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Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Maui Project Wants to Bring Convergent Apps to Linux Desktops and Android

      Maui Project is creating MauiKit, a free and open-source modular front-end framework built with KDE Project’s Kirigami UI framework for creating mobile and convergent apps and Qt Quick Controls 2, a collection of templated controls and tools for building complete user interfaces in Qt Quick.

      MauiKit aims to help application developers build convergent apps that work seamlessly on desktop computers and mobile phones, but a lot faster, using known technologies like C++, QML, and Qt.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • An Alternative to Windows 7

        Probably not that many are familiar with the name of Mark Shuttleworth; more may be aware of his accomplishments. In the mid-1990s he founded Thawte Consulting. The company, specialized in digital certificates and internet security, was later acquired by VeriSign, earning Shuttleworth a substantial amount of money. From 2004, Shuttleworth invested in developing Ubuntu Linux.

        For a long time, the public perception of Linux software has been that is only something IT professionals are able to use, requiring a lot of additional coding and fine-tuning. While this is true for a specific part of the Linux ecosystem, there are many projects designed to bring Linux as close as possible to everyday users. Ubuntu is one of them. So what are the pros and cons of considering Ubuntu Linux as a replacement for Windows 7.

      • Every time Windows 10 Updates, it deletes all saved desktop icons, clears my taskbar, deletes all my saved favorites, passwords, and more!

        Every time my PC updates my desktop wallpaper goes back to default, and all saved icons, favorites, passwords, etc are gone. Every. Single. Time. This is getting tiring and I’m losing so much time at work saving my icons again, paswords, etc. What is going on? Also keeps changing my default printer even when the box is left un-checked, when the computer updates and restarts the box will be checked. Its almost as if the computer is set back to default after every update. Please help. I’ve tried quite a few things to fix and no luck.

      • February Win10 1903 and 1909 cumulative update, KB 4532693, causing desktops to disappear

        Microsoft should be paying you to beta test their buggy patches.

      • Windows 10: Update KB4532693 kills user data/profile

        There are reports that cumulative update KB4532693 for Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909 dated February 11, 2020, is causing significant issues for some users. Desktop gone, files gone, icons gone and more.

      • Second Windows 10 update is now causing problems by hiding user profiles

        Windows 10 users are reporting that a second Windows update included in this month’s Patch Tuesday is causing problems.

        According to reports, a bug in the KB4532693 update is hiding user profiles and their respective data on some Windows 10 systems.

    • Server

      • How Ceph powers exciting research with Open Source

        As researchers seek scalable, high performance methods for storing data, Ceph is a powerful technology that needs to be at the top of their list. Ceph is an open-source software-defined storage platform. While it’s not often in the spotlight, it’s working hard behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in enabling ambitious, world-renowned projects such as CERN’s particle physics research, Immunity Bio’s cancer research, The Human Brain Project, MeerKat radio telescope, and more. These ventures are propelling the collective understanding of our planet and the human race beyond imaginable realms, and the outcomes will forever change how we perceive our existence and potential. It’s high-time Ceph receives the praise it deserves for powering some of the most exciting research projects on Earth.

      • Kubernetes’ Inevitable Takeover of the Data Center
      • How To Drive Infrastructure Like Uber Does
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 340

        Thoughts about licensing. Coffee. Then thoughts about Java.

      • This Week in Linux 93: MATE 1.24, KDE Plasma 5.18, Blender, OpenShot, Evernote, MX Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have monster of a show with new releases from desktop environments like MATE and KDE Plasma to distro news from MX Linux, Ubuntu, Project Trident and Tiny Core. In App News this week, we see new releases from Blender, OpenShot and some interesting news from Evernote. We’ll also talk about some updates from TLP the laptop performance project and Wayland display server protocol. Later in the show, we’ll check out a cool gaming overlay project called MangoHud and we’ll discuss some Legal News related to Mycroft AI and their fight against a “Patent Troll”. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space

      • Reiser5 Updates For Linux 5.5 Along With Reiser4

        The out-of-tree Reiser4 and Reiser5 (Reiser4 v5) patches have been updated against the recently stabilized Linux 5.5 kernel.

        Main Reiser4 developer Edward Shishkin re-based the Reiser4 file-system patch against Linux 5.5.1 along with the experimental Reiser5.

        At the end of 2019 is when Shishkin announced Reiser5 file-system development with introducing the concepts of local volumes capable of parallel scaling out and other key iterations over the current Reiser4 design.

      • Linux 5.7 To See USB Fast Charge Support For Apple iOS Devices

        The Linux 5.7 kernel that will be out in the late spring / early summer is poised to see support for USB fast charging support for Apple iOS devices.

        Currently if charging an Apple iPhone / iPad from a USB port by default it will not draw more than 500mA per specifications. However, iOS devices can draw more power when communicated to do so via Apple’s protocol. With Linux 5.7 a new “apple-mfi-fastcharge” driver will allow this capability of up to 2500mA.

        The apple-mfi-fastcharge driver will allow setting the power supply property via sysfs to “fast” and in turn lets the iOS device draw more power from the USB port, similar to the behavior of MFi certified chargers.

      • Apple Firmware Update For Magic Keyboards Decides To Change The Fn Key

        Linux has supported the Apple Magic Keyboards since 2018 handling the Bluetooth connectivity and also needing some special handling for the numeric keypad. While that normally would be the end of the story, recent firmware updates to the Apple Magic Keyboard have caused problems.

        Newer Apple firmware updates to the Magic Keyboards have caused the function (Fn) keys to be reported differently. So on current Linux kernels when running on an Apple keyboard with updated firmware, the Fn key may not behave correctly.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Game Crashes, New Extensions

          Not scheduled to go live until Monday but up this weekend is the NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux beta driver that offers a few Vulkan updates.

          The NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux driver fixes a regression that caused some Vulkan games to crash due to swapchain issues. Affected games include at least F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and DiRT 4. This beta driver also fixes a visual glitching issue when falling out of page-flipping such as alt-tabbing on Linux.

        • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta driver out for Linux fixing some regressions

          NVIDIA continue being quick to advance their Vulkan drivers as today they released an update to their special Beta branch.

          440.58.01 is out which adds in support for two more Vulkan extensions with VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info and VK_EXT_tooling_info which sounds quite useful to help developers track down what might be causing an error.

          For games this release fixes up a Vulkan swapchain recreation crash with F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider and DiRT 4. NVIDIA also solved an issue with visual glitching of Vulkan applications when “falling out of flipping” with an example being when you alt+tab, however they’re still investigating an issue to do with this on the GNOME desktop.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Quick Look At The Blender 2.82 Performance On Intel + AMD CPUs

        With Blender 2.82 having released on Friday, this weekend we’ve begun our benchmarking of this new Blender release as the leading open-source 3D modeling solution currently available. Here are some preliminary v2.81 vs. v2.82 figures on different higher-end Intel and AMD processors.

        This is just a quick look at how we’re seeing the Blender 2.82 performance on a number of distinct systems for comparing the old and new releases as well as a rough look at how these various Intel and AMD processors are comparing.

    • Applications

      • Open Source Graphics App MyPaint 2.0 Released with Major Improvements

        Open source artists should check out the latest release of MyPaint, as it scored a substantial update this weekend.

        The new MyPaint 2.0.0 release succeeds MyPaint 1.2, released back in 2017, and brings a stack of new features and improved tools with it.

        MyPaint is notable for its compatibility with Wacom graphics tablets (and similar devices), including both pressure and tilt-sensitivity, as well as it’s support for both conventional and unconventional brush types. It also has a full-screen ‘distraction free’ mode.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released With New Features For Open-Source Drawing/Painting

        If the likes of GIMP and Krita aren’t satisfying your digital drawing/painting needs, MyPaint 2.0 has finally been released as a big update to this simplicity-minded, cross-platform and open-source program.

        MyPaint 2.0 debuted this weekend as a big update for this open-source artistic software following more than a dozen alpha releases over the past year and as their first big release since 2017.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Open-Source Drawing and Paining App Adds Major New Features

        After more than a year in development, MyPaint 2.0 is finally here and it looks like it’s a major release adding many goodies for passionate digital artists. This version replaces the MyPaint 1.2 series as the latest stable release due to important changes to brush parameters and a whole new layer mode.

        The developers explain that layer mode featured in this release uses a brand new compositing method, making files created with MyPaint 2.0 incompatible with earlier releases. Furthermore, the brush stroke data created in MyPaint 2.0 won’t work properly in previous versions of the software.

      • MyPaint 2.0 is Here With Brushes, Python 3 Support and More Features

        MyPaint is one of the top open source alternatives to Microsoft Paint. It’s a handy little tool that allows you to quickly sketch and draw. While there are more sophisticated open source tools for digital artists like Krita, MyPaint is not too bad for light sketching.

        You can also use it on Wacom touch devices without much trouble.

        MyPaint has a major new release with support for Python 3, new layer mode, new brush parameters among other changes.

      • Free Editing Software RawTherapee Adds Impressive ‘Capture Sharpening’ Feature

        Free Lightroom alternative RawTherapee just released version 5.8. And in addition to the usual compatibility and performance improvements, the open source software has also added an impressive new feature called “Capture Sharpening.”

        According to the release notes, Capture Sharpening specifically addresses detail that is lost to lens blur (AKA diffraction). “It takes place right after demosaicing, and as it works in linear space it is not prone to haloing,” reads the description. “Capture Sharpening in combination with Post-Resize Sharpening allows for detailed and crisp results.”

        People who use RawTherapee as their raw photo editor of choice will tell you that it’s already phenomenal at sharpening, and this only makes it that much better. If you don’t need the cataloging or advanced masking tools available in Darktable, RawTherapee might be your open source Lightroom alternative of choice.

      • Open Source Audio-Video: 8 Replacements for Expensive Applications

        Open source audio-video software offers an alternative to paying for expensive proprietary software. And in many cases, the open source options are as good as or better than the comparable commercial, proprietary solutions. In fact, users site the top reasons why they use open source software as: the features, freedom from vendor lock-in and the quality of the solutions. Price and total cost of ownership weren’t even on the list. In other words, people are using open source because the software is so good, and the fact that it is free is just a side benefit.

        The list of audio-video software below includes a variety of open source software for home users and SMBs. All of these applications can replace commercial products that can carry high prices. Even if buyers choose to purchase support or other services for their open source software, the open source options are generally much more affordable than the comparable proprietary solutions.

      • Record screencast or web cam video with VokoscreenNG an open source program for Windows and Linux

        VokoscreenNG is an open source screen casting program for Windows and Linux. It can be used to record videos from your webcam or the screen content, along with the audio source that you choose.


        You can use this to record the content on the screen. You have two options to choose from: fullscreen and area. Fullscreen mode captures everything on the screen and supports monitor selection if you have multiple monitors. Area mode has preset resolutions that you can pick to resize the view-finder to the corresponding size (say 320 x 200 pixels). You can of course drag the arrows on the screen to resize it and use it as free-region selector.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Comedy cosmic horror adventure ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ releasing on February 26

        Mixing comedy with cosmic horror might seem a little weird and it is, Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac is releasing with Linux support on February 26.

        The first game from French studio La Poule Noire, Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac has you play as the eccentric outcast Edgar whose best friend is a Chicken. Unfortunately, a sudden disaster forces you out of your shack and towards the bright lights of the big city, Boulzac, where an 800 year old fire rages beneath the surface, and weird things are afoot.

      • Fusing a deck-builder and a narrative adventure ‘Iris and the Giant’ releases February 27 – demo up

        Developer Louis Rigaud and publisher Goblinz Studio have announced their fusion of a deck-builder with a narrative adventure and turn-based battles, Iris and the Giant, is going to release on February 27.

        They say it mixes together “a collectible card game with RPG and roguelike elements”, with you playing a Iris who must brave her fears in her imaginary world. Behind the game’s unique minimalist art style players will explore a touching story of a young woman facing her inner demons and soothing the raging giant inside.

      • Martian city-builder ‘The Farlanders’ has a big new release up with a Happiness system

        Sweet small city-builder The Farlanders is evolving into a bigger game, with a new release now up introducing some fresh game mechanics.

        A game covered here briefly last year, as a promising up-and-coming city-builder that was aiming to do things a little bit differently and that feeling continues with this new build. Version 0.3.0 introduces a Happiness system, there’s new types of terrain and terraforming options, new building types and the game has gone through an overhaul on the balance.

      • Explore a dark mansion in the survival horror ‘Westmark Manor’ releasing this year

        Sometime later this Summer, Westmark Manor will take you on a journey into the occult and the developer Nodbrim Interactive is planning to get it on Linux too.

        It’s a mixture of gameplay elements here with exploration, puzzle solving and survival and it sounds like plenty of inventory management too as you acquire the tools needed to progress through different rooms in a mansion. Two days ago they put up a reveal trailer and while a bit dark (visually), it gives an interesting look into the horrifying things you will get up to in Westmark Manor.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Plasma bug-fixing and Samba bug-squashing

          Plasma 5.18 has been released! A ton of work went into this release and we’re very proud of it. However I’d like to apologize for it being a bit buggier than we’d have preferred. We’ve gone balls-to-the-wall off the chain bananas fixing the issues you folks are reporting! Almost all of the highest-profile issues are fixed already, to be released with Plasma 5.18.1 in a few days! And we’ve got the less major regressions in our sights too! But still, we know that stability hasn’t always been our strong suit and we’re aiming for a higher standard next time, discussing how we can get there. So thank you for your patience and understanding, and enjoy Plasma 5.18!

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Offers Better Integration With GTK/GNOME Applications

          The KDE community has come out with the new release of the open-source KDE Plasma Desktop environment, which is also the LTS (Long Term Support) version designed to run on GNU/Linux distributions.

          Offering a host of new features, Plasma 5.18 succeeds the aging Plasma 5.12 LTS.

          With the latest version, users can look forward to much better integration with GTK/GNOME applications. It also includes a varied change-log with tweaks affecting almost every part of the desktop experience.

          The developers behind Plasma 5.18 said that this new version of their favorite desktop environment is “easier and more fun” and also allows you to do more tasks faster.

        • Videos From KDE Talks at FOSDEM

          How QML, a language prominently used for designing UI, could be used to create title video clips containing text and/or images. The videos can then be rendered and composited over other videos in the video-editing process. Kdenlive’s Google Summer of Code 2019 project tried to achieve this and is still under active development.

          QML is used primarily for UI development in Qt Applications. It provides an easy way of designing and creating interactive, clean and a modern UI. Kdenlive is a popular non-linear open-source video editor and it currently makes use of XML to describe title clips — clips which contain text or images used to composite over videos. XML requires more processing in the backend as one needs to explicitly write code for, say an animation of the text. Using QML eases this restriction, making the backend more robust and maintainable as rendering in QML makes use of a dedicated Qt Scene Graph. Kdenlive’s Google Summer of Code 2019 student Akhil Gangadharan Kurungadathil tried to achieve this by creating a new rendering backend library and a new MLT QML producer which is still under active development. Owing to the dedicated scene graph while rendering, this could also possibly lead to greater overall performance.

        • KDE Sees Improvements For Samba Shares, Fixing Mouse Input For GTK Apps On XWayland

          While this week marked the release of KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS, KDE developers haven’t let up on their bug fixing activities and other improvements to this open-source desktop environment.

          Some of the highlights for other work this week besides pushing Plasma 5.18.0 out the door includes:

          - Support for creating and pasting files on Samba shares within Dolphin. There is also support for URLs beginning with cifs:// for paths to Samba shares and other KDE Dolphin improvements around Samba mounts, including support for showing the amount of free space on such shares.

        • KDE Plasma Desktop 5.18 Brings Significant Improvements. How to install [PPA]

          KDE Plasma desktop environment announced the release of its latest version 5.18. This is a long term support release (LTS) that provides security updates and support for the next two years – i.e. till 2022 while the regular versions maintained for only 4 months.

    • Distributions

      • 7 Most Beautiful Linux Distributions in 2020

        Here are some drop dead gorgeous Linux distributions that provide an overall pleasant desktop experience out of the box.

      • OSMC Skin update

        While we usually release a single monthly update, we’ve made a number of improvements to the OSMC skin and would like to get these changes out as promptly as possible for feedback.


        To get the latest and greatest version of OSMC, simply head to My OSMC -> Updater and check for updates manually on your exising OSMC set up. Of course — if you have updates scheduled automatically you should receive an update notification shortly.

        If you enjoy OSMC, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and consider making a donation if you would like to support further development.

        You may also wish to check out our Store, which offers a wide variety of high quality products which will help you get the best of OSMC.

      • New Releases

        • Download Debian-based MX Linux 19.1 now

          Ever find yourself bored with the same ol’ “mainstream” Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu, Fedora, or Mint? Yeah, I get it. Sometimes you just want to dig a bit deeper and try out something a tad less known. It can be fun to distro-hop and try new things!

          One such excellent Linux distribution is MX Linux. It has become wildly popular in the Linux community lately, but is still largely off the radar of those that aren’t “in the know.” Today, a new version of the operating system, MX Linux 19.1, becomes available for download. The Debian-based distro uses the Xfce desktop environment and comes pre-loaded with some great software, such as Firefox, LibreOffice, and more.

        • MX-19.1 now available!

          Updated iso images

          –direct download:


          Mirrors will populate over time. Other download locations: https://mxlinux.org/download-links/

          Torrents here: https://mxlinux.org/torrent-files/

          We are pleased to offer MX-19.1. for your use.

          MX-19.1 is a refresh of our MX-19 release, consisting of bugfixes and application updates since our original release of MX-19. If you are already running MX-19, there is no need to reinstall. Packages are all available thru the regular update channel.

          Migration notes are here:

          Due to the increasing presence of users with newer hardware (particularly newer AMD or Intel hardware), with this release, in addition to the standard 32 bit and 64 bit isos with 4.19 LTS kernels, we are producing a third iso that we call “Advanced Hardware Support” or AHS (pronounced Oz) for short. AHS is 64 bit and ships with a debian 5.4 kernel, Mesa 19.2 as well as newer xserver drivers and various recompiled apps that will utilize the newer graphics stack. We debuted the AHS repository sometime ago (blog post here), and we thought the time was right for an iso with the AHS repo enabled by default. AHS is a little untested, but the idea is that it will receive updates to the graphics stack over time, so for those that don’t need the newer open source graphics stack, there is little point is using AHS.

        • MX Linux 19.1 Released with New “Advanced Hardware Support” ISO

          MX Linux 19.1 distribution is now available for download with a new “Advanced Hardware Support” ISO image for newer hardware and latest software updates from Debian GNU/Linux.

        • Q4OS 4.0 Gemini, testing

          We are happy to kick off development cycle of the Q4OS 4, the brand new major version codenamed ‘Gemini’. The Debian ‘Bullseye’ development branch underlies Q4OS Gemini, which will be in development until Debian Bullseye becomes stable, and it’s planned to be supported for five years from the official release date. Unlike previous installation media, Q4OS Gemini live media carries the full desktop software bundle, however a user can ask the Desktop profiler tool to strip the target system into one of predefined so called ‘Software profiles’ throughout the installation process.

          Feel free to download and try the new version out, bugs and glitches reporting would be very welcome, live bootable media are immediately available for download from the dedicated Testing releases page.

      • BSD

        • Announcing the NetBSD 9.0 release

          On behalf of the NetBSD project, it is my pleasure to announce the NetBSD 9.0 release.

          This is the seventeenth major release of the NetBSD operating system and brings significant improvements in terms of hardware support, quality assurance, security, along with new features and hundreds of bug fixes. Some highlights: [...]

        • The Call for Talk and presentation proposals for EuroBSDCon 2020 is now open.

          EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place September 17-20 2020 in Vienna, Austria. The tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday to registered participants and the talks are presented to conference attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

          The Call for Talk and Presentation proposals period will close on May 24th, 2020. Prospective speakers will be notified of accepteance or otherwise by June 2nd, 2020.

        • DragonFlyBSD 5.8-RC1 Is Ready With Many Changes From DSynth To Performance Optimizations

          Not only did NetBSD 9.0 make its debut today but DragonFlyBSD 5.8 was branched and its first release candidate made while DragonFlyBSD 5.9 is the version now open on Git master.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform Now Available For IBM Z, LinuxONE

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is now available for IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE. OpenShift brings together the core open source technologies of Linux, containers and Kubernetes, adds additional open source capabilities such developer tools and a registry, and hardens, tests and optimizes the software for enterprise production use.

          As IBM puts it, the availability of OpenShift for Z and LinuxONE is a major milestone for both hybrid multicloud and for enterprise computing.

        • Can IBM’s New Duopoly Produce A Unifying Vision?
        • IBM Watson And The Value Of Open [Ed: Well, Watson is proprietary software. This is cheap, low-grade openwashing. See authors here. Forbes apparently takes IBM money for marketing/propaganda.]

          Not so long ago, back in 2011, IBM’s artificial intelligence technology (later packaged and sold as Watson) triumphed in the game of Jeopardy. Watson played against the two most successful contestants ever to appear on the show. This victory reflected the result of an enormous amount of work done by IBM and others to mine human language for the semantic meaning of words, and allow a machine to answer Jeopardy questions that would have been impossible for any computer just a few years earlier.

        • IBM CTO: Edge Will Implode Without Open Source [Ed: This guy is CTO of IBM proprietary software (Watson). Do as I say, not as I do...?]

          Edge computing devices are proliferating at an astonishing rate, jumping from about 15 billion devices today to about 55 billion by 2022, according to Rob High, VP and CTO of IBM Watson.

        • IBM on the first open source security platform
        • Crunchy PostgreSQL for Kubernetes 4.2 Receives Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification

          Crunchy Data, the leading provider of trusted open source PostgreSQL technology and support, is pleased to announce that Crunchy PostgreSQL for Kubernetes 4.2 has achieved the “auto pilot” capability level as part of Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification. The “auto pilot” capability level designates the highest level of automation associated with Operator technologies, including PostgreSQL cluster self-healing after a failover event and advanced high-availability configurations for workloads sensitive to transaction loss.

        • Minicomputers and The Soul of a New Machine

          The Command Line Heroes podcast is back, and this season it covers the machines that run all the programming languages I covered last season. As the podcast staff puts it:

          “This season, we’ll look at what happens when idealistic teams come together to build visionary machines. Machines made with leaps of faith and a lot of hard, often unrecognized, work in basements and stifling cubicles. Machines that brought teams together and changed us as a society in ways we could only dream of.”

          This first episode looks at the non-fiction book (and engineering classic), The Soul of a New Machine, to look at a critical moment in computing history. It covers the transition from large, hulking mainframes to the intermediate step of the minicomputer, which will eventually lead us to the PC revolution that we’re still living in the wake of.

        • Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 006.

          I try to use the Selinux MLS with Fedora 31 and I wrote on my last article about Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 005.After relabeling the files and start the environment I get multiple errors and I ask an answer at fedoraproject lists: This is an example of the problem of implementing MLS in Fedora and can be remedied because MLS Selinux is old in implementing Selinux.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Best open source cloud-storage services

        Worried about storing your private files with data-hungry tech giants such as Google and Microsoft? Here are three open source alternatives

      • New Open-Source Software SHARPy Launched

        The Aeroelastics Research Group has launched an open-source software tool – SHARPy

        The tool offers dynamic simulation for everything from wind turbines to solar-powered aircraft.

        SHARPy (which stands for Simulation of High-Aspect Ratio aeroplanes in Python) is a dynamic aeroelasticity simulation package. It offers structural, aerodynamic and coupled aeroelastic/flight dynamics analysis, and has particular application for low-speed and very flexible aircraft, and for wind turbines.

      • Iowa Caucus App Fiasco Shows Need for Open Source Transparency

        The Iowa caucuses were thrown into disarray as reports surfaced an opaque app used to tabulate the results and report them to Democratic Party officials was reporting only part of the required data. Although the app had been developed to improve efficiency in communicating the final caucus tallies, it ended up causing significant delays. According to security experts, the incident served to highlight the risks of relying on digital systems and the centralization of information, and a lack of transparency regarding these systems.

      • How to Vet the Engineering Chops of Your Software Vendors

        After witnessing the debacle in Iowa, campaign decision-makers across the country are wondering just how good is the engineering behind the software they purchase for their campaigns? And for good reason: the stakes couldn’t be higher.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: OWASP SAMM

        The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has announced version 2 of the Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM). SAMM is an open-source framework that enables teams and developers to assess, formulate and implement better security strategies that can be integrated into the software development life cycle.

      • Austin Alexander Burridge of Rosemount Compares Open-Source and Proprietary Software Security

        When open-source software developers are made aware of a specific security vulnerability or bug in their software products, they often publish the vulnerability to the community. If there’s a developer who wants to offer a fix, he can build one and publish it as a particular version. If there’s no funding to develop an upgrade, an IT professional is still aware of the problem so that he can create a custom workaround for his company’s unique system until an updated version of the software becomes available.

      • Robust security crucial for adoption of open source

        New Delhi [India], Feb 11 (ANI/NewsVoir): While speaking at the inaugural session of the “3rd Open Source Summit 2020″ recently in New Delhi, Vivek Banzal, Director (CFA), Bharat Sachar Nigam Limited (BSNL) said that it is a challenge to keep pace with the technology, more so when security of data has to be quite robust.


        “The Government of India has encouraged the adoption of this technology in the Digital India initiative and this has further encouraged the CIO’s of enterprises and other government organizations to make a move towards Open source technology. The rise of digital transformation in India has pushed the adoption of open source both by enterprises and government,” said Sunil Kumar, Deputy Director-General, National Informatics Centre (NIC), while commenting on the adoption of Open source by the Government to India.

      • Leaders share how agencies bring agility into application development

        Additionally, tapping into open source development communities allows them to overcome some of chronic IT skills gaps many agencies continue to face.


        Open source is being used both in civilian and defense agencies. Even though open source code is used for unclassified applications, it does not mean it’s unsecure, assures Michael Kanaan, co-chair of artificial intelligence and machine learning for the U.S. Air Force.

      • The Top 13 Free and Open Source RPA Tools

        Searching for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular RPA tools often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source RPA tools out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize robotic process automation.

        In this article, we will examine free and open source RPA tools, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs of the options currently available in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.

      • The Two Faces of Open Source: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 5

        The open source software movement has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Many businesses that once considered open source a threat now recognize its value.

        On the other hand, in spite of increased enthusiasm among enterprises, consumer interest by and large has not materialized.

        With large companies increasingly embracing open source, what does it mean to be a part of the free and open source software, or FOSS, “community”?

      • Pimcore’s free, open source digital experience platform – a rock tossed into the CX pond?

        The retail and eCommerce landscapes have changed dramatically over the past decade as customer experience has risen to the forefront of enterprise marketing priorities. Marketers have turned their focus away from price as the key driver of sales to their ability to deliver the most convenient, streamlined and personalized experiences across channels whether online, in-store, or on mobile phones.


        Their solution Pimcore, introduced in 2013, is a free open source software platform for managing digital data and customer experiences for any channel, device, or industry.

      • Chef Serves Up Partner Program to Push Open DevOps Model

        Aims to help channel sell 100% open-source portfolio

      • Chef Introduces New Global Partner Program Purpose-Built for 100 Percent Open Source Software

        Chef, the leader in DevOps, today announced a new channel program specifically designed to ensure that partners and customers are able to take maximum advantage of Chef’s 100 percent open source business model. The Chef Partner Program (CPP) creates three tiers of partners — Principal, Senior and Junior — with the highest benefits and incentives applied to those who drive the strongest results for themselves and their mutual enterprise customers using Chef Enterprise Automation Stack.

      • CableLabs, Altran team to take open source to the edge

        Altran and CableLabs have teamed up on “Project Adrenaline,” an open source initiative that aims to help the cable industry build and manage edge networks and smooth the path for apps that can run on them.

        And while Adrenaline is initially focused on cable, the broader aim is to apply the resulting open source platform to multiple industries while still staying aligned with Kubernetes.

      • Events

        • oSLO Conference

          The two projects are celebrating their 15ᵗʰ and 10ᵗʰ anniversary respectively in 2020. To mark the occasion, openSUSE and LibreOffice projects are organizing a joint conference from 13ᵗʰ to 16ᵗʰ October 2020 in Nuremberg, Germany. The conference will take place at Z-bau (Frankenstraße 200). It is the same location where last year’s openSUSE Conference was held.

        • More foss stuff

          First of all – a huge thanks to everyone who submitted to the Call for Papers for foss-north 2020. We have over 70 hours (!!!) of contents to squeeze into two tracks over two days. As always, it will be hard to pick the speakers to create the very best program.

          Other foss-north activities includes starting to populate the community day activities, as well as getting a whole bunch on sponsors onboard. An extra big thanks to Luxoft and Red Hat Ansible for helping us by picking up the Gold Sponsorship packages. Ansible are even running their European Contributor Summit as a part of the foss-north Community Day together with events by KDE, Gnome, FreeBSD, Debian, and a hardware hacking workshop. I’m really looking forward to this – if you want to join in with your own project, workshop, hackaton, etc – just ping me!

      • Web Browsers

        • Data Doctors: Is the Brave browser safe to use?

          If you’re like most users, you spend more time using a browser than any other program on your computer or smartphone.

          You probably don’t think about what browser you’re using; the focus is on getting to a website, not what got you there.

          Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser, but because it’s a Google product integrated with all their tracking and advertising networks, a lot of people are looking for an alternative.

        • Here’s how to know if the Brave browser is safe to use

          A: If you’re like most users, you spend more time using a browser than any other program on your computer or smartphone.

          You probably don’t think about what browser you’re using as the focus is on getting to a website and not what got you there.

          Google’s Chrome is by far the most popular browser, but because it’s a Google product integrated with all their tracking and advertising networks, a lot of people are looking for an alternative.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Academic Writing Tools on GNU/Linux – Free Software Only

          This is my list of GNU/Linux tools for academic, educational, and research purposes which all are free software. I tried to pick up choices as simple as possible here just to represent every basic category and further I hope you could see more alternatives if you want. I also listed several specific tools like GNU Octave and Parallel which are proven to be useful for certain researches. On the other hand, I deliberately did not list LaTeX tools here as I already chosen LibreOffice for that category. I made every proprietary software name italicized here so you can spot them on easier. Happy researching!

        • Building even more of LibreOffice with Meson, now with graphics

          Note that this contains only the main deliverables, i.e. the shared libraries and executables. Unit tests and the like are not converted apart from a few sample tests.

          It was mentioned in an earlier blog post that platform abstraction layers are the trickiest ones to build. This turns out to be the case here also. LO has at least three such frameworks (depending on how you count them). SAL is the very basic layer, UNO is a component model used to, for example, expose functionality to Java. Finally VCL is the GUI toolkit abstraction layer. Now that we have the GUI toolkit and its GTK plugin built we can build a VCL sample application and launch it. It looks like this:

      • CMS

        • XSS vulnerability patched in TinyMCE

          A security update has been released for the popular open source text editor TinyMCE after a researcher discovered a a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability impacting three of its plugins.

      • Education

        • Should You Opt For An Open-Source LMS [Ed: The proprietary software LMS vendors badmouthing Free software as if that means "no support" (which is exactly the opposite of what's true, the support of the lifeline of the developers)]

          In the modern world, organizations are increasingly using learning management systems (LMS) for corporate training. However, with the availability of both open-source LMS and commercial LMS, choosing the more appropriate one for your organization can be challenging.

          Although leading open-source industry pioneers such as Moodle has dominated eLearning over the past few years, many organizations still prefer proprietary LMS over open-source LMS. In this article, we have assessed both these options and jotted down the factors you must consider before making a decision.

      • FINOS

        • Open Source Community Responds to Rapid Adoption of Tech in Financial Services as FINOS Announces New Fintech Members

          The companies include: EPAM Systems, Inc., a product development, digital platform engineering, and digital and product design agency; NearForm, an open source solutions design and delivery company; and CloudBees, a provider of DevOps solutions.

        • Finos welcomes new members

          Finos (Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit whose mission is to foster adoption of open source, open standards, and collaborative software development practices in financial services, today announces the addition of three established fintechs to its already growing membership roster of prestigious financial institutions, technology companies and global consultancies.

      • FSF

        • [Older] Programmers Push Microsoft to Open Windows

          The Free Software Foundation is giving Microsoft’s move away from proprietary software a helpful hug.

          Can opening Windows 7 to open-source developers, which the foundation promotes, advance Microsoft’s digital transformation?

          The alliance, which is committed to user control of the software that runs electronic devices, is circulating a petition that calls on Microsoft to put the retired operating system into the public domain.

          The Redmond, Washington, tech giant stopped supporting Windows 7 for most users at mid-month.
          Programmers Push Microsoft to Open Windows

        • GNU Projects

          • GnuCash : free and open-source accounting app for Linux

            Are you looking for an accounting app for your business? If you do, try out GnuCash, an open-source, free-to-use financing platform for Linux. It is the ideal solution for small businesses. Nevertheless, you can also use it for your personal use.

            In this article, we will take a closer look at GnuCash, its installation, and what it has to offer.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Grsecurity Breaks its Silence on Defamation Lawsuit

            Open Source Security, Inc. (OSS), makers of grsecurity, have finally broken their silence over their recently concluded defamation lawsuit. In a series of blog posts, OSS details the origins of the claims made against it, the history of controversy of the defendant of the suit, and the effects on the wider Open Source community.

          • Open source licence series – Cockroach Labs: Scaling a sustainable open source business model

            Big cloud vendors have preyed upon open source R&D by providing open source software (OSS) software as-a-service to edge out small competitors. Combine that with the platform benefits of economies of scale and greater opportunities for integration… and you can see how the big cloud providers can drown open source startups.

            That said, companies eclipsing growth-stage and legacy companies looking to store mission-critical data in the cloud are becoming wary of big vendors not investing in their R&D.

          • Open source licence series – OpenStack Foundation: Protecting open source freedoms

            Reduced to its essence, free and open source software is defining a set of freedoms, encoded into software licences.

            The Open Source Initiative (OSI) maintains an open source definition and a list of compatible licences, with the double goal of guaranteeing those essential freedoms and rights… and facilitating adoption by limiting licence proliferation.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Open source energy modelling tool shows how to decarbonise Australia

          The future of Australia’s energy mix has spawned innumerable heated arguments over how to balance secure electricity supply with economic and environmental needs, prompting energy consultants ITP to launch an open source modelling tool to settle arguments and provide clarity.

          Inspired by similar open source models in Europe and North America, ITP launched the openCEM model as a free, transparent tool to cut through the complexity of Australia’s energy mix and how it can securely transition away from carbon.

          “ITP felt, as many have felt, that public discussions around renewables were fraught with many assumptions and made with few facts and little expertise,” ITP strategy group manager Oliver Woldring said.


          Once openCEM is being used widely by policy makers and investors across Australia, ITP and ThoughtWorks aims to engage other markets across APAC and further afield, about creating tools to model uptakes of renewables into the grids of other countries.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Self-driving car dataset missing labels for pedestrians, cyclists

            A popular self-driving car dataset for training machine-learning systems – one that’s used by thousands of students to build an open-source self-driving car – contains critical errors and omissions, including missing labels for hundreds of images of bicyclists and pedestrians.

            Machine learning models are only as good as the data on which they’re trained. But when researchers at Roboflow, a firm that writes boilerplate computer vision code, hand-checked the 15,000 images in Udacity Dataset 2, they found problems with 4,986 – that’s 33% – of those images.

          • New Project Eyes an Open Platform for Data From mHealth Wearables

            A Massachusetts-based partnership aims to create a common workplace for healthcare providers and researchers using mHealth sensors in wearables and other devices.

            The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR), launched last September by Nextbridge Health, Shimmer Research and Dr. Vincent van Hees, announced that it is now “actively soliciting” open-source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies. The group wants to create a platform from which researchers and care providers can share digital health source codes and algorithms.

        • Open Access/Content

          • Monash Uni, Red Cross & Red Crescent team up on open-source video program

            Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology (IT), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have announced that they have developed an innovative approach to empower communities around the world through development of a special video program.

            According to a joint statement from Monash, the Red Cross and Red Crescent some of the world’s most isolated and remote communities will now have the ability to share their stories and raise public awareness of the local issues they’re facing “through a unique open-source video program developed by Monash”.

      • Programming/Development

        • GCC 10 Adds Late Support For -std=c++20 To Target C++20

          With C++20 now effectively complete, GCC developers have made a rather late change for GCC 10 that is also long overdue and that is introducing the -std=c++20 switch for targeting C++20.

          The GNU Compiler Collection has been working on C++20 support for a while and has much of it ironed out. But up until now -std=c++2a had to be used for specifying this support that was pretty much a given C++2A would be called C++20. With this C++ revision going to publication in the next few months, it will surely be known as C++20 in making it out before the end of the calendar year.

        • The 15 Best Vim Plugins for Programmers and Developers in 2020

          Now, before we dive into the most used and popular Vim plugins, let us first understand what Vim really is. Basically, Vim is just another text editor that we can use to write and edit the text just like Sublime Text, which we commonly use for Windows or Mac, or even Notepad that we use for Windows. Vim allows efficient text editing and it is sometimes even considered as an entire IDE for programmers. Editing existing code for software engineers become very time consuming and mundane. Since Vim is all about efficiency, it allows us to handle repetitive tasks using existing keyboard shortcuts or even customize and create our own.

        • RISC OS Seeing SDL2 Support Brought Up

          A few weeks ago was RISC OS CPU feature detection merged to SDL2 (and also SDL 1.2) while being merged this week was basic support for compiling on RISC OS and support for creating windows on RISC OS when the SDL no frame flag is set. This RISC OS + SDL support is being worked on by Cameron Cawley who has worked on other RISC OS software support from ScummVM to different open-source tools.

        • C++20 Being Wrapped Up, C++23 In Planning

          An ISO C++ Committee meeting just wrapped up in Prague and it was voted to send the draft international standard for C++ out for final approval and publication.

          This means that C++20 is now effectively complete and will be formally published in a few months. Prior to firming up C++20, they improved the context-sensitive recognition of module/import, added new rangified algorithms, added ranges::ssize, and resolved other issues.

        • 25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

          On this day 25 years ago, Borland Software trotted out version 1.0 of the Delphi application development product, making the announcement at the Software Development ’95 event in San Francisco.

          That year, the current version of Windows was 3.11 (or NT 3.5), with Windows 95 in beta. There was high demand for custom business applications and developers had plenty of tools to choose from: Microsoft Visual C++ 1.52 for 16-bit applications, Visual C++ 2.0 for 32-bit, Borland’s Pascal or C++, various database-oriented tools like PowerBuilder or Microsoft Access, and many more.

        • Wind River Launches CD Platform for Embedded Systems

          Glenn Seiler, vice president for open source strategy for Wind River, said the CD platform is based on an open source instance of the Jenkins continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. The company envisions organizations downloading the platform as source code that Wind River will update regularly for use on top of the Wind River Linux platform, he said.

          Wind River is taking advantage of containers, Kubernetes, the Puppet IT automation framework and a repository to ease deployment of its CD platform, added Seiler. The company is committed to providing updates to that platform, which Wind River uses internally, at least every three weeks, said Seiler.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Mint

          Mint is a programming language for the front-end web that aims to solve the common issues of Single Page Applications (SPAs) at a language level.

          It is a compiler and a framework combined to provide great developer experience while allowing users to write safe, readable and maintainable code, according to the developers behind the project.

          The common issues that it attempts to fix are regard reusable components, styling routing, global and local state handling, and synchronous and asynchronous computations that might fail.

          “It was born out of the frustration of the JavaScript language and ecosystem (NPM) and the Elm language and it’s not so open development practices,” Mint said on its website. “Mint aims to combine the developer experience of Elm and the expressiveness of React to create the perfect language for building single-page applications.”

        • Perl / Raku

          • Announcing Zydeco

            Moops had a memorable name, and I think the naming really helped it gain a following. MooX::Pression was just meh. So now it’s Zydeco. Zydeco is a fun word and pretty short to type. It’s a musical genre that blends jazz, blues, and Louisiana French Creole, and it just seemed like a good fit for a module that takes what I feel are some of the coolest features of Perl programming, and blends them together under one syntax.

        • Python

          • Python 3.7.5 : The httpx python package.

            Today I will present a new python packet that can help you in developing web applications.
            This is the next generation HTTP client for Python and is named httpx.
            This python package comes with a nice logo: a butterfly.
            The official webpage can be found at this webpage.
            The development team come with this intro:
            HTTPX is a fully featured HTTP client for Python 3, which provides sync and async APIs, and support for both HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2.
            I install it on my Fedora 31 distro with the pip3 tool.

          • PyPy and CFFI have moved to Heptapod

            It has been a very busy month, not so much because of deep changes in the JIT of PyPy but more around the development, deployment, and packaging of the project.

          • Your Guide to Reading Excel (xlsx) Files in Python

            In this brief Python tutorial, we are going to learn how to read Excel (xlsx) files using Python. Specifically, we will read xlsx files in Python using the Python module openpyxl. First, we start by the simplest example of reading a xlsx file in Python. Second, we will learn how to read multiple Excel files using Python.

          • CausalNex: An open-source Python library that helps data scientists to infer causation rather than observing correlation

            CausalNex is a Python library that allows data scientists and domain experts to co-develop models that go beyond correlation and consider causal relationships. ‘CasualNex’ provides a practical ‘what if’ library which is deployed to test scenarios using Bayesian Networks (BNs).

        • IDEs

          • software development programming – dev – choosing the right Text Editor Editor / Debugger / GUI IDE

            Of course just as programming languages every IDE was build by users for a specific purpose and it might serve this purpose well while doing additional stuff while.

            There is not a single tool that „does it all“ and it would be completely against the UNIX philosophy of: build small tools that do one task – but do it well – that can be linked/networked together (most common interface: pipe text streams)

        • Java

          • Programming languages: Java developers flock to Kotlin and ditch Oracle JDK for OpenJDK [Ed: CBS tabloid ZDNet does puff pieces for Snyk now. A Microsoft-connected attack dog -- one which badmouths FOSS and now pretends to have a 'study' (self-promotion stunt) on programming trends...]

            The vast majority of developers who use a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) language still use Java, but a sizable chunk of the population is shifting to Kotlin, a JVM-compatible language developed by JetBrains, which Google is encouraging developers to use for Android development.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Ethernity Networks and TietoEVRY boost 5G performance with new open-source concept

        “As communications service providers continue to race toward initial 5G rollouts, they are recognizing that they cannot achieve the required benchmarks to enable true 5G performance without significant data plane acceleration,” said CEO David Levi

      • How Open Source Software Can Transform the Potential of Mobile Connectivity?

        Almost every industry has mobile connectivity at its heart to ensure the betterment of the digital economy. But to reach the Industry 4.0, open-source software is required to achieve an evolved mobile connectivity. Users across the country crave for data, which is blazing-fast in remote areas and only advanced mobile connectivity can meet their demands.

        For the better sharing of data, millions of IoT devices in India need strong mobile connectivity. IoT devices must share data over mobile networks. It is believed that by 2025 enterprises will be generating 60 percent of all data. Data will be the driving force for the economic growth and being at the heart of the Industry 4.0, the growth of industrial automation, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and more will make the mobile networks grow.

      • Improving 5G Network Security

        DARPA created the Open, Programmable, Secure 5G (OPS-5G) program to tackle many of the security challenges facing future wireless networks. OPS-5G will explore the development of a portable, standards-compliant network stack for 5G mobile networks that is open source, and secure by design. The program seeks to enable a “plug-and-play” approach to various network software and hardware components, which reduces reliance on untrusted technology sources. The goal of OPS-5G is to develop open source software and systems that can enable more secure 5G as well as future generations of networks beyond 5G.

      • Cloud native in NFVI: why it’s smart business for 5G growth
      • DARPA plans 4 year open source 5G program to address US security fears
      • DARPA Solicits Open Source 5G Tech Proposals

        DARPA’s Open, Programmable, Secure 5G initiative also calls for appoaches to secure modern wireless networks with the use of open source technology as well as increase the adaptability and support customization of such infrastructure, the agency said in a SAM notice posted Jan. 30.

      • DARPA’s plan for a US-friendly 5G network
  • Leftovers

    • Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

      Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

    • Waterfox web browser sold to System1

      It appears that the Waterfox web browser has been sold to System1 recently, the same company that bought the Startpage search engine some time ago. To be precise, Startpage was bought by Privacy One Group Ltd which System1 owns. System1 is an advertising company that tries to “make advertising better and safer, while respecting consumer privacy”.

      Update: Alex Kontos, the creator of Waterfox, published a blog post on the official site explaining the change. End

      Privacy expert Liz McIntyre, who was involved with Startpage prior to the ownership change, noticed in October 2019 that System1 was looking to hire a web browser developer. She decided to keep an eye on potential web browser sales as it was likely that System1 was interested in buying an established web browser with a user base instead of building one from scratch.


      There are apparent similarities between the Startpage and Waterfox deals. A level of secrecy surrounds these deals which leads to all sorts of speculations. Kontos mentioned on Reddit that transparency is important to him and it will be interesting to see if all important details of the deal are revealed in the upcoming blog post.

      It is too early to come to a final conclusion but if history repeats itself, answers won’t be provided to some of the most pressing questions.

    • Waterfox has joined System1

      I started Waterfox when I was 16. It was a way for me to understand how large software projects worked and the Mozilla documentation was a great introduction. Well written, easy to follow and (from what I remember) not many missing pieces as to how to do things. From there, I decided to share my exploits over at overclock.net. After that a lot of things changed. Waterfox amassed a large following because it was easy access to a 64-Bit build of Firefox. From there, I took it upon myself to take it a step further and make Waterfox fast in any way possible – that was my introduction to toolchains and masochism (Intel’s C++ compiler… what more can I say).


      For the first time in nearly a decade, I no longer felt like Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I no longer had to panic when I thought something might be wrong with Waterfox, and I took time off. I made sure to keep security patches and pull requests going – but I gave myself proper time off for the first time in 9 years.

      To the paranoid – a conspiracy. To everyone else, a (well earned?) rest.

      We finalised in the middle of December, it was Christmas. Since nothing was changing in regards to Waterfox, apart from all the money now going to System1 instead of being split. For the last month I’ve been in California getting to know the team and DevOps have been busy setting up CI (an oft requested feature from Waterfox users) to be able to keep up with the new 4 week release cycle. I also wanted to wait until we got our first full-time team member so I could introduce everything at once, but alas here we are. Next month I’ll do the introduction and the exciting (from an Engineering perspective) things in store for Waterfox.

    • Science

      • The reality of the lizard people

        How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me. If only because when contagious and totalizing forms of insanity like Marxism or supernaturalist religions motivate the behavior of mobs they pose a significant threat to my survival.

        The lizard-people theory isn’t in that class of danger, but I think cases like it and (for example) flat-Earthism are worth analysis precisely because they’re so implausible and still manage to attract adherents. Extremes like this can be revealing about mechanisms that are harder to see closer to the ordinary.

        And indeed when I was mulling over lizard-people theory a few years ago I think I really did get a significant insight about the psychology of belief and what lizard-people conspiracy theory actually means.

        Many years ago I read a penetrating analysis of UFOlogy arguing that the reports of people who believed themselves UFO contactees or witnesses were expressing the same sorts of psychological drama that in past centuries would gave been coded as religious experiences – eruptions of nigh-incomprehensible powers into the mundane world.

      • Tech tools to make research more open and inclusive

        Doris Taylor knows the sting of being set apart as different. As a young, lesbian woman starting her career in regenerative-medicine research in the late 1980s, she was often excluded from faculty functions and private meetings on the golf course. “You want to be differentiated when doing great science, but not because of who you are,” she says.


        Group leaders say that these tools can help to flatten power differentials between lab members and keep people connected and communicating on common, and importantly, even ground. The tools are familiar, and even ubiquitous — Slack, Skype and WhatsApp (Taylor’s tool of choice), for example. But when deployed strategically, these apps can promote a more level playing field to benefit colleagues from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds, those with disabilities, or those who might work and think differently.

        That’s not to say technology is a silver bullet — building an inclusive environment requires a sustained commitment from lab leaders and members, on multiple levels and using many techniques. And no amount of technology can erase bullying, discrimination and other bad behaviours from the workplace. But these tools are helping many inclusive-minded group leaders to transform research from an isolated pursuit into a more open, collective exercise.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Google Code and Openwash

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • UN Publishes List of Companies Profiting from Israel’s Illegal Settlements in Palestine

        Prominent international critics have called Israel’s Jews-only settlements, as well as segregated roads and other infrastructure, a form of apartheid.

      • Esper Says Taliban Deal Is Promising but Not Without Risk

        U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is not without risk but “looks very promising.”

      • Erdogan raises Kashmir issue in Pakistan Parliament

        Reacting to his remarks in the UN, India said it “deeply regrets” the statement of Turkey on the Kashmir issue, and termed it an internal matter.

        External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called upon Turkey to have a proper understanding of the situation in Kashmir before making further comments.

        India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

        India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.

    • Environment

      • No relief from increasing pollution

        Unplanned developmental activities are the root cause of the problem, asserts Dr T V Ramachandra of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. He blames the governmental agencies for it, saying they don’t assess the carrying capacity of infrastructure (road, drains, drinking water, etc) when permitting large establishments to come up in the locality. This, he says, has led to congestion and increased pollution levels. “The city’s landscape is saturated with paved surfaces to an extent of 81 per cent. Cities with poor public transport are contributing to the overall pollution levels. For instance, vehicles are responsible for 54 per cent of the pollution in Hyderabad; in Bengaluru, it is 43 per cent. While a majority of pollutants come from two-wheelers, 40 per cent is from single drive cars,” Ramachandra tells Metrolife.

      • Australia’s climate crisis has been building for years but no one listened

        Scientists had warned for more than a decade that an extreme bushfire season was coming — and that the climate crisis was to blame.

        While natural climate drivers created a perfect storm of hot and dry conditions this year, the sheer scale and intensity of the recent fires have led some experts to claim the world has now reached a turning point.

        “I think the size and the intensity of these fires, coupled with the drought, have really just pushed Australia into a place that doesn’t feel like home anymore.” said Linden Ashcroft, lecturer in climate science and science communication at Melbourne University’s School of Earth Science. “It doesn’t feel safe anymore.”

      • Kevin Rudd says Australia complacent on climate change

        Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses attendees during CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview (EPO) in Sydney, saying Australia continues to be complacent on climate change. “Regrettably the Australian climate action story is reversed from the international climate story I’ve referred too….successive conservative governments have sought to carve out ways for Australia to get away with doing very little at all,” he says.

      • Rudd charts path towards reducing emissions

        Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses attendees during CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview (EPO) in Sydney, talking about his “ten simple points” for governments in Australia to observe in meeting the challenge of climate change and reducing emissions. Among the recommendations is committing in legislation to net zero emissions by 2050, establishing a carbon price and making greater use of gas domestically. (AAP Video/Michael Wade)

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Slide for Reddit kicked from Play Store as age rating issue spirals into bogus content policy violation

        Slide for Reddit is a reasonably popular third-party, cross-platform, open-source Reddit client. In my humble opinion, it’s the best one out there (don’t @ me), but fans of the app may have noticed that it disappeared from the Play Store in the last couple of days. It turns out, the developer ran into a small problem with the app’s rating, which, thanks to Google’s stereotypically terrible developer support, quickly exploded into a full-blown suspension of the developer’s account.

        The issue started on Thursday when the app was removed from the Play Store due to an age rating problem: The app’s metadata listed the target audience as “17+” rather than “18+.” That’s a small distinction, but an important (and fair) one according to Play Store policies, although even the first-party Reddit app is simply rated 17+.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Now Exploring AVIF For Image Compression

        Following Netflix’s AV1 adoption with collaborating with Intel on the SVT-AV1 encoder, now using AV1 streaming for Android users, and others around this advanced royalty-free video codec, Netflix is now exploring AVIF as their next-gen image format.


        Netflix acknowledges the significant need for next-gen image coding that has better compression efficiency and more features than JPEG. Netflix believes AVIF has the potential albeit they aren’t yet ready to transition to AVIF today.

        In their testing they are finding good results out of AVIF compared to JPEG and other image formats. For those wanting to go through a long and interesting technical read, on the Netflix Tech Blog they have example screenshots and results comparing their AVIF results to other formats.

      • Netflix begins streaming AV1 content on its Android mobile app

        Netflix today announced that it is beginning to stream videos compressed using the AV1 codec, on its Android mobile app. AV1 is a next-generation, royalty-free video codec that provides compression efficiency that is improved by 20%. This codec, developed to replace VP9, was built by the Alliance for Open Media, of which Netflix, Google, Amazon Prime Video, and more big-name content providers are a part of.

    • Monopolies

      • INTA to relocate the 2020 Annual Meeting from Singapore to a venue in the United States

        As you know, INTA has been continuously monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in relation to the Association’s 2020 Annual Meeting, April 25–29, in Singapore. The health and safety of Annual Meeting registrants is our main priority. We are announcing today that we are working to reschedule INTA’s Annual Meeting in Singapore until 2022 (date in 2022 to be announced). In addition, we will be relocating the 2020 Annual Meeting to a date in May or June and a venue in the United States. We will provide an update as soon as we confirm details.

        This decision follows the evolving developments, continuing uncertainty, and global concerns regarding the coronavirus, as well as guidance from the Singapore Ministry of Health to event organizers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events. It comes after much thoughtful discussion with our internal team and consultation with outside counsel, and in agreement with INTA’s President, Officers, and Counsel. We firmly believe that we are making the most judicious decision, so as not to jeopardize the health and safety of registrants, staff, and the public.


        Thank you for your patience as we worked through this challenging situation. We appreciate that our members and other stakeholders value the Annual Meeting, and we look forward to welcoming you to the 2020 Annual Meeting in the United States and to future gatherings. For further updates, please watch for communications from us or visit our website, www.inta.org.

      • Patents

        • BREXIT’s Projected Impact on Intellectual Property Rights
        • BREXIT’s Projected Impact on Intellectual Property Rights

          The European patent system allows applicants either to file for a regional patent through the European Patent Office (EPO) or to file for national patents at the patent office within each country. This patent system exists independent of the EU, and Brexit will not impact patents granted through the EPO and national patent offices.

        • Unity of invention requirements: Russia versus Eurasia

          According to Russian and Eurasian patent regulations, an application must relate to one invention or a group of inventions. In the latter case, all of the inventions in the group must be linked so as to form a single general inventive concept, which meets the unity of invention requirement. However, there are differences between the Russia Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) and the Eurasian Patent Organisation’s rules for determining whether claims meet this requirement.

          Whether a set of claims fulfils the requirement of unity of invention is based on its contents, with special attention paid to independent claims. If one independent claim comprises alternatives, an assessment also must be carried out.

          With both organisations, in the event of a lack of unity, the applicant is invited to respond within three months of notification. They are then asked to select which group of inventions is to be examined or to amend the claims to comply with the requirement. If the applicant does not respond, the examination is carried out for the claims belonging to the group of inventions that is listed first in the claims. The applicant can file one or more divisional applications for the remaining groups of inventions.

        • Opposition fails for key CRISPR patent in Europe

          ERS Genomics announced on February 10 that the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld an important CRISPR patent, rejecting opposition filed by anonymous parties.

          The EPO has rejected arguments filed in opposition to European patent No. EP2800811, titled “Methods and Compositions for RNA-Directed Target DNA Modification and for RNA-Directed Modulation of Transcription,” jointly held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, the regents of the University of California, and the University of Vienna.

        • Lightbridge Receives Notification of Patent Grant from the European Patent Office for its Innovative Fuel Assembly Design

          Lightbridge Corporation (“Lightbridge,” or the “Company”) (LTBR), an advanced nuclear fuel technology company, today announced that it has received a Decision to Grant from the European Patent Office (EPO) for Patent #3195324 related to a Lightbridge metallic fuel assembly design for use in CANDU-type reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 48 CANDU-type pressurized heavy water reactors currently in use around the world.

          Seth Grae, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge Corporation, commented, “We are excited to see the continued progress for the Company’s intellectual property strategy to protect our innovative technology, while significantly expanding our market opportunities globally. The addition of this new piece of intellectual property underscores the strength of our proprietary technology, which is designed to enhance the operating safety and efficiency of existing reactors as well as new reactors.”

        • Software Patents

          • USPTO Patent Quality Chat Webinar Series

            The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be offering the next webinar in its Patent Quality Chat webinar series from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) on February 19, 2020. The latest webinar, entitled “Application readiness: Assessing incoming applications,” will address how the USPTO is studying the shared responsibility of patent examination quality in the area of incoming applications.

          • Webinar on USPTO Pilot Programs

            McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP will be offering a live webinar entitled “Navigating USPTO Pilot Programs” on March 11, 2020 from 10:00 am to 11:15 am (CT). In this presentation, MBHB attorneys Lawrence Aaronson and Brett Scott will present a survey of various USPTO pilot programs, some less known than others, but all useful in the right circumstances, and discuss the ins and outs of each program and present some practical prosecution tips and insights.

          • TAIYO YUDEN Joins the Open Invention Network Community

            Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, and TAIYO YUDEN CO., LTD (TAIYO YUDEN) announced today that TAIYO YUDEN has joined as a community member. As a global leader in the development of advanced capacitors, inductors, functional modules and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters, TAIYO YUDEN provides the key components and modules that enables the growth of the mobile devices & communications, computing, personal electronics and Internet-of-Things (IoT) industries.

            “Open source has enabled the rapid development of platforms that continue to reshape the human experience. These innovations have transformed industries and created opportunities that were previously unimagined. TAIYO YUDEN provides the key electronic components and systems that integrate the backbone for these platforms, driving advances in the communications, computing and automotive sectors, among many others,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. “Given TAIYO YUDEN’s significant patent holdings, we are pleased that the company has recognized the importance of participating in OIN as part of its intellectual property strategy.”

      • Copyrights

        • [Older] Red Hat fights for software freedom by filing a brief with the US Supreme Court

          The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court decision: Oracle v. Google. Red Hat, one of the leaders of the open source community, has emphasized to the USSC that software interfaces should not become subject to copyright protection and are not copyrightable by design. Read the complete amicus brief filed by Red Hat and IBM.


          As we state clearly in the opening statement of our brief, Red Hat — as a leader in the open source community — emphasised to the USSC the critical importance of maintaining the long-standing view that software interfaces should not be subject to copyright protection.

          Because computer programs achieve compatibility and interoperability with each other through specifically defined interfaces, the concern is that if copyright protection were to exist in such interfaces, the open source community could face significant barriers in the creation and implementation of new software modules to replace existing modules. This consequence may chill the innovation that is generated by open source software community development.

          Our brief also recognises that computer interfaces being uncopyrightable does not jeopardise copyright protection in software programs generally. Red Hat fully supports software programmers developing value and differentiating themselves in the marketplace via implementation code. In fact, the more freely that computer interfaces are available, the more of a market may exist for particular implementations using an existing computer interface.

        • New Wave Of Nintendo Anti-Piracy Complaints Helps Microsoft Too

          Nintendo has launched a new wave of DMCA complaints at Google in an effort to make piracy-enabling devices harder to find. In common with previous efforts, the gaming giant is making strategic use of DMCA anti-circumvention notices, to permanently delete listings from search results. Perhaps inadvertently, Nintendo also appears to be helping Microsoft too.

        • BPI Joins RIAA’s Takedown Battle Against YouTube Downloaders

          UK music group BPI has joined the RIAA in its effort to wipe YouTube download and ripping sites from Google’s search results. Using language inspired by its US counterpart, BPI repeatedly argues that Mpgun.com violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. While the search engine has complied with the requests, the site remains easy to find.


Links 15/2/2020: Blender 2.82, Qt 5.15 Alpha and NetBSD 9.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • South Korea switching their 3.3 million PCs to Linux

        South Korean government has announced that it will switch the computers used in its central, local, and public institutions to Linux-based operating systems starting this year-end.

        The announcement comes just one month after the end of “free” support for Microsoft Windows 7, the most prevalent operating system used by the South Korean government.

        The reasoning behind the switch is two-fold. South Korea was looking to reduce its reliance on Microsoft and Windows and cut down on software licensing costs.

      • Windows 12 Lite ships as Linux in drag

        A version of Linux which rips off Windows has shipped and we really expect Vole to take notice – even if it is keen to say it is all open sauce friendly these days.

        Windows 12 Lite resembles Windows 10, but it is really just Ubuntu in drag. It is being touted by its developers as superior to Windows 10 “in every respect”. Someone is even selling physical install discs of the dodgy Linux distribution, too.

        The software is made by an UK outfit called Webhouses which says Windows 12 Lite is a Linux Lite 4.8 LTS Desktop with the Windows 10 desktop background applied.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Multiboot USB UEFI & Legacy All In One

        Multiboot USB UEFI & Legacy All In One This video shows how to create the ultimate multiboot drive for uefi and legacy in both Windows and Linux!

      • Review – Manjaro ARM (xfce edition) running on the Pinebook Pro!

        The more I use the Pinebook Pro, the more I love it. In this video, I check out Manjaro running on this awesome Linux laptop, and give you my overall thoughts. Is there anything else you’d like me to run on this laptop?

      • Brunch with Brent: Broadus Palmer | Jupiter Extras 55

        Brent sits down with Broadus Palmer, Google Cloud Training Architect at Linux Academy and Cloud Career Coach at Level Up with Broadus. We explore his history as a musician and banker, sneaker bots, the value of mentorship, what gets people hired in tech, leveling up as a lifestyle, and more.

      • Name Your Shoes | User Error 85

        Open source at work, learning languages, naming cars, and innovations that haven’t appropriately delivered.

        Plus permission vs apologies, who has the most shoes, and more.

      • 5 Things I Hate About Linux Gaming

        5 Things I Hate About Linux Gaming We did Linux and now it is time to go over the things I hate about Gaming on Linux.

      • 2020-02-14 | Linux Headlines

        OpenSSH plans for the future of cryptography, NetBSD launches its first fundraising drive in a decade, Blender releases version 2.82, and Corona Labs announces its shutdown.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.4

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.4 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.4.20
      • Linux 4.19.104
      • Linux 4.14.171
      • Linux 4.9.214
      • Linux 4.4.214
      • Linux 5.7 Getting A “Tiny Power Button” Driver

        A new driver already queued in the power management code for the Linux 5.7 cycle not opening up until April is a “tiny power button” driver.

        This ACPI tiny power button driver is not for a physically tiny power button, but rather a simple ACPI power button driver out of Intel intended for virtual machines and more basic than the generic ACPI button driver given the limited scope of VMs.

      • Google slams Samsung for making unnecessary changes to Linux kernel code

        We all know that Samsung makes an extra effort in strengthening the security of its smartphones with initiatives such as Knox. However, sometimes those extra efforts hurt more than they help. Now, Google has slammed the South Korean smartphone brand for making unnecessary changes to the Linux kernel code and exposing it to more security bugs.

        According to Google Project Zero researcher Jann Horn, Samsung is creating more vulnerabilities by adding downstream custom drivers for direct hardware access to Android’s Linux kernel. These changes are implemented without being reviewed by upstream kernel developers. Horn found a similar mistake in the Android kernel of the Galaxy A50, and the unreviewed custom driver added security bugs related to memory corruption.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Imagination Working On A New Open-Source Linux Graphics Driver Project

          While many in the Linux community still cringe when hearing Imagination Tech’s PowerVR given the troubling state of their graphics drivers over the years, in 2020 it looks like they are pursuing a new open-source graphics driver project.

          Imagination is now hiring for skilled driver developers to be “a founder of our new Linux open source graphics driver project.” Imagination is currently hiring for Linux open-source graphics drivers.

        • mesa 19.3.4
          Hi List,
          Mesa 19.3.4 is now available.
          There's lots of stuff here, but also a ton of release process data changes.
          We've got changes all over the tree, but aco and anv are leading the way in
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (1):
                radv: Do not set SX DISABLE bits for RB+ with unused surfaces.
          Boris Brezillon (1):
                panfrost: Fix the damage box clamping logic
          Brian Ho (2):
                anv: Properly fetch partial results in vkGetQueryPoolResults
                anv: Handle unavailable queries in vkCmdCopyQueryPoolResults
          Danylo Piliaiev (2):
                i965: Do not set front_buffer_dirty if there is no front buffer
                st/mesa: Handle the rest renderbuffer formats from OSMesa
          Drew Davenport (1):
                radeonsi: Clear uninitialized variable
          Dylan Baker (17):
                docs: Add SHA 256 sums for 19.3.3
                .pick_status.json: Mark 58c929be0ddbbd9291d0dadbf11538170178e791 as backported
                .pick_status.json: Mark df34fa14bb872447fed9076e06ffc504d85e2d1c as backported
                .pick_status.json: Update to 997040e4b8353fe9b71a5e9fde2f933eae09c7a3
                .pick_status.json: Update to ca6a22305b275b49fbc88b8f4cba2fefb24c2a5d
                .pick_status.json: Mark 552028c013cc1d49a2b61ebe0fc3a3781a9ba826 as denominated
                .pick_status.json: Update to f09c466732e4a5b648d7503787777c926dd93c29
                bin/pick-ui: Add a new maintainer script for picking patches
                .pick_status.json: Update to b550b7ef3b8d12f533b67b1a03159a127a3ff34a
                .pick_status.json: Update to 9afdcd64f2c96f3fcc1a28912987f2e8066aa995
                .pick_status.json: Update to 7eaf21cb6f67adbe0e79b80b4feb8c816a98a720
                .pick_status.json: Mark ca6a22305b275b49fbc88b8f4cba2fefb24c2a5d as backported
                .pick_status.json: Update to d8bae10bfe0f487dcaec721743cd51441bcc12f5
                .pick_status.json: Update to 689817c9dfde9a0852f2b2489cb0fa93ffbcb215
                .pick_status.json: Update to 23037627359e739c42b194dec54875aefbb9d00b
                docs: Add release notes for 19.3.4
                VERSION: bump version for 19.3.4
          Eric Anholt (1):
                Revert "gallium: Fix big-endian addressing of non-bitmask array formats."
          Florian Will (1):
                radv/winsys: set IB flags prior to submit in the sysmem path
          Georg Lehmann (3):
                Correctly wait in the fragment stage until all semaphores are signaled
                Vulkan Overlay: Don't try to change the image layout to present twice
                Vulkan overlay: use the corresponding image index for each swapchain
          Hyunjun Ko (1):
                freedreno/ir3: put the conversion back for half const to the right place.
          Ian Romanick (1):
                intel/fs: Don't count integer instructions as being possibly coissue
          Jan Vesely (1):
                clover: Use explicit conversion from llvm::StringRef to std::string
          Jason Ekstrand (6):
                anv: Insert holes for non-existant XFB varyings
                anv: Improve BTI change cache flushing
                anv,iris: Set 3DSTATE_SF::DerefBlockSize to per-poly on Gen12+
                genxml: Add a new 3DSTATE_SF field on gen12
                intel/fs: Write the address register with NoMask for MOV_INDIRECT
                anv/blorp: Use the correct size for vkCmdCopyBufferToImage
          Kenneth Graunke (1):
                i965: Use brw_batch_references in tex_busy check
          Lionel Landwerlin (1):
                isl: drop CCS row pitch requirement for linear surfaces
          Marek Olšák (1):
                radeonsi: fix the DCC MSAA bug workaround
          Marek Vasut (1):
                etnaviv: Destroy rsc->pending_ctx set in etna_resource_destroy()
          Michel Dänzer (6):
                winsys/amdgpu: Keep a list of amdgpu_screen_winsyses in amdgpu_winsys
                winsys/amdgpu: Keep track of retrieved KMS handles using hash tables
                winsys/amdgpu: Only re-export KMS handles for different DRM FDs
                util: Add os_same_file_description helper
                winsys/amdgpu: Re-use amdgpu_screen_winsys when possible
                winsys/amdgpu: Close KMS handles for other DRM file descriptions
          Neha Bhende (1):
                svga: fix size of format_conversion_table[]
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (2):
                radeonsi: disable display DCC
                radeonsi: stop using the VM_ALWAYS_VALID flag
          Rafael Antognolli (1):
                intel: Load the driver even if I915_PARAM_REVISION is not found.
          Rhys Perry (6):
                aco: fix operand to scc when selecting SGPR ufind_msb/ifind_msb
                aco: ensure predecessors' p_logical_end is in WQM when a p_phi is in WQM
                aco: run p_wqm instructions in WQM
                aco: don't consider loop header blocks branch blocks in add_coupling_code
                aco: don't always add logical edges from continue_break blocks to headers
                aco: fix target calculation when vgpr spilling introduces sgpr spilling
          Samuel Pitoiset (2):
                radv: do not allow sparse resources with multi-planar formats
                nir: do not use De Morgan's Law rules for flt and fge
          Tapani Pälli (2):
                mapi: add GetInteger64vEXT with EXT_disjoint_timer_query
                mesa: allow bit queries for EXT_disjoint_timer_query
          Thomas Hellstrom (1):
                svga: Fix banded DMA upload
          Vasily Khoruzhick (1):
                lima: ppir: don't delete root ld_tex nodes without successors in current block
          Vinson Lee (1):
                swr: Fix GCC 4.9 checks.
          git tag: mesa-19.3.4
        • mesa 20.0.0-rc3
          Hi list,
          Mesa 20.0.0-rc3 is now available. This is a much smaller release than last time,
          things seem to be slowing down nicely, and the number of opened issues/MRs
          against the 20.0 release milestone is 2; I'm hopeful that means we can have the
          20.0 release next week, and begin the normal release process without a dozen
          There's a bit of everything in here, gallium, freedreno, vulkan overlays, anv,
          radeonsi, svga, intel common, aco, nir, swr, and panfrost, but no on thing
          dominates the changes, which I like a lot.
          Dylan Baker (4):
                .pick_status.json: Update to d8bae10bfe0f487dcaec721743cd51441bcc12f5
                .pick_status.json: Update to 689817c9dfde9a0852f2b2489cb0fa93ffbcb215
                .pick_status.json: Update to 23037627359e739c42b194dec54875aefbb9d00b
                VERSION: bump for 20.0.0-rc3
          Eric Anholt (1):
                Revert "gallium: Fix big-endian addressing of non-bitmask array formats."
          Georg Lehmann (3):
                Correctly wait in the fragment stage until all semaphores are signaled
                Vulkan Overlay: Don't try to change the image layout to present twice
                Vulkan overlay: use the corresponding image index for each swapchain
          Hyunjun Ko (1):
                freedreno/ir3: put the conversion back for half const to the right place.
          James Xiong (1):
                gallium: let the pipe drivers decide the supported modifiers
          Lionel Landwerlin (1):
                anv: set MOCS on push constants
          Marek Olšák (2):
                radeonsi: don't report that multi-plane formats are supported
                radeonsi: fix the DCC MSAA bug workaround
          Neha Bhende (2):
                svga: fix size of format_conversion_table[]
                svga: Use pipe_shader_state_from_tgsi to set shader state
          Rafael Antognolli (1):
                intel: Load the driver even if I915_PARAM_REVISION is not found.
          Rhys Perry (1):
                aco: fix gfx10_wave64_bpermute
          Samuel Pitoiset (4):
                aco: do not use ds_{read,write}2 on GFX6
                aco: fix waiting for scalar stores before "writing back" data on GFX8-GFX9
                aco: fix creating v_madak if v_mad_f32 has two sgpr literals
                nir: do not use De Morgan's Law rules for flt and fge
          Tapani Pälli (1):
                intel/vec4: fix valgrind errors with vf_values array
          Thomas Hellstrom (1):
                svga: Fix banded DMA upload
          Timur Kristóf (1):
                aco/optimizer: Don't combine uniform bool s_and to s_andn2.
          Vinson Lee (2):
                swr: Fix GCC 4.9 checks.
                panfrost: Remove unused anonymous enum variables.
          git tag: mesa-20.0.0-rc3
        • Mesa 20.0-RC3 Released Along With Mesa 19.3.4 As The Latest Of The Stable Series

          On the stable front, Mesa 19.3.4 is out as the newest point release in this driver series from Q4’2019. Mesa 19.3.4 has various RADV and ANV Vulkan driver fixes, a few Vulkan overlay fixes even, several AMDGPU winsys fixes, RadeonSI is now disabling display DCC over issues, and there are also a number of Valve ACO back-end fixes too. Overall, Mesa 19.3.4 is a pretty hefty stable update particularly for Intel ANV and Radeon RADV Vulkan driver users.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance From 16 To 128 Threads With AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

        As has been known for a while now, AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors really show their true potential on Linux with often significant increases to the performance thanks to the kernel’s better scalability compared to Microsoft Windows. While Microsoft has made some improvements in this area over the past year, with the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor it really shines on Linux. In this article are benchmarks of Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise against Linux on the Threadripper 3990X when going from 16 cores to 128 threads for seeing how the three operating systems are scaling.

    • Applications

      • The Background Story of AppImage [Interview]

        As a Linux user, you might have come across AppImages. This is a portable packaging format that allows you to run an application on any Linux distribution.

        Using AppImage is really simple. You just need to give it execute permission and double click to run it, like the .exe files in Windows. This solves a major problem in Linux as different kind of distributions have different kind of packaging formats. You cannot install .deb files (of Debian/Ubuntu) on Fedora and vice versa.

        We talked to Simon, the developer of AppImage, about how and why he created this project. Read some of the interesting background story and insights Simon shares about AppImage.

      • Blender 2.80

        The second update of the Blender 2.80 milestone release is here!

        With again over a thousand fixes and several important updates that were planned for the 2.8 series. In this release you will find UDIM and USD support, MantaFlow fluids and smoke simulation, AI denoising, Grease Pencil improvements, and much more!

      • Blender 2.82 Released with AI Denoiser for Nvidia RTX GPUs, More
      • Blender 2.82 Released With Many Improvements, 1000+ Fixes
      • Blender 2.82 Released with UDIM, USD Support

        Blender 2.82 was released as the second update for the 2.80 series. The snap package has been updated for Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        Blender 2.82 comes with over a thousand fixes and several important updates. Changes in the new release include

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Tactical turn-based RPG ‘Urtuk: The Desolation’ now on Steam for Linux

        With a low-fantasy setting, Urtuk: The Desolation has now jumped from itch.io to Steam to give Early Access turn-based tactics to a wider audience.

        You take on the role of Urtuk, an escapee from a facility that conducts experiments on people and during your stay you suffered some kind of “severe” mutation from being exposed to Life Essence extracted from long extinct ancient Giants. Every day your health gets worse and you wander the world for a cure. Definitely a setting that grabs your attention.

      • Get ready to eat your enemies in Bite the Bullet – releasing on March 27

        We have it confirmed now that the crazy action-platformer RPG ‘Bite the Bullet’ where you quite literally eat your enemies is releasing in March.

        A mix of rogue-lite randomness with the action you would expect from a shooter, plus some RPG elements thrown in for good measure. Bite the Bullet is certainly attention grabbing, especially since the headline feature is gameplay driven by what your character eats. It’s weird I know—and Mega Cat Studios have now confirmed March 27 is the date and Linux support is online and ready.

      • Simple pleasures – bouncing and barking my way to victory in Barkour

        Sometimes it really is the simplest things that you need to make you laugh. Taking away from all the seriousness of the gaming industry we have Barkour.

        It’s a small 2D indie platformer where you play as some sort of robotic dog with a powered jump ability. You need to find your way across an obstacle course, one that’s designed to be difficult and it will take you some time to do. Get a gamepad ready for this one, you’re going to need it.

      • Free From Epic Games Exclusivity, ‘Metro Exodus’ Is Coming To Linux

        First the good news. As of Valentine’s Day 2020, Metro Exodus has been liberated from its Epic Games exclusivity agreement and is now available to purchase on Steam. And now the great news, especially for my regular readers: it looks like Deep Silver and developer 4A Games are working on bringing the post-apocalyptic shooter to Linux.

      • Metro Exodus is now live on Steam and Deep Silver say it’s coming to Linux

        We have of course reached out to Deep Silver ourselves to confirm this as well, however it would be weird for them to seek this topic out themselves to confirm it if this wasn’t true. So it looks like we’re getting Linux support for Metro Exodus!

        Since it was ported to Stadia, it’s not too much of a stretch to jump to desktop Linux on Steam. A few different libraries here and there but it’s still Linux. The developer, 4A Games, did also bring the previous two Metro titles to Linux so it certainly would be nice to see them all available.

        For now, you can check out Metro Exodus on Steam. However, as usual it’s worth holding onto your monies until it’s actually out. Once we have more information, we will share it.

      • Stuck in this weekend? Here’s a little round-up of some Linux game sales

        It’s apparently something called Valentines Day today. Here, it’s just another wonderful wet and stormy Friday so let’s cheer ourselves up with a new game or two.

        First up on GOG they’re doing a ‘We Love Games’ (who doesn’t?!) sale with some really good stuff going discounted like 40% off Stardew Valley and 30% off Streets of Rogue.

        GOG also recently gained the Linux version of We Happy Few, even though it’s a Beta and a little rough since Compulsion Games decided not to continue it. Still, nice to see GOG get it for those who prefer their fully DRM-free builds. I did speak to a GOG rep who confirmed it’s all up and correct. It’s not a sale but just a little tip.

      • Crowbar Collective want you to break Black Mesa and test the 1.0 build

        The final release of Black Mesa, the re-imagining of Half-Life is coming close and Crowbar Collective want as many people as possible to test out the latest Beta build.

        Most important for them are game breaking bugs as they want it to be “as smooth and enjoyable as possible”. However, they said it’s been “very stable” in their own testing but we all know how this type of thing goes when more people get access. They also want to know about spikes in the difficulty with the upgraded AI, if any part of the game is unclear and to make sure the achievements works as there’s now 50 of them.

      • Space Impossible has a huge new release out for you to get building a starship

        Explore space in a fully customizable and destructible spaceship in Space Impossible, which just had a massive update as they bring it into Beta.


        Coming in hot with a brand new tutorial too, well sort-of anyway. The first star system you get is now a bit more hand-crafted and get a brief walk-through to get you going. It’s simple and effective, giving you a short intro to at least tell you the basics. Masses of other changes including a new ore system. You now mine specific ores to then refine them into other materials for building and trading.

      • Vulkan overlay layer ‘MangoHud’ continues advancing quickly with a big new release

        MangoHud enables you to quickly and easily monitor FPS, temperatures, RAM, VRAM and do a little benchmarking too with Vulkan games (native and Wine/Proton). A fresh release was just today put up.

        This big new release brings in some exciting features to make it a true all-in-one tool. You can now limit the FPS, force VSync, display RAM & VRAM, show the current time, add a crosshair and it adds support for Zorin OS and Pop!_OS with the build script.

      • 8-player mayhem is coming with ‘Aeolis Tournament’ successfully funded and on the way to Linux

        Chaotic 8-player action is coming to Linux later this year, as Beyond Fun Studio have managed to get successfully funded on Kickstarter for their amusing looking game Aeolis Tournament.

        With physics-based gameplay, a tournament mode and local and online cross-platform multiplayer play it sure does look like it’s going to be a huge amount of fun.

      • Relow is a ridiculously fast FPS with procedurally generated arenas coming soon

        I absolutely love first-person shooters, it’s often a sort-of safety net comfort zone when I just want to jump into something quick for a while and it looks like Relow might be a good choice for that.

        Arriving in Early Access on February 26, the developer has announced it will fully support Linux and there’s a number of reasons why I think Relow could be interesting. For starters, maps are generated so you’ve always got something a little fresh. I’ve played numerous smaller shooters before that end up too stale with too few maps so my curiosity has been piqued here. Not just that it will also have crazy dual-wielding weapons, character customization and a promise of no micro transactions.

      • Urban turn-based tactics arrives on Linux with Black Powder Red Earth

        Black Powder Red Earth, a new minute-to-minute turn-based tactics game set in a proxy war between the dictatorship of a failing petrostate and a brutal jihadist insurgency from Echelon Software has released for Linux with the latest update.

        Currently in Early Access, it’s only been available since December last year and they plan to remain in Early Access for at least 12-16 months yet to finish it.

      • BATTLETECH considered complete with one last patch coming, Harebrained moving on

        That’s it, it’s done, finished. Harebrained Schemes have announced that their turn-based mech strategy game BATTLETECH is done, with a last patch coming this month.

        After many patches and three big expansions across, the BATTLETECH saga is coming to a close nearly two years after the full release. Speaking in a fresh update on their Kickstarter, they said “Now, with our season pass at an end, HBS is going to focus on two brand new non-BattleTech projects. Our last free update, BATTLETECH Update 1.9, will release in late February. After that, BATTLETECH will continue to maintain customer support.”.

      • BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION looks incredible and planned for Linux once they ensure it’s solid

        2D isometric adventure, BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION, has been announced for release this month and the good news is THE BROTHERHOOD will be bringing it to Linux.

        They previously made the point-and-click sci-fi horror adventure ‘STASIS’ and another isometric horror game with ‘CAYNE’, both games have Linux builds too (although STASIS is classed as a Beta). As for BEAUTIFUL DESOLATION, it’s releasing for Windows on February 26 and they confirmed to us on Twitter that they “will be supporting other platforms with a solid and stable build” and although there’s no set date to “rest assured – it’s on our roadmap”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • NEXTSPACE: a NeXTSTEP-like desktop environment for Linux

        KDE, GNOME, Xfce, and later MATE and Cinnamon have sucked up so much of the Linux desktop space that there’s very little room left for anything else. You’re either mainly a Qt desktop, or mainly a GTK+ desktop, and anything that isn’t based on either of those toolkits will either waste time recreating lots of wheels, or accept that half – or more – of your applications are Qt or GTK+-based, at which point the temptation to run one of the aforementioned desktop environments becomes quite strong.

        This project, while very welcome and having my full support and attention, will have a very hard time, but that’s not going to deter me from being hopeful against all odds. Reading through the documentation and descriptions, it does seem the developers have the right attitude. They’re not claiming to take on the other players – they just want to make something that appeals to and works for them.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt 5.15 Alpha Released

          I am happy to inform you we have released Qt 5.15 Alpha today.

          Qt 5.15 new features page is listing new features etc coming with Qt 5.15 release. But please remember it is still under construction and some items are still missing. The Feature list should be complete by beta release coming within a few weeks.

          Please start testing Qt 5.15 Alpha immediately & report your findings to jira. Your feedback is essential in our journey towards Qt 5.15.0 release.

        • Qt 5.15 Alpha Released With Various Improvements To Qt 3D, QML, Core, New Qt PDF Module
        • Akademy 2019 – Late Report

          There has been some time since my last blog post. It has happened because of a good cause, since I was focusing on my undergraduate thesis. Now I have finished it and finally have completed my graduation, yay! Soon I will include my thesis on my blog and share it with the world… I have just decided to fix some details in the project before that. Anyway, this post is to comment about my participation in Akademy 2019. I will give a brief report, share my experiences and tell you about how this experience was for me.

        • Last week of SoK 2020

          To this one I have made an checkable action in the menu “edit”, you can select it if you want to auto save a json or xml file automatically in the current working directory. This functionality can be pretty handy when annotating a big amount of items.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Shares Designs for a Native Camera App

          The GNOME connection is even evident on the desktop thanks to the increased use of libhandy, an open source library that helps developers craft responsive GTK apps e.g., Lollypop,). These look like proper desktop apps on a regular screen but squish down nicely when used on a mobile one.

          What do both a phone and desktop have in common? A camera!

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Simplicity Does More Than Simplify Linux

          Simplicity Linux, even with its more modern retooling, maintains the distro’s earlier goals of providing a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop. The addition of the Gaming Edition makes it easy to get started with computer gaming.

          This new offering no doubt could be merged with the Desktop Edition for a more compact selection. That might allow the developer to release a new X Edition offering in the next release cycle.

          I am not sure if the Mini Edition needs a full-function heavyweight desktop the likes of Cinnamon. I would like to see a return to the Xfce desktop there.

          Either way, I look forward to the next release of Simplicity Linux. This distro holds considerable promise.

      • New Releases

        • Void Linux 20.02 Image Available

          Project Trident is pleased to announce the first official release image based on Void Linux, available on the Project Trident download page.

          Please note the Project Trident installer supports four different installation “levels”…


          Note: These installation levels provide pre-defined lists of packages to install for user convenience. The installed system can be easily be changed afterwards using the built-in package system.

      • BSD

        • OpenSSH 8.2 Released With FIDO/U2F Support

          OpenSSH 8.2 is out this Valentine’s Day as the leading SSH suite. Besides working to disable the SSH-RSA public key signature algorithm due to SHA1 collision attacks, OpenSSH 8.2 also comes with new features.

          The shiny new feature of OpenSSH 8.2 is support for FIDO/U2F hardware authenticators. FIDO/U2F two-factor authentication hardware can now work with OpenSSH 8.2+, including ssh-keygen can be used to generate a FIDO token backed key. Communication to the hardware token with OpenSSH is managed by a middleware library specified via the SSH/SSHD configuration, including the option for its own built-in middleware for supporting USB tokens.

        • OpenSSH adds support for FIDO/U2F security keys

          OpenSSH 8.2 adds support for authentication via FIDO/U2F protocols, most commonly used with hardware security keys.

        • New Qt5 and OpenSSH in [Slackware] Current

          Another big thing happening in -current is the new OpenSSH 8.2 release which will bring some incompatible changes, especially if you are still using ssh-rsa as the algorithm. To test whether your machine is affected, try to run this command in your shell

          ssh -oHostKeyAlgorithms=-ssh-rsa user@host

          If you managed to connect using the above command, it means that your OpenSSH software is fine, but if you don’t, then it needs to be upgraded.

        • OpenSSH 8.2 released

          OpenSSH 8.2 is out. This release removes support for the ssh-rsa key algorithm, which may disrupt connectivity to older servers; see the announcement for a way to check whether a given server can handle newer, more secure algorithms. Also new in this release is support for FIDO/U2F hardware tokens.

        • NetBSD 9.0 available!

          Sixth months after the start of the release engineering process, NetBSD 9.0 is now available.

          Since the start of the release process a lot of improvements went into the branch – over 700 pullups were processed!

          This includes usbnet (a common framework for usb ethernet drivers), aarch64 stability enhancements and lots of new hardware support, installer/sysinst fixes and changes to the NVMM (hardware virtualization) interface.

          We hope this will lead to the best NetBSD release ever (only to be topped by NetBSD 10 – hopefully later this year).

        • NetBSD 9.0 Debuts As The “Best NetBSD Release Ever”

          The NetBSD 9.0 release is a big one with finally supporting Arm AArch64 (64-bit ARMv8) and as part of that Arm ServerReady SBBR+SBSA system support. NetBSD 9.0 also improves its existing ARMv7 32-bit support, ships with updated Intel DRM GPU drivers, improves its virtualization support and introduces NVMM virtualization, adds Kernel ASLR support, supports various compiler sanitizers, updates the ZFS file-system support, finally supports NCQ with SATA, and various other hardware improvements along with performance and security benefits.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/07

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          At SUSE we had so-called hackweek. Meaning everybody could do something out of their regular tasks and work for a week on something else they wish to invest time on. I used the time to finally get the ‘osc collab’ server back in shape (Migrated from SLE11SP4 to Leap 15.1) – And in turn handed ‘The Tumbleweed Release Manager hat’ over to Oliver Kurz, who expressed an interest in learning about the release Process for Tumbleweed. I think it was an interesting experiment for both of us: for him, to get something different done and for me to get some interesting questions as to why things are the way they are. Obviously, a fresh look from the outside gives some interesting questions and a few things translated in code changes on the tools in use (nothing major, but I’m sure discussions will go on)

          As I stepped mostly back this week and handed RM tasks over to Oliver, that also means he will be posting the ‘Review of the week’ to the opensuse­factory mailing list. For my fellow blog users, I will include it here directly for your reference.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CoreOS Container Linux Will No Longer Be Supported After May 26, 2020

          Based on Gentoo Linux, CoreOS Linux saw the light of day more than six years ago, on October 3rd, 2013. It was well received by the community for being a lightweight operating system designed for distributing payload applications inside software containers and it gained a lot of popularity in a short time span.

          Three years later, in late 2016, CoreOS Linux changed its name to Container Linux by CoreOS or CoreOS Container Linux, in an attempt to distinguish the company’s name, CoreOS, from the container-focused Linux distribution, Container Linux, making things more clear to newcomers.

        • The OpenPOWER ISA EULA Draft Published – Generous For Libre Hardware

          Last summer it was announced that IBM’s POWER ISA would be open-source and the OpenPOWER Foundation joining the Linux Foundation. Finally we’re getting a look at how the end-user license agreement (EULA) is looking for those wishing to make use of the POWER CPU instruction set architecture.

          The final draft of the Power ISA EULA was published this week that allows anyone to build their own POWER ISA compliant hardware royalty-free and with a pass-through patent license from IBM regarding the ISA.

          The EULA is quite generous and should allow anyone (well, anyone capable of spinning their own SoCs / FPGAs) to create a POWER ISA compliant chip and quite accommodating for “libre” hardware projects. The final draft of this EULA can be found at OpenPOWERFoundation.org.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-07

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • AAA: FAS replacement project update

          The Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team and community contributors began building our new Fedora Account System (FAS) application system on the 8th of January 2020 and completed the first two-week sprint on the 21st of January 2020.

        • rpminspect-0.11 released

          The first release of rpminspect in 2020! I release rpminspect-0.11 today. Aside from the usual load of bug fixes and performance improvements, this release comes with a range of new features. New inspections, expanded configuration file options, and runtime profiles.

        • Do not upgrade to Fedora 32, and do not adjust your sets

          If you were unlucky today, you might have received a notification from GNOME in Fedora 30 or 31 that Fedora 32 is now available for upgrade.

          This might have struck you as a bit odd, it being rather early for Fedora 32 to be out and there not being any news about it or anything. And if so, you’d be right! This was an error, and we’re very sorry for it.

          What happened is that a particular bit of data which GNOME Software (among other things) uses as its source of truth about Fedora releases was updated for the branching of Fedora 32…but by mistake, 32 was added with status ‘Active’ (meaning ‘stable release’) rather than ‘Under Development’. This fooled poor GNOME Software into thinking a new stable release was available, and telling you about it.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.02.1

          Sparky 2020.02.1 “Po Tolo” of the (semi-)rolling line is out. It is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye”.

          This is a minor update, which temporary fixes a problem of installing Sparky via Calamares with kpmcore 4.

          Changes between Sparky 2020.02 and 2020.02.1:
          • system upgraded from Debian testing repos as of February 13, 2020
          • kpmcore downgraded to version 3.3.0
          • Calamares installer rebuild using libkpmcore7 3.3.0

          No system reinstallation is required, simply keep Sparky up to date.

        • MystiQ

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: MystiQ

          What is MystiQ?

          MystiQ is a GUI for FFmpeg, a powerful media converter. FFmpeg can read audio and video files in various formats and convert them into other formats. MystiQ features an intuitive graphical interface and a rich set of presets to help you convert media files within a few clicks. Advanced users can also adjust conversion parameters in detail.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • The elementary OS team takes the first steps for AppCenter for Everyone

          The Linux distribution elementary OS, which is based on Ubuntu, always keeps the minds busy. There are very strong opinions about this somewhat different Linux distribution, but it is undeniable that it is very popular among Linux beginners, switchers who come from the macOS platform, style and design enthusiasts, and minimalist-minded computer users who are more focused on productivity than on the underlying technology. This openness of most other Linux distros is a bit in contrast to elementary OS, as the team behind this OS kind of positively dictates strong but strict human interaction style guides, deep integration, thoughtful uniformity, deliberate simplicity, minimalism and also strong believes in the underlying pay what you like model with a platform for curated applications. You can find myself in the group of elementary OS enthusiasts, since at the end, an operating system is just a tool for me and being able to use applications in a productive and distraction free manner is more important. I care less about total freedom to be able to control and change everything in an operating system, and instead appreciate the effort of the elementary OS team to offer a very refined and distraction free operating system that ensures that you focus primarily on productive tasks.

        • Canonical pushes fourth point release for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

          Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS. The new update is a point release which rolls all of the latest updates into a single disc image saving you time when you do a clean install as you have fewer updates to install. Also, this update includes hardware enablement stacks which adds support for newer hardware.

          The new point release is available for Ubuntu on Desktop, Server, and the Cloud as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support including Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, and Xubuntu. Detailed release notes for each of these flavours can be found on the Ubuntu Wiki.

          Each Ubuntu LTS release ships with five years of maintenance updates, this means that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will reach end-of-life around April or May 2021. If you’re still using this older release, Canonical will offer you an automatic upgrade to 18.04.4 via the Update Manager, you can find detailed instructions for upgrading here.

        • Accelerating IoT device time to market

          Launching IoT devices and managing them at scale can be a time intensive and complex process. With 85% of IoT initiatives not launched after a year of development, it is inevitable that change is needed.

          To overcome these challenges, Canonical has introduced Smart Start, a package that reduces business and technical decision making into a 2-week, fixed-cost decision. Smart Start provides a guided journey through the infrastructure needed to develop, customise, and distribute software to fleets of devices. With consulting services to de-risk the journey at critical points, an enterprise’s IoT strategy is fast tracked to market.

          This webinar details the learnings from over 30 project summaries and case studies of Canonical customers. Nilay Patel, Product Manager for IoT and Devices, will speak about the lessons to take away, and why businesses such as Rigado, Cyberdyne and Fingbox chose Canonical to launch their IoT devices.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How to set up your own fast, private open source mesh network

        The reason to use open source is simple: privacy. With FreeMesh, your data is your own. It doesn’t track or collect data. Don’t trust it? You can easily check—it’s open source, after all! With some other popular mesh solutions, say those provided by very large tech conglomerates, would you trust them with your data?

        Another important factor: updates. FreeMesh says it is committed to pushing out security and performance updates regularly. What about 10 years from now? With an open source solution, you are free to update the product for as long as you want.

        So why mesh? In a mesh network, multiple wireless routers work together to broadcast a single, very large wireless network. Each router in a mesh network intelligently communicates with the other(s) to provide the best “path” for your data. The following images from FreeMesh’s website highlight the difference between using a single wireless router and a mesh network. The red network represents a single wireless router, and the green is a mesh network.

      • 3 steps for product marketing your open source project

        I frequently get questions from open source project creators or new founders of commercial open source software (COSS) companies about the best way to market their product. Implicit in that inquiry lies more foundational questions: “What the hell is product marketing? How much time should I spend on it?”

        This article aims to share some knowledge and specific action items to help open source creators understand product marketing as a concept and how to bootstrap it on their own until a project reaches the next level of traction.

      • Looking for an open-source VPN? We’ve got the answer

        After undergoing a successful independent security audit earlier this year, IVPN has announced that it will open source all of its VPN clients.

        The VPN provider’s Android, macOS, iOS and Windows apps are now open source under the GPLv3 license.

        However, this is just the first step in IVPN’s multi-year plan to open source many other parts of its service. The company’s next step is to release key parts of its infrastructure to the public with end goal of enabling anyone to set up and verify its VPN server configuration.

      • Is Google cooling on open-source foundations?

        Google has been one of big tech’s biggest supporters of open-source software. But customers, partners and members of the open-source community say the company is shifting its priorities.

        Consider the case of the open-source project Istio, whose future was thrown into question late last year.

        Istio is a “service mesh,” a tool that helps technology organizations manage application strategies built around microservices. Microservices allow developers to work on various parts of an application without having to worry about screwing up the whole thing — and help ensure that if one service goes down, the impact is relatively minor. For example, adopting microservices helped Twitter end the days of the fail whale.

        Google, IBM and Lyft introduced Istio in May 2017, and discussion about donating the project to a nonprofit foundation — which is common practice for open-source projects — took place almost immediately, according to several people familiar with the talks. Google controls six seats on the 10-seat steering committee that governs Istio, and the parties agreed to table further decision-making until the project found its footing, with consensus that Istio would eventually wind up in a foundation when the timing was right.

        By 2019, that momentum had arrived, as usage of Istio grew inside big companies and major organizations, like the U.S. Air Force. Throughout the year, Google continued to make vague promises to its partners about donating Istio to a foundation, which would mean ceding control of the project’s trademarks and overall direction. The most natural time to make that announcement seemed to be November’s Kubecon, a software convention dedicated to Kubernetes, the open-source project Google gave to a foundation in 2015.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • I’m a (senior) staff engineer panel

            Last week, my colleague Chenxia Liu and I arranged a panel at our Berlin all-hands meeting called AMA: I’m a (senior) staff engineer. Our goal for this panel was to provide a Q&A session where staff and senior staff engineers could share their stories what that a typical day in that role looks like, how their career progressed to that level and their advice for others interested in the role.


            Everyone company’s career ladder for individual contributors is different. At Mozilla, the change for senior engineer to staff engineer is the progression where the role changes to be substantially more self-directed. You aren’t just landing code to address issues identified by your manager or peers. Your role is to determine what problems the team should focus on. What value will solving these problems bring to the business? How can you elevate the work of your team from a technical perspective? How can you level the skills of early career engineers on your team? As a result, the promotion to staff engineer requires promotion paperwork to be approved by higher level of management than the individual’s direct manager.

            Ahead of the panel, we reached out to five staff or senior staff engineers and asked them to participate. We reached out to people from several geographies and domains of expertise within the company and also different demographics. The day before panel, Chenxia arranged a lunch with the panellists so we could share the logistics of the panel, proposed initial questions and allow the panellists to get to know each other a bit before the session. We also shared a doc in a company wide channel where attendees could add questions before the session.

          • ESLint now turned on for all of the Firefox/Gecko codebase

            About 4 years and 2 months ago, Dave Townsend and I landed a couple of patches on the Mozilla codebase that kick-started rolling out ESLint across our source code. Today, I’ve just landed the last bug in making it so that ESLint runs across our whole tree (where possible).

            ESLint is a static analyser for JavaScript that helps find issues before you even run the code. It also helps to promote best practices and styling, reducing the need for comments in reviews.

            Several Mozilla projects had started using ESLint in early 2015 – Firefox’s Developer Tools, Firefox for Android and Firefox Hello. It was clear to the Firefox desktop team that ESLint was useful and so we put together an initial set of rules covering the main desktop files.

            Soon after, we were enabling ESLint over more of desktop’s files, and adding to the rules that we had enabled. Once we had the main directories covered, we slowly started enabling more directories and started running ESLint checks in CI allowing us to detect and back out any failures that were introduced. Finally, we made it to where we are today – covering the whole of the Firefox source tree, mozilla-central.

            Along the way we’ve filed over 600 bugs for handling ESLint roll-out and related issues, many of these were promoted as mentored bugs and fixed by new and existing contributors – a big thank you to you all for your help.

          • Extending Glean: build re-usable types for new use-cases

            The philosophy of Glean has always been to offer higher-level metric types that map semantically to what developers want to measure: a Timespan metric type, for instance, will require developers to declare the resolution they want the time measured in. It is more than just a number. The build-time generated APIs will then offer a set of operations, start() and stop(), to allow developers to take the measurements without caring about the implementation details or about the consistency of times across platforms. By design, a Timespan will record time consistently and predictably on iOS, Android and even desktop. This also empowers the rest of the Glean ecosystem, especially pipeline and tooling, to know about the quality guarantees of the types, their format and, potentially, ways to aggregate and visualize them.

          • Resolve data breaches with Firefox Monitor

            Corporate data breaches are an all too common reality of modern life. At best, you get an email from a company alerting you that they have been hacked, and then you’re left to figure out how to protect yourself from there. It’s lonely, daunting and leaves you seeking closure.

            With Firefox’s newest update to Monitor, you can track the breaches you’ve been involved in, follow steps to protect yourself, and mark a breach as “resolved” when you’re ready for some satisfying closure.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 69
      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • MariaDB 10.5.1 Release Notes

          MariaDB 10.5 is the current development series of MariaDB. It is an evolution of MariaDB 10.4 with several entirely new features not found anywhere else and with backported and reimplemented features from MySQL.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Call for Papers, Registration Opens for openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

          Both openSUSE and LibreOffice are combining their conferences (openSUSE Conference and LibOcon) in 2020 to celebrate LibreOffice’s 10-year anniversary and openSUSE’s 15-year anniversary. The conference will take place in Nuremberg, Germany, at the Z-Bau from Oct. 13 to 16.

        • Call for Paper for LibOCon 2020 is now open

          The openSUSE and LibreOffice Projects are combining their annual conferences together for one year in 2020 to have a joint openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference. This joint conference, which is combined this one year to celebrate 10 years of the LibreOffice Project and 15 years of the openSUSE Project, will take place at the Z-bau in Nuremberg, Germany, from October 13 to 16, 2020. The goal of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference, brings together fun, smart and open-source minded community members to discuss and present topics relative to the two projects as well as open-source software development topics.

          The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year’s event. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice, the Document Liberation Project or the Open Document Format, we want to hear from you!

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS: We’re not participating in ‘QA of the year’ award

          Hello testers, this is the story of how our team is not taking part of the “QA of the year” contest organized by the QA: Challenge Accepted conference despite being nominated by Alex.

        • People of WordPress: Kori Ashton

          You’ve probably heard that WordPress is open-source software, and may know that it’s created and run by volunteers. WordPress enthusiasts share many examples of how WordPress changed people’s lives for the better. This monthly series shares some of those lesser-known, amazing stories.


          Like many other web development agencies, WebTegrity started out with the “one-time fee and you’re done” business model. This business model is known for unpredictable revenue streams. Hearing about recurring revenue business models at WordCamp Austin was a lightbulb moment for Kori. She started drafting a more sustainable business model on the way back home.

          Support packages were key to their new business plan. Clients needed ongoing support. They decided to include at least 12 months of post-launch support into their web development projects. This doubled their revenue in one year and allowed them to even out their revenue streams.

      • FSF

        • Register today for LibrePlanet — or organize your own satellite instance

          LibrePlanet started out as a gathering of Free Software Foundation (FSF) associate members, and has remained a community event ever since. We are proud to bring so many different people together to discuss the latest developments and the future of free software. We envision that some day there will be satellite instances all over the globe livestreaming our annual conference on technology and social justice — and you can create your own today! All you need is a venue, a screen, and a schedule of LibrePlanet events, which we’ll be releasing soon. This year, a free software supporter in Ontario, Canada, has confirmed an event, and we encourage you to host one, too.

          Of course, ideally you’ll be able to join us in person for LibrePlanet 2020: “Free the Future.” If you can come, please register now to let us know — FSF associate members attend gratis. We are looking forward to receiving the community at the newly confirmed Back Bay Events Center this year. We’ve put together some information on where to eat, sleep, and park in the vicinity of the new venue.

          However, we know that not every free software enthusiast can make it to Boston, which is why we livestream the entire event. You can view it solo, with friends, or even with a large group of like-minded free software enthusiasts! It is a great opportunity to bring other people in your community together to view some of the foremost speakers in free software, including Internet Archive founder and Internet Hall of Famer Brewster Kahle.

        • FSFE

          • Max Mehl (English): I love the hidden champions

            A few days ago I’ve sent an announcement email for today’s I Love Free Software Day to a large bunch of people. Most of the remarkably many replies have been positive and a pure joy to read, but some were a bit sceptical and critical. These came from Free Software contributors who are maintaining and helping projects that they think nobody knows and sees – not because these software pojects are unused, but because they are small, a building block for other, more popular applications.

            When we ask people to participate in #ilovefs (this year for the 10th time in a row!) by expressing their gratitude to contributors of their favourite Free Software projects, many think about the applications they often use and come up with obvious ones like Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird, LibreOffice, their Linux-based distribution, or CMSs like WordPress and Drupal. Not that I think this is not deserved, but what about the projects that actually form the foundations for these popular suites?

            I researched a bit on my own system (based on Arch Linux) and checked on how many packages some of the aforementioned applications depend (including dependencies of their dependencies)1:

            Firefox: 221
            Thunderbird: 179
            LibreOffice: 185
            GIMP: 166
            Inkscape: 164

          • I Love Free Software on the go: the Replicant operating system in practice

            On I Love Free Software Day 2020 I’d like to pay attention to and thank the Replicant operating system, which is in active development and empowers users to use Free Software on the go.

            As a user with a non-technical background it was an honor and a privilege to attend the Replicant Birds of a Feather (BoF) meeting at FOSDEM 2020. There I concluded that my choice for Replicant not only helps the environment and strengthens the sustainability of my hardware, but also that the project is in active development and will support more contemporary hardware. At the end of the meeting the team handed out Replicant stickers on behalf of the Free Software Foundation, which you can join.

      • Programming/Development

        • Anisa Kuci: Outreachy post 4 – Career opportunities

          As mentioned in my last blog posts, Outreachy is very interesting and I got to learn a lot already. Two months have already passed by quickly and there is still one month left for me to continue working and learning.

          As I imagine all the other interns are thinking now, I am also thinking about what is going to be the next step for me. After such an interesting experience as this internship, thinking about the next steps is not that simple.

          I have been contributing to Free Software projects for quite some years now. I have been part of the only FLOSS community in my country for many years and I grew up together with the community, advocating free software in and around Albania.

          I have contributed to many projects, including Mozilla, OpenStreetMap, Debian, GNOME, Wikimedia projects etc. So, I am sure, the FLOSS world is definitely the right place for me to be. I have helped communities grow and I am very enthusiastic about it.

        • PHP 7.4 Slated To Land In Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          PHP 7.4 should be landing in the Ubuntu 20.04 archive in the next week or so.

          PHP 7.4 was released at the end of November with some really great features. Ubuntu developers now feel comfortable enough with PHP 7.4 that they intend to land it for the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release, which also pans out well since that provides them with an extra year of upstream support compared to shipping PHP 7.3.

          PHP 7.4 brings the interesting FFI for accessing C structures / functions / variables from native PHP code, Opcache preload, more performance improvements, support for typed properties, and much more… It’s quite a hefty annual update to PHP7 and I’m quite glad that it is indeed set to be bundled for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • PHP Development on Fedora with Eclipse
        • The Horrifically Dystopian World of Software Engineering Interviews

          I am rather confused with the advertised rankings of a software engineer. There seem to be only two rankings: non-senior and senior. In general job ads ask for 5 years of experience in order to be considered a senior. There seem to be some missing rankings. What do we call someone with 20 years of experience? Are they really the same thing as someone with 5? In my case, what do we call someone with 4 years of experience? I am not a new grad. I know how to write software on my own. I know how version control works and how to exist in an Agile environment. Depending on the situation I need people to set the direction for my work. To add further complexity to the issue, there is the the issue of years of experience in a technology. If a person has 5 years of experience writing Java and moves to a team that uses Python and is made up of only people who have less than two years of experience in Python should this person be considered a junior? This is such a confusing topic that it warrants an entire article of its own and even then I am not sure I can make any sense of it. My point is that I lie somewhere between junior and senior and it seems to be slim pickings for my experience level.

        • Decomposing Splines Without Recursion

          To make graphics usable in Snek, I need to avoid using a lot of memory, especially on the stack as there’s no stack overflow checking on most embedded systems. Today, I worked on how to draw splines with a reasonable number of line segments without requiring any intermediate storage. Here’s the results from this work:

        • Perl / Raku

          • av_fetch can return NULL

            If you create an array by inserting values, in the following way,

            $thing{key}[10] = 1;
            and then don’t populate the rest of the array, a call to av_fetch in the array to retrieve values lower than the tenth one may return a NULL value.

          • Struggle getting PDL book example to work on Windows 10

            As a workaround I was able to run an example on dual booted Linux and did not delve more deeply what was wrong on Windows as I wanted to learn more of Perl basics first and started reading Llama book.

        • Python

          • How to Get the Column Names from a Pandas Dataframe – Print and List

            The post How to Get the Column Names from a Pandas Dataframe – Print and List appeared first on Erik Marsja.

            In this short post, we will learn 6 methods to get the column names from Pandas dataframe. One of the nice things about Pandas dataframes is that each column will have a name (i.e., the variables in the dataset). Now, we can use these names to access specific columns by name without having to know which column number it is.

            To access the names of a Pandas dataframe, we can the method columns(). For example, if our dataframe is called df we just type print(df.columns) to get all the columns of the pandas dataframe.

          • PyCharm 2020.1 EAP 3

            We have a new Early Access Program (EAP) version of PyCharm that can be now downloaded from our website.

            We have concentrated on fixing the issues that needed to be fixed and making lots of improvements so the final PyCharm 2020.1 will be everything you hoped for. Here is a rundown of some of the things you can expect from this build.

          • Python Basics: How To Print in Python?

            It’s quite common to make mistakes when you try to print something using Python considering you’re new to Python scripting.

            No matter what program you write, you will always be needing to print something or the other (most of the time).

            So, in this article, I’ll be explaining how to print something in Python and list out some common mistakes that you can avoid.

          • Selection Sort in Python

            Sorting, although a basic operation, is one of the most important operations a computer should perform. It is a building block in many other algorithms and procedures, such as searching and merging. Knowing different sorting algorithms could help you better understand the ideas behind the different algorithms, as well as help you come up with better algorithms.

            The Selection Sort algorithm sorts an array by finding the minimum value of the unsorted part and then swapping it with the first unsorted element. It is an in-place algorithm, meaning you won’t need to allocate additional lists. While slow, it is still used as the main sorting algorithm in systems where memory is limited.

            In this article, we will explain how the Selection Sort works and implement it in Python. We will then break down the actions of the algorithm to learn its time complexity.

          • Multiple File/Image Upload with Django 3, Angular 9 and FormData

            In the previous tutorial we have seen how to implement file uploading in Django and Angular 9. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to implement multiple file uploading.

            It’s recommended that you start from the previous tutorial to see detailed steps of how to create a django project, how to install Angular CLI and generate a new Angular 9 project along with services and components as we won’t cover those basics in this part.

          • Solving python error – ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10

            We can get this error when trying to convert a variable to an integer.

          • New features for Raspberry Pi, Wireguard in the Linux kernel, NSA Python course and more open source news

            The National Security Agency has released its own Python tutorial for beginners. It is a 118-megabyte PDF download that provides a complete course of study from a first Python project to advanced programming examples. While it’s not clearly licensed, it is declassified and available as a great resource to learn the language. Many thanks to Chris Swenson who submitted the FOIA request to the NSA for their Python training materials, which resulted in this treasure trove of Pythonics.

          • redirect-chain – Getting a comfortable insight input URL redirects history

            You can accomplish the same with curl -L but I’ve had this as a little personal hack script in my ~/bin folder on my computer. Thought I’d make it a public tool. Also, from here, a lot more can be done to this script if you wanna help out with ideas.

          • Solving python error – TypeError: ‘NoneType’ object is not iterable

            This is one of the most common errors we all faced at least once while working on a Python code. If you are facing a similar error then it is probably due to a for or while loop on an object.

          • Creating the ultimate terminal experience in Spyder 4 with Spyder-Terminal

            The Spyder-Terminal project is revitalized! The new 0.3.0 version adds numerous features that improves the user experience, and enhances compatibility with the latest Spyder 4 release, in part thanks to the improvements made in the xterm.js project.

          • How I learned Python

            I am a Software Engineer at Robert Bosch Engineering and Private Solution with 1 Year of Experience.

          • Python 3.7.5 : Use Brython in web development to avoid javascript.

            The tutorial for today is about how can avoid the javascript and use python script in webdevelopment using the Brython.
            Brython’s goal is to replace Javascript with Python, as the scripting language for web browsers. see the official webpage.
            It is necessary to include brython.js and to run the brython() function upon page load using the onload attribute of the BODY tag.

          • Hello Word in Django 2: How to start with Django 2
          • Getting query params from request in Django

            To get query parameters from the request in the Django view, you need to access the GET attribute of the request.

          • How to display flash messages in Django templates

            Sometimes we need to show the one-time notification, also known as the flash messages in our Django application. For this Django provides the messages framework. We are going to use the same here.

            To show flash messages in the Django application, we will extend our previous project Hello World in Django 2.2. Clone the git repository, check out the master branch and set up the project on your local machine by following the instructions in the README file.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxv) stackoverflow python report
        • JavaScript

          • JavaScript Internationalization in 2020

            2020 is shaping up to be an amazing year for JavaScript Internationalization API.

            After many years of careful design we’re seeing a lot of the work now coming close to completion with a number of high profile APIs on track for inclusion in ECMAScript 2020 standard!

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Russell Coker: Self Assessment

        A significant problem in large parts of the computer industry is that it’s not easy to compare various skills. In the sport of bowling (which Erik uses as an example) it’s easy to compare your score against people anywhere in the world, if you score 250 and people in another city score 280 then they are more skilled than you. If I design an IT project that’s 2 months late on delivery and someone else designs a project that’s only 1 month late are they more skilled than me? That isn’t enough information to know. I’m using the number of months late as an arbitrary metric of assessing projects, IT projects tend to run late and while delivery time might not be the best metric it’s something that can be measured (note that I am slightly joking about measuring IT projects by how late they are).

        If the last project I personally controlled was 2 months late and I’m about to finish a project 1 month late does that mean I’ve increased my skills? I probably can’t assess this accurately as there are so many variables. The Impostor Syndrome factor might lead me to think that the second project was easier, or I might get egotistical and think I’m really great, or maybe both at the same time.

        This is one of many resources recommending timely feedback for education [4], it says “Feedback needs to be timely” and “It needs to be given while there is still time for the learners to act on it and to monitor and adjust their own learning”. For basic programming tasks such as debugging a crashing program the feedback is reasonably quick. For longer term tasks like assessing whether the choice of technologies for a project was good the feedback cycle is almost impossibly long. If I used product A for a year long project does it seem easier than product B because it is easier or because I’ve just got used to it’s quirks? Did I make a mistake at the start of a year long project and if so do I remember why I made that choice I now regret?

    • Education

      • School Employees Have Used Isolated Timeouts Illegally, State Investigations Find

        In the first state review of isolated timeout in Illinois schools, investigators found six of the eight districts they examined violated state law by placing children in seclusion for improper reasons, for too long or without properly notifying their parents.

        The investigations by the Illinois State Board of Education came after the first part of a ProPublica Illinois/Chicago Tribune series, published in November, found public schools throughout the state overused seclusion, routinely breaking the law that allowed children to be placed in isolated timeout only when there was a safety issue.

      • Could Corporations Control What’s Taught in Our Public Schools?

        The national discussion about the movement to privatize America’s public schools has mostly focused on the issues of charter schools and school voucher schemes. But a growing number of parents, teachers, and public school advocates, as well as experts in academia, are increasingly warning about another form of school privatization.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Global Mining Corporations Have a Friend in the New Guatemalan Government

        Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei is less than a month into his term and yet there are already disturbing signs that his administration will side with global mining corporations against indigenous communities fighting to protect their land and water.

      • ‘Code for Massive Cuts’: Audio Shows GOP Sen. Joni Ernst Telling Donors She Wants ‘Changes’ to Medicare, Medicaid

        “Again, Joni Ernst has shown that she is willing to push our families into poverty with a smile. The programs she plans to cut are a lifeline for millions of Americans. She should be ashamed.”

      • The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them

        Climate change isn’t real. Tobacco isn’t as bad as people say. Monsanto’s RoundUp doesn’t cause cancer. The fact that these statements are still considered valid by some people is not because they might be true or because some people are just stupid. That some deny these and other scientifically proven phenomena is testament to the power of what researcher David Michaels calls the product defense industry. His new book, titled The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception, is an expose of this industry and how it works to enable those industries who profit from the sale of carcinogens and other poisons.

      • Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain

        Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written the report ‘Bayer Crop Science rules Britain after Brexit – the public and the press are being poisoned by pesticides’. It has been sent to editors of major media outlets in the UK. In it, she outlines her concerns for pesticide regulation, health and the environment in a post-Brexit landscape. This article presents some of the report’s key points.

      • Virus Cases Rise as Experts Question China’s Numbers

        Infections and deaths from the new virus in China ballooned for a second straight day Friday, on paper at least, as officials near the epicenter of the outbreak struggled to keep up with a backlog of patients’ lab work.

      • US Maternal Mortality Rate Is Increasing — and the Data Still Miss Many Deaths

        Late last month, maternal health experts from around Illinois were videoconferencing in Chicago and Springfield, poring over the files of expectant and new mothers who’d died in the state in 2017. Many of the deaths could have been prevented if only medical and other providers had understood the special risks that women face during this critically vulnerable time.

      • NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care

        National Public Radio’s Mara Liasson this weekend entered a new term into the corporate liberal establishment’s attack on single payer healthcare.

      • Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Trump’s ‘Work-or-Die’ Medicaid Requirements in Arkansas

        The ruling upheld a lower court decision, with a three-judge panel unanimously arguing Medicaid work requirements negate the purpose of the program.

      • Groups Challenge Louisiana Permits for Formosa Plastics’ Giant Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

        “The fight against Formosa’s polluting and unjust petrochemical complex is part of a growing national movement to address the triple threat of climate chaos, plastics pollution, and environmental racism.”

      • We Showed How Easy It Is to Commit Health Care Fraud. Now Senators Want to Close the Loophole.

        Four United States senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to close a little-known, but gaping, loophole that allows scammers to plunder commercial insurers by posing as licensed medical providers.

        The Medical License Verification Act, introduced Thursday, comes in response to a July ProPublica story that showed how absurdly easy it is to commit health care fraud, which experts say could be costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars a year. ProPublica told the story of David Williams, a Texas personal trainer and convicted felon, who represented himself as a licensed physician when he applied for National Provider Identifiers, the unique numbers required by the federal government to bill insurance plans.

      • Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week

        A medical issue on the [L] tracks (I’m guessing someone collided with a front-car) kicked me and others off the CTA Red Line. A toothless old white woman who spoke like a poor Black woman cursed out loud for one minute straight to the disgust of most. I admired her fire and creativity.

      • Fake vaccinations and a suicide note by Dr. Van Koinis

        Yesterday’s post ended up being quite long, to the point that I had considered not writing anything today. However, there is a vaccine-related news story that I became aware of yesterday that mandates at least some comment, mainly because it’s so bizarre. Regular readers who’ve encountered this story will understand why I feel I had to write about it. I’m referring, of course, to the case of a Chicago area pediatrician named Dr. Van Koinis who committed suicide last August and who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a forest preserve outside of Chicago. Why did this story attract my attention? It was headlines like this appearing in the news over the last three days:

      • Can the U.S. Slash Food Waste in Half in the Next Ten Years?
      • Medicare for All Helps Unions by Taking Health Care Off the Bargaining Table

        On February 11, the Nevada Culinary Workers Union publicly criticized Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All plan ahead of the state’s Democratic presidential caucus. On February 12, Sanders responded, “Many, many unions throughout this country — including some in Unite Here, and the Culinary Union is part of Unite Here — absolutely understand that we’ve got to move to Medicare for All.”

      • As WHO Forum Ends, Updated Figures From China Reveal New Virus Has Infected Over 60,000 Worldwide

        “This outbreak is a test of solidarity—political, financial, and scientific,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need to come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders.”

      • Living in Inequality, Dying in Despair

        The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some welcome news late last month: Americans are living a tiny bit longer. In 2018, the federal health agency reported, U.S. life expectancy at birth inched up about a month, from 78.6 to 78.7 years.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Vivaldi Browser 2.11 Released with Themes Update

          Vivaldi web browser 2.11 was released a few days ago. The new release features pop-out video improvements and themes update.

          Vivaldi 2.11 brings pop-out video improvements. Now you can easily launch the separate, floating video window via a single click on a small video box icon displayed in the center of the video.

        • Why I am not using Grindr

          Grindr is proprietary software that only runs on Android and iOS. It also depends on a centralized server infrastructure that stores data in unencrypted form. The company that hosts Grindr, Amazon is known for violating users privacy. Grindr also sends data to Third-Party Websites and is known for sharing users HIV status without their consent. The terms of use and privacy policy are much too long (about 50 pages), therefore most users don’t read them. If a user has read only parts of those terms, they should become suspect that Grindr violates their privacy and not use the service. I think that sensitive information should be visible only to the intended recipients and not the administrators of any servers or routers, therefore I never use Grindr.

        • Microsoft temporarily blocked from beginning Pentagon project

          Amazon had asked the judge to force a temporary stay of work on the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure, or JEDI, project until the court can rule on Amazon’s protest over Pentagon awarding it to Microsoft.

          AWS had earlier alleged that the contract was awarded to Microsoft last October after US President Donald Trump exercised his influence over the country’s Defence Department.

        • Security

          • Call us immediately if your child uses Kali Linux, squawks West Mids Police

            The National Crime Agency has publicly distanced itself from a poster urging parents to call police if their child has installed Kali Linux, Tor or – brace yourself – Discord.

            Issued by West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (WMROCU) via local area councils, the poster in question lists a slack handful of common infosec tools – as well as some that clearly have nothing to do with computer security.

            Should your child install Kali Linux, virtual machines (the image on the poster looks like Virtualbox) or internet privacy tool Tor, West Midlands Police wants to know immediately. And if – heaven forfend – junior installs Metasploit, free VoIP service for gamers Discord or WiFi Pineapple, you might as well report straight to your nearest prison and abandon your tainted offspring forever.

            “If you see any of these on their computer, or have a child you think is hacking, let us know so we can give advice and engage them into positive diversions,” intones the offending poster, forwarded to us by a reader and which we reproduce below in all its glory.

          • UK police deny responsibility for poster urging parents to report kids for using Kali Linux

            Naturally, the poster has drawn the ire of many in the cybersecurity industry and as both the WMROCU and NCA logos were included, the NCA has been forced to publicly distance itself from the advisory.

            In response, the NCA said the agency “was not involved in the production or release of this poster.”

            “There are many tools which tech-savvy children use, some of which can be used for both legal & illegal purposes, so it is vital that parents & children know how these tools can be used safely,” the NCA added.

            The team from Kali Linux might have enjoyed the marketing, though, given their light-hearted response to the poster:

          • UK Police Deny Responsibility For Poster Urging Parents To Report Kids For Using Kali Linux

            The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has publicly said it has nothing to do with a misleading poster designed to put fear into the hearts of parents and urge them to call the police if their children are using Kali Linux.

          • UK police tell parents to check if their kids use Linux or Discord because it means they could be hackers

            The day when open-source operating systems/apps, especially those based on the mainline Linux kernel, come under a smear campaign that it takes a while for authorities to properly react to – surely must be some kind of a sad milestone moment on the web – the very same web which these days depends on, and runs on that very technology.

            But – the message from British law enforcement seems to be – “don’t let your kids use it.”

            As Gareth Illmann-Walker and some of his followers said on Twitter – the list might also be considered as a handy summary of where a clever kid using the web these days should actually look to get themselves started safely and securely (“except Discord” – of course).

          • Kids Using Kali Linux Are the Next-Generation Hackers, UK Police Warn

            The warning was published online by Twitter user G_IW and obviously generated an avalanche of reactions from the WWW, many of which criticized the British police for what they consider to be disinformation.

            “If you see any of these on their computer, or have ea child you think is hacking, let us know so we can give advice and engage them into positive diversions,” the warning reads.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (debian-security-support, postgresql-11, and postgresql-9.6), Fedora (cutter-re, firefox, php-horde-Horde-Data, radare2, and texlive-base), openSUSE (docker-runc), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (sudo), and Ubuntu (firefox).

          • 500 Chrome Extensions Caught Stealing Private Data of 1.7 Million Users

            Google removed 500 malicious Chrome extensions from its Web Store after they found to inject malicious ads and siphon off user browsing data to servers under the control of attackers.

            These extensions were part of a malvertising and ad-fraud campaign that’s been operating at least since January 2019, although evidence points out the possibility that the actor behind the scheme may have been active since 2017.

            The findings come as part of a joint investigation by security researcher Jamila Kaya and Cisco-owned Duo Security, which unearthed 70 Chrome Extensions with over 1.7 million installations.

          • PSA: Beware of Exposing Ports in Docker

            Docker is an awesome technology, and it’s prevalent in nearly every software developer’s workflow. It is useful for creating identical environments and sharing them between development, testing, production, and others. It’s a great way to ship a reliable software environment between systems or even to customers. However, like with any technology, one must know how to be secure when using it.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Dating in a politically polarized world

              OkCupid saw a 187% increase in political mentions on profiles between 2017 and 2018. The company says the trend continued in 2019.

              The platform finds millennials to be the most likely to filter out matches with differing politics compared to Gen X or Gen Z.

            • Facebook Prepares for Wave of Influencer Marketing in Politics

              Facebook Inc. is trying to clarify how it will handle a new wrinkle in the world of digital political advertising: politicians paying influencers to post on social media platforms like Instagram, which it owns.

              In the past, political entities were technically barred from offering money for posts, which has become a common practice for marketers. But Facebook is changing its policy after a New York Times report this week about how Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign is paying Instagram creators to make and distribute posts making him “look cool.”

            • Palantir Revises Compensation to Save Cash, Prep for Future IPO

              Palantir Technologies Inc., a data mining company co-founded by Peter Thiel, is changing its employee compensation in a bid to cut costs, ensure all employees can own shares and prepare for an eventual public stock listing, said three people familiar with the matter.

              The company, which helps governments and businesses collect and analyze data, will move toward eliminating cash bonuses and instead reward staff with restricted stock units, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. The change was conveyed to staff in an email Friday.

            • UK plans to regulate the internet won’t make much difference at all

              Because of that, both Ofcom and the government have said that the onus to police content would remain with the platforms. Under the mooted plans, people couldn’t directly complain about an individual piece of content to Ofcom. In that sense, nothing really has changed. And for that reason, it is unsurprising that YouTube and Facebook tell New Scientist they welcome the chance to co-operate with the government.

            • CBP, ICE Hoovering Up Cell Location Data From Third Party Vendors To Track Down Immigrants

              Supreme Court precedent says the government needs a warrant if it wants to get cell-site location info. This ruling altered the contours of the Third Party Doctrine, making it clear not every third-party record exists outside the Fourth Amendment’s protections.

            • US Takes Baby Steps Toward Providing Actual Public Evidence Of Huawei Spying

              We’ve noted a few times now how US claims that Huawei routinely spies on Americans haven’t been supported much in the way of actual public evidence, a bit of a problem given that’s the primary justification for the country’s global blackballing efforts. Previous White House investigations 18 months in length couldn’t find evidence of said spying, and many US companies have a history of ginning up security fears simply because they don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese kit.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Unending Human Tragedy in Syria

        The regime of President Bashar al-Assad is winning the decade-old civil war in Syria. With the help of like-minded allies Iran and Russia, Assad is ruthlessly mopping up his remaining opposition. After the defeat of the ISIS Caliphate, the West has no security interests or oil reserves to protect in Syria. Its authoritarian Arab neighbors wouldn’t like to see a democratic and free Syria either. The nations who earlier vociferously called for the removal of the regime have lost interest. Once in control of only 20% of its territory, the Assad dynasty has another lease on life as a hapless people suffer.

      • Fueled by US Under Trump, Global Military Spending in 2019 Had Biggest Increase in a Decade

        The amount the United States increased in defense spending between 2018 and 2019 was nearly the same as the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget.

      • Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?

        February 15 marks the day, 17 years ago, when global demonstrations against the pending Iraq invasion were so massive that the New York Times called world public opinion “the second superpower.” But the U.S. ignored it and invaded Iraq anyway. So what has become of the momentous hopes of that day?

      • Dresden, February 1945

        The Allied destruction of Dresden wasn’t the biggest or deadliest aerial bombardment of a German city during World War II. But it is by far the most infamous, largely due to Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five. February 13 marks the 75th anniversary of what Vonnegut, who survived the bombing as a prisoner-of-war, called “carnage unfathomable.”

      • U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan

        Last December the Washington Post published secret Pentagon documents showing the official lies that have undergirded the U.S. war on Afghanistan for the past 18 years. The opening paragraph of the article puts the matter bluntly:  “A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”

      • Was James Brown Murdered? Atlanta DA Office Examining New Evidence

        An Atlanta prosecutor is considering launching an investigation into James Brown’s death after receiving new evidence.

      • Backlash After Kobe Bryant’s Death Illustrates Continued Resistance to Discussing Sexual Assault

        In the hours following the helicopter crash that left basketball star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others dead, social media sites were inundated with mourning fans, commemorating an idol and cultural icon. But as celebrities, fans and players remembered the inspiring and dedicated Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, thought to be one of the best players in NBA history, one less-uplifting detail of his career went largely unmentioned: the 2003 rape case.

      • Rwanda: UN Body Targets Abuse of Street Children

        (Nairobi) – The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child’s call for Rwanda to take “urgent measures” to end abuse of street children should be carried out immediately, Human Rights Watch said today. In observations released on February 13, 2020, the Geneva-based treaty body called for a halt to arbitrary detention of children in transit centers, for investigations into allegations of ill-treatment – including beatings –, and for amendments of the legal framework that regularizes this abuse.

        On January 27, Human Rights Watch released a 44-page report, “‘As Long as We Live on the Streets, They Will Beat Us’: Rwanda’s Abusive Detention of Children,” documenting the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of street children, who are held for up to six months at Gikondo Transit Center, in Kigali, the capital. Since 2017, new legislation and policies under the government’s strategy to “eradicate delinquency” have sought to legitimize and regulate so-called transit centers. But Human Rights Watch found that the new legislation provides cover for the police to round up and detain street children at Gikondo in deplorable and degrading conditions, and without due process or judicial oversight.

      • Klobuchar Has Pushed Extreme Right-Wing Policy on Israel/Palestine

        In recent days, much of the mainstream media has been focusing on the rise of centrist Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar as a serious contender in the Democratic presidential primary. Many in the more progressive wing of the party have been criticizing her positions on climate change and broader environmental concerns, as well as her stances on economic inequality, social welfare and the criminal legal system. However, attention also needs to be brought to her surprisingly right-wing foreign policy perspectives.

      • William Barr’s Move To Rid The DOJ Of Independence Shows One Of Many Reasons Josh Hawley’s FTC Plan Is Dangerous

        Karl already took some time to highlight just one of the many absurdities in Senator Josh Hawley’s “plan” to revamp the FTC by turning it into a sub-agency of the Justice Department, rather than an independent agency. First of all, the Justice Department is the law enforcement arm of the government, and the FTC is supposed to be engaged in protecting consumers from “unfair or deceptive acts” by businesses. It is a separate and different focus than straight law enforcement by the Justice Department.

      • Warren, Sanders Join Letter Urging AG Barr to Resign Immediately Over ‘Corrupt’ Role in Roger Stone Case

        “The shocking action taken by your or your senior staff to seek special protections for Mr. Stone make a mockery of your responsibilities to seek equal justice under the law.”

      • Trump says on Twitter he has right to interfere in criminal cases after Barr criticizes president’s tweets

        Barr and his department claim that the decision to amend Stone’s sentencing recommendation came prior to Trump’s attacks on social media. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the department’s internal watchdog to investigate the matter.

      • Mali violence: At least 30 killed in spate of violence

        Twenty one were killed when gunmen attacked a village in central Mali, burning houses, crops and livestock.

        A group of eight soldiers also died in an ambush, while another was killed during an attack on a military camp in the Gao region.

        Mali has been blighted by instability since 2012 when an Islamist rebellion broke out in the north.

      • Six Key Questions We Should Be Asking About the US’s Never-Ending Wars

        My first question is simple enough: After 18-plus years of our forever wars, where are all the questions?

      • Ocasio-Cortez to Constituents on Bolivian Coup: Drop Dead

        Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the celebrity who moonlights as my Congressional representative, has repeatedly claimed to speak for “ordinary people,” but she refuses listen to them,  even if they are constituents.

      • Bolivia: An Election in the Midst of an Ongoing Coup

        On May 3, 2020, the Bolivian people will go to the polls once more. They return there because President Evo Morales had been overthrown in a coup in November 2019. Morales had just won a presidential election in October for a term that would have begun in January 2020. Based on a preliminary investigation by the Organization of American States (OAS) that claimed that there was fraud in the election, Morales was prematurely removed from office; the term for his 2014 presidential election victory did not end until January. Yet, he was told by the military to leave office. An interim president—Jeanine Áñez—appointed herself. She said she was taking this office only on an interim basis and would not run for election when Bolivia held another election. She is a candidate for the May 3 election. (For more information on what is happening in Bolivia, see this overview from Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.)

      • War Addicts, Inc.

        Making sense of the age of carnage.

      • Senate Passes War Powers Resolution to Stop Trump From Launching ‘Illegal’ Attack on Iran

        “The nation should not be at war without a vote of Congress,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, the measure’s lead sponsor.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Climate Change is Decimating the Chinstrap Penguins of Antarctica

        Chinstrap penguins are exquisitely adapted to their environment. They live and breed in some of the world’s harshest conditions, nesting in the windblown, rocky coves of the Antarctic Peninsula, a strip of land comprising the northernmost part of the frigid continent. In water they are precision hunters, darting after krill, the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that are their sole food source, utilizing barbed tongues engineered for catching the slipperiest of prey. On land, these 2-2.5-foot-tall flightless birds are prodigious mountaineers, able to scale rocky escarpments in spite of their ungainly waddle. Their perfect adaptation to local conditions makes them the ideal barometer for the future of the region. If anything changes in the marine environment, the health of chinstrap penguins will be one of the most reliable indicators. They are the canaries of the Southern Ocean.

        And these endearing, black and white emissaries from Antarctic waters are starting to disappear.

      • The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction

        I’ve been working lately on an article about Extinction Rebellion, the direct action movement that emerged out of England in 2019 and has since gone worldwide to spread the message that radical civil disobedience is the only way to alter our deranged course toward climate catastrophe.

      • Energy

        • Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Climate? Yes. Here’s Why

          Switching to an EV can make a big difference in how much global warming emissions we produce and is one of the biggest actions a household can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

        • Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019

          The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, placed first in the annual lobbying “competition” in California in 2019 with $8.8 million spent on influencing legislators, the Governor’s office and other state officials, a position it captures most years.

        • Speeding sea level rise threatens nuclear plants

          With sea level rise accelerating faster than thought, the risk is growing for coastal cities − and for nuclear power stations.

        • Canadian Pipeline Protest Forces Closure Of Major Rail Link

          The Mohawks of Tyendinaga are protesting the 416-mile, $4.68 billion (6.2 billion Canadian dollars) Coastal GasLink pipeline running from northern British Columbia to a natural gas facility near Kitimat, British Columbia. They’ve used snowplows, barrels and wooden barricades to block the tracks, forcing Canadian National Railway to temporarily close the line.

          Protests in Ontario have also taken place in support of the indigenous chiefs.

          The pipeline passes through the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation near Houston, British Columbia, in the Canadian west.

        • Indigenous Groups Block Gas Pipeline In Canada And Spark Solidarity Protests

          MCGUFFIN: It was just one of many anti-pipeline protests across Canada this week, shutting down railway lines, ports, highways, city streets, resulting in dozens of arrests. The protests are against the planned $6 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline from the western province of Alberta through the territory of the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en people in neighboring British Columbia. A long-standing Indigenous blockade against that pipeline was broken up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police last week.

          Na’Mok is a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief.

          NA’MOK: They came in with armed forces to remove peaceful people that are doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. We’re protecting the land, the air, the water, our rights and title as hereditary chiefs, and we’re exercising our jurisdiction.

        • The Wet’suwet’en Fight Against New Pipeline Spreads Across Canada
        • Dumping On South Australia’s First Nations

          No means no, especially when it comes to dumping nuclear waste, write Dr Jim Green and Sister Michele Madigan.

        • Ohio Anti-Protest Bill Could Criminalize Support for Pipeline Demonstrations

          Activists say a bill advancing in the Ohio legislature could criminalize activities such as offering rides, water or medical aid to anti-pipeline protesters.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Measuring Our Impact on the Planet

          Is Joaquin Phoenix the voice for farmed animals everywhere right now?

        • A Short History of Humanity’s Future

          Our variety of the human species, homo sapiens sapiens, emerged from out of bands of more primitive yet contemporaneous older variants of humanity well over 200,000 years ago and rapidly expanded in both their numbers and the range of their occupancy on our planet. The competitive pressure by this efflorescence of homo sapiens sapiens against the older variants of humanity reduced the numbers of the latter to the point of extinction over the course of 1600 centuries, leaving just our variety of the human species to range over the Earth for 40,000 years up to the beginning of the 21st century. The story of our species from then up to the present moment is the subject of this work.

        • Climate Crisis Could Cause a Third of Plant and Animal Species to Disappear Within 50 Years: Study

          “Successful implementation of the Paris agreement targets could help reduce extinctions considerably, possibly to 16% or less by 2070,” according to lead author Cristian Román-Palacios.

        • Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions

          The Trump administration is stampeding ahead with a rewrite of the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This landmark law requires federal agencies to study—and let the public weigh in on—the environmental impacts of federal actions. Ironically, given NEPA’s central purpose of including the public in environmental decision-making, the Trump administration is already cutting the public out of its regulatory overhaul.

        • Just When You Thought the Sports Rorts Affair Couldn’t Get Any Worse…

          Summer rains finally fell on large parts of New South Wales this week. They didn’t fall everywhere, and much of inland Australia is still in drought, but enough rain fell where it was needed to allow weary fire authorities to announce that the New South Wales bushfires were finally contained.

        • Amazon Onslaught

          This month Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro proposed a new bill promoting mining, expanded agriculture, and energy production on indigenous lands in the Amazon. Accordingly, private developers as well as private hedge funds will occupy and develop land that’s been home to indigenous people for thousands of years.

        • Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group

          The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.

        • The Problem With Wilderness Collaboration

          Recently there has been a spate of commentaries advocating collaboration as a means of resolving issues surrounding which public lands should be given the “Gold Standard” of wilderness protection under the 1964 Wilderness Act.

        • Timber Industry Wants to Rape-and-Run on Our National Forests

          When Idaho billionaire Ron Yanke purchased the timber mills in Townsend and Livingston, Montana years ago to form RY Timber, he also bought lots of former Anaconda Mining Company timberland.  But just like Champion International and Plum Creek Timber who, according to a University of Montana study, cut trees 3 times faster than they could grow back, RY has already overcut their private land.

        • Coded Messages About Australia’s Big Burn

          Media-inflected “fatigue” has been in the news recently.

    • Finance

      • Reimagining Democratic Public Ownership for the Twenty-first Century

        A new transatlantic project will explore how new models of public ownership can shape the emerging commanding heights of the economy.

      • Who’s Afraid of Socialism?

        For decades, Republicans have painted anyone left of Barry Goldwater as a “socialist.” Why? Because for a generation raised on the Cold War, “socialist” just seemed like a damaging label.

      • Trump’s Plan to Unveil Next Round of ‘Tax Scam’ Just Before 2020 Election Slammed as ‘Another Political Ploy’

        “If Trump had wanted to help the middle-class, he would have done so already,” said Tax March executive director Maura Quint.

      • Qatar: Wage Protection System Falls Short
      • Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People

        As Zimbabwe’s economy continues its descent since a military coup installed Emmerson Mnangagwa as the nation’s ruler in November 2017, his government’s response has been to double down on its ruinous neoliberal reform program.

      • Spectrum Workers Are on the US’s Longest Strike. When Will the Company Listen?

        The longest ongoing strike in America today is happening in the media capital of the world. It involves the people who install and repair the cables that bring the news to many of the most influential people in America. But after three long years, the Spectrum workers of New York City are beginning to feel as though everyone has forgotten about them. For those who soldier on, the fight has become much bigger than a contract dispute. It is a fight that can only be won with a wholesale reimagining of public control over corporate power.

      • Meg vs. Socialism
      • Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619

        It must have enraged the historians who signed Sean Wilentz’s open letter to the New York Times and their World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) allies to see Abraham Lincoln knocked off his pedestal. How insolent for Nikole Hannah-Jones to write in her introductory essay for Project 1619 that “Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well articulated by Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity.” Lincoln was not only an iconic figure for the average American. Karl Marx admired him as well for his war on slavery. Since the primary goal of the critics of Project 1619 was to prioritize class over “identity”, naturally Karl Marx was just the authority to help make their case against the bourgeois New York Times intent on dividing the working-class.

      • Utah Representative Proposes Bill to Stop Payday Lenders From Taking Bail Money from Borrowers

        A Utah lawmaker has proposed a bill to stop high-interest lenders from seizing bail money from borrowers who don’t repay their loans. The bill, introduced in the state’s House of Representatives this week, came in response to a ProPublica investigation in December. The article revealed that payday lenders and other high-interest loan companies routinely sue borrowers in Utah’s small claims courts and take the bail money of those who are arrested, and sometimes jailed, for missing a hearing.

        Rep. Brad Daw, a Republican, who authored the new bill, said he was “aghast” after reading the article. “This smells like debtors prison,” he said. “People were outraged.”

      • ‘Straight-Up Swampy’: Trump to Headline $580,600-Per-Couple Reelection Fundraiser at Home of Billionaire

        “Shows everything that is wrong with our campaign finance system and with Trump, that fake ‘friend of the worker.’”

      • Residents of Detroit Are Fighting Back After Foreclosure Crisis

        In Detroit, a showdown between progressive lawmakers and the city is taking on racist housing policies that robbed African Americans in Detroit of their homes and widened the racial wealth gap. On Thursday, the Coalition for Property Tax Justice announced a class-action lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan in response to unfair property tax foreclosures. One in four Detroit properties have been subject to property tax foreclosure, a level comparable only to tax foreclosure rates during the Great Depression. According to legal experts, many of the foreclosures were caused by illegally inflated property taxes that violated the state’s Constitution, which says that no property can be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. Detroit is now 80% African-American, and 40% of the city’s residents live below the federal poverty line. But as downtown Detroit becomes increasingly gentrified, thousands of the city’s longtime residents, mostly African-American families, have lost their homes to foreclosure for property taxes they should not have been paying in the first place because the poverty tax exemption excuses those in poverty from paying. From Detroit, Michigan, we’re joined by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who has worked on this lawsuit from before the time she entered Congress, and Bernadette Atuahene, a professor at IIT, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and research professor at the American Bar Foundation. She is a member of the Coalition for Property Tax Justice, and her forthcoming study, to be published in the UC Berkeley Law Review, is titled “Predatory Cities.”

      • Time Warp UK

        The resignation of Savid Javid yesterday as Chancellor without even presenting a budget mirrors the resignation of Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father – and in so doing says something extraordinary about lack of social progress in the UK in the intervening 130 years.

      • Is tipping on the way out? Here’s why more travelers are joining the ‘do not tip’ movement

        The members of the “do not tip” movement say they want to pay their servers and tour guides a fair wage. But for them, this isn’t about workers’ pay. It’s about honesty. If a business advertises a product or service at one price, the customer should be able to pay that price, period. If businesses expect a 20% tip, why not just raise the price by 20%? Don’t try to guilt someone into paying more, they say.

      • Cloud service stocks set to gain from Wuhan virus outbreak

        Shares in cloud services are likely to rebound in the second quarter when Wuhan virus (COVID-19) cases are expected to gradually taper off, according to market analysts.

        The markets are optimistic about the prospects of cloud and data center services amid the ongoing virus threat. This is due to an increasing number of workers forced to work at home and the rising demand for video conferencing, reported CNA.

      • How Rage Against the Machine Are Trying to Beat Scalpers

        In fact, the band was anticipating this very scenario, and did what it could to get in front of the criticism. Earlier this week, scalpers started posting tickets — before they’d even gone on sale — with speculative prices, prompting a response from guitarist Tom Morello, who urged fans to be wary and get their tickets through the band’s website. Then, just as legitimate tickets hit the market on Thursday, Rage shared a statement on Instagram detailing how they planned to combat scalpers, and ensure that the profits from some necessarily higher-priced tickets went to good causes.

      • Trump Says His Budget Doesn’t Cut Social Security — But Mnuchin Admits It Does

        During a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin — using euphemistic language Democratic lawmakers described as “Washington-speak” — admitted that President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal would cut Social Security days after the president insisted he is “not touching” the program.

      • In Show of Solidarity, US Men’s Soccer Team Slams Officials for ‘Systematic’ Pay Discrimination Against USWNT

        “Achieving equal pay is so much bigger than our team and our playing fields—women in workforces everywhere deserve equality now.”

      • This One Chart Explains Why the Kids Back Bernie

        Today’s version of American capitalism can’t give the rising generation of college graduates what they were promised.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • When the People Lead, Leaders Follow—Lessons From the Fight to Impeach and Remove Trump

        The Senate may have betrayed the American people, but the movement for impeachment secured critical victories that will propel us forward in the longer battle for democracy.

      • ‘More Political Interference at DOJ’: Barr Installs Outside Prosecutor to Scrutinize Michael Flynn Case

        “Barr is going to burn DOJ to the ground from the inside in his crusade to advance the president’s political interests.”

      • Polling Shows Sanders Extending Lead Among Hispanics Ahead of Nevada Caucuses

        “Bernie Sanders is building the most diverse movement in America.”

      • Gramsci and You: an Open Letter to Mayor Pete
      • Delhi Polls: A Storm Over Winner’s “Religious” Acts!

        The recent elections in India’s capital city, which also has the status of a state, have raised quite an intellectual storm over the importance given to “religion” by politicians. Elections to 70-member Delhi Assembly, held on February 8, 2020, have led to the victory of sitting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). His party has won 62 seats against only eight won by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads the Central government. Considering the stunning victory of BJP in parliamentary polls held in May 2019, in which all seven parliamentary seats of Delhi were won by it, this party’s pathetic performance in assembly elections certainly raises several questions. Of these, perhaps a significant one is the development agenda promoted by AAP’s campaign against the communal card used by BJP and its associates.

      • Democrats Prepare to Spend Big to Take Control of 2021 Redistricting

        Democrats and Republicans are raising millions, preparing to battle for GOP-controlled state legislative majorities before a crucial, once-in-a-decade redistricting year in 2021.

      • Better in Dolby

        What if every week was a non-stop series of public spectacles? One big-time show after another. Every night a blockbuster.


        Wednesday’s broadcast is an Impeachment Vote in the U. S. Senate, a show thought a few viewers even find exciting. (The writers are busy: Mitt Romney will not be asked back for season two.)

        Thursday there’s a televised flash mob around Trump where he rants and raves about his vindication.

      • Why This Election Is Different

        Elections, I think most of us can agree, usually bring out the idiocy, superficiality, and illogic in everyone who can muster any. Imagine supporting, as many did, Sanders and then Trump because they were both “outsiders.” On Tuesday, I heard somebody on CNN announce that Sanders and Klobuchar were both “change candidates” (because you’d have to change every bit of the platform of one of them to match that of the other?). Tokenism no longer embarrasses voters or even the candidates who openly campaign on it. When voters are asked on television how they choose a candidate, they talk about temperament, personality, debating skills, and intelligence.

      • Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast

        One would think that a National Prayer Breakfast would encourage transparency and truth; as prayer is a primary spiritual means of self-examination, confession, reconciliation, and moral resolve. The opposite was on display at the recent National Prayer Breakfast, attended by over 3500 guests, including dignitaries from over 140 countries, Congress persons, business officials, and faith leaders. There President Donald Trump wrapped one falsehood after another in the language of faith, sadly to the repeated applause of many attendees.

      • Jim Naureckas on Democratic Primaries, Nina Luo on Decriminalizing Sex Work

        This week on CounterSpin: Remember when Les Moonves declared that Donald Trump’s candidacy “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS“? That wasn’t a faux pas; it was an operating principle. And we can’t be shocked that it’s carrying through to coverage of the Democratic primary process, which has foregrounded far more “radical” ideas—and public receptivity to them—than corporate elites are comfortable with. We’ll take a look at election coverage with Jim Naureckas, editor of FAIR.org and FAIR’s newsletter Extra!.

      • For Media in New Hampshire, Losing Is Winning and Winning Is Losing

        The results from the New Hampshire primary are in—mercifully quickly—showing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders victorious with 26% of the vote, ahead of former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg with 24%. However, it was third place Amy Klobuchar, with 20%, who seemed to draw the greatest media buzz. The Minnesota senator has received a lot of press attention of late—almost all of it positive.

      • The Buttigieg Delusion

        Once again, dearest motherfuckers, I feel obligated to reprise my roll as ‘that bitch.’ Do I really have to be the queer bummer who smashes the Buttigieg delusion? Are all the other faggot anarchists busy? Oh well, fuck it. Hand me my hammer and I’ll do what I do best, which seems to be pissing off other queer people by interrupting their increasingly statist pride parades with the stone-cold inconvenience of reality. I’m really sorry darlings, but its time for some tough love. This hurts me more than it hurts you but hopefully, it hurts Mayor Pete the most. Because a vote for Mayor Pete may be a vote for the first gay president, but it’s also a vote for assimilation. So, here we go.

      • The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders

        Happy Valentines Day to all Bernie Bros, Bernie Gals, and non-binary Berners.

      • Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides

        The forthcoming 2020 election is again highlighting the country’s apparently deep divides on race and class. A common formulation is that a hopelessly racist White working class is locked into the new Trump Republican Party which consciously has adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy based on race. The mainstream Democratic Party hope is that an electoral coalition of the young, women, suburban middle-class and union loyalists will provide a majority to dump Trump. The Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren challenge claims that White working class people can be won with an economic justice program that recognizes how insecure they really are and offers universal benefits that lift all working people economically, including African-Americans, Latinos and other economically marginalized groups.

        The campaign also offers an opportunity to look more deeply into these divisions that have plagued efforts to build majorities for economic and social justice programs. But before going there, let me make this stipulation: racial prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans runs deep in American culture and experience; all White people have in one-way-or-another, whether consciously or unconsciously imbibe in it. Prejudice + discrimination practiced by decision makers in powerful institutions constitutes racism; all-powerful American institutions have engaged in this practice. Saying this is a necessary step to understanding, and developing a strategy to end, racism. It is not a sufficient one. Sufficiency requires distinctions that I hope are illustrated in what follows.

      • Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race
      • DCCC-Backed Incumbent Henry Cuellar Gets Support From Koch Network As Progressive Primary Challenger Jessica Cisneros Picks Up Union Endorsements

        Cuellar is hosting a fundraiser in Laredo with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on February 22. 

      • Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?

        It’s a perfect time to recall a famous quote from one of the nation’s foremost philosophers, Yogi Berra: Its “déjà vu all over again.”

      • The Iowa Fallout and the Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Sanders

        Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher, had the memorable line, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

      • Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice

        One reading of the present shows us a hyped economic reality but also political and cultural realities hyped so far that simulacra is quite easily digested and regurgitated as reality. In a world of simulacra, reality is not only a vacated former presence, like a former tenant, but unrecognizable in any reappearance. It’s a war of every simulation of reality against every other similar displacement of reality.

      • Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report

        Much has been written about the murky world of the UK PR firm Cambridge Analytica – a company acting by stealth which furnished the propaganda behind successes like the election of Donald Trump along with the British vote for Brexit. One of the faces that Alexander Nix, Cambridge Analytica’s shadowy boss, liked to push was that of a young American women called Brittnay Kaiser. In her 2019 book, Kaiser admits I was just a glorified salesgirl. The book’s title – Targeted – can easily have two meanings. For one, we – or at least the voters of Donald Trump and the supporters of Brexit – have been targeted by Cambridge Analytica’s manipulative propaganda machine. The title can also mean that Brittnay Kaiser, originally a young Democrat and embued with a hefty dose of naivety, was targeted and lured into the opaque underworld of Cambridge Analytica to do their bidding.

      • ‘There Needs to Be Accountability,’ Says Ocasio-Cortez as Documents Show DNC Involvement With Iowa Caucus App

        “If the DNC was responsible for security and there were security failures, we need to address that.”

      • Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party

        If there is one issue that denotes the terminal decline of Labour as a force for change – desperately needed social, economic and environmental change – it is not Brexit. It is the constant furore over an “antisemitism crisis” supposedly plaguing the party for the past five years.

      • The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock

        Even when he’s losing, Donald Trump wins (and bigly!) every time. His secret? He knows how to tap into our nihilism with the same technique he used to milk investors of his real estate schemes. If greed is the stated ideology of capitalism, then nihilism is its less overt philosophical underpinning. A system of mass murder will eventually turn its blood lust inward, having expended itself in the endless pursuit of prey. Unlike his more technocratic cohorts across the aisle, Trump has the charisma to turn a collective death wish into a raucous, bloody spectator sport. No gradual march off the proverbial cliff, but a gleeful nosedive into the abyss. His high rise mausoleums across a mostly submerged Manhattan skyline will someday stand testament to yet another victory.

      • Post-Impeachment, House Democrats Set Sights on Barr

        House Democrats frustrated over the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump are pushing their oversight efforts toward the Justice Department and what they call Attorney General William Barr’s efforts to politicize federal law enforcement.

      • Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete

        The good news out of New Hampshire was, of course, that Bernie Sanders won – not by much, but by enough to leave no doubt as to who the winner was. There was more good news as well: Joe Biden, the former king of the moderates, is on his way to becoming toast.

      • Corporate Media’s Sanders Denialism Is Only Getting Worse

        The results from the New Hampshire primary are in—mercifully quickly—showing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders victorious with 26% of the vote, ahead of former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg with 24%. However, it was third place Amy Klobuchar, with 20%, who seemed to draw the greatest media buzz. The Minnesota senator has received a lot of press attention of late—almost all of it positive.

      • “Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman

        When the state becomes chillingly evil—enacting a Fugitive Slave Act to criminalize those helping to free slaves, or financing prisons and wars for the benefit of sociopathic profiteers—and when dissent is impotent and defiance is required, we need the sublimely mad. For his 2013 piece “A Time for ‘Sublime Madness’” (and his 2015 book Wages of Rebellion), Chris Hedges invokes William Shakespeare, William Faulkner, James Baldwin, James Cone, Black Elk, and Crazy Horse. Hedges cites Reinhold Niebuhr, who explained why “a sublime madness in the soul” is essential when the forces of repression are so powerful that liberal intellectualism results in capitulation.

      • Democrats criticize FCC for not taking action against DC station broadcasting Russian disinformation

        In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the House members led by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Michael Doyle (D-Penn.) pointed to concerns around WZHF, known as Radio Sputnik, which is based in the Washington, D.C., metro area and airs Russian propaganda without informing listeners that the information is propaganda.

        A federal judge ruled last year that the station had to register as a Russian foreign agent due to the station continuously airing Sputnik International news from Moscow.

      • Facebook to allow paid political messages that are not ads

        Policy change comes days after U.S. presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg exploited a loophole to run humorous messages promoting his campaign on the accounts of popular Instagram personalities.

        Facebook decided on February 14 to allow a type of paid political message that had sidestepped many of the social network’s rules governing political ads.

      • Warren Slams Bloomberg for Blaming 2008 Financial Meltdown On End of Redlining Policy

        “We need to confront the shameful legacy of discrimination, not lie about it like Mike Bloomberg.”

      • Democratic Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg Is a GOP Bankroller

        Over the last decade, Bloomberg helped Republicans take and maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

      • Pundits Look to Bloomberg as Their Anti-Sanders Savior

        Coming out of the first two Democratic primary states, with Bernie Sanders leading in votes and Pete Buttigieg leading in delegates, who is “starting to dominate the national political debate like no one in the past five years other than President Donald Trump”?

      • Hackers Can Seize Control of Ballots Cast Using the Voatz Voting App, Researchers Say

        Security researchers have found key flaws in a mobile voting app that some states plan to use in the 2020 election that can allow hackers to launch both client- and server-side attacks that can easily manipulate or even delete someone’s vote, as well as prevent a reliable audit from taking place after the fact, they said.

      • Surprise! MIT Study Claims Voatz E-Voting Technology Is A Security Dumpster Fire

        You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a single respected cybersecurity expert that thinks voting via smartphone is a good idea. There’s just too many potential attack vectors as your voting data floats from your personal device, across the internet, and into the final tally repository. Despite this there’s an endless chorus of political leaders, cities, and states who continue to insist they know better. From West Virginia to Washington State, the quest for great inclusivity in voting access often results in people ignoring these warnings in the belief that they’re helping.

      • A President So Unhinged That Even Bill Barr Says He’s Out of Control

        The level of alarm about Trump’s post-acquittal rampage has been predictably high—five-alarm-fire, red-siren-for-our-democracy high. Trump may have gone too far even for one of his most stalwart loyalists. In a striking interview with ABC News, released on Thursday afternoon, Attorney General William Barr broke with Trump over the President’s public demand that the Justice Department change its recommended prison sentence for Stone, Trump’s friend and adviser, who was convicted of lying to Congress and of other offenses that came out in the Mueller investigation. Barr denied overruling his own prosecutors in response to the President and agreed that Stone’s sentence should be reduced, but then he let loose on Trump, anyway. Trump’s tweets, Barr said, “make it impossible for me to do my job.” What’s more, he added, in a swipe at the President, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” Democrats, understandably, were more inclined to say “I told you so” than to give Barr the benefit of the doubt. He has, after all, been a willing accomplice in Trump’s assertion of essentially unlimited executive powers, and he only seems to be speaking out now because his own credibility has been questioned. Still, for many, the rare rebuke of Trump from his Attorney General will only underscore the grim fallout from the Senate acquittal: a President so unhinged that even Bill Barr says he is out of control.

      • Trump contradicts past denials, admits sending Giuliani to Ukraine

        Emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now openly admits to sending his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to find damaging information about his political opponents, even though he strongly denied it during the impeachment inquiry.

        The reversal came Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who asked, “Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?” Trump responded, “No, not at all,” and praised Giuliani’s role as a “crime fighter.”

      • Trump contradicts his own impeachment defense by admitting that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine

        President Donald Trump contradicted his legal team’s impeachment defense Thursday when he admitted that he sent his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to hunt for damaging information on his political rivals.

      • Bernie Sanders Takes Lead in Texas Primary Poll, Doubling Support Since October

        A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Thursday night showed Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field in the delegate-rich Super Tuesday state after doubling his support since last October.

      • Doubling Support Since October, Bernie Sanders Takes Lead in 2020 Texas Primary Poll

        Sanders surged from 12% support in October to 24% in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey.

      • You’re a Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier

        Back to Joe Biden, but, first, I need to check his age. Give me a minute. Sigh of relief. He’s 77. Maybe I have a few more years before I’m shouting, “You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier.” Still, it’s prudent to plan, confirm that my end-of-life decisions are known to my children, my siblings, and to my physicians. Reminder: advance directive.

        For added measure, I’ll be nitpickingly detailed and include the following instructions: If I ever say to anyone, “You’re a lying, dog-faced pony soldier,” do not allow me to run for president of the United States, to run for a seat on my condo board, to go outdoors on my own, or be relied on to make anything more complicated than Jello to take to one of my grandsons’ birthday parties.

      • The Benefits of Being Joe Biden’s Brother

        Jim Biden was in a bind. An investor had put up $1 million to help Jim and his nephew Hunter buy a hedge fund. Then it turned out that the fund’s assets were worth less than the Bidens had thought. Now the investor wanted its money back.

        It was December 2006, not long before Jim’s older brother and Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, then a Delaware senator, would announce his second campaign for president.

      • Buying the Presidency

        But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Oligarchy is better than tyranny. But neither is as good as democracy.

      • Michael Bloomberg Hires Fyre Festival Social Media Team

        Michael Bloomberg wants to meme his way into the presidency in 2020. He’s using the same disastrous promoter as the Fyre Festival.

      • Mike Bloomberg Is Paying Influencers to Post Fake Messages to Make Him Look Cool

        Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign is paying social media influencers and a social media firm to flood Instagram with fake messages purportedly sent by the billionaire.

      • The Irony of the Centrist-Progressive Debate

        Moderates consistently warn that progressive ideas can’t win “the middle.” But just look at the polls.

      • Rodney Garcia Epitomizes Trump’s Brand of Political Intolerance

        Montana didn’t need the very negative worldwide press it got last week when Billings Republican legislator Rodney Garcia decided to inform us that according to the U.S. Constitution, it’s OK to “shoot socialists.” For those who doubt the dangerous effects of President Trump’s unhinged rants against “socialism,” Garcia’s acceptance of personal violence against those with whom he disagrees on public policy should be a blaring warning sign — and one Montanans should universally reject.

      • Out of Their Grip: Ending the Repetition of Defeat

        I’m sure that there must be at least a few of you out there who remember the frustration, the insult and the pain of trying to move our country out of the grip of the two major parties political stranglehold and the ongoing tug-of- war between the greater and lesser evils of the Democratic and Republican parties back in 2016. As these two parties each decided to offer up their own versions of “most hated candidate ever”, a few voters had the sense and courage to use the moment of failure on their parts to attempt a breakaway by supporting, promoting and trying to elect one of the more progressive candidates ever to run for president, the Green Parties Jill Stein. I sure do. There were many long and bitter arguments that lost  some of us more than a few friends when we decided to stand-up for ourselves and our interests and refuse to accept the trash they were handing us for presidential candidates. Here we found ourselves in the vulnerable position of having to explain the horrors of Donald Trump and by no pleasure of our own, we also found ourselves in the position of having to remind everyone who Hillary Clinton was and why we preferred to not be voting for her either. Those were some interesting though unfortunate days, caught between the two evils, as they say and damned by our friends and foes alike for attempting an escape.

      • Devin Nunes Is Leading Republicans in a Post-Impeachment “Strike”

        Less than a week after President Trump lauded Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., as “the hardest worker,” the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee refused to show up for his first day back at work following the president’s impeachment trial.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution

        Leaving aside the content of the spectacular, embellished account that became Spartacus, Kirk Douglas, whose life ticked over into a century and a few years, left his own distinct mark on US cultural politics. At the very least, he managed to fashion a spear to direct through the Hollywood blacklist, an infamous compilation of the supposedly unpatriotic naughties in the film business who had sympathies, proven or otherwise, with communism. The justified question, however, is how significant his role actually was. Celebrities and thespians often assume a heft they do not have, a significance they lack.

      • Bangladesh: New Arrests Stifle Free Speech


        Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina interacts with journalists in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018.

      • SLAPP Suits And The Enemies Of Writing And Ideas

        Writer George Packer recently won the Christopher Hitchens Prize, which has been given out yearly since Hitchen’s death. The prize is awarded “to an author or journalist whose work reflects a commitment to free expression and inquiry,‭ ‬a range and depth of intellect,‭ ‬and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence.” That’s quite a noble effort. This year’s award went to the excellent writer George Packer, who gave a speech that is being passed around among many people I know, on the topic of The Enemies of Writing. It is a worthwhile and thoughtful piece, and I think it does get at a growing concern today about how certain areas of exploration are considered too taboo to even suggest that the orthodoxy is not correct. His concerns, mainly, are that writing on a taboo subject or not taking an orthodox position on certain topics will get you mauled in the court of public opinion.

      • Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem

        The all-or-nothing New Hampshire gamble of Tulsi Gabbard has come up snake eyes.

      • Trouble At The Law Firm Filing Patently Ridiculous Lawsuits On Behalf Of Tulsi Gabbard

        We’ve covered the two ridiculous lawsuits filed by Tulsi Gabbard in the past few months — one against Google and another against Hillary Clinton. In both cases, the lawsuits were filed by lawyers at the law firm Pierce Bainbridge, and we questioned why they’d want to sully their own reputation by filing lawsuits that seemed clearly destined to fail, and which only seemed to serve a PR purpose in playing to her supporters.

      • How the UK government plans to clamp down on harmful online content

        Currently, providing they’re not seen to endorse posts that contain illegal or harmful material, social media companies are largely exempt from penalties, even if a user uploads pro-terrorist material or child abuse imagery onto their platforms. This new legislation will grant Ofcom the power to force companies to remove the material more quickly, and prevent most of it from being posted in the first place.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • ABC Radio National on the Suffering and Resilience of Julian Assange

        Phillip Adams interviews John Pilger on ABC Radio National on the plight and hope and courage of Julian Assange ahead of his courtroom struggle to prevent extradition to the the United States.

      • Nigerian journalist Fejiro Oliver charged with cybercrime for corruption report

        Fejiro Oliver, the publisher of the privately owned Secret Reporters news site, is scheduled to appear in court in Nigeria’s southwestern Lagos city on May 28, 2020, after years of adjourned legal proceedings, he told CPJ. Department of State Services (DSS) agents separately questioned him three times about his reporting in 2019, he said. Oliver’s real name is Tega Oghenedoro, but he goes by his pen name.

      • UN Special Rapporteur On Torture Demolishes The Fake Claims Targeting Julian Assange

        The problem for the propaganda system targeting Assange is that Melzer is not just someone blogging on the internet; he is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. In addition, he is a professor of international law at the University of Glasgow and holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (2011–2013). Melzer even speaks fluent Swedish. In other words, it is hard to imagine anyone better qualified to comment on the Assange case.

      • Jeremy Corbyn praises Julian Assange and calls for extradition to US to be halted

        Among Wikileaks’ revelations was video footage from a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed at least nine men, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • 50th Anniversary of Abbie Hoffman’s Intro to STB

        One of the funniest bit I can remember reading about Abbie Hoffman was the time he tried to get himself arrested at a police station and the cops wouldn’t bite. His friend, and fellow Yippee, Paul Krassner said, “We went to the 9th precinct. Abbie wanted to get busted to show solidarity between the hippies and the ethnic groups. But they wouldn’t arrest him.” The Yippies had a sit-in outside the police station, where Abbie carried on, telling cops: “I want to be arrested because I’m a nigger. You’re arresting my black brothers. Arrest me.” He was invited inside the police station to talk.

      • Black America and the Presidents

        The myth of US American “greatness” is not only a right-wing narrative. Liberals too embrace the concept that the nation is fundamentally good; certainly, they insist, our worst days are behind us and we can all be grateful for the progress we’ve made. Leading us on this shining path have been enlightened figures like Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, Carter and Obama, all of whom have sought to fulfill the promise of the wise “Founding Fathers” and their brilliant (even sacred) Constitution.

      • Rush Limbaugh Gets Medal for Being the King of Creeps

        There’s a lot going on in Trumplandia these days—from the Trumpus taking his Vindman Brothers Revenge Tour (“when you take out these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he’d said) to elites everywhere freaking out over Bernie’s wondrous wins—but here’s a “little item” worth mentioning…

      • Yes, the ERA Has Been Ratified

        On January 15, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. According to the US Constitution, that makes the ERA part of “the supreme law of the land.”

      • Sugar-Coated Pimping

        “Sugaring” is an enormously profitable and growing trade. Women are being encouraged to sell sex through so-called sugar baby/sugar daddy arrangements. Online sugar dating sites, such as SeekingArrangement (SA), bypass prostitution and pimping laws by presenting the transaction as “dating with benefits.”

        A sugar arrangement is, according to the pimps and entrepreneurs, an exchange of cash, gifts or other financial and material benefits for good company. In fact, it is what is euphemistically known as the “girlfriend experience,” but often on a much longer-term basis.

      • Michael Avenatti Is Convicted of Trying to Extort Nike

        Michael Avenatti, the combative lawyer who gained fame by representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits involving President Donald Trump, was convicted Friday of trying to extort sportswear giant Nike.

      • A New Idea for the Old Problem of Corruption

        This week, United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Congressman Jim McGovern introduced a resolution to the US House of Representatives to challenge corruption at the highest levels around the world: an International Anti-Corruption Court. This novel idea, first proposed by Judge Mark Wolf in 2012, is worth considering given the desperate need to develop new mechanisms to address corruption’s severe, transnational impacts on human rights and the enduring challenge of holding kleptocrats accountable for their crimes.

        Corruption can ravage societies and be stubbornly difficult to uproot. Allowed to fester, corruption breeds poverty, violence, and instability that can spread well past a country’s borders. The World Economic Forum estimates that 5 percent of the world’s GDP is lost to corruption, and the International Monetary Fund blames it for US$1 trillion in lost tax revenue.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Alleged ‘Vault 7’ Materials Leaker On Trial, Interior Department Whistleblower Reinstated

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights the trial against alleged CIA leaker Joshua Schulte, who the government claims provided “Vault 7” materials to WikiLeaks.

        Schulte’s lawyer Sabrina Shroff, according to Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, opened the trial by maintaining the CIA did not want these documents published and the CIA had no idea how they were leaked nor do they know when, why, or who leaked them. She suggested the CIA felt pressure to blame someone and Schulte was an easy target. “All they know is WikiLeaks published the information on March 7, 2017.” 

      • Russia: Raids on Rights Defenders in Dagestan

        (Moscow) – Police in southern Russia on February 13, 2020 raided the homes and office of activists who provide legal and psychological assistance to survivors of domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. The raids took place in Makhachkala and Khasavyurt, two cities in Dagestan, a republic in Russia’s Northern Caucasus region.

        The activists targeted are partners of Stichting Justice Initiative (SJI), a nongovernmental organization (NGO) representing victims of grave human rights abuses in the North Caucasus and survivors of domestic violence in Russia. Police seized computers and electronics containing documentation pertaining to their work.

      • ‘These are the Bad Times’: Trump to Deploy Heavily Armed Border Patrol Tactical Units to Help With Immigration Arrests in Sanctuary Cities

        “It is unbelievable how much this action will undermine public safety. Unbelievable.”

      • Apple must pay store employees for bag-search time, court rules

        “Given that Apple requires its employees to wear Apple-branded apparel while working but directs them to remove or cover up such attire while outside the Apple store, it is reasonable to assume that some employees will carry their work uniform or a change of clothes in a bag in order to comply with Apple’s compulsory dress code policy,” she wrote.

        The court found that because Apple requires the employee searches, the law requires the employees to be paid for their time.

      • Murders of women and girls are soaring – are we dismissing the danger of controlling men?

        We need to stop minimising controlling behaviour, which requires a conversation about gender norms and inequality. And we need public services which believe women when they say they feel threatened or afraid, and understand that this does not look the same for all women. We need to redesign our response with women at the centre and accountability rather than invisibility of perpetrators. And for all of this we need leaders and champions across every part of public life. Without this, women will continue to be murdered at these alarming rates.

      • Asian grooming gangs: how ethnicity made authorities wary of investigating child sexual abuse

        The five-year investigation conducted by the IOPC, codenamed Operation Lindon, has produced a highly critical report. It states that the South Yorkshire police were scared to take action against a group of Asian men who were sexually abusing a young girl for fear of triggering unrest in the Asian community and being branded racist. Instead, they did little to disrupt the gang and safeguard the vulnerable victim and other young girls, even though they knew they were being subjected to horrendous sexual abuse.

        South Yorkshire police has accepted the findings of the report and said it has been developing a “far deeper understanding” of child sexual exploitation since 2014. It will now await the full and final report, which will focus on the actions of its former senior command team and whether it deliberately turned a blind eye to what it knew was happening.

      • An invasion of propaganda: Experts warn that white supremacist messages are seeping into mainstream

        “They’ve rebranded themselves,’’ Cohen said. “In the past they were viewed as racist individuals who were on the fringe or outside of mainstream society. Now their thoughts and ideas and messaging have been incorporated into the mainstream political discourse by a growing number of elected officials.’’

      • A New Face of White Supremacy: Plots Expose Danger of the ‘Base’

        Experts who have studied the Base say it seems to have followed the model of Al Qaeda and other violent Islamic groups in working to radicalize independent cells or even lone wolves who would be inspired to plot their own attacks.

        They describe the Base as an “accelerationist” organization, seeking to speed the collapse of the country and give rise to a state of its own in the Pacific Northwest by killing minorities, particularly African-Americans and Jews.

      • Syria Passes Resolution Condemning Turkish Genocide of Assyrians, Armenians

        The Syrian Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday that called for the recognition and condemnation of the genocide of Armenians, Assyrians, and Syriacs that took place in the early part of the 20th Century.

      • Court of Appeal ruling will force women to discriminatory Sharia courts

        The judgment says that the state does not have a human right obligation to recognise religious marriage. Whilst we agree, this case provided an opportunity for the Court to address the cultural and religious barriers that prevent minority women from opting into the formal marriage system and to provide access to legal remedies where there is such manifest unfairness in the process of marriage.

      • Did Amy Klobuchar Condemn an Innocent Teenager to Life in Prison?

        After a surprising third-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is attempting to gain ground in the national polls. But Klobuchar is also facing mounting scrutiny over her record as a district attorney in Minnesota. The Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities and other racial justice groups recently called on Klobuchar to suspend her presidential campaign following a shocking investigation by the Associated Press. The AP report centered on the case of Myon Burrell, an African-American teenager who was sentenced to life in prison over the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. Klobuchar led the case against Myon Burrell when she was Hennepin County’s district attorney, but the AP report says she may have mishandled the case and that Burrell could be innocent. The Associated Press report shows how prosecutors had no DNA or fingerprints tying Burrell to the murder and that they relied on jailhouse informants, some of whom have since recanted their testimonies. Burrell has always maintained his innocence. On the campaign trail, Klobuchar has cited the jailing of Burrell as one of her achievements and brought up the conviction during a debate in September. We speak with Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights attorney, activist, head of the Racial Justice Network and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP. “It’s shocking at this point that Amy Klobuchar is still in the race for president of the United States, given the significance of Myon Burrell’s case,” she says.

      • Judge Who Originally Approved Sketchy UNC ‘Silent Sam’ Settlement Now Voids Deal, Realizing ‘Confederate’ Group Had No Standing

        Back in December, we wrote about the crazy situation in North Carolina, mostly unearthed by lawyer Greg Doucette, that the University of North Carolina had “settled” a lawsuit before it was even filed. The background story was crazy, and this is only the briefest of summaries. The “Silent Sam” statue was put onto the UNC campus by the “United Daughters of the Confederacy” in 1913 as part of a process that happened throughout the south many decades after the Confederacy lost the Civil War to try to put in place racist monuments and to pretend that there was some noble cause behind the war to defend enslaving people. As more and more people have recognized the racist purpose, history and intent of these monuments, many have been removed. Students at UNC toppled the Silent Sam statue a few years ago, and the University has basically just tried to avoid talking about it since, especially as racist-celebrating officials tried to legislate that such monuments to racism must stay put.

      • The $290 Billion Noongar Claim: It’s the Constitution, It’s Justice, It’s Mabo… It’s The Vibe!

        In The Castle, Darryl Kerrigan captured the essence of belonging when he said, “It’s not a house – it’s a home”. The notion that the monetary value of land is not a measure of the true value of the spiritual and cultural connection to country, of which that land is just the geographic marker, will soon be tested in a case of major importance.

    • Monopolies

      • How the T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Will Increase Inequality

        Since economic power leads to political power, these companies have used their resources to lobby for rules and regulations that further narrow the scope of antitrust laws and harm consumers.

      • ‘Proof will be in pudding’ for China trade deal, say US lawyers

        Law professors, in-house counsel and private practice lawyers say trade secrets are among the agreement’s most important provisions, and express mixed views on the deal’s efficacy

      • Patents

        • Nokia and its trolls are losing left and right: LG defeats Conversant case in Munich over Nokia patent two days after Nokia itself lost to Daimler

          The patent-in-suit, EP1173986 on a “method and arrangement for managing packet data transfer in a cellular system,” was incorrectly alleged to be essential to the 4G/LTE cellular standard. Nokia’s privateer asserted its broadest method claim (claim 1) and two apparatus claims of similar breadth, but to no avail. The court concluded that the transmission of a traffic volume indicator (TVI) in accordance with the LTE specification does not involve a direct selection of a channel as claimed by the patent. As a result, the LTE standard does not require any technical step going beyond the prior art.

          The Nokia patents transferred to Conversant, which is basically acting as a licensing agency for the Finnish failed handset maker, have generally performed very poorly in litigation. Last month the Munich I Regional Court held an early first hearing in a Conversant v. Daimler case, and that patent doesn’t appear to have impressed anyone either.

          Nokia failed on Tuesday (Mannheim), indirectly (because it used Conversant as its front) failed on Thursday (Munich), and we’ll probably hear very soon that mediation with Daimler and its suppliers failed this week, too.

        • Mediation between Nokia and Daimler as well as its suppliers fails definitively: European Commission must act swiftly and forcefully

          A first round of talks had failed in January for the reasons I mentioned then. The fact that the supposedly super-secretive mediation process was pretty transparent to me–thanks to certain sources–even sparked a peripheral controversy at last week’s Nokia v. Daimler trial in Munich.

          A second round of talks was held this week, and went nowhere–for the very same reasons that the first round had failed. Nokia simply wouldn’t consider extending an exhaustive component-level license to Daimler’s suppliers, and Nokia continued to refuse to put highly relevant SEP license agreements with smartphone makers on the table.

          Let’s give the mediator the benefit of the doubt: he gave this another try just because he was unrealistic, not because it helped produce billable hours.

          The European Commission’s request that the parties engage in mediation–instead of doing the job European citizens pay them for–was a bad idea in the first place. It set a terrible precedent and made Mrs. Vestager, who earned herself a reputation as a determined competition enforcer during the first time, appear very weak.

          Interestingly, the fact that last week’s Munich trial went very well for Nokia didn’t bring the parties closer to a deal. Maybe no one believes that the Munich court will seriously interpret a key sentence in the Court of Justice of the EU’s Huawei v. ZTE ruling as if “and” meant “or.” It’s also possible that Nokia’s piecemeal injunction strategy–with an explicit carve-out for Samsung subsidiary Harman Becker for the time being–means even a ruling in Nokia’s favor on April 9 wouldn’t give the failed handset maker much leverage.

        • UC Berkeley gene-editing technology patent upheld by European Patent Office

          The European Patent Office, or EPO, upheld a patent on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology following an opposition proceeding that took place from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7.

          The opposition proceedings were part of the EPO’s standard procedure, according to an email from Cate Cronin, a member of UC Berkeley’s public relations team for CRISPR-Cas9 matters. This procedure grants a nine-month window for a party to file an opposition on patents.

          These oppositions can be filed anonymously and are common in commercially important patents. In these cases, oppositions are primarily filed by opposing parties with a commercial interest in the patents.

          Cronin said in the email that the CRISPR-Cas9 patent had seven opponents.

          “Not all of the parties that have challenged UC’s patent from the EPO are publicly known,” Cronin said in the email. “They were filed as ‘straw men,’ which is a way for parties to obscure their identities while filing an opposition.”

        • European Patent Office (EPO) Upholds Foundational CRISPR Patent Owned by UC, Univ. of Vienna, and Charpentier

          On February 10, 2020, the European Patent Office Opposition Division announced the results of an opposition filed against patent EP2800811, owned by the Regents of University of California, University of Vienna, and Emanuelle Charpentier (collectively, UC/UV/Charpentier), with claims directed to methods and compositions of Cas9 and a single-guide RNA. The decision, which comes after three days of oral proceedings on February 5-February 7, 2020, upheld the patentability of the claims, and required only minor amendments, and the cancellation of two dependent claims. While the European Patent Office (EPO) hasn’t yet provided details of their decision, a non-binding opinion of the EP Opposition Board dated, August 30, 2019, found that the patent meets the European Patent Convention (EPC) requirements for novelty, inventive step, and sufficiency, but violated added matter requirements for only some dependent claims. A written decision from the Opposition Division will follow.

        • Software Patents

          • Open Source Voice Assistant Promises To ‘Nuke From Orbit’ Patent Troll

            Open source voice assistant company Mycroft AI (which we actually wrote about years back) appears to be the latest startup to recognize that the only way to properly deal with patent trolls is to fight back. This strategy was first pioneered by online retailer Newegg, whose refusal to give in to any patent trolls eventually (after years of litigation) meant that patent trolls stopped trying to shake the company down. More recently, Cloudlfare has taken a similarly successful approach.

          • Can computers invent? EPO says no to AI inventors

            In a landmark ruling, the European Patent Office (EPO) has provided its opinion on whether an AI system can be designated as an inventor on a European patent application.

            The decision: No.

            The reason: inventors under the European Patent Convention (EPC) are understood to be ‘natural persons’. That is to say, the inventor(s) must have a legal personality. The two patent applications at the centre of the EPO’s decision both named the inventor as a machine called “DABUS”, which is “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”.

            The EPO also noted that this approach – requiring a human to be designated as the inventor – was consistent with the national approaches taken within European countries and the international consensus evident from China, Japan, Korea and the USA.


            Philosophical questions regarding AI personalities aside, a historical precedent has been set by the EPO in this regard. If inventors want patents involving AI/Machine Learning, all inventors named on the application will have to be natural persons.

          • Can AI Be An Inventor? Not At The European Patent Office.

            The European Patent Office has denied two patent applications on the grounds that an AI system cannot be listed as the inventor.

            For the first time, the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued a ruling on its approach to patent applications that designate artificial intelligence (AI) systems as inventors. In January 2020, the EPO published its reasons for rejecting two patent applications where the inventor named on the applications was an AI system called “DABUS.” The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has also rejected the applications on similar grounds.

          • Federal Circuit: Server Is Not A Regular And Established Place Of Business

            Today, the Federal Circuit granted a writ of mandamus, ordering the Eastern District of Texas to dismiss or transfer a case for lack of venue. This order is the latest in a series of Federal Circuit decisions, post-TC Heartland, where the Eastern District of Texas has tried to hold on to patent cases even when venue isn’t appropriate.

            Patent Plaintiffs Want Venue In Texas

            In a case decided soon after TC Heartland, E.D. Texas Judge Gilstrap found venue appropriate due to a remote employee who chose to live in the Eastern District, even though the defendant company hadn’t established any locations in the district. The Federal Circuit found that to be an abuse of discretion—a “fixed physical location in the district is [] a prerequisite to proper venue.”

            So, in a follow-on case involving SEVEN Networks, the Eastern District turned around and decided that collocating servers in a district was the type of fixed physical location that justified venue. Google requested mandamus, and the Federal Circuit denied mandamus and rehearing. Several judges presciently noted in their dissent from denial that the denial would “leave unanswered a critical issue that increasingly affects venue in legal actions involving e-commerce.”

            After this decision, NPEs began to file lawsuits against companies with collocated servers in E.D. Texas. Those cases included the one the Federal Circuit decided today—Super Interconnect Technologies (SIT) v. Google—filed only four days after the denial of mandamus.

          • Is the Broad Institute planning a last-ditch attempt to save their CRISPR patent?

            Last month the EPO dismissed the Broad Institute’s appeal (T 844/18) in the high profile dispute relating to one of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents (EP2771468). At the hearing, the Board of Appeal deemed it unnecessary to refer the issue of priority to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA). Many thought this would be the end of the road for the patent. However, in one last-ditch attempt to save their patent, it seems that Broad Institute is now laying the groundwork for a petition for review, the extraordinary legal remedy by which the EBA may review decisions of the Board of Appeal. None-the-less, even if the EPO amended the minutes in line with the Broad’s requests, in this GuestKat’s view there seems to be little prospect that the EBA would be willing to grant a petition for review.


            The opponents 1 and 2 have already objected to the Broad Institute’s proposed changes to the minutes. The procedure for such disagreements about the minutes of oral proceedings is not provided for in the Rules. As of today, the opponents have merely submitted that they dispute the need for the proposed changes. They further request that the EPO defers any decision to correct the minutes until the opponents have filed more detailed submissions.

            Under what grounds might the opponents challenge the change to the minutes? The opponents may disagree that the corrections proposed by the Broad Institute are an accurate reflection of events at the hearing. Alternatively, the opponents may argue that the correction of the minutes would serve no useful purpose and that even with the correction, a request for a petition of review would be clearly inadmissible.

            The EPO will be under pressure to resolve the dispute quickly. The deadline for filing a petition for review is 2 months from the Board of Appeal decision.

          • Pebble Tide LLC v. Arlo Technologies, Inc. (D. Del. 2020)

            A few weeks ago, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware granted Defendants’ Rule 12 motions in three different cases, each naming Pebble Tide LLC (hereinafter, “Pebble”) as Plaintiff. The Defendants in the three cases were Arlo Technologies, Inc., Uniden America Corp., and Petcube, Inc. In granting the Rule 12 motions, the Court found the claims of two asserted patents — U.S. Patent Nos. 10,261,739 (the ’739 patent) and 10,303,411 (the ’411 patent) — to be invalid as being patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.


            In applying the first part of the Alice test, the Court deemed claim 1 to be directed to an abstract idea of “wirelessly outputting data from one device to another,” citing Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc. (“we have consistently held that similar claims reciting the collection, transfer and publishing of data are directed to an abstract idea”) in support of this conclusion. The Court also reached this conclusion based on the similarities between this claim and those held by the Federal Circuit to be abstract in ChargePoint, Inc. v. SemaConnect, Inc. (“abstract claims directed to transmitting data from one device to another”). The Court also found the claim to be lacking technical details, stating that both the claims and the patents’ specification merely describe the recited components in functional terms.

            Turning to second part of the Alice test, the Court shot down a variety of seemingly scattered attempts at Pebble arguing that the claims recite an inventive concept, even after considering some constructions that Pebble more-recently proposed. For instance, the Court briefly dismissed Pebble’s notions that the “information apparatus” (which the specification states “generally refer[s] to computing devices”) or the interplay of the job object process and the device object process is inventive.

      • Copyrights

        • Disqualification of a Party’s Expert Who Migrates to the Firm of a Court-Appointed Expert

          An order by Judge Alsup in Oracle Am., Inc. v. Google, LLC (N.D. Cal. Jan 28, 2020 (here)) reflects an unusual fact pattern. The court had appointed an expert (in docket 2143, which by itself says a lot) who worked with the firm of Charles River Associates (“CRA”). Google had an expert, Dr. Leonard. Google notified Oracle that Dr. Leonard was to become “affiliated” with CRA, prompting Oracle to file an “objection” with the court.

          In response, Judge Alsup issued an order stating the most it could say so far was “that Dr. Leonard (and Google) have made this move at their peril.” He asked for motion practice and an appropriate record.

        • Oracle’s brief: More competing questions

          We’re reading the Google and Oracle briefs in my Introduction to Intellectual Property class this semester as part of the concluding exercise for the unit on copyright. On Monday we’ll discuss and debate the two positions in small groups then see which is most persuasive to a group of smart law students with a few weeks of copyright law.

        • Warhorse Studios Hilariously Infringes Pirates’ Copyrights to “Support the Developer”

          The developer of action role-playing game Kingdom Come: Deliverance has hilariously turned the tables on the cracking group that first put a pirated copy of its game on the Internet. With its tongue planted firmly in cheek, the Czech company is now selling limited edition metal posters of Codex’s game-accompanying NFO file, hoping that sales of the high-quality knock-off will “support the developer”.

        • Activision Tries To Bury Cover Art For New CoD Game Via Copyright Threat…So Let’s All Look At It Together, Shall We?

          Of all the dumb ways that the DMCA process has been misused in the very recent past, one of the most frustratingly stupid certainly has to be certain interests using it to try to bottle up leaks. From Nintendo to Universal to Marvel, among others, each and every time some content, often times unfinished, gets leaked onto the internet, the lawyers fire off a bunch of DMCA notices to try to get the content taken down. And each and every time, the whole thing backfires completely and instead this leaked content gets Streisanded into the public consciousness.

        • YouTube TV Is Blocking Apple In-App Subscriptions Starting in March

          YouTube TV is stopping support for in-app subscriptions on Apple devices altogether in March.

        • BitTorrent ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawsuits Skyrocket In Sweden

          The number of piracy lawsuits filed against alleged file-sharing pirates in Sweden hit a record high in 2019. In total, more than 60,000 IP-addresses of alleged BitTorrent users were targeted. The information was made available by the local Internet provider Bahnhof, which labels the ‘copyright trolling’ practice as extortion.

        • Judge Shuts Down Copyright Troll’s Cut-And-Run Effort; Hits It With $40K In Legal Fees

          The art of copyright trolling is completely artless. There’s no subtlety to it. Flood federal courts with filings against Does, expedite discovery requests in hopes of subpoenaing a sue-able name from a service provider, shower said person with threats about statutory damages and/or public exposure of their sexual proclivities, secure a quick settlement, and move on.

Microsoft Views ‘Open Source’ as a Zero-Cost Heist Opportunity (Making Proprietary Software/Spyware Using Other People’s Free Labour)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products.”

Arno Edelmann, Microsoft

Summary: Making GPL-licensed (copyleft) software and hosting it outside Microsoft’s jaws is the best way to counter the abusive monopolist, which still says it “loves” what it is actually attacking

THE crooks have taken a Web browser that they did not develop (it started with KDE). They have also taken and now spy on an operating system they slimed for 3 decades. They’ve built a proprietary Web browser and a proprietary operating system using those bits.

“Microsoft isn’t open source (or Open Source) but proprietary.”When Microsoft says something to the effect of being "open source company" we must also remember that GitHub is proprietary software controlled by Microsoft. Anything that’s there is basically controlled by Microsoft, so it’s hardly surprising that Microsoft shelved many of its things there since 2014 (when it reportedly planned to buy GitHub and mostly ambushed that platform).

Microsoft isn’t open source (or Open Source) but proprietary. Those who relay the ‘Microsoft ❤️ Linux’ and/or ‘Microsoft ❤️ Open Source’ lies say a lot about themselves. They’re more often corrupt rather than gullible (they lie intentionally).

People who still push code into GitHub basically give that code as a ‘gift’ to Microsoft. Not too clever a thing to do in 2020…

“Their own products are major failures (VoIP, CodePlex, MSN Spaces and so on), so they try making up for it by taking more loans/debt (from misguided shareholders).”Similarly, social control media typically means you’re a ‘guest’ at ‘your’ platform and clown computing (“cloud”) means you’re a ‘guest’ at ‘your’ own business. Listening devices obliterate any remnants of one's dignity (and that of one’s family, house guests etc.) — a subject more sites ought to speak out about.

Only with Free software — copyleft in particular — people can make sure they control their own destiny. If their host does not respect software freedom, then that host is merely stalking and exploiting. Arno Edelmann’s words (at the top) say quite a lot about what Microsoft was back then and remains to this day, bar the acquisitions (except of entire platforms, such as Skype, GitHub and LinkedIn). Their own products are major failures (VoIP, CodePlex, MSN Spaces and so on), so they try making up for it by taking more loans/debt (from misguided shareholders). Yes, despite the lies they sometimes lose a lot of money. It’s not even a new problem.

“Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, declared a profit of $4.5 billion in 1998; when the cost of options awarded that year, plus the change in the value of outstanding options, is deducted, the firm made a loss of $18 billion, according to Smithers.”

The Economist, 1999

Did Microsoft ‘Buy’ ZDNet?

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Snapshot from this morning (not out of the ordinary)

Did Microsoft 'Buy' ZDNet?

Summary: A look at what ZDNet tells its readers (screenshot from this morning) and a rare look at how its writers are censored/suppressed

Microsoft's PR censorship
How Microsoft’s chief PR person (from the army) talks to other Microsoft staff for merely being honest

Old mail from Mary, who covers Microsoft for ZDNet
Old mail from Mary, who covers Microsoft for ZDNet

Old mail from Mary, who covers Microsoft for ZDNet
Some things never change

“The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”

Wired Magazine

Anatomy of a Crime and Protection From Prosecution

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Law, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: Did Battistelli ‘Steal’ ~100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

Illegally Gambles EPO Money and Loses 97 million euros in one year... Gets to Run a Law School

Summary: It’s hard to forget what António Campinos hides for his friend

Today’s EPO is a Fraud Managed by Frauds

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud, Patents at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

These are the people who instruct the EPO on management of billions of euros it’s not supposed to even have

Mercer tax

Summary: Beneath the scandals associated with systematic abuse against staff, union-busting (silencing whistleblowers) and en masse granting of invalid patents — the hallmark of grotesque maladministration — lie a bunch of even greater crimes

THE NEXT batch of Daily Links will contain a bunch of ‘news’ items (we use scare quotes because the authors are law firms, not actual journalists) about “DABUS”, CRISPR and Brexit/UPC. The European Patent Office (EPO) has said nothing new in quite some time and António Campinos has published no photo ops for a number of weeks. The short story is, more CRISPR patents are being pushed onto the EPO, more software patents are rejected by courts (all software patents are likely invalid in Europe), Team UPC keeps lying to itself — to the point of hilarity — in the midst of Brexit, and IP Kat (now AstraZeneca) hopes for a reversal after BoA — in defiance of the spirit of a crook — said “no” to patents on CRISPR. Across the Atlantic it’s also more or less the same; 35 U.S.C. § 101 continues to crush software patents, Koch-funded scholars want a “STRONGER” scam, and the whole Coons-led effort turns out to have been a miserable failure (again, for the third year in a row).

“It does not seem and it does not even ‘feel’ like anything is improving (certainly not quality of patents)…”It is profoundly disappointing that EPO staff is still unable to find justice. It’s not entirely shocking or surprising; we should still aim higher. How are patent examiners expected to do their job properly when they clearly lack the liberty to apply the law as they see fit? Patent maximalists have hijacked key institutions and there’s no restitution.

It’s far too easy to grow tired of responding to the EPO’s inane tweets (almost a dozen of these every day), in which they promote a lie about 50% of the time (the rest are pure fluff or repetition). It does not seem and it does not even ‘feel’ like anything is improving (certainly not quality of patents) and days ago there was a meeting which discussed austerity measures implemented by Campinos while spending billions of euros on new (and unnecessary) buildings, not to mention gambling. Need we add that Mercer with his shiny ‘reports’ now decides how to run the EPO, based on a hoax?

“And perhaps more importantly, is it lawful to bribe the media and bribe academia to not talk about these issues?”We couldn’t help but notice that SUEPO mentioned INPI scandals yesterday (it’s all in French). Don’t forget that many INPI people and their families are still in charge of today’s EPO, never mind its French-born and French-taught president Campinos, an old friend of Battistelli who owes a lot to him and would do anything to cover up his crimes. Ironically this criminal now runs a law school — the same one previously run by Campinos. Do they teach law there in order to train people to break it? And perhaps more importantly, is it lawful to bribe the media and bribe academia to not talk about these issues?


One Need Only Look at ZDNet’s ‘Linux’ Section to Understand It’s a Microsoft Propaganda Operation

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: The Microsoft Propaganda Model

ZDNet's 'Linux' Section

Summary: A timely new snapshot (or screenshot) that demonstrates what ZDNet became after hiring Microsoft employees as ‘journalists’ and censoring on behalf of Microsoft, defaming Free software figures and so on

Links 14/2/2020: New Release of KStars, OpenSSH 8.2, Rhythmbox 3.4.4, Flatpak 1.6.2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux is our love language

      2019 was a year of learning in the Cherry household. I am a senior software engineer who set out to learn new skills and, along the way, I taught my husband, Chris. By teaching him some of the things I learned and asking him to work through my technology walkthrough articles, I helped Chris learn new skills that enabled him to pivot his career deeper into the technology field. And I learned new ways to make my walkthroughs and training materials more accessible for readers to digest.

      In this article, we talk about what we learned individually and from each other, then we explore what it means for their future.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • There’s a ‘Windows 12 Lite’ OS in the market but you shouldn’t use it

        Microsoft has its own Windows NT kernel, based on which is the latest Windows 10 operating system. But as interesting as it may sound, there’s a Windows OS version based on Linux kernel as well. Spotted by a Redditor and shared by Liliputing website, there is a ‘Windows 12 Lite’ operating system available in the market. It has been mentioned that Windows 12 Lite, a software that has not been announced officially anywhere, is a Linux distro based on LiteOS that has a Windows 10 wallpaper.

        From the image of the pamphlet shared by the Reddit user and the official website named webhouses.co.uk/lite, ‘Windows 12 Lite’ is said to be for those users who wish to upgrade from Windows 7. “Lite’s 4.8 desktop is designed for those who migrate from Windows 7 with the Lite background. You just add it to your pictures then select it as background using System settings,” states the website.

      • System76 Launches New AMD Threadripper Machine

        System76 has added an AMD Threadripper option for their Thelio desktop lineup.

        The most successful retailer of Linux-based desktops, laptops, and servers has announced a new addition to their popular Thelio desktop lineup. The new option, part of the Thelio Major model, adds AMD’s 64 Core Threadripper 3990X CPU into the mix. This system can compile the Linux kernel in 24 seconds, apply a circular motion blur in 44 seconds, and render a Blender scene in 76 seconds. That’s incredibly fast.

        The Threadripper Thelio Major has been optimized for the heat produced by the 280 watt, 64-Core CPU, which was a serious undertaking. System76 accomplished the task by using a 5.5″ duct that pulls air from inside the system, directs it across a heat sink, and then (drawing the heated air through copper piping) sends it out of the machine through the rear. This method compartmentalized the GPU and CPU heat sources as well as the air that is used to cool the individual chips.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes season 4 episode 2: Mainframes

        The story of a small team of rebel employees at General Electric who built a mainframe that pushed computing from a niche market to the mainstream.

      • Kubernetes on bhyve | BSD Now 337

        Happinesses and stresses of full-time FOSS work, building a FreeBSD fileserver, Kubernetes on FreeBSD bhyve, NetBSD 9 RC1 available, OPNSense 20.1 is here, HardenedBSD’s idealistic future, and more.

      • 2020-02-13 | Linux Headlines

        IBM brings Kubernetes to the mainframe, PeerTube 2.1 is packed with polish, lazy image loading is slowly coming to Firefox, and find out which podcast was awarded Podcast of the Year.

    • Kernel Space

      • Penguin Tux – An Interesting story behind Linux Mascot

        One such old and well-recognized mascot is Tux. Tux is a cutesy, chubby penguin that is sitting down and is an official mascot to Linux Kernel, one of the oldest open source monolithic, Unix-like operating system kernel. The Linux family that is represented by this little waterfowl is based on this kernel and developed on both traditional as well as personal computers and servers, usually in the same format of other Linux distributions on different embedded devices like.

      • Hwangsaeul Is A Collabora-Backed Open-Source Video Surveillance SRT System

        Collabora under contract with SK Telecom has been working on Hwangsaeul as a new open-source platform for relaying security system surveillance video feeds from multiple sources, recording them on the centralized server, and supports connected clients for watching the feeds.

      • Accelerating netfilter with hardware offload, part 2

        As network interfaces get faster, the amount of CPU time available to process each packet becomes correspondingly smaller. The good news is that many tasks, including packet filtering, can be offloaded to the hardware itself. The bad news is that the Linux kernel required quite a bit of work to be able to take advantage of that capability. The first article in this series provided an overview of how hardware-based packet filtering can work and the support for this feature that already existed in the kernel. This series now concludes with a detailed look at how offloaded packet filtering works in the netfilter subsystem and how administrators can make use of it.

        The offload capability was added by a patch set from Pablo Neira Ayuso, merged in the kernel 5.3 release and updated thereafter. The goal of the patch set was to add support for offloading a subset of the netfilter rules in a typical configuration, thus bypassing the kernel’s generic packet-handling code for packets filtered by the offloaded rules. It is not currently possible to offload all of the rules, as that would require additional support from the underlying hardware and in the netfilter code. The use case and some of the internals are mentioned in Neira’s slides [PDF] from the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference.

      • The 5.6 merge window opens

        As of this writing, 4,726 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.6 development cycle. That is a relatively slow start by contemporary kernel standards, but it still is enough to bring a number of new features, some of which have been pending for years, into the mainline. Read on for a summary of the changes pulled in the early part of the 5.6 merge window.

      • Cavium OCTEON Driver Support For Linux Is Coming Back From The Dead

        It looks like the Cavium/Marvell OCTEON MIPS-based processor support is being restored for Linux systems after some of its drivers were briefly removed.

        For the current Linux 5.6 cycle, some OCTEON drivers were dropped. Those drivers had been living in the kernel’s staging area but fell into disrepair and with no one at the time taking over the maintenance burden, they were removed for Linux 5.6 as part of cleaning up the staging area.

      • F2FS Root File-System Support For Clear Linux Appears To Be Coming

        Clear Linux looks poised to join the ranks of the few Linux distributions allowing it to run off an F2FS root file-system.

        There recently has been some mailing list discussions and patches proposed for adding F2FS root file-system support to Clear Linux and also exposing it as a file-system option in the Clear installer. Not many Linux distributions yet offer F2FS as an easy-to-enable option for the root file-system.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Developers Discuss LTO’ing + PGO’ing Builds For Greater Performance

          Making use of Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) and Profile Guided Optimizations (PGO) is currently being talked about by Mesa developers for their release builds in potentially squeezing out better performance.

          Dieter Nützel shared that when using LTO and PGO compiler optimizations on Mesa, he’s able to get RadeonSI’s binary size 40% smaller and 16~20% faster for this OpenGL driver. Link-time optimizations are about as the name implies running optimization passes during the linker phase when able to analyze the to-be-produced binary in full rather than the individual object files in order to allow for more inter-procedural optimizations on the whole program.

        • Open-Source Nouveau Extended To Support The GeForce 16 Series With Hardware Acceleration

          With the big Linux 5.6 kernel on the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver side there is finally accelerated support for the GeForce RTX 2000 “Turing” graphics cards (when paired with binary-only microcode). With that initial cut support is no GeForce 16 series Turing support, but that is now on-deck for Linux 5.7.

          While the GeForce 16 series is Turing based and just without the RTX cores, firmware/microcode differences and other subtle changes were needed to the Nouveau kernel driver for enabling its open-source hardware accelerated support.

        • Radeon “sisched” Scheduler Is Made Obsolete By RADV’s ACO Back-End

          It’s been years since last hearing anything about sisched as the SI machine instruction scheduler that started out for the RadeonSI OpenGL driver and was ultimately supported by the RADV Vulkan driver too.

          Years ago, SISCHED helped offer better open-source AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance but those days are over. The scheduler was made part of the AMDGPU LLVM back-end and that sisched code hasn’t seen any new work in ages. Now with Valve’s ACO taking off so well since its mainlining in Mesa 19.3 as an alternative to the AMDGPU LLVM back-end, it pretty much nails the coffin on SISCHED.

        • Intel Blackhole Render Support Lands In Mesa 20.1

          Intel Blackhole Render support was finally merged today for the new Intel “Iris” Gallium3D OpenGL driver default, the older i965 driver for pre-Broadwell hardware, and also the Mesa state tracker for Gallium3D drivers.

          Proposed back in 2018 was the Intel blackhole render extension for OpenGL / GLES as an extension to disable all rendering operations emitted to the GPU through OpenGL rendering commands but without affecting OpenGL pipeline operations.

        • TURNIP Open-Source Adreno Vulkan Driver Adds A618 Support, Sysmem Rendering

          While the open-source Intel “ANV” and Radeon “RADV” Vulkan drivers get talked about a lot, one of the lesser known Vulkan drivers within Mesa is Turnip but it’s been gaining steam recently.

          Turnip is the open-source Vulkan driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware and basically falls into the Freedreno umbrella. With Freedreno Gallium3D for OpenGL being in very good shape, we are finally seeing more activity on Turnip both by Google engineers and community developers.

    • Applications

      • Rhythmbox 3.4.4 Adds ListenBrainz Plugin, New App Icon

        A new version of Rhythmbox, Ubuntu’s default music player app, is available.

        Rhythmbox 3.4.4 is a small update to this venerable player and was released back in January (but I’ve only just heard about it).

        As Rhythmbox is no longer the default GNOME music player (a role now filled by the rather anaemic GNOME Music app) this player hasn’t seen much major development for some time.

        But it’s not abandoned, as this update, the fourth bug fix update in the 3.4.x series, shows.

        So what’s new?

      • 9 Best Free Linux CAD Software

        Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology for the design of objects, real or virtual. It often refers to the drafting (technical drawing and engineering drawing) of a part or product, including entire buildings. However, CAD software is used in a wide variety of other fields such as electronics and woven fabrics.

        CAD software may be used to design curves and figures in two-dimensional (“2D”) space; or curves, surfaces, or solids in three-dimensional (“3D”) objects.

        The Windows CAD world has long been dominated by the extremely powerful AutoCAD software. Unfortunately, Unix support was dropped way back in 1994, and its authors, Autodesk, have no current plans to bring it to Linux. Whilst it is possible to run AutoCAD in Linux using Wine, the fact remains that it is expensive software, with no source code available. This article instead focuses on CAD software released under a freely distributable license, yet which retains a lot of the functionality offered by AutoCAD.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Proton 5.0-2 Released To Fix Crashes For Steam Play Linux Gamers

        Proton 5.0-2 is out with fixes over last week’s big Proton 5.0-1 release that brought many features to this Wine 5.0 downstream focused on powering Valve’s Steam Play for running Windows games nicely on Linux.

        Proton 5.0-1 was their first release in moving from Wine 4.11 to the stable Wine 5.0 along with enabling DXVK’s Direct3D 9 by default, updates to DXVK and FAudio, and many other changes. With all the changes at play, to little surprise there is this point release out now focused on addressing the early fall-out.

    • Games

      • Delivering the goods with “Ninja Pizza Girl” on Linux and Steam

        Like me, you probably have a bunch of games in your Steam library that you picked up at some point, but have never played. Such is the case for Ninja Pizza Girl which I probably got through a Humble Bundle, however long ago.

      • Serious Sam Collection & Panzer Dragoon announced for Stadia plus some timed exclusives

        It might still be rough but Google’s Stadia game streaming service is starting to pull in more games, with a bunch being announced today that look interesting.

        Firstly and perhaps unsurprisingly, The Serious Sam Collection which will blend Serious Sam 1-3 into a single experience was announced for Stadia. Not surprising since Croteam spent a lot of time getting Vulkan support in with Serious Sam Fusion, plus Alen Ladavac co-founder of Croteam went over to Stadia. No exact date yet for The Serious Sam Collection.

      • Librem 5 Game Development

        Many people learn to code through making games for their computer or phone. One of the things I love most about the Librem 5 is that it’s a full computer in your pocket that isn’t locked-down like Android and iOS. This means you get access to more programming languages, tools, frameworks and engines than they do. In this post I’ll showcase popular free and open source game frameworks and engines running on, or building games for, the Librem 5. I’ll be continuously testing new projects and adding them to the list, so if you have a favorite that’s not here yet let us know and I will get to it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Show Your Love for Free Software

          In recent decades, Free and open source software (FOSS) has increasingly been the enabling factor for advances in areas we probably aren’t even aware of. If software is still spreading around the world, FOSS had already spread through the software world. All of that is only possible because of striving communities that push solutions forward with an amazing flow of continuous passion and love for nice technology, open knowledge, and supporting people. KDE is not any different – we have all been involved in such a lovely addiction for 23 years.

          Today, February 14th 2020, The Free Software Foundation Europe calls everyone to express their gratitude to all FOSS contributors around the world with the eleventh annual “I Love Free Software” campaign. It’s a day when we focus on drawing everyone’s attention to the amazing work done by thousands of FOSS contributors from many communities, most of them voluntarily dedicating their spare time to create high-quality software technology readily and openly available to everyone.

          What about you? Have you or your company/university been using Free software lately? Have you already thought about contributing back to that amazing FOSS community that creates the applications you use daily? It’s certainly a very rewarding and inspiring experience, with a lot of contributions made possible by people from different backgrounds.

        • KStars v3.4.0 is Released

          Celebrate Valentines’ Day with some KStars Love! Happy to announce the release of KStars 3.4.0 on February 14th, 2020 on Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

          What’s new with this release?

    • Distributions

      • Solus Ships Linux Kernel 5.5 And Noveau Driver For v4.1 Fortitude

        Weeks after the release of the new version 4.1 “Fortitude,” Solus has come up with the latest enhancements and hundreds of package updates for audio and video drivers.

        To further improve the security and latest hardware support, Solus replaces the current Linux Kernel 5.4 with v5.5 series to include a bunch of new features such as support for Raspberry Pi 4 and Logitech keyboard driver for the better gaming experience.

      • Solus Gets Linux Kernel 5.5, Deprecates Nvidia 340 Legacy Driver

        Solus follows a rolling release model where the user installs the operating system once and receives updates forever. The latest update pack brings the recently released Linux 5.5 kernel series, which introduces full Raspberry Pi 4 support, cross device offloaded copy for NFS clients, Btrfs RAID1 with 3- and 4- copies, and much more. This means better hardware support for your Solus installations.

        The ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) sound system has been updated as well with the latest Solus update pack, greatly improving audio by improved support for devices like Broadwell Audio DSPs, Gigabyte Motherboards with dual HD-audio codecs, Dell WD15 Dock USB-audio, Intel Broxton SoCs, Intel Skylake I2S, and Lenovo Ideapad Miix 320.

      • BSD

        • OpenSSH 8.2 was released on 2020-02-14.

          It is now possible[1] to perform chosen-prefix attacks against the SHA-1 hash algorithm for less than USD$50K. For this reason, we will be disabling the “ssh-rsa” public key signature algorithm that depends on SHA-1 by default in a near-future release.

          This algorithm is unfortunately still used widely despite the existence of better alternatives, being the only remaining public key signature algorithm specified by the original SSH RFCs.

        • DragonFlyBSD Improves Its TMPFS Implementation For Better Throughput Performance

          It’s been a while since last having any new magical optimizations to talk about by DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon, but on Wednesday he landed some significant temporary file-system “TMPFS” optimizations for better throughput including with swap.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Hack Week Spotlight: Guerrilla AI Team

          SUSE Hack Week is a week-long sprint permitting developers time off from their day jobs to work on something entirely of their own design or wishes. This week we will be showcasing some of the amazing projects coming out of SUSE Hack Week and the brilliant minds behind them. Stay tuned all week long for more features.

      • Slackware Family

        • LinuxQuestions Award: Live Distribution of the Year 2019

          The poll results of the yearly LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards have been published. I am happy to see that my liveslak project made a positive impression on the community in 2019.
          Thanks to all who voted! Live Distros are a niche area so the absolute amount of voters is pretty low but it’s a clear win for Slackware Live Edition.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.6.2 Released To Fix Performance Regression Of Slow Install Times

          Flatpak 1.6.2 is out and users are encouraged to upgrade due to a recent Flatpak + OSTree regression that leads to slow install times.

          Recent versions of OSTree with pre-1.6.2 Flatpak can lead to delta support being lost and thus performing full OSTree operations, which is particularly painful for large runtimes. This regression led to very slow Flatpak installations from the likes of Flathub, but now Flatpak 1.6.2 is out with corrected OSTree usage so it allows deltas to be properly used rather than the full operations.

        • Flatpak 1.6.2 Arrives to Fix Major Install Performance Issue

          Flatpak maintainer Alexander Larsson released today Flatpak 1.6.2, the second maintenance update to the Flatpak 1.6 stable series that addresses some performance issues and other bugs.

          The main change in Flatpak 1.6.2 is a fix for a major regression affecting the download speeds during the installation of Flatpak apps from Fluthub. Therefore, the devs recommend everyone to update to this version for a better and faster Flatpak app installation experience.

        • Peter Czanik: Insider 2020-02: Portability; secure logging; Mac support; RPM;

          This is the 78th issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

        • Fedora Council November 2019 meeting: Councily business

          The Fedora Council’s primary responsibility is to identify the short-, medium-, and long-term goals of the Fedora community and to organize and enable the project to best achieve them. Our mechanism for handling medium-term goals is the Fedora Objectives process. We spent some time reviewing this process and the associated Objective Lead roles.

          Although Objectives were invented to help bring visibility and clarity to big project initiatives, we know there is still a communications gap: most of the community doesn’t know exactly what it means for something to be an Objective, and many people don’t know what the current Objectives even are. Plus, being an Objective Lead is extra work — what’s the benefit? And why are Objective Leads given Council seats rather than just asked to report in periodically?

          We asked the Objective leads how they felt about it. Overall, they found it beneficial to have a seat on the Council. It helps make the work of the Objective more visible and lends credibility to resource requests. The act of writing and submitting an Objective proposal made them organize their thoughts, goals, and plans in a way that’s more easily understood by others.

        • Integrating IBM Z and LinuxONE into the Red Hat OpenShift developer ecosystem

          My role at IBM is to make sure that we’re equipping developers with the tools and resources you need, along with the selection and guard rails you prefer, to help you focus your efforts entirely on innovation. Security is key to unlocking the true value of the cloud, and we want that to be one less thing you have to worry about when you’re building high-performance solutions. To that end, this week we announced a major milestone furthering Kubernetes support for Linux on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE: The Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE is now generally available.

        • March 5 webinar: Introducing Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z

          Organizations aim to innovate faster and deploy applications more efficiently through cloud-native development — and they expect these applications to protect their data, scale smoothly, and be always available. Now you can meet all of these expectations by combining the leading container and Kubernetes application platform with the leading enterprise computing platform: Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z.

          Join the upcoming webinar on March 5 to discover what happens when cloud native meets enterprise computing. You’ll learn how the agility of OpenShift, the security and scalability of IBM Z, and the containerized software of IBM Cloud Paks enable business innovation through cloud-native applications on mission-critical IT infrastructure.

        • IBM and Red Hat bring OpenShift to IBM Z and LinuxONE

          One of the things we often assume with the Red Hat OpenShift platform, and with Kubernetes in general, is that our users have computing needs that always fit inside a standard cloud node. While this is definitely the case for most cloud-based applications, there are plenty of non-JavaScript-and-Redis style applications out there that still need to move into the cloud. Some enterprise applications were written before the cloud existed, and still others were created before JavaScript, C#, and Python even existed. Older systems written in languages, like PL/I and COBOL, can also benefit from the move to cloud, and from the use of containers, they just need a little extra attention to make the transition. Sometimes, they might need more specifically tailored environments than are available in the commodity-hardware-based clouds.

          Or maybe, those systems need to also run extremely large, mission-critical databases, like IBM DB2. In order to unlock the true potential of a multi-cloud compute environment, that cloud software needs to run on a diverse array of hardware similar to what is already in place in some of the world’s largest enterprises and governments offices. Spreading cloud capabilities into these larger systems enables containers to exist in the same environment as the company’s central database, and to embrace and modernize those older applications that may still run the most the basic aspects of a business’ day-to-day operations.

        • Red Hat Shares ― Edge computing

          Organizations are increasingly turning to edge computing for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and new applications that require real-time processing power. Learn what edge computing is and what it can do for you.

        • How to get started with automation: A Red Hat exec offers advice

          As enterprises digitize in an effort to keep pace with their customers, more leaders seek the holy grail of automation. Automation can help speed time to market and breed greater efficiency. Most companies, however, aren’t naturally inclined to automate their processes, even though 71% say they’re at least kicking the tires on automation.

          Red Hat’s Nick Hopman, Vice President of Global Professional Services Practices, Solutions, and Offerings, sat down with me to talk through how organizations can best implement automation rather than just aspire to it.

        • Scaling Ceph to a billion objects and beyond

          This is the sixth in Red Hat Ceph object storage performance series. In this post we will take a deep dive and learn how we scale tested Ceph with more than one billion objects, and share the performance secrets we discovered in the process. To better understand the performance results shown in this post, we recommend reviewing the first blog , where we detailed the lab environment, performance toolkit, and methodology used.

        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 Overview with Marcel Hergaarden (Red Hat)

          In this OpenShift Commons Briefing, Marcel Hergaarden (Red Hat) gives a technical overview of OpenShift Container Storage and walk us thru the road map for upcoming releases.

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage is software-defined storage integrated with and optimized for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 is built on Red Hat Ceph® Storage, Rook, and NooBaa to provide container native storage services that support block, file, and object services. For the initial 4.2 release, OpenShift Container Storage will be supported on OpenShift platforms deployed on Amazon Web Services and VMware. It will anywhere OpenShift does: on-premise or in the public cloud.

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 2020.02 MATE Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at SparkyLinux 2020.02, MATE edition.

        • Meetup Debian Toulouse

          My company Viveris is opening its office for hosting a Debian Meetup in Toulouse this summer (June 5th or June 12th).

          Everyone is welcome to this event, we’re currently looking for volunteers for presenting demo, lightning talks or conferences (following the talks any kind of hacking session is possible like bugs triaging, coding sprints etc).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.04.4 Released with Kernel 5.3 [How-to Install]

          The fourth point release Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS was released. Here’s how to install the new Linux Kernel 5.3 and Xorg in your current Ubuntu 18.04 machine.

          Ubuntu 18.04.4 comes with an updated “hardware enablement stack” (HWE) from Ubuntu 19.10, including Kernel 5.3 that enables the latest hardware and peripherals available from IBM, Intel, and others.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 + Linux 5.5: Fresh Benchmarks Of AMD EPYC Rome vs. Intel Xeon Cascade Lake

          Here are some fresh numbers looking at the current performance of various AMD EPYC 7002 “Rome” processors up against Intel Xeon Cascade Lake processors when using an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development snapshot and also upgrading to Linux 5.5 as the latest stable kernel. Beyond raw performance, power efficiency and performance-per-dollar for these different server CPUs are being compared as well for these sub-$5000 processors.

          Ahead of the Ubuntu 20.04 long-term support release this spring and being curious how the latest AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon CPUs are competing with a bleeding-edge software stack also including Linux 5.5, this fresh benchmark comparison was performed. The single-socket tests carried out for this article included the…

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Private Internet Access Android app is being open sourced

        Private Internet Access (PIA) is open sourcing its Android VPN app and dependencies code to the public as part of its commitment to open sourcing all clients in the name of transparency and privacy. The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community is a cornerstone of everything we enjoy on the internet.

      • How security keeps up when developers drive open source

        Technological transformation is increasingly becoming a competitive differentiator, with businesses across all sectors investing heavily in new platforms, tools and frameworks. In response, open source has emerged as the most viable, cost-effective and leading-edge solution in enabling organisations to gain the edge in innovation.

        No longer do individual businesses need to purchase or build all the software they need in-house. Instead, developers can now benefit from and build on the work of entire development communities, harnessing their collective power instead of starting from scratch. This is enabling countless new strands of innovation and increasing the speed to market for new products. According to research, 69 per cent of IT leaders deem open source as very important to an organisation’s overall enterprise infrastructure software plans. But software development wasn’t always done this way.

      • Rav1e 0.3 Release Brings Speed Optimizations, Other AV1 Encode Enhancements

        As we’ve been expected, Rav1e 0.3 is now out the door for this open-source Rust-based AV1 encoder that now runs faster at higher encode levels.

        In addition to faster and better encodes at higher levels, Rav1e also brings smaller binaries, faster build times, a multi-threaded deblocking filter, more x86_64 SIMD code, more auto-vectorizable code-paths, less memory allocations are now needed, and a 1~2% quality improvement.

      • Kiwi TCMS 8.0

        We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 8.0!

      • Web Browsers

        • Browsers, web sites, and user tracking

          Browser tracking across different sites is certainly a major privacy concern and one that is more acute when the boundaries between sites and browsers blur—or disappear altogether. That seems to be the underlying tension in a “discussion” of an only tangentially related proposal being made by Google to the W3C Technical Architecture Group (TAG). The proposal would change the handling of the User-Agent headers sent by browsers, but the discussion turned to the unrelated X-Client-Data header that Chrome sends to Google-owned sites. The connection is that in both cases some feel that the web-search giant is misusing its position to the detriment of its users and its competitors in the web ecosystem.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 73 Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Released earlier this week, on February 11th, the Firefox 73 open-source web browser introduces various enhancement to make your browsing experience more enjoyable. Among these improvements, we can mention the ability to add a custom default zoom level that applies to all web content.

            Firefox comes with a 100% zoom level by default, but now it can be changed to whatever suits your needs thanks to a new “Default zoom” dropdown menu implemented in the Zoom section under “Language and Appearance” settings.

          • What Are Firefox Containers and Why Every Browser Needs Them

            Browser makers are working hard to build new privacy features that would protect users when surfing the web, and up to this point, Mozilla seems to be one of the innovators when it comes to such capabilities bundled with browsers.

            Mozilla has launched a so-called Multi-Account Containers add-on that technically enables Firefox to separate web browsing into containers where users connect to various accounts online.

            In just a few words, the purpose of this feature is to allow a better online account separation, technically blocking websites from reading each other’s data. Each container comes with its very own storage and cookies, and more importantly, such content can only be read by the website loaded in that container.

          • Data detox: Four things you can do today to protect your computer

            From the abacus to the iPad, computers have been a part of the human experience for longer than we think. So much so that we forget the vast amounts of personal data we share with our devices on a daily basis. On any given day we could be tackling sensitive work emails, planning our next vacation, or just booking some good ole doctor’s appointments. No big deal right? Well, in the wrong hands it can become a huge deal.

            Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to tighten your device security. Read on for four easy things you can do today to protect your personal info along with your devices.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF

        • Why freeing Windows 7 opens doors

          Since its launch on January 24th, we’ve had an overwhelming amount of support in our call to “upcycle” Windows 7. Truthfully, the signature count flew far faster than we ever expected it to, even despite our conservative (if aptly numbered) goal of 7,777 signatures. We have seen the campaign called quixotic and even “completely delusional,” but in every case, people have recognized the “pragmatic idealism” that is at the core of the FSF’s message. Even where this campaign has been attacked, it’s nevertheless been understood that the FSF really does want all software to be free software. We recommend every fully free operating system that we are aware of, and want to be able to expand that list to include every operating system. So long as any remain proprietary, we will always work to free them.

          Over the last few weeks, we have been carefully watching the press coverage, and are glad to see the message of software freedom popping up in so many places at once. We received a lot of support, and have responded to dozens of comments expressing support, concern, and even outrage over why the FSF would think that upcycling Windows 7 was a good idea, and why it was something we would want to demand.

      • Oracle

        • Top 5 Reasons to Build your Virtualization with Oracle Linux KVM
        • Oracle tells Supremes: Fair use? Pah! There’s nothing fair about ‘Google’s copying’

          Not to be outdone by Google in ominous warnings over the future of software, Oracle has declared to American Supreme Court justices that no company would make an “enormous investment” like it did in Java SE if rivals get a free pass to copy code simply because it is “popular” and “functional”.

          The firm filed a brief yesterday (PDF) to fend off Google’s appeal in the highest court in the United States. The search giant is trying to overturn a Federal Circuit ruling over Google’s use of Java code in the Android mobile operating system that would leave it on the hook for copyright damages estimated at $9bn+.

          Oracle held that the class library APIs it has been tussling with Google’s Android over since August 2010 are a “literary work”, countering Mountain View’s assertion last month that the “declarations were highly functional, rather than expressive (PDF)”.

      • Programming/Development

        • The 20 Best PHP Frameworks for Modern Developers in 2020

          Programming languages encompass the tech world, and we, living in the 21st century, are seeing a historical change. As we all know, these languages are widely used for developing various apps, mobile phone system, etc. and thereby, the demand for these is increasing rapidly over time among developers. Among the different scripting dialects, the language which has secured practically 80% of the site market and tech world is PHP. PHP is utilized to fabricate sites and web applications. The use of PHP frameworks improves the intricate procedure of development by giving a stage where the engineers can work without much of a stretch form PHP applications in the briefest time conceivable.

        • A new hash algorithm for Git

          The Git source-code management system is famously built on the SHA‑1 hashing algorithm, which has become an increasingly weak foundation over the years. SHA‑1 is now considered to be broken and, despite the fact that it does not yet seem to be so broken that it could be used to compromise Git repositories, users are increasingly worried about its security. The good news is that work on moving Git past SHA‑1 has been underway for some time, and is slowly coming to fruition; there is a version of the code that can be looked at now.

        • Git commit reordering

          While I was working for a presentation for kid’s school at Magnetic field, Aurora, Lunar Phases and Rockets, I added 4 big videos to the presentation (as I was going to use them offline while presenting).

          I know what git is not the place for big binary files, and even Github proposed to use the LFS backend for that, but as it was just temporary, I went ahead.

          After that commit, I also wrote two more articles, the one on Lego Speed Champions and the one on Galleria.io and PhotoSwipe, so it became a problem to have big files in between, when my plan was to remove them in the end.

        • Qt World Summit 2019 talk videos are online

          Were you there, but you couldn’t attend that talk or two that you really wanted to see because the conference was so, so packed with awesome content?

          Fear no more! We are glad to announce that the talks at the past Qt World Summit 2019 in Berlin (or QtWS19, for the friends) have been video recorded and are now available online! You can now catch up with the latest news, improvements and best practices around Qt and its ecosystem, all from the comfort of your sofa office chair.

          We have gathered all the talks given by KDAB engineers on this summary page, where you can find also more information about the contents of each talk and download the slides.

        • OpenBLAS 0.3.8 Brings More AVX2/AVX512 Kernels, Other Optimizations

          For those using OpenBLAS as your BLAS (Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms) implementation, OpenBLAS 0.3.8 was released this weekend and coming with it are more AVX2/AVX-512 kernels and other optimizations.

          OpenBLAS continues striving to compete with Intel’s MKL and other optimized BLAS implementations and with more AVX2 and AVX-512 should help with the performance on the latest Intel and AMD CPUs. There is now an AVX-512 DGEMM kernel, the AVX-512 SGEMM kernel was “significantly” improved, and new AVX-512 optimized kernels for CGEMM and ZGEMM. On the AVX2 front the kernels for STRMM, SGEMM, and CGEMM are said to have been significantly sped-up along with new kernels for CGEMM3M and ZGEMM3M.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Egad not more PAWs posts :(

            Well back on my PAWS run again. This one might be a rather short series as I am really just looking at one Action in the Kinesis API ‘SubscribeToShard’. There is an open bug for this one up on github https://github.com/pplu/aws-sdk-perl/issues/371 and one I think I can fix up fairly eaisy.

            First things first, a little word on Kinesis. Well in short it touted as a very scalable real time data-stream thingy that sings dances and basically makes you line much better. Myself I do not havea use for it but it is part of the system and there is a bug so in I go.

            I first had to set things up on the AWS server side with some permission etc the usualal srtuff I also had to run a number of command top build up my Kineses system to a point where I can actually use the ‘SubscribeToShard’

          • Important Changes in YAML::PP v0.019

            During the SUSE Hackweek 19 I found time to fix some bugs and make important changes in YAML::PP.

            Some of these changes might break code, but I expect this will be rare.

            As I see more and more CPAN modules using YAML::PP, I decided to make these changes as soon as possible.

            I will explain all changes and the reasons.

          • Introducing KBOS

            Starting even before Moose, we (in the Perl 5 world) have a plethora of Modules extending the syntax of the language with Perl 6 and more in mind. The following article sums up not only my 2 and a half cents on the subject but also an attempt to implement it. It should be of interest to anybody thinking about programming in general.

            As many here know, Kephra is the project closest to my heart and during the latest iteration, I decided to extend the language itself to get a more expressive, less repetitive code base. I want a fast, extendable type system with helpful error messages, real private attributes, real private methods, signatures with typed, positional, named and optional arguments, relaxed professional error handling, I want to know all instances of a class, reuse by delegation and incorporate any foreign objects. Last not least should the system support me in marshalling all attributes, so I can fully restore a program state after restart or switch into a remote session / other window.

            The Kephra Base Object System (KBOS – read: ok boss) is designed to deliver on all that and I just want to discuss here my decisions. Some seem to be strange, like no inheritance (a feature), class types (not even Raku has them) or 4 different method scopes. But hej its my pile of garbage, stay away. I want this to become the optimal object system for Kephra’s needs. It is not clear to me if I will release it or parts as a separate distribution in future.

        • Python

          • Designing Big Picture

            Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The different areas of web design include web graphic design; interface design; authoring, including standardised code and proprietary software; user experience design; and search engine optimization. Often many individuals will work in teams covering different aspects of the design process, although some designers will cover them all

          • Test and Code: 100: A/B Testing – Leemay Nassery

            Let’s say you have a web application and you want to make some changes to improve it.
            You may want to A/B test it first to make sure you are really improving things.

            But really what is A/B testing?

            That’s what we’ll find out on this episode with Leemay Nassery.

          • Re-using my presentations

            Yesterday I got an email saying that someone in Turkey had stolen one of my presentations. The email included a YouTube link. The video showed a meetup. The presenter (I’ll call him Samuel) was standing in front of a title slide in my style that said, “Big-O: How Code Slows as Data Grows,” which is the title of my PyCon 2018 talk.

            The video was in Turkish, so I couldn’t tell exactly what Samuel was saying, but I scrolled through the video, and sure enough, it was my entire talk, complete with illustrations by my son Ben.

          • Mobile Apps for Learning to Code On the Go, Even in Space

            In a way, programming is like riding a bicycle. You won’t know how to write code unless you do it for a while. In other words, this skill requires much practice to learn and even more support.

            There are several ways one can get started: buy books, watch videos on YouTube, or go the more traditional route and join classes at an educational institute. However, the most convenient way to start your journey is right here at your fingertips.

            Mobile apps that teach you to code have become increasingly popular. And this is not a surprise: with the whole programming course right here on your smartphone; you can learn to code on the go. Whether you’re stuck in a queue or traffic jam, have 10 minutes before going to bed or go somewhere in a bus — open an app and level up your skills.

            That’s why I’ve compiled a list of coding applications that will help you stay up to date, no matter what level you are and what programming language you decided to learn.

          • Postponing some feature removals in Python 3.9

            Python 2 was officially “retired” on the last day of 2019, so no bugs will be fixed or changes made in that version of the language, at least by the core developers—distributions and others will continue for some time to come. But there are lots of Python projects that still support Python 2.7 and may not be ready for an immediate clean break. Some changes that were made for the upcoming Python 3.9 release (which is currently scheduled for October) are causing headaches because support for long-deprecated 2.7-compatibility features is being dropped. That led to a discussion on the python-dev mailing list about postponing those changes to give a bit more time to projects that want to drop Python 2.7 support soon, but not immediately.

            There will actually be one final release of Python 2, Python 2.7.18, in April. It is something of a celebratory release that will be made in conjunction with PyCon. There were some fixes that accumulated in the branch between the 2.7.17 release in October and the end of the year, so those fixes will be flushed and the branch retired. Other than the release itself, no other changes will be allowed for that branch in 2020.

          • Multiple Image/File Upload with Django 3, Ionic 5 and FormData

            In this tutorial, you’ll learn to implement multiple file upload with Ionic 5, django 3 and FormData.

            In a previous tutorial, we’ve created a django 3 RESTful application for uploading files using django 3 REST framework and Ionic 5.

        • Ruby

          • RcppSimdJson 0.0.1 now on CRAN!

            A fun weekend-morning project, namely wrapping the outstanding simdjson library by Daniel Lemire (with contributions by Geoff Langdale, John Keiser and many others) into something callable from R via a new package RcppSimdJson lead to a first tweet on January 20, a reference to the brand new github repo, and CRAN upload a few days later—and then two weeks of nothingness.

            Well, a little more than nothing as Daniel is an excellent “upstream” to work with who promptly incorporated two changes that arose from preparing the CRAN upload. So we did that. But CRAN being as busy and swamped as they are we needed to wait. The ten days one is warned about. And then some more. So yesterday I did a cheeky bit of “bartering” as Kurt wanted a favour with an updated digest version so I hinted that some reciprocity would be appreciated. And lo and behold he admitted RcppSimdJson to CRAN. So there it is now!

    • Standards/Consortia

      • [Old] How to fight back against Google AMP

        It’s possible to make your site faster than an AMP site without using AMP. You need to put the speed as the priority when developing.

        Restrict unnecessary elements. Understand every request your site is making and consider how useful they are. Do those flashing and distracting calls-to-action actually make a difference to the goals you have or are they simply annoying 99% of people that visit your site? Do you really need auto-playing videos?

        Restrict third-party connections and scripts. Do you actually need Google fonts? Do you need the official social media share buttons? Do you need to collect all that behavioral data that you may never look at? There are better and lighter solutions for each of these.

        Lazy load images and videos. There’s simply no reason to load your full page and everything on it as soon as a visitor enters your site. Lazy loading only loads images in the browser’s view and the rest only as the visitor scrolls down the page.

      • [Old] How to speed up WordPress for a faster, greener and eco-friendly site
  • Leftovers

    • Porn movie shot at holy site outrages Myanmar

      Mandalay Chairman of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association Myo Yee added his voice to the rising clamour, saying the case was bad news for an industry hit hard by coronavirus woes.

    • Science

      • WHO Has Finally Named The New Coronavirus

        Tedros said that “co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, while “19″ was for the year, as the outbreak was first identified on 31 December.

        Tedros said the name had been chosen to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people in line with international recommendations for naming aimed at preventing stigmatisation.

    • Education

      • “Government Is Secular”: Assam To Shut State-Run Madrassas, Sanskrit Tols

        The Assam government has decided to shut down all state-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols in the state, and convert them into regular schools within a period of six months.

        Justifying the move, Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it was “not the job of a secular government” to teach religion, scriptures and languages such as Arabic to children. While the BJP-led government in Assam had disbanded madrassas as well as the Sanskrit Tol Board and merged it with the Secondary Board of Education Assam in 2017, it now plans to shut them down completely.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Trump’s “Health Reform Vision” Includes $1 Trillion in Cuts to Medicaid and ACA

        For months, the Administration has promised that it has a plan for Americans’ health care if it wins its lawsuit seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The President has also pledged to pursue ACA repeal legislation in 2021 if Republicans control Congress.

      • My Mom Died

        It is tempting, when a parent dies, to center your remembrance of them through the lens of your relationship to them as a child.

      • An antivaccine “Circle of Mamas” has “questions” about vaccines. Orac has answers.

        There’s a technique often used by denialists, pseudoscientists, and cranks to sow doubt, disgust, and fear about the science that they deny, while pretending to be either asking innocent questions, playing Devil’s advocate, or even trying to use the Socratic method to teach. It’s known as “JAQing off,” a play on “Just Asking Questions.” The basic idea behind JAQing off is to keep asking leading (or, arguably more accurately, misleading) questions in order to influence the audience, regardless of the actual answers. When called out on the misleading questions, the denialist’s frequent response is along the lines of, “Hey, I was just asking questions.” It’s a favorite tactic of creationists, 9/11 Truthers, believers in cancer quackery, and, of course, antivaccine activists like those behind the Circle of Mamas website. This brings me to a post on Circle of Mamas that went viral over the last few days, even though it’s nearly three weeks old and apparently drawn from an older source still, entitled Dear Provaxxers, I Have Some Questions…

      • The New U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Fails to Capture Many Deaths

        Late last month, maternal health experts from around Illinois were videoconferencing in Chicago and Springfield, poring over the files of expectant and new mothers who’d died in the state in 2017. Many of the deaths could have been prevented if only medical and other providers had understood the special risks that women face during this critically vulnerable time.

        Then, someone’s phone buzzed: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had just released its new, long-awaited U.S. maternal mortality rate, a number that had not been updated since 2007, when the federal government decided states weren’t doing a good enough job of capturing all of the deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth. It had taken more than a decade for states to implement new procedures, like adding a checkbox to death certificates, to flag pregnant women and new mothers who had died.

      • Coronavirus Cancellations: Stormzy Backs Out of Asian Tour Dates

        Owing to coronavirus fears, British rapper Stormzy has indefinitely postponed the Asian portion of his Heavy is the Head Tour.  

      • MWC 2020 Cancelled, STMicro Withdraws from Embedded World 2020 due to COVID-19
      • China lab seeks patent on use of Gilead’s coronavirus treatment

        A state-run Chinese research institute has applied for a patent on the use of Gilead Sciences’ experimental U.S. antiviral drug, which scientists think could provide treatment for the coronavirus that has killed hundreds and infected thousands.


        The Wuhan Institute of Virology did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

        “Even if the Wuhan Institute’s application gets authorized, the role is very limited because Gilead still owns the fundamental patent of the drug,” said Zhao Youbin, a Shanghai-based intellectual property counsel at Purplevine IP Service Co.

        “Any exploitation of the patent must seek approval from Gilead.”

        Gilead did not immediately respond to request for comment but last week said it was working with China to test Remdesivir for use in a small number of patients with the coronavirus.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • UMG Confirm Elton John, Nirvana, Beck Recordings Were Lost or Damaged in Vault Fire

        The revelation appeared in a new filing in the ongoing class action lawsuit against UMG on behalf of artists seeking damages related to the fire. It marks the first public confirmation of specific artists who lost recordings in the fire following a New York Times Magazine report last year that detailed the potential extent of the damages. The list also includes …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Bryan Adams, David Baerwald, Jimmy Eat World, Les Paul, Peter Frampton, Michael McDonald, Slayer, Sonic Youth, Suzanne Vega, Surfaris, White Zombie and Y&T.

        The filing itself pertains to disputes over discovery in the class action suit, with lawyers for the artists seeking to obtain a complete list of damaged recordings. Lawyers for the artists cited a document that UMG filed back when it was quietly pursuing litigation and insurance claims after the fire that included “17,000 unique artist names on the list of purportedly lost original music recordings.” UMG, in turn, said that list merely “identified myriad potentially lost assets,” including materials that aren’t original master recordings. The label did, however, name 19 artists whose material was either damaged or destroyed in the fire.

      • Proprietary

        • Class action lawsuit filed against two Puerto Rican hospitals for alleged ransomware attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The alleged ransomware attacks, which took place in February last year at the Pavía Hospital Santurce and Pavía Hospital Hato Rey hospitals, affected 305,737 people, according to Department of Health and Human Services records. The plaintiffs, both former patients of the hospitals, allege patients’ personal identifying information, including full names, addresses, dates of birth, gender, financial information, and social security numbers, were exposed as a result of the attacks. These records also constitute protected health information as designated by HIPAA.

        • An Open-Source Bootloader For Windows Lets You Run Off Btrfs, Other Possibilities

          Quibble is a new open-source bootloader that supports booting Windows XP through Windows 10 and opens up new possibilities like booting a Windows installation off Btrfs.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dovecot, firefox, ksh, and webkit2gtk), Debian (firefox-esr and openjdk-8), Mageia (exiv2, flash-player-plugin, python-waitress, and vim and neovim), openSUSE (pcp and rubygem-rack), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (sudo), and Slackware (libarchive).

          • Hack the Box (HTB) machines walkthrough series — Wall

            HTB is an excellent platform that hosts machines belonging to multiple OSes. It also has some other challenges as well. Individuals have to solve the puzzle (simple enumeration plus pentest) in order to log into the platform and download the VPN pack to connect to the machines hosted on the HTB platform.

          • New Patches: AMD Live Migration Support For VMs With Secure Encrypted Virtualization

            Beyond the Linux kernel patches presented earlier this week for AMD SEV-ES “Encrypted State” support, another Linux patch series out overnight provides another improvement to Secure Encrypted Virtualization with AMD EPYC server processors.

            The newest open-source SEV work to report on this week is live migration support when making use of AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization. Currently VMs can’t be live migrated when making use of this hardware-backed encryption support of virtual machines, but a new patch series enables QEMU/KVM live migration to now work in the presence of SEV.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Because Facial Recognition Makes Students and Faculty Less Safe, 40+ Rights Groups Call on Universities to Ban Technology

              “This mass surveillance experiment does not belong in our public spaces, and certainly not in our schools.”

            • California Auditor Releases Damning Report About Law Enforcement’s Use of Automated License Plate Readers

              California police and sheriffs are failing to protect the privacy of drivers on city streets, the California State Auditor’s office determined after a seven-month investigation into the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by the Los Angeles Police Department and three other local law enforcement agencies. California State Senator Scott Wiener sponsored the State Auditor’s report.

              The auditor raised a long list of concerns, including fundamental problems with police ALPR policies, failure to conduct audits, and the risk of ALPR data being abused to surveil political rallies or target immigrant populations. In addition to Los Angeles, the auditor investigated the Fresno Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and Marin County Sheriff’s Office. The auditor indicated that the problems are likely prevalent across 230 California law enforcement agencies using ALPRs.

            • What happens to privacy when China has personal data and the social graph of nearly everyone in the US?

              The speech by US Attorney General William P. Barr hardly seems earth-shattering. But buried within its business-like announcement of the indictment of four Chinese military hackers, there is the following statement, which has huge implications for privacy:

            • Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebook

              But I did find one venue where Zuckerberg was utterly frank and unfiltered about his plans and dreams for Facebook, providing vital clues about the man running the world’s most powerful companies. It was in the notebook he kept in the spring of 2006.

            • Mark Zuckerberg’s privilege to be forgotten

              The problem is that Zuckerberg’s notebooks are filled with work product, and not likely throwaway remarks from a college-age jokester. Levy says he observed Zuckerberg using notebooks to sketch out product ideas that were often juxtaposed with “bits of his philosophy.”

              “Page after page were filled with straight lines of text, bullet-pointed feature lists, flow charts,” Levy says. “Zuckerberg was no longer doing much coding; he was focused mostly on the big picture. The notebooks allowed him to work out his vision in detail.”

            • Census searches on Twitter will direct users to official links, but probably won’t stop any hoaxes

              Of course, this doesn’t guarantee anyone clicks through the links, or that they’ll be able to find the information they want once they get to Census.gov (or that they’ll even trust a government website to give them the information). It also doesn’t prevent people from posting hoaxes or fake census information in the first place. Since the national survey conducted once every ten years determines federal funding formulas and states’ representation in the House of Representatives, making sure people have accurate information about how and when the census is conducted is important and, unfortunately, ripe for disruption by bad actors or foreign agents.

            • Genealogy may exonerate California man convicted of 1985 murder

              Now, genealogical testing may have identified the real killer, exonerating Davis, the law enforcement source said.

              Similar testing using public genealogical websites has been used to solve the most notorious murderers in California including catching the Golden State killer, Joseph James Deangelo, who was accused of at least 50 rapes and 12 murders in the state between the 1970s and 80s.

            • Confidentiality

              • A new Senate bill would create a US data protection agency

                Europe’s data protection laws are some of the strictest in the world, and have long been a thorn in the side of the data-guzzling Silicon Valley tech giants since they colonized vast swathes of the internet.

                Two decades later, one Democratic senator wants to bring many of those concepts to the United States.

                Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has published a bill which, if passed, would create a U.S. federal data protection agency designed to protect the privacy of Americans and with the authority to enforce data practices across the country. The bill, which Gillibrand calls the Data Protection Act, will address a “growing data privacy crisis” in the U.S., the senator said.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?

        The peace movement’s small victories demonstrate that we have more power to challenge U.S. militarism than most Americans realize. 

      • Guaido is Ending His International Tour to Return to Venezuela to His Divided Opposition

        We have to admit that the US public relations apparatus played a good stint at leaving Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s visit with president Trump last in what seemed an afterthought. When many thought that Trump had snubbed him in Davos and Miami, Washington gave him its full attention, normally reserved for real presidents, following the recent international trip that Guaidó took to muster abroad the political support that he cannot get in his own country.

      • What the Impunity Commission Taught Guatemala

        On August 31, 2018, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, a comedian by profession, accompanied by his cabinet and the high command of the army, convened a press conference where he unilaterally announced that he would not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). He declared that as of September 3, 2019 the CICIG, established by an agreement between the government of Guatemala and the United Nations in 2006. would completely cease functions.

      • Christians Abducted, Attacked in Bangladesh Refugee Camp

        Taher, a Rohingya Christian pastor, and his 14-year-old daughter were abducted from their shelter in a refugee camp in Bangladesh on the morning of January 27. The previous night scores of men attacked 22 Christian families living in Kutupalong Camp 2 in Cox’s Bazaar. The attackers beat up residents, vandalized homes, and looted personal property in the sprawling Rohingya refugee camp. At least 12 Rohingya Christian refugees were injured and hospitalized following the attack. A makeshift Christian church and school were also smashed. After the attack the families relocated to a United Nations transit center and filed a police case against 59 alleged assailants.

        The Benar News Agency and Radio Free Asia have reported that camp residents believe that the attackers are linked to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an ethnic Rohingya armed group. An ARSA representative denied and condemned the attacks on Christians, saying the assailants were harming the group’s fight for Rohingya rights.

      • Libya: Banned Cluster Munitions Used in Tripoli

        Forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) used cluster munitions in a residential area in Tripoli on December 2, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The forces, under the command of Khalifa Hiftar, have been battling forces loyal to the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) for control of Tripoli, the capital. 

        “Using cluster munitions shows reckless disregard for the safety of civilians,” said Stephen Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “Cluster munitions should never be used by anyone under any circumstances due to the foreseeable and unacceptable harm for civilians.”

      • No. 1 Sponsor of Terrorism? US Media Name Iran, but Overlook a Candidate Closer to Home

        After the illegal assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, FAIR (1/9/20) noted that the corporate media offered no moral objections to murdering another country’s high-ranking state official. The media consensus was that Soleimani was a despicable “terrorist” responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans”—a formula that buried the crucial distinction between terrorism and armed resistance, presenting military combat against the US and its allies’ occupation forces in the Middle East as inherently illegitimate.

      • Dresden marks WWII bombing in far-right stronghold

        President Frank-Walter Steinmeier did his best to balance German aggression and victimhood at the 75th anniversary of the Dresden bombing, one of the most politically difficult events marking the end of World War II.

      • Trump to NY: Stop lawsuits against me if you want Global Entry, then he made ‘The Godfather’ joke

        Again, here is what President Trump is demanding in the screenshotted tweet above: the governor and law enforcement entities of New York, a state which was his residence until very recently, must stop investigating Trump family crimes if New York residents want to receive federal services.

      • Navy Prepares to Slash Funding for New Warships

        The proposal to increase the number of smaller, lightly manned ships could be an enticing opportunity for smaller shipyards. There are only a handful of shipyards remaining that build large ships such as aircraft carriers, submarines, and destroyers.

    • Environment

      • Temperature in Antarctica Soars Past 69°F as NOAA Reports Last Month Was World’s Hottest January on Record

        While the reading in Antarctica still needs to be confirmed, the Brazilian scientists who logged it called the new record “incredible and abnormal.”

      • ‘Parasite’ Is a Class-Conscious Climate Parable

        What follows is a conversation between Dr. Min Song and Kim Brown of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Protests Continue Across Canada in Solidarity With Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders Fighting Fracked Gas Pipeline

        Demonstrations over the past week have halted traffic in downtown Vancouver and shut down railways throughout the country.

      • Sanders and AOC’s Fracking Ban Angers Centrists and Their Fossil Fuel Backers

        House Democrats have finally unveiled a flurry of climate bills aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but activists say only one proposal represents the “gold standard” for tackling the climate crisis: Legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that would ban fracking nationwide. While none of these bills are likely to become law under President Trump, together they form the contours of a fierce debate among Democrats and environmentalists over the future of energy in the age of climate disruption.

      • Energy

        • California Lagged in Capping Century-old Oil Wells Leaking Under Homes of LA Residents Plagued by Illness and Odors

          What he found, two days later, would eventually confirm his fears and frustrations surrounding an environmental and public health risk haunting the City of Angels. Under his property, Majano had discovered an ancient oil well, leaking potentially toxic gases. 

        • Is Your Favorite News Source Shilling for Big Oil?

          Twitter was among the social media platforms where Chevron ran ads, notwithstanding the social media platform’s high-profile announcement on October 30 that it was banning “political ads.” A Twitter spokesperson explained the apparent contradiction, telling The Nation that “cause-related” ads can still run on Twitter as long as they don’t mention a specific politician, piece of legislation, or judicial outcome. Twitter ads apparently are allowed to lie or mislead, though. “We have a couple of guidelines…but nothing that specifically says you are not allowed to include misinformation,” the spokesperson said.

        • On Fossil Fuel Divestment Day, Students Demand Universities Take Action

          Universities have endowments, which are made up of donations and major gifts from the university’s alumni and supporters. The endowment is built up over time by investing in stocks, mutual funds, index funds, and other investments, acting as a savings account for the university. The endowment’s size can influence the school’s rankings and perceived prestige. In 2018, the combined endowments of universities in the United States totaled more than $542 billion — an enormous amount of wealth.

          Right now, part of this national sum is invested in the fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) companies. As universities invest money in an industry that is the greatest contributor to planetary warming, they are funding the climate catastrophe and the destruction of vulnerable communities.

          We can’t stand for it any longer. Students around the country are fighting for climate justice by calling on their universities to divest — or withdraw their assets — from fossil fuel corporations.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • House Approves Worker Rights Bill in Face of Growing Labor Backlash Against Trickle-Down Policies
      • Mnuchin Admits Trump’s Budget Cuts Social Security Even as President Claims He Is ‘Not Touching’ the Program

        “When Steve Mnuchin or any other politician says that a ‘reduction in the rate of increase’ is different than a benefit cut, they are shamelessly lying.”

      • Accusing US of Crimes Against Humanity, Venezuela Calls on ICC to Investigate Sanctions

        With punishing sanctions, the Trump administration has given “a death sentence to tens of thousands of Venezuelans per year,” foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said.

      • As Household Debt Hits $14 Trillion, Economists Say Fed Quantitative Easing Solution for Next Recession Insufficient

        “For most people, these policies will further increase in their cost of living, while their wages remain stagnant.”

      • In Foreshadowing Cryptocurrency Regulations, U.S. Treasury Secretary Prioritizes Law Enforcement Concerns

        U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin foreshadowed the Trump administration’s plans for greater surveillance of cryptocurrency users during his testimony before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday. He noted that cryptocurrency was a “crucial area” for the Treasury Department to examine, and said:

        While we haven’t seen any draft proposals at this point, Mnuchin’s call for greater transparency—a euphemism for intrusive surveillance— definitely got our attention. One of the real risks of cryptocurrency is that it could become a technology of financial surveillance, especially in the case of open ledger protocols such as Bitcoin. These are cryptocurrencies that create unerasable, public lists of transactions that, should a pseudonymous wallet ever be associated with an individual person, can potentially link together a huge number of financial transactions. And those transactions can be deeply revealing, pointing to everything from your friend network to your sexual interests to your political affiliations. Indeed, researchers have already proven that this is not a theoretical risk.

      • Calling Fortnite Cash a Virtual Currency Was an IRS Error

        Many video games have their own currencies used to purchase in-game upgrades

        The IRS quickly recognized the need to correct website language that appeared to signal Fortnite and Roblox players were subject to a new disclosure requirement aimed at virtual currency transactions, the agency’s top lawyer said.

        The agency on Wednesday removed language identifying Roblox and V-bucks—Fortnite’s in-game currency—as examples of convertible virtual currency. The language was removed hours after Bloomberg Tax asked if gamers who purchased or earned in-game currencies would have to disclose that on their 2019 tax returns.

      • Dutch politicians divided on free trade agreement with Canada

        For seven years, the European Union has negotiated with Canada on a new, extensive trade agreement. The parties reached an agreement in 2017. The CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, regulates trade relations between the EU and Canada.

        A storm of criticism has arisen against CETA since 2017, from politicians, economists and environmental organizations to part of SMEs and small farmers’ organizations. The trade agreement is bad for consumers, animal welfare and the climate and only good for multinationals, they state.

        The Lower House of Dutch Parliament is debating CETA today. The question is whether D66 Minister of Foreign Trade Sigrid Kaag will get the hands of a majority. In fact, only coalition parties VVD, CDA and D66 are in favour.

        The member states of the European Union must ratify CETA. Of the 27 Member States, only 13 have done so, the Netherlands not yet. But for the most part, the trade agreement has already entered into force, thanks to the blessing of the European Parliament.

      • Croatia’s love affair with dirty energy

        INA is a Croatian oil company which plays a key role in oil and gas exploration and production, processing, and distribution. It has subsidiaries around the region in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro. Essentially its business model is based on dirty energy.

        Trying to redeem its image, the company half-heartedly promotes its “sustainable development” strategy.

        But this is just greenwash. INA is making ongoing efforts to further develop its production of oil and gas. This is despite the fact that, to avoid dangerous global warming, the climate science shows we have little time left to end the fossil fuel era, and must meet strict EU and national targets to reduce green-house gas emissions. INA’s website doesn’t mention any plan to fundamentally change its polluting activities towards more sustainable sources of energy.

        OK, but INA sounds quite small.

        But its parent company is big. INA is partly owned by the Croatian Government (45 per cent), but MOL Group, the big Hungarian fossil fuel company, has owned 49 per cent of INA since 2009. MOL is a much bigger company with operations in over 30 countries and 26,000 employees worldwide. The former Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader is currently serving a jail sentence for corruption, linked to the privatisation of INA and its sale to MOL.

        MOL is a significant EU lobbyist, spending up to €699,999 to lobby the EU in 2017; it is also a member of several lobby groups that give it extra firepower, including the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), FuelsEurope, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), and the European Round Table for Industry. All these groups have lobbied successfully to weaken, delay, and block effective climate policy. MOL has also enthusiastically recruited a Commission official through the revolving door.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters

        We have a political system that continually surrenders to us-vs.-them thinking: leadership that requires an enemy to keep the country united. 

      • Newspaper Publisher McClatchy Files for Bankruptcy Protection

        The publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers across the country has filed for bankruptcy protection.

      • Planning To Fail: The Q&A Climate Of Entertainment Over Information

        It makes for great television, but as for respecting science and truth this week’s QandA on climate change was all sizzle, no sausage. Geoff Russell explains.

      • Company Behind Iowa Caucus App Has a Deeply Troubling Plan to Manipulate Voters

        Those gathered to see the Iowa caucus results roll in on February 4 were sorely disappointed — the vote-counting process had been disrupted by a malfunctioning app, delaying the announcement of the final results. The botched voting process caused uproar online, sparking rumors about another Democratic National Committee effort to sideline Sen. Bernie Sanders. The debacle also brought scrutiny to Shadow, the company that created the app, which bills itself as a “progressive digital consultancy.”

      • Reporting on New Nevada Caucus App, or iPad ‘Tool,’ Not Filling Observers With Confidence

        “The 2020 election cycle could not only mark the end of the Iowa caucuses, but all caucuses nationwide.”

      • When CNN Introduces Bernie-Bashers Only as ‘Former,’ CNN Is Lying To You

        A lot of the corruption in Washington stems from former officials, whether Democrat or Republican, leaving government to work as consultants or lobbyists for greedy private interests.

      • How Bernie Sanders Became a “Fighter” for Palestine

        With the Democratic primary in full swing, the outlines of public debate are pretty much entrenched. Common wisdom on the left says that all of the candidates are bad on Palestine except for Bernie Sanders.  Despite some problems, pundits declare, Sanders is still the best. Is the statement true, though, or is it a convenient truism?

      • Israel: New Database Will Aid Corporate Accountability

        The release of the database of businesses contributing to illegal Israeli settlements is a major breakthrough in holding businesses accountable for their role in rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, released the database on February 12, 2020.

        Settlements are at the root of serious, systematic violations of Palestinian rights, undermining their livelihoods and economy. Transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population to an occupied territory violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and, under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, is a war crime. Business activities contribute to entrenching settlements, and the rights abuses and two-tiered Israeli discriminatory system that stem from them.

      • The Culinary Workers Union, Medicare For All, and the Latest Cynical Attack On Bernie Sanders

        During the 2016 election, a false news story about supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders throwing chairs at the Nevada Democratic Party convention spread. Jon Ralston, who has covered politics in the state for decades, pushed the story.

        Now, a few days before early voting in the Nevada caucuses, Ralston appears to be at it again. He founded The Nevada Independent in 2017, and the publication is fueling a cynical attack against Sanders and his campaign that involves the Culinary Workers Union.

      • Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Bernie Sanders

        Yogi Berra, the great Yankees catcher, had the memorable line, “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

      • The Red-Baiting of Bernie Sanders Has Begun and is Already Becoming Laughable

        With Bernie Sanders now having won New Hampshire (and probably Iowa, where he won the popular vote) and confirmed his position as the frontrunner for president in the Democratic Party primaries (the New York Times’ poll guru Nate Silver is giving him a better than 40% chance of gaining enough delegates by the end of the primary season to win the nomination on the all-important first ballot at the National Convention in July), it’s becoming open season on socialism and its more anodyne relative democratic socialism.

      • Biden Has Raised the Most From Nevada Donors, But Sanders Leads in the Polls

        Democratic presidential candidates who received the greatest amount of donations from Iowa and New Hampshire residents also finished at the top of the polls in the two early primaries.

      • Why the Democrats Should Back Bernie Sanders: And Why They Won’t, If They Can Possibly Help It
      • ‘Never Trump’ Republican Operative Known for Anti-Semitic Attacks on George Soros Now Working to Defeat Sanders in Democratic Primary

        “Forty years of dancing with the devil and all of a sudden centrist GOP voters want to switch sides so they can poison the Democratic Party too? Thanks, no thanks.”

      • Sanders Says GOP Budget Chair Won’t Hold Hearing on Trump Plan Because It Would Expose President as ‘Fraud That He Is’

        “I mean, my goodness, Republicans understand we all have to bow down to our supreme leader, who is the president of the United States, and not criticize him.”

      • Sanders Argues Medicare for All Is Vital for Union Workers: ‘They’re Losing Wage Increases Because Cost of Healthcare Is Soaring’

        “If you talk to union negotiators, they will tell you they spend half of their time arguing against cutbacks for the healthcare that they have.”

      • Matt Taibbi: Democrats Are Unwittingly Handing Sanders the Nomination

        With both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary behind us, one thing is abundantly clear: the establishment still cannot stomach a Bernie Sanders nomination. Writing in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi points out how corporate media fell all over itself on Wednesday to undercut the Vermont senator’s win in New Hampshire, just as it fabricated Pete Buttigieg’s victory in Iowa just a week ago.

      • Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Resigns After Caucus Chaos

        The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party announced his resignation Wednesday after a disastrous caucus process beset by technical glitches led to a dayslong delay in reporting the results, inconsistencies in the numbers and no clear winner.

      • US Election: Bernie Sanders Vs The World (Of Political Pundits)

        There’s a lot of people with power and influence who don’t want Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee to contest the US presidency. James Devenish helps you understand why.

      • Is Trump the Worst of the Worst?

        I’ve been as focused on the Trump impeachment and presidential primary dramas as any other American political commentator in recent months and weeks. At the same time, I’ve been keeping notes on developments overshadowed by the non-defenestration of Donald Trump and the candidate contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Trump-led march to apocalypse has been continuing apace beneath the bigger headlines, my journal suggests.

      • Only Sanders Can Challenge Trump’s Predatory Budget Plan

        Amid the Democratic presidential primaries and the impeachment fallout, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for 2021 Monday. Though most of it has no chance of becoming a reality, it does provide a terrifying preview of what we can expect from Trump if he wins another four years in office this November. The latest Trump budget is nothing less than a declaration of war on the poor and working-class people of America — many of whom voted for the president four years ago under the mistaken belief that he would help reverse the steady erosion of their communities after decades of neoliberal economic policies.

      • Poll: Sanders hits 50 percent support among college students

        Chegg/College Pulse surveys more than 1,500 full and part-time students attending two- and four-year colleges or universities across the United States on a weekly basis. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

      • Bloomberg Once Blamed End of ‘Redlining’ for 2008 Collapse

        At the height of the 2008 economic collapse, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the elimination of a discriminatory housing practice known as “redlining” was responsible for instigating the meltdown.

      • Ocasio-Cortez Rips Bloomberg on Stop and Frisk: ‘Just a Billionaire Trying to Cover Up Authoritarian and Racist Policy’

        “Stop and frisk was an unconstitutional, devastating practice for the entire city.”

      • Michael Bloomberg’s Stop-and-Frisk Apology Tour Is Too Little, Too Late

        Five million. That’s the number of times that New York City police stopped people during the “stop and frisk” program when billionaire Michael Bloomberg was mayor. “Stop and frisk” is when police stop a person, usually force their hands against a wall, and aggressively pat them down, looking for a weapon or contraband. This week, the former mayor, now rising in the polls as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, issued an apology for “stop and frisk,” saying that he “inherited the police practice.” But the fact is, after Bloomberg became mayor in 2002, NYPD “stop and frisks” increased by 700 percent. The vast majority targeted were black and brown youth. Statistics showed that, among all those stopped, whites proved to be twice as likely to be carrying a gun. Despite that, only 10% of those frisked were white.

      • Democrats Should Welcome Michael Bloomberg to Their Debates—ASAP

        But I do not like the idea of two wealthy New Yorkers shoving aside other contenders to duke it out at a plutocracy mud-wrestle. And I know that’s why some of the Democratic faithful are incensed that the Democratic National Committee changed its rules to allow Bloomberg to participate in future debates without meeting its prior thresholds for individual donors—rules it wouldn’t change for Senator Cory Booker or former HUD secretary Julián Castro.

      • Researchers say Voatz voting app has big security flaws, 4 states using it for 2020 elections anyway

        Researchers at MIT say the voting app Voatz, which is being used by at least 4 states in the 2020 elections, has major security flaws that could allow an attacker to intercept and alter votes, while making voters think their votes have been cast correctly, or trick the votes server into accepting connections from an attacker.

      • ‘Sloppy’ Mobile Voting App Used in Four States Has ‘Elementary’ Security Flaws

        An attacker would also be able to alter the user’s vote and trick the user into believing their vote was transmitted accurately, researchers from the Massachusetts Technology Institute write in a paper released Thursday.

        The app, called Voatz, also has problems with how it handles authentication between the voter’s mobile phone and the backend server, allowing an attacker to impersonate a user’s phone. Even more surprising, although the makers of Voatz have touted its use of blockchain technology to secure the transmission and storage of votes, the researchers found that the blockchain isn’t actually used in the way Voatz claims it is, thereby supplying no additional security to the system.

      • Is Pakistani intelligence radicalizing Rohingya refugees?

        New concerns about external interference to influence the vulnerable Rohingyas are also emerging. “Since they [Rohingya refugees] came, the presence of arms and drug trades has increased,” Tofael Ahmed, president of the community police of Cox’s Bazar, told DW. “Many accuse some groups of instigating unrest in the camps. That is how they try to hinder the repatriation process.”

        It has long been a theory that external forces have been trying to fish in these troubled waters and spread extremist sentiment. Recent reports by Indian newspapers indicated that some of the efforts may have Pakistani links.

      • [Old] How Trump Could Lose the Election and Remain President

        So what would it look like if Trump refused to concede? Is there really a way he could stay in office? It’s unlikely. For starters, successful autocrats rarely lose elections. “They take steps to rig it well in advance,” said Steven Levitsky, a comparative political scientist at Harvard University and the coauthor of How Democracies Die. They pack electoral authorities, jail opponents, and silence unfriendly media outlets. America’s extremely decentralized electoral system and powerful, well-funded opposition makes this very difficult to pull off.

      • Official says Puerto Rico government lost $2.6M in phishing scam

        The finance director of the island’s Industrial Development Company, Rubén Rivera, said in a complaint filed to police Wednesday that the agency sent the money to a fraudulent account.

      • Facebook caught Iranian trolls spreading pro-Trump propaganda online

        The Iranian campaign was apparently focused on winning over Trump-supporting evangelicals in the US. The posts shared by the fake accounts were “news” items about US elections, Christianity, US immigration policy, and US-Iran relations, and included images of President Trump, according to Facebook’s blog post.

      • Donald Trump’s fascist Circus Maximus: Pay attention to what’s going on below the surface

        Like the Roman Empire in its decline, the United States is now vomiting up grotesque spectacles.

        To that end, Trump’s regime uses spectacle as a means of distracting the public from its assault on democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law, and the American people. Trump’s fascist Circus Maximus is also a way of intimidating his foes and further seducing his cult members and other followers.

        Last Tuesday, President Trump gave his annual State of the Union speech. On Twitter, political scientist and Washington Post contributor Brian Klaas described the event as “the logical conclusion of populism: a series of misleading lies and fear-mongering dressed up as theatrical spectacle that aimed to show one team ‘winning’ rather than the serious business of governing and improving people’s lives.”

      • CEO who ran Goldman Sachs during financial crisis warns Bernie Sanders will “ruin” economy

        Many joined Sanders in criticizing Blankfein after his Tuesday warning.

        “This person ran Goldman Sachs when it helped crash the economy and then profited off the rubble,” Washington Post reporter Dan Zak tweeted.

        “Imagine the lack of self-awareness and political acumen required to believe that Democratic primary voters might be swayed by a message from the Chairman of Goldman Sachs? Wild!” former Obama aide Jon Favreau added.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Taiwan News sticks with term ‘Wuhan virus’ until WHO admits Taiwan, Beijing comes clean

        Many have no toilets or bathrooms and patients and suspected patients are forced together in close confines. The conditions are ideal to help a virus spread and these people know they are essentially being sacrificed to try and save others who haven’t got the virus yet. It is utterly inhumane.

        While this catastrophe plays out, the Communist Party has ramped up censorship to prevent its people from learning the truth and continues to feed the outside world with a steady stream of propaganda designed to show they have everything under control.

        Alongside public anger, there is also a mounting economic crisis as China is at a standstill. Companies across the country are either moving their production overseas or simply shutting down.

        Then, there is the continued falsification of information about the outbreak. Just about every credible expert has questioned the official figures of how many people have been infected and how many have died. Yet, the communist regime continues to take the world for fools.

      • Offensive social media posts should not block university admission

        Of the admissions officers who looked at applicants’ social media profiles, 32 per cent told the Kaplan survey that they had a negative impact. A 2017 Inside Higher Education survey of admissions directors confirms that social media posts may lead to rejections; 14 per cent of private colleges surveyed said that a student had been rejected or had an offer revoked at least once in the previous two years as a result of something found online.

      • Chinese journalist missing after live streaming in Wuhan

        Chen Qiushi (陳秋實), a Chinese citizen journalist who published critical reports on the new coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan has reportedly gone missing since Feb. 6 — causing speculation that he may have been silenced by the Chinese government.

        Chen, 34, was known for risking his life to provide live stream videos and regular updates from the epicenter of the viral outbreak. According to Radio Taiwan International, Chen arrived in Wuhan on the last train before the city went into lockdown, and has provided important information about the city’s lack of medical supplies and conditions inside local hospitals since Jan. 24.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Coronavirus: Why have two reporters in Wuhan disappeared?

        Beijing is known for clamping down on activists who speak out. It has also been keen to show it is getting the outbreak under control.

        It is perhaps not surprising that, according to one Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher, the authorities are currently “equally, if not more, concerned with silencing criticism as with containing the spread of the virus”.

      • Twitter Is Not as Important as Journalists Make It Seem

        I know that making the argument that journalists should largely quit Twitter may sound drastic. But is it? In order for our republic to begin to heal, we are going to need our news agencies to stop engaging in the same destructive behaviors that put us here in the first place. The “democratic culture” is not at work on the platform, not really. Some people using it are having a good time and influencing each other. But the distorted, often ill-prepared arguments and political firestorms are generally not helpful or informative for the rest of us. If Twitter is ruinous for the Left, then chances are it’s functionally ruinous for the whole country.

      • Amnesty International: Somali journalists suffer killings, attacks and threats

        In recent years, journalists have primarily faced threats from the Islamic militant group al-Shabab. Now, they are also being targeted by their government.

        A new Amnesty International report, entitled “We live in perpetual fear”, has documented the dramatic deterioration in the situation for media workers since President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, took office in February 2017.

      • Somalia: “We Live in Perpetual Fear”: Violations and Abuses of Freedom of Expression in Somalia

        Since late 2017, media freedom in Somalia has been suppressed by the Federal Government of Somalia’s security forces and officials, authorities in regional states and by the armed group Al-Shabaab. This report documents allegations of threats, harassment and intimidation of the media including physical attacks, killings and attempted killings of journalists, arbitrary arrests, harassment and intimidation of journalists and other critics and restrictions on access to information. [...]

      • Security agencies alert UP Police about terror attack threat against Yogi Adityanath

        The Uttar Pradesh Police has been alerted against a possible terror attack on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at the Gorakhnath Temple here by assailants posing as journalists, officials said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Bettina Arndt Doesn’t Speak For Me, And She’s Not Helping Men Either

        Social commentator Bettina Arndt’s public support of perpetrators of sexual violence is harming more than just survivors, writes Kaye Maher.

      • Court To Prosecutors Who Sent Crime Victims Fake Subpoenas Threatening Them With Arrest: Pretty Sure Immunity Doesn’t Cover That

        A few years ago, The Lens exposed a super-shady tactic being used by Louisiana prosecutors. In an attempt to obtain a bit more compliance from witnesses in criminal cases, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office started issuing fake subpoenas to witnesses that contained (an also-bogus) threat of imprisonment.

      • After Trump Shoots Susan Collins In the Middle of 5th Avenue, She Says She’s “Troubled” But Still Supports Him
      • Afghanistan: Sexual Assaults Go Unpunished

        Two recent cases in Afghanistan highlight the failure of authorities to prosecute sexual assault implicating powerful people, Human Rights Watch said today. The Afghan government should take immediate steps to provide justice, support victims, and protect witnesses.

        The Afghan authorities have failed to arrest senior officials of the Afghan Football Federation indicted for sexually assaulting female players and for participating in a cover-up of the abuse. In another recent case, provincial officials in Logar province are seeking to end an investigation into the sexual abuse of hundreds of schoolchildren and have threatened the activists who reported the abuse. 

      • Even Brief Exposure To Solitary Confinement May Increase Risk Of Death After Prison

        Those who experience even short stints in solitary confinement died at higher rates in the five years following their release from prison than those who did not, according to a new study.

        The study, which was published in The Lancet: Public Health and focused on former prisoners in Denmark, found the causes of death were consistent with high mortality among former prisoners in the United States and Europe.

      • A Liar’s Testimony Convinced a Jury to Convict a Man of Murder. Will Florida Execute Him Anyway?

        Two months after ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine published a joint investigation that cast doubt on key testimony in a Florida death penalty case, the fate of James Dailey remains uncertain. Dailey was scheduled to be executed on Nov. 7, 2019, but he was granted a stay of execution last fall. That stay expired on Dec. 30. Ever since, as Dailey’s attorneys have sought to have his claims of innocence evaluated in state and federal courts, one question has loomed over his case: What will Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis do?

        Dailey remains under an active death warrant — an order that authorizes his execution should the governor set a new date — in a cell that is just 30 feet from Florida’s execution chamber.

      • Karachi groom chased from wedding after first wife turns up

        However, while a man can have as many as four wives, he must get the consent of his previous wives before he marries again.

        It appears that Mr Siddiqi failed to fulfill this critical step, and the first his new wife and her family knew of his previous marriages was when an enraged woman marched into the banqueting hall in the coastal city of Karachi, where celebrations were taking place.

      • Asian grooming gang free to roam streets because officers were told to ‘find other ethnicities’ to investigate, detective claims

        At least 57 young girls are thought to have been exploited by a paedophile network of around 100 suspected perpetrators based in south Manchester in the 2000s. The gang, mainly comprised of Asian men, hooked their victims on drugs, groomed, and sexually abused them. One girl, aged 15, died after being injected with heroin by a 50-year-old man.

        Following a two-year inquiry, commissioned by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, into the historic failings of police and social workers, a report was published today which concluded that vulnerable girls in care were groomed and abused in “plain sight”.

        The report found multiple failings at the hands of GMP, including how fears over race relations appear to have played a part in senior police thinking when tackling grooming gangs comprised of predominantly Asian men.

      • Kickstarter Hired a Law Firm That Advertises ‘Maintaining a Union-Free Workplace’

        On its website, Duane Morris, one of the highest-grossing law firms in the country, boasts that its attorneys have “extensive experience” in management and labor relations, including “maintaining a union-free workplace” and “handling unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB.” After employees at WHYY, the National Public Radio affiliate in Philadelphia, announced their intentions to unionize last year, the company retained Duane Morris and declined to voluntarily recognize its union. Lawyers on its site boast experience and accomplishments that include, “counseling and training designed to avoid litigation, unionization and employee attrition,” winning elections to keep businesses “union free,” and “strategic union-free planning,” across the food and trucking industries.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Court Allows Chooseco’s Lawsuit Against Netflix Over ‘Bandersnatch’ To Move Forward

        You will recall our previous posts about Chooseco, the company behind those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from the 80s, and its lawsuit against Netflix. At issue is Netflix’s Black Mirror iteration entitled Bandersnatch. The episode essentially runs a choose your own adventure scenario in streaming film, with the viewer being able to control the outcome of the narrative through choice. In addition, Netflix marketed the episode with references to it being a “choose your own adventure” style story. In addition, the protagonist in the episode refers to a book that is the basis for a video game he’s creating as “a choose your own adventure book.” Predictably, Netflix petitioned the court for a dismissal, arguing that the First Amendment allowed it to make the references it did in the production, so long as it wasn’t purposefully confusing the public with its use of the “choose your own adventure” mark. In the conclusion of that post, we wrote this:

    • Monopolies

      • Jeff Bezos Just Bought The Warner Estate For $165 Million

        Amazon founder Jeff Bezos just bought The Warner Estate for $165 million from media mogul David Geffen.

      • Jeff Bezos bought the most expensive property in LA with an eighth of a percent of his net worth

        According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reportedly just bought the most expensive property in Los Angeles from David Geffen, another unimaginably wealthy man, for $165 million. (It’s the Warner Estate, which spreads out over nine acres in Beverly Hills.) That’s a wild amount of money for anything — I mean, aside from a 747? — but especially for a place you might presumably live in. (Bezos spent around $80 million on a few New York apartments earlier this year, so it’s not clear where his five-foot, seven-inch frame will primarily reside.) For context, $165 million is an eighth of a percent of Bezos’ $131.9 billion net worth.

      • Uber and Lyft’s Financials Reveal Two Ride-Hailing Strategies

        Discussing Uber’s 2019 financial results with analysts last week, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi used the word “focus” six times and the word “discipline” three times in his opening remarks alone. And he dropped “profitability” four times, most notably predicting that Uber would move into the black at the end of this year—at least when measured as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, what analysts call EBITDA. Out of the chaos of Uber’s international business, which ranges from shared to premium ride-hail trips, to e-bikes, to e-scooters, to buses, to on-demand staffing, to food delivery, Khosrowshahi promised some actual money.

      • Qualcomm is one undecided judge away from getting FTC’s antitrust win reversed by Ninth Circuit: observations on today’s hearing

        The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral argument in FTC v. Qualcomm this morning. Just as I expected, Qualcomm went into that hearing on a far stronger basis than the one on which last year’s trial had ended. The purpose of this post is to share some observations. So shortly after the hearing, it obviously can’t provide an in-depth analysis.

        The FTC, Qualcomm, and the DOJ (intervening on Qualcomm’s side) all faced tough questions, but from different judges and of varying relevance to the forthcoming decision. For instance, the fact that the panel is somewhat skeptical of the DOJ’s national security argument (though a remand to consider national security was also mentioned as a procedural possibility) doesn’t have a bearing on the underlying merits of the antitrust case. It would just be about tailoring the injunction. One has to weight the questions–and there’s always a possibility of a judge asking a party tough questions to encourage it to present its best arguments, but I don’t think that happened today.

        Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan appears to be strategically lost for the FTC’s purposes. Some of her questions were clearly designed to support Qualcomm as opposed to looking for answers. In a way, Qualcomm had three different lawyers arguing its case: Thomas C. Goldstein (absolutely world-class), Michael Murray from the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, and… Judge Callahan, who made such points as saying that Qualcomm’s business practices may be capitalistic, but not necessarily anticompetitive, and stressed that being unique in an industry shouldn’t be conflated with being anticompetitive. Nobody would disagree with the distinctions, but this case is about line-drawing.

      • Legal Protection of Video Games

        Nowadays, the video game industry has perhaps become the fastest growing sector in the entertainment industry, rivaling the size of the motion picture industry and surpassing the music industry in terms of overall revenue.

        This article is an introduction to the issue of the legal protection of video games. The paper examines some of the main types of legal protection that video games can currently enjoy under the effective Bulgarian legislation including also a Comparative law analysis.

        Keywords: Legal protection, Video games, Copyright, Patent, Utility model (Useful model), Trade secret, Trademark, Domain name, Audio-visual work, Computer program, Software

      • Making Sense of Intellectual Property Law

        Intellectual property (IP) scholars have long struggled to explain the boundaries of and differences between copyright and patent law. This Article proposes a novel explanation: copyright and patent can be fruitfully understood as establishing a dichotomy between the different human senses. Copyright has bracketed works addressed to the senses of sight and hearing, and it treats products appealing to touch, taste, and smell as functional and, thus, uncopyrightable. To the extent the latter receive IP protection, it is through the utility patent regime. The Article begins by establishing this descriptive proposition, and it shows how some of the most contested areas of IP (e.g., the useful articles doctrine in copyright law and design patents) involve breaches of this sensory dichotomy. Next, I argue that the sensory dichotomy in IP reflects the sensory hierarchy in traditional Western aesthetic theory. According to this tradition, sight and hearing are considered “high” senses capable of unconstrained aesthetic and cultural experiences. Touch, taste, and smell, by contrast, are considered “low” senses, because their connection to natural bodily needs constrains their aesthetic capacities. IP law’s treatment of the senses in copyright and patent law matches this hierarchy.

        In recent years, however, fundamental principles of Western aesthetic theory have been undermined by developments in cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary aesthetics, and haptic and culinary communication. This research suggests that sight and hearing are not as aesthetically unconstrained and functionless, nor are touch, taste, and smell as aesthetically constrained and functional as previously believed. Accordingly, I argue that IP law should treat appeals to the senses uniformly. Works that express or communicate ideas, emotions, or pleasures to any of the five senses in such a way that creates original works of authorship should be potentially copyrightable. The Article concludes with an analysis of this proposal’s effects on various creative fields, including tactile objects, fashion, culinary dishes, and yoga.

      • Patents

        • Caltech Wins $1.1 Billion Patent Verdict Against Apple, Broadcom

          Caltech has won a $1.1 billion jury verdict against Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. for allegedly infringing on wireless technology patents held by the Pasadena university.

          On Jan. 29 the federal jury in the Central District Court in downtown Los Angeles ordered Apple to pay $838 million and Broadcom to pay $270 million to Caltech for violating the university’s patents on wireless data transmissions, commonly known as WiFi technology.

          Caltech, which is formally known as the California Institute of Technology, issued a statement in response to the verdict:

        • Thursday Thingies

          On 3-4 December 2020, Microsoft will host a summit on the topic of ‘Intellectual property for open innovation and digital transformation’.

        • The Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court dismisses claim regarding preliminary injunction with extraterritorial effect

          On 20 December 2019, The Danish Maritime and Commercial court ruled in a preliminary injunction case regarding a patented rat barrier. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant should be prohibited from producing, marketing and selling products in numerous European countries.

          The case concerned whether the patentee, Nordisk Innovation ApS, could obtain a preliminary injunction preventing the defendant, Sewatech ApS, from producing, marketing and selling its allegedly infringing rat barriers. Nordisk Innovation based its claims on patent DK/EP 2 113 615 T3 concerning a two-way barrier for preventing rats or other vermin from entering a sewage pipe system.

          In its second claim, Nordisk Innovation, stated that Sewatech should be prohibited from producing, marketing and selling the concerned rat barriers in numerous European countries, including Denmark, ie. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland and Great Britain. However, Nordisk Innovation’s attempt to obtain interim relief outside of Denmark was turned down by the Court.


          On those grounds, the Court dismissed Nordisk Innovation’s second claim. However, the Court found that Nordisk Innovation has rendered it probable (if not proven) that Sewatech’s rat barriers infringed the patent-in-suit and granted the application for preliminary injunction with effect in Denmark.

          With its decision, the Maritime and Commercial High Court has not excluded the possibility of obtaining a preliminary injunction with extraterritorial effect, but the decision shows that there strict criteria must be met in order to obtain a preliminary injunction with extraterritorial effect.

        • Competing Questions in Supreme Court Petitions

          I enjoy reading competitive questions-presented in Supreme Court petitions. Although I don’t have evidence to support this, my contention is that respondents have become much more aggressive at recharacterizing the questions from the way they were presented in the original petition. As that aggression grows, so does the propensity of petitioners to write even more biased questions.


          What is most interesting to me here is that these shifts and tilts of the question are all transparent to the Supreme Court justices and their law clerks. Still I expect that the alternate narratives trigger an emotional response; and those emotions are typically the root of decision making even for the highly rational.

        • CareDX, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. (D. Del. 2020)

          Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories was handed down in 2012, diagnostic method claims have been routinely invalidated by the district courts and those decisions upheld by the Federal Circuit. Indeed, in her recent dissent of the Court’s denial of patentee’s petition for rehearing en banc in Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services, Judge Newman enumerated the six (now, seven including Athena) Federal Circuit decisions holding diagnostic method claims to be patent ineligible under Section 101.


          The latest example of creative drafting (including how the invention was described in the specification) is a recent decision (Report and Recommendation [to the District Court judge]), by Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke in the District of Delaware, who denied defendant’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion (of ineligibility) in CareDX, Inc. v. Natera, Inc. The case arose over the claims in U.S. Patent Application Nos. 8,703,652 and 9,845,497, directed to “methods to help predict the status or outcomes of transplant recipients through sequencing of cell-free nucleic acids (“cfDNA”) found in the bodily fluids of a recipient.” The rationale behind the invention is rejection of a transplanted organ in a recipient is accompanied by cell death, which releases donor-specific DNA into the recipient’s bodily fluids. Claim 1 of the ’652 patent and claim 1 of the ’497 patents are representative…

        • Google Servers – Not Enough for Venue

          In a mandamus order, the Federal Circuit has ruled that Google cannot be sued in E.D. Texas for patent infringement — holding that the district is an improper venue under TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017).

          For most Federal Causes of action, venue is deemed proper if the court hearing the case has personal jurisdiction over the defendants. However, patent infringement cases are different. Patent cases fall under a more specific venue statute that limits actions to districts where either (a) the defendant ‘resides’ (i.e., is incorporated) or (b) the defendant has a regular and established place of business and has committed acts of infringement. 28 U.S.C. 1400(b).

          In Super Interconnect Techs. LLC v. Google LLC, No. 2:18-CV-00463-JRG, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132005 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 7, 2019), Super Interconnect sued Google for infringing, but Google responded a motion for dismissal for improper venue.

          Google is not a Texas company and so does not reside in E.D. Texas. Google is accused of infringing in TX, but Google argues that the company does not have a “regular and established place of business” in the district.

        • CVC Files Motion No. 3 in Opposition to Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 3 to De-designate Claims as Not Corresponding to Count No. 1

          On January 9th, Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) filed a Motion in Opposition to Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) Substantive Motion No. 3 in support of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) de-designating certain claims as not corresponding to Count 1 in Interference No. 106,155 as declared.

          To recap, in its Motion No. 3, the Broad reiterated the arguments made in Motion No. 2, that there are two embodiments of CRISPR, one involving single-molecule RNA guide RNA that corresponds to Count 1 (which the Broad argues here is not recited in the claims it wants the Board to designate as not corresponding to the Count) and further that certain of the Broad’s claims directed to “SaCas9″ systems that require two or more nuclear localization signals (NLSs) do not correspond to the Count.

        • Software Patents

          • Faster patents require faster IT and contracting, and USPTO’s CIO has goals in place

            When Jamie Holcombe joined USPTO a year ago, one of the agency’s major applications still ran on an HP 9000, affectionately named “T-Rex” because the Unix-based machine was a dinosaur. Holcombe had T-Rex replaced as part of ongoing, multi-year efforts to stabilize and modernize critical IT systems and infrastructure supporting more than 8,000 patent and trademark examiners nationwide, around the clock.


            For now, Accenture and Google have partnered with USPTO to identify search algorithms for “supervised learning” sessions with patent examiners. The algorithms learn what’s good and bad to improve searches, as well as how applications are classified for routing and evaluation — a “top priority,” Holcombe said.

            Machine learning may also be able to improve trademark image searches and flag improper trademark activities and fraudulent imagery.

          • Contact List Appeal Not Frivolous

            The PTAB sided with Microsoft — finding the challenged claims of Mira’s two challenged patents obvious. U.S. Patents 8,848,892 & 9,531,657. On appeal, Mira hired new counsel and argued for an alternative claim construction of the term “contact list.” Figure 1 in the claims is described in the patent as “the database structure of contact list of present invention.” The idea here is to have a “memo” interface tightly incorporated into a contact list.


            Underlying the IPR is a pending lawsuit in West Virginia involving the patents at issue. That case has been stayed since 2017 – pending resolution of the IPR proceedings. The court now won’t have to decide Microsoft’s pending motion to dismiss on 101 and for improper venue.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • US Govt: Massive Jetflicks Pirate Site Was Disguised as Aviation Service

          After being shut down by the FBI, Jetflicks and associated site iStreamitAll were described by the US Government as two of the largest unauthorized streaming services in the United States. A new filing in the Jetflicks case now reveals that the giant pirate platform ran alongside a fledgling aviation video service that quite literally failed to get off the ground.

        • UK Court Finds GTA V Cheat Makers Guilty of Copyright Infringement

          GTA V publisher Rockstar Games’ has won a summary judgment against two men who were connected to the now-defunct ‘mod menu’ cheat Epsilon. The UK Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court found the pair guilty of copyright infringement by creating and selling the software.

        • Rockstar Joins Other Publishers In Misusing Copyright Law To Go After Cheat Developers For GTA5

          For some time now, we’ve noted a troubling trend in the video games industry. That trend would be publishers trying to twist copyright law into a pretzel that allows them sue makers of cheat software for copyright infringement. This novel application of copyright law has been piloted by Blizzard and Epic Games in the past. Both company’s theory of the case for copyright infringement revolves around their games being licensed instead of sold, with the EULA being broken by utilizing cheat software. If the EULA is broken and the cheat-maker still makes use of the game, they do so without a license. Therefore, copyright infringement.

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