07.15.21

Links 16/7/2021: Proxmox Mail Gateway 7.0, Valve on GNU/Linux, PinePhone News

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Google’s latest Chromebook update is safe to install again, leaving the Chromebook Pixel stranded

        The latest incremental Chrome OS 91 update caused quite some woes, with far too many people reporting that their Chromebooks were locked up due to extremely high CPU usage. Google had to pull the update, causing more problems in the process, but it looks like now, it’s finally solved the underlying issues. The incremental update is rolling out again, and everyone is happy — except for Chromebook Pixel users.

        As Chrome Unboxed reports, Google is rolling out the incremental update to v91.0.4472.147 again. While the version number is still the same as the one for the problematic update, it looks like Google fixed whatever caused the problems under the hood, as there are no longer any reports about slowed Chromebooks using this Chrome OS release.

      • Microsoft just blew up the only reason you can’t use a Linux desktop [Ed: ZDNet’s “Linux” section is all IBM and Microsoft, not Linux. You can easily tell ZDNet is run by/for IBM and Microsoft… they bribe it for PR in ‘news’ clothing basically. Latest 7 stories in “LINUX” section: Microsoft, IBM, IBM, Microsoft, IBM, anti-Linux FUD, Microsoft…]

        Microsoft, yes, Microsoft now promises that you can run Windows on your Linux PC. We don’t know exactly how they’re going to do that. It might be by using a native Remote Desktop application or by a web browser. I’ll bet that on Linux — and probably on iPads, Macs, and Android devices — it will be done over a web browser.

        After all, the Linux-powered Chrome OS has already shown that you can do most of your enterprise work on just a browser alone. Indeed, Microsoft’s entire move to a subscription, cloud service-based desktop was foreshadowed by Google’s Chromebooks.

    • Server

      • Coreboot on the ASRock E3C246D4I

        I wanted to play around with OpenBMC on a physical board and this article led me to the ASRock E3C246D4I. It’s a not overly expensive Intel Coffee Lake board featuring an Aspeed AST2500 BMC. So the first thing I did was to compile OpenBMC. My computer was in for a quite a chore there. It needed to download 11G of sources and compile those. Needless to say this takes a long time on a notebook computer and is best done overnight. I flashed the image via the SPI header next to the BMC flash. I used some mini crocodile clips to do this at first.

      • ASRock Rack Has One Of The Best, Most Open-Source Firmware x86 Server Motherboards

        For those wanting to get into open-source firmware development or even just to have a small SOHO x86_64 low-cost Intel server platform that is as open as possible, ASRock Rack happens to now boast one of the best solutions.

        The ASRock Rack E3C246D4I has happened to work its way into a unique position of having both OpenBMC support for open-source BMC support as well as Coreboot support for open-source system firmware while being a relatively young platform (compared to many open-source Coreboot ports to AMD Opterons or other old systems) while being less expensive than say the POWER9 wares from Raptor.

      • Ubuntu Pro launches on Google Cloud

        The “hardened” version of the open source Linux OS comes with added security features

      • Kubernetes Spotlight on SIG Usability

        Are you interested in learning about what SIG Usability does and how you can get involved? Well, you’re at the right place. SIG Usability is all about making Kubernetes more accessible to new folks, and its main activity is conducting user research for the community. In this blog, we have summarized our conversation with Gaby Moreno, who walks us through the various aspects of being a part of the SIG and shares some insights about how others can get involved.

        Gaby is a co-lead for SIG Usability. She works as a Product Designer at IBM and enjoys working on the user experience of open, hybrid cloud technologies like Kubernetes, OpenShift, Terraform, and Cloud Foundry.

        [...]

        SIG Usability hosted a KubeCon talk about studying Kubernetes users’ experiences. The talk focuses on updates to the user study projects, understanding who is using Kubernetes, what they are trying to achieve, how the project is addressing their needs, and where we need to improve the project and the client experience. Join the SIG’s update to find out about the most recent research results, what the plans are for the forthcoming year, and how to get involved in the upstream usability team as a contributor!

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S14E19 – Twin Pages Slug

        This week we’ve been playing chess and trying to play DOOM Eternal. We round up the news and goings on from the Ubuntu community and our favourite picks from the wider tech news.

        It’s Season 14 Episode 19 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • The TRUTH about Software on Linux

        Maybe you want to try Linux, but you’ve heard there’s no popular software. You’ve also heard that installing software on Linux is hard. Let’s get to the truth in our 2nd Linux Myth Busting video!

      • BSDNow 411: FreeBSD Deep Dive

        Unix System Architecture Evolution, Deep Dive into FreeBSD’s Strengths, how developers chose names, OPNsense 21.1.7 released, Support for chdir(2) in posix_spawn(3), vagrant-freebsd-boxbuilder, OpenBSD’s IATA airport code file, and more

    • Kernel Space

      • The Linux Upskill Challenge [Ed: A lot of this is GNU rather than Linux]

        A compact and previously paid course is now free and open source. It teaches everything someone needs in order to transition to Linux.

        The range of subjects covered includes a treat for everyone;from setting up your own lab on a VPS and accessing it, to installing software, exploring the file structure, working with the CLI and its commands, to more advanced subjects like scripting ??on bash.

        The lessons are divided in 21 days, each day focusing on a separate subject, and although it’s self-paced it requires a daily commitment of 1-2 hours each day for a month.

      • Memory Folios Updated A 14th Time For Improving Linux Memory Management

        Matthew Wilcox of Oracle has sent out his 14th revision to the memory “folios” patch-set for this new struct that aims to improve Linux’s memory management code and ultimately better performance.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Display Stream Compression Prepped For Qualcomm’s MSM DRM Driver – Phoronix

          Patches have been posted for wiring up Display Stream Compression (DSC) support for the Qualcomm MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver.

          The VESA-backed Display Stream Compression standard for offering visually lossless, low-latency compression between the host and display panels via DP/eDP/DSI/HDMI interfaces may finally see support within the Qualcomm MSM DRM kernel driver. Qualcomm SoCs support DSC within its DPU hardware block but the mainline kernel driver hasn’t yet had the necessary software pieces in place for this display bandwidth savings.

        • AMD’s Modern Graphics Driver In Linux 5.14 Exceeds 3.3 Million Lines Of Code

          It was just four years ago the AMDGPU kernel driver was nearly one million lines of code and earlier this year began nearing three million lines. Now with Linux 5.14-rc1 released this week it is at over 3.3 million lines for this kernel graphics driver.

          Curiosity got the best of me with the ballooning size of AMDGPU so when running cloc on the “drivers/gpu/drm/amd” off Linux 5.14-rc1, it’s now measuring in at 3.32 million lines of code. AMDGPU continues to by far be the largest driver within the mainline Linux kernel. That 3.3 million lines is made up of 2.86 million lines of “code”, 332k lines of comments, and some 127k blank lines across 1,715 files.

          Of course, as longtime Phoronix readers will know, much of the ballooning size of AMDGPU is due to automated register header files that are added to the tree with each new GPU being supported. Those automatically generated header files based on AMD’s internal documentation lead to the explosive growth and is sort of AMD’s form of public documentation these days. Thankfully unused portions of these header files are eliminated by the compiler at build time. As measured by cloc, within the gpu/drm/amd code there is some 2.4 million lines of header files and then 427k lines of code detected C code.

        • Ricardo Garcia: Linking deqp-vk much faster thanks to lld

          Some days ago my Igalia colleague Adrián Pérez pointed us to mold, a new drop-in replacement for existing Unix linkers created by the original author of LLVM lld. While mold is pretty new and does not aim to be 100% compatible with GNU ld, GNU gold or LLVM lld (at least as of the time I’m writing this), I noticed the benchmark table in its README file also painted a pretty picture about the performance of lld, if inferior to that of mold.

          In my job at Igalia I work most of the time on VK-GL-CTS, Vulkan and OpenGL’s Conformance Test Suite, which contains thousands of tests for OpenGL and Vulkan. These tests are provided by different executable files and the Vulkan tests on which I’m focused are contained in a binary called deqp-vk. When built with debug information, deqp-vk can be quite large. A recent build, for example, is taking 369 MB in my drive. But the worst part is that linking the binary typically takes around 25 seconds on my work laptop.

        • AMD releases FidelityFX Super Resolution source code

          As promised when AMD revealed their answer to NVIDIA’s DLSS, FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is now officially open source and available under the MIT license.

          What actually is it? AMD say “FSR uses super-optimized spatial upscaling technologies to help boost your framerates and deliver high-quality, high-resolution gaming experiences, without having to upgrade to a new graphics card.”. It works on both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs too, so it’s not locked to a vendor. The idea is to give “practical performance” for more costly rendering operations like Ray Tracing.

        • AMD Posts FidelityFX Super Resolution Source Code

          After AMD posted FidelityFX Super Resolution last month with various initial launch titles, the source code to this NVIDIA DLSS alternative is now publicly available.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Output/redirect content to a file in Nushell

        And another short tip about Nushell – I promise that those will be less frequent the more I get used to it.

      • Wisdom Tree – A Focus And Productivity App For Linux – OSTechNix

        Distracted often while working or studying? You might want to try a focus and productivity app named Wisdom Tree in Linux.

      • Disable Startup Manufacturer Logo & Show Boot Message in Ubuntu 20.04

        Since Ubuntu 20.04, it shows your computer manufacturer logo on startup. It’s however easy to remove it, as well display the blank and white boot text message.

        The Grub boot-loader offers option to toggle the settings in its configuration file. You can either manually edit the file or using a graphical tool called Grub Customizer.

      • How to Fix “Repository Does Not Have Release File” Error

        As you work with various Linux distributions, you will need to install software repositories, including third-party repositories such as Ubuntu PPAs. In most cases, the installations will work out okay. However, you may encounter the “repository does not have a release file” error as you install some software.

      • How to Set Up a LAMP Environment With XAMPP on Ubuntu Linux

        Want to develop PHP-based applications on your Ubuntu machine? Here’s how to configure a LAMP environment with XAMPP.

        This guide will show you how to set up a LAMP Server (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) for developing PHP-based web applications on Ubuntu Linux using XAMPP.

        You can use the XAMPP stack to develop PHP applications powered by frameworks such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, etc.

      • How to Change a Username and Other Account Details on Linux

        Need to change a username and home directory in Linux? Here’s how to change usernames, display names, and directory names.

        Linux is a multi-user operating system. And with this feature comes the responsibility of managing every user on the system. The administrator needs to ensure that each user has proper permissions, distinct user IDs, unique user names, etc.

        But what if you want to change the information associated with a particular user? Does Linux allow anyone to modify such sensitive details easily? The usermod command is the answer to all these questions.

        This article will demonstrate how you can change your username on Linux, along with a detailed guide on modifying the user ID and home directory of a user.

      • Download this free Linux Cheat Sheet Bundle by MakeUseOf
      • Can You Make Skype Calls on Chromebook? [Ed: Doubling the very invasive surveillance (Google+Microsoft)]
      • Getting Started With Cockpit, a Web-Based Linux Server Administration Tool

        Cockpit is a web-based Linux server administration tool for managing and monitoring your servers remotely. Cockpit allows you to see your server in a web browser and perform system tasks using both graphical and terminal tools.

        Also, you can use Cockpit to manage containers, administer storage, configure networks, and inspect system log messages.

      • Cockpit Project: CI Metrics and Error Budgets

        The Cockpit project literally lives and dies together with our integration tests and the CI machinery to run them. We notice this the hard way whenever there is an outage; that’s why we invested quite some efforts to run tests on at least two different clouds, and fall back to Amazon EC2 when needed.

        But there is a wholly different version of that pain: When tests or the infrastructure slowly become worse. At first it’s just a single “oh, a red test, this is unrelated, let’s just retry”, and before you know it it takes a day to get a pull request to green, and developers get frustrated and even afraid of touching tests.

    • Games

      • Streets Of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare rolls out with a free update for all players | GamingOnLinux

        Today is the day! Streets Of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare is out now expanding the beat ‘em up with a bunch of new content, plus there’s a free upgrade for all players. Currently, the Steam page doesn’t list Linux on the DLC but the big update to the base game did enable it and according to the porter Ethan Lee you should be good to go.

        Mr. X Nightmare adds in Estel Aguirre, Max Thunder and Shiva, a new survival mode and leaderboard, new moves and weapons plus new music tracks.

      • Valve Unveils Steam Deck Gaming Handheld Powered by Arch Linux and KDE Plasma

        Steam Deck promises to put your entire Steam library in your pocket so you can play your favorite games wherever you go. The device is powerful enough to run the latest AAA games, and the best part is that it can also act as a controller if you connect it to a big screen TV for an immersive gaming experience.

        With Steam Deck, your entire Steam gaming library is there, so you won’t have to worry that some games are designed only for a certain platform like macOS or Windows, thanks to Valve’s Proton compatibility layer.

      • Valve has formally announced the Steam Deck, a portable handheld console with SteamOS

        Well today is the big day. Valve has now formally revealed the Steam Deck, a portable handheld gaming console powered by a new version of their Linux-based SteamOS operating system.

        “We think Steam Deck gives people another way to play the games they love on a high-performance device at a great price,” says Valve founder Gabe Newell. “As a gamer, this is a product I’ve always wanted. And as a game developer, it’s the mobile device I’ve always wanted for our partners.”

      • Valve’s gaming handheld is called the Steam Deck and it’s shipping in December

        Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1PM ET. It starts at $399, and you can buy it in $529 and $649 models as well.

        The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different storage tiers: 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage using the high-speed microSD card slot.

      • Valve Announces Steam Deck As Portable SteamOS + AMD Powered Portable PC

        Following months of rumors about new gaming hardware from Valve, today they announced Steam Deck as a new handheld PC gaming device starting at $399.

        The Steam Deck is an all-in-one portable PC with a custom AMD SoC and, of course, running SteamOS. Steam Deck is focused, of course, for running Steam but also advertised as an “open PC” that can run other software too.

      • Steam Deck revealed: Handheld gaming PC from Valve lets you game anywhere

        In what could be the biggest surprise of 2021, Valve just announced a new handheld gaming console. The Steam Deck looks like a Nintendo Switch crossed with a Sega Game Gear.

        The device will allow you to play your entire Steam library from anywhere. It is not a cloud-based system: the hardware inside runs games on-device. This is possible through custom AMD hardware. Valve says it is powerful enough to run the latest AAA games with high power efficiency.

      • Valve Making Linux Anti-Cheat a Reality for Steam Deck Launch

        Valve’s newly-announced Steam Deck has a nice bonus for Linux gamers — it’s helping to improve Linux anti-cheat by working with Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye to provide Proton support for their software.

        The Steam Deck was announced earlier today as a new handheld gaming PC from Valve. Aiming to launch later this year, it looks like a pretty powerful little device. However, there’s one important problem that’s not immediately evident to most gamers: it uses a Linux-based operating system and many anti-cheat solutions do not work on Linux. That means that you would have a hard time playing some of your favorite games, but worry not — Valve is working on a solution.

      • Valve’s Steam Deck is 7-inch Handheld Linux Gaming PC

        Today Valve announced the Steam Deck, a handheld Linux gaming PC that’s loaded with a custom-built AMD chip for top-tier AAA gaming action.

        And it looks pretty frickin’ special!

        Companies like GPD, oDroid, and Nintendo have proven there’s a viable market for powerful handheld gaming. And Valve, makers of Steam, were clearly paying attention.

      • Crypto Is Dead is the next title from The Moon Pirates that’s a bit like Papers, Please | GamingOnLinux

        Crypto Is Dead, well, not quite but it’s a fun name for a game. In development by The Moon Pirates (Don’t Forget Me), it’s inspired somewhat by Papers, Please.

        It’s a mix of simulation and puzzle game in which you will have to make your bank grow during 30 days. To do so, you will have to check some bills and find out if they are genuine or fake. During your month of work, you will accumulate money, pay taxes and keep up with the central bank by updating your tools. On Twitter, the developer confirmed Linux support.

      • American Truck Simulator and Euro Truck Simulator 2 get an online Convoy mode

        SCS Software has released the latest big free upgrades now for both Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator which includes the new online Convoy mode.

        In this new multiplayer mode players can set up and host their own private sessions (password optional) to drive with their friends or other fellow truckers. There is currently support for synchronized AI traffic, time and weather, and the ability to take the same job as other players. However, there’s a number of things not currently supported like mods, AI vehicles may vanish when a player leaves, lifting bridges aren’t yet synchronized and Steam invites only work through the Overlay. It”s a very fun sounding start though and a natural evolution for both games.

      • Steam on a Chromebook could be closer than we think, with an AMD dGPU model coming | GamingOnLinux

        Thanks to new info spotted by Chrome Unboxed, we’ve seen more hints of a more powerful Chromebook coming which would make for a reasonable gaming unit.

        We’ve known for some time now that Google has been planning to get Steam on Chromebooks properly, however most existing models would lack the power needed. In the new report it seems Google are working towards a new Intel and AMD powered Chromebook with an AMD Vega 12 discrete graphics card unit (dGPU). This would definitely change things and if it arrives in time for Google’s wider Steam plans, it means there would be another Linux-based device out there from a huge company capable of Linux gaming (either native Linux games or with Steam Play Proton).

      • SkateBIRD returns with another demo available until July 18 for PAX Online | GamingOnLinux

        Want do you get when you cross skateboarding with cute little birds flapping around? SkateBIRD is the answer.

        Funded on Kickstarter originally back in 2019 with close to $70K, it’s a promising and somewhat hilarious skating game and now you’ve got a fresh chance to try it out. The demo has once again returned, and it seems to give been updated too since last I played it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 41 – New Features & Release Date

          We summarize the available information for GNOME 41 release here and brief you about the new features, schedules.

        • Jordan Petridis: GNOME Nightly Annual ABI Break

          It’s that time of the year again. We’ve updated the base of the GNOME Nightly Flatpak runtime to the Freedesktop-SDK 21.08 beta release.

          This brings lots of improvements and updates to the underlying toolchain, but it also means that between yesterday and today, there is an ABI break and that all your Nightly apps will need to be rebuilt against the newer base.

        • Ivan Molodetskikh: GSoC 2021: Selection Editing and Window Selection

          I spent the most time adding the four corner handles that allow you to adjust the selection. GNOME Shell’s drag-and-drop classes were mostly sufficient, save for a few minor things. In particular, I ended up extending the _Draggable class with a drag-motion signal emitted every time the dragged actor’s position changes. I used this signal to update the selection rectangle coordinates so it responds to dragging in real-time without any lag, just as one would expect. Some careful handling was also required to allow dragging the handle past selection edges, so for example it’s possible to grab the top-left handle and move it to the right and to the bottom, making it a bottom-right handle.

        • ArcMenu GNOME Extension Adds New Windows 11 Layout [Ed: Joey Sneddon has found another reason to highlight Microsoft vapourware]

          A new version of the ArcMenu GNOME extension is available for download, and it’ll be of particular interest to those who want to make Ubuntu look like Windows 11.

          The latest update to Arc Menu includes a pair of new menu layouts: ‘Launcher’ and ‘Eleven’. The latter of these is inspired by the redesigned ‘Start Menu’ set to ship in Windows 11 when released later this year.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Linux overview | Solus 4.3

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of Solus 4.3 and some of the applications pre-installed.

        • Solus 4.3 released with refreshed apps, desktop environments and new hardware support

          Solus, the independent Linux distribution with their own Budgie desktop has a big new release out with Solus 4.3.

          Coming hot off the code with the Linux Kernel 5.13.1, you can expect a fair bit more hardware support with this release including AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, 6800, 6800 XT and 6900 XT cards, the Sony PS5 DualSense controller support, hardware monitoring for the NZXT Kraken X42/X52/X62/X72 all-in-one CPU liquid coolers and plenty more. It also brings in Mesa 21.1.3 with has improved gaming support, performance improvements and plenty of fixes too.

          There’s a lot more that was upgraded too including Firefox 89.0.2, LibreOffice 7.1.4.2, Thunderbird 78.11.0, bluez 5.60 for better Bluetooth support, ffmpeg 4.4, Budgie 10.5.3, GNOME 40.2, MATE 1.24 and the Plasma Desktop 5.22.2.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora and IBM/Red Hat

        • Fedora Community Blog: Community Outreach Revamp @ Nest: Docs session

          The force behind the Fedora Community Outreach Revamp Objective is organizing a hackfest type documentation session for Nest with Fedora. The main goals of the session will be updating/reviewing/pushing new documentation for the various outreach teams to Docs. The co-leads for this effort and myself would like raise awareness and also invite the community to join us at Nest this year. If you are interested in what we are up to or joining us for the session, read on!

        • Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management For Kubernetes 2.3 Helps Accelerate Hybrid Cloud Automation

          Red Hat has announced Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes 2.3, the latest version of the company’s enterprise-grade Kubernetes management offering.

          The integration between Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management is designed to accelerate the automation and cohesion between cloud-native clusters, virtual machines and traditional infrastructure with streamlined tooling and coordination.

        • 4 steps to create Linux users from a csv file with Ansible

          Ansible has made automation simple and it has become the universal automation language. By now, the benefits are well-known in the IT community. Like all good technologies, however, there can be challenges to face or approaches to combine. Consider using comma-separated value (CSV) files and Ansible to create Linux user accounts.

          In this article, the goal is to automate user creation using Ansible. A list of users can be passed via an external variable file using vars_files or directly into the playbook using a loop. The problem arises when the list of users to be created is only available in a format like CSV while the Ansible developer is more comfortable using a YAML list. I personally have experienced situations where a user list including passwords is provided in a CSV file with the requirement to create those users on multiple Linux machines using an automation tool such as Ansible.

        • Build your own tool to search for code sequences in binary files

          This article shows you how to create a scanning tool that can search for specific sequences of instructions inside binary files. Such searches are commonly required to verify that a compiled executable meets certain criteria, usually related to security. For example, Intel’s Control-Flow Enforcement Technology (CET) extension mandates that all functions start with an ENDBR instruction. Verifying this requires a special tool specifically designed to search for instructions inside the binary.

          [...]

          Sometimes the exact instructions you are searching for are unknown. Instead, you have to locate an effect or specific behavior. To handle these cases, you can extend the scanner to simulate the target binary file instead of just disassembling it. This process, of course, is much more complex.

          The scanner sources include two examples of this kind of advanced scanning, although neither is built by default. You can use the file annocheck/makefile.rop to build them, although you’ll have to edit it to provide some necessary information. These scanners use the headers found in the binutils sources as well as the simulator code that is part of the GNU Debugger (GDB) project.

          The advanced scanners in the sources both have the same job: Examining binaries to see whether they are vulnerable to exploits via a return-oriented programming (ROP) attack. One scanner examines AArch64 binaries and the other examines x86_64 binaries. Multiple instruction sequences are vulnerable to this kind of attack, so the scanners simulate the execution of instructions and look for characteristics that are of use to an attacker. Since the attacker can, in theory, start execution at any point in the binary, the scanners have to run lots of simulations, looking for any possible vulnerable entry point.

        • IBM releases first machine-learning end-to-end pipeline starter kit within the IBM Cloud Native Toolkit [Ed: IBM joins the fight to further dilute the term "end to end" (as the so-called 'Linux' Foundation does)]

          Artificial Intelligence and machine learning have sparked innovations that most of us use daily — from cognitive chatbots to product recommendations in our social media feeds to automated language translations and more. Integrating AI and machine learning technologies with cloud-native environments is an increasingly common scenario, driven by use of microservices and the need to scale rapidly. Developers are faced with the challenge to not only build machine learning applications, but to ensure that they run well in production in cloud-native and hybrid cloud environments.

          Today, IBM is announcing a new machine-learning, end-to-end pipeline starter kit to help developers build machine-learning applications and deploy them easily and reliably in a cloud-native environment. The starter kits are part of the IBM Cloud-Native Toolkit, an open source collection of assets that provides an environment for developing cloud-native applications for deployment within Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes. Assets created with the Cloud-Native Toolkit can be deployed in any cloud or hybrid cloud environment.

          These starter kits offer an excellent starting point to operationalizing and industrializing AI-powered applications and making them ready for production, using open source and Red Hat OpenShift technologies. The starter kit speeds up the development, deployment, and innovation with a set of opinionated approaches/tools.

        • Japan at a crossroads: How open organization principles aided the country’s economic resurgence [Ed: This does not give examples of Japan using Free software and instead it is just mindless openwashing by the Red Hat site]

          Meritocracy in these “New Japan” companies is now becoming a function of increased performance transparency. It involves collaboration which impacts on their management and organizational structure, adaptation to a changing world, increased transparency between foreign and Japanese companies and builds a global community to address a wide range of issues. Simply, they had to invest to rapidly put all open organization principles to work.

          As I mentioned above, change is hard for Japanese companies because of what Schaede calls a “tight culture,” a term she borrows from Michele J. Gelfand’s book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers. Summarizing it, Schaede writes

          Tight cultures, such as Japan’s, are characterized by strong norms for what constitutes the “right” behavior, as well as strong mechanisms for ostracizing deviants. In contrast, loose cultures, such as that in the United States, have a much wider definition of what is acceptable and do not sanction noncompliance to nearly the same degree.

          In this kind of “tight” corporate culture, introducing a more flexible and creative work environment must be done in a highly regimented, methodical way to encourage employees to embrace less structured work approaches. Tight cultures also lend themselves to what Schaede calls “soft law” approaches to regulation, where exposing problems, nudging, and shaming are the primary levers driving activity. For Japan, using social transparency of actions and then applying shaming, exclusion, peer pressure, and what Schaede calls “nudging” are all that is needed for change to occur.

        • 4 ways IT metrics can motivate

          When we talk about metrics in software delivery, developers usually think of execution metrics – things like throughput, delivery, and number of deploys. These are often used to track team performance or determine efficiency, but in reality, these metrics don’t motivate anyone or provide a holistic picture of results – at least not without connecting them to a bigger picture.

          When developers understand how their day-to-day work directly impacts the company’s goals and vision, they’re able to understand their impact and will want to do better. When they want to do better, they want metrics to get them there.

          Here are four ways managers can motivate their developer teams to get behind metrics and find the right ones to track.

      • Debian Family

        • Proxmox Mail Gateway 7.0

          Debian 11 “Bullseye”, but using a newer Linux kernel 5.11
          SpamAssassin 3.4.6
          PostgreSQL 13
          GUI enhancements with a more detailed dashboard status panel & APT repository management panel in the ‘Administration’ tab
          ACME/Let’s Encrypt supports using wildcards
          API: allow setting LISTEN_IP parameter for pmgproxy
          Improved Proxmox Installer environment
          and more…

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.2 Now Available and Better Than Ever

          Linux Mint 20.2 (Uma) is now available and it makes a strong case for the best desktop experience on the market. Although the feature list doesn’t include anything that will blow users away at first blush, the performance gains and polish added make this release one of the finest on the market.

          One of the most impressive features the developers have pulled off lies in the Cinnamon desktop spin and comes in the form of a Memory Limit option. Users can enable this feature and then set a memory limit. If Cinnamon reaches that limit the desktop will automatically restart (without you losing either session or windows). This will ensure you don’t wind up with a desktop that bogs down because of memory leaks or other issues.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Performance Blog: What’s new in Perfherder?

            Since last “What’s new in Perfherder” article a lot has changed. Our development team is making progresses towards automating the regression detection process. This post will cover the various improvements that have been made to Perfherder since July 2020.

            [...]

            We’ve almost automated the filing of the regression bugs. We don’t have to copy-paste anymore the details from the regressor bug but just to input its number in the dialog below and the new bug screen the fields will auto-populate. The only thing that’s left to be automated is setting the Version of the bug, which should be the latest release of Firefox. It is currently set to unspecified.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • MongoDB Delivers the Future to Developers with MongoDB 5.0 and Serverless Atlas

          MongoDB, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDB), the leading, modern, general purpose database platform, today announced a series of revolutionary product enhancements from the keynote stage of MongoDB’s annual conference, MongoDB.live. These updates include the launch and General Availability of MongoDB 5.0 with native time series support, the preview of serverless databases in MongoDB Atlas, and the continued evolution of its industry leading application data platform with enhancements to Atlas Search, Atlas Data Lake, and MongoDB’s end-to-end mobile data solution, Realm.

        • MongoDB 5.0 Released

          MongoDB Inc. announced the general availability of MongoDB 5.0 at its annual conference recently.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice flyer for schools and universities: extra design

          Our LibreOffice New Generation project aims to bring new – and especially younger – contributors into the LibreOffice community. Earlier in the year, we created a flyer for schools and universities, and we’ve sent out printed versions to many people around the world.

      • FSF

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Hacking

          • Building a Curve25519 Hardware Accelerator

            The “double ratchet” algorithm is integral to modern end-to-end-encrypted chat apps, such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Matrix. It gives encrypted conversations the properties of resilience, forward secrecy, and break-in recovery; basically, even if an adversary can manipulate or observe portions of an exchange, including certain secret materials, the damage is limited with each turn of the double ratchet.

            The double-ratchet algorithm is a soup of cryptographic components, but one of the most computationally expensive portions is the “Diffie-Hellman (DH) key exchange”, using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) with Curve25519. How expensive? This post from 2020 claims a speed record of 3.2 million cycles on a Cortex-M0 for just one of the core mathematical operations: fairly hefty. A benchmark of the x25519-dalek Rust crate on a 100 MHz RV32-IMAC implementation clocks in at 100ms per DH key exchange, of which several are involved in a double-ratchet. Thus, any chat client implementation on a small embedded CPU would suffer from significant UI lag.

            There are a few strategies to rectify this, ranging from adding a second CPU core to off-load the crypto, to making a full-custom hardware accelerator. Adding a second RISC-V CPU core is expedient, but it wouldn’t do much to force me to understand what I was doing as far as the crypto goes; and there’s already a strong contingent of folks working on multi-core RISC-V on FPGA implementations. The last time I implemented a crypto algorithm was for RSA on a low-end STM32 back in the mid 2000’s. I really enjoyed getting into the guts of the algorithm and stretching my understanding of the underlying mathematical primitives. So, I decided to indulge my urge to tinker, and make a custom hardware accelerator for Curve25519 using Litex/Migen and Rust bindings.

      • Programming/Development

        • Jonathan Dowland: Small tweaks to `git branch` behaviour

          Despite my best efforts, I often end up with a lot of branches in my git repositories, many of which need cleaning up, but even so, may which don’t. Two git configuration tweaks make the output of git branch much more useful for me.

        • PHP 8.1 Performance Is Continuing To Improve With Early Benchmarks – Phoronix

          Each PHP release continues to improve in the department of performance. Even after the sizable performance improvements made with PHP 7, PHP 8 is continuing to further optimize the performance regardless of using its new JIT. While there still are several months to go until the official PHP 8.1 release, here are a few early benchmarks looking at the PHP CLI performance of PHP 8.1 and prior PHP releases.

        • Perl/Raku

          • On the eve of CPAN Testers

            Have a look at the CPAN Testers reports for two TRIAL releases of the same module, one from 2 days ago, the other a little over 3 years ago…

            [...]

            Last time, reports started coming in within hours of the release; over 60% of the picture was there within a day; some 85% after 2 days; and the first wave of reports lasted a week.

        • Python

          • C++ versus Python solving Problem #25 of Demo USE in Informatics 2021

            Write a program that searches among the integers that belong to the numerical segment [174457; 174505], numbers that have exactly two different natural divisors, not counting the unit and the number itself. For each of the found number, write these two divisors into the table on the screen with a new lines in ascending order of the product of these two divisors. Divisors in the table row must also follow in ascending order.

            We intend to assembly Python External C++ procedure using 2D vector to solve the the task mentioned above for segment [174457; 184505] without significant performance penalty , which would affect pure Python module runtime

  • Leftovers

    • How a Harlem Skyrise Got Hijacked—and Forgotten

      In 1964, following the unrest in Harlem roused by the police murder of James Powell, age 15, the poet June Jordan received an invitation to write for Esquire. Perhaps the invitation reached her in a manner that would feel familiar to some during our time. That is, perhaps she had been invited to explain.

    • In Delaware County

      The creators of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, a murder mystery set in a small Pennsylvania town, aimed for verisimilitude. Its main cast studied the phonics and cadence of the Delaware County accent—all the downturned O’s and “water” pronounced to rhyme with “rudder”—which Kate Winslet (who plays the titular Mare Sheehan) described as “amongst the top two hardest dialects I’ve ever done.” The costume designer sent snapshots of people in line at Wawa, the legendary Pennsylvania convenience store, to director Craig Zobel for inspiration. Clothes were distressed with scrubbing brushes, holes added. In terms of its content, the show can occasionally feel like a primer on the problems facing suburban and rural America. Its characters contend with the opioid epidemic, insufficient health care, precarious and low-paying jobs, a lack of support for the elderly, and ambitious young people moving away for college with no plans to return. Crime in Easttown is driven less often by passion or malice than by the desperation of people forced to get by on less.

    • Untethered, or The Year of Living Virtually

      New York City—When baseball legend Ted Williams died in 2002, it came to light that he had directed that his body be cryogenically frozen so he and his children would “be able to be together in the future, even if it is only a chance.” At the time, it seemed strange to me, a desire for immortality so intense that one would slow the body’s decomposition to molecular silence, the breath held in wait for the perfect cure.

    • Disabling Utopia to Save It

      Imagining better worlds can help us improve our own, but literary and cinematic utopias often exclude those who don’t fit into what are usually racially and culturally homogeneous societies. And whether it’s 1516 or 2016, utopian thinkers are especially prone to leaving out one group whose experiences and insights should enrich our dreams of the future: the disability community.

    • Shulamith Firestone Wanted to Abolish Nature—We Should, Too

      Teaching an online course about a utopian manifesto from the 1960s is a brutally effective way to illuminate the dystopianism of the pandemic-stricken present, let me tell you. To be sure, great surges of love and rage have hit the streets again and again over the past few years, disrupting the unlivable, carceral, care-poor reality that is, for so many of its denizens, the United States. As these waves of abolitionism crested, for example in the summer of 2020, one could almost catch a glimpse of what it might have felt like in 1968, when everything seemed on the table; suddenly, the restraint of 21st-century radicalism was illuminated. It is especially instructive, I feel, to look at the utopias of that bygone, almost-revolutionary era right now, during the late-stage pandemic. The re-entrenchment of gender cynicism, of nuclear familyism, has lately crept up on so many of us, without us fully noticing.1

    • Why Does Utopian Architecture Suck?

      Two years ago, the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, along with MIT and Oceanix (a start-up developing new ways to build on water), released a sprawling techno-utopian plan called Oceanix City, a community of 10,000 meant to float off the coast of New York City. Reading the press release is like assembling a collage of eco-technobabble, containing everything from the idea of being “resilient” (which here means “not flooding”) and the use of solar panels to hydroponic farming and a “zero waste” food policy. Of course, Oceanix City, an abstract utopia (meaning a utopia built by technocrats and operating within the existing social framework) assumes an almost entirely consumption-oriented habitat rather than a production-oriented one—meaning that other, less fortunate nations will still be the ones toiling in absentia to bring all the luxuries of everyday life. Ten thousand people, when considering the total population of New York City, is not a lot of people. And while the directive insists that the eco-villages will be affordable, nobody involved quantifies how affordability will be determined or maintained.

    • Utopia and Dystopia Are Twins—Both Are Born Out of Criticism

      Utopia and dystopia are twins, born at the same moment from the shared ancestry of social critique. Although remembered as the first modern attempt to systematically imagine an ideal society, Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) began with a stark portrait of a Europe torn apart by war and crushing poverty, with the shocking prediction that if the enclosure of farmland continued, soon sheep would be eating people. This horrifying prospect made it urgent to look for an alternative, which More sketches out as an egalitarian, communal society of shared property.1

    • Education

      • Does Technology Help Students Learn Better?

        Should technology be used for learning? It has been one of the most debatable topics in recent times. For years, experts have been assessing the benefits of technology in education against the risks and implications it brings along.

        Some argue that technology allows you to experiment with pedagogy, decentralize the classroom, and connect with Gen-Y & Gen-Z students. Others stress the adverse effects of technology in this aspect.

        The COVID-19 pandemic forces educational institutions to make a shift to online learning. Thus, we could not have imagined this transition without technology.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Top Vaccine Official Ousted in Tennessee Says ‘I Am Afraid for My State’
      • ‘Pandemic Is Far from Over’: Largest US Nurses Union Urges CDC to Reinstate Federal Mask Mandate

        Declaring Covid-19 vaccines “not enough by themselves to combat the pandemic,” the nation’s largest union of registered nurses on Tuesday called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reinstate the federal mask mandate.

        “The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over,” the union said in its letter (pdf) to CDC director Rochelle Walensky.

      • Drug War Foes Applaud Senators’ Bill to End Federal Cannabis Criminalization

        Drug war abolitionists on Wednesday applauded the introduction by three Democratic senators of proposed legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level while allowing states to decide their own cannabis laws.

        “In 2019 there were more marijuana arrests than all other violent crime arrests combined, and the majority of those were for simple possession. This is a grievous reality; lives are being destroyed every single day.”—Sen. Cory Booker

      • A powerful ‘motivational lever’ Meduza uncovers how the Belgorod region became the most vaccinated part of Russia

        The Belgorod region has the highest coronavirus vaccination rate in Russia — nearly 35 percent of the population, more than half a million people, have received their first dose. By comparison, even Moscow and the Moscow region are lagging behind, with just over 25 percent of their residents vaccinated against COVID-19. What’s more, unlike other parts of the country, the Belgorod region didn’t make vaccination against the coronavirus mandatory. How did they convince so many people to get the jab? Meduza discovered that the key to the Belgorod region’s success is a measure the local authorities aren’t advertising: making additional payments to local doctors for every vaccination.

      • On “Gain of Function” Research, COVID-19 and the Shortcomings of the Biological Weapons Convention: an Interview with Laurie Garrett

        Q: Putting aside any suggestion of conspiracy theories, what are your feelings about “gain of function” experiments with pathogens? Are the potential benefits worth the risks?

        A: For 13 years I ran global health efforts at the Council on Foreign Relations, where (among other things) I worked on policy issues surrounding Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) and Gain of Function work (GOF). In both cases I wrote several papers and attended many meetings at the National Academy of Sciences and elsewhere. I also went to China to discuss the issues there.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Nguyen: CVE-2021-22555: Turning \x00\x00 into 10000$

            For those who appreciate detailed descriptions of how to exploit a kernel vulnerability, this report on a netfilter bug by Andy Nguyen should certainly satisfy.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr and php7.0), Fedora (firefox, mingw-djvulibre, and seamonkey), Gentoo (fluidsynth, openscad, and urllib3), openSUSE (ffmpeg, nodejs12, and sqlite3), Red Hat (firefox), and SUSE (ffmpeg, kernel, nodejs10, nodejs12, nodejs14, and sqlite3).

          • Australian National University’s Critical Coronavirus Research Protected by KernelCare Enterprise Deployment

            The RSB runs bioinformatics servers that cannot be rebooted frequently due to the nature of the research work. COVID research and genome work can take weeks to months to complete, and breaks for maintenance tasks like patching and rebooting cannot be anticipated. A simple, professional, and affordable solution was needed to keep those systems running and protected, covering Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS.

          • Linux version of HelloKitty ransomware targets VMware ESXi servers [Ed: VMware is a Linux/GPL violator, but Microsoft booster Lawrence Abrams seems to think it's OK to blame VMware issues on "Linux"]
          • Josh Bressers: The future of DWF

            TL;DR – The future of community identifier is going to be the Cloud Security Alliance. See this blog post for more details.

            A few months ago the Distributed Weakness Filing project (DWF), announced it was coming back to work with some new ideas around how we work with vulnerability identifiers. The initial blog post defines some of the reasons, we won’t rehash them here.

            It should surprise nobody that the DWF project did not grow to an enormous size in a few short months. Vulnerability identification is a complex and hard problem. We were looking to try out some new ideas and see which were effective and which were not effective. It was to start to build the structure to deal with a future community. Most importantly it was to help figure out what we don’t know we don’t know.

            One group that has become interested in what we were doing was the CloudSecurityAlliance (CSA). The CSA is focused on, well, security and the cloud, as well as other new and emerging technologies and problems. Traditional vulnerability identifiers have been heavily focused on software as it existed in the past rather than current software and services. The CSA has an interest in helping to define the next generation of vulnerability classification. There are a huge number of potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses that are going untracked, which means they are largely unseen. If we expect the future to be more secure than the past, having a community driven vulnerability classification and freely available databases will be critical.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Content Moderation Case Study: Twitter Experiences Problems Moderating Audio Tweets (2020)

              Summary: Since its debut in 2007, Twitter hasn’t changed much about its formula, except for expanding its character limit from 140 to 280 in 2007 and adding useful features such as lists, trending topics and polls. Twitter has embraced images and videos, adding it to its original text-only formula, but seemed to have little use for audio. That changed in June 2020 when Twitter announced it would allow users to upload audio-only tweets. Remaining true to the original formula, audio tweets were limited to 140 seconds, although Twitter will automatically add new audio tweets to a thread if the user’s recording ran long.

            • Rights Coalition Demands US Retailers Reject Use of Facial Recognition

              On the heels of a congressional hearing that highlighted concerns about facial recognition, more than 35 civil rights groups on Wednesday collectively called for retailers to reject the technology in their stores “to protect the privacy and rights of shoppers and staff.”

              “Retailers should commit to not using facial recognition in their stores so we can champion their decision, or be prepared for an onslaught of opposition.”—Caitlin Seeley George, Fight for the Future

    • Defence/Aggression

      • America Doesn’t Have a Gun Problem
      • “My Name is Called Disturbance:” the Student Movement to Get Stanford Out of the Vietnam War

        Siegel takes us back to his Southern California childhood, in the $10,000 “Victory Home,” government-funded thanks to the anti-fascist war, and close to Hughes Aircraft in Culver City. His parents were progressives of the age, not Communists but proud and happy to be on the Left, with so many other lower middle class Jews, at least until the FBI came knocking. They became peaceniks in the early Sixties, proud of their bright and progressive son. By early 1967, Lenny found himself in SDS protesting the appearance of that liberal icon, Hubert Humphrey. Time magazine falsely reported that the demonstrators had thrown bags of urine, and that lie fairly set the tone for the deception engaged in by the university administration. Actually, the Hump had received a worrying disrespect, even anger. Who could possibly be angry about a War?

        Students themselves began assiduously researching Stanford’s many ties to the war machine. They learned that the notorious Strategic Hamlet plan emerged within the Stanford research umbrella, alongside the Army’s biological and chemical warfare contract work. Pretty soon, Siegel and others were producing antiwar posters about campus administrators, leafletting young men in San Jose, on their way to pre-induction physicals, and providing draft counseling.

      • America’s Afghan War Is Over, So What About Iraq – and Iran?

        The Taliban are rapidly expanding their control over hundreds of districts, usually through negotiations between local elders, but also by force when troops loyal to the Kabul government refuse to give up their outposts and weapons.

        A few weeks ago, the Taliban controlled a quarter of the country. Now it’s a third. They are taking control of border posts and large swathes of territory in the north of the country. These include areas that were once strongholds of the Northern Alliance, a militia that prevented the Taliban from unifying the country under their rule in the late 1990s.

      • Conflict or Cooperation in U.S.-China Relations?

        Beginning in 2018, U.S. government policy toward China turned sharply hostile, bringing relations between the two nations to their lowest point in the last four decades. The Trump administration fostered military confrontations with China in the South China Sea, initiated a trade war with the Asian nation, blamed China for the COVID-19 pandemic, and sharply denounced its human rights record. In a July 2020 public address, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for “a new alliance of democracies” to resist China, declaring: “The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.”

        For the most part, the Biden administration has continued this hard-line policy. Soon after taking office in 2021, U.S. officials stepped up political and military engagement with Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken used his first meeting with Chinese officials to publicly berate China. At the beginning of June, the U.S. Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, explicitly designed to compete with China by pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into advanced U.S. technology. This action followed the release of a proposed Pentagon budget that identified China as “the greatest long-term challenge to the United States.” Promising to “prioritize China” as the U.S. adversary, the Defense Department called for heightened funding to upgrade U.S. “forces, global posture, and operational concepts” by “investing in cutting edge technologies that will deliver new warfighting advantages to our forces.”

      • ‘The Techniques Rumsfeld Was Using Were Designed to Get False Information’

        The July 9, 2021, episode of CounterSpin included an archival interview with the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Michael Ratner about Donald Rumsfeld. Steve Rendall originally interviewed Ratner for the December 19, 2008 show.  This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • The Violence of Latinx Erasure Starts With Undercounting Victims

        On the night of March 23, 1979, Roberto Cintli Rodriguez lost his ability to dream. Rodriguez, a journalist, was in East Los Angeles reporting for an article in Lowrider magazine about police violence when four baton-wielding LA County sheriffs beat the living dreams out of him.

    • Environment

      • The Case Is Made—and the Time Is Now—for a Civilian Climate Corps

        The Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal embraced by President Joe Biden appears to be a dud. Instead of taxing the rich to modernize America’s roads, water systems and other infrastructure, it promotes various forms of privatization. A summary released in late June about how new construction will be financed includes so-called “public-private partnerships,” which are essentially high-interest loans to state and local governments that deliver massive returns for Wall Street banks, private equity investors and multinational financial firms. Also listed is a fringe policy idea called “asset recycling,” which would incentivize states and cities to outright sell off public assets. Back in 2009, Chicago leased out its parking meters to investors as far away as Abu Dhabi for at least $1 billion under value, which has forced residents to pick up the tab ever since. Asset recycling is that type of scheme on steroids. 

      • Radical Political Action Is Our Only Hope to Stop Criminal Negligence of Climate Emergency

        Planet Earth is on fire because of global warming, yet there are still untold numbers of climate deniers in our midst, including over 130 elected officials in the U.S. Congress, and the global community’s response to the climate crisis continues to be not merely unacceptably slow, but borders on criminal negligence.

      • Youth Activists Rally Outside Feinstein’s LA Office Demanding Civilian Climate Corps

        Dozens of climate activists from the youth-led Sunrise Movement rallied outside of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Los Angeles office Tuesday afternoon to demand the inclusion of a key climate measure in federal infrastructure legislation.

        The climate group’s most pressing demand was that Feinstein (D-Calif.) publicly champion the Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), which the Sunrise Movement says will “put over 1.5 million Americans to work in good-paying jobs all while combating climate change and building a sustainable future for our generation and many more to come.”

      • A Climate View From California

        I was in Reno last September, so I missed the morning when San Franciscans awoke to apocalyptic orange skies, the air freighted with smoke from burning forests elsewhere in the state. The air then was bad enough even in the high mountain valley of Reno. At that point, we’d already experienced “very unhealthy” purple-zone air quality for days. Still, it was nothing like the photos that could have been from Mars then emerging from the Bay Area. I have a bad feeling that I may get my chance to experience the same phenomenon in 2021 — and, as the fires across California have started so much earlier, probably sooner than September.

        The situation is pretty dire: this state — along with our neighbors to the north and southeast — is now living through an epic drought. After a dry winter and spring, the fuel-moisture content in our forests (the amount of water in vegetation, living and dead) is way below average. This April, the month when it is usually at its highest, San Jose State University scientists recorded levels a staggering 40% below average in the Santa Cruz Mountains, well below the lowest level ever before observed. In other words, we have never been this dry.

      • ‘Biggest Story in the World Right Now’: Humanity Has Flipped Amazon From Carbon Sink to Source

        Following years of warnings and mounting fears among scientists, “terrifying” research revealed Wednesday that climate change and deforestation have turned parts of the Amazon basin, a crucial “sink,” into a source of planet-heating carbon dioxide.

        Though recent research has elevated concerns about the Amazon putting more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it absorbs, the new findings, published in the journal Nature, were presented as a “first” by scientists and climate reporters.

      • Australia Aided by ‘Fossil Fuel Pariah States’ in Bid to Keep Great Barrier Reef Off ‘In Danger’ List

        Just ahead of a United Nations World Heritage Committee meeting weighing updated classifications for U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization sites, new reporting on Wednesday reveals how Australia is working to thwart the Great Barrier Reef being designated as “in danger.”

        According to The Guardian, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are co-sponsoring amendments that reject UNESCO’s finding, released last month, that the reef is in danger and would prevent such a designation until 2023 or later.

      • Energy

        • Critics Warn EU ‘Fit for 55′ Proposal Could Raise Energy Bills for Europe’s Poor

          As officials prepare to introduce sweeping legislation aimed at achieving the European Union’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, environmental and social justice advocates warned Wednesday that the proposed measures could push millions of people into poverty due to high energy costs.

          Part of the E.U.’s Green Deal, the European Commission says its Fit for 55 package “will enable the necessary acceleration of greenhouse gas emission reductions in the next decade” to meet the 27-nation bloc’s determined contribution under the Paris agreement.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Death by Design: How the National Park Service Experiments on Tule Elk

          The sleek, befurred mammals seem to commune with tourists who stroll a well-traveled trail in the preserve. Tule elk are Yoda-like, with big, brown eyes. They trumpet, munch flowers and make love in harems.

          According to a 1998 National Park Service brochure, “Given the mild climate and lush habitat of Tomales Point, the elk live in a virtual paradise.”

    • Finance

      • How to Pay for Infrastructure? Analysis Says Tax Billionaires’ $1.8 Trillion Pandemic Windfall

        A new analysis out Wednesday shows that the 713 billionaires in the United States have seen their collective wealth skyrocket by nearly $1.8 trillion since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic—and, thanks to the nation’s deeply skewed tax system, much of that windfall will likely go untaxed.

        “Lawmakers should pay for jobs, infrastructure, and investments benefiting working families with targeted taxes on the wealthiest 0.1%.”—Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies

      • We Can’t Afford to Go Small on Infrastructure

        For the past few months, a debate has been unfolding over what it will take to address the country’s infrastructure needs.

      • ‘A Big Deal,’ Says Sanders as Dems Agree to Pursue a $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill

        The Senate Democratic leadership agreed late Tuesday to push for a $3.5 trillion legislative package that includes substantial investments in green energy, an expansion of Medicare benefits, universal pre-K, and other priorities, funded by tax hikes on the rich and large corporations.

        “The wealthy and large corporations are going to start paying their fair share of taxes, so that we can protect the working families of this country.”—Sen. Bernie Sanders

      • ‘$3.5 Trillion Isn’t Enough’: Sunrise Says House Dems Must Go Bigger Than Senate on Climate

        The youth-led Sunrise Movement on Wednesday rejected Senate Democrats’ newly unveiled $3.5 trillion spending framework as badly inadequate to the task of combating the climate emergency and urged the House to “go bigger” with its own proposal.

        “This is the first time since 2009 that Democrats have control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. They cannot afford to waste this opportunity.”—Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement

      • Top CEOs Made Nearly 300 Times More Than Average Employee During Pandemic

        Economic justice advocates on Wednesday amplified calls for a wealth tax and far-reaching pro-worker legislation amid the release of two reports detailing how income and wealth inequality between corporate CEOs and their employees has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic.

        The AFL-CIO’s Executive Paywatch report examined compensation at S&P 500 companies, revealing that executives were paid 299 times the average worker’s salary in 2020. 

      • The ‘Zuma Riots’ and the Decadence of Capitalism

        Zuma’s supporters had warned that there would be unrest if he were to be jailed after being sentenced to fifteen months incarceration for contempt of court.

        The former president’s incarceration followed a recent precedent setting majority judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court, which serves as the country’s court of last instance, for defying that court and refusing to continue his testimony before the Commission of Enquiry to investigate Allegations of State Capture. His subsequent application to a lower court to stay his incarceration was dismissed before he handed himself to an incarceration center. It remains to be seen if a parallel application to the Constitutional Court for it to rescind its judgment will succeed.

      • Democratic Senators Call for Investigation of Tax Avoidance by the Ultrawealthy

        Two prominent members of the Senate Finance Committee are calling for an investigation into tax avoidance by the ultrawealthy, citing ProPublica’s Secret IRS Files series.

      • The Inflation Bogeyman

        You’re hearing a lot about inflation these days. Don’t buy it. Every time the economy gets a bit of wind in its sails and workers get a little wage increase, conservatives scream about inflation and price increases.

      • As Cuba Tries To Block Internet Messaging, A Reminder Of Why The Open Internet Is So Important

        I know that the internet is taking quite a beating these days, but we should not forget the promise of the internet, and how it can be used for important movements. The protests in Cuba are a perfect example of this. As you probably know, Cuba has had very limited access to the internet, though it has expanded recently. Twenty years ago we wrote about efforts to build bootleg internet connections in Cuba, and a decade later, Fidel Castro suddenly talked about how important the internet was, noting that he had become something of an internet junkie himself. It’s really only in the last few years that Cuba has made it really possible for people to have internet in their homes, but only via the state operated ETECSA with fairly limited speeds.

      • Washington’s Weaponization of Protests in Cuba Takes Its Regime Change Efforts to New Heights of Hypocrisy

        Needless to say, the US government, its minions in the corporate-owned media, and, of course, the representatives of the Cuban-American exile brigade have seized on the protests to bolster their case for regime change and the continuation of coercive measures against the beleaguered Caribbean island nation. At the forefront of these calls has been Frances Suarez, mayor of Miami – the hinterland of Cuba-American exile hardliners – who has openly called for direct US military intervention into Cuba.

        The move comes amidst a growing unwillingness on the part of the Biden administration to roll back some of his predecessor’s policies toward Cuba. The Trump administration had reversed several of the renormalization measures implemented by the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice-president, in part as an effort to court the support of the Cuban-American community and their representatives, such as senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

      • “We Just Want the Basics”: Rare Protests in Cuba Amid Deep Economic Crisis, Ongoing U.S. Blockade

        We go to Havana, Cuba, to look at what is behind protests that brought thousands of people into the streets of Havana and other cities in rare anti-government protests denouncing the island’s economic crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuba is facing its harshest phase of the pandemic with skyrocketing infections, and people are scrambling to cope amid shortages of medicine, food and other resources due to catastrophic U.S. sanctions. Thousands of others in Cuba led counterprotests in support of the Cuban Revolution and President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Cuban journalist Daniel Montero, a journalist with the independent news organization Belly of the Beast, says many people were demanding an end to communism on the island, but the protests were not entirely driven by ideology. “We just want more food. We just want medicine. We just want the basics,” he says many protesters told him in interviews.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Twitter Reports Rise in Governments Demanding Removal of Journalists’ Content

        In a biannual transparency report published on Wednesday, Twitter revealed that the second half of 2020 was marked by a surge in government demands to delete information shared by reporters and news publishers, an alarming trend for advocates of press freedom.

        The social media giant said that in the second half of 2020, “199 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets from around the world were subject to 361 legal demands” to remove content—a 26% increase from the first half of the year.

      • UK’s Draft Online Safety Bill Raises Serious Concerns Around Freedom of Expression

        EFF and OTI submitted joint comments as part of that consultation on the Online Harms White Paper in July 2019, pushing the government to safeguard free expression as it explored developing new rules for online content. Our views have not changed: while EFF and OTI believe it is critical that companies increase the safety of users on the internet, the recently released draft bill reflects serious threats to freedom of expression online, and must be revised. In addition, although the draft features some notable transparency provisions, these could be expanded to promote meaningful accountability around how platforms moderate online content.

        The bill is broad in scope, covering not only “user-to-user services” (companies that enable users to generate, upload, and share content with other users), but also search engine providers. The new statutory duty of care will be overseen by the UK Office of Communications (OFCOM), which has the power to issue high fines and to block access to sites. Among the core issues that will determine the bill’s impact on freedom of speech is the concept of “harmful content.” The draft bill opts for a broad and vague notion of harmful content that could reasonably, from the perspective of the provider, have a “significant adverse physical or psychological impact” on users. The great subjectivity involved in complying with the duty of care poses a risk of overbroad removal of speech and inconsistent content moderation.

        In terms of illegal content, “Illegal content duties” comprise the obligations of platform operators to minimize the presence of so-called “priority illegal content,” to be defined through future regulation, and a requirement to take down any illegal content upon becoming aware of it. The draft bill thus departs from the EU’s e-Commerce Directive (and the proposed Digital Services Act), which abstained from imposing affirmative removal obligations on platforms. For the question of what constitutes illegal content, platforms are put first in line as arbiters of speech: content is deemed illegal if the service provider has “reasonable grounds” to believe that the content in question constitutes a relevant criminal offence.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Rights Groups Fight Back Against ‘Punitive and Unjust’ Anti-Protest Law in Florida

        A coalition of civil rights groups on Wednesday filed a motion in a Florida federal court seeking to block the state’s recently enacted anti-protest law—which critics say targets racial justice demonstrators while letting right-wing protesters off the hook.

        “We use protest as a vehicle for change and not only does this law silence our voices, but it puts our lives in danger.”—Nailah Summers, Dream Defenders

      • Kneeling against Racism: Solidarity in EURO 2020 Should Not be ‘Controversial’

        Yet, while some players chose to kneel down, others opted not to, offering flimsy excuses as “players weren’t ready”, and “politics should stay out of football”. Racism in sports is real, though it cannot be separated from racism within society. In fact, the reactions to the moral stances taken by some players were reflections of how rightwing, populist and chauvinistic movements wield such massive influence over various European societies, to the extent that these movements often define mainstream political sensibilities.

        For example, the French national team, comprising largely black and Muslim French players, came under attack led by rightwing politicians and media outlets to the point that, on June 15, the entire team decided not to take a knee at the start of their matches, likely fearing racist repercussions.

      • County Officials in Texas Settle Lawsuit Alleging Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases

        Travis County, Texas, officials have settled a lawsuit brought by more than a dozen women who said local law enforcement agencies had failed to properly investigate their sexual assault allegations.

      • Sixth Circuit Says School Board Can’t Boot People From Meetings Just Because It Doesn’t Like What They’re Saying

        Just because government officials may not like the tone of the criticism they’re receiving doesn’t mean they can use their government power to mandate civility. That’s the determination of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court, which has struck down part of an Ohio school board’s rules of (public) engagement.

      • There’s Nothing New About Georgia’s ‘New Vision’ For Parole

        As Georgia moves into the next phase of the pandemic, it is becoming clear that the state’s incarcerated population has actually increased despite releases spurred by COVID-19. While state prison officials tout a “new vision” for parole released just earlier this year, underneath it all exists an arbitrary and unfair process in violation of state laws that leaves prisoners with few-to-no prospects for release.

        On January 21, 2021, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles released a “New Vision Statement.” It isn’t particularly new. Although the 2021 statement has 41 more words than the 2015 version, and includes claims of being “data-driven” and “scientific,” there appears to be little change to its substance. 

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • As Delta Variant Drives COVID-19 Uptick, Pfizer Pushes 3rd Shot in U.S. Despite Global Vaccination Lag

          After months of decline in COVID-19 cases in the United States due in part to widely available vaccines, the number of new cases per day is on the rise again. Pfizer representatives met with U.S. regulators and vaccine experts to seek emergency use authorization for a second booster dose of its vaccine, as health experts are continuing to highlight the growing gap in administered vaccinations between rich and low-income countries. “In the United States, we have access to multiple vaccines,” says Dr. Abraar Karan, an internal medicine doctor and infectious disease fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Many countries have not seen any vaccine at all.” He also says it’s too early to say whether a third vaccine dose is necessary, as Pfizer has insisted. “I hope the science is what guides this, not the financial aspects,” he says.

        • President Biden, Please Persuade Chancellor Merkel to Support the WTO Waiver and Save Lives

          President Joe Biden’s White House summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday will be an epic moral failure unless it ends Germany’s blockage of an emergency World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver to facilitate greater production of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments necessary to save millions of lives.

        • ‘Merkel’s Delay Could Kill Us All’: Protesters Demand Germany Stop Obstructing Patent Waiver

          Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s White House visit, global justice campaigners marched to the German Consulate and Pfizer’s headquarters in Manhattan on Wednesday to demand that Germany and Big Pharma stop blocking a proposed patent waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, which public health advocates say would facilitate greater worldwide manufacturing of sorely needed doses.

          “The pandemic can only be defeated globally. It requires global effort and global solidarity. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”—Marian Lieser, Oxfam Germany

      • Copyrights

        • Registration for the Virtual 2021 CC Global Summit Is Now Open

          It’s a special year because Creative Commons is turning 20! The 2021 CC Global Summit is shaping up to be one of our biggest, boldest events yet, so join us 20-24 September for a week of discussion, collaboration, creativity and community building. Whether you are new to the community or a long-time contributor, the Summit has something for you! 

        • Japanese Police Arrest Man For Selling Modded Save Files For Single-Player Nintendo Game

          We’ve already written a few times about how Japan’s onerous Unfair Competition Prevention Law has created what looks from here like a massive overreach on the criminalization of copyright laws. Past examples include Japanese journalism executives being arrested over a book that tells people how to back up their own DVDs, along with more high-profile cases in which arrests occurred over the selling of cheats or exploits in online multiplayer video games. While these too seem like an overreach of copyright law, or at least an over-criminalization of relatively minor business problems facing electronic media companies, they are nothing compared with the idea that a person could be arrested and face jail time for the crime of selling modded save-game files for single player game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Staff Elements in Working Group on Teleworking Explain Lies From EPO Management, Which Isn’t Working (Only Robbing and Stealing From the EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looks like someone needs a little more bossing
Maybe there is a productivity “gap” somewhere…

Summary: A new document shows what sort of incompetent and aloof bunch of people run Europe’s second-largest institution; they lack empathy and they exploit COVID-19 to crush staff, mostly based on deliberate distortions and lies

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO circulated a letter today and someone passed us a copy to study. They had met the King ‘Gap’inos regarding home working, seeing that the COVID-19 problem is far from over (nor is the Benoît Battistelli problem anywhere near over). The cynicism from the CSC can be understood in light of recent events. There is no sincere social dialogue and ‘Gap’inos did not prepare for this meeting. Maybe he thinks that just lying back, pretending to listen, can magically solve profound issues.

The meeting is very recent and so is the report. They probably wanted to get it out there as soon as possible. Here’s the whole thing:

Munich, 15-07-2021
sc21097cp – 0.2.1/4.4

Working Group on Teleworking Report on the first meeting of 14 July 2021

The meeting was the first opportunity ever for the staff representation to discuss directly the proposal for a teleworking scheme revealed in broad terms for the first time on 11 June 2021 in CA/38/21 (page 17). The administration had tabled neither an agenda nor supportive documents and presented themselves as being in listening mode. We decided to structure the meeting along the lines of our letter 1 of 22 June 2021 which was never answered.

1. Mandate of the Working Group

A teleworking policy for the mid-term
The administration intends to discuss a mid-term policy to be submitted to the Administrative Council meeting of December 2021 for implementation at the end of January 2022, essentially:

A maximum of 80% of the working time for working remotely within the country of employment, of which time a maximum of 60 working days from another EPC contracting state.

The possibility to work remotely 80% of the working time remotely from any other host state (hence among Netherlands, Germany, Austria or Belgium) was not on the table.

The administration explained that:

• the maximum of 80% of the working time was set in order to maximize coverage of teleworking patterns wished by staff according to the Willis Towers Watson survey results and that “extreme cases of full teleworking could not be taken on board”,
• the maximum of 60 working days from another EPC contracting state was set with the aim “to limit issues with the criteria of 6 months in most EPC member states for defining the place of residence if teleworking from another EPC contracting state were combined with other kinds of leave”

The mid-term policy would be optional for opt-in/opt-out (namely on a voluntary basis) and could take effect from January 2022. The administration assured however that the emergency guidelines giving more flexibility for teleworking would be extended “if the pandemic situation requires”. The administration did not specify which authority would be considered for defining the end of the pandemic for the EPO.

_____
1 “Preparation of the first meeting of the Working Group on Teleworking”, Letter of the CSC WG nominees to the President, 22 June 2021 (sc21082cl)


A review of the mid-term policy would take place after 1 or 2 years of implementation and should hence be seen as a “pilot” for comparing staff wishes with their actual behaviour.

Clear rules for opt-in and opt-out fully explaining the consequences?
The administration agreed that clear rules for opt-in and opt-out would be essential for line managers and their staff.

The administration assured that saving on office space and expenditure is not their concern ”in view of the very good results of the Office” and distanced themselves from the policy of the European Commission closing half of its buildings in Brussels2 : “We have no such constraints. Everybody would be free to come to the Office”. The buildings would however need to be organised to ensure that team members coming to the buildings are close together and not isolated as is currently the case: “Those coming frequently would keep their office, those coming less frequently would have to be flexible and won’t have a designated personal office.”

We warned that some line managers were putting pressure on their teleworking team members by threatening them to come back to their office. The administration assured that no arbitrary decision on teleworking should be made by line managers. We requested a fast conflict resolution panel for dealing with situations in which a colleague’s request for opt-in/opt-out is arbitrarily rejected.

Maintaining a sense of belonging in a hybrid environment
The administration explained that the frequency of presence in the Office should be both flexible and match the needs of the teams. Line managers will have to discuss with their team how and when they can meet in the Office on a regular basis. This opportunity will be given by the compulsory 20% of presence at work. Reference was made to the Boards of Appeals who consider that they should constantly be in Munich.

We warned that, if the administration were to impose a compulsory presence of 1 day per week in the Office, it would deter employees from settling far away from their place of employment. Such a frequency should not be left to managerial discretion. The administration rejected such a frequency for the time being and assured to find a sensible solution to the problem. Reference was made to the EU agencies who impose to link teleworking from the home country with annual leave.

Special challenge on health and safety of staff
We explained that teleworking in a virtual environment represents a special challenge for the Office on the health and safety of staff. The administration replied that any actual challenge is rather a consequence of the pandemic and should not be linked to teleworking.

We insisted that our only experience with massive teleworking may indeed be linked to the pandemic but the challenge after the pandemic should not be underestimated.

2. Content and outcome of consultation

Expectations management
The Willis Towers Watson survey proposed 5 teleworking scenarios one of them consisting of full teleworking from any EPC member state. Staff therefore expected that the mid-term policy would offer this possibility and some even started to sell their house and move to another EPC member state.

_____
2 https://www.politico.eu/article/european-commission-to-close-half-of-its-buildings-as-teleworking-
becomes-the-new-norm/


The administration replied that “such a decision is a major step and a pre-emptive action [...] it is not a smart way to put the Office in a situation where it is then asked to help”.

Consultation of member states
As announced in the report on the Administrative Council meeting of June, “[s]everal delegations [...] expressed caution over the scope for working from another member state” in particular the host states of Germany, the Netherlands and Austria.

The administration replied that the corresponding Ministries of Foreign Affairs were contacted and actually have no issues with the proposals: “there was a problem with the communication flow between the ministries and the delegates [...] this is beyond the reach of the Office”

The administration explained that DG5 is in discussion with Member States to clarify concerns on the length of stay in a country and taxation: “in most EPC contracting states a criteria of 6 months is used to determine the place of residence [...] a staff member may be considered to be resident in that other EPC contracting state and may lose some privileges.” The administration made it clear that “teleworking is a shared responsibility between the employee and the Office [...] the Office cannot take control of what staff does and just has the duty to inform staff about the rules applying in the country from which they telework”.

A new survey?
After almost 2 years of “emergency” teleworking, staff may have changed their perception of teleworking. We thus requested a new survey to obtain adequate feedback from staff on the now proposed mid-term policy. The results would help the Office to know whether the assumption of an average of 50% daily building occupancy is realistic (CA/38/21, pages 32, 33 and 35).

The administration rejected our request for a new survey and argued that “surveys can create confusion”. We consider that this is indeed the case only for surveys which ask an opinion on an offer (like full teleworking) which is thereafter not on the table anymore. The administration only accepted to consider the possibility of a new survey in 1 or 2 years at the stage of reviewing the mid-term teleworking policy.

For the time being, the administration invited us to give feedback from staff. We pointed out the inherent contradiction of this invitation in view of the fact that staff representation still has no access to mass-emails for this purpose. The Working Group on Resources for Staff Committee is still waiting for the revised Circular 356 with a “Memorandum of Understanding on mass-emails” which was promised for June.

3. Overview of the savings made by the Office under the “emergency” teleworking guidelines

On buildings
The “emergency” teleworking guidelines put in place on March 2020 in view of the pandemic together with a building occupancy rate capped at 15% significantly increased the number of staff members working from home (80% on average per day) compared to the Part-Time Home Working Scheme (13% on average per day). We referred to our letter pointing out that this led to significant savings made by the Office.

The administration argued it had a look at the figures and concluded that: “Part-Time Home Working did not bring real savings, the savings made now were solely due to the pandemic and they were even less than expected”.


Management referred to air conditioning which needs to be continuously switched on (to reduce potential virus concentration) regardless of the building occupancy and argued that there was an increase of expenditure in IT equipment and facility management.

In their view, no savings (or small savings only) are foreseen with the mid-term policy because all staff members may work from their office if they wish so. Along this line, the administration assured that no building would be sold and therefore the maintenance costs of these need to be considered into the calculation. In addition, this would be the most generous teleworking scheme among international organisations. Therefore, no compensation for staff working from home can be considered.

On sick leave
We argued that savings due to facility costs is only one aspect, savings due to increased production and reduced absenteeism cannot be neglected either. We cited as an example that sick leave decreased because staff does not register sickness if they work from home. This has a positive impact on both the office savings in general and our medical self-insurance.

Management again linked it to the pandemic (e.g. postponement of treatment) and pretended that PTHW had a minimal impact on sick leave registration. In their view, 2020 and 2021 are exceptional years which are not comparable.

On canteens
We requested a compensation for the unused subsidies caused by the closure of the canteens. The administration said it found “astonishing that EPO colleagues organize a crowdfunding action for a service provider whose employees are still employed3, but those EPO colleagues are not willing to pay one Euro more to ensure better food or working conditions to those employees [...] we don’t want to compensate cent for cent – this exercise would bring us nowhere.” (sic!)

The administration then closed the debate by replying clearly that: “teleworking is an offer to colleagues to work from where they work best [...] it is the employee’s decision and thus the employee shall entail the costs”.

4. Follow-up
For the next meeting foreseen in September, we expect the administration to provide us with a draft circular for a mid-term teleworking scheme.

The CSC nominees in the Working Group on Teleworking

_____________
3 To our knowledge, a majority of Genusszeit employees are either unemployed or under Kurzarbeit. The situation is worse for Leonardi employees who are mostly unemployed

The number of lies from Office management is astounding (and of very shallow/low quality). How can they look at staff with a straight face?

EPO Staff Seeking Reparations After Unlawful Practices and a Decade of Abuse by EPO ‘Mafia’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mind the gap between law and practice
How can they lecture us about obeying patent law when they break every law and violate constitutions without shame?

Summary: The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is making “COMPENSATION CLAIM” for some of the many abuses of corrupt EPO management, which is well overdue for some punishment; instead, as SUEPO warns, there’s risk that the credibility of the whole institution will collapse, including the complicit council’s (administered by what EPO staff calls “Mafia” because of its modus operandi)

THE staff union, or SUEPO Central to be precise (overseeing operations in all the branches and representing 3,000-4,000 members of EPO staff), is seeking compensation from EPO President Gap Campinos, who continues to protect Benoît Battistelli and cover up his crimes (which he further exploits and sometimes extends). While trafficking billions of euros from the EPO to some dodgy gambling account he has the audacity to lecture staff about a budget "gap".

Based on correspondence we saw, SUEPO takes it a step further in a number of directions right now. Yes, in parallel. The attack on labour rights is one thing; the attack on workers’ and pensioners’ compensation is another. To quote SUEPO: “In its 132nd session, the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) ruled on the strike regulations of the EPO. The ILOAT expressed in several Judgments on exemplary complaints that effectively the entire legal framework intended to curb strikes in the EPO is unlawful.”

Suffice to say, quite frankly as usual, all the media was silent about it, but there are some good blog comments here (they also connect these EPO crimes to what’s happening with Team UPC).

“In this letter to Mr Campinos,” SUEPO writes, “we request him to execute the judgments and that accordingly Circular 347 is quashed ab initio. For the reason that all EPO staff was deprived of their right to strike with unjustified salary deductions, we request that the outcome of the judgments 4430, 4432, 4433, 4434, 4435 is applied to all.”

We showed the first page of each (last week).

“Finally,” SUEPO writes, “we urge Mr Campinos to propose to the Administrative Council the withdrawal of the decision CA/D 5/13 ex tunc. Such a decision in the upcoming meeting on 13 October 2021 could at least avoid another embarrassment for the Organisation in front of the Tribunal in Geneva.”

In order for European citizens to understand the corrupt forces pushing the UPC, here’s a letter that helps explain the total disregard for the law and constitutions.

14 July 2021
su21017cl – 0.2.1-0.3.1-5.1

Mr António Campinos
President of the European Patent Office
ISAR – Room 1081

OPEN LETTER

Reparation of the damage caused by the unlawful strike regulations

Dear Mr Campinos,

In its 132nd session, the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) ruled on the strike regulations of the EPO. The ILOAT expressed in several Judgments on exemplary complaints that effectively the entire legal framework intended to curb strikes in the EPO is unlawful. The judges emphasised: It has long been recognised that staff of international organisations have a right to strike and that generally it is lawful to exercise that right.1 They ruled inter alia:2

• Circular No. 347 (Circular on Strikes) is set aside.
• “Go slow” and “work to rule” are legitimate forms of industrial action protected by the ordinary conception of the right to strike.
• Imposing a minimum of 10% of employees who may call for a strike violates the right to strike.
• The requirement that the vote be conducted by the Office violates the right to strike.
• The time limit placed on the duration of strike violates the right to strike.
• Being on strike must not be stigmatised as an unauthorised absence from work. A salary deduction on this basis is unlawful.
• The deduction of 1/20 of salary for each day a member of staff is on strike is considered punitive and thus not lawful.

In your first official meeting with SUEPO representatives on 5 December 2018, the above rules for strike were on the agenda. You confirmed your readiness for looking at them together with us with the intention of settling pending cases and finding a modus vivendi reflecting a staff union’s prerogative for organising a strike. But to date nothing in this respect has happened!

______
1 Judgment No. 4430, consideration 13
2 Judgments Nos. 4430, 4433, 4435


It is true that the regulations were introduced under your predecessor. However, you have to accept the consequences of continuing to entrust the fate of the EPO to the advisors of the time. Thus, the full responsibility for the serious loss of reputation caused for the EPO now lies solely with you.

What was once a model organisation for Europe has revealed itself as an institution that has breached the fundamental rights of its employees – for more than eight years.

ILOAT stated3: “Employees who strike by ceasing work are deploying a tool incidental to collective bargaining to place pressure on their employer, often in the context of a dispute about preserving or improving wages and working conditions, workplace safety, dismissals and freedom of association amongst other things. It is a tool employees have to redress the imbalance of power between them and their employer. Absent a right to strike, it is open to an employer to ignore entreaties by employees advanced collectively to consider, let alone respond to, their grievances about wages and working conditions etc.”

We request that you execute the judgments and that accordingly Circular 347 is quashed ab initio.

For the reason that all EPO staff was deprived of their right to strike with unjustified salary deductions, we request that the outcome of the judgments is applied to all. In particular, we request that,

1. Judgment 4430 be applied to all EPO staff who were deprived of their right to participate in the SUEPO strike of July 2013
2. Judgment 4433 be applied to all EPO staff who was considered on unauthorised absence for participating in the SUEPO strike of July 2013,
3. Judgments 4432 and 4434 be applied to all EPO staff active at the time of the events who were deprived of their right to vote in strike ballots
4. Judgment 4435 be applied to all EPO staff who had excessive strike deductions of 1/20th since 1 July 2013

In this respect, we request that the management reviews against strike deductions based on the salary slips of January 2021 are allowed immediately to avoid an increase in the workload of the appeals committee on a matter which has been ruled by the Tribunal already.

Finally, we urge you to propose to the Administrative Council the withdrawal of the decision sCA/D 5/13 ex tunc. Such a decision in the upcoming meeting on 13 October 2021 could at least avoid another embarrassment for the Organisation in front of the Tribunal in Geneva.

Yours sincerely,

Johannes Schaaf
Deputy Chairman of SUEPO Central

______
3 Judgment No. 4430

UPC propaganda mills of litigation firms (e.g. Managing ‘IP’) are doing a rally/marathon of manufactured/fake optimism, but guess what… there are challenges on the way and they know it. Their jingoism is part of the lobbying strategy, which is not entirely novel.

We invite EPO insiders to join our fight against the unjust, unlawful and unconstitutional UPC, which seeks to extend the same corrupt elements they see inside the Office to courts outside BoA. It’s a coup, it’s a long siege, and it targets the wallets of Europeans. Working for a “law firm” does not by definition imply you work to protect or uphold the law.

Links 15/7/2021: Netflix in Gaming (DRM)

Posted in News Roundup at 7:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lenovo repair center returned my laptop. BIOS update immediately bricks Windows 10.

        Well, I got my ThinkBook 15 Gen2 ITS laptop back from the Lenovo repair center in Texas yesterday.

        Unfortunately, it seems they either wiped the SSD or replaced it. Sometimes they solder everything in and have to replace everything, and the dumb thing about this is that the whole thing happened over a USB port failing.

        So I get the thing back and set it up and then realize that the BIOS has been reverted to the 1.05 release that shipped with the ThinkBook 15 Gen2 ITL back in November of last year, so I updated it to the 1.12 BIOS that Lenovo recommends, which includes many bug fixes, not the least of which is to mitigate some RowHammer exploits, which are rather nasty and yet another one of the lulz that malware writers are exploiting now.

        With operating systems in general tending to become more secure, they’ll take what they can get, and such attacks are no longer theoretical. People really need to mitigate before the damage happens. Once you’re actively exploited, it’s too late.

        Unfortunately, the same BIOS version that updated the older motherboard just fine bricked Windows 10 with an “Inaccessible Boot Drive” Blue Screen of Death. Since the repair center returned it to me without any of my data on it anyway, I booted off a recovery stick and told it to “Reset This PC” from the built-in recovery partition (although I could have used the stick too since I always back up system files and make a new stick image whenever there’s a major new Windows update out.

        I don’t feel that we should be running into issues like this with supported BIOS updates and the supported OS, but that’s Microsoft and Lenovo for you. Just, thank God nothing important got messed up. If you are going to update the BIOS on these things, do it while you still have a warranty and preferably before you do anything else with the PC, and be prepared to recover the OS.

        [...]

        Microsoft claims to have stringent “Windows Hardware Quality Labs” standards for drivers that end up in Windows Update, and to be fair, unless you are having a problem or know what you’re doing, you might be best off leaving it alone, but in reality it gives you the driver that time forgot, sometimes it’s not even important (my backup hard drive works fine without the SES driver), and under no circumstances should old drivers interfere with important security features.

    • Server

      • 6 Must-Have Open-Source Tools to Secure Your Linux Server

        Tech geeks often tout Linux as the most secure operating system, especially compared to the mainstream proprietary ones like Windows and macOS. While that’s true for the most part, Linux doesn’t offer you a secure environment by default.

        Linux server’s security largely depends on what methods you adhere to and the tools you have deployed on your system to help it withstand viruses, malware, and other malicious attacks.

        Nothing’s invincible; for this very reason, it is practical to secure your Linux server with the best open-source security tools in the market.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 914

        joycon fixing, audacity, star wars

      • FLOSS Weekly 638: Bufferbloat and Beyond – Dave Taht

        Dave Taht is one of the Internet’s unsung (but singing) heroes, and is doing more than anyone today to rescue your Internet connection from something you haven’t heard of, but should: bufferbloat. On FLOSS Weekly, Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennett spend an information-packed hour with Dave, digging deep into bloated network buffers, bureaucracies, corporate failings, and slow but real progress against all of those, much of it with Dave’s leadership.

      • We Have Perfected Tiling Window Manager Rices

        People occasionally ask me about my Linux rice and I really don’t know what to say, Tiling Window Managers have basically been perfected and they all look the same, sure color schemes will be different but the general design is all the same.

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD Zen 3 APU Temperature Monitoring Narrowly Misses Linux 5.14

        Landing into “hwmon-next” just after the Linux 5.14-rc1 tagging that marks the formal end to feature work for the current cycle was the k10temp driver adding support for AMD Zen 3 APU temperature monitoring under Linux.

        The k10temp driver already has support for Zen 3 desktop CPUs and even Zen 3 SP3/Threadripper CPUs with the necessary model IDs in place, but unfortunately the Zen 3 Ryzen APU model ID was missing until the commit on late Sunday.

        The change is rather trivial and namely just adding the Family 19h Model 50 bits in place for allowing this k10temp thermal driver to work for Zen 3 APUs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Some ways to get (or not get) information about system memory ranges on Linux

        What’s clear is that in general, a modern x86 machine’s physical memory ranges are quite complicated. There are historical bits and pieces, ACPI and other data that is in RAM but must be preserved, PCI(e) windows, and other things.

      • Filtering spam using Rspamd and OpenSMTPD on OpenBSD

        I recently used Spamassassin to get ride of the spam I started to receive but it proved to be quite useless against some kind of spam so I decided to give rspamd a try and write about it.

        rspamd can filter spam but also sign outgoing messages with DKIM, I will only care about the anti spam aspect.

      • How to install Netstat on Linux

        Netstat is a Linux tool that system admins use for analyzing network stats. It comes in handy when you’re trying to take a deeper look at your Linux machine and how it is handling networking. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install Netstat on your Linux PC.

      • Self Hosted, WEB Photo Organizer With Photoprism and Raspberry PI

        With Smartphone camera quality increasing, thousands of photo files live spread in our hard drives, sometime without a unified organization.

      • How to Install LEMP Stack on Rocky Linux 8

        LEMP is a popular stack that comprises open-source software that is collectively used to host and serve web applications, whether in production or any stage along the development cycle.

        The terminology LEMP is an acronym for Linux, Nginx (pronounced as Engine X, hence the E) which is a web browser, MariaDB or MySQL – database, and PHP for processing dynamic content). LEMP stack is popularly used for hosting high-traffic and highly scalable web applications and websites.

      • How to Install Mono on Ubuntu [Ed: Microsoft poison pill inside GNU/Linux]

        Mono is the OpenSource implementation of the Microsoft .NET software stack. It is based on ECMA/ISO standards and implements the C# programming language and the Common Language Runtime. To find out more about Mono, have a look at the Mono project website.

      • How to Change Hostname in Ubuntu / Linux a guide for beginners 2021

        Are you looking to change hostname in Linux? That is a good idea. But do you know “What is hostname? Why do you want to change hostname? or How to change hostname in Ubuntu or other Linux Operating System.

        In simple word, the hostname is a computer name of your laptop of desktop or other devices have Linux OS.

        If you remember, you set the hostname/computer name at a time when you were installing Ubuntu.

        But now, You don’t like that hostname by any reason and want to change it without restarting Ubuntu system. Yes you can change hostname easily by using the command line as well as using GUI (Graphical Interface)

        This article completely for beginners, because I cover how to change hostname by using GUI and What to do after changing the hostname.

      • How to Install OwnCloud to Create Own Cloud Storage in Linux

        Cloud storage stands for a virtualized pool of network storage most commonly hosted by third parties. Cloud storage is a network-based service that physically does not exist but remains somewhere in the cloud. To be more clear, cloud storage means sharing data over a network, rather than having local servers or personal devices.

        Cloud storage is all around us in our smartphones, on desktops and servers, etc. The Dropbox application which is now available on smartphones is nothing but a cloud storage application. Google Drive is another cloud storage application that lets you store and access your stored data from anywhere and anytime.

      • How to Install and Use Nmap on Ubuntu – Unixcop

        Nmap is a very popular free and open-source network security tool and port scanner. It designed to perform security scans and discover hosts on a network by sending different packets to them and then analyzing their responses.

        Nmap was named “Security Product of the Year” by Linux Journal, Info World, LinuxQuestions.Org, and Codetalker Digest. featured in twelve movies, including The Matrix Reloaded, Die Hard 4, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

      • How to Install minio S3 Object Storage on Ubuntu 21.04 – Unixcop

        Minio is an Amazon s3 compatible high-performance object storage service. It is an open-source application released under Apache License v2.0 that supports unstructured data such as images, videos, backup, etc. written in GO that uses buckets to organize the object.A bucket is similar to a folder or directory in a filesystem, where each bucket can hold an arbitrary number of objects

        We will install and configure self-hosted Minio object storage in Linux. For a demonstration of the example in the article, I have used Ubuntu 21.04.

      • How to Set Up Postfix SMTP Relay on Debian with Sendinblue – LinuxBabe

        This tutorial is going to show you how to set up Postfix SMTP relay with Sendinblue on Debian. Postfix is a popular open-source SMTP server. Previously I wrote an article on how to easily set up a full-blown email server on Debian with iRedMail, which helped a lot of readers run their own email servers.

        However, some readers told me that port 25 is blocked by hosting provider/ISP as a way to control email spam, so they couldn’t send emails. Vultr would unblock port 25 if you ask them to, and ScalaHosting doesn’t block port 25 at all, so I recommend using ScalaHosting VPS. Some other hosting providers/ISPs like DigitalOcean would refuse to unblock port 25.

      • How to Take Screenshots in Incognito Mode in Android – Make Tech Easier

        Incognito mode is an online privacy feature that prevents your browsing history from being stored. While the feature is effective for browsing without leaving a trace, it can sometimes limit the experience. For example, you are not allowed to take screenshots in Incognito mode.

      • How to Ubuntu Update and Dist Upgrade Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Guide 2021

        The latest version of Ubuntu 20.04 has been launched on 23 April 2020. If you are still using the old version please dist upgrade now.

        A Long year back, I started to use Ubuntu version 6.04. It was really hard to update ubuntu.

        Slowly -2 latest versions were launched in the market one by one with new features. And Today Ubuntu has version 20.04 LTS with very attractive features. So Updating Ubuntu and its software become very easy and simple.

        You can update ubuntu by command line as well as using a GUI interface. This really makes users happy and satisfied. I will cover this topic of how to ubuntu update and dist upgrade process work. what is the difference between ubuntu update and ubuntu dist upgrade?

        You must check the current version of ubuntu before moving to the next step. If you know the current version then it will be better to update Ubuntu in the latest version.

      • How to Use Shutdown Command in Linux, Proper way explained 2021

        Don’t you want to see the screen of your Linux machine? Either you don’t work anymore? Then you can shutdown machine like Windows operating system.

        But, It is a little bit painful for the new user if he/she doesn’t have access to GUI. He/she can’t run commands randomly, that is the weakest point in Linux. You will have to run command in the proper way.

        So before to bring your system down, you must know about shutdown command in Linux.

        The shutdown command in Linux is used to down system securely. At the time of shutdown all logged in users and processes are notified that the system is going down, and nobody is allowed to log in.

        By shutdown command in Linux you can down system immediately or you can schedule process.

      • How to Use The Netcat Command (nc): An In-Depth Tutorial

        Netcat is one of the most versatile networking tools for system administrators – it is called the Swiss army knife of Networking.

        This tool can be used for creating any connections over TCP or UDP protocol which makes it an excellent debugging tool. It helps the user investigate connections directly by connecting to them.

        Netcat can also perform port scanning, file transfer, and sometimes it might be used by the hackers or penetration testers for creating a backdoor into a system.

        In this tutorial, we’ll be covering the Netcat utility or nc command in detail.

        Netcat was developed back in 1995. Despite its usefulness and popularity, it was not maintained. Many other versions of it have been developed since then. One of the most prominent among them is called Ncat, developed by the Nmap project.

      • How to install Atom Text Editor on Linux Lite 5.4 [Ed: Microsoft vendor lock-in]

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Atom Text Editor on Linux Lite 5.4.

      • Troubleshooting application performance with Red Hat OpenShift metrics, Part 2: The test environment | Red Hat Developer

        This series shows how I solved a real-life performance problem by gathering metrics from Red Hat OpenShift in the Developer Sandbox for Red Hat OpenShift. Part 1 laid out the development environment and requirements. Now, in Part 2, we will set up the test environment and I will introduce two different test scenarios.

      • Add User to Group in Linux, How to Do It (with Examples)

        In this article we will show you how to add a user to a group in Linux system. We will also learn how to view the groups and group ID of any user account.

        Linux user and group is an essential part of Linux security. As you know, Linux is a multi-user operating system. Adding users to group is a task worth learning. Groups allow certain user permissions to be available for group members.

        The primary purpose of groups is to define a set of privileges such as reading, writing, or executing permission for a given resource that can be shared among the users within the group. Instead of managing permissions for each user account, you can simply add a user to a group in Linux to grant the appropriate permissions.

    • Games

      • 6 Best Free and Open Source FICS Chess Clients

        Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played between two players. It is a very popular game, played by millions across the world, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.

        Chess has the virtue of being suitable for people of all ages. It has many positive attributes such as to help individuals develop their memory, improve and enhance their concentration, as well as logical thinking. It also promotes and improves imagination and creativity. Chess is one of those games that takes a few days to learn and the rest of your life to master, with the game being a never ending learning process, even for the top players.

        The game is played on a square chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Each player controls 16 pieces, and the object of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s king.

      • Netflix is getting into video games, so we’ll have another cloud gaming service

        Not only is Netflix a huge force in series, films, anime and plenty more they’re also now getting into video games. Coming from a report on Bloomberg, it certainly looks like we’re going to see one of the biggest streaming players enter the cloud gaming / game streaming market.

        In the report it mentions that Netflix has now hired Mike Verdu, a former VP at Facebook Reality Labs who also worked with EA prior to that. Verdu will be vice president of game development at Netflix. Sounds like we will see games on Netflix within a year if it all goes well, with games being sat in their own category just like everything else on the service.

      • Netflix Signals Expansion Into Video Games With New Executive Hire

        Before joining Netflix, Verdu was the V.P. of content for Facebook Reality Labs where he oversaw Oculus Studios and the teams bringing second- and third-party virtual reality games and other apps to Oculus VR headsets, such as Oculus Quest and Quest 2. Verdu also previously served as the senior V.P. of Mobile for Electronic Arts, where he was responsible for the mobile game studios that operated “SimCIty BuildIt,” “Plants vs. Zombies 2,” “Real Racing 3,” “The Sims Freeplay,” “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” and Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes,” among others.

      • Netflix Expands Into Video Games With New Executive Hire

        Netflix is expanding into video games and has hired Mike Verdu, a former Facebook and Electronic Arts executive, as its new vice president of game development, a Netflix spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

    • Distributions

      • Haiku R1/Beta3 Timeline Update

        It is possible for Haiku WebKit updates to be issued post-release, however it is a priority of the Haiku Project to ensure that the browsing experience in Haiku is as best as it can be, especially considering that the web browsers are an important part of any operating system and that WebPositive is a major focus point for reviewers.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Huh, it’s as if something happened that made people not like CentOS so much

          Canonical is cock-a-hoop after Ubuntu snatched first place for OpenStack deployment from the CentOS Linux distribution – but according to some the victory might ring hollow.

          The finding came from the 2020 OpenStack User Survey, organised by the Open Infrastructure Foundation, which queries respondents on a variety of topics, including the main operating system used for their OpenStack cloud deployments.

          The 2020 survey kicked off after IBM’s $34bn purchase of Red Hat, and closed before Red Hat confirmed the community build of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), known as CentOS, would morph into CentOS Stream. The change to something perceived as not fit for a production environment left the knickers of many developers ever so twisted.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome will soon let you turn on an HTTPS-first mode

            The HTTPS-First Mode will be available starting with Chrome 94, according to Google. Currently, that release is set for September 21st. And HTTP connections will still be supported, the company says.

          • Increasing HTTPS adoption

            As we approach an HTTPS-first future, we’re also re-examining the lock icon that browsers typically show when a site loads over HTTPS. In particular, our research indicates that users often associate this icon with a site being trustworthy, when in fact it’s only the connection that’s secure. In a recent study, we found that only 11% of participants could correctly identify the meaning of the lock icon. To try and reduce this confusion, Chrome will run an experiment in M93 that replaces the lock in the address bar with a more neutral entry point to Page Info (example below). We hope that this experiment will improve the discoverability of critical privacy and security information and controls provided in Page Info, such as site permissions. Importantly, a “Not Secure” indicator will continue to show on sites without HTTPS support, and the experiment includes an enterprise policy in case organizations want to opt-out. In all cases, we’ll provide advance notice if we decide to move ahead with a full launch.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • YottaDB r1.32 Released

          There are numerous smaller enhancements that make system administration and operations (DevOps) friendlier, and easier to automate. For example, %PEEKBYNAME() has an option to query global directory segments without opening the corresponding database files, orphaned relinkctl files are automatically cleaned up, and the –octo option of ydbinstall / ydbinstall.sh installs Octo such that octo –version reports the git commit hash of the build.

        • Against SQL

          This isn’t just a matter of some constant programmer overhead, like SQL queries taking 20% longer to write. The fact that these issues exist in our dominant model for accessing data has dramatic downstream effects for the entire industry:

          Complexity is a massive drag on quality and innovation in runtime and tooling

          The need for an application layer with hand-written coordination between database and client renders useless most of the best features of relational databases

          The core message that I want people to take away is that there is potentially a huge amount of value to be unlocked by replacing SQL, and more generally in rethinking where and how we draw the lines between databases, query languages and programming languages.

      • Education

        • Virtual Workshops for Embedded Machine Learning

          Back in April we started a series of workshops that focused on helping you master embedded machine learning all from the comfort of your own home! We partnered with our friends at HiMax and Nordic to help incorporate imaging and weather sensors, as well as our growing MicroMod product line, to learn how to collect data, build your first models, test and deploy them, and more! Both workshops filled up completely (to the point that we needed to increase the cap on one) so we wanted to share them with you in case you didn’t have a chance to get in, or if you did attend but wanted to re-watch the VOD. Keep in mind for those of you that are going to be learning along with the workshops, each have their own, unique kit to pick up. Make sure to click the links below to visit each workshop page to find all the materials you need!

      • Programming/Development

        • Book Review: A Philosophy of Software Design

          I really liked A Philosophy of Software Design by John Ousterhout. It is compact and short, only 170 pages, so it is a quick read, but it contains many good ideas. The focus is on how to structure systems to make them easy to understand and work with. The author is a professor of Computer Science at Stanford, but he has also spent 14 years developing commercial software.

        • [Old] What is a hacker?

          In our use, a hacker is a member of an international subculture of computer programmers, hardware designers and others who subscribe to a certain aesthetic, people who understand to appreciate a certain kind of beauty.

          The word is also often used by us to signify a very gifted computer expert who programs for enjoyment, not necessarily for payment or other rewards, but being a hacker is not limited to programmers or even hardware designers. One might be a molecular biology hacker, for example.

        • Report: 83% of UK software engineers suffer burnout, COVID-19 made it worse • The Register

          A report on the wellbeing of UK software engineers (developers and DevOps professionals) found 83 per cent suffering from some degree of burnout, with most agreeing that COVID-19 was partly to blame.

          This survey [PDF] was conducted in June 2021 by pollsters Survation, on behalf of DevOps company Haystack, and although the number of participants was small (just over 250) it was conducted by interviews, rather than online forms which are vulnerable to low-quality responses.

        • Want To Build An App? Android Studio Is The Program For You [Ed: When you use this program you're basically a pawn of Google; when I made Android apps I used Eclipse (Google doesn't like things it cannot control).]

          Ever wanted to build your own app but not exactly sure where to start or what programs to use? Android Studio could be an option for you.

        • Python

          • 5 hidden gems in Python 3 | Opensource.com

            Python has made a name for itself in the world of programming for being easy to learn, easy to read, and reasonably easy to debug. It’s seen as a good starting language because it can usually resolve complex concepts such as data types on the programmer’s behalf. It’s considered easy to read because its syntax is simple and it enforces predictable formatting. And it’s easy to debug because not only does it catch many errors on its own, it also integrates with advanced tools like GNU Debugger (gdb.) And that was its reputation before Python 3.

            Like everything else in life, change is inevitable for programming languages. Python must iterate and develop because computers are forever improving, and people’s expectations of what a “simple” programming language does for them change over time. Additionally, other languages sometimes come up with really good ideas that get adapted into Python. Python 2.x was outrageously popular, so when Python 3 began to loom on the horizon, there was a considerable amount of anxiety mixed in with the excitement. Everyone wanted to know how Python could possibly get any better, but there was also the obligatory fear of change, the potential loss of important libraries that wouldn’t upgrade, and the uncertainty of what workload would be required to adapt existing codebases.

        • Rust

          • This Week in Rust 399

            Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a programming language empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

    • Leftovers

      • Swedish rapper Yasin jailed over plot to kidnap rival artist

        The plot failed but the victim was kidnapped, beaten and robbed several weeks later without Yasin’s involvement.

      • Science

        • NLP needs to be open. 500+ researchers are trying to make it happen

          A group of more than 500 researchers from 45 different countries — from France, the US, and Japan to Indonesia, Ghana, and Ethiopia — has come together to work towards tackling some of these problems. The project, which the authors of this article are all involved in, is called Big Science, and our goal is to improve the scientific understanding of the capabilities and limitations of large-scale neural network models in NLP and to create a diverse and multilingual dataset and a large-scale language model as research artifacts, open to the scientific community.

        • Tapping into the Brain to Help a Paralyzed Man Speak

          Now, in a scientific milestone, researchers have tapped into the speech areas of his brain — allowing him to produce comprehensible words and sentences simply by trying to say them. When the man, known by his nickname, Pancho, tries to speak, electrodes implanted in his brain transmit signals to a computer that displays them on the screen.

      • Education

        • Explainer: Digitech risks for School Boards

          I’m a parent with two children in public schools in Christchurch, NZ. I’m also a software developer with an interest in education. I’m writing this post to make members of NZ school boards of trustees aware of a significant risks they face, but which I believe few if any school boards in NZ recognise, much less attempt to mitigate.

          These risks are created by the software adopted by nearly every school in NZ. This software is provided via national-level agreements made by the Ministry of Education with their vendors, who are mostly US-based multinational technology corporations. Increasingly, school curriculums completely depend on this software.

          Today, nearly every school in NZ is either a ‘Microsoft Office 365′ or a ‘Google Classroom’ school. Many schools also embed products like SeeSaw and StoryPark into their student assessment process and depend on them for parental engagement.

          My goal here is to explain the liabilities lurking within this status quo, and how the Ministry of Education has divested responsibility for these liabilities onto individual school board members.

        • Technology commentator Tony Grasso

          Research finds young people are signing away their rights in legal documents they don’t understand [...]

      • Hardware

        • Intel Did A Boeing

          Similarly, the end result for Intel of focusing on the stock price instead of the product was: [...]

        • The Woz Backs ‘Right To Repair’ Reform

          We’ve repeatedly noted how the “right to repair” movement has been gaining a full head of steam as consumers, independent repair shops, schools, farmers, and countless others grow tired of corporations’ attempts to monopolize repair. Whether it’s Sony and Microsoft creating repair monopolies for their game consoles, Apple bullying independent repair shops, or John Deere making it a costly hassle just to fix a tractor, the more companies restrict access to cheap repair, parts, tools, and documentation, the more this movement seems to grow.

        • Right to Repair: Draft report

          This draft report was released on 11 June 2021. It assesses the case for a right to repair in Australia, with a focus on whether consumers face any unnecessary barriers to repair that require a government policy response.

          The final report is expected to be handed to the Australian Government by 29 October 2021.

      • Health/Nutrition

      • Integrity/Availability

        • Proprietary

          • [Old] Kroll Ransomware Attack Trends – 2020 YTD

            Threat actors in nearly half (47%) of Kroll’s ransomware cases leveraged open remote desktop protocol (RDP) and Microsoft’s proprietary network communications protocol and more than a quarter (26%) cases were traced back to a phishing email. Vulnerability exploits (17%), including but not limited to Citrix NetScaler CVE-2019-19781 and Pulse VPN CVE-2019-11510, and account takeovers (10%) rounded out the primary ransomware precursors (Figure 2).

          • Where’s the Apple M2?

            DPReview just published Apple still hasn’t made a truly “Pro” M1 Mac – so what’s the holdup? Following on the good performance and awesome power efficiency of the Apple M1, there’s a hungry background rumble in Mac-land along the lines of “Since the M1 is an entry-level chip, the next CPU is gonna blow everyone’s mind!” But it’s been eight months since the M1 shipped and we haven’t heard from Apple. I have a good guess what’s going on: It’s proving really hard to make a CPU (or SoC) that’s perceptibly faster than the M1. Here’s why.

          • Ransomware gang REvil’s websites go offline, sparking speculation

            The “dark web” page of the group known as REvil disappeared some two weeks after an attack which crippled networks of hundreds of companies worldwide and prompted a ransom demand of $70 million.

          • India among top three countries facing phishing attacks via WhatsApp and Telegram, reveals report

            The biggest share of detected malicious links between December 2020 and May were sent via WhatsApp (89.6 per cent), followed by Telegram (5.6 per cent), according to data shared by Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, part of the cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab.

            Messaging app Viber was in third place with a share of 4.7 per cent and Hangouts had less than one per cent share.

          • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Security

            • Privacy/Surveillance

              • Inside Facebook’s Data Wars

                But the CrowdTangle story is important, because it illustrates the way that Facebook’s obsession with managing its reputation often gets in the way of its attempts to clean up its platform. And it gets to the heart of one of the central tensions confronting Facebook in the post-Trump era. The company, blamed for everything from election interference to vaccine hesitancy, badly wants to rebuild trust with a skeptical public. But the more it shares about what happens on its platform, the more it risks exposing uncomfortable truths that could further damage its image.

              • “An Ugly Truth” gives sneak peek as Zuckerberg becomes wartime leader

                Facebook tells Axios that Zuckerberg instructed leaders they’d have to be more decisive, and would need to move forward even when there wasn’t a clear consensus. His view was that it was like wartime, and he needed to run the company as a wartime CEO.

              • Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s Partnership Did Not Survive Trump

                For the past week, the country had been reeling from the violence in Washington, and with each passing day, reporters were uncovering more of the footprint left behind by the rioters on social media.

                Speaking to the cameras rolling in her sun-filled Menlo Park, Calif., garden, Ms. Sandberg confronted this question, one she’d prepared for: Could Facebook have acted sooner to help prevent this?

      • Defence/Aggression

        • Bombast in the Black Sea: the Latest British Provocation

          The Suez Canal and the Brink of War

          Less than two weeks before the U.S. presidential election in 1956, Israel invaded Egypt in order to set the stage for the British-French invasion.  With Western preoccupation in the Middle East, the Soviet Union threatened to intervene on behalf of the Arabs and stepped up the bloody suppression of the Hungarian Revolution.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s opposition to the invasion allowed the United Nations to negotiate a cease-fire in Egypt.  In the aftermath of the Suez crisis, the United States effectively replaced Britain as the guarantor of stability in the Middle East, creating a commitment that remains the underlying premise of U.S. policy in the region.  The Middle East has become America’s briar patch, and the discontinuity in the region in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq points to the need for reassessing our commitment.

        • Causes of Extremism Spike in US Military Examined in New Study

          A new look at current and former members of the U.S. military linked to extremist plots finds the numbers have tripled, due in large part to a series of recent events such as the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which helped mobilize extremists in general.

          The analysis by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), released Wednesday, looked at 354 individuals with military backgrounds charged or convicted of criminal acts linked to extremist ideology.

        • ‘Charming Kitten’ APT Siphons Intel From Mid-East Scholars

          The current campaign includes masquerading as British scholars; engaging in dialogue with targets; and linking to the website of a legitimate, world-class, already compromised academic institution in order to harvest credentials.

        • Professor Says Being Impersonated by Iranian [Crackers] Was Stressful But Good For Networking

          Iranian [attacker] with links to the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps impersonated two academics in an attempt to hack journalists, think tank analysts, and other academics, according to a new report.

        • German police raid suspected IS supporters

          Police in the German state of Hesse searched multiple locations in connection with investigations involving suspected “Islamic State” extremists, local authorities said Wednesday morning.

          Ten search warrants were executed across the state “on suspicion of terrorist financing and the preparation of a serious, state-endangering act of violence” early Wednesday.

        • Afghanistan: US to evacuate endangered translators

          An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency that the initial evacuation will include about 2,500 people who are likely to be housed in military facilities, either in the US or a third country, while their visa applications are processed.

          The Special Immigrant Visa program is offered to those who worked with the US government or the American-led military force during the Afghanistan war that began in 2001.

      • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

        • Fact check: Untethered to reality, Trump lies over and over about the 2020 election at CPAC

          What can you even say about claims so disconnected from reality? Here’s a brief fact check of eight of them.

        • MS Estonia preliminary investigation not yielding any big surprises yet

          Work conducted on July 12 and 13 went well, with no equipment failures, while weather conditions were good.

          The teams used side scan sonar and a multibeam sonar belonging to Stockholm University on the vessel Electra, which, BNS reports, give an excellent overview of the wreck of the Estonia and the seabed surrounding the wreck.

          More light being shed on geological picture

          Arikas said the seabed was also explored using a profiler, which allows a user to view the seabed substrate to a depth of 50 meters.

          This will provide the survey group with an answer as to the geological state of the seabed, meaning where there are rocks, moraine, clay and sand, he said.

      • Environment

        • Italy to ban large cruise ships in centre of Venice to protect lagoon

          The decision, confirmed at a meeting of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet, comes just days before a meeting of the UN’s cultural organisation UNESCO, which had proposed to add Venice to its list of endangered heritage sites.

          “The decree adopted today represents an important step for the protection of the Venetian lagoon system,” Draghi said in a statement.

        • Hotter worlds cut humans’ size − and their brains?

          In a greenhouse world, humans’ size could shrink. And there is a hint of hazard to thinking capacity as well.

        • End Subsidies That Drive Overfishing and Threaten Ocean Health
        • Energy

          • EPA Warns of Mountain Valley Pipeline Impact on Streams, Says Project Should Not Receive Water Permit

            The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is advising the Army Corps of Engineers not to grant a federal water permit to the Mountain Valley Pipeline due to “substantial concerns” about the project’s impact on streams and rivers. The warning is another regulatory hurdle for a pipeline that is already delayed and over budget.

            The EPA’s advice brings hope to opponents of the pipeline who are growing increasingly confident that the 303-mile natural gas pipeline, which has been under construction for over three years, will never come online.

            Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

          • UK domestic flights nearly 50% cheaper than the train, but six times worse for carbon

            Which? compared the carbon footprint of flying vs taking the train on 10 UK routes between 3 and 8 August, including to many popular holiday destinations such as Bournemouth and Newquay.

            However, travellers who want to reduce their carbon footprint by taking the train face an expensive bill for doing so. Eight of the 10 routes we looked at were cheaper by plane, and significantly so – train fares were 49% more expensive than the same route by plane on average.

        • Overpopulation

          • The French nationals going ‘childfree’ to save the planet

            A graphic on the organisation’s website counts in real time the number of people alive on earth. The counter steadily ticks upwards. “We’re already at 7.8 billion. It’s already too much. We should hit 8 billion by 2022 or 2023,” says Garnier.

          • Overpopulation leading to undue stress, competition and conflict

            World Population Day is observed on July 11each year. This day was established by the United Nations and is dedicated to focusing on the importance of the population issues. This year the theme is, “Rights and Choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritising the reproductive health and rights of all people.” Many scientists think estimating all available resources, the earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9-10 billion population. The current population of the world is about 7.8 billion and if it is not controlled then by the end of the century it is estimated to rise to 10.8 billion.

            There are many causes of overpopulation like high birth rate, low death rate, better medical facilities, rise in the number of immigrants, agricultural and industrial revolution and lack of family planning facilities, especially in rural areas. India has all these factors which result in overpopulation thereby causing other problems like exhaustion of natural resources, climate change, pollution, overcrowding, unemployment and many others. I will confine myself to the issue of unemployment.

          • The Potential Effects of Overpopulation in Florida

            Florida’s population continues to grow rapidly. It’s not just caused by local births. It’s also caused by people from both local and international lands, moving into the state. While it can be a good idea to have a lot of people supporting the economy, too much of one thing can be bad too.

      • Finance

        • Report Finds Min. Wage Earners Can’t Afford One-Bedroom Rental in Most of U.S.
        • Fate of Democrats’ Ambitious $3.5 Trillion Bill Rests Once Again With Centrists
        • The NYT Goes Looney Tunes on the Fed

          This is bizarre, because people who read the news section of the NYT would know that workers have more bargaining power in the economy right now than at any point since at least the late 1990s. The quit rate hit a record level in April, and even with a drop in May, it is still at a 20-year peak. Workers, especially at the bottom end of the wage ladder, are seeing substantial wage gains.

          The pandemic payments have also allowed many families to pay down debt, leaving their finances in much better shape than before the recession. Also, the expanded subsidies in the health care exchanges have allowed many people to get health care insurance who could not previously afford it. The NYT had a very good column earlier this month by Julia Coronado laying out many of the measures showing the improved economic plight of low and middle class families.

      • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

        • Biden Is Silent on Filibuster as Texas Dems Face Arrest to Protect Voting Rights
        • Thousands in Cuba Protest Amid Deep Economic Crisis and Ongoing US Blockade
        • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Fuck These Fuckin Fascists’ by The Muslims

          The following was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Music. Punk rock has a long history of “fuck Nazi/fascists” type songs. The latest release by The Muslims, aqueer, Black, and Brown Muslim punk band hailing from North Carolina, upholds that tradition.The Muslims formed in 2017. Since then, they have released three albums and one EP. They unapologetically use their music to challenge racism, political corruption, and white supremacy. Their newest single “Fuck These Fuckin Fascists” is direct, scathing, and representative of the kind of music they create.“I started writing this song during Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial and finished it during theattempted coup,” stated vocalist QADR. “What a time to be alive. As a person who fits the description ofa so-called ‘Black Identity Extremist,’ I find it funny that our music and message, calling out racistviolence, makes people more uncomfortable than actual racist violence. At least we’re cute, tender, andfunny AF.”QADR added, “Artists are the truth-tellers throughout history, and we’re just speaking our truth.Fascism was never wiped out, it just got more polite and calls itself a Richard Spencer now, whateverthat is. We’re going to speak truth to power and have a damn good time doing it.”Trump may no longer be president of the United States, but fascist ideologies live on. Raise your voice and join The Muslims in telling fascists to “fuck off!”Listen to The Muslims’ “Fuck These Fuckin Fascists”:

        • Twitter restricts account of expert who mocked China leader

          A New Zealand academic says Twitter temporarily restricted her account after she mocked Chinese President Xi Jinping.

          University of Canterbury Professor Anne-Marie Brady is an expert on China’s attempts to exert political influence around the world and has been an outspoken critic of its ruling Communist Party. Last week, she sent tweets poking fun at the party’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

        • Twitter sees jump in govt demands to remove content of reporters, news outlets

          In its transparency report published on Wednesday, Twitter said verified accounts of 199 journalists and news outlets on its platform faced 361 legal demands from governments to remove content in the second half of 2020, up 26 percent from the first half of the year.

          The biannual report on Twitter’s enforcement of policy rules and the information and removal requests it receives comes as social media companies including Facebook and Alphabet’s YouTube face government scrutiny worldwide over the content allowed on their platforms.

        • China tightens control over cybersecurity in data crackdown

          Tech experts in China who find a weakness in co mputer security would be required to tell the government and couldn’t sell that knowledge under rules further tightening the Communist Party’s control over information.

        • Facebook Requests FTC Recuse Khan, Entry-Level Broadband Prices, FCC’s Open RAN Showcase

          Facebook is asking for the recusal of Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan from the agency’s antitrust cases against the company, following Amazon’s call.

        • Finland sanction reversed after rejected Iraqi asylum seeker’s death proven fake

          The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday revised a ruling sanctioning Finland for the supposed death of a refused asylum seeker returned to Iraq, based on evidence his death had been faked.

        • Hawkins Blasts Biden’s Failure to Call for Filibuster Reform in Voting Rights Speech

          Hawkins Blasts Biden’s Failure to Call for Filibuster Reform in Voting Rights Speech
          Calls for Expanded Pro-Democracy Movement
          Howie Hawkins, the 2020 Green Party presidential candidate, blasted President Joe Biden today for failing to call for filibuster reform in order to get voting rights legislation through the U.S Senate.
          “Biden’s voting rights speech in Philadelphia was a white flag of surrender by the feckless Democrats to the ruthless Republicans. The Democrats have the power to pass federal voting rights laws that can stop the Republican assault voting rights and impartial elections in the states. Biden’s failure to take on the filibuster makes the Democrats complicit in Republican voter suppression,” Hawkins said.
          “The Democrats have enough Senate members to reform the filibuster and pass federal voting rights legislation. Instead Biden spoke about voting rights as a 2022 mid-term election issue. By then it will be too late. The Republicans are positioning themselves with new state election laws to take control the House and Senate by partisan gerrymandering, voter suppression, and meddling with election results,” Hawkins said.
          Hawkins called for a new pro-democracy movement that is independent of both major parties with an expanded agenda of pro-democracy demands.

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Internet Censorship: The Real Monopoly Threat

          He’s right, but in pretty much the opposite of the way he intends. When the mainstream “right” and “left” agree on anything, that’s almost always a blazing neon sign warning us that our freedoms are under threat.

          Catron (and Trump and Sanders) want the US government to seize control of social media platforms and dictate which users those platforms must accept and what kind of content those platforms must permit publication of. They don’t put it quite that baldly, of course, but who would? Their cause is implicit in their criticisms of “Big Tech” as a “monopoly,” which requires government regulation to promote competition in the “marketplace of ideas.”

        • Court To Judge Roy Moore: You’re Not Defamation-Proof, But This Contract You Signed Sure Is

          Judge Roy Moore — former Senate hopeful and twice-removed-for-misconduct Alabama Supreme Court justice — has lost his lawsuit against satirist Sacha Baron Cohen. Having agreed to be on the receiving end of some satire (albeit not knowingly), Roy Moore sued Cohen after falling victim to a prank in which Cohen (performing as his character General Erran Morad) waved an electric wand he claimed could detect sexual predators. The wand beeped while close to Roy Moore.

        • Devin Nunes’ Lawyer, Steven Biss, Finally Gets Sanctioned In Wacky Defamation Case

          Back in April, we wrote about how Steven Biss, who has become infamous for his flurry of frivolous defamation lawsuits — many of which are on behalf of Congressional Representative Devin Nunes as well as an odd collection of wacky people in Nunes’ orbit — had lost yet another case, but that the court had rejected sanctioning Biss. That didn’t last long. That ruling was in the 4th Circuit appeals court in the case Biss brought on behalf of Russian-born academic Svetlana Lokhova against a Cambridge academic, Stefan Halper, and a variety of media organizations. I’m not going to recount all the details of the case again. You can read those in our original post. Just know that it seemed to be a pretty obvious SLAPP suit. Much of it was filed after the statute of limitations had passed, on statements that were clearly not defamatory, and, in at least one case, appearing to sue the wrong party. However, the District Court judge and the Appeals Court both found that while Biss had a long history of bad behavior in court, they didn’t want to take the further step of sanctioning him. Yet. Though both courts made it clear that further shenanigans could change that.

        • Blasphemy suspect injured in firing en route to court in Multan

          A man accused of blasphemy was injured after the brother of the complainant allegedly opened fire on him while he was going to attend the hearing of the case lodged against him.

          As per police, the man, a resident of Chah Loharanwala in Mauza Jhok Lashkarpur, was going to attend the hearing of a blasphemy case lodged against him with the Makhdoom Rasheed police.

        • Sokoto Residents Ask Sultan To Pass Death Sentence On Youth Who Allegedly Insulted Prophet Muhammad

          Some of the residents had explained that the youths dragged the victim, Talle Mia Ruwa from a police post in the community where he was initially kept, overpowered the police personnel and dragged the middle-aged man to the community square where they killed him.

          SaharaReporters reported that irate youths, supported by leaders in Sade community in the Darazo LGA, burnt Talle Mai Ruwa for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad.

        • Jeremiad Against Fascist Facebook / My Departure

          This is exactly the problem. Why have 5000 friends and 2800 followers if they never see your posts? It’s like pouring water into a bucket with a big hole in the bottom. It’s become a farce.

      • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • The five-day workweek is dead

          But there’s nothing inevitable about working eight hours a day, five days a week (or more). This schedule only became a part of American labor law in the 1930s, after decades of striking by labor activists who were tired of working the 14-hour days demanded by some employers. Indeed, one of the biggest goals of the American labor movement beginning in the 19th century was “an attempt to gain time back,” Erik Loomis, a history professor at the University of Rhode Island, told Vox.

          And now, more than 15 months into the pandemic, there’s a growing conversation about how American workers can take back more of their time. The trauma and disruption of the last year and a half have a lot of Americans reevaluating their relationships to work, whether it’s restaurant servers tired of risking their safety for poverty-level wages or office workers quitting rather than giving up remote work. And part of that reevaluation is about the workweek, which many say is due for a reboot.

        • Two Tibetans Arrested For Celebrating Dalai Lama’s Birthday

          ”They were arrested on suspicion of being part of a group on social media that shared images and documents, and encouraged the reciting of Tibetan prayers on the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Golog Jigme said, citing sources in the region.

        • More Than 160 Additional Indigenous Graves Have Been Found In Canada

          The Penelakut Tribe says more than 160 undocumented and unmarked graves have been found on the site of the former Kuper Island Indian Industrial School.

        • TSA agent at MSP accused of leaking security footage, taking unauthorized photos of female travelers

          “Security cameras at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport play an important role in maintaining the safety of people using the facility,” airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said in an emailed statement. “Footage from those cameras is subject to state data practices laws, which prohibit unauthorized acquisition or distribution of protected data. Misuse of the data can violate individuals’ rights to privacy and in some cases compromise the security of the airport and of the millions of people who use it. Any individual who violates the law is subject to criminal prosecution.”

        • Taliban Impose New Restrictions on Women, Media In Afghanistan’s North

          Several residents of Balkh, a district in northern Balkh province that is located 20 kilometers north of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif, confirmed to VOA that the Taliban have distributed leaflets, ordering locals to follow strict rules that are similar to those they imposed on Afghans when they last governed the country from 1996 to 2001.

        • Hisbah threatens to apprehend, prosecute users of mannequins in Kano

          Hisbah Commander-General, Ustaz Harun Muhammad Sani Ibn-Sina declared that the use of mannequins to display clothes is unIslamic and contravenes the provision of Islamic injunctions hence the decision to ban the use of the object by tailors, supermarkets, boutique owners and others in the state.

        • Muslims against black Africans in France: “You nigger, you dirty black bitch”, “we Algerians have sold you like cattle for 800 years” (VIDEO)

          On Thursday July 8, Mourad D. was found guilty of assault and racial insult. In a video posted on social media on May 30, the man could clearly be heard racially insulting a woman who was recording him after a violent attack: “You nigger, you dirty black bitch”, or “we Algerians have sold you like cattle for 800 years”. A few minutes earlier, he had not hesitated to hit an Uber Eats delivery man. The events had taken place outside the restaurant “Le Brasco” in Cergy, in the Val-d’Oise.

        • Over 60 Hindus forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan’s Sindh

          The Hindus were compelled to recite the Kalimas (Islamic oath of allegiance) in front of municipal chairperson Abdul Rauf Nizamani.

      • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

        • Creating audiobooks

          I’ve found three options for DRM-free audiobooks for any book or text (e.g. long-form articles): find the audiobook on YouTube and download the audio track (using for example Invidious or youtube-dl); use an ebook reader app such as Librera/FBReader to read the book using text-to-speech; or create an audiobook using a text-to-speech service. The real-time text-to-speech option (using an app) has downsides: it either needs a constant [Internet] connection to use a web service to perform the TTS, or else it’s an offline version but the quality of TTS is usually pretty bad. I decided that I’d much prefer good quality offline audiobooks that I can listen to anytime, anywhere.

          To create my audiobook, I follow this process: convert the article/book to text, clean up the text if necessary, generate an audio file using text-to-speech, and post-process the audio file if necessary.

      • Monopolies

        • Patents

          • When does pre-clinical data plausibly support a therapeutic effect? (T 966/18) [Ed: Another case from the rigged ‘courts’ of the EPO]

            The timing of a patent filing is critical to the patent’s validity. The earlier a patent is filed, the lower the risk of disclosures before the priority date destroying novelty and inventive step. Yet, the later a patent application is filed, the more time there is to obtain data and satisfy the requirement that the invention is sufficiently supported and disclosed. The recent Board of Appeal decision in T 0966/18 is an example of a case in which pre-clinical data, together with common general knowledge, was deemed as plausibly demonstrating a claimed therapeutic method. In fact, the data provided in the patent in question was surprisingly light. The patentee was able to compensate for this by reference to a strong body of supporting evidence from the prior art. However, this strategy may come back to bite the patentee when the question of inventive step is considered.

            Legal Background: Plausibility at the EPO

            It is established case law of the Boards of Appeal that clinical data is not absolutely necessary to demonstrate the plausibility of a claimed invention (T 0609/02, Case Law of the Boards of Appeal, II.C.7.2, see also Warner-Lambert v Actavis [2018] UKSC 56 (IPKat)). Indeed, at the time a patent application is filed for the new therapeutic effect of a drug, clinical trial data are often not available. Even if the inventors are pursuing the drug candidate in clinical trials, the patent application may be filed well before any read-out of results from the trial. Early filing is often necessary to avoid the clinical trial summary and protocol becoming prior art, particularly in jurisdictions other than Europe (IPKat).

            [...]

            The Board of Appeal decision in T 966/18 appears to confirm a relatively low bar for establishing the plausibility of a medical use claim. To this Kat, the Board of Appeal in this case were surprisingly lenient with regards to the quality of the data needed to support a medical use claim. Quantitative pre-clinical data, without evidence of statistical significance, was enough to satisfy the sufficiency requirement for a relatively ambitious therapeutic effect, at a standard below what might be expected for peer-reviewed publication. It is of course possible that the Board of Appeal was inadvertently influenced by the post-filed positive clinical trial results that the patentee was able to provide. In view of these data, a negative decision on sufficiency might have appeared unreasonable.

            However, whether or not the Board was in fact swayed by the post-filed data, a large factor in the Board’s decision was undoubtedly the strong body of evidence from the prior art that there was a link between the target and disease pathology. The prior art effectively lowered the bar for the quality of pre-clinical data that was required in the patent. However, the question of inventive step of the claims has not yet been considered, either by the Board of Appeal or the Opposition Division. It will thus be interesting to see whether the patent holds up at Opposition in view of the Board of Appeal’s observation that the skilled person would have been aware of a body of evidence linking the target and disease, and prior art suggesting the use of anti-α-SN in a vaccine strategy for Parkinson’s Disease. Whilst the patent has successfully jumped the sufficiency hurdle, the potentially larger hurdle of inventive step remains.

          • LONGi has achieved several successes in patent dispute against Hanwha Q-Cells [Ed: The 'success' of suing]
          • In-house counsel get set for UPC [Ed: Charlotte Kilpatrick continues to produce UPC propaganda]

            Lawyers from the telecoms, pharma and chemical industries reveal their plans for using the UPC, and send a warning to UK firms

          • Measuring up measurement methods – how to understand EPO patent parameters [Ed: Continuing to overlook the collapse of patent quality and the rule of law at the EPO]

            Last week we examined the ‘unclear essential parameter trap’ where an application including a parameter that does not meet EPO standards may be refused, regardless of its substantive merit. This week we explore the various ways in which a parameter may be deemed unclear.

            Strict EPO practice is nothing new – the legal framework around the ‘unclear essential parameter trap’ is long established, although changes made to the EPO Guidelines in 2019 made this even more stringent. The changes essentially merged two sub-sections of the previous guidelines, incorporating the comments on measurement methods from previous F-IV, 4.18 into current F-IV, 4.11. Although in principle nothing much has changed, anecdotally, there are reports of more clarity objections to usual parameters than before. One can find reasons for this perceived stricter practice in subtle changes to guideline’s wording. Previous F-IV, 4.18 stated “In principle the method of measurement is necessary for the unambiguous definition of the parameter” (emphasis added). The term ‘in principle’ perhaps suggesting some flexibility in how the rule should be applied. In contrast, current F-IV, 4.11 states unequivocally “the method for measuring a parameter (or at least a reference thereto) must appear completely in the claim itself” (emphasis added)”. Moreover, the EPO has categorised the changes to the guidelines as part of “major amendments”, which had “substantially rewritten sub-sections on the practice regarding the use of parameters in claims”, implying a shift in practice.

          • Managing rejection: how in-house revive failed USPTO patents [Ed: Fake patents, not failed patents, but the propaganda mill of the patent litigation powerhouses don't know or understand the notion of patent denied]

            Counsel from Siemens, Hologic and three other companies explain how they make the most of interviews to get past rejections

          • FOSS Patents: Serial assertions of the same patent claims in the Western District of Texas against multiple defendants: judicial economy weighs against venue transfer

            Once upon a time, there was a federal judicial district to the east of Dallas that every defendant to a patent infringement case sought to leave. Today, that district still exists, and remains pretty important. But the number one hotspot is the Western District of Texas (specifically, its Waco division).

            Judge Alan Albright is his lawsuits’ keeper, at least when we’re talking about patent cases. Not only does he take a long time to rule on venue transfer motions but from time to time he denies venue transfers even though the arguments made by plaintiffs against a transfer are outrageous, such as in a case in which a shell company was set up just to game the system. Unsurprisingly, the exit route from the Western District of Texas quite often passes through the DC-based Federal Circuit.

            The Federal Circuit made an interesting–not spectacular, but definitely instructive–decision (PDF) that practicioners should keep in mind. There’s a case in which a Canadian company named NCS Multistage is suing a Norwegian company named TCO in the Western District of Texas. The defendant would have preferred to litigate in the Southern District of Texas. But the Federal Circuit found that Judge Albright had not clearly abused his discretion.

          • Doubled down: Enlarged Board of Appeal decision G 4/19 on Double Patenting [Ed: It is widely known by now, based on extensive evidence, that the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO is rigged, but this corrupt law firm (lawsuits won against them) doesn't care. All about money. Backing EPO corruption.]

            The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office recently issued decision G 4/19. The Enlarged Board held that a European patent application can be refused if it claims the same subject-matter as an existing European patent (i.e. not just a co-pending EP application) which has been granted to the same applicant and has the same effective date.

          • Electronic Priority Document Exchange (PDX) Program [Ed: Just doing fake “tech”, like punishing people who are not Microsoft customers]

            This site provides useful information for applicants that wish to take advantage of the electronic priority document exchange (PDX) program. Use of PDX avoids the fee associated with ordering a certified priority document for each office of subsequent filing and the costs of transmitting those certified copies to foreign associates or foreign intellectual property (IP) offices. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) transmits certain U.S. priority applications as-filed to any foreign IP office that participates in the priority document exchange program (participating office) and retrieves/accesses certain foreign priority applications as-filed from the participating offices. The priority document exchange program includes two modes of exchange: Direct Bilateral Exchange and World Intellectual Property Organization Digital Access Service (WIPO DAS) Exchange.

          • Chinese Invention Patent Grants Up 63% in May 2021 YoY [Ed: How to detect that patent quality has collapsed (in pursuit of other goals)]

            The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) recently released data indicating that 2021 year-to-date invention patent grants totaled 269,706 invention patents, a 62.4% increase in cumulative grants from January through May 2020. The percentage of patents granted to foreign patentees dropped from 19.5% to 15.7% although the absolute number of patents to foreign patentees increased from 32,389 to 42,286. However, this may overstate the total number of patents granted to true foreigners as some Chinese entities file in the name of a foreign holding company – for example, the top foreign patentee in 2020 was Alibaba Group of Hangzhou, China according to CNIPA’s annual report for 2020…

          • BAT and Kirkland invalidate four Philip Morris heat-not-burn patents [Ed: The latest of many fake patents to just simply perish. Notice who granted this and ponder how/why...]

            Today, the UK High Court handed down a judgment invalidating four patents belonging to tobacco product manufacturer Philip Morris (case no: HP-2020-000011). The decision is yet another twist in the high-stakes global dispute between the rivals BAT and Philip Morris. All current battles between the two giants concern lucrative technology for heat-not-burn cigarettes.

            BAT and Philip Morris showdown

            In the same proceedings, Philip Morris defended the validity of its four patents while counterclaiming for infringement by BAT’s heat-not-burn glo product. However, given that the court found all four patents invalid, the judge dismissed the counterclaim.

            A spokesperson for BAT says, “BAT is pleased that the UK High Court has found these four Philip Morris patents invalid. BAT commenced this legal action to protect our innovations and product portfolio in the Tobacco Heated Products space. We will continue to protect our valuable proprietary technology.”

            A spokesperson for Philip Morris says, “We respectfully disagree with the decision of the court and are evaluating the decision and assessing our options. The patents in question form part of PMI’s extensive portfolio of patents for smoke-free innovations reflecting our commitment to and progress towards a smoke-free future and our considerable investment in smoke-free technologies over more than a decade.”

            “We intend to continue to vigorously protect our intellectual property.”

          • “What’s the point of a TRIPS waiver?” A reply [Ed: Patents can do endless harm if the law is misused (as happens a lot these days); our objective should be to convince patent litigation fanatics/profiters that this is the case and get them to publicly admit it]

            In the face of existing and new scholarship, uncritical assumptions that proponents have not considered the operational challenges of a waiver is unhelpful. You will find nuance and detail to our plea here to see the waiver as a proportionate and necessary masthead from which a number of actions need to flow.

            As Trebilcock and Poliwoda argue, here, even for those who take the view (as they do) that a sweeping waiver of IP rights, by itself, is unlikely to have any dramatic effect on expanding vaccine output, especially over the near term – it is important to explore alternative or complementary strategies. With this background, we respond to Reddy and Pai’s post and address those who ask “what’s the point of a TRIPS waiver?”

            ‘Simply put, there is no shortage of voluntary licensing agreements for COVID vaccines, for countries that have the capacity to manufacture vaccines’, say Reddy and Pai and from this deduce that IPRs are not barriers to production. Yes, licenses have been granted to Indian companies but it is also true that there is considerable underuse of capacity because other facilities do not have licenses. If IP restrictions were lifted and pharmaceutical companies were willing to share more of their know-how, how much more vaccine could be made worldwide? It is hard to know.

          • [Older] New COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Database Launched :: Pink Sheet [Ed: Building monopolies and fences around a pandemic instead of actually putting an end to it. Nobody doubts this, not even patent lawyers (deep inside): patents have only exacerbated the pandemic because monopolies devalue lives.]

            As part of its drive to maximize global access to coronavirus vaccines, the Medicines Patent Pool has developed a publicly accessible resource giving information on the patent status of approved and candidate vaccines.

          • Pfizer Is Upholding Global Vaccine Apartheid. Today We Risk Arrest to Stop It.
          • Software Patents

            • VVC FRAND royalty report by Charles River Asso. estimates lower rates because of AV1 adoption

              Unified is pleased to announce the release of its report over the estimate of the aggregate FRAND royalty burden for the SEPs covering the video codec standard H.266, also called Versatile Video Coding (VVC). The report is a part of Unified’s Video Codec Zone whose goal is to provide objective, independent evidence refuting unsubstantiated Standard Essential Patents (SEP) licensing demands.

              VVC (H.266) constitutes the latest installment in a series of video codec standards released by the ITU and ISO/IEC and is regarded as the direct successor to HEVC (also H.265). The fragmented licensing landscape for HEVC with three different patent pools has resulted in a significant degree of uncertainty about HEVC’s licensing terms and very high aggregate royalties. The issues revolving around its licensing have not only significantly hampered HEVC’s adoption but also likely have further boosted the significant momentum around royalty free video codecs like AV1. Against this background, the future uptake of VVC will strongly depend on whether the VVC SEP holders will be able to set clear and transparent licensing terms and royalties that are not excessive, but FRAND. VVC’s estimated FRAND royalty rates range from $0.05 for cellular devices to $0.17 for streaming devices.

            • IP Analytics – MedTech [Ed: When they use the buzzword “MedTech” they typically mean unlawful software patents]

              Development in medical technology (MedTech) has seen steady growth for at least the past decade. This growth has been driven in part by the ageing population and the need for technical solutions to ease the pressure on struggling healthcare systems around the world. Healthcare, health monitoring and treatment are now moving away from traditional realms where a patient is seen by a medical professional. Instead, new, innovative and cost-effective solutions are needed to supplement the more traditional solutions in order to meet the growing demand.

            • Network-1 Expands Its Foreign M2M/IoT Patent Portfolio With Three New Granted Patents [Ed: EPO granting bogus software patents again]

              …Decision to Grant European Patent No. EP3111689 (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card Supporting Two-Factor Authentication), which is being published today in the European Patent Bulletin of July 14, 2021. In addition, the UK Intellectual Property Office issued Intention to Grant letters for Applications GB1608573.0 and GB2100530.1 (both entitled Set of Servers for “Machine-to-Machine” Communications Using Public Key Infrastructure). The UK applications are expected to be granted shortly after July 9, 2021 and August 9, 2021, respectively. The claims in these granted foreign applications are generally directed towards authentication of a module including an embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC) with a mobile network and supporting secure communication between the module and the mobile network.

            • Network-1 Expands Its Foreign M2M/IoT Patent Portfolio With Three New Granted Patents
        • Trademarks

          • General Court rules that shape of Guerlain’s Rouge G lipstick case can be registered as a trade mark

            Can the shape of a lipstick case function as an indicator of commercial origin? The answer is yes when such case is the iconic and immediately recognizable (at least to lipstick lovers!) one of Rouge G de Guerlain…

            [...]

            In 2018, Guerlain applied to register the 3D sign represented above (left-hand side) for “lipsticks” in Class 3.

            The EUIPO examiner rejected the application considering that the sign would lack distinctive character, in accordance with Article 7(1)(b) EUTMR. The subsidiary claim of the applicant under Article 7(3) EUTMR (acquired distinctiveness) could be examined once the decision became final.

        • Copyrights

          • VPN Hosting Company Asks Court to Dismiss Piracy Lawsuit

            Cloud hosting and DDoS protection company Sharktech has asked a Colorado federal court to dismiss a ‘frivolous’ piracy liability complaint. Through a lawsuit, several independent film companies hold Sharktech liable for the infringing activities of the subscribers of some customers that offer VPN services.

          • Spotify Blocks Users For “Improperly Downloading” Tracks With Third-Party Software

            Spotify has reportedly blocked the accounts of several customers after they “improperly” downloaded tracks from the service using a third-party software tool. Audials Music exploits Spotify to stream music to users at breakneck speed while recording tracks locally as MP3 files. This was noticed at Spotify and has resulted in users being suspended from the service for abuse.

Increasing Capacity in Techrights

Posted in Site News at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 94a5fe500ffb72aa2e2cb5ee76304162

Summary: Increasing capacity (about five-fold) at the network backbone for the self-hosted bits of Techrights; today will be a day of infrastructure upgrade and maintenance

THERE probably won’t be many new articles today. We’re moving to optical fibre/fiber later today. This will help Techrights in a number of different ways. We had lots of issues with our connection in recent months, mostly due to capacity limits. That sometimes meant that it would take hours just to upload a video. Backups could take days.

Well, after these incidents (that we covered earlier this year) I’ve managed to convince them to charge me even less for the fibre than they charge for copper. It’s about 30 pounds a month inclusive of everything and it’ll address the hassle associated with hosting some things from home (low-bandwidth stuff like Gemini, not videos).

“We’ve learned to assume risk of DDOS, SLAPP, and other gagging attempts (when outsourcing to platforms such as Medium, YouTube and Twitter people risk censorship by a private corporation which can do almost anything it wants without legal consequences).”Doing Techrights over IPFS, Gemini, IRC, and Web servers isn’t easy because there are many moving parts to keep track of. But when one is down the others are likely to remain up (more so if they’re decentralised) and in IRC’s case we have multiple networks connected by a bridge. We’re actually quite unique in that regard. We’ve learned to assume risk of DDOS, SLAPP, and other gagging attempts (when outsourcing to platforms such as Medium, YouTube and Twitter people risk censorship by a private corporation which can do almost anything it wants without legal consequences).

IPFS at TechrightsI should definitely mention that there’s a very serious problem with this video (the one above), as will soon become evident to those who watch it (like the moment I realised what had happened). For a period of about 5 minutes I was showing something on the screen, but the focus was not shifted to the screen so instead it shows me talking to the screen, unaware that it is recording me instead of the screen. But given the nature of what I was showing, it’s possible to imagine more or less what I was trying to show and get the key message regardless (similar to what’s shown on the right; that’s in Firefox). I watched the video (which I very rarely do after recording) just to ensure I didn’t do anything too embarrassing. It’s strange, but not unacceptable. I’ve left is all in tact. As the clothing indicates, it has gotten hotter in Manchester lately. Maybe later this week we’ll exceed the temperature of the warmest day of the year so far (the day shown blow; highest temperature was 25 in the shade that day, so we hiked outdoors).

Highland cows and sheep
Feeding a calf (a special breed of cow) in Manchester a few weeks ago

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:59 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now


IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 Qmeasn1qR7betqR3kXJXCVHuF1CwSngBJCnX32M7LqEcTx IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmVTfVtFgttkYyCVEgqGfA9SGrb32neviV1XiiU9eGJYNq IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmNSj16RNeTqzK2nCZ4Gx52H3XxzDn8bKaP1Z9qetgvNaw IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 Qme3HUdjdmCnMJA9SjTddeRoRcYsAc44iuCtrpZajLAvtp IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
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Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): QmTEc55i2525TPe47yzXhgGhNWewFBdj8FCkg3pJ7X8J9T

[Meme] Couldn’t Even Qualify for Management at GAP

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO President; 'There's a gap'

Summary: António Campinos as EPO manager is truly awful and he only got the job because of nepotism

[Meme] Not All ‘Linux’ is Equal

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 12:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tree Swing Story: GNU/Linux, Linux, Systemd, ChromeOS, Android, LineageOS, 'Clowd', Serverless, RHEL, CentOS, Marketing, Microsoft vapourware

Summary: As Thomas Grzybowski reminds us, Free (libre) software freedom is not Linux

Jai Chiranjeeva: Free as in freedom; freedom? That's right!

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