and proftpd-dfsg), Fedora (mod_http2 and thunderbird), Red Hat (chromium-browser and firefox), and SUSE (apache2, grub2, samba, and xorg-x11-server).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Architecture of Surveillance in Northern Virginia

              Back in November, I had to drop off my bus at one of the county garages for a minor repair.  On the way, I radioed dispatch and said I’d need a ride back to the lot where my car was parked.  I dallied outside the garage office, on the clock, until my ride ambled along and scooped me up.

            • Massachusetts Top Court Says Cops Need Warrants To Engage In Long-Term Video Surveillance Of People’s Houses

              Is a police camera aimed at a publicly-viewable area Constitutional? That’s a question courts have had to answer periodically. In most cases, the answer appears to be “no.” Long-term surveillance — even of a publicly-viewable area — is a government intrusion into private citizens’ lives. This sort of intrusion requires a warrant and sufficient probable cause.

            • California: Tell Your Senators That Ill-Conceived “Immunity Passports” Won’t Help Us

              Californians should not be forced to present their smartphones to enter public places. But that’s exactly what A.B. 2004 would do, by directing the state to set up a blockchain-based system for “immunity passports”: a verified health credential that shows the results of someone’s last COVID-19 test, and uses those to grant access to public places.

              By claiming that blockchain technology is part of a unique solution to the public health crisis we’re in, AB 2004 is opportunism at its worst. We are proud to stand with Mozilla and the American Civil Liberties Union’s California Center for Advocacy and Policy in opposing this bill. We encourage you to tell your senator to oppose it, too.

            • If Privacy Dies in VR, It Dies in Real Life

              If you aren’t an enthusiast, chances are you haven’t used a Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) headset. The hype around this technology, however, is nearly inescapable. We’re not just talking about dancing with lightsabers; there’s been a lot of talk about how VR/AR will revolutionize entertainment, education, and even activism. EFF has long been interested in the potential of this technology, and has even developed our own VR experience, Spot the Surveillance, which places users on a street corner amidst police spying technologies. 

              It’s easy to be swept up in the excitement of a new technology, but utopian visions must not veil the emerging ethical and legal concerns in VR/AR. The devices are new, but the tech giants behind them aren’t. Any VR/AR headset you use today is likely made by a handful of corporate giants—Sony, Microsoft, HTC, and Facebook. As such, this budding industry has inherited a lot of issues from their creators. VR and AR hardware aren’t household devices quite yet, but if they succeed, there’s a chance they will creep into all of our personal and professional lives guided by the precedents set today.  

            • Palantir’s S-1 filing says people use its services because ‘their technical infrastructure has failed them’

              The company lost $580 million in 2019, the filing shows, and in the first half of 2020 it has lost $175 million. The S-1 shows the company had 125 customers in the first half of this year, “including some of the largest and most significant institutions in the world,” the filing states, and its software “is used by customers across 36 industries and in more than 150 countries.” This confirms information leaked to TechCrunch last week.

            • Facebook plans to expand its news tab beyond the US

              Facebook is planning to expand its dedicated news section and says it is “considering” the UK, Germany, France, India, and Brazil as possible recipients, it announced Tuesday. The company’s timeline is vague: “within the next six months to a year,” so it’s curious why Facebook would announce something not yet imminent. But given Facebook’s volatile history with the news industry, and the trend toward requiring platforms to pay news outlets for their content, it’s possible the company is simply testing the waters for its next move.

            • VoLTE Flaw Lets A Hacker Spy On Encrypted Communications For A Measly $7,000

              As we’ve noted, much of the hysteria surrounding TikTok isn’t based on anything close to consistent outrage. As in, many of the folks freaking out about a teen dancing app were nowhere to be found when U.S. wireless carriers were found to be selling access to your location data to any random idiot. Most of the folks pearl clutching about TikTok have opposed election security funding or even the most basic of privacy rules. The SS7 flaw that makes most wireless networks vulnerable to eavesdropping ? The lack of any security or privacy safeguards in the internet of things (IOT) space?

            • Secret Service Latest To Use Data Brokers To Dodge Warrant Requirements For Cell Site Location Data

              Another federal law enforcement agency has figured out a way to dodge warrant requirements for historical cell site location data. The Supreme Court’s Carpenter decision said these records were covered by the Fourth Amendment. But rather than comply with the ruling, agencies like the CBP and ICE are buying location data in bulk from private companies that collect this data, rather than approach service providers with warrants.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • The Climate Apocalypse Has Arrived
      • ‘Underwhelming and Inadequate’: Green Groups Slam New Senate Democrats’ Climate Report

        The Green New Deal is mentioned only once in the 263-page report—in the footnotes. 

      • ‘What’s Radical Is Doing Nothing’: Attacked as an Extremist, Sanders Condemns GOP for Ignoring Climate Crisis at Convention

        “It would be a moral disgrace if we left to future generations a planet and that was unhealthy, unsafe, and uninhabitable.”

      • IOOS Ocean Technology Transition Project Grants Announced

        Once the domain of ships and researchers at sea, new technologies are offering us ways to explore more of our ocean and coasts more often at lower cost. The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System’s (IOOS®) Ocean Technology Transition project, an ongoing multi-year cooperative grant program, is one effort working to meet the need for new technology and novel approaches to address ocean observing needs.

        OTT looks for developing ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes observing, product development, and data management technologies for which there is a known need and steps in to accelerate its transition to operations. These technologies include hardware and software platforms, sensors, and data management aimed at improving available ocean information to support decision making for the coastal ocean, and Great Lakes’ environments.
        For 2020, IOOS, in conjunction with the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), sought projects focused on regional coastal ocean observing systems and advancing data management and cyber infrastructure for observations. Here are the grants awarded in 2020.

      • As Party of Climate Denial Meets, Wildfires Rage and Hurricanes Target Gulf Coast

        Their insistence on making a bonfire of the environment means their convention has to compete with disaster scenarios in California and the Gulf of Mexico.

      • US Media Can’t Think How to Fight Fires Without $1-an-Hour Prison Labor

        As a historic set of wildfires sweeps across California, sparked by lightning and stoked by record heat and drought resulting from climate change (Mercury News, 8/19/20; Scientific American, 4/3/20), many news outlets have drawn readers’ attention to an additional problem the state faces in fighting the fires: shortages of the prison labor that it normally relies on for firefighting crews.

      • “A Human Tragedy”: Wildfires Reveal California’s Reliance on Incarcerated Firefighters

        As climate-fueled wildfires engulf California, tens of thousands of firefighters have been deployed across the state to combat the blazes amid a record heat wave and deadly pandemic. We look at how more than 1,300 incarcerated firefighters — who are annually deployed to the frontlines in California for just $1 an hour — are fighting back the blazes as coronavirus outbreaks in state prisons limit how many are available to fight the fires, and lay bare the state’s reliance on prison labor to control its ever-growing wildfire season with an exploitative system many have called slave labor. “What they’re not saying is we lack the incarcerated firefighters … [who] make up the backbone of the firefighting department,” says Rasheed Lockheart, who was a firefighter at San Quentin State Prison until his release in January.

      • California’s Dependence on Incarcerated Labor Exposed as Wildfires Rage

        As climate-fueled wildfires engulf California, tens of thousands of firefighters have been deployed across the state to combat the blazes amid a record heat wave and deadly pandemic. We look at how more than 1,300 incarcerated firefighters — who are annually deployed to the frontlines in California for just $1 an hour — are fighting back the blazes as coronavirus outbreaks in state prisons limit how many are available to fight the fires, and lay bare the state’s reliance on prison labor to control its ever-growing wildfire season with an exploitative system many have called slave labor. “What they’re not saying is we lack the incarcerated firefighters … [who] make up the backbone of the firefighting department,” says Rasheed Lockheart, who was a firefighter at San Quentin State Prison until his release in January.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Democrats Must Ace the Agenda Test

        They need to argue the case for the bold agenda that this country desperately needs, and challenge Donald Trump for his policy failures.

      • Trumpism, Where Does It Go From Here?

        During the height of the Cold War when it was viewed as disloyal and compromising to show a sympathetic interest in Marxism or sympathies with Soviet ideology, someone at the U.S. military base at Frankfurt distributed to the soldiers stationed there, a handwritten version of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, in the form of petition. Very few of the soldiers approached were willing to affix their signatures, most alleging that this seemed a subversive document circulated by enemies of the United States, and was Soviet propaganda. Somehow the Western propaganda message that the Cold War was about the defense of ‘the free world’ against a totalitarian enemy had made no impact, or alternatively, that the free world had nothing to do with the substantive elements of freedom as social practice.

      • Why the DNC’s Platform Will Guarantee a Loss If Democrats Don’t Do More

        Democrats are simply not going to win votes if they see a crisis of this scale and respond with laughably small, do-nothing policy ideas. 

      • The Problem With NYC’s New Women’s Rights Monument

        On August 26, 2020, Alice in Wonderland will get some company. She will be joined in New York City’s Central Park by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth, the first statues there of women who, unlike Alice, actually existed. The monument is a gift to the park from Monumental Women, a nonprofit organization formed in 2014. The group has raised the $1.5 million necessary to commission, install, and maintain the new “Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument” and so achieve its goal of “breaking the bronze ceiling” in Central Park.

      • Insider resistance, Siberian-style Opposition candidates almost never win governorships in Russia. Here’s how a group of Communist politicians and small-town mayors is trying to break that trend.

        For five years, the Irkutsk region was a “red” region — in other words, it had a governor from the Russian Communist Party (KPRF). Sergey Levchenko had won a competitive race against a candidate from the national ruling party, United Russia, but last year, he resigned from his post. Levchenko had been planning to compete for a second term, but he faced pressure to quit from the federal government. Acting Governor Igor Kobzev, who was appointed to replace him, was imported to Irkutsk by federal officials from a city more than 3,000 miles away. Local mayors and even United Russia officials aren’t excited about what he’s brought to the table, and he’s up for election on September 13. Meduza correspondent Andrey Pertsev traveled to Irkutsk to see how this independent-minded area of Siberia is taking on a Kremlin-backed leader and why the opposition might actually win.

      • Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya addresses European Parliament

        Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya) gave a remote address to the European Parliament on Tuesday, August 25. The entire speech was live streamed by RBK. 

      • Birtherism 2.0

        No citizen, though Oakland-born, Hints Donald and his claque— Just like Obama, culpable Of being born while black.

      • Democrats Are Winning Their Fight for the States

        For at least four decades, going back to the devastating rise of Ronald Reagan, progressives have heard the same refrain every presidential campaign year: This is the most important election of our lives. In 2020, though, it’s true. Really.

      • Echo Chamber Politics

        It was hard to stomach. The usual suspects, the usual scripts tatty from overuse. The 2020 Democratic National Convention was a prolonged display of avoidance, evasion and theatrical amnesia. There were moments of formality masquerading as promise: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez nominating Senator Bernie Sanders for presidential candidate. But it was not to be. The decision had long been made in advance: the Democrats wanted Joe Biden, and so did Ocasio-Cortez. “If you were confused no worries!” she tweeted. “Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold.” She had been asked to second the nomination for Sanders.

      • When It Comes to the Truth of Opinion Columns, It’s Reader Beware

        It is quite normal for newspapers to run columns in their editorial pages written by people who don’t share the same editorial perspective of the publication’s editors. It’s why they call them “op-ed pages”—for “opposite the editorial page.”

      • The Only Real Leftist Argument for Voting for Joe Biden in November

        If we get another four years of Trump, genuine leftism on a federal level is dead in the water until 2024. 

      • Media Praise Biden’s ‘Centrist Coalition’ for Steering Clear of ‘Progressive Demands’

        Media have to redirect the discussion back to the genuine calamities facing the nation.

      • Alaska’s Attorney General Resigns Hours After We Published “Uncomfortable” Texts He Sent to a Younger Colleague

        Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson resigned Tuesday following the publication of an Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica investigation showing he sent hundreds of text messages to a younger state employee that Clarkson acknowledged had made her uncomfortable.

        Records obtained by the newsrooms found Clarkson sent at least 558 text messages between March 5 and March 31 to a woman whose job required she sometimes interact with the attorney general. In at least 18 messages he invited the woman to come to his home.

      • Alaska’s Attorney General on Unpaid Leave After Sending Hundreds of “Uncomfortable” Texts to a Young Colleague

        Late last year, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy wrote President Donald Trump asking for a favor on behalf of his appointed attorney general, Kevin Clarkson.

        In a Dec. 2 letter, the governor asked Trump to help Clarkson’s wife and stepson overcome immigration obstacles in order to leave Colombia and join him in Alaska.

      • The Republican Convention Opens With a Night of Fascist Fan Fiction

        The Los Angeles Times wins the prize for best description of the thing that happened on my TV last night: “Welcome to a parallel universe.”

      • ‘This Is Lunatic, Fascist Stuff’: Watch Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle Kick Off RNC With Falsehood-Filled Rants

        Kimberly Guilfoyle’s remarks on the opening night of the GOP event brought “the convention’s fascist timbre to the next level,” wrote one observer.

      • ‘Cori Bush Scares the Fascists?’: Progressive Congressional Nominee Targeted in RNC Fearmongering

        “You can’t stop the Revolution! I said what I said,” Bush responded.

      • Trump’s 40 Biggest Broken Promises
      • Trump Is No Aberration: Veteran GOP Strategist Stuart Stevens Says Racism Is Party’s “Original Sin”

        As party loyalists gather for the Republican National Convention, a group of veteran Republican operatives who want to defeat President Trump have launched a $4 million advertising blitz targeting voters in swing states. The anti-Trump ads are funded by The Lincoln Project, a super PAC that can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money. We speak with longtime Republican political consultant Stuart Stevens, a senior adviser to The Lincoln Project who worked as a strategist on five Republican presidential campaigns, about Trump’s takeover of the party and efforts by so-called “Never Trump” Republicans to prevent his reelection, and why he says “race is the original sin of the modern Republican Party.”

      • RNC Opens with Baseless Trump Claims of Rigged Election & Warnings About Socialism and Unions

        The Republican National Convention opened in Charlotte, North Carolina, with dire warnings that a Joe Biden presidency could destroy the country. We feature excerpts from President Trump’s surprise speech after he was formally nominated for a second term, claiming without evidence that Democrats are planning to steal the election, and other speakers throughout the evening who repeatedly praised Trump’s handling of the pandemic even as the U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 177,000.

      • The Great Cover-Up

        The greatest cover-up in modern Scottish history is underway. I am not permitted to say more at present. I will however venture to say that this is massively bigger than just the attempt to imprison me, that most of these documents are also being withheld from the Holyrood Inquiry.

      • Manni Singh Jailed for Organising Peaceful Independence Demonstration

        My good friend Manni Singh has been jailed for 72 days – an incredibly draconian sentence – for organising an entirely peaceful political demonstration at which I was a speaker, on which there were zero incidents of violence or damage.

      • The RNC’s Extremist Problem

        Political conventions normally have a twofold goal: reenergizing the base of the party and making a pitch to wavering voters whose support might be won. In this year’s, we’ve seen a stark contrast between the two parties in which aim they have prioritized. Last week’s DNC was overwhelmingly focused on winning over centrists and disenchanted Republicans, with the ideological message put on the back burner in order to emphasize appeals to patriotism, civility, and decency. In pursuit of this goal, prime-time space was given to Republicans and former Republicans: John Kasich, Michael Bloomberg, Cindy McCain, and Colin Powell.

      • The Republican Convention Is a Political Ponzi Scheme

        Donald Trump is a persistent liar. But some of his lies are bigger than others, and the biggest of them all is the one he repeated at the opening of this week’s Republican National Convention. Over disembodied mumbles of “four more years,” the president served up a heaping helping of xenophobia and economic nonsense as he claimed that he was presiding over a “historic” economic recovery before the coronavirus pandemic messed everything up.

      • Political science in practice ‘Meduza’ examines different scenarios for the opposition movement that’s swept Belarus

        The protests in Belarus have entered a new stage, and it looks a lot like a stalemate. As demonstrated last Sunday, the scale of the opposition protests hasn’t decreased significantly. Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, which initially responded to the unrest with violence, has changed tactics and is now relying on a mixture of ignoring the size of the protests, persecuting the organizers (if they can find them), and putting on theatrical performances featuring Lukashenko in an effort to mobilize his supporters. Meanwhile, the regime’s power base — the security apparatus — isn’t showing any outward signs of breaking down. In this context, where compromise isn’t an option and neither side has a clear advantage, it seems impossible to predict the outcome of the standoff. However, according to researchers studying protests, who have analyzed hundreds of movements around the world over the past few decades, even in such difficult cases it’s possible to assess the likelihood of different possible outcomes, if not the exact results of the protests. Meduza applies this theory to the ongoing events in Belarus.

      • How Trump Betrays the Working People Who Elected Him

        Every night of this week’s virtual Republican convention is featuring President Trump as he labors to convince Americans to reelect him despite presiding over the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, contributing to the deaths of at least 173,000 Americans from the pandemic, and facing huge demonstrations over the racial tensions that he loves to fan. Even more challenging, he must once more beguile the victims of his greatest con: the working men and women who voted for him, believing his promise that he’d take on the establishment that failed them.

      • Former DHS Official Claims Two Current White House Aides Are in Pro-Biden Group

        As the Republican National Convention (RNC) takes place this week, a number of Republicans are announcing that they cannot in good conscience support another four years in the White House for the party’s candidate, President Donald Trump.

      • Federal cyber agency releases strategy to secure 5G networks

        The CISA 5G Strategy outlines five “strategic initiatives” to secure the buildout of 5G systems, which include supporting 5G policy and standards development that stops malicious actors from influencing the design of new systems, expanding awareness of supply chain threats to 5G systems to minimize vulnerabilities, and working to strengthen and secure existing infrastructure.

        CISA Director Christopher Krebs wrote in the report that he saw 5G development as the “single biggest critical infrastructure build the world has seen in 25 years,” highlighting the need to build security into a system that will support essential services.

      • Fortnite’s Leader Makes a Career Crusading Against Big Tech

        Half a decade ago, the billionaire founder of Epic Games Inc. sparred with Microsoft Corp. over the way the software giant treated small application developers. Now he’s launched a legal broadside against the biggest app stores in the world with a lawsuit alleging that Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google are a harmful duopoly.

        It’s a battle meant to help his company, which makes the gaming phenomenon Fortnite and operates the video-chatting service Houseparty, but also one that probably fits with his view of himself.

      • Alphabet’s Google Appoints DeLaine Prado as New General Counsel

        Google hasn’t had a general counsel since 2018, when Kent Walker was promoted to senior vice president of global affairs, a position responsible for responding to the swell of regulatory and privacy-related issues the company has faced in recent years. DeLaine Prado will report to Walker.

      • Bidding for Reelection Amid Crisis and Fear

        President Donald Trump headlines his Republican Party’s national convention against a backdrop of a nation in crisis and an older sister who branded him a liar and someone without principles.

      • Judges Are Buying the GOP’s Lie That Mail-In Voting Causes Fraud

        The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee filed lawsuits recently against New Jersey and Nevada to prevent expansive vote-by-mail efforts in those states.

      • The Democrats Just Showed Us a Weakness in Their 2020 Strategy

        Did Democrats just inadvertently throw Trump a lifeline for reelection? More worrisome, did their convention presage a Biden administration without a mandate to address the stark challenges of this time?

      • Democratic Convention: New Faces, Similar Policies

        A national political nominating convention, as the Democrats have just completed, is, to be sure, a mutual admiration event. A steady stream of speakers led to the finale with the acceptance speech by the presidential candidate, Joe Biden. But the Convention has another declared purpose: to show the country what the Democratic Party stands for and the future it wishes to shape for the American people.

      • To Prevent ‘Disinformation Cesspool,’ Networks Urged to Run RNC Convention on One-Minute Delay
      • Republican Convention Takes on the Weighty Task of Boosting Trump’s Bruised Ego

        The Republican National Convention (RNC) begins tonight, and I honestly don’t know how to complete this sentence. Many will watch, many more will not, and I’ll be fixated on this four-day failapalooza for one reason only: to see if the Audience of One phenomenon rears its orange head and burns the whole project to the ground. I very strongly suspect it will.

      • ‘Unprecedented and Wrong’: Pompeo Slammed for Plans to Address GOP Convention From Jerusalem

        Critics accused the secretary of state of “using Judaism as a political prop” and suggested his speech may violate the Hatch Act.

      • Trump Is Losing Support From Dozens of GOP Voices Ahead of Republican Convention

        President Trump was formally nominated Monday afternoon as the Republican Party’s candidate for this year’s presidential race. Yet as he is set to accept the party’s nomination this week, a number of Republicans won’t be voting for him, preferring instead to support his main rival, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

      • As GOP Officially Re-Nominates Trump, Poll Shows 68% in US Disapprove of President’s Pandemic Response

        The U.S. now has over 5.7 million confirmed Covid-19 infections and nearly 177,000 people have died nationwide.

      • USPS Out of Sorts
      • First They Came for the Mailboxes…
      • Four Things We Must Do to Save the Post Office From Trump-GOP Attack

        The stakes could not be higher.

      • From Protecting Voting Rights to Honoring Veterans, The Post Office Is An Essential Service

        The capacity of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide mail services that generations of Americans have relied on has been severely weakened by the Trump administration. The assault on the Postal Service has only grown stronger and more brazen in recent weeks. We know by Trump’s own admission that his targeting of the agency is by design and is intended to interfere with the federal election that is less than three months away. Due to the ongoing health risks associated with COVID-19, a record number of Americans are expected to vote absentee this November rather than in-person. Knowing this, Trump has weaponized the pandemic to obstruct mail services and suppress the people’s vote, particularly in battleground states. By making it more difficult for Americans to exercise their right to vote, he is disenfranchising tens of millions of voters. The other part of Trump’s calculation is that by stripping the Post Office of much-needed resources to receive and process absentee ballots, he can exploit any hint of trouble with vote tallying this November to try and cast doubt on, and perhaps even dismiss, the election results should he lose. It has all the makings of an authoritarian power grab.

      • NY Attorney General Files Federal Lawsuit, Demanding Trump and DeJoy Reverse ‘Authoritarian’ Changes Made to USPS

        “During this critical time, Americans deserve better than a mail slow-down rooted in political gamesmanship.”

      • Postal Workers Union Organizes Nationwide Rallies Pressuring Congress to #SaveThePostOffice

        Protesters carried signs that declared “U.S. Mail Is Not For Sale,” “PM DeJoy, Stop Delaying De-Mail,” and “Senators: Do the Right Thing.”

      • DeJoy Must Step Down — He “Doesn’t Know the Basics of His Agency,” Lawmaker Says

        Democratic lawmakers ramped up their demands for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to step aside or be removed after the Trump megadonor on Monday demonstrated flippant ignorance of basic U.S. Postal Service operations, refused to cooperate with lawmakers’ requests for documents, and declined to commit to reversing policy changes that have impeded the timely delivery of mail, including life-saving prescription medications.

      • Demands for Removal of DeJoy Intensify After Postmaster General Shows He ‘Doesn’t Know the Basics of His Agency’

        “The only thing you should be delivering is your resignation,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley told DeJoy.

      • Citing Potential Conflicts of Interest, Warren Demands Postal Service Board of Governors Hand Over Personal Financial Disclosures

        The Massachusetts Democrat said the board’s continued support for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy as his policies harm mail service “raises questions about the role of the board and the motivations of its members.”

      • Postmaster DeJoy Has Undermined Faith in Election, Postal Historian Says

        The battle over the future of the United States Postal Service is intensifying, with a record number of mail-in ballots expected to be cast in the 2020 presidential election, and Democrats and Republicans locked in a fight over the future of the agency. Historian Philip Rubio, who teaches at North Carolina A&T State University and worked as a mail carrier for two decades before that, says decades of political interference have caused a “manufactured crisis” at the U.S. Postal Service. “The damage has been done,” Rubio says of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s changes. “I think he’s discouraged a lot of voters who were hoping to vote by mail to vote safely and securely because of the pandemic.”

      • The Border Patrol Considered Accepting a Donation From We Build the Wall

        After the arrest of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon last week for allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors to a private organization with the stated purpose of building a wall along the southern border, We Build the Wall, administration officials have sought to distance themselves from the project. But Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leadership met with representatives of We Build the Wall to consider their offer of donating the privately constructed wall to the US government. CBP described it as “an overall positive meet and greet” and even provided the group with guidance on how to gift its wall to CBP, according to an internal CBP memo obtained exclusively by The Nation.

      • ‘Responsible for National Collapse’: RNC Greeted With Projections Condemning Republicans for Abandoning Jobless Workers

        “It’s unbearable that the Republican Party and the Trump administration are celebrating and campaigning while millions of families are suffering because they refuse to extend the $600 benefit that was keeping us afloat.”

      • The Guardians

        It is one of the virtues of an extraordinarily vicious presidency that it has led some to openly confess their preference for elite rule. Even those who vigorously promoted elements of aristocracy—or oligarchy—once used to feign devotion to a democratic creed. Now, alongside the regular suggestion that Donald Trump threatens democracy, some are willing to say he proves its bankruptcy. “Voters know in the abstract what they ought to know,” conceded Jason Brennan, the author of Against Democracy, after the last presidential election. “They just don’t actually know the things they think they should.” When the people chose Trump, Brennan concluded, it proved the need for “epistocracy,” a kind of update to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s contention that the wise should rule.

      • ‘Stop Helping Trump Sabotage Our Democracy’: McConnell Urged to Call Senate Back and Pass House Bill Reversing DeJoy Mail Changes

        “McConnell’s choice is clear: do the bidding of Trump or listen to the clarion call of Americans—of all political parties and persuasions—to defend the Postal Service from sabotage from within.”

      • The Desperation of Donald Trump Jr.

        Cocaine and Donald Trump Jr. started trending at the same time on Twitter on Monday night. This was a direct result of liberals’ freely and without facts theorizing about the president’s eldest son. These speculations are not just baseless but also unfair. There are far more human reasons for Trump Jr.’s odd performance during the speech he gave at the RNC.

      • WATCH LIVE: Postmaster General DeJoy Testifies Before House as Outrage Over Postal Service Sabotage Grows

        The postmaster general’s testimony comes on the heels of new documents showing his policies have damaged mail service more significantly than he has publicly acknowledged.

      • New York Attorney General Sues Trump Organization, Accusing President’s Company of Misleading Lenders and Dodging Investigation

        For months, the Trump Organization has “stalled, withheld documents, and instructed witnesses, including Eric Trump, to refuse to answer questions under oath” about its financial records.

      • Politicizing a Pandemic and Rigging an Election—Trump’s 2020 Re-election Campaign

        Trump is leveraging the pandemic to destroy any semblance of democracy left in presidential elections.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Activision Deletes And Replaces ‘Call Of Duty’ Trailer Worldwide Over 1 Second That Hurt China’s Feelings

        While China-bashing is all the rage right now (much of it deserved given the country’s abhorrent human rights practices), it’s sort of amazing what a difference a year makes. While the current focus of ire towards the Chinese government seems focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and a few mobile dance apps, never mind the fully embedded nature of Chinese-manufactured technology in use every day in the West, late 2019 was all about China’s translucent skin. Much of that had to do with China’s inching towards a slow takeover of Hong Kong and how several corporate interests in the West reacted to it. Does anyone else remember when our discussion about China was dominated by stories dealing with Blizzard banning Hearthstone players for supporting Hong Kong and American professional sports leagues looking like cowards in the face of a huge economic market?

      • Cracking Down on Activists for Their Tweets Isn’t New

        Bhushan was initially given the opportunity to apologize for his tweets, but he refused to do so. The Supreme Court has adjourned Bhushan’s hearing until Sep. 10. Regardless of the outcome of his sentencing hearing, which is ongoing, Bhushan’s case is emblematic of precisely the issues he has been highlighting: that the Supreme Court is perceived to be siding with the government.

        But India is not unique in this regard. All around the world, proponents of liberal democracy and free speech have found themselves on the defensive—often for posting critical material on social media. Foreign Policy collected four other prominent cases from the past few years in which activists were targeted, arrested, and in some cases imprisoned for posts their governments considered seditious.

      • Content Moderation And Human Nature

        It should go without saying that communication technologies don’t conjure up unfathomable evils all by themselves. They are a convenience-enhancer, a conduit, and a magnifying lens amplifying something that’s already there: our deeply flawed humanity. Try as we might to tame it (and boy have we tried), human nature will always rear its ugly head. Debates about governing these technologies should start by making the inherent tradeoffs more explicit.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Yandex has reportedly started evacuating its Minsk office, following raid by armed police

        The Russian tech giant Yandex has reportedly started evacuating its office in Minsk, since armed men raided the premises on August 13, two sources familiar with the situation told The Bell. The company’s press office says the Minsk bureau currently employs roughly 300 people, all of whom are now working remotely. “Some of these staff have left the city,” spokespeople clarified.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A New Republic

        A misuse plagues our republic: the misuse of democracy; instead of building a democratic, and just, society, we simply use democracy to validate and renew the personnel of our oligarchic republic. These days, because the republic is fractured and oligarchic, democracy is being misused to maintain the same republic as the promise of a new republic without such inequalities.

      • Masai and the Iceberg of Impunity

        Every report I’ve seen on the injustice suffered by Masai Ujiri in Oakland last June has talked about the tip and ignored the iceberg. That this could be so at this BLM moment is deeply worrying and shows that our problems go well beyond even systemic racism.

      • House Hunters

        Under the spindlework arch of the wraparoundporch, no one ever thinks they’ll expose the original hardwood for its kindling.

      • The Burning House

        The reenergized movement against anti-Black violence ignited by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among others, has inspired the reading public to turn to texts that can explain exactly how we got here. Reading lists abound with everything from histories of slavery to self-help guides on white privilege and allyship. Yet few engage with the histories of urban inequality and policing that shed light on how reporting someone using a possibly counterfeit $20 bill at an urban corner store set in motion the public execution of a Black man or how a series of alleged suburban break-ins emboldened neighborhood vigilantes to murder a jogger or why a deadly police raid authorized by a controversial no-knock warrant is entwined with a city’s rapacious gentrification plans.

      • The Kids Are Getting Pepper-Sprayed

        On August 15 at 4 pm, about 200 protesters, mostly students and local youth, met at Chicago’s Cloud Gate, known as “The Bean,” in Millennium Park. Their demands were simple: Remove police from Chicago public schools, cancel the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Citizens academy that encourages Chicagoans to report illegal immigrants, reallocate funds away from police and toward the community, and cut ties between ICE and local universities.

      • Thanks to 2020, We’re All Losing It
      • Law Enforcement Training: People Saying ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Are Just Suffering From ‘Excited Delirium’

        Police officers are not “worried” about “excited delirium.” This supposed mental health condition — which isn’t recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, or the World Health association — exists mainly to exonerate police officers who have subdued an arrestee to death. A majority of people who die from “excited delirium” do so in police custody.

      • Russian officials will investigate Navalny’s poisoning — for suspected foreign political interference

        At first glance, it would seem that the Russian authorities have acquiesced to demands from world leaders and activists across the country that state officials investigate the apparent assassination attempt against opposition politician Alexey Navalny.

      • Kremlin says there are no grounds for investigating Navalny’s poisoning, calls talk of an attack ‘empty noise’

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Tuesday, August 25, that the Putin administration is aware of no grounds for launching a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of opposition politician Alexey Navalny.

      • Bring On the Winged Monkeys, Stormtroopers and Human Sex Drug Traffickers
      • Russia’s National Guard tries to walk back glowing character testimony on police rights’ blogger now charged with multiple felonies

        In early May, police arrested Vladimir Vorontsov, the author of the popular online community Police Ombudsman, which reports abuses within Russian law enforcement. He was arrested on charges of soliciting 300,000 rubles (about $4,000) in bribes from an ex-cop. In his defense, Vorontsov asked Russia’s National Guard to testify to his character. That testimony is now in, reports the news agency TASS, which obtained a copy. According to TASS, public relations representatives for the agency expressed “appreciation for the constructive cooperation” Vorontsov offered in the past.

      • New Far Right Party Aims to Stoke Fear of BLM Into Organized White Supremacy

        The last three years have been a marked and unending period of decline for the organized “alt-right.” Ostensibly led into a somewhat cohesive social movement by Richard Spencer, the collection of publications, podcasts, high-profile white nationalists and organizations that made up the alt-right saw their peak in the two days they laid siege on Charlottesville, Virginia. Yet they were shut down afterward as anti-fascist activists confronted them, kicking them off platforms and legally challenging them. There have been attempts to regroup since, with Spencer returning to his work of “building meta-politics” and others forming white nationalist organizations like the Patriot Front or going even more extreme with “accelerationist” terror organizations like Atomwaffen Division or The Base.

      • The Banality of Evocation

        How to Remember a Feminist Movement That Hasn’t Ended

      • Meet the Activist Who Is Driving the Push to Reclaim Nature for Black People

        Nature and wild spaces are appreciated by many, but they can sometimes be rendered inaccessible or dangerous to people of color, as a recent incident in Washington State shows. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As the founder of the national organization Outdoor Afro, Rue Mapp has devoted her life to encouraging Black Americans to connect more closely with the natural world. In this interview, Mapp discusses how she approaches this work given a context in which forests are often not seen by Black people in the U.S. as healing spaces due to the terrors of the Jim Crow era. Meanwhile, she also takes on the importance of balancing accessibility to nature with rent control policies to prevent gentrification of green cities from shutting out people of color.

      • President Trump, Child-Trafficker-in-Chief

        President Donald Trump thinks of himself as a champion against human trafficking. He addressed a White House Summit on the issue in January claiming there was a “humanitarian crisis” at the border fomented by criminal organizations and that “traffickers victimize countless women and children.” He signed an executive order and diverted $400 million in funding to combat the issue, boasting in his usual manner that “we have signed more legislation on human trafficking than any other administration has ever even thought about.” But in recent months, the administration has been found to be flouting the United States’ own anti-trafficking laws by deporting thousands of children and families seeking asylum, practically delivering them into the hands of traffickers across the border in Mexico.

      • Shipowners are not allowed to bring refugees back to Libya

        The disembarkation of rescued refugees in Libya is punishable under German law, including for merchant ships. This is documented by a Bundestag assessment. However, the Foreign Office and the public prosecutors are not interested in pursuing captains and shipowners

      • Appeals Court: City Employee’s Horrific Facebook Posts About Tamir Rice Shooting Were Likely Protected Speech

        Just your periodic reminder that the First Amendment protects some pretty hideous speech. And it does so even when uttered by public servants. Caveats apply, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals [PDF] has overturned a lower court dismissal of a Cleveland EMS captain, who made the following comment several months after Cleveland police officers killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice as he played with a toy gun in a local park.

      • African Asylum Seekers Jailed in Louisiana Stop Eating in Protest

        In the Mankon language, spoken in northwest Cameroon, mughu is a word for hell. Northwest Cameroon was home to more than a dozen of the 48 African asylum seekers now confined in Louisiana at Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, where COVID has taken a firm grip. Along with men from Uganda, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, and Burkino Faso, the Cameroonians find themselves in a mughu of indefinite detention where their applications for parole are denied — unreasonably, their advocates say — or simply go unanswered.

      • Protests Break Out in Wisconsin After Police Shoot Black Man in the Back Multiple Times at Point-Blank Range

        Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said 29-year-old Jacob Blake’s children were in the car he was attempting to enter as police fired seven shots at his back.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Boys And Girls Club Backtracks After Folks Ask Why It’s Helping A Cable Monopoly Lobby The FCC

        Last month we noted how the Boys and Girls Club was one of several organizations cable giant Charter (Spectrum) was using to lobby the FCC in a bid to kill off merger conditions affixed to its 2015 merger with Time Warner Cable. Many of those conditions actively protect consumers from monopoly price gouging (a 7 year temporary moratorium on arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps, for example). Other conditions worked to expand broadband into less affluent areas. Despite the conditions actually helping, you know, boys and girls… the club’s letter opposed them.

    • Monopolies

      • Iowa’s Derecho Signals It’s Time to Ban Utility Monopolies

        Two weeks after one of the worst storms the Midwest has ever experienced swept across Iowa, the state is still reeling. The storm—known as a derecho, characterized by hurricane-force winds—killed at least three people, flattened millions of acres of farmland, and left about 550,000 households without electricity at its peak. About 100,000 of those households were still without power a week after the storm. Today marks two weeks since the storm, and nearly 1,000 people are still without power.

      • Patents

        • Paycheck Protection Recipients Among NPE Targets

          The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal business lending program established by the 2020 CARES Act, intended to help small businesses retain jobs during the pandemic. In order to receive funds, companies applied and explained how many jobs they would save with the money they received. All of that data is publicly available.

          Cross-referencing PPP loan data with lawsuits filed between March 13, 2020 (when the COVID emergency was officially declared) and July 29, 2020 shows that, in that period of time alone, NPEs sued 36 companies who received PPP loans. With only a few exceptions, all of the targeted recipients are small and medium-sized enterprises, ranging from a medical robotics manufacturer to an engineering CAD company to a company that makes test devices for electrical utilities.

          But what they all have in common is that they were sued by non-practicing entities.


          Beyond the negative impacts on PPP recipients that have been sued by NPEs, there’s one more thing that the PPP data reveals: PPP funding was used to help keep NPEs in business. Cross-referencing well-known NPE entities to the PPP loan data shows that 5 patent assertion entities received PPP loans—Dominion Harbor Enterprises, Implicit LLC, Parus Holdings, Infogation Corp., and Omnitek Partners.

          It’s extremely unclear why these companies needed PPP loans to retain jobs in the first place—after all, patent litigation filings have actually increased during the COVID crisis. And there’s no reason to think that their businesses have been negatively impacted by COVID. A patent license or an infringement judgment doesn’t exactly require face-to-face contact. Nonetheless, taxpayers may wind up funding somewhere between $1.15 million and $3 million dollars worth of patent assertion activity.

          Perhaps the most exceptional of these requests is from Implicit LLC, which appears to have been approved for a loan of $150,000-$350,000 to save a single job for 2.5 months. Making the most conservative assumptions possible using the PPP data, that means taxpayers may have funded Implicit to protect a single job with compensation of at least $432,000 per year.

          Apparently patent assertion continues to pay off for its practitioners.

        • Patent case: Ruling No. 76/2020 of Barcelona Commercial Court no. 4, Spain

          Another chapter in the pemetrexed saga: Barcelona Commercial Court No. 4 has ruled on infringement in the very first case worldwide concerning pemetrexed diarginine, a salt form of pemetrexed chosen by Sandoz in the wake of the outcome of the landmark Actavis case of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (Judgment dated 12 July 2017). In preliminary injunction proceedings, the Spanish Court held that pemetrexed diarginine was also an infringing equivalent to pemetrexed disodium and, in doing so, makes some interesting findings.

        • BREAKING: UKSC upholds decision in Unwired Planet, confirms English courts have jurisdiction to set global FRAND rates (and much more)

          This morning, the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) issued its long-awaited opinion in the Unwired Planet/Huawei case [decision here, docket here, neutral citation: [2020] UKSC 37]. A Katpost setting out the procedural history of the case, outlining the issues and referencing previous commentary on this blog can be found here.

          This is a landmark decision on the law of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) and Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminary (FRAND) licensing practices. Below is a brief summary of each issue addressed by the UKSC.


          There is a lot to unpack in this decision and this Kat is sure that patent professionals all over the world will take interest in today’s decision and comment on it in the weeks, months, years and – who knows – decades to come. For today, however, it is sufficient to note that Birss J’s groundbreaking assumption of international FRAND-jurisdiction is here to stay and is now likely to be followed also by other European courts.

        • IPR: Not a Taking; Not an Illegal Exaction

          David McCutchen is the inventor of U.S. Patent No. 7,082,640 – a shop-vac that can reverse the air flow (back-flush) in order to clear the filter. The video below shows how this is implemented. McCutchen passed-away in 2019, but assigned his patent to his company – Christy, Inc. – which is apparently named after his daughter (Christy).


          Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, 138 S. Ct. 1365, 1379 (2018). In its decision in Christy, the CFC sided with the Gov’t and found that IPR cancellation is not a compensable taking. This result comports with the Court’s prior decisions in Celgene Corp. v. Peter, 931 F.3d 1342, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2019), cert. denied, 19-1074, 2020 WL 3405867 (U.S. June 22, 2020) and Golden v. United States, 955 F.3d 981 (Fed. Cir. 2020). I’ll note that the not-a-taking holding is based upon the Federal Circuit’s legal conclusion that “IPRs do not differ sufficiently” from inter partes and ex parte reexaminations available pre-AIA.

          The illegal exaction theory is interesting — Christy asks for a refund of its issuance and maintenance fees. Since this is a class-action, that amount could add-up if we look at all of the patent claims cancelled via IPR.

        • Software Patents

          • Engle Grange patent challenged as likely invalid

            On August 25, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,548,645, owned by Engle Grange, LLC, an NPE. The ‘645 patent is generally directed towards a two-step key fob authentication system for an automobile. The patent is currently being asserted in litigation against Ford.

      • Trademarks

        • Arizona State University Sues Facebook With Bogus Trademark Claim To Try To Stop COVID Parties Account

          Let’s start this one by noting that “COVID parties” are an incredibly dumb and insanely dangerous idea. A few people have suggested them as a way to expose a bunch of people to COVID-19 in the belief that if it’s mostly young and healthy people, they can become immune by first suffering through having the disease, with a lower likelihood of dying. Of course, this leaves out the very real possibility of other permanent damage that getting COVID-19 might have and (much worse) the wider impact on other people — including those who might catch COVID-19 from someone who got it at one of these “parties.” It’s also not at all clear how widespread the idea of COVID parties are. There have been reports of them, but most of them have been shown to be urban legends and hoaxes.

        • Rat Pack / RatPac – Not All Trade Mark Judges are Movie Producers

          Many trade mark cases get decided based on how the “relevant public” understands a given sign in a given context. What public is “relevant” depends, of course, on the goods or services at issue. A recent decision from the German Federal Court of Justice looks into the question whether and when courts need to obtain expert evidence on the relevant public’s understanding.

          The case relates to a trade mark infringement case started by German movie production company Rat Pack Filmproduktion GmbH against US-based RatPac Entertainment LLC. Both companies are active in the movie production business but are otherwise unrelated.


          Who gets to decide how a sign is understood by the “relevant public”? In this case, the Bundesgerichtshof found fault with the lower court, which decided, in its own, how professionals in the movie industry would understand the use of a particular sign in a particular context. In other words, the lower court judges had replaced fact-finding with their own personal views. This was found a violation of the appellant’s constitutional right to be heard.

          The lower court decision, as overturned by the Bundesgerichtshof, is certainly not the first trade mark case that has been decided on the basis of the personal views of the judges, when it should be adjudicated based on evidence (such as surveys and expert evidence). This Kat considers the Bundesgerichtshof’s decision as a welcome nudge to judges tasked with fact-finding to do just that: find facts.

          Nonetheless, the case still raises several questions that the (very short) decision of the Bundesgerichtshof fails to address. Firstly, the published decision does not explain what evidence, if any, was already on file about the understanding of the relevant public, in particular whether either party has introduced witnesses or conducted a survey.

          In any event, it seems to this Kat that the question before the Bundesgerichtshof would be better addressed by survey evidence than by the report of a lone expert (who may simply substitute his or her personal view for those of the judges’ view). Whether either party filed a survey, or asked the court to have a court expert conduct a survey, is not known.

          Finally, German procedural law aficionados may be interested in knowing that this decision is a rare occurrence of the Bundesgerichtshof allowing an appeal against a denial of leave to appeal (Nichtzulassungsbeschwerde) in a trade mark case.

      • Copyrights

        • EU Commission Reports Drop in Pirate Site Ads Following Industry Deal

          The European Commission reports that the number of ads placed on pirate sites is trending down. Following the introduction of a voluntary anti-piracy agreement, advertisements for major EU brands have decreased. The next step is to study how the efforts affect pirate site revenues over time.

        • USTVNow No Longer “Recommends” Kodi, Sends Legal Threat to TVAddons

          Streaming service USTVNow has caused confusion among some users by recommending the use of a third-party Kodi add-on for years and then suddenly changing direction. In fact, the TVAddons repo recently received an aggressive cease-and-desist notice from USTVNow, alleging trademark infringement and piracy, simply for promoting an add-on that’s still available on the official Kodi repo.

Microsoft Totally and Utterly Collapsing in Web Servers This Month

Posted in Microsoft, Servers at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: On Web Servers, Microsoft’s Collapse Continues More Rapidly Under COVID (a Million Domains Lost in the Past Month) | Linux Foundation Newsletter is Microsoft Windows and Proprietary IIS

Netcraft August 2020
“As well as a marked decrease in total sites this month of 22.14 million (-15.8%), Microsoft also suffered in other metrics this month. The number of domains served using Microsoft software dropped by 8.27 million (-18.4%), and 19,000 fewer web-facing computers (-1.2%) are running Microsoft web servers. Microsoft also lost 633,000 active sites (-7.3%),” says Netcraft today (published 4 hours ago in the monthly report)

Summary: Microsoft has been reduced to very few Web servers and only about 4% of the market; as we noted earlier this month, this lock-down as a whole has been a disaster for Windows and IIS; it might not be long before IIS is altogether discontinued

The Morally and Financially Corrupt Linux Foundation

Posted in Fraud, Kernel, Microsoft at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A foundation as morally bankrupt/corrupt as all the men below (but guess who got banned and what for; guess who receives keynote speech positions and why)

Banned by Linux Foundation for wearing a hat; Welcomed by Linux Foundation for paying a bribe

Summary: The Linux Foundation bans people for supporting a man whom Linux Foundation sponsors help commit crimes against humanity; basically, it’s all about money (yes, just money); in fact, almost all Linux Foundation code is being outsourced to this proprietary software firm that commits very serious bribery crimes, works for ICE, and enables Trump’s abuses (for profit!)

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:53 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

These Are Bridges From GNU/Linux to Microsoft, Not the Other Way Around

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 2:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A covered bridge

Summary: When Microsoft claims to extend an olive branch or gesture of “love” it actually attacks the subject of supposed love

THE “MICROSOFT LOVES LINUX” lie is hilarious if not outrageous. Some raise their brows, others find it infuriating. People who actually say that are liars (or incredibly gullible if not bribed).

Yesterday SUSE published part 4 of its series that perpetuates this lie; SUSE is still a lot like Novell, helping Microsoft in the name of “interoperability”; 2 years ago when the Linux Foundation put Linus Torvalds ‘on the ice’ we all saw that second in line (of succession) was Mr. Novell “interoperability” Gregory K-H (the Linux Foundation refers to him as “Gregory”), the person who helped Microsoft develop bridges leading from Linux to Microsoft’s proprietary software.

“…Microsoft is only ever interested in getting people to defect from Linux to Windows.”Whether it’s DrawBridge or WSL, Microsoft is only ever interested in getting people to defect from Linux to Windows. That’s how much Microsoft “loves Linux” (with DirectX, provided you run Windows, with a misleading name like “WSL2″ — a dud very few people ever bothered with).

As we said this morning in a meme, to Microsoft "Love Means Destroy". It’s all about Microsoft. Microsoft loves nobody but itself and its cult leader. This has been the case for so many years and people who still deny it deserve ridicule if not condemnation.

Diversity in Worldviews is Quite Likely More Important Than Diversity on Shallow and Superficial Lines/Criteria

Posted in Debian, Deception, GNU/Linux at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When blind conformity is not desirable

Masked kids cartoon: we wear masks because it's smart, not because of race or gender or political party

Summary: Using the veneer of “diversity” and “tolerance” the Debian Project (to give just one example) is fully engaged in a cull of people who are simply an obstruction in the face of corporate takeover (power-imposed conformism)

Tragically, if not rather outrageously, we’re seeing large corporations exploiting/leveraging the very issues that they themselves are the biggest participants/abusers/culprits in. For many generations corporations and their founding oligarchs have attacked people with their racist and sexist policies (ranging from unfair/discriminatory payments to classic slavery, sometimes even genocide) and now they’re trying to oust people who are critical of corporate power using political lines, either real or perceived.

Examples aren’t absent (short order); there are many of them out there and ‘cancel culture’ accelerated the pace of this agenda. Yesterday, somebody who had worked on Debian published the following E-mail, which basically shows Debian leadership trying to ‘cancel’ both a programmer/activist and a journalist (chilling effect) who wrote about the programmer:

 Subject: On coverage of Abbelbaum being "banned" from Debian
 Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:34:50 +0200
 From: Enrico Zini <enrico@enricozini.org>
 To: andrew.matler@itwire.com
 Dear Editor in Chief of iTWire,
 you may want to do something about this article by Sam Varghese on
 Debian revoking membership of Jacop Appelbaum:


 While the first part is factually correct in its DPL quote, the article
 ends with baseless hints of Debian and Tor having fallen victims to
 manipulations by GCHQ psyops.
 I consider that to be psycological [sic] violence[1] against the various well
 known people who came out to report abuse, and I wish that news coverage
 about this situation could rather contribute to creating a community
 that encourages victims of abuse to speak up.
 Quoting the DPL again, "In reaching their decision, the Debian Account
 Managers took into account the public disclosures from members of the
 Tor project and others, and first-hand accounts from members of the
 Debian community."
 We are not talking about vague rumors spread by a couple of
 infiltrators, we are talking about first-person accounts provided by
 well known and respected members of both communities, with a track
 record of contributions of many years.
 These people who had the guts to speak up deserve credit and respect,
 and the article published on your site gives them none.
 [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting
 -- GPG key: 4096R/634F4BD1E7AD5568 2009-05-08 Enrico Zini

As Daniel Pocock put it: “The message that caught my eye was a message from Zini to the editor of ITWire. Zini is disrespectful to the journalist, Sam Varghese and he is lobbying the editor to try and change an existing news report. Zini uses exactly the same fake victims as part of the justification and he even asserts the DPL quote is correct…”

Further, he then noted: “Many newspaper editors would be keen to remove such statements and publish retractions but Zini has pursued a competing goal, lobbying them to make their reporting more adverse to Appelbaum, as the email to ITWire demonstrates.”

A separate post said: “The explosive emails reveal that Zini was secretly sending out messages to the media lobbying them to change their reporting to reflect the position preferred by accusers. [...] rogue elements of the Debian community have hijacked the cause of diversity to justify a culture of blackmail.”

Quebec Tim Hortons Mask: Did you rape? Did you? I... you're under arrest
The right of defence is as important as the right to accuse

I don’t know Appelbaum well enough to comment on the allegations (I know that like many others he’s deeply inspired by Richard Stallman (RMS) and he linked to Techrights on numerous occasions over the years). One indisputable fact: his activism certainly helped a lot of activists and whistleblowers, i.e. it helped expose crimes and hold people accountable. His supervisor at the university, who examined the evidence, supports Appelbaum. Maybe the allegations ‘canceled’ Appelbaum as far as the public eye is concerned. But those allegations did not convince scholars. Shades of RMS being ‘canceled’… right?

The above E-mail from Zini is very malicious. If Zini had sent me such a mail, I’d blast Zini. This is a sort of censorship-type bullying, which extends from the target to anything or anyone sympathetic towards the target, like those Salesforce cranks who said everyone who supports RMS should also be ousted.

Let’s translate this, shall we?

 Subject: On coverage of Abbelbaum being banned 
 [based on hearsay] from Debian
 Dear boss of Sam Varghese,
 you may want to sanction/punish/sack Sam Varghese for
 writing his personal assessment of Debian revoking
 membership of Jacob Appelbaum:


 The article is correct, but to actually go beyond
 the official Debian "script" is not permitted in journalism.
 Journalism is violence against the anonymous sources of hearsay,
 and I wish that news coverage about me would make me
 look fantastic.
 Quoting the DPL again, "In reaching their decision, the Debian Account
 Managers took into account the public disclosures from members of the
 Tor project and others, and first-hand accounts from members of the
 Debian community." [this is a lie by the way]
 I am lying to you about first-person accounts because
 we already made this decisions and we're going to
 look foolish if we admit to have examined low-quality
 Anonymous voices who had the guts to speak up deserve credit and 
 respect, and your articles should be based on anonymous sources whom
 you never even spoke to, nor have I.
 -- GPG key: 4096R/634F4BD1E7AD5568 2009-05-08 Enrico Zini

To be clear, I don’t know what happened with Appelbaum and I argued endlessly with some EFF bully, who respects neither Free software nor free speech, basing the opinion of Appelbaum only on hearsay. Never any first-hand account.

At the moment we’re seeing a purge of various people whose voices are being eliminated and names tarnished because they’re inconvenient to state/corporate interests (overlapping). Appelbaum is a target for the same reason Julian Assange is (and it’s always being framed as a crime against women; as a side note, Assange too was a Debian developer) and Pocock — from what I can gather — spoke about exploitation of women by corporations (especially Google) and bribes from companies like Google and Microsoft.

“Appelbaum is a target for the same reason Julian Assange is (and it’s always being framed as a crime against women) and Pocock — from what I can gather — spoke about exploitation of women by corporations (especially Google) and bribes from companies like Google and Microsoft. “If Debian wants to be honest and if it wishes to attract female coders (not women whom it leverages as “political props”), it’ll have to quit using these identity politics. There have been other examples where senior and productive members of the Debian Project were threatened and/or ‘canceled’ simply because of some vaguely-worded allegations pertaining to race and/or gender. We gave an example of it some days ago. One of the most disgusting element of it (to me at least) is the way one’s expression of an opinion is spun as an act of violence. As if to deviate from some boring narrative is the moral equivalent of assault (the chief of the Linux Foundation compared condemnation of criminals to… kicking puppies).

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