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09.21.20

Links 21/9/2020: PlasmaShell With Vulkan, Plasma Beta Review Day, OpenMediaVault 5.5.11

Posted in News Roundup at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux/UNIX

    • Solaris

      • Oracle Solaris: Update to the Continuous Delivery Model

        The Oracle Solaris 11 Operating System (OS) is synonymous with three words: consistent, reliable and secure. With Oracle Solaris OS being designed to deliver a consistent platform to run your enterprise applications, Oracle Solaris has become the most trusted solution for running both modern and legacy applications on the newest system hardware while providing the latest innovations. Oracle Solaris combines the power of industry standard security features, unique security and anti-malware capabilities, and compliance management tools for low risk application deployments and cloud infrastructure. In its most recent avatar, Oracle Solaris 11.4 has already provided our customers with the latest features and observability tools and the list of new features in build grows with every SRU release.

      • Oracle To Stick With Solaris “11.4″ For Continuous Delivery SRU Releases

        With no new indications of Solaris 12 or Solaris 11.next and given the past layoffs and previous announcements from Oracle, today’s statement that Solaris 11.4 will remain as their continuous delivery model with monthly SRU releases come as little surprise.

        Tanmay Dhuri who has been at Oracle since April as the Solaris product manager wrote today on the Oracle Solaris blog about their continuous delivery model. Basically it’s reiterating that Solaris 11.4 will be sticking to a continuous delivery model moving forward. This comes after Solaris 11.4 turning two years old and seeing monthly SRU releases during that time. These monthly releases are designed to offer up timely security fixes and other mostly small updates to Oracle Solaris.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 372

        History of containers, and a look back at this past weekend’s Open Jam game jam.

      • LHS Episode #368: Remote Operation Deep Dive

        Welcome to the 368th episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this deep dive episode, the hosts discuss several ways to operate your station from a remote location or unattended when necessary and legal to do so. The options include remote desktop operation, network audio forwarding, hardware to physically separate your radio from your head unit via network and much more. Thank you for listening and we hope you find this episode entertaining and educational.

    • Kernel Space

      • Jonathan McDowell: Mainline Linux on the MikroTik RB3011

        I upgraded my home internet connection to fibre (FTTP) last October. I’m still on an 80M/20M service, so it’s no faster than my old VDSL FTTC connection was, and as a result for a long time I continued to use my HomeHub 5A running OpenWRT. However the FTTP ONT meant I was using up an additional ethernet port on the router, and I was already short, so I ended up with a GigE switch in use as well. Also my wifi is handled by a UniFi, which takes its power via Power-over-Ethernet. That mean I had a router, a switch and a PoE injector all in close proximity. I wanted to reduce the number of devices, and ideally upgrade to something that could scale once I decide to upgrade my FTTP service speed.

      • Which file systems support file cloning

        OpenZFS isn’t part of the Linux kernel because of licensing issues, and that is unlikely to change. OpenZFS doesn’t support any of the relevant Linux syscalls for cloning files or blocks. It doesn’t offer a replacement for these syscalls on FreeBSD or Linux. (This is why there are no out-of-band deduplication tools for OpenZFS.)

        Bcachefs isn’t in the kernel yet either, but it’s developed under a Linux-kernel compatible license with the ultimate goal of being merged into the kernel. It supports all the relevant Linux-specific syscalls for file cloning.

        Over the last three years, Apple has switched all of its products to its new CoW-based Apple File System (APFS). Microsoft has decided to go in the opposite direction, and removed its copy-on-write file system, ReFS, from Windows 10 Professional in 2017. ReFS is now only available on Workstation and Server editions. ReFS was not suitable for use on Windows desktops anyway. This does leave Windows as the only computer operating system without a CoW file system.

        I find file cloning fascinating, and I’ll explore several potential use cases for it in the coming weeks. Next up will be how you can identify a cloned file. Something that is surprisingly difficult because the file system doesn’t keep track of it.

      • Intel Platform Monitoring Telemetry Appears Destined For Linux 5.10

        As first outlined earlier this year, Intel has been working on the Linux support for Platform Monitoring Technology as a new hardware telemetry feature first introduced with new Tigerlake hardware. It’s looking like the initial Intel PMT support will come with Linux 5.10 while further work is being prepared that builds off its foundation.

      • Announcing updated Oracle Linux Templates for Oracle Linux KVM

        Oracle is pleased to announce updated Oracle Linux Templates for Oracle Linux KVM and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

        Oracle Linux Templates for Oracle Linux KVM provide an innovative approach to deploying a fully configured software stack by offering pre-installed and pre-configured software images. Use of Oracle Linux Templates eliminates the installation and configuration costs, and reduces the ongoing maintenance costs helping organizations achieve faster time to market and lower cost of operations.

        [...]

        New Oracle Linux Templates for Oracle Linux KVM and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager supply powerful automation. These templates are built on cloud-init, the same technology used today on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and includes improvements and regression fixes.

      • POWER Coregroup Support Coming With Linux 5.10

        There is some new feature code in the IBM POWER CPU architecture’s “-next” Git tree for the Linux 5.10 kernel.

        Queued up this past week is coregroup support for POWER processors on Linux. This includes a cleanup of the PowerPC topologies code and adding the Coregroup support, which in this context is about a group/subset of cores on a die that share a resource.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Dynamism

          In Vulkan, a pipeline object is bound to the graphics pipeline for a given command buffer when a draw is about to take place. This pipeline object contains information about the draw state, and any time that state changes, a different pipeline object must be created/bound.

          This is expensive.

          Some time ago, Antonio Caggiano did some work to cache pipeline objects, which lets zink reuse them once they’re created. This was great, because creating Vulkan objects is very costly, and we want to always be reusing objects whenever possible.

          Unfortunately, the core Vulkan spec has the number of viewports and scissor regions as both being part of the pipeline state, which means any time either one changes the number of regions (though both viewport and scissor region counts are the same for our purposes), we need a new pipeline.

    • Benchmarks

      • Open-Source Vivante Driver In Some Cases Outperforming Proprietary Driver

        One of the less talked about open-source graphics drivers talked about is Etnaviv as the reverse-engineered, community-based driver providing OpenGL/GLES support for Vivante graphics IP. While it’s still working towards OpenGL ES 3.0 compliance, its performance is currently in some cases competitive — and even outperforming — the Vivante proprietary driver.

        Christian Gmeiner who has been involved with the Etnaviv driver effort for years presented at last week’s X.Org Developers Conference (XDC2020). There he talked about the progress on the driver, the support spanning from the GC600 through GC7000L series at present with i.MX8M, and its OpenGL ES 2 capabilities along with desktop OpenGL 1.3/2.0 support. OpenGL ES 3.0 support remains a work-in-progress.

      • New OpenBenchmarking.org Features Enhance Discovering Popular + Reliable Tests

        As part of the new OpenBenchmarking.org being developed as part of Phoronix Test Suite 10.0 due out next quarter, some new features were deployed live on OpenBenchmarking.org this weekend.

    • Applications

      • Free Linux Cloud Servers to Test or Host Your Web Applications

        Looking for free cloud Linux server to test your web-app or service? Here are the best cloud servers with free credits options.

      • 11 Best Free and Open Source Linux Video Editors

        Video editing is the process of editing motion video footage. In the new age of personal video, video editing is becoming a central function of the desktop, with the popularity of video editing software ever increasing.

        Any self-respecting operating system that has ambitions on becoming the dominant force on the desktop therefore needs to have a good selection of video editing software. Video sharing websites such as YouTube are now enormously popular with hundreds of thousands of new videos uploaded every day.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Unity 2020.2 Bringing Some Hefty Performance Optimizations [Ed: Microsoft Mono unfortunately]

        Not only did Unity Software experience a successful IPO last week but they also rolled out the Unity 2020.2 engine into public beta and with that comes some “major speed-ups” for performance.

      • Super Slap Sisters [Ed: Requires WINE]

        These are some great additions that allow for an even wider variety of playstyles, keeping your opponent guessing as to when the best time to strike is. For example, not only can the clutch be used during an attack to throw your opponent off, it can also be a lifesaver just as you’re about to reach the blastzone (knockout boundaries) after getting hit. The clutch will reverse your momentum, meaning that the sooner you perform the clutch after flying, the closer you’ll get to the stage and therefore have a more successful recovery.

        Players who are new to this type of fighting will not be left in the dark here, as there is a great tutorial mode. The tutorial is very interactive with the player, giving them everything they need to get a basic grasp on how the game works. You can also read about the various mechanics that are available in-game, what they do, and how to do it, as well as get a bio on each character and what their moves entail.

      • Go on an epic quest as a not-so-average clown trying to find their dog in Ayo the Clown

        Ayo the Clown is an upcoming adventure platformer from developer Cloud M1, it should be releasing this year and it looks so full of charm it could pop like a balloon at any moment.

        Funded on Kickstarter back in September 2019 with 475 backers pledging $20,397 we totally missed this, it even had a Linux demo back then too. Cloud M1 said their take on the busy platformer genre is one that’s supposed to “reintroduce you to the incredibly fun platformer games of the ‘90s where platforming is accompanied by an inspiring and memorable story”. It has a pretty amazing style, one you can easily say is quite Nintendo-like.

      • Valve rolls out News Channels onto Steam to follow your favourite curators – like us!

        Over time Steam continues to grow as much more than just a games store, and Valve are showing how today with their next Steam Labs experiment to let you get your news.

        Steam Labs Experiment 009 announced here is an addition to the News Hub, which is now hooked up with the Steam Curator system. Valve said it’s now nearing completion and it’s a big stop towards the full launch. This will presumably replace the old Steam news feed.

      • First person dungeon-crawler ‘Delver’ properly open source again, pulls in lots of updates

        After only recently being released on itch.io, it seems the team behind the chunky-pixel first-person dungeon crawler Delver aren’t done.

        What actually is Delver? It’s a dungeon crawler that has a sweet mix of 90s FPS combat blended with classic RPG mechanics, permadeath and procedural generation so it’s a good test of skill and something fun to keep coming back to for just one more run. It also looks pretty darn awesome.

      • Explore a nightmarish world of twisted religion in Blasphemous – now available for Linux

        The Game Kitchen and Team17 have now delivered on their promise of official Linux (and macOS) support for Blasphemous as it’s now available.

        Set in a world where a foul curse has fallen upon the land simply known as The Miracle, which visibly and tangibly manifests peoples “guilt, repentance, mourning and every pain of the soul of all kind”. You play as The Penitent One, sole survivor of a massacre known as the Silent Sorrow. Trapped in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, it’s down to you to free the world from this terrible fate and reach the origin of your anguish. It sounds quite horrible but it sure does make for an engrossing setting.

      • A little hacking on a Monday morning? Why not with the online sim Grey Hack

        Feel like letting off some steam and do a little hacking? How about in a safe environment that also happens to be a game where everyone is trying to do it? Grey Hack sounds amusing.

        Grey Hack is not a new game, it actually released on Steam in Early Access back in 2017. Similar in idea to another game called hackmud, except that Grey Hack is constantly updated with new features and expands what you can do.

      • Arachnowopunk is a single-button infinite-runner mini-metroidvania

        Benny Heller, developer of Arachnowopunk emailed in to show off their new single-button infinite-runner mini-metroidvania and it’s quite sweet.

        Developed partly on Ubuntu with the wonderful cross-platform HaxeFlixel, it’s an incredibly accessible and simple game on the surface. You just have to keep going, tapping the up arrow key to switch between platforms and keep on running. Mechanically simple, with smooth pixel-art but the game certainly isn’t simple to actually play. It will require your full attention to get through.

      • Bevy seems like an impressive upcoming free and open source game engine made with Rust

        Feeling a little rusty? After a new game engine for your next game development project? Have a look at Bevy, a cross-platform and open source data-driven game engine built in Rust.

        [...]

        Just recently on September 19, 2020 it had a big new release too. Bevy 0.2 brings in some advanced new features, like a custom async-friendly task system which they showed some impressive CPU performance wins. It also adds in some early work towards Bevy running on the web using WebAssembly/WASM, with an example game (try it here). On top of that it adds in cross-platform support for most controllers with with GilRs game in put library and plenty more.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Running PlasmaShell with Vulkan

          QtQuick, in slightly more words, is a scene graph implementation. At a developer level we create abstract “Items” which might be some text or a rectangle etc or a picture. This in turn gets transformed into a tree of nodes with geometry, “materials” and transforms. In turn this gets translated into a big long stream of OpenGL instructions which we send to the graphic card.

          Qt6 will see this officially change to sit on top of the “Render Hardware Interface” stack, that instead of always producing OpenGL, will support Vulkan, Metal and Direct3D natively. The super clever part about it is that custom shaders (low level fast drawing) are also abstracted; meaning we will write some GLSL and generate the relevant shader for each API without having to duplicate the work.

        • Experiments Are Underway With Vulkan Powering The KDE Plasma Shell

          Well known KDE developer David Edmundson has been experimenting with a Vulkan-powered KDE Plasma Shell and did manage to get things working with Qt 5.15 using a few modifications.

          Given that Qt 5.15 has a tech preview of the new Render Hardware Interface (RHI) with Vulkan support for Qt Quick, Edmundson was experimenting with getting Vulkan rendering the Plasma shell. With a few Plasma changes, the necessary development packages for Vulkan, and some tweaks to the environment variables, he was able to get a working Vulkan-powered Plasma shell.

        • Plasma Beta Review Day

          Plasma 5.20 is now in beta, which gives us one month of intense testing, bugfixing and polishing.

          During this time we need as many hands on deck as possible to help with finding regressions, triaging incoming reports and generally being on top of as much as possible.

          In order to make this process more accessible, more systematic and hopefully more fun we are going to run an official “Plasma Beta Review Day”

        • KDE’s Akademy 2020 – A Quick Summary

          Akademy is the yearly conference for the KDE community, which is a community devoted to creating free software for desktop and mobile. Typically, Akademy takes place in a different city each year. However, due to the pandemic, the conference was online this time around. September 4-11 marked the dates of Akademy 2020.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Give Your GNOME Desktop a Tiling Makeover With Material Shell GNOME Extension

          There is something about tiling windows that attracts many people. Perhaps it looks good or perhaps it is time-saving if you are a fan of keyboard shortcuts in Linux. Or maybe it’s the challenge of using the uncommon tiling windows.

          From i3 to Sway, there are so many tiling window managers available for Linux desktop. Configuring a tiling window manager itself requires a steep learning curve.

          This is why projects like Regolith desktop exist to give you preconfigured tiling desktop so that you can get started with tiling windows with less effort.

          Let me introduce you to a similar project named Material Shell that makes using tiling feature even easier than Regolith.

        • GNOME Gets New Versioning Scheme
    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Firefox updated to 81.0

          Mozilla Firefox, or simply Firefox, is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards.

        • FreeFileSync updated to 11.1

          FreeFileSync is a folder comparison and synchronization tool.

        • Bitwarden updated to 1.22.1

          Bitwarden is an open source, cross platform password manager that sync passwords but also allows accessing passwords offline.

        • gThumb updated to 3.10.1

          gThumb lets you browse your hard disk, showing you thumbnails of image files. It also lets you view single files (including GIF animations), add comments to images, organize images in catalogs, print images, view slideshows, set your desktop background, and more.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • PHP extensions status with upcoming PHP 8.0

          With PHP 8.0 entering stabilization phase, time to check the status of most commonly used PHP extensions (at least, the ones available in my repository).

        • Red Hat Training delivers new courses for OpenShift developers and administrators

          Red Hat OpenShift includes what you need to meet your team’s objectives by enabling a high velocity DevOps pipeline, leading to faster, dynamic application deployments. It includes an enterprise-grade Linux operating system, container runtime, networking, monitoring, container registry, authentication, and authorization solutions. These components are tested together for unified operations on a complete Kubernetes platform spanning major public clouds.

          While the promise of container-based architecture is compelling, the road to container adoption can be complex. To gain the full benefit of containers, administrators and developers alike need a flexible program that delivers a modern, container-based infrastructure—with the necessary organizational process changes. With our new courses Red Hat is able to better facilitate your organization’s container adoption journey at both the administrative and developer level.

        • A recipe for presenting at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women – Ideas, dedication and a dash of energy

          One professional milestone for developers as they get more experience is to present at a major technical conference. To evolve from passionate conference attendee to conference session presenter is a huge step that not only requires technical chops, but also important soft skills like public presentation, writing, and communications. We sat down with two mid-career developers, Megan Kostick and Cindy Lu as they were preparing for the upcoming, Grace Hopper Celebration in the fall of 2020. Here’s a quick peek into the whats, whys, hows and lessons learned in presenting at a major technical conference!

          [...]

          Megan: IBM recently launched Developer Advocacy as its own career path and being part of the Developer Advocacy organization here at IBM, Cindy and I thought we could bring some light to this emerging role and give individuals of all technical levels a chance to learn about another career option that may not have been on their radar screen. GHC is traditionally a very big networking and hiring event for college students and just maybe our talk will get some future new hires interested in pursuing developer advocacy as a potential career. Or influence mid-level to senior-level developers that would like a change of pace. It’s always fun to share insider tips as well to help others be successful and grow.

      • Debian Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 10 Years of OpenStack – SeongSoo Cho at NHN / OpenStack Korea User Group

        Happy 10 years of OpenStack! Millions of cores, 100,000 community members, 10 years of you.

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

      • CMS

        • Developing a WordPress Website Without Programming Knowledge

          WordPress is the solution to those who want to create websites but have minimal programming and coding experience. If you’ve heard that expression multiple times, why not check it out at least once? You don’t need to worry about your programming skills, since this powerful Content Management System (CMS) can be easily used by a layman to create stunning websites. However, you will need to understand the way WordPress functions as there are two WordPress versions that you can work with, and all that can be a bit confusing. In this article, we shall look at WordPress from a beginner or a novice’s perspective and determine whether it’s truly easy to learn. Let’s get started.

      • Programming/Development

        • Top 10 Natural Language Processing Tools For Today’s Demand
        • Python

          • Teach Python with the Mu editor

            Teaching kids to code is very popular in schools. Many years ago, in the days of the Apple II and Logo programming, I learned about turtle graphics. I enjoyed learning how to program the virtual turtle and later helping students to do the same.

            About five years ago, I learned about Python’s turtle module, and it was the segue to my Python journey. Soon, I started using the turtle module to teach students Python programming basics, including using it to create interesting graphics.

            [...]

            In the early days of my Python adventure, I used IDLE, Python’s integrated development environment. It was much easier than entering commands into the Python shell, plus I could write and save programs for later use. I took some online courses and read many excellent books about Python programming. I taught teachers and students how to create turtle graphics using IDLE.

          • Use this Python script to simulate Babbage’s Difference Engine

            Charles Babbage (1791–1871) was an avid mathematician with very wide interests. He is well-known for envisioning the idea of computers and single-handedly developed what he called a Difference Engine to make serial calculations. It was a mechanical machine with a series of axles and gears to make calculations, with the output being a printed table. I recently began reading his 1864 book, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, where he explains how the Difference Engines came to be.

            One of the problems his Engine was designed to solve relates to the idea of children playing with marbles and arranging them in a progressive pyramidal shape, with one marble in the top row, two in the second, three in the third, and so on. For small pyramids, you can simply count the marbles to find how many there are. But Babbage wanted to create an automatic list or table with one column showing the number of rows and another column showing the total number of marbles.

          • TDD in Python with pytest – Part 5

            This is the fifth and last post in the series “TDD in Python with pytest” where I develop a simple project following a strict TDD methodology. The posts come from my book Clean Architectures in Python and have been reviewed to get rid of some bad naming choices of the version published in the book.

          • PyDev of the Week: Jim Anderson

            This week we welcome Jim Anderson (@jimande75053775) as our PyDev of the Week! Jim is a contributing writer for Real Python.

            [...]

            I love to snowboard in the winter and I’m an avid bike commuter, though I’ll admit that sounds more impressive than it is – I only live 3 miles from work! I’ve got two grade-school aged daughters and a lovely wife, all of whom ski and give me grief for snowboarding.

            I’ve been lucky enough to get to program for a living since I was a kid, mainly on low-level and embedded software, with a couple of brief turns doing enterprise-level band-end code.

          • Test and Code: 131: Test Smarter, Not Harder

            Some people avoid writing tests. Some drudge through it painfully.
            There is a better way.

          • Replace Occurrences of a Substring in String with Python

            Replacing all or n occurrences of a substring in a given string is a fairly common problem of string manipulation and text processing in general. Luckily, most of these tasks are made easy in Python by its vast array of built-in functions, including this one.

          • PB Python Article Roadmap

            September 17th is Practical Business Python’s anniversary. Last year, I reflected on 5 years of growth. This year, I wanted to take a step back and develop a guide to guide readers through the content on PB Python.

            As of this writing, I have 84 articles on the site. They vary from fairly complex and lengthy to quick summaries. When I wrote them, I did it based on my interests at the time and without much thought on progression. Now that I have a decent volume of articles, I want to organize them in a more meaningful way.

            My ultimate goal for this site is that I want it to be a resource to help people use Python to automate away many of the repetitive tasks they do on a daily basis with tools like Excel. A secondary goal for is to cover more advanced Python topics that are difficult to do in Excel.

          • Python Practice Problems: Get Ready for Your Next Interview

            Are you a Python developer brushing up on your skills before an interview? If so, then this tutorial will usher you through a series of Python practice problems meant to simulate common coding test scenarios. After you develop your own solutions, you’ll walk through the Real Python team’s answers so you can optimize your code, impress your interviewer, and land your dream job!

          • Learn to Code Free — Our Interactive Courses Are ALL Free This Week!

            Exciting news: for the next week, all courses are free. Yup, every single course in every learning path is free from Sept 21-28.

            This free week includes all of our courses in R, Python, SQL, machine learning, Git, the command line, and much more!

            Even more exciting: complete at least one mission during this week and you’ll unlock an additional prize: a downloadable data science career resources pack sent to your email!

            Now, it’s easier than ever to go from total beginner to job-qualified using Dataquest. The paywall is down!

          • Molfile “S SKP”

            In the last couple of essays I described some of the parts of a SDF record then pointed out some of the ways to break simple SDF record tokenizers. In this essay I’ll point out an documentation curiosity which makes it even harder to parse a molfile with simple tools, though until I wrote this essay I had never seen it in actual use.

        • Rust

        • Java

          • Java 15 Goes GA as the Language Turns 25

            Oracle today announced the general availability release of Java 15 during the opening keynote of its Developer Live conference, the online version of the company’s annual CodeOne and OpenWorld events, underway this week.

            The latest Java Development Kit (JDK) delivers new functionality, preview features now finalized, incubating features in preview, the continued modernization of the existing code, and a host of bug fixes and the deprecation of outdated functionality.

            This release comes as Java turns 25, noted Georges Saab, vice president of development for Oracle’s Java Platform Group, in a statement.

          • Solve a real-world problem using Java

            As I wrote in the first two articles in this series, I enjoy solving small problems by writing small programs in different languages, so I can compare the different ways they approach the solution. The example I’m using in this series is dividing bulk supplies into hampers of similar value to distribute to struggling neighbors in your community, which you can read about in the first article in this series.

            In the first article, I solved this problem using the Groovy programming language, which is like Python in many ways, but syntactically it’s more like C and Java. In the second article, I solved it in Python with a very similar design and effort, which demonstrates the resemblance between the languages.

            Now I’ll try it in Java.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Vulkan Portability Extension 1.0 Now Shipping For Expanding Vulkan’s Reach

        The Vulkan Portability Extension (VK_KHR_portability_subset) has been released as part of the effort by The Khronos Group in getting Vulkan running on as many platforms as possible, including the likes of Apple macOS/iOS.

        The VK_KHR_portability_subset extension is about getting Vulkan up and running on non-Vulkan APIs, as opposed to the success we have already seen in areas like getting OpenGL or Direct3D atop Vulkan. The VK_KHR_portability_subset extension makes it easier for the likes of GFX-RS and MoltenVK for getting Vulkan running on platforms like Apple’s operating systems where Vulkan is not supported and thus having to reside on top of say the Apple Metal API.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (inspircd and modsecurity), Fedora (chromium, cryptsetup, gnutls, mingw-libxml2, and seamonkey), openSUSE (ark, chromium, claws-mail, docker-distribution, fossil, hylafax+, inn, knot, libetpan, libjpeg-turbo, libqt4, librepo, libvirt, libxml2, lilypond, mumble, openldap2, otrs, pdns-recursor, perl-DBI, python-Flask-Cors, singularity, slurm_18_08, and virtualbox), SUSE (jasper, less, ovmf, and rubygem-actionview-4_2), and Ubuntu (sa-exim).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Beyond the bang-bang: Reporting from the front lines of peace

        But it isn’t. Which is why we’re launching a new series, reporting from the front lines of peace. We’ll report on how atrocities can be prevented, how societies can be made more resilient, and how peace can be sustainably built.

        In short, we’re looking at the flipside of humanitarian disaster: attempts at healing and redemption with a focus on the “triple nexus”: the fusion of peace work, development, and humanitarianism.

        Below, we introduce you to some of the people our reporters have met, offering their unique take on what peace means for them. You can also click through a graphic that tots up the number of agreements around the world (the huge number is both positive and alarming). And take a look at our “war and peace, defined” section – explaining some of the ideas you might find in our coverage.

      • Overlapping crises in Lebanon fuel a new migration to Cyprus

        Driven by increasingly desperate economic circumstances and security concerns in the wake of last month’s Beirut port explosion, a growing number of people are boarding smugglers’ boats in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli bound for Cyprus, an EU member state around 160 kilometres away by sea.

        The uptick was thrown into sharp relief on 14 September when a boat packed with 37 people was found adrift off the coast of Lebanon and rescued by the marine task force of UNIFIL, a UN peacekeeping mission that has operated in the country since 1978. At least six people from the boat died, including two children, and six are missing at sea.

        Between the start of July and 14 September, at least 21 boats left Lebanon for Cyprus, according to statistics provided by the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. This compares to 17 in the whole of 2019. The majority of this year’s trips have happened since 29 August.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Estuary Education Goes Virtual

          Each year as many as 90,000 students visit the 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves on field trips, summer camps, and other educational programs. But this year has been different. To continue giving children the environmental education experience, reserve staff got creative, developing robust virtual educational programs and activities for children, teachers, and the homeschooling parents.

          California’s Elkhorn Slough Reserve, for instance, posts “walk-abouts” to take children on virtual trail tours to introduce them to wildlife and plants. Students can also use the web cameras to participate in this reserve’s sea otter monitoring program.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Patent case: EPA-Vertreter, Germany

          The FCJ confirmed that the costs of the participation of a European Patent Attorney (Professional Representative before the EPO) in a patent case before the German civil courts are always recoverable from the losing party pursuant to sec. 143 (3) Patent Act.

        • Keeping up with German patent litigation: Half-year case law review 2020

          Finding it difficult to keep up with an ever-changing world in the midst of a health, environmental, social and political crisis, while keeping up with patent law? Do not worry, the IPKat is doing a series of half-yearly “catch-ups” of the main European patent law jurisdictions before we all start a new “school year”. In this post, the Kat’s friend Arnold Ruess in Germany in the form of Dr Lisa Schneider report on the first half of this year’s patent cases in Germany.

          Over to Lisa for her view from Germany:
          “Like in the Netherlands and the UK, COVID-19 also impacted the German courts. After being closed for some time and only conducting essential oral hearings, the courts are now trying to catch up. The German courts are becoming increasingly familiar with video conferencing tools. Even if counsel can be physically present in the hearing, the parties themselves may not be able to travel and therefore follow the hearing from abroad using video conferencing tools.

          2020 definitely is a FRAND year also in Germany. In Sisvel v. Haier the Federal Court of Justice gave its first FRAND ruling since Huawei v. ZTE. It does seem that SEP-holders are making up ground in Germany. Several injunctions have been granted this year and there may be more to come. On the other hand the German patent law is under legislative review, with the role of proportionality in injunctive relief being highly controversial.

          Patent law also keeps the Federal Constitutional Court busy. Eventually the UPC ratification was found unconstitutional and has to start from the beginning. Haier filed a constitutional complaint against the Federal Court of Justice ruling and last but not least the Federal Constitutional Court raises concerns on ex parte injunctions in IP law.

          [...]

          In several press law cases the Federal Constitutional Court has criticised courts for issuing preliminary injunctions without hearing the defendant. Two decisions were already handed down in 2018 (1 BvR 1783/17 and 1 BvR 2421/17). Three more decisions followed this year (1 BvR 1246/20, 1 BvR 1379/20, 1 BvR 1380/20). In two cases the court even lifted the PIs.

          The Federal Constitutional Court established that for reasons of “procedural equality of arms” (zivilprozessuale Waffengleichheit) an injunction in general must not be issued without hearing the defendant. The civil procedure rules allow for making decisions without having an oral hearing in urgent cases. However, this does not justify that the defendant is not heard at all.

          So far there is no decision on whether the same applies in patent law cases. The second decision this year was an unfair competition case and the court actually decided not to accept the constitutional complaint. It held that established principles generally also apply in unfair competition law and that there is no need for further guidance by the Federal Constitutional Court. With regard to Art. 9(4) of the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EG) and whether it requires the availability of ex parte relief the court held that there is no need for a decision on the issue in this case either, since the directive does not apply to §3a Act against Unfair Competition (Breach of law).

          It is also uncertain whether a protective letter can constitute a “hearing of the defendant”. In one of the press law cases, the applicant sent a warning letter before filing for a preliminary injunction. The defendant responded to this warning letter and also filed a protective letter. The court lifted the PI and argued that the application went beyond the warning letter and was much more detailed. A procedural involvement of the other party may only be replaced by a pre-litigation warning letter, if this warning letter and the PI application are identical (and any reply by the other party is made available to the court).”

        • PTAB Decision Denying Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 1 in CRISPR Interference

          The Board is direct in denying Broad’s Motion No. 1, saying they have not been persuaded by Broad’s arguments. Because the Board dissolved the ’048 interference because there was no interference-in-fact, that judgment “neither cancel[ed] nor finally refuse[d] either parties’ claims,” citing its Judgment. Accordingly, in the Board’s view, “the resolution at the end of the ’048 interference was that interference between the claims presented at that time did not deprive either party of its claims.” Broad’s estoppel arguments are based on CVC losing rights to claims directed to eukaryotic embodiments of CRISPR; in the Board’s view, the basis for its decision in the ’048 Interference is contrary to Broad’s characterization.

          Turning to specifics, the Board addressed Broad’s contention that Rule 127(a)(1) mandated its request relief. The Board disagreed, noting that “[t]he prior CVC claims did not interfere with Broad’s claims, whereas Broad does not contest that the currently involved CVC claims do.” Accordingly, “it is not clear that the subject matter of the interference is the same, even if the subject matter of Broad’s claims is the same.” Evidentiarily, the Board’s decision states that “Broad fails to provide a sufficient comparison of the subject matter of the two interferences to persuade us that the current interference is, or will be, the same subject matter of the ’048 interference and will raise the same issues.” Specifically, the Board notes that “Broad fails to compare the count in the current interference, or Broad’s proposed counts, with either parties’ claims in the prior interference” and that “the current count in the current interference recites a limitation on the RNA configuration that is not recited in the count of the ’048 interference.” The Board finds further fault with the Broad’s arguments in support of its motion in that “whether the prior count and the current count are drawn to the same subject matter is a disputed issue, which is not sufficiently addressed in Broad’s Motion 1.”

          Turning to Broad’s argument that CVC is estopped under Rule 127(a)(1) because Junior Party did not request authorization to file a motion to add eukaryotic CRISPR embodiment claims in the ’048 Interference, the Board agreed with CVC’s argument that the first sentence of Rule 127(a)(1) does not mention estoppel, and that sentence is limited to decisions “disposing all issues of the proceeding.” A holding of no interference-in-fact, according to the Board, disposes of no issues other than whether there is an interference-in-fact and thus Rule 127(a)(1) does not apply. Indeed, such a finding precludes the Board from deciding any other issue, states the opinion, citing Berman v. Housey, 291 F.3d 1345, 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2002). Similarly unpersuasive was Broad’s citation of PTO comments during the Notice-and-Comment period related to adoption of the current interference rules, because those comments were directed to interferences directed to the same subject matter and “Broad fails to persuade us that the current interference is for the same subject matter as the prior ’048 interference.” And while not expressly agreeing with CVC, the Board cites the MPEP consistent with CVC’s argument that “there is no losing party” resulting from a determination of no interference-in-fact.

        • Software Patents

          • Omnitek Partners patent challenged as likely invalid

            On September 18, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,224,569, owned by Omnitek Partners LLC, an NPE. The ’569 patent is generally directed towards a method for generating and displaying driving directions. The patent is currently being asserted in litigation against Ford, GM, Here Global B.V., Mazda, Toyota, Volvo, Apple, and Alpine Electronics.

      • Trademarks

        • Guest Post: Appeals to the Appointed Person in the UK – the unappealing truth (part 2)

          In O/267/20, British American Tobacco (“BAT”) applied to register the mark PODS in relation to cigarettes and other goods and this application was opposed by JT International SA (another tobacco company). The application was opposed under sections 3(1)(b), 3(1)(c) and 3(1)(d) Trade Marks Act 1994.

          The Hearing Officer found that the term “cigarettes” encompassed “e-cigarettes” and went on to consider the extent to which the term “pods” was used descriptively in relation to e-cigarettes. On the basis of that review she found the term “pods” was descriptive and devoid of a distinctive character of “e-cigarettes” and closely related goods and she rejected the application for “cigarettes, tobacco, cigars and cigarillos” goods under s3(1)(b) and (c) but not s3(1)(d). (The application was allowed for some other goods such as lighters and matches.)

          BAT appealed, essentially on the basis that it was unreasonable to find that the term “cigarettes” encompassed “e-cigarettes”. Both parties had submitted evidence in the proceedings but not on this point (and neither party addressed the point in their submissions). The Hearing Officer did not give any explanation for the reasoning which led her to conclude that “cigarettes” encompassed “e-cigarettes” and this lack of reasoning, taken together with the fact that the parties had not been asked to address this crucial issue, led Amanda Michaels, sitting as the AP, to the conclusion that this was an appealable error. Ms Michaels referred the case back to the Registry to reconsider this issue, noting that the parties may wish to file additional evidence.

          [...]

          In relation to the average consumer, the Hearing Officer found the average consumer comprised two groups – ordinary members of the public and businesses. Concerning the level of attention that would be applied by the average consumer when purchasing the goods – ceramic floor coverings and tiles – the Hearing Officer stated:

          “The contested goods will vary in price depending on the size and nature of the area to be tiled especially as some commercial projects have very specific technical requirements such as water repellence or other safety concerns. As such I would expect a normal to high level of attention will be paid during the purchasing process …”

          It was accepted by the AP that the Hearing Officer did not appear to feed this finding of two groups of purchasers and different levels of attention into her global determination of likelihood of confusion and this constituted an appealable error.

          The decision was also found to be deficient in relation to the Hearing Officer’s assessment of aural similarity, the Hearing Officer did not correctly consider the alternative ways in which the Applicant’s mark could be pronounced and, separately, the Hearing Officer failed to consider whether the distinctive character of the earlier trademarks had been enhanced through use. In that regard the Hearing Officer said:

          “The opponent’s marks are invented words which have no meaning in relation to the goods, so I consider them to be inherently distinctive to a very high degree. I have considered the evidence filed on this case showing use of the earlier marks, but in my view, this does not put the opponent in any stronger position with regard to the distinctiveness of the earlier marks.”

Guest Post: The Worrying State of Political Judgement in Free Software Communities

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:17 am by Guest Editorial Team

Original version in Spanish, to be found here

Banco en Argentina

Summary: A look at what Mozilla has become and what that teaches us about the Web and about software

A

month ago, David Teller published a blog entry explaining in great detail the process behind the controversial XUL+XPCOM elimination from Firefox upon its “57″ version being released.

That decision, as I was saying, was controversial because it implied losing the huge add-on ecosystem Firefox had: one of the main reasons for using Firefox in the first place, instead of just using Google Chrome. And it was so controversial that, in fact, there are still people who are angry about it three years later, even though these people just stopped using Firefox back then. In my echo chamber, everybody saw the move as a shot in Mozilla’s own foot. And the reasons justifying the move were the ones we’re getting used to in contemporary informatics: “speed”, “security”, and “what users want”.

That last part may be a bit unfair, because a good chunk of the justifications were about the many difficulties Mozilla had to face in order to continue to sustain Firefox development. But my point is that those difficulties will be there no matter what they choose, and that’s why I’ve excluded development from that list. Maybe there’s a whole other debate to be found in all this, but it is not the one I’m interested in right now, and so I just let the issue be dealt with here.

“That looks a lot like what started to happen in the late ’90s with the Windows ecosystem.”Teller’s post tells us stuff about historical details of XUL+XPCOM, things that happened around the Web, and the problems Mozilla has faced while sustaining Firefox, in the face of a migration towards another system as was widely decided. His post is excellent and definitely a recommended read — so much is like this, that it became a somewhat popular focal point and an object of debate, getting to have a comment section at least as interesting as the post itself. Now, for a few weeks I wanted to write about it…

I’ll get right to the point: Teller wrote about “competing with Chrome” in his post, and different people argued about that. It got up to a point that Teller ended up editing the article (with an edition note at the end), replacing the “competing with Chrome” phrase with “as fast, as stable and as secure as Chrome”. And I believe this detail is in the core of a very general problem.

One can see, for example, that the first comment available is from Jeremy Andrews, who maintains Pale Moon in Solaris. And Andrews argues against this idea of “competing with Chrome”, on “why would somebody do something other than competing with Chrome”. He says the following:

(…) I’m doing it for the people that have been left behind since about 2007 when the iPhone and Facebook changed the world. The people that still mostly use their desktop PCs and like being able to tweak or customize everything. People who largely feel that they’re being asked to accept that the freedom and choice of the early Internet is being phased out in favor of security, top-down decision making, centralization, and lack of real choices. (…)

Daniel Eriksson then responds this other commentary:

(…) Up until 2010 I was always excited about new technology since it always gave me new possibilities and made it possible to do more in a way that suited me, and then that changed. Now I worry about new releases of software, fearing what useful function or option might have been taken away this time. (…)

That looks a lot like what started to happen in the late ’90s with the Windows ecosystem. Who didn’t start to keep old installers from previous versions, or even portable versions (which back then was just copying the install directory), because new versions were a problem in many ways? I must still have (somewhere) some CDs with a Winamp 2 configured as I pleased, because newer versions were crashy and asked for extra resources. And this practice (keeping old versions) entered in times of crisis when a thousand bits and stuff suddenly had online installers and dependencies, and thus version checks or even protocol changes made it stop working, leaving no other choice but to install newer versions. And this kind of stuff is happening in Free Software today: with “user-friendly” Gnome using UIs (or even program names) that are every day becoming more dumbed-down while breaking old stuff, hellish dependencies at the heart of entire systems (I’m looking at you systemd), QT going private, x86 being deprecated as if it were no longer in use anywhere… and, of course, an obese World Wide Web that no longer allows you to read a simple blog entry in a netbook given so much JavaScript for notifications and tracking. Not a good path.

“Let’s please keep aside for a while the whole privacy issue in this, as it’s absolutely secondary to my argument: the problem here is political and epistemic.”But the “competing with Chrome” mention raised a debate full of exchanges that I recommend you check out. I’m interested in the justification behind “competing with Chrome”: telemetry. I’m not sure if that’s a technical or a commercial name for the thing, but it means “data from the users”. Let’s please keep aside for a while the whole privacy issue in this, as it’s absolutely secondary to my argument: the problem here is political and epistemic.

Epistemic, because all evaluation criteria for reality is being contrasted against data clouds that replace it. Political, because I suspect this is at the core of all the bad changes in last few years in software communities in general, and Free software in particular.

As a programmer, and as a person of science, I understand the value of data. But as an activist, and as a person of art, I also understand its limits. Data is just a single ingredient of several ingredients needed when constructing a map of reality. The others need to be taken at least with the same priority as data. Today, in every aspect of technology, and even in sciences as well, we seem to be living within some spiral and recursive tendency between the act of compiling data and generating any idea of possible future around it. And this is seductive, not just because data is powerful and a thing of our times, but also because it heals or even resurrects our devastated modern search of objectivity: that security which only some unquestionably legit truth can give in order to guide us across the ocean of uncertainties that is the future. Data brings access to a very peculiar way of truth: Aletheia.

“What does Mozilla need telemetry for? And looking at this from the “competing with Chrome” perspective, much more than “what users want”, what this question seems to bring about is, “Mozilla wants to behave like Google”.”But it’s a mirage that previous generations already faced, at the same time they rediscovered how possible worlds and possible futures are also linked with hopes, ethics, and principles, that can and sometimes should take a distance from data instead of embracing what it says. And here’s where politics and art have some lessons to teach.

There are the bias issues. Yet, very frequently bias is evaluated as a defect in judgment, which has the consequence of getting away from objectivity; and I’m more likely trying to vindicate it. Biases do exist, and even when it’s true that biases have palliatives, they don’t translate data into full objectivity either. When we add to that the detail that software development is not necessarily a science, there’s room for the question of what’s the deal with the presentation of objectivity in data, or even data itself.

What does Mozilla do? With its software, with its users, with the data…

What does Mozilla need telemetry for? And looking at this from the “competing with Chrome” perspective, much more than “what users want”, what this question seems to bring about is, “Mozilla wants to behave like Google”. And this is troubling. But not because of “data privacy” (the boogeyman of contemporary progressives in informatics), but because it’s politically aberrant for Mozilla’s history.

Mozilla is supposed to be a non-profit foundation, that used to be a champion of a free web and a great empowerer of users. Mozilla was the one rising up and fighting against Microsoft on the Web, achieving what was the utterly unlikely outcome back then — a triumph that is invaluable today: making the Web not Microsoft-centered. Firefox fought against Internet Explorer in an endurance battle for an entire decade, until Apple and Google entered the ring and finished any hope of Microsoft controlling the Web, for good. And also, let us remember the days when all of us had to make our web pages IE6-compatible, when banks and state offices were forcing us to use IE to access their systems, when a good chunk of the Internet didn’t work without Windows-dependant plugins, or how close we were to get that horrible ending, how lunatic it sounded for a state or any other future. We owe to Mozilla our eternal gratitude and respect for having battled that battle in the way it did. Damn… we should have epic songs about it, for future generations to remember.

For a time (that lasted years), Google recommended Mozilla Firefox for their Web sites, un-recommending that way Internet Explorer. Eventually Google Chrome appeared, based on Safari’s code, for only years later having its own engine/code. Google then started to centralise more and more its Web operations around Chrome — to the point where today it is the de-facto new IE (and, not-so-ironically, even the renamed IE now has Google’s code). But today, unlike back then against Microsoft, Mozilla seems to want to follow Google’s steps instead of fighting it: it takes their browser as a reference instead of having a critical stance. And in the middle of that scene is… data: something that back then didn’t exist, at least not in the way we know it today.

And the thing is, data effectively indicates that users prefer Google Chrome. But that happens in the same way that data from 20 years ago would have suggested the same about IE. Most likely it would also tell us that IE was faster than Firefox here and there (like starting up, as it was integrated well within the OS), or even that the infinite technical problems IE had could not matter less to people (given that IE was used for a much longer time than it should have been tolerated by anyone, and not precisely because of “user experience” or any other metric like that). I’m sure many of us had friends who used the web without ad blockers, and thus they experienced that as the only way there was to use the web, and of course they do that with Google Chrome. And, yeah, I know that counts as “data”. But it’s kinda pointless for what we want from the Web, isn’t it?

However, my problem is not that there can be biases in the interpretation of data: my problem is the actual interpretation Mozilla chooses. Because 20 years ago Firefox would have interpreted “we need to do something against Google Chrome, or it will swallow the whole web in its culture otherwise”; and today it reads like, “we need to be like Google Chrome”.

And here’s where we need to look at Mozilla from some safe distance. Because that blog entry from Teller was posted on the same week Mozilla was laying off hundreds of people. And this post of mine is being written the same week Mozilla cancels yet another couple (two) of services. And this, of course, is deeply related to Teller’s mentions of development and maintenance costs, as stated in his post.

Mozilla is behaving much more like a for-profit business rather than a non-profit foundation. It looks at data in the same way any other enterprise: looking for revenue. It’s sharing the same biases private business do, because it is following the line of “where and how” to make money; and that logic always points to hegemonies to the detriment of minorities (with the notary exception of economic elites).

“Mozilla is behaving much more like a for-profit business rather than a non-profit foundation. It looks at data in the same way any other enterprise: looking for revenue.”And the thing is, the problem is real. This financing problems, and the costs of operation once reaching a certain scale, are not problems experienced exclusively by Mozilla. It’s the same thing that leads Canonical to making deals with Microsoft, then Red Hat being sold to IBM, and the deplorable current state of the Linux Foundation. All free software communities are — year by year — more besieged by financing needs, as the direct result of their operations’ scale/growth. This is because Free software had indeed won many battles, maybe even entire wars, and this is the cost of those triumphs: this is the logic of centrality in capitalism, that free software communities in general don’t seem to be facing as a crucial issue.

However, I expect more from Mozilla, and there’s this point where I start to seriously worry. Because Mozilla is a political reference, and clearly it doesn’t seem to find a way around this. Let me take a deviation for a few seconds, so I can put it in terms of concrete examples.

I know nobody who turns their cable or ADSL modem off during nighttime, or ever. That means that, even when it’s not being actively used, unlike in the dial-up times, our houses are all day long connected to the Internet. That means they’re basically a little potential datacentre. What stops us from serving contents from our very houses? Technologically, the changes needed are almost silly; the real limitation is entirely cultural. And that culture leads us to that; any common person, or even advanced user, today can’t have a clear idea of where to go if they wished to have their own Web site somewhere. In the same way, it’s frequently argued that the “Internet isn’t free” and that it has maintenance/infrastructure costs for being like we know it: fast, 24/7 online, accessible from all around the world, etc. Yet, why does the Internet has to be like that? Why can’t there be Web sites that work just under/during certain hour ranges, like any other human operation that precisely gets cut in time periods in order so save costs and to respect sane work conditions? Why couldn’t my personal Web site work only when I say so, from time x to time y, which is basically when I turn on and off my personal computer inside my house? Why should I guarantee that somebody from Hong Kong or Norway or Ethiopia can connect to my Web site, if I couldn’t care less about the ability to make it happen? Why can’t my Web site be available only to a certain local community that I choose, while having the option of also hosting my site internationally on Amazon or Google or whatever? And why does everything have to be fast? What’s the big deal with waiting for 30 seconds or even a minute in order to access some content, if the important thing there is the content (and not its speed)?

More very basic ideas: the Web is obese, let’s make it lose weight. Why can’t there be other mainstream hypertext languages, more text and styling focused (instead of “structure”) and less complicated to maintain for browser makers? Why not wind up having as a parameter “it must work well in third world countries” or “in 15 years old hardware”, rather than being all the time behind every silly novelty for-profit business make? Isn’t it true that out there exist millions and millions of people in need of stuff like that, given that the thing now seems to be to looking for “data” and “markets”?

“Mozilla’s case is representative and symptomatic: it’s conceiving the Web as an space for market before culture; or even worse, reducing culture to market.”These are fast, accessible, almost silly questions, with very simple answers, which give different ideas corresponding to many different futures for the Web. Apply those same questions to our messaging services, e.g. “who compiles which data through which means and towards what ends”, or “how do we get informed about what stuff, et cetera.” Anybody can think of stuff like this. However, Mozilla, one of our champions of old in the defense and creation of a user-oriented Web, an organization that could be working on stuff like this and easily get results in the shortest time, today puts its efforts into trying to do what Google does. And that’s in a big way just because it has bills to pay. But also there’s a lot of it because of the people that form the Mozilla teams, and the people that form our communities; because in the last 20 years lots of people got inside, and even lots of younger people from a whole different generation. That means people with very different cultural and political formation, which not only generates dissent and needs but also shifts from original or foundational principles. From there, things start to operate with lots of human factors, but it’s also a strong vector of corporate cultural influence. That way, we suddenly have lots of people thinking that Microsoft “is no longer evil”, that increasing speed in things is a need, that we must face politics with a frenetic impetus that leads to very little space for critical reflection (and thus things from ultrapolarization to the RMS cancellation), and that frequently confuses or conflates “novelty” with “progress”.

Mozilla’s case is representative and symptomatic: it’s conceiving the Web as an space for market before culture; or even worse, reducing culture to market. When one does that, what such bias cuts off are many absolutely crucial facts to think about when envisioning a better future Internet, and even better informatics in general. Facts like that are important to many, many of us, who do our stuff without any lucrative spirit, “for free” (as in both free beer and freedom), and that’s most likely a very good and large chunk of current informatics which work well because of that. Facts like “profit logic” are not the only a human logic, and there’s room-full of people all around the world very eager to work on thousands of initiatives, if the conditions are adequate, and without meaning important costs for Mozilla; and that logic, which is very closely related to Free Software history, looks much more closely into the works of activists and artists rather than “producers” or “employees”. Facts like that include the observation that the Internet from 20 years ago was very different, and today we have other big players involved: today, access to the Internet is legally considered a right all around the world. Why doesn’t Mozilla focus on working closer to or more closely with nation states as a revenue source, while working on lots of initiatives related to technology rights, and generating “data” from that other perspective? Apply that to Latin America (where I’m from) and we’re talking about hundreds of millions of people (not at all a small “market”) who also need “solutions” (and not in a commercial sense), and moreover don’t have the same problems as people from the US (which I guess may be the main origin of all the data Mozilla gets from telemetry). Wasn’t the Internet an international thing? Right? Then why are Internet not-for-profit organizations behaving like the whole world needs another Google? Why not even reach out to the UN in order to get funding, in exchange for work on human rights initiatives related to the Internet? The Internet is a thing of relevance to the UN since decades ago (until now), and Mozilla has a curriculum to show off.

From that point of view, the very real financial need looks more like an excuse, and the problem is the political path they’re taking much more ferociously, even before the financing factor. And this is a critique that also applies to any Free Software community. The “as in free beer” is not just a clarification, nor a joke: wherever the money comes from is a big problem, and a political one. Because if we’re slaves to money, when our software gets into the news, then the next step is to become another monster; “not-as-in-free-beer” looks like a very shy way of saying “for-profit”. And this thing will keep on happening again and again and again, until we as the community face the very core problem of our relation with capitalism itself, and perhaps the question of what our stance on it actually is. I believe this is part of the crisis Free Software is dealing with right now.

“…any financing or initiative evaluation has to come with political principles as parameters.”But there’s room for a clarification here, regarding Mozilla. Asking Mozilla to come to Argentina to fix our informatics problems is unfair and absolutely out of place: it should be Argentinian groups — the ones reaching out to Mozilla if they want that to happen. Yet, that “competing with Chrome” impetus from Teller’s article gets Mozilla very far away from any possibility of dialogue with any actor other than an economic leviathan: because that’s against what it’s pretending to compare itself. When the enemy was Internet Explorer, even when it’s true that Firefox worked notably better, that wasn’t the reason all of us Mozilla promoters defended it for, but its role in a better future for the web. Today, when I CAN’T honestly say something like “Chrome works better than Firefox” (as “better” is a much different concept than “some animations are smoother”), it seems that “working better” is the only metric to look at. And that is not the case. That’s wrong, actually.

The thing happening with Mozilla then is something to worry about, because it looks to me like the same as what happened to other references from older ages. And this is something that has a solution in politics rather than in software or in money. Our communities need referents, with a clear political vision, showing the way: any financing or initiative evaluation has to come with political principles as parameters. And this is especially needed in order to guide all the youngsters wanting to be a part of their generational changes: an absolutely necessary guide if we don’t want things like the cancellation of Stallman to happen again in some other way (that brutal disinformation campaign from enemies of free software was successful and effective among younger people, and we didn’t had a strong and sound response from Free Software referents in defense of RMS). Our communities and political organizations just CANNOT be SO sensible to corporate influence, and while that keeps happening there’s no debate about any software or any “data” that could protect us from the next corporate operation against our rights. We need guiding words for organizing resistance, much more quickly (faster) and much ahead or before our need for financing.

As a closing note, just as an observation, I believe it is pretty much graphical why I’m writing this. I read that Teller’s post during my lunchtime break on a working day, and I tried to write a quick response in the comments section. Then I happened to realise that the blog had Medium as their comments technology; and I happen to have a Medium account that I actually think I created to answer another Mozilla employee’s blog post, only some years ago but didn’t remember the password. So I asked for a password reset, and hoped to let the thing work for another time (when I get the password/access back). Two days later, after several tries, I still didn’t have my password, so I gave up and went to use a third party ID service: Medium offered Twitter and Google, as well as several other options. I also have a Twitter account that I never use, so I choose that; but at login time, Twitter told me that Medium “needed” to access some private data of mine — stuff that I don’t remember right now (or cannot recall exactly what was it), but I do remember it was scandalous: something like “my private messages”, or “my contacts list”, or stuff like that, which in no way I would have allowed. So I went back to log in with a Google account, which I also almost never use, and this time Google offered me two links about privacy policies and data collection that I frankly just ignored while feeling defeat. By that time, Teller’s post was already edited — specifically the the part that I wanted to comment on (the one about “competing with Chrome”), and so I had to change my comment before posting it. But even then something else happened: the next day I went to check if anybody answered my comment, but the comment just wasn’t there. I published it, and it wasn’t anything rude so I don’t think it got moderated, so it had to be shadowbanned in some way: I didn’t bother to log in again and check it out.

So, here’s my point: if for having a dialog with somebody from Mozilla I have to enter into a blog hosted in GitHub (Microsoft), allowing a third party to access my data (Medium), to even having to log in to that third party system using another third party credentials (Twitter or Google), and even then end up censored somehow… if Mozilla’s people don’t see a problem there, or ever tried to say something about “what people do” or “what data tells” in front of that… then I’m afraid we should be very worried about the state of political judgement in our political organizations.

Links 21/9/2020: KTechLab 0.50.0, Linux 5.9 RC6

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 155

        We try out the new GNOME “Orbis” release and chat about Microsoft’s new Linux kernel patches that make it clear Windows 10 is on the path to a hybrid Windows/Linux system.

        Plus, the major re-architecture work underway for Chrome OS with significant ramifications for Desktop Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.9-rc6
        Another week, another rc, and things look fairly normal: the diffstat
        looks fairly flat (implying small changes) and we don't have any
        unusual amount of activity.
        
        The one thing that does show up in the diffstat is the softscroll
        removal (both fbcon and vgacon), and there are people who want to save
        that, but we'll see if some maintainer steps up. I'm not willing to
        resurrect it in the broken form it was in, so I doubt that will happen
        in 5.9, but we'll see what happens.
        
        The other stats also look normal: about 60% of the patch is drivers
        (and yes, the softscroll is a noticeable part, but not overwhelmingly
        so - there's sound, gpu, mtd, i2c, usb etc). And the usual arch
        updates, along with some vm fixes (including the fix for the
        performance regression noted last rc) and perf tooling updates.
        
        We also have a (test regression (not the performance one) in the VM
        that we know about - the test that triggers this was admittedly buggy,
        but if the test was buggy it is quite possible that real uses are
        buggy too. We don't actually have any known case of any such real user
        breakage, but we do have a nice fix for the test regression that is
        very  much the RightThing(tm) to do in the long run, so that has been
        actively discussed.
        
        We know what the fix looks like, and a few initial patches have been
        floating around, but a final patch doesn't exist yet, and depending on
        how that goes this might be something that pushes out the final 5.9 by
        a week. We'll see.
        
        So there's still some development going on, but honestly, that VM case
        is a very odd corner case that normal users should never hit, so it
        should not keep anybody from testing this in the meantime.
        
        Holler if you see anything odd,
        
                          Linus
        
      • Linux 5.9-rc6 Released With Soft Scrollback Removed, Performance Regression Fixed

        The sixth weekly release candidate to Linux 5.9 is now available with at least two notable changes in particular.

        Prominent in Linux 5.9-rc6 is the fix for the previously reported performance regression hitting 5.9. In case you missed it from the end of last week, see the article on controlling page lock unfairness as part of addressing the performance regression. That code is now in Linux 5.9-rc6 and the performance is back on track with Linux 5.8 while I will have out more benchmark numbers soon on the revised Linux 5.8 vs. 5.9 performance state.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.9-rc6

        The 5.9-rc6 kernel prepatch is out.

      • AMD and Intel

        • Linux 5.10 Adding Support For AMD Zen 3 CPU Temperature Monitoring

          The next version of the Linux kernel will allow monitoring temperatures of the upcoming AMD Zen 3 processors.

          While CPU temperature monitoring support may seem mundane and not newsworthy, what makes this Zen 3 support genuinely interesting is that it’s coming pre-launch… This is the first time in the AMD Zen era we are seeing CPU temperature reporting added to the Linux driver pre-launch. Not only is it coming ahead of the CPUs hitting retail channels but the support was added by AMD engineers.

        • FFmpeg Now Supports GPU Inference With Intel’s OpenVINO

          Earlier this summer Intel engineers added an OpenVINO back-end to the FFmpeg multimedia framework. OpenVINO as a toolkit for optimized neural network performance on Intel hardware was added to FFmpeg for the same reasons there is TensorFlow and others also supported — support for DNN-based video filters and other deep learning processing.

        • Intel SGX Enclave Support Sent Out For Linux A 38th Time

          For years now Intel Linux developers have been working on getting their Software Guard Extensions (SGX) support and new SGX Enclave driver upstreamed into the kernel. SGX has been around since Skylake but security concerns and other technical reasons have held up this “SGX Foundations” support from being mainlined. There has also been an apparent lack of enthusiasm by non-Intel upstream kernel developers in SGX. This past week saw the 38th revision to the patches in their quest to upstreaming this support for handling the Memory Encryption Engine (MEE) and relates SGX infrastructure.

          [...]

          The Intel SGX foundations v38 code can be found via the kernel mailing list. The Linux 5.10 merge window is opening up next month but remains to be seen if it will be queued for this next cycle or further dragged out into 2021.

        • Intel SGX foundations
          Intel(R) SGX is a set of CPU instructions that can be used by applications
          to set aside private regions of code and data. The code outside the enclave
          is disallowed to access the memory inside the enclave by the CPU access
          control.
          
          There is a new hardware unit in the processor called Memory Encryption
          Engine (MEE) starting from the Skylake microacrhitecture. BIOS can define
          one or many MEE regions that can hold enclave data by configuring them with
          PRMRR registers.
          
          The MEE automatically encrypts the data leaving the processor package to
          the MEE regions. The data is encrypted using a random key whose life-time
          is exactly one power cycle.
          
          The current implementation requires that the firmware sets
          IA32_SGXLEPUBKEYHASH* MSRs as writable so that ultimately the kernel can
          decide what enclaves it wants run. The implementation does not create
          any bottlenecks to support read-only MSRs later on.
          
          You can tell if your CPU supports SGX by looking into /proc/cpuinfo:
          
          	cat /proc/cpuinfo  | grep sgx
          
    • Applications

      • Best Torrent Clients for Linux

        This article will cover various free and open source Torrent clients available for Linux. The torrents clients featured below have nearly identical feature sets. These features include support for magnet links, bandwidth control tools, tracker editing, encryption support, scheduled downloading, directory watching, webseed downloads, peer management, port forwarding and proxy management. Unique features of individual torrents clients are stated in their respective headings below.

      • Best Free and Open Source Terminal Session Recording

        The vast majority of computer users depend on a graphical user interface, and fear the command line. However, the command line holds significant power and versatility. Commands issued from a shell offer system administrators a quick and easy way to update, configure and repair a system.

        The benefits of the command line are not only confined to system administration. The ability to transverse the file system quickly, give more information about files and directories, automate tasks, bring together the power of multiple console tools in a single command line, and run shell scripts are just a few examples of how the command line can offer a potent, multifarious toolbox.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Week report 0

          Hello every one in the KDE planet and beyond, this is the progress weekly report on O².

          So The week surprisingly started Monday and after the initial chock and accompanying usual work day at KDAB, I decided to do a little bit of progress on O² style mock ups…

        • Announcing KTechLab 0.50.0

          I’m happy to announce KTechLab release version 0.50.0. KTechLab is an IDE for microcontrollers and electronics. In this new release every user-visible functionality is the same as in previous releases, however, the codebase of KTechLab has been updated, so now it is a KF5/Qt5 application and it does not depend anymore on KDELibs4Support libraries.

          This release should compile and run on systems where KDELibs4Support libraries are not available.

          In its current state KTechLab’s codebase is ready for fixes and enhancements, as it only depends on modern libraries like KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5) and Qt5. As a side note, KF6 and Qt6 have been announced, and the first release of Qt6 has been scheduled to the end of 2020.

        • KTechLab git master doesn’t depend on deprecated Qt5/KF5 API anymore

          KTechLab git master doesn’t depend anymore on deprecated Qt5/KF5 APIs. Thank you for everybody who made this possible!

          Using only up-to-date APIs should help with long-term maintenance of KTechLab and probably it helps distributors of KTechLab, too.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Matthias Clasen: GtkColumnView

          One thing that I left unfinished in my recent series on list views and models in GTK 4 is a detailed look at GtkColumnView. This will easily be the most complicated part of the series. We are entering into the heartland of GtkTreeView—anything aiming to replace most its features will be a complicated beast.

        • Oculus Rift CV1 progress

          For that video, I had the algorithm implemented as a GStreamer plugin that ran offline to process a recording of the device movements. I’ve now merged it back into OpenHMD, so it runs against the live camera data. When it runs in OpenHMD, it also has access to the IMU motion stream, which lets it predict motion between frames – which can help with retaining the tracking lock when the devices move around.

        • Keep Tabs on Your To-Do Lists With This GNOME Extension

          Task Widget is an open source GNOME extension that shows your to-do list embedded in the GNOME message tray (also known as the calendar or notification shade). This widget area displays your pending to-do items, and lets you check off tasks as you complete them.

          Task Widget is is able to integrate “…with GNOME Online Accounts and a number of GNOME applications, such as Evolution and To Do” but it is is not, by design, intended to replace any of those apps or services.

          Or to put it another way: it’s not a standalone task manager or to-do app. You can’t, for example, add a task from the widget area, or edit one either. You can only mark a task as done (or unmark it as done).

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Garuda Linux 200817

          One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Garuda Linux, an Arch-based distribution that offers several enticing features. By default Garuda is intended to be run on the Btr file system, which offers all sorts of attractive features such as multi-disk storage volumes and snapshots. Btrfs has been paired with Timeshift on Garuda and the system is reported to take automatic snapshots before each package upgrade, making the system much easier to recover. I especially like the idea of having automated filesystem snapshots on a rolling release distribution such as Arch. The openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release has offered automatic snapshots of the system prior to upgrades for a while now and it is nice to see this feature catching on in other projects.

          The Garuda distribution ships with the Calamares system installer to make setting up the operating system easier. We are also given a desktop tool for managing drivers and Garuda’s website mentions proprietary NVIDIA video drivers are optionally available. Rounding out some of the key features, Garuda ships with the Zen Linux kernel with the goal of providing better desktop performance.

        • EndeavourOS Review: A Beginner’s Arch Linux Based Distribution

          If you are looking for an Arch-based beginner’s Linux distribution and easier to use and install, offers all possible desktop environments for all of your needs, EndeavourOS is the one.

      • New Releases

        • New EndeavourOS ARM Arrives Along With September ISO Release

          few weeks ago, we reported the arrival of EndeavourOS for ARM computers. Following the same, Bryan Poerwoatmodjo (aka Bryanpwo), founder and project leader at EndeavourOS, has finally launched EndeavourOS ARM.

          [...]

          At last, you can go for the installation, which follows two stages: One for installing Archlinux ARM base, and the second for running a script that guides through the installation process to install EndeavourOS as a Desktop machine or as a headless server.

          For more details about the installation of EndeavourOS ARM, you can head over to the official manual. It also includes a special guide for Pinebook Pro, PINE64, and Rock64 hardware.

        • Linux Weekly Roundup #96

          We didn’t have to many Linux distro releases in this week, only PC Linux OS 2020.09 and 4M Linux 34.0.

      • BSD

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Geniatech XPI 3128 RK3128 SBC is Equipped with an NXP WIFi 5 Module

        Geniatech XPI family of single board computers was first introduced in 2018 with the launch of the XPI-S905X development board following many of Raspberry Pi 3 Model B features and form factor.

        The company has now added another board to the family with XPI 3128 single board computer powered by a Rockchip RK3128 quad-core Cortex-A7 processor coupled with up to 2 GB RAM and 64 GB flash, as well as an NXP WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 module.

      • Cambrionix SyncPad54 USB Hub Offers 56 USB 2.0 Ports

        This week-end FanlessTech posted a tweet about Portwell PEB-9783G2AR Intel Xeon board featuring twenty USB 3.0 Type-A ports. After I retweeted it, some smart asses clever people noted it was just not enough:

      • How coffee makers and teddy bears could be putting your network at risk

        Ever worry that your smart TV might be sending data to someone who shouldn’t be looking at it? Have you ever wondered if your kids’ smart teddy bear is secretly recording them? We get it — cyberattacks are common. But you’re not being paranoid, either. Despite how safe they might seem on the surface, a huge percentage of IoT devices are actually at risk for attack.

        A new security report from Palo Alto Networks tells us that 57% of IoT devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks of “medium to high severity.” That’s well over half of all smart devices out there — and IoT tech isn’t just limited to gadgets anymore, either.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The great filter of open source projects

        So, with the recent layoffs at Mozilla — among other things — a bit of discussion on the sustainability of open source projects has been reignited. There was a wide range of takes: from “FOSS is dead” (no) to “we need to re-decentralize the internet” (yes). I could not quite help putting forth opinions on the matter myself and did so on a short twitter thread. Fundamentally though, the opinions expressed on this matter seem to almost talk past each other — and I think the reasons for this might be found in history of open source(1).

        [...]

        Another — later — project, that I am assuming to have been quite resilient and which I am assuming will continue to be quite resilient is gentoo linux: By requiring users to compile all software themselves, this distribution makes their users either give up on their installs or gets them at least halfway to be packagers (and for a distribution, packagers are contributors) themselves. Also, by not having to deal with binaries, gentoo reduces its infrastructure needs to a minimum. And even while there are some signs of downsizing at gentoo, I am hopeful that the flexibility mentioned above makes gentoo more sustainable and self-reliant than others for quite some time to come.

        [...]

        All of the above projects, commoditized their complements and this allowed users, who were not contributors to still benefit from the work of those who were as these contributors were interested in protecting the complement.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome OS 87 Dev Channel brings working LaCrOS and Nearby Share to Chromebooks

            Can’t wait to try the latest upcoming features of Chrome OS? You’re in luck if those features are LaCrOS and Nearby Share of files to Android phones. The latest Dev Channel for Chrome OS pushes both of these features to your Chromebook in a mostly working state.

            My Chromebook got the Chrome OS 87 Dev Channel upgrade over the weekend and I noticed I could test these features out. If you’re not familiar with them, here’s a short recap.

            [...]

            That will greet you with the Linux version of Chrome, which you can set as your default browser. I wouldn’t recommend that while LaCrOS is in development, but that’s up to you.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 81 Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

            Firefox 81 continues the monthly release cycle and brings a bunch of new features and improvements to make your web browsing experience better, faster, more stable, more secure, and ultimately more enjoyable.

            The biggest new feature in Firefox 81 appears to be new media controls that allow users to control audio and video playback through the hardware media keys on a keyboard, the media keys on a headset, or a virtual media control interface.

            On Linux, this release enables the VA-API/FFmpeg hardware acceleration for video playback by default on systems using the traditional X11/X.Org Server display server.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Hackaday Links: September 20, 2020

            The GNU Radio Conference wrapped up this week, in virtual format as so many other conferences have been this year, and it generated a load of interesting talks. They’ve got each day’s proceedings over on their YouTube channel, so the videos are pretty long; luckily, each day’s stream is indexed on the playbar, so along with the full schedule you can quickly find the talks you’re interested in. One that caught our eye was a talk on the Radio Resilience Competition, a hardware challenge where participants compete head-to-head using SDRs to get signals through in an adversarial environment. It sounds like a fascinating challenge for the RF inclined. More details about registering for the competition can be had on the Radio Resilience website.

      • Programming/Development

        • Ned Batchelder: Scriv

          I’ve written a tool for managing changelog files, called scriv. It focuses on a simple workflow, but with lots of flexibility.

          I’ve long felt that it’s enormously beneficial for engineers to write about what they do, not only so that other people can understand it, but to help the engineers themselves understand it. Writing about a thing gives you another perspective on it, your own code included.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSpdlog 0.0.2: New upstream, awesome new stopwatch

          Following up on the initial RcppSpdlog 0.0.1 release earlier this week, we are pumped to announce release 0.0.2. It contains upstream version 1.8.0 for spdlog which utilizes (among other things) a new feature in the embedded fmt library, namely completely automated formatting of high resolution time stamps which allows for gems like this (taken from this file in the package and edited down for brevity)…

        • Perl/Raku

          • [Perl] Week #078: Leader Element & Left Rotation

            First thing first, I managed to do video session for both tasks this week. It is so satisfying when everything goes as per the plan. For the last couple of weeks, I could only do one video session. One day, I would like to video with PIP. At the moment, I am little uncomfortable showing my face in the video. There is another reason why I can’t do it now. I don’t have my personal office in the house. I have been working from home since mid-March, nearly 6 months, sitting on sofa, 9-5. I must confess it is not easy. I miss my office chair and noise-free environment. I have 3 years twin girls. Luckily the school started last week, I get no-noise moment for few hours during the day. Also this week, I found time to do coding in Swift.

        • Python

          • Searching Greek and Hebrew with regular expressions

            According to the Python Cookbook, “Mixing Unicode and regular expressions is often a good way to make your head explode.” It is thus with fear and trembling that I dip my toe into using Unicode with Greek and Hebrew.

            I heard recently that there are anomalies in the Hebrew Bible where the final form of a letter is deliberately used in the middle of a word. That made me think about searching for such anomalies with regular expressions. I’ll come back to that shortly, but I’ll start by looking at Greek where things are a little simpler.

        • Java

          • Java 15 Gains Garbage Collection, Text Block Features

            Java 15 became generally available on Sept. 15, marking the second release in 2020 of the widely deployed programming language.

            The Java 15 release follows Java 14, which debuted in March, and is noteworthy for a number of improvements, as well as the fact that the release was not delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • All the Options for Schooling Are Bad—But We Have to Choose Safety

        On parents’ impossible decision.

      • Ernő Rubik on why his famous cube is a “metaphor” for the human condition

        In doing so, Rubik makes a number of assertions, each of them quite wise. He insists that “play,” which many adults dismiss as a childish waste of time, is in fact essential to both healthy intellectual development and one’s capacity to produce great things for society. He argues that curiosity is an underrated virtue in our culture, that we should encourage people to seek knowledge simply because it is fun and cathartic rather than on the condition that the information we find yield some monetary reward. Indeed, although he is clearly not a fan of having grown up “within the economic system of state socialism,” Rubik writes that it did bring about the benefit of creating “an overall disregard for financial gain,” meaning that creative people could exercise their intellectual powers as fulfilling ends in their own right.

        Perhaps most tellingly, though, Rubik says that he enjoys “the fact that the Cube is a healthy microcosm of both success and failure.” For him, of course, it was a success in that it made him “comfortably well-off” before he turned 40. Yet even if it had never become a commercial sensation, Rubik writes he still would have considered it an accomplishment for the simple reason that he was able to invent such a successful puzzle. Beyond that, Rubik notes that even people who fail to successfully solve his puzzle still learn from their efforts to do so.

        The following is a transcript of an email interview with Rubik; as always, this interview has been condensed and edited for print.

    • Hardware

      • Softbank’s two major competition cases: Apple-Intel antitrust suit against Fortress, and merger review of Nvidia’s envisioned acquisition of ARM

        Softbank–though huge–was mentioned on this blog for the first time when Intel and Apple brought an antitrust action against its Fortress Investment subsidiary over the industrialized abuse of patents. That case is still pending, and another major competition case involving Softbank is around the corner: its contemplated sale of chip company ARM to Nvidia for $40 bilion is likely to draw regulatory scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions.

        While my focus will definitely remain on App Store antitrust cases (as an app developer and antitrust commentator, I’m doubly interested) and component-level licensing of standard-essential patents, the Apple and Intel v. Fortress litigation and the upcoming Softbank-ARM merger reviews are also worth keeping an eye on. In this post I’d like to share a few observations on both matters.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Haves and the Have-Nots

        By not permitting the United States to participate in Covax, Trump is depriving the WHO effort of funding it desperately needs to develop the vaccine.

      • Trump’s EPA Reauthorizes Use of Herbicide Linked to Congenital Disabilities

        The Trump administration alarmed environmental and public health advocates on Friday with the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reauthorize the use of atrazine, an herbicide common in the United States but banned or being phased out in dozens of countries due to concerns about risks such as congenital disabilities and cancer.

      • What the Flint Water Crisis Meant for My Family

        Take it from me: You don’t want to go through what we did. Every community deserves water, life, and dignity.

      • Upgrading Building Codes Can Curb Drinking Water Contamination Due to Wildfires

        Less than halfway through the 2020 wildfire season, fires are burning large swaths of the western U.S. As in previous years, these disasters have entered populated areas, damaging drinking water networks. Water systems have lost pressure, potentially sucking in pollutants, and several utilities are warning of possible and confirmed chemical contamination.

      • I’m Living in Fear of COVID as New People Get Transferred Into the Prison I’m In

        Washington State’s Department of Corrections (WDOC) is continuing to transfer prisoners between facilities during COVID-19 outbreaks, a practice that public health experts warn dramatically increases the risk of the virus spreading. It matters to me because as an incarcerated individual, the WDOC is responsible for my health and well-being, and it should matter to you, because prisoners can’t protect themselves from the spread of the virus and the impact of infected prisoners goes far beyond the prison walls.

      • Insufficient COVID Protections for Postal Workers Pose Threat to Mail-in Voting

        For months, one postal worker had been doing all she could to protect herself from COVID-19. She wore a mask long before it was required at her plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. She avoided the lunch room, where she saw little social distancing, and ate in her car.

      • Tucker Carlson Cries Censorship After His COVID-19 Posts Flagged as Misinformation by Facebook, Instagram

        On Wednesday, Facebook and Instagram placed warning labels over video posts from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that said, “This post repeats information about COVID-19 that has been reviewed by independent fact-checkers.”

      • Enduring insights into US-China relations

        British China expert Jude Woodward, who sadly passed away recently, had given us the essential The US versus China, Asia’s new cold war? Moreover she left us two documents, which will give us an insight into the true nature of the US-China contradiction in 2020, during and after the COVID-19 crisis as well: the Introduction to the Dutch language edition of her book, published in Belgium (EPO, 2018), and The US offensive against China, her speech at the launch in Brussels, January 2019.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Why you need Apple support to secure the C-suite

          That’s a pattern that continues today. Your employees may not be living like the Jetsons at work, but your CEO, CFO, COO and all the other Cs and near-Cs are far more likely to be giving it a go. Which means your corporate data is already on iPhones, iPads and Macs – and it’s not just any old data: This is the most confidential data your company holds – the information your executive teams use to run the business that pays your team’s wages.

        • Security

          • Open Source Security Poscast Episode 216 – Security didn’t find life on Venus

            Josh and Kurt talk about how we talk about what we do in the context of life on Venus. We didn’t really discover life on Venus, we discovered a gas that could be created by life on Venus. The world didn’t hear that though. We have a similar communication problem in security. How often are your words misunderstood?

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Wayback Machine and Cloudflare Want to Backstop the Web

              The Internet Archive says it welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Cloudflare for Always On. And the organization has recently expanded its focus on website reliability and technical integrity across the web. In February, it announced a project with the Brave browser to offer a recent cache of a website if users run into a 404 error. Some browser extensions have provided this functionality over the years, but the Internet Archive says that integrating it fully in a browser and offering it through Always On is a positive step.

            • Facebook Tried to Limit QAnon. It Failed.

              Perhaps the most jarring part? At times, Facebook’s own recommendation engine — the algorithm that surfaces content for people on the site — has pushed users toward the very groups that were discussing QAnon conspiracies, according to research conducted by The New York Times, despite assurances from the company that that would not happen.

            • TikTok and WeChat both managed to avoid their Sunday bans

              But as of Sunday afternoon, each has received a reprieve from a US ban, at least temporarily. President Trump said Saturday he had given a deal between TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart his “blessing,” prompting a one-week delay from the Commerce Department on TikTok’s ban. And a judge in California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration’s WeChat ban.

            • WeChat and TikTok see US downloads climb ahead of Trump administration ban

              Messaging app WeChat had its biggest one-day download numbers in nearly two years on Friday, ahead of a ban on new downloads from the US Commerce Department expected to take effect tomorrow. Preliminary data from analytics platform Sensor Tower showed Chinese-based WeChat had 10,000 installs in the US Friday, a 150 percent increase from Thursday and a 233 percent week-over-week increase. That’s the largest number of WeChat installs in the US in one day since October 7th, 2019.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Water shortages in U.S. West likelier than previously thought

        Compared with an average year, only 55 percent of Colorado River water is flowing from the Rocky Mountains down to Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona line. Due to the below-average runoff, government scientists say the reservoirs are 12 percent more likely to fall to critically low levels by 2025 than they projected in the spring.

      • You Don’t Have to Be a Democrat to See the Wildfires for What They Are

        Despite our current president’s stated belief that nobody knows what’s causing our explosion of wildfires, America’s scientists do, in fact, know. We are doing this to ourselves. We, as a species, are continuing to burn fossil fuels. Our planet is growing hotter, and the western U.S. is trending both hotter and dryer. And as a result, we’re experiencing both longer fire seasons and larger, more catastrophic wildfires. It’s a clear causal relationship that has been confirmed by science, and that’s true regardless of what climate deniers might claim or which political party you belong to.

      • Open Letter: For the Sake of Transatlantic Security, Stop Nord Stream 2

        In light of this latest malign action, which we believe can only have been carried out or sanctioned by the Kremlin, we are calling on the European Commission, and the Governments of all European Union Member States, as well as the United States, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova to take immediate action to stop the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

        We have long supported the Transatlantic relationship and the idea of European unity, and believe Nord Stream 2 undermines both for the following reasons: [...]

      • Climate Science Is Vulnerable to Politics

        We as voters must ensure that climate science is immune from political meddling and elect leaders who will respect the scientific process.

    • Finance

      • Review: Lower Ed

        It is a deep look at the sociology of for-profit higher education in the United States based on interviews with students and executives, analysis of Wall Street filings, tests of the admissions process, and her own personal experiences working for two of the schools. One of the questions that McMillan Cottom tries to answer is why students choose to enroll in these institutions, particularly the newer type of institution funded by federal student loans and notorious for being more expensive and less valuable than non-profit colleges and universities.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Risk of Progressive Reversal

        People worried about their basic safety are not particularly interested in new social experiments.

      • Democrats, It’s Time for Constitutional Jiujitsu

        Trump and his party must be defeated. They must be out-maneuvered, brought down, and decisively vanquished.

      • Republicans Aren’t Hypocrites: A Lesson in Power in the Aftermath of RBG’s Death

        Charges of hypocrisy are insufficient to change the course of the RBG’s replacement or, in fact, in other Republican attempt to race-bait, disenfranchise voters, or increase the wealth of the affluent.

      • Affirming Jim Crow, Israeli Parliament Votes Down Bill Guaranteeing Equality for Palestinian-Israelis

        During the past year, the Knesset has shot down numerous proposals to amend the National Law to forbid discrimination against non-Jews.

      • Life in the US Has the Hallmarks of a “Low-Grade War Zone”

        Countless red flags have sprung up in recent months indicating a creeping authoritarianism coming into full form. Vigilante forms of far right “justice” have become commonplace, as in the high-profile case of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the numerous cases of far right violence and intimidation directed at Black Lives Matter activists since nationwide protests erupted in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in May. The president dog-whistles to his white supremacist base regularly, and may not even accept the election results this November if he loses. This is what it looks like, feels like, when a nation’s social fabric frays, when a society eats itself alive, and the center can no longer hold.

      • ‘A Farce’: Trump Critics, European Allies Challenge Pompeo Claim About Snapback of UN Sanctions on Iran

        “With a track record of failure on Iran, the Trump administration’s spin machine appears to be going into overdrive heading into November.”

      • As Anti-Fascist T-Shirts Are Removed, Far Right Apparel Remains on Retailer Site

        Over the last couple of years, the term “antifa” has been moved from its historic role describing a type of militant anti-fascist organizing to a codeword for any militant, left-wing protest by right-wing ideologues bent on manipulating white anxiety. As a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests began in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a frantic far right in the U.S. has accused every demonstration as being orchestrated by “antifa,” despite no antifascist organization being in the driver’s seat and the protests being an organic mass uprising. Donald Trump has accused antifa “outside agitators” as being responsible for riots and looting, and Attorney General William Barr has suggested that antifa is staging a revolutionary war in the streets of the U.S. Many on the right, from Fox News to Sen. Ted Cruz, intimate that anti-fascists are responsible for all things lawless, and despite the lack of evidence for any of these claims, the rhetorical abuse continues.

      • Biden’s Foreign Policy Advisors Show Loyalty to Israel, Defense Contractors

        When Donald Trump was elected president, the foreign policy apparatus that Barack Obama’s administration built did not disappear. The power brokers went to think tanks and lobbying firms, cashing in on the uncertainty with help from defense contractors and other corporations. 

      • Do the Right Thing: Obey RBG’s Last Wish

        Give Justice Ginsburg the proper send-off and let the election winner choose.

      • 400 Years in Eight Minutes

        The difficulty of speaking about this “historical moment” is that the “moment” has been going on for 400 years, featuring a lot of speaking and almost no structural change. There is everything to say. There is nothing to say. It’s all been said. It all must be said again. Words cannot express the rage we feel. Yet, words are all we have to express our rage. Words and the street. Who will hear us? What will it matter? The words have spoken. The flames have been lit. The street has burned before. It will burn again. What has changed? What will change? How can it be made to happen?

      • Dems Pressured to ‘Pick a Fight for Once’ Over RBG Seat as Collins and Murkowski Oppose Pre-Election Vote

        “To pretend that norms will constrain Trump or McConnell would be folly, yes. But for Democrats, the media, and the public to concede the ground in advance is to do their dirty work for them.”

      • American Style Coup d’etat

        The cover photo for Wilmington’s Lie by New York Times reporter David Zucchino (Grove/Atlantic Press) is both shocking and utterly revealing of the truth-telling to come. A gang of armed, self-satisfied white men, dressed in their Sunday best, stand before the smoldering remains of the Wilmington Daily Record, a black-owned newspaper. The Record’s editor, Alex Manly, had written an editorial that provided the excuse for a murderous plot to go into overdrive. The result was America’s only coup d’etat — the overthrow of Wilmington, North Carolina’s bi-racial city government in November, 1898. When the shooting stopped, at least sixty, and perhaps two hundred, black men lay dead. The true number has never been established.

      • The Death of Neoliberalism

        The coronavirus pandemic roared through an already destabilized global economic system suffering from a deep crisis of legitimacy.

      • Celebrities, Politicians Remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy

        Amid the grief and mourning also comes a call to action; Ginsburg’s passing, with less than two months until the presidential election, poses an opportunity for President Donald Trump to appoint another judge to the Supreme Court. Many public figures have spoken out about the political implications of the Court vacancy, while amplifying Ginsburg’s final wishes: to have her seat filled only after a new president is elected.

      • Secret documents show how North Korea launders money through U.S. banks

        North Korea carried out an elaborate money laundering scheme for years using a string of shell companies and help from Chinese companies, moving money through prominent banks in New York, according to confidential bank documents reviewed by NBC News.

      • Kroger sued for allegedly firing workers who refused to wear rainbow symbol

        The rainbow flag has long been used as a symbol of LGBTQ pride, displayed especially during Pride Month in June. Kroger, however, declined to confirm whether the symbol was intended for pride purposes, telling NBC News in an email that the company cannot comment on pending litigation.

      • Europe’s Failed Migration Policy Caused Greece’s Latest Refugee Crisis

        For many years, Europe did not return migrants to Greece exactly due to the deplorable conditions for asylum seekers. Keeping Moria as a slum was just another flawed attempt at deterrence. The European Commission on Wednesday announced that the Dublin system would be replaced, with details on its asylum reform package to be announced next week. Seasoned migration experts are not optimistic, having seen a string of other dysfunctional policies over the years.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Read Frank Zappa’s motivational letter sent to a fan trying to the fight against censorship

        The hearing was held on September 19, 1985, and saw Zappa go toe-to-toe with the likes of Al Gore on “the subject of the content of certain sound recordings and suggestions that recording packages be labelled to provide a warning to prospective purchasers of sexually explicit or other potentially offensive content.”

        During his statement, Zappa stated, “the PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal’s design.”

        Prior to the hearing, Zappa did everything in his power to try to change public opinion by sending the following letter to members of his fan club in a rallying cry in the censorship war. This was a topic that he felt extremely passionate about because he worried it would stop musicians being able to express themselves freely which would have a catastrophic result on art.

        Read his letter in full, below. [...]

      • Judge throws out defamation case against Tesla by former employee

        Tesla identified Tripp as the source of the leaked information, which Tripp later confirmed. He was fired, and Tesla filed a lawsuit claiming he had “unlawfully [cracked] the company’s confidential and trade secret information.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk emailed Tesla staff telling them an employee had tried to “sabotage” company operations.

      • Iran Removes Girls’ Image From Math Textbooks

        A new version of the third-grade math textbook no longer features images of girls in school uniforms on the cover. Meanwhile, the schoolboys’ image has been kept untouched on the cover of the newly-published textbook for the new Iranian academic year.

        The previous version of the boom for the eight to nine-year-old students showed images of three boys playing along with two girls under a tree.

      • California School District Considers Ban on Classic Books

        The books in question grapple with complicated and difficult realities of America’s past and present. But curricula have been developed that make it possible to teach the books with sensitivity and compassion. Both The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird are included on the Library of Congress list of “Books That Shaped America” and have been taught in schools throughout the country for many years. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal in 1977. The Cay is an award-winning young adult novel that tells the powerful story of how an 11-year-old boy learns to reject the racist views of his upbringing and to recognize the humanity of those normally deemed the “other” by society.

        At a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans are in the streets protesting systemic racism, it is more important than ever for educators to teach books that help their students understand the role that race has played in American history and how it continues to shape our society. The Burbank schools have an obligation to help its students understand why the books are so painful and their responsibility for confronting racism. To do so, they must provide teachers with the resources and support they need to teach these books successfully.

      • Self-censorship in the US

        The US nominally enshrines the most far-reaching freedom of speech, thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Yet the average number of Americans who self-censor is slowly beginning to approximate that of Germany, where… “Nearly two-thirds of citizens are convinced that ‘today one has to be very careful on which topics one expresses oneself’, because there are many unwritten laws about what opinions are acceptable and admissible”.

      • Hindu jailed in Muslim Bangladesh for insulting Prophet Mohammed

        A Hindu has been jailed for seven years in Muslim-majority Bangladesh for insulting the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook, a prosecutor said Thursday.

        Although Bangladesh is officially secular, criticism of Islam is taboo in the conservative nation of 168 million people and violent protests have previously erupted over social media posts deemed blasphemous.

      • Unicef condemns jailing of Nigeria teen for ‘blasphemy’

        The UN children’s agency Unicef has called on the Nigerian authorities to urgently review an Islamic court’s decision to sentence a 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy.

      • Man gets life for desecrating Holy Quran

        The police recovered the desecrated copy of the holy book and registered a criminal case against the accused under section 295-B of the blasphemy law. After a five-year trial, the court of additional sessions judge-III, Shah Wali Khan, convicted Ayaz and sentenced him to life (25 years).

      • Law Firm Volunteers To Assist Kano Government In Ensuring Killing Of Musician Accused Of Blasphemy Against Prophet Mohammed

        The law firm in a letter to the Kano State Attorney-General said it was acting on behalf of one Muhammed Lawal Gusau, who noted that he desired to render a “selfless service towards the advancement and upliftment of the goals and ideals of Islam in all positive spheres”.

        Gusua stated that he was ready to dedicate all resources to ensure that the musician was hanged for blasphemy.

      • White House bans TikTok and WeChat: A major intensification of internet censorship

        The move is a frontal assault on the freedom of expression and an effort to consolidate control of the internet by a handful of massive corporations working in partnership with the American government. TikTok is used by millions of people every day to connect with friends and family, share ideas and communicate, and has been used to organize social protests. WeChat is a major link of communication between the United States and China.

      • Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok

        They were charged under a cybercrime law passed in 2018, as well as existing laws in the Egyptian Penal Code that have been employed against women in the past.

        Yasmin Omar, a researcher at The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, said the cybercrime law is vague when it comes to defining what’s legal and what isn’t.

        “It was written using very broad terms that could be very widely interpreted and criminalizing a lot of acts that are originally considered as personal freedom,” she said. “Looking at it, you would see that anything you might post on social media, anything that you may use [on] the internet could be criminalized under this very wide umbrella.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 13

        Friday gave us the most emotionally charged moments yet at the Assange hearing, showed that strange and sharp twists in the story are still arriving at the Old Bailey, and brought into sharp focus some questions about the handling and validity of evidence, which I will address in comment.

      • Tens of Thousands Attend Bangladesh Islamist Leader’s Funeral

        Shafi made his mark in national politics when he marched tens of thousands of his followers into central Dhaka in May 2013, demanding harsh blasphemy laws and the execution of atheist bloggers.

        The rally ended in violence when police evicted his followers from the capital’s main commercial center. About 50 people were killed in clashes with security forces, most of them shot, in some of the worst political violence the country had ever seen.

        Around half a dozen bloggers and secular activists were later hacked to death by Islamist extremists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Want to reform the police? That must start with decriminalizing drugs

        It is an American obsession to funnel drug users into the criminal justice system. Recently released numbers on incarceration in Ohio show that of the nearly 14,000 commitments in the past year, 25 percent were due to drug offenses or drug trafficking. Those numbers build on data from 2016, when the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch found that more than one in nine arrests made by state law enforcement is for drug possession — a total of 1.25 million arrests each year.

      • Iranian teens convicted of stealing reportedly will have fingers chopped off

        Three teenage boys found guilty of stealing in Iran will now endure the barbaric punishment of having their fingers hacked off, according to a report.

        The teens — identified as Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Sharafian and Mehdi Shahivand — were ordered to have four fingers on their right hands amputated, according to an Iran Supreme Court verdict, The Sun reported, citing British-based Persian-language television station Iran International.

        The boys lost an appeal this week to have the gruesome sentence overturned.

      • Iraqi activist’s murder casts doubt on authorities’ ability to end killings

        Since Iraqi protesters took to the streets last October, Iran-backed militias have been accused of carrying out numerous assassinations against prominent activists and critics.

      • Report: Hundreds of Ethiopian Christians Killed in ‘Targeted Genocide’ Since June

        Reports in Ethiopian media confirm what Barnabus is reporting about a spate of killings earlier this summer. The violence involves religious as well as ethnic cleansing, but the situation is complicated and appears to also involve political motivations.

        [...]

        It’s been reported that some of the attackers even had lists containing the names of Christians and had received the help of local authorities in trying to find specific individuals who had been actively involved in supporting the Church in the region.

      • Women are fighting the misogyny of Iran’s mullahs

        There were expressions of outrage and disgust internationally in August when a court in Iran sentenced a man to only nine years jail for beheading his 14-year-old daughter in an honor killing.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • [Older] Big Brother Is Watching You

        Few years back Facebook hit the news with their chatbots Alice and Bob making waves. Facebook’s claim was that their chatbots had ‘developed’ a language, that seemed indiscernible to humans, to communicate with each other. The bots were pulled down because they quite did not fit into what Facebook wanted out of them — to communicate more effectively with humans. Worse still, whatever the version of the story is from Facebook, the media did make a fuss about the fear of A.I. taking over.

        [...]

        Technology began becoming part of the individual’s life with the telephone — probably the first thing that was personal to us. There was a time when in North America, if you wanted to use a phone, you had to go to AT&T. The strategy was not to share the advanced long-distance network AT&T had, with local independent carriers.

        For quite some time, AT&T solely had the luxury of funding pure research projects. The Bell Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey was the Mecca for such projects. Though AT&T held monopoly over the telephone for about a century, the legacy would be cut short by restrictions on AT&T to sell computer systems, just for the fear of AT&T’s monopoly in the computer industry. An offering this situation had in store for the world was an operating system — UNIX, and the free communal development culture that came with it.

        [...]

        Transparency is Truth. The best brand names we could sport on ourselves is ourselves. We need to be reminded of the efforts of selfless individuals Stewart Brand, Tim-Berners Lee, Richard Stallman, Linux Torvalds, and many of the unsung greats like Nikola Tesla to stop, alight and think where we are treading. Life has more to offer than just ‘likes’ on Facebook and views on YouTube. And as Carl Sagan once said,

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • China’s first anti-suit injunction; Apple CEO rejects efficient infringement; CRISPR patent battle latest; EPO and USPTO heads’ covid warning; CBM back from the dead?; plus much more

          Speaking at IPBC Connect, the EPO and USPTO leaders say covid-induced changes are here to stay and warn of decreased user engagement caused by the pandemic.

        • An EPO Case Law Round-Up: Added Matter

          What is the historic guidance? Generally, these types of amendments have only been allowed where the isolated feature does not have any clearly recognisable functional or structural relationship with the original combination of features[1]. The common test used by the EPO when assessing these amendments, is whether the extracted feature is ‘inextricably linked’ with the combination of features in the original disclosure[2], i.e. incidental to the proper functioning of a specific embodiment[3], and that the overall disclosure must justify the generalising isolation of the feature and its introduction into the claim.

          What is the case law saying now? There has not been much game-changing case law in this area, following an apparent consolidation by the Board in T 1906/11. Here, the EPO said that the most relevant question in the assessment of intermediate generalisations is whether a skilled person faced with the amended version of the application or patent would derive any additional technically relevant information over the disclosure of the original version. Only if this type of information is derived is there a contravention of Article 123(2) EPC. This was revisited in 2018 where it was confirmed that this information would be derived if the original disclosure conveyed the teaching, explicit or implicit, that all the features of that combination had to be present together in order for a specific technical effect to be obtained[4]. In this case, claiming only some of those features would present the skilled person with additional technical information.

        • Opinion: It won’t be courts that drive virtual litigation

          In some white-collar circles, not many issues are more divisive right now than working from home – whether it works or it doesn’t, and whether it can really be sustained beyond this year.

          Anecdotally, many people in UK industries such as journalism and law have enjoyed their new setup. This is supported by figures showing that less than 35% of British office workers are back at their desks (although other factors, including health and safety, will also be at play). In stark contrast, the numbers for France and Germany are 83% and 70% respectively. Workers in the US are also more negative than others about returning to work.

        • Why counsel should copy competitors when optimising patents

          Panellists from BAE Systems and Arm discussed best practices for optimising patent portfolios at the IP Corporate Strategy Summit on September 10, which was held virtually by Managing IP.

          Rob Calico, vice president of IP and litigation at semiconductor company Arm in California, said a company should base its calculation for how many patents it needs partly on how many registrations belong to its competitors.

      • Copyrights

        • ‘Copyright Troll’ Loses Legal Battle and Must Pay $172,173

          Every year rightsholders collect many thousands of dollars in settlements from alleged copyright infringers. However, these enforcement efforts can backfire as well. Photographer and attorney Richard Bell, who filed dozens of lawsuits over a single photo, has lost one of his legal battles and is now ordered to pay $172,173 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

        • Spanish Piracy Giant ‘Megadede’ to Shut Down, Successors Queue Up

          The Spanish pirate streaming giant Megadede will shut down within a week. The site’s operators announced their surprise decision without providing any further detail. Megadede is among the 100 most visited sites in the country and will be missed by many. However, there certainly is no shortage of alternatives, as other sites are queuing up to welcome stranded pirates.

        • TuneIn Blocking Debacle: Bombing Internet Radio Back to the Stone Age

          We’ve come a long way since the days of shortwave radio and analog pirate radio stations. The Internet promised a lot, allowing broadcasters to reach an international audience keen to soak up culture from all over the world. Sadly, the latest actions by the UK music industry against TuneIn feel like an attempt to bomb radio fans back to the stone age.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 20, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:07 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Git is Free Software, GitHub is Proprietary Trap

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The country shall be independent, and we will be satisfied with nothing short of it.” –Samuel Adams

Thai Political Crisis Breakup: Git is Free software, Self-hosted; better regain control of my work

Summary: More and more people all around the world understand that putting their fruit of labour in Microsoft’s proprietary (but ‘free’) prison is misguided; the only vault they have is for human beings, not code

THE campaign to remove projects from GitHub has been partly successful. Some high-profile projects consider leaving, some have already left, and many new projects reject GitHub from the get-go, instead opting for a variety of alternatives including bare-bones Git.

“Microsoft had planned to buy GitHub for a very long time (4 years before it actually happened), since the death of CodePlex and the loss of control over developers everywhere.”GitHub is not and never was Free software. It’s a classic example of “embrace and “extend”, so Microsoft is perhaps a perfect match for it. Microsoft had planned to buy GitHub for a very long time (4 years before it actually happened), since the death of CodePlex and the loss of control over developers everywhere.

The worst one can do is put any code on GitHub; it’s being chained to the ‘network’, contributing to GitHub’s ‘network effect’, which in effect embodies monopoly.

More and more people now understand this. Our Delete Github wiki page exceeded 50,000 views last week and people habitually suggest additions to it. It’s not a ‘shame list’ but somewhat of a watchlist; it’s also a bit of a “TODO” list. We’ve long had something similar for Mono applications and it recently exceeded a quarter million views. Just putting out there a list of programs/projects can have a positive effect.

The fate of GitHub will be the same as CodePlex’s. We heard that GitHub staff (what’s left of it anyway; many left in protest) saw a decline after Microsoft had taken over. Watch what Microsoft did to LinkedIn (about a thousand layoffs this past summer) and the loss of Skype monopoly, not to mention what happened ton Nokia (complete and utter disaster). Don’t put your code (work) in a “burning platform”… GitHub now operates like a cult, like Microsoft.

GitHub is bad

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