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Free Software Tackles Political Issues. Political Tactics Are Also Being Weaponised Against Free Software.

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog… until you start barking.”

Banner: A social art

Summary: Divide-and-rule tactics seem to have been exploited to weaken collaborative work on Free/libre software; the response to these tactics needs to start with realisation that this is going on (even if it’s done in a somewhat clandestine nature)

BACK in 2008 we wrote about how Microsoft had attempted to weaken the Free software community by playing off BSDs against the GNUs (and Linuxes). Internal documents from Microsoft revealed that it was on the agenda. The cult tactics of Microsoft aren’t new to us; we’ve covered those for many years and we provided evidence, too.

Society worldwide is being increasingly divided. It was always divided, sure, but the ferociousness of the division was never this bad in my lifetime. People are willing to kill one another over political differences and national leaders egg them on. They like it when people are divided, combating one another on a horizontal level rather than vertical level (things like gender/race, not class/finance).

“When the Free software movement began — and even in the UNIX/BSD camp — gender and class weren’t an issue; people had come from many parts of the world, from various ethnic backgrounds albeit usually from richer countries (where access to technology was possible back then).”Software freedom was, since inception, inherently political but also technical. The concept of sharing had an associated “justice” to it; people wanted to share with their neighbours things that were free to copy anyway; why should anyone stand in their way (except barons looking at the prospect of privateering and domination over culture/knowledge)?

When the Free software movement began — and even in the UNIX/BSD camp — gender and class weren’t an issue; people had come from many parts of the world, from various ethnic backgrounds albeit usually from richer countries (where access to technology was possible back then). There was nothting inherently racist and sexist about it, certainly not by design. Back then countries like Switzerland were only starting to consider granting women the right to vote!

Frankly, the interjection of all this “Free software is racist/sexist” thing seems to have come about more than a decade ago, metastacising in media in the pockets of corporations like Microsoft. They sought to shame us and to cause guilt, stigmatising geeks as a bunch of bigots and zealots who shout at the little girl, “THESE ARE MY TOYS! GO GET YOUR GIRLY TOYS!”

“In Free software everybody can participate, irrespective of race and gender, and in that sense it’s far more inclusive than the Oracles and Microsofts of the world.”I have never in my entire life witnessed someone (firsthand) mistreating a geeky female for being female. I didn’t actually hear people say things like, “computers are for guys!” I did, however, see code scrutinised and sometimes the code was crafted by a female. Equality means that code can be criticised irrespective of gender, right? That’s what Linus Torvalds did.

I generally reject the concept that Free software is any more racist or sexist than proprietary software companies. Maybe it’s not as good at hiding it (because of transparency, which is bolted into the workflow). It’s easy to accept that some malicious individuals exist among Free software developers; there’s no hiring process and there’s no discrimination. In Free software everybody can participate, irrespective of race and gender, and in that sense it’s far more inclusive than the Oracles and Microsofts of the world. How many people know about the racist agenda of Bill Gates and Microsoft's many Conservative/nationalist employees? They hide it from us. Because that’s what they’re good at: they hide things, not only code and bribes and back doors.

“A couple of years ago this guy called Ken Brown wrote a book saying that Linus stole Linux from me… It later came out that Microsoft had paid him to do this…”

Andrew S Tanenbaum, father on MINIX

Offence and Racism

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Because you are controllable

Summary: To those in positions of power and privilege (financial) you are controllable by guilt; dividing us and causing us to feel guilt and fear (over potential offence) is a powerful social control mechanism and pretext for dismissal, censorship, humiliation

THE term “offence” is rather broad; it can refer to crimes and felonies. It can also refer to feelings. Tyrants don’t wish to be ‘offended’ or disrespected; they even pass laws to protect themselves from this pesky “offence”; at the European Patent Office (EPO) both António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli have blocked Techrights for showing their offences. Apparently they’re too ‘offended’ when their staff can see their corruption, with evidence to accompany the claims (e.g. leaked documents and whistleblowers’ account/s).

The concept of being “offended” (as in emotionally hurt) is sometimes conflated with discrimination, as if to imply they’re necessarily the same and any feeling of lowered opportunity isn’t misfortune or a lack of merit; it’s always someone else’s fault. This may sometimes be the case, but it’s not a universal rule. But when it’s presumed to always be so, the severity of the response can lead to irrationality — a disproportional one. It thus needs to be corrected, one way or another, even if by means of vengeance (revenge).

“Sometimes it seems like a vocal minority, loud enough and potentially (unwittingly even) exploited by corporate boardrooms and autocratic politicians, seeks to represent a group that in practice it does not speak for (and cannot speak for).”It’s not secret that the concept of revenge tends to lead everyone astray; like the government choosing to kill a person just to prove that “killing is wrong” (death penalty). The logic behind it and the assumption it would discourage crime have been investigated; much has been disproved.

Right now we’re seeing some of these techniques being leveraged by both governments and corporations. Public and private sectors alike pass Draconian new laws and rules in the name of protecting us from “offence” (e.g. “hate speech” — a set of laws that cannot be enforced offline and barely online, either); if one actually asks those who are supposedly protected from being ‘offended’, the answer will sometimes be surprising. Many are rather cynical about the whole thing because the so-called ‘solutions’ do not actually tackle concrete problems. Sometimes it seems like a vocal minority, loud enough and potentially (unwittingly even) exploited by corporate boardrooms and autocratic politicians, seeks to represent a group that in practice it does not speak for (and cannot speak for).

“Who stands to gain from such fracturing? Probably those who laugh all the way to the bank. Well, a bank they need to take a plane to (because it’s in some offshore island).”The details above are intentionally vague; I’m deliberately leaving out examples to avert “offence”; I don’t wish for anyone to be ‘offended’. But the bottom line is this: almost everyone is a minority in some context. We’ve said it many times before. There are many elements to it, including religion, skin colour, ethnicity, gender, nationality, language, age, body type and so on. Few people can claim to be “average” and “normal” (or “majority” — however one defines it). Dividing us into subgroups and then shaming us into guilt would be good for nobody but those who wish to extract maximal labour (capital) from all of us. Divisive politics distract from class discrepancies and generally make the atmosphere ever more toxic. If you look at Free software communities, for instance, you may find that they recently became more divided, heated, even “toxic” over matters that nobody bothered with before. Who stands to gain from such fracturing? Probably those who laugh all the way to the bank. Well, a bank they need to take a plane to (because it’s in some offshore island).

Links 3/7/2020: TrueNAS 12 Beta 1, Librem 13 Product Line

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Meaning Behind System76

        System76 is more than just a cool moniker. To truly learn its significance, we have to look a few hundred years into the past, to the American Revolution. Get in the car, Marty. We’re off to be revolutionaries!
        Here we are, the year 1776. The American Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence to gain freedom from the British Empire. Okay! Back in the car, Marty. Yes I’m aware we just got here, but now we’re departing… for the early 2000s!
        Ah yes, the early 2000s, where the disks are scratched and the phones flip in circles. Zoom in on a basement-dwelling revolutionary named Carl Richell. He was quite fond of GNU/Linux and its community and thought it deserved its own dedicated hardware manufacturer, so he decided to be the one to provide it. In the spirit of the American Revolution, this new hardware manufacturer was named System76 as a declaration of independence from proprietary software. Months later, the first System76 computer shipped with Ubuntu 5.10: Breezy Badger.

      • Linux Desktop Market Share Peaked to All-Time High in June

        NetMarketshare reports that the Linux Desktop market share jumped to an all-time high in June 2020.

      • Purism Launches Librem 14 Security-Focused Linux Laptop

        If you’re not a fan of Windows 10 or Apple’s decision to transition to ARM-based laptops has you less than excited, Purism has a laptop you may want to consider instead.

        Purism is a company setup to produce “freedom respecting, privacy protecting, and security focused products,” and its latest product to deliver on that promise is the Librem 14 laptop. Launched this week, the Librem 14 builds on the previous success of the Librem 13 by using a 14-inch 1080p IPS panel, but managing to fit it into the same footprint of the Librem 13 chassis thanks to smaller bezels.

      • Purism reveal their powerful privacy-focused Librem 14 laptop

        If you’re after a laptop that’s both powerful and privacy respecting, you may want to take a look over at Purism with their newly launched Librem 14 laptop. Purism say it’s the first 14″ laptop designed to protect your digital life.

        Acting as the successor to the Librem 13 and now available to pre-order, Purism mentioned that it’s been designed based on their experience with the older model along with plenty of customer feedback. While it has a slightly bigger screen, that’s definitely not all, it’s actually quite the little powerhouse.

      • Purism’s Ultra-Secure Linux Machine is Now Available in a New Size

        Purism is well-known for its privacy and security focused hardware and software while utilizing open-source technologies. Not to forget the latest Purism Librem Mini.

        After a good success with Librem 15 and 13 series laptops, Purism has unveiled Librem 14.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes: Season 5 trailer

        After four seasons of epic tales about how command line heroes have shaped the tech landscape, we’re tackling a new topic: The job itself.

        Season 5 covers the job of being a coder. How coding careers begin. How the job is done. How it’s changed. And how coders are shaping its continued evolution.

        Clive Thompson, previous guest and friend of the podcast, joins us for this 3-episode mini-season. The tech journalist shares his insights from the over 200 interviews he’s conducted with coders: programmers, developers, software engineers, sysadmins, and more.

        The first episode drops July 14, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.

      • Linus Torvalds Ponders The Future Of The Linux Kernel
      • Video: Two guys name Linus build a new PC

        I wonder what the final price of this is?

    • Kernel Space

      • Rethinking the futex API

        The Linux futex() system call is a bit of a strange beast. It is widely used to provide low-level synchronization support in user space, but there is no wrapper for it in the GNU C Library. Its implementation was meant to be simple, but kernel developers have despaired at the complex beast that it has become, and few dare to venture into that code. Recently, though, a new effort has begun to rework futexes; it is limited to a new system-call interface for now, but the plans go far beyond that.
        There is a wide range of synchronization options within the kernel, but there have always been fewer options in user space. For years, the only real option was System V semaphores, but it is fair to say that they have never been universally loved. Developers have long wanted a mutex-like option for user space that does not kill performance.

        Back in 2002, Rusty Russell proposed a fast user-space mutex mechanism that quickly became known as a “futex”; this feature was present in the 2.6.0 kernel release at the end of 2003 and immediately used to control concurrency for POSIX threads. The initial implementation was just a few hundred lines of code. At its core, a futex is a 32-bit word of memory shared between cooperating processes; a value of one indicates that the futex is available, while anything else marks it as unavailable. A process wishing to acquire a futex will issue a locked decrement instruction, then verify that the resulting value was zero; if so, the acquisition was successful and execution can continue. Releasing the futex is a simple matter of incrementing its value again.

      • LPC town hall #2: the kernel report

        The Linux Plumbers Conference has announced the second in a brief series of “town hall” events leading up to the full (virtual) conference starting August 24. This one features LWN editor Jonathan Corbet presenting a version of his “Kernel Report” talk covering the current and future state of the kernel-development community. This talk is scheduled for July 16 at 9:00AM US/Mountain time (8:00AM US/Pacific, 3:00PM UTC). Mark your calendars.

      • Short Topix: Potentially BIG Power Savings Coming With Linux Kernel 5.8

        As reported in an article on the Phoronix website, a 12 year old bug in the Linux kernel could be rectified by the deletion of 10 lines of code in the Linux kernel. Ok, well, it’s four lines of comments and six actual lines of code.

        As it turns out, PCIe-to-PCI (and PCI-X) bridges have not had ASPM (Active State Power Management) enabled. This, in turn, could keep the CPU in higher power states than is necessary. As a result, lots of power is potentially wasted by keeping the CPU in higher power states. Fixing this may mean that users will get longer battery life from laptops.

        Back in 2008, the ASPM code merged into the Linux kernel disabled ASPM for PCI bridges. 12 years later, that code is simply being deleted, via a patch.

        PCIe-to-PCI bridges can be commonly found on servers and workstations. There is a good possibility that the patch will be backported to other stable branches of the Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa CI Optimization Could Provide Big Bandwidth Savings

          You may recall that earlier this year X.Org/FreeDesktop.org may have to cut CI services for developers over the cloud expenses associated with that continuous integration service for the likes of Mesa, the X.Org Server, and other components. CI usage was leading to a lot of bandwidth consumption so much so that the X.Org Foundation is facing potential ~70k USD cloud costs this year largely from their continuous integration setup.

          Since then there has been some work on better optimizing their continuous integration setup with Jenkins and within the latest Mesa Git is some further tuning.

        • A snap confined shell based on Mir: Mircade (or Mircade: An example snap confined user shell)

          There are various scenarios and reasons for packaging a Snap confined shell and a selection of applications together in a confined environment. You might have applications that work well together for a particular task; or, you may want to offer a number of alternative applications and have them available on a wide range of target platforms. Mircade illustrates this approach.

        • Intel Rocket Lake Graphics Support Ready For Liftoff With Linux 5.9

          Intel has sent in their initial batch of graphics driver updates to DRM-Next that in turn are slated to land with the Linux 5.9 cycle once its merge window opens next month.

          Most significant with this Intel DRM-Next pull is the introduction of Rocket Lake support, the Comet Lake successor that is said to be a still-14nm part but making it most exciting will be the replacement of the longstanding Gen9 graphics with Gen12 graphics. Back in May Intel posted the open-source Rocket Lake patches but came just too late for getting them reviewed/tested in time for Linux 5.8 and thus diverted for the 5.9 cycle.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: UBO Sighting
    • Applications

      • Spotlighting the Top Open Source Crafting Tools

        Handicraft is a term that describes many different types of work where practical and decorative objects are made by hand or by using only simple tools. Depending on your location, the phrase ‘arts and crafts’ may be more commonly used.

        Collective terms for handicrafts include artisanry, handicrafting, crafting, and handicraftsmanship. This article focuses on crafting using your hands.

        This article highlights versatile open source software that aids cross-stitching and knot design. The software featured here helps individuals create their own charts from scratch or generate charts from imported pictures. Good quality open source software in this field is very sparse, fortunately there are still a few real gems. Here’s our recommendations.

      • BadWolf Is A Minimal, Privacy-Oriented Web Browser

        BadWolf is a minimalist and privacy-oriented WebKitGTK+ browser. I’ve been looking for a good minimal web browser for a long time now. And BadWolf might be the best one that I’ve tried. BadWolf is available on Linux and BSD (not available for Windows and Mac).

      • Linux at Home: Research Your Family Tree

        In this series, we look at a range of home activities where Linux can make the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged. The change of lifestyle enforced by Covid-19 is an opportunity to expand our horizons, and spend more time on activities we have neglected in the past.

        With lockdowns starting to be reintroduced in some countries, it looks set that social distancing will continue in many countries for the foreseeable future. Researching your family tree is a popular hobby.

        Here’s my recommended 3 programs to help you research your family tree. They are all free and open source and use open standards. Don’t fall into the trap of being locked into a particular vendor who might pull development at any time. And they all run on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

      • qrcp: Transfer Files Between Desktop And Mobile Devices Over Wi-Fi By Scanning A QR Code

        qrcp is a command line tool to transfer files from a desktop to a mobile device (and the other way around) over Wi-Fi, by scanning a QR code. It’s available for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.

        The application binds a web server to the address of your Wi-Fi network interface on a random port (though the port can be specified if you want). When the QR code is scanned, the download begins (or you can open the URL scanned by the QR app in a web browser and the download will begin then). Once the transfer is completed, the web server is automatically stopped.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Rebuild the ecosystem in the latest Terra Nil update

        Terra Nil is a city-builder that’s about rebuilding the ecosystem and getting everything green, rather than painting the map grey with towers full of people. Originally made during a Game Jam, it’s since been expanded that we covered before and again recently a huge update went out for it.

        You start off with nothing, just dirt and rocks and eventually need to turn it into a garden of eden. It’s actually a little challenging too, as you need to carefully work around the wasteland to produce energy and water to expand without running out of your greenery currency.

      • Narrative RPG ‘Vagrus – The Riven Realms’ enters Early Access on July 22

        Vagrus – The Riven Realms is a currently in-development narrative-focused RPG that’s currently doing a hybrid crowdfunding model on Fig and it’s getting a wider release this month.

        Currently if you pledge on the Fig campaign you get Early Access there but they’ve now confirmed the GOG and Steam release will happen on July 22. Exciting, since it’s actually quite remarkable and it’s already won awards. Mixing together open-world exploration, turn-based strategic battles, resource management and more with engrossing writing and a fantastic art style I think it’s something you’re going to love.

      • Beyond a Steel Sky now confirmed for Linux PC on July 16

        After a recent Apple Arcade release and a bit of teasing about when PC players will get it on Steam, Revolution Software have now confirmed the date for Beyond a Steel Sky.

        On July 16, Beyond a Steel Sky will launch for Linux PC and Windows PC via Steam. For a GOG release, they have not confirmed if it’s coming or any date yet. This date was confirmed on YouTube and Twitter.

        Beyond a Steel Sky is the long awaited sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky. Revolution Software actually are the original developer of Beneath a Steel Sky, plus Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror and more.

      • Dota 2 gets an ‘Anonymous Mode’ similar to options in CS:GO, TI10 Cache up

        Valve just quietly updated Dota 2 to include a new ‘Anonymous Mode’ bringing in options similar to what you can tweak in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

        This new mode doesn’t make you actually anonymous, so the name itself is perhaps a tiny bit misleading taken at face value. What it actually does at the tick of a box is clean up everyone else for you. For everyone not on your friends list it will (or at least it should) clear away avatars, nicknames and in-game chat messages. It will also stop guild info being sent from guilds you’re not actually in.

      • Steampunk-inspired metroidvania ‘Steamdolls’ is a big Kickstarter success

        With David Hayter (the legendary Solid Snake) taking the the lead role as The Whisper, the steampunk inspired Steamdolls has been a huge success on Kickstarter.

        SteamDolls is a steampunk inspired metroidvania game with a grimy touch of brutality. You assume the role of a cunning thief and anarchist known as “The Whisper” and make your way through heavily secured environments. Blast your way to your objective or stick to the shadows and perform a violent “backstab kill” on unsuspecting guards as you struggle with the haunting apparitions of a mesmerizing witch trying to reveal the truth about a conspiracy that could shake the very foundation of the world.

      • Top-down tactical shooter RUNNING WITH RIFLES to get a German DLC

        RUNNING WITH RIFLES, a popular tactical shooter from Osumia Games is set to get a second expansion this August focused on the Germans.

        The expansion, RUNNING WITH RIFLES: EDELWEISS heads to the European theatre of World War II, first parachuting into Sicily before moving on to the invasion of Normandy, Belgium, and more. Focussing mostly on an ‘Allied Paratrooper’ narrative, Edelweiss charts the progress of the Allies attacks across Europe. They’re saying it should release on August 27 unless there’s major issues.

      • Demonstrating Perl with Tic-Tac-Toe, Part 3

        The articles in this series have mainly focused on Perl’s ability to manipulate text. Perl was designed to manipulate and analyze. But Perl is capable of much more. More complex problems often require working with sets of data objects and indexing and comparing them in elaborate ways to compute some desired result.

        For working with sets of data objects, Perl provides arrays and hashes. Hashes are also known as associative arrays or dictionaries. This article will prefer the term hash because it is shorter.

        The remainder of this article builds on the previous articles in this series by demonstrating basic use of arrays and hashes in Perl.

      • Our quick-picks of the best Linux games of 2020 so far

        We’re halfway through the year already? Madness. Even with all the craziness of 2020 going on, lots of games still managed to get out of the door. I know, I can’t believe 2020 isn’t over yet either. Thankfully there’s plenty of games to take our minds off everything from murder hornets to COVID19 and more.

        Now we’re at the halfway point, let’s think about some of the top Linux releases of 2020 so far. This list is extremely subjective of course, this is just my personal pick on the top 15. Think of it as a starting point for good games to look at if you’re stuck for something. In no particular order, going up to June 30 and I’m cheating just a little bit by including some Early Access titles too.

      • Action-adventure ‘Sparklite’ adds Linux support in a big update

        MergeGames, together with developers Red Blue Games have now released their action-adventure Sparklite on Linux along with a fresh content update.

        Originally released towards the end of 2019, Sparklite is an action-adventure set in the whimsical and ever-changing land of Geodia. With gorgeous pixel art and a top-down perspective, you battle foes using an arsenal of gadgets, guns, and gear. If you played and enjoyed Moonlighter, you would probably feel right at home with Sparklite too.

      • Best Racing Games for Android

        When it comes to video gaming, racing is the most popular genre, whether it is mobile gaming, pc gaming, or on any other gaming console. Racing games on Android have so much competition between them and the genre is crowded with tons of racing games. Every racing game has its own unique features and every gamer has his or her own preferences. In this genre, there is a large number of excellent free-to-play and paid games available for mobile users. This article covers the best racing games, in a variety of settings and with many different features for each unique user’s needs.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Bringing modern process management to the desktop

          A desktop environment’s sole role is to connect users to their applications. This includes everything from launching apps to actually displaying apps but also managing them and making sure they run fairly. Everyone is familiar the concept of a “Task manager” (like ksysguard), but over time they haven’t kept up with the way applications are being developed or the latest developments from Linux.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Is GNOME or Unity the desktop for you?

          I wrote about the fantastic new(ish) distribution Ubuntu Unity, and that post exposed serious division and opinions surrounding the Linux desktop. It wasn’t so much an “I dislike Unity or GNOME,” as it was more along the lines of full-blown hatred for one or the other. At least on one side of the spectrum–the other side was fandom.

          It’s clearly a love or hate relationship with these desktops.

          I understand such an issue is a matter of taste. I prefer a modern take on the desktop that performs in a very efficient way, but many others prefer the old-school desktop metaphors, found in the likes of Cinnamon, Mate, and KDE.

          Neither opinion is wrong–that’s the beauty of opinion.

          I’m taking another approach to the comparison between GNOME and the Unity desktop. I highlight the pros and cons of each and then suggest which users would be the best fit for either desktop. There is no scientific method going on here. I’ve been using and covering Linux for more than 20 years, so it’s all about experience and knowing how the evolution of the Linux user has changed over the years. With that said, let’s take a look at GNOME and Unity.

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: This Month in Mutter & GNOME Shell | May and June 2020

          The volunteers and contributors working on Mutter and GNOME Shell have been busy in the past couple of months — so much so that we didn’t have bandwidth to write the May development report!

          As a consequence, this development summary will have an above average number of changes to highlight.

        • Jonas Ådahl: Splitting up the Frame Clock

          Readers be advised, this is somewhat of a deep dive into the guts of Mutter. With that out in the open, lets start!

          Not too long ago mutter saw a merge request land, that has one major aim: split up the frame clock so that when using the Wayland session, each CRTC is driven by its own frame clock. In effect the goal here is that e.g. a 144 Hz monitor and a 60 Hz monitor being active in the same session will not have to wait for each other to update, and that the space they occupy on the screen will draw at their own pace. A window on the 144 Hz monitor will paint at 144 Hz, and mutter will composite to the monitor at 144 Hz, while a window on the 60 Hz monitor will paint at 60 Hz and Mutter will composite to the monitor at 60 Hz.

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter Off To A Good Start For Summer 2020

          The GNOME Shell and Mutter have seen a lot of work come together nicely over the past two months.

          The GNOME Shell blog is out with their recap of development work that landed over the months of May and June.

        • Important Patches Land To Improve GNOME’s Multi-Monitor Experience With High Refresh Rates

          If you have say a 144Hz gaming monitor as well as a conventional 60Hz secondary display or any other multi-monitor configuration with different refresh rates, there is now another reason to get excited for GNOME 3.38.


          This is very important for improving the multi-monitor experience with such configurations as up to now capping the refresh rate to match is a less than desirable experience. This work landed today in Mutter for September’s release of GNOME 3.38. This next release is shaping up to be quite exciting with the plethora of optimizations to already land thus far. It is important to note that this multi-monitor improvement only benefits the GNOME Wayland session and not under X11.

        • Alejandro Domínguez: Refactoring Fractal: Remove Backend (II)

          So the time came for removing the Backend struct finally! The bits that were left in the previous patch have been removed, which were not just state but a ThreadPool and a cache for some info. Those were fitted in AppOp without too much thought on consistency of it.

          But what does this actually mean for the internal structure of the code?

          The result is that any state or utility that was needed for requests and modifying the UI is held only from a single place in the app. With it, the loop in Backend has been removed as well, and instead of sending messages to the receiver loop from the backend, those are sent from a spawned thread (to keep the UI thread unlocked) that sends the HTTP request directly and retrieves the response. Put in a simpler way, I replaced message passing to the backend loop with spawning threads, which was done anyways in the loop to be able to have multiple requests at the same time.

          I acknowledge that doing this kind parallelism with system threads in 2020 is a very crude way of doing the task, to say the least, but using coroutines requires a significant amount of work in other areas of the app right now.

        • GSoC 2020: the first milestone

          During the community bonding period, I had a video call with my absolutely amazing mentor Alberto, who told me about GNOME culture, and about his inspiring journey with GNOME as contributor. In the last month, I have been welcomed by the community and am very proud to be contributing to GNOME.
          Here’s a summary of the technical work that has been done in the last month.

        • Marcus Lundblad: Summer Maps

          Since it’s been a while since the last post, I thought I should share a little update about some going ons with Maps.

    • Distributions

      • A new EFI administration tool in Zenwalk

        Today : a new tool to manage EFI boot entries has been added.

      • Reviews

        • Austrumi Linux Is Loaded With Language Laziness

          Austrumi Linux contains all the necessary basic programs for work and entertainment. It boots from CD, flash drive or a hard drive installation and can be used on servers and workstations.

          Austrumi Linux is not well known, but it checks most of the usability boxes. The only technical requirement is the ability to burn the ISO to a DVD or USB.

          Do not expect much from the Austrumi web site. It is poorly designed and has no information about using the distro or getting help. Several of the pages are blank or not there.

          Beyond that process, just turn on the computer and use Austrumi. No installation is needed. Nor is there any need for system configurations.

          Of course, that all depends on whether Latvia is your native language.

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Review: The Most Complete OS For Everyone

          Last week, Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre released the latest long-term version — Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana.” Mint 20 is built on top of the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” which will now be supported until 2025.

          Over the years, Linux Mint has grown as one of the most suitable Linux distributions for beginners alongside Ubuntu. With Mint 20, it has embarked on a new version with a number of enhancements. Hence, in this article, we’ll walk you through Linux Mint 20 which we practically tested on a bare machine.

      • New Releases

        • GParted Live System Gets New Release, Now Powered by Linux Kernel 5.7

          Synced with the Debian Sid (Unstable) software repositories as of July 1st, 2020, the GParted Live 1.1.0-3 release is now available for download, the first to be powered by the latest Linux 5.7 kernel series. Linux kernel 5.7.6 is included by default to provide users with support for newer hardware.

          Besides the kernel bump, the new release is also here to address several bugs present in previous versions. For example, it fixes a regression discovered in version 1.1.0-2 (i686) that made the GParted Live system to fail to boot on 64-bit UEFI machines.

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 147 is available for testing

          With this week’s release of Core Update 146, we already have made the next one available for testing. It contains a vast amount of package updates and brings some security updates.

          Although this update is rather small in number of changes, it is rather large on disk due to the many Linux firmware files that we are shipping. Please help us testing this release to make sure it won’t introduce any new regressions into IPFire.

      • BSD

        • TrueNAS 12.0-BETA1 Release Announcement

          FreeNAS (and now TrueNAS) Fans! I’m pleased to announce the availability of our first BETA1 for the upcoming 12.0 TrueNAS CORE / Enterprise release.

        • TrueNAS 12 Beta 1 Released With Much Improved ZFS, Better AMD Ryzen CPU Support

          As what was formerly FreeNAS, the first beta of TrueNAS CORE 12.0 is available for testing of this BSD-based operating system for NAS devices and other storage setups.

          The TrueNAS 12.0 Beta 1 both for the CORE and Enterprise editions includes much improved ZFS support with now relying upon the code that’s going to be released as OpenZFS 2.0, support for ZFS async copy-on-write, native ZFS dataset encryption, ZFS user quota capabilities, and more.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight – Mr. Lumbergh

          Why and when did you start using Linux?
          2005. The security issues with Windows XP were really blowing up at the time, so when I ordered a new computer for school I made sure to do so with a second drive planning on giving ‘Nix a try. I started off on Ubuntu on that machine, and when I got a laptop a couple of years later I wanted to try something different and ran through a couple distros before settling on PCLinuxOS. It’s become my everyday driver, and I now use Linux most of the time on my own machines simply because I like it better. I’m currently running Debian 10 and PCLinuxOS.

          What specific equipment do currently use with PCLinuxOS?
          This desktop has an AMD Ryzen 7 3800X, Radeon 580X graphics, Asus X570 mobo, and 64GB of G-Skill Ripjaws RAM. I also have a Nektar Impact GX61 MIDI controller keyboard and Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 audio interface connected to this machine since it’s my production rig. I also have PCLinuxOS installed on a hand-me-down laptop (Lenovo Z580) that runs only Linux.

          Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the reactions you receive from your computer peers or family? If so, how?
          I’m not sure how much using Linux has to do with it, but I’ve certainly become the tech support for my family… Outside of a few die-hards, I find that folks generally aren’t too hung up on what OS you use. I use Windows, MacOS, and Linux daily and think each has its place, though I’d likely never use Windows at all on my own boxes if WINE support for games and a few audio programs was better.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Leap 15.2 Adds AI Machine Learning

          For openSUSE users, there’s some very exciting news for the release of the latest iteration, 15.2. This new take on the platform includes several new packages into the mix that add both artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The packages that bring these two new features include Tensorflow (a framework for deep learning), PyTorch (a machine learning library), and ONNX (an open format for machine learning models that provides interoperability in the AI tool space).

        • openSUSE Leap releases version 15.2 with new AI and ML tools

          Community Linux distribution openSUSE Leap has released version 15.2, which includes a number of artificial intelligence and machine learning packages, security updates, bug fixes, network enhancements, and many new features.

          A statement from the release team said the new version would run on the x86-64, ARM64 and POWER systems. “Leap 15.2 represents a huge step forward in the artificial intelligence space,” said Marco Varlese, a developer and member of the project.

          “I am super excited that openSUSE end-users can now finally consume machine learning / deep learning frameworks and applications via our repositories to enjoy a stable and up-to-date ecosystem.”

          Some of the AI and ML packages are Tensorflow which is a framework for deep learning that can be used by data scientists to provide numerical computations and data-flow graphs; PyTorch, which is for both server and compute resources to accelerate power users’ ability to prototype a project and move it to a production deployment; ONNX, an open format built to represent machine learning models and provide interoperability in the AI tool space; and Grafana and Prometheus both of which open up new possibilities for analytical experts.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 33 SwapOnZRam Test Day 2020-07-06

          The Workstation Working Group has proposed a change for Fedora 33 to use swap on zram. This would put swap space on a compressed RAM drive instead of a disk partition. The QA team is organizing a test day on Monday, July 06, 2020. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test cases and materials you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

        • F32-20200701 Updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F32-20200701-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.19-300 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 900+MB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, dbristow, nasirhm, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

        • Build a simple cloud-native change data capture pipeline

          Change data capture (CDC) is a well-established software design pattern for a system that monitors and captures data changes so that other software can respond to those events. Using KafkaConnect, along with Debezium Connectors and the Apache Camel Kafka Connector, we can build a configuration-driven data pipeline to bridge traditional data stores and new event-driven architectures.

          This article walks through a simple example.

        • OpenPOWER Reboot – New Director, New Silicon Partners, Leveraging Linux Foundation Connections

          Earlier this week the OpenPOWER Foundation announced the contribution of IBM’s A21 Power processor core design to the open source community. Roughly this time last year, IBM announced open sourcing its Power instruction set (ISA) and Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI) and Open Memory Interface (OMI). That’s also when IBM said OpenPOWER would become a Linux Foundation entity. Then a few weeks ago, OpenPOWER named a new executive director, James Kulina.

          Change is afoot at the OpenPOWER Foundation. Will it be enough to prompt wider (re)consideration and adoption of the OpenPOWER platform and ecosystem?

        • Red Hat Powers the Future of Supercomputing with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Fugaku is the first Arm-based system to take first place on the TOP500 list, highlighting Red Hat’s commitment to the Arm ecosystem from the data center to the high-performance computing laboratory. Sierra, Summit and Marconi-100 all boast IBM POWER9-based infrastructure with NVIDIA GPUs; combined, these four systems produce more than 680 petaflops of processing power to fuel a broad range of scientific research applications.

          In addition to enabling this immense computation power, Red Hat Enterprise Linux also underpins six out of the top 10 most power-efficient supercomputers on the planet according to the Green500 list. Systems on the list are measured in terms of both performance results and the power consumed achieving those. When it comes to sustainable supercomputing the premium is put on finding a balanced approach for the most energy-efficient performance.

        • Red Hat Powers the Future of Supercomputing with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Modern supercomputers are no longer purpose-built monoliths constructed from expensive bespoke components. Each supercomputer deployment powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses hardware that can be purchased and integrated into any datacenter, making it feasible for organizations to use enterprise systems that are similar to those breaking scientific barriers. Regardless of the underlying hardware, Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the common control plane for supercomputers to be run, managed and maintained in the same manner as traditional IT systems.

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux also opens supercomputing applications up to advancements in enterprise IT, including Linux containers. Working closely in open source communities with organizations like the Supercomputing Containers project, Red Hat is helping to drive advancements to make Podman, Skopeo and Buildah, components of Red Hat’s distributed container toolkit, more accessible for building and deploying containerized supercomputing applications.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux serves as operating system for supercomputers

          Red Hat announced that Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the operating system backbone for the top three supercomputers in the world and four out of the top 10, according to the newest TOP500 ranking.

          Already serving as a catalyst for enterprise innovation across the hybrid cloud, these rankings also show that the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform can deliver a foundation to meet even the most demanding computing environments.

        • Lessons learned from standing up a front-end development program at IBM

          In 2015, we created the FED@IBM program to support front-end developers and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and teach other devs about their specific areas of expertise. While company programs often die out due to lack of funding, executive backing, interest, or leadership, our community is thriving in spite of losing the funding, executive support, and resources we had at the program’s inception.

          What’s the secret behind the success of this grassroots employee support program? As I have been transitioning leadership of the FED@IBM Program and Community, I have been reflecting on our program’s success and how to define how we have been able to sustain the program.

      • Debian Family

        • Utkarsh Gupta: FOSS Activites in June 2020

          This was my 16th month of contributing to Debian. I became a DM in late March last year and a DD last Christmas! \o/

          This month was a little intense. I did a a lot of different kinds of things in Debian this month. Whilst most of my time went on doing security stuff, I also sponosred a bunch of packages.

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (June 2020)

          In June 2020, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 8 hours (of 8 hours planned).

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, June 2020

          I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative, and worked all 20 hours this month.

          I sent a final request for testing for the next update to Linux 3.16 in jessie. I also prepared an update to Linux 4.9, included in both jessie and stretch. I completed backporting of kernel changes related to CVE-2020-0543, which was still under embargo, to Linux 3.16.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Phone Recap 2020

          I found my community at Mastodon. They share a lot about Ubuntu Phone – particularly Ubuntu Touch operating system and its current maintainer The UBPorts Project and the hardware maker PINE64. Fortunately unexpected, two interesting things come – the arrival of Volla and also Fairphone which want to be the next Ubuntu Phone and powered with the Touch. These are interesting to cover in a short summary so this article is for you who are interested in Ubuntu Phone once again. Let’s go!

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Reaches End of Life This Month, Plan Those Upgrades Soon

          Any enthusiasts engaging on the extant edition past this date will need (read: want) to expedite plans to emigrate to the next available release, which is the fabulously fast Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’.

          The Ubuntu 19.10 release arrived on October 17, 2019. As a non-LTS release it gets 9 months of on-going app updates and security patches.

          And those 9 months are almost up.

          After this date you won’t get new versions of Firefox or anything else, and many third-party developers stop building packages for unsupported Ubuntu releases.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) Will Reach End of Life on July 17th, 2020

          Launched last year on October 17th, Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) shipped with the Linux 5.3 kernel series, the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment, initial support for ZFS as the root file system via the installer, support for DLNA sharing, WPA3 support, as well as Yaru light and dark themes.

          Since it’s not an LTS (Long Term Support) release, Ubuntu 19.10 was mainly a testbed for Canonical to try new features. This also translates to the release not having any major changes and receiving only 9 months of support.

          Therefore, on July 17th, 2020, Canonical will no longer support Ubuntu 19.10. This means that they will cease to provide software updates and security fixes for the distribution.

        • Linux Mint 20.0 Released

          Linux Mint 20.0 is now available with its traditional separate releases based on different desktop environments. I have just upgraded my LMDE4 to latest Linux Kernel, so won’t be trying Mint 20.0 anytime soon. What about you?

        • There’s No Ubuntu 32-bit ISO. What Now?

          You’ve searched high and low but can’t find an Ubuntu 32-bit ISO. That’s because it doesn’t exist. Canonical decided to drop support for 32-bit computers, so they stopped releasing 32-bit ISOs since Ubuntu 18.04. And they’re not the only ones.

          Initially, this may sound strange since Linux is famous for supporting older hardware. And yet, it’s justified by the last 32-bit CPU being produced more than a decade ago.

          If your PC is so old that it doesn’t support 64-bit software, you have only three possible paths forward. Let’s see your options.

        • Make Ubuntu 20.4 Look Like MacOS [You Won't Believe the End Result]

          A step by step, detailed video tutorial showing how to make Ubuntu look like macOS. Perfect example of the customization power of Linux desktop.

        • A blast from the past – Shutter

          The wheel of software turns, and apps come and go. But the end of development does not always mean the end of usefulness. Sometimes, programs stubbornly remain around, offering a complete experience that can withstand the test of time.

          Several weeks ago, we talked about how you can preserve old applications with snaps. Today, we would like to expand on this concept and talk about Shutter, a feature-rich screenshot application that was rather popular several years ago. Its development has stalled in recent years, and it has become more difficult to install and run it on newer versions of various Linux distributions. But Shutter has gained a new life as a snap.

        • Encryption at rest with Ceph

          Do you have a big data center? Do you have terabytes of confidential data stored in that data center? Are you worried that your data might be exposed to malicious attacks? One of the most prominent security features of storage solutions is encryption at rest. This blog will explain this in more detail and how it is implemented in Charmed Ceph, Canonical’s software-defined storage solution.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Moving Ahead In Restricting Access To dmesg

          Following the discussions last month over restricting access to dmesg / kernel logs on Ubuntu in matching the behavior of other Linux distributions for better security practices, Ubuntu 20.10 indeed is moving forward with these plans where dmesg access would require root privileges.

          In recent times more Linux distributions have been restricting access to dmesg over the possibility of kernel addresses being leaked or other potentially sensitive bits while as it stands now on Ubuntu there is free reign on multi-user systems to have unprivileged users read dmesg output.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Jussi Pakkanen: What is best in open source projects?

        Open source project maintainers have a reputation of being grumpy and somewhat rude at times. This is a not unexpected as managing an open source project can be a tiring experience. This can lead to exhaustion and thus to sometimes being a bit too blunt.

        But let’s not talk about that now.

        Instead, let’s talk about the best of times, the positive outcomes, the things that really make you happy to be running an open source project. Patches, both bug fixes and new features are like this. So is learning about all the places people are using your project. Even better if they are using it ways you could not even imagine when you started. All of these things are great, but they are not the best.

        The greatest thing is when people you have never met or even heard of before come to your project and then on their own initiative take on leadership in some subsection in the project.

      • How an open project’s governance model evolves

        As we continue renovating the Open Organization community, we’ve been asking hard questions about how we want that community to function. What do we expect of one another, and of the new contributors yet to join us? How will we work best together? And how will we keep one another accountable for achieving our shared goals?


        Through this conversation, we’ve been able to update the Open Organization project description and vision.

        That vision initially took shape nearly five years ago, when the Open Organization Ambassador team first formed. At the time, Red Hat community architects Jason Hibbets and Bryan Behrenshausen drafted a document describing what a community of passionate advocates for open organizational principles might look like. The vision was entirely aspirational, describing what could be—rather than what was. It served as a beacon to attract passionate contributors to a still-nascent project.

        As soon as the community did attract new members, however, those members promptly wrote their own mission and vision for the Open Organization project, articulating their identity and purpose. And as we’ve grown, we’ve realized that we’re all committed to even more than we originally described. Our community is adept at translating open organization principles for various audiences and contexts, and at helping different communities connect to our language and culture through their own languages and cultures.

      • Copyright enforcement with Dr. Miriam Ballhausen

        We invited Dr. Miriam Ballhausen to talk with us about copyright enforcement. She is a German lawyer with the focus on software, data protection, copyright law and specifically Free Software copyright. This is the sixth regular episode of the Software Freedom Podcast for which we invite experts from our community.

        In this sixth episode of the Software Freedom Podcast we talk about Free Software copyright enforcement with our guest Dr. Miriam Ballhausen. Dr. Miriam Ballhausen is a German laywer and is specialised in Free Software copyright questions. Together we cover the basics about Free Software licensing and discuss, how Free Software copyright can be enforced, what are the steps to enforce it and why it is often enforced in Germany. We also explore how the REUSE project could help with being in compliance with Free Software licenses.

      • IBM Has Open Sourced Its Edge Device Platform and Wishes AWS and Microsoft Got On Board

        IBM’s Open Horizon is meant to make it easier to manage thousands of IoT devices as edge computing nodes.

      • Open-source contact tracing, part 1

        The main goal of COVID-19 tracing applications is to notify users if they have been recently in contact with an infected person, so that they can isolate themselves or seek out testing. The creation of the applications is usually supported by governments, with the development performed by health authorities and research institutions. The Wikipedia page for COVID-19 apps lists (as of early June 2020) at least 38 countries with such applications in use or under development, and at least eight framework initiatives.

        The applications trace the people that the user has had contact with for a significant period (for example, 15 minutes) with close physical proximity (a distance around one meter). The complete tracing system usually consists of an application for mobile phones and the server software.

        For the distance measurement and detecting the presence of other users, GPS and Bluetooth are the technical solutions used in practice. GPS only appears in a small number of projects because it does not have enough precision, especially inside buildings. It also does not work in enclosed spaces like underground parking and subways.

        Most countries have chosen to develop a distance measurement using Bluetooth, generally the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) variant, which uses less energy than the classical version. This is important as the distance measurement is done by mobile phones, and so Bluetooth will need to be active most of the time.

        The Bluetooth protocol was not designed for these kinds of tasks, though, so research has been done on ways to measure distance accurately. A report [PDF] from the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing project shows that it is possible to measure distance using BLE signal strength, specifically received signal strength indication (RSSI). In a contact-tracing system using Bluetooth, the distance measurement is made by the two phones communicating using a specific message format. Since the formats differ between applications, communication is only guaranteed to work if both phones are using the same application.

      • More alternatives to Google Analytics

        Last week, we introduced the privacy concerns with using Google Analytics (GA) and presented two lightweight open-source options: GoatCounter and Plausible. Those tools are useful for site owners who need relatively basic metrics. In this second article, we present several heavier-weight GA replacements for those who need more detailed analytics. We also look at some tools that produce analytics data based on web-server-access logs, GoAccess, in particular.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4.5 Released with over 100 Bug Fixes, Now Ready for Enterprise Deployments

          LibreOffice 6.4.5 comes one and a half months after LibreOffice 6.4.4 and it’s packed with lots of bug fixes across all core components. A total of 106 bugs have been addressed in this new point release, as documented here and here.

          But, the good news that I would like to share with you today is that the LibreOffice 6.4 office suite series is now finally ready for enterprise deployments in production environments as it’s thoroughly tested and includes several months of bug fixes.

          Those of you using the LibreOffice 6.3 office suite series in enterprise environments should upgrade to LibreOffice 6.4.5 as soon as possible. You can download the latest release for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms right now from the official website.

        • Announcement of LibreOffice 6.4.5

          The Document Foundation announces the availability of LibreOffice 6.4.5, the 5th minor release of the LibreOffice 6.4 family, targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users. LibreOffice 6.4.5 includes over 100 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility and interoperability with software from other vendors.

          LibreOffice 6.4.5 is optimized for use in production environments, even by more conservative users, as it now includes several months of work on bug fixes. Users of LibreOffice 6.3.6 and previous versions should start planning the update to LibreOffice 6.4.5, as the new major LibreOffice release – tagged 7.0 – is going to be announced in early August.


          LibreOffice 6.4.5 is immediately available from the following link: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/. Minimum requirements are specified on the download page. TDF builds of the latest LibreOffice Online source code are available as Docker images: https://hub.docker.com/r/libreoffice/online/.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Taler news: Exchange independent security audit report published

            We received a grant from NLnet foundation to pay for an external security audit of the GNU Taler exchange cryptography, code and documentation. CodeBlau now concluded their audit. You can find the final report here. We have compiled a preliminary response detailing what changes we have already made and which changes we are still planning to make in the future. We thank CodeBlau for their work, and NLnet and the European Commission’s Horizion 2020 NGI initiative for funding this work.

      • Programming/Development

        • GnuCOBOL 3.1rc-1 on alpha.gnu.org

          While this version is a release-randidate (with an expected full release within 3 months) it is the most stable and complete free COBOL compiler ever available.

        • 6 best practices for managing Git repos

          This is arguably Rule Zero for a secure Git repository. As a project maintainer, whether you started it yourself or you’ve adopted it from someone else, it’s your job to know the contents of your own repository. You might not have a memorized list of every file in your codebase, but you need to know the basic components of what you’re managing. Should a stray file appear after a few dozen merges, you’ll be able to spot it easily because you won’t know what it’s for, and you’ll need to inspect it to refresh your memory. When that happens, review the file and make sure you understand exactly why it’s necessary.


          Third-party libraries are no exception to this rule. While it’s one of the many benefits of open source that you can freely re-use and re-distribute code you didn’t write, there are many good reasons not to house a third-party library in your own repository. First of all, you can’t exactly vouch for a third party, unless you’ve reviewed all of its code (and future merges) yourself. Secondly, when you copy third party libraries into your Git repo, it splinters focus away from the true upstream source. Someone confident in the library is technically only confident in the master copy of the library, not in a copy lying around in a random repo. If you need to lock into a specific version of a library, either provide developers with a reasonable URL the release your project needs or else use Git Submodule.

        • Scala contributor: Open source and diversity key to tackling dev skills shortage

          Diversity and open source can help fix the software developer skills gap, argued Scala contributor and Carnegie Mellon Assistant Professor Heather Miller in a keynote talk at the virtual Open Source Summit North America.

          Miller examined the IT and computer-related skills shortage from a US perspective. “The Department of Labor statistics show that in 2017 there were over 500,000 computing-related jobs open in the US that were not filled. They project that this number is going to get a lot higher. If this trend continues, it’s obvious that there’s no way these posts can be filled by computer science graduates.”

          There are, however, many new people coming into the profession, not necessarily computer science graduates, and a notable point of recent StackOverflow research is the large number of respondents who consider themselves professional and have been coding for less than five years – 39.6 per cent in the latest survey.

          “The years of experience of professional software engineers, that is going down,” said Miller.

        • Evgeni Golov: Automatically renaming the default git branch to “devel”

          It seems GitHub is planning to rename the default brach for newly created repositories from “master” to “main”. It’s incredible how much positive PR you can get with a one line configuration change, while still working together with the ICE.

          However, this post is not about bashing GitHub.

          Changing the default branch for newly created repositories is good. And you also should do that for the ones you create with git init locally. But what about all the repositories out there? GitHub surely won’t force-rename those branches, but we can!

          Ian will do this as he touches the individual repositories, but I tend to forget things unless I do them immediately…

        • Web-augmented graphics overlay broadcasting with WPE and GStreamer

          To address the first point, WPE founding engineer, Žan Doberšek enabled software rasterizing support in WPE and its FDO backend. This is great because it allows WPE to run on machines without GPU (like continuous integration builders, test bots) but also “in the cloud” where machines with GPU are less affordable than bare metal! Following up, I enabled this feature in GstWPE. The source element caps template now has video/x-raw, in addition to video/x-raw(memory:GLMemory). To force swrast, you need to set the LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=true environment variable. The downside of swrast is that you need a good CPU. Of course it depends on the video resolution and framerate you want to target.

          On the latency front, I decided to switch from RTMP to WebRTC! This W3C spec isn’t only about video chat! With WebRTC, sub-second live one-to-many broadcasting can be achieved, without much efforts, given you have a good SFU. For this demo I chose Janus, because its APIs are well documented, and it’s a cool project! I’m not sure it would scale very well in large deployments, but for my modest use-case, it fits very well.

          Janus has a plugin called video-room which allows multiple participants to chat. But then imagine a participant only publishing its video stream and multiple “clients” connecting to that room, without sharing any video or audio stream, one-to-many broadcasting. As it turns out, GStreamer applications can already connect to this video-room plugin using GstWebRTC! A demo was developed by tobiasfriden and saket424 in Python, it recently moved to the gst-examples repository. As I kind of prefer to use Rust nowadays (whenever I can anyway) I ported this demo to Rust, it was upstreamed in gst-examples as well. This specific demo streams the video test pattern to a Janus instance.

          Adapting this Janus demo was then quite trivial. By relying on a similar video mixer approach I used for the first GstWPE demo, I had a GstWPE-powered WebView streaming to Janus.

        • PHP releases and support

          PHP is used extensively on the web. How new features, security fixes, and bug fixes make their way into a release is important to understand. Likewise, understanding what can be expected in community support for previous releases is even more important. Since PHP-based sites are typically exposed to the Internet, keeping up-to-date is not something a security-minded administrator can afford to ignore.

          PHP has not always had a formal release process and corresponding time frame for support; the official policy the project has now wasn’t adopted until 2011. Before then, the decisions of when to make releases and how long to support them were both made less formally by key members of the community.

          Let’s start with PHP versioning, where the project is more or less dependable. The versioning of PHP releases aims to follow Semantic Versioning. Major releases such as 3.0 and 4.0 always come with backward-compatibility breaks. Minor versions, such as 4.1 and 4.2, fix bugs and add new features that are backward-compatible in relation to the major release. Patch releases, such as 4.1.1, tend to be strictly for important bug fixes and should never break backward compatibility.

        • Intel AMX Support Begins Landing In LLVM

          Following Intel publishing the initial Advanced Matrix Extensions (AMX) documentation at the end of June, the open-source/Linux bring-up has continued for these new CPU instruction set extensions set to premiere with Sapphire Rapids next year.

        • Intel oneDNN 2.0 Deep Neural Network Library Working On More Performance Tuning

          Intel’s open-source oneDNN library, which was formerly known as MKL-DNN and DNNL for this deep neural network library now living under the oneAPI umbrella, continues working on some big performance advancements for its 2.0 release.

          Intel on Thursday released oneDNN 2.0 Beta 7 and with it comes more Intel CPU performance optimizations around convolutional neural networks, binary primitive performance for the broadcast case, BFloat16 and FP32 weights gradient convolutions, INT8 convolutions with 1×1 kernel and spatial strides, and a variety of other specific areas within this deep learning library seeing optimizations.

        • Terminology Debate

          • Tech Companies Take Steps to Change Exclusionary Language

            In an article on The New Stack in June, Jennifer Riggins discussed recent decisions by some tech companies to phase out the use of exclusionary language. For example, Android and GitHub have announced that they will switch from the use of “master” to “main,” and other organizations and projects are following suit.

            These steps stem in part from efforts to show tangible support for Black Lives Matter. At times, however, Riggins said, “it is virtue signaling, a relatively easy way to show a company supports the movement. In still other cases, employees have been long wanting to make a change to the outdated language, and now is the perfect time to appeal to decision-makers about this.”

          • Red Hat making open source code more inclusive by eradicating ‘problematic language’

            Open source has always been about differing voices coming together to share ideas, iterate, challenge the status quo, solve problems, and innovate quickly.

            That ethos is rooted in inclusion and the opportunity for everyone to meaningfully contribute, and open source technology is better because of the diverse perspectives and experiences that are represented in its communities.

            Red Hat is fortunate to be able to see the impact of this collaboration daily, and this is why our business has also always been rooted in these values.

          • Words Matter: Finally, Tech Looks at Removing Exclusionary Language

            This month the tech industry’s lexicon is seeing a small but significant shift: Common technical phrases, most notably “Master/Slave” and “Whitelist/Blacklist” that have been red-flagged as offensive, or even racist, sometimes for decades, are getting updates. Android and GitHub announced this week that it is starting to changing “master” designation to “main,” alongside Android, Gitlab and Splunk. Many orgs are also looking at replacing the concept of “whitelist” in both its documentation and in its APIs. Other companies and open source projects are following suit.

            This work is in part to take another semantic and moral stand that Black Lives Matter. And, at times, it is virtue signaling, a relatively easy way to show a company supports the movement. In still other cases, employees have been long wanting to make a change to the outdated language, and now is the perfect time to appeal to decision-makers about this.

        • Python

          • EuroPython 2020: Our keynotes

            Conference tickets are available on our registration page. We hope to see lots of you at the conference from July 23-26. Rest assured that we’ll make this a great event again — even within the limitations of running the conference online.

          • Full Stack Python: How to Report Errors in Flask Web Apps with Sentry

            Flask web applications are highly customizable by developers thanks to the framework’s extension-based architecture, but that flexibility can sometimes lead to more errors when you run the application due to rough edges between the libraries.

            Reporting errors is crucial to running a well-functioning Flask web application, so this tutorial will guide you through adding a free, basic Sentry configuration to a fresh Flask project.

          • PyCharm EAP#3 is out!

            PyCharm EAP #3 is out and it’s almost releasing time!! If you are like us you are also looking forward to the end of the month! We have been talking about new features for the last month and today we will take a deeper look into two very exciting ones. For the full list, check our release notes.

          • The Home Stretch – Building SaaS #63

            In this episode, we return to the homeschool application that I’m building. I’m in the final stretch of changes that need to happen to make the product minimally viable. We worked on a template, wrote some model methods, and did a bunch of automated testing.

            We started by adding students to the context of the students index page. With the students in the context, we updated the index page to display the list of students.

            After the students were available, we had to check their enrolled status in a school year. That logic doesn’t belong in the template so we worked out the changes needed for the view.

          • py.CheckIO: Find out more about Python by searching the solutions

            As you might have noticed, for two weeks we haven’t made our usual newsletter mailouts. But we definitely weren’t wasting any time. CheckiO team was actually preparing some important updates, which we want to share with you.

            That’s a common knowledge that CheckiO originated from the idea of practical learning through shared solutions. This means that in our portals you can learn not only by solving the coding tasks, but also by checking out and analyzing the solutions made by other users. In view of this, our next step became a logical continuation of this ideology.

            Since the creation of CheckiO, we’ve gathered nearly half a million of different solutions. Now, using the Solution Search feature, which becomes available from the 2nd Level, you can easily find any solution you need. Like you can look for the usage examples of an itertools.groupby function. You just need to enter it into the search field and you’ll see multiple solutions. Or you can type ‘itertools’ and you’ll be presented with all of the solutions where this module had been used. It’s fast, efficient and quite handy. The feature is still in the beta testing mode though.

          • Data science workflows on Kubernetes with Kubeflow pipelines: Part 2

            Kubeflow Pipelines are a great way to build portable, scalable machine learning workflows. It is a part of the Kubeflow project that aims to reduce the complexity and time involved with training and deploying machine learning models at scale. For more on Kubeflow, read our Kubernetes for data science: meet Kubeflow post.

            In this blog series, we demystify Kubeflow pipelines and showcase this method to produce reusable and reproducible data science.

            In Part 1, we covered WHY Kubeflow brings the right standardization to data science workflows. Now, let’s see HOW you can accomplish that with Kubeflow Pipelines.

            In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll work on building your first Kubeflow Pipeline as you gain an understanding of how it’s used to deploy reusable and reproducible ML pipelines.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Google’s AMP, the Canonical Web, and the Importance of Web Standards

        Have you ever clicked on a link after googling something, only to find that Google didn’t take you to the actual webpage but to some weird Google-fied version of it? Instead of the web address being the source of the article, it still says “google” in the address bar on your phone? That’s what’s known as Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and now Google has announced that AMP has graduated from the OpenJS Foundation Incubation Program. The OpenJS Foundation is a merged effort between major projects in the JavaScript ecosystem, such as NodeJS and jQuery, whose stated mission is “to support the healthy growth of the JavaScript and web ecosystem”. But instead of a standard starting with the web community, a giant company is coming to the community after they’ve already built a large part of the mobile web and are asking for a rubber stamp. Web community discussion should be the first step of making web standards, and not just a last-minute hurdle for Google to clear.

        This Google-backed, stripped down HTML framework was created with the promises of creating faster web pages for a better user experience. Cutting out slower loading content, like those developed with JavaScript. At a high level, AMP works by fast loading stripped down versions of full web pages for mobile viewing.

      • Open Standards Everywhere: How the Kolkata Chapter Got a Perfect Score

        In early May 2020, the Open Standards Everywhere (OSE) project held a series of virtual training sessions for Internet Society Chapters. Over 70 Chapter representatives from around the world learned, in English, French, or Spanish, how to improve the overall security and availability of their Chapter’s websites and web servers by enabling IPv6, HTTP/2, TLS, and DNSSEC.

  • Leftovers

    • What Are Art Galleries For?

      The gallery scene in New York, long the most active setting for new art worldwide, had been showing signs of malaise even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of its problems are shared around the globe—notably the rise of art fairs, which have increased the cost of doing business while drawing many collectors away from brick-and-mortar galleries; other challenges, such as high rents, are more specific to New York. All of them are rooted in a broader sociopolitical context: the seemingly inexorable rise of income inequality and the winner-take-all economy. One result has been consolidation of the art market around a small number of mega-galleries and a squeeze on the rest. And when the galleries are ailing, it’s the artists who are most affected.

    • Activists Are Beaming Free Wi-Fi to Protesters at NYC’s City Hall Occupation

      As protests against police violence continue, members of NYC Mesh built a network that provides [I]nternet access to the encampment without relying on Internet Service Providers.

    • Finnish Air Force Command drops swastika logo as insignia

      Brig. Gen. Jari Mikkonen at Air Force Command Finland acknowledged Thursday to The Associated Press that the historical swastika emblem had created confusion over the years among international colleagues.

      “Undeniably, we’ve had to explain from time to time the history of the (Finnish Air Force) swastika that dates back to 1918,” Mikkonen said. “It caused misunderstandings with our foreign partners, so continuing to use it was considered inappropriate and unnecessary.”

      The swastika is an ancient symbol and a religious icon in many cultures dating back thousands of years, but many still associate it with Nazi Germany’s notorious swastika flag adopted by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party in the early 1920s.

      The Finnish Air Command swastika emblem traces its roots back to March 1918 when the Finnish Air Force was created only a few months after Finland had declared its independence on Dec. 6, 1917.

    • Is the Five-Day Office Week Over?

      Most American office workers are in no hurry to return to the office full time, even after the coronavirus is under control. But that doesn’t mean they want to work from home forever. The future for them, a variety of new data shows, is likely to be workweeks split between office and home.

      Recent surveys show that both employees and employers support this arrangement. And research suggests that a couple of days a week at each location is the magic number to cancel out the negatives of each arrangement while reaping the benefits of both.

    • The Pandemic is Exposing More Americans to Remote Work, And Many are Latching On to the Practice

      A new Morning Consult survey report indicates the COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt the traditional office model, as many Americans who have shifted to working from home report positive experiences and are eager to see employers continue offering remote work options in the future.

      Overall, 73 percent of U.S. adults who have careers where remote work is possible report that the pandemic has made them feel more positively about the prospect of remote work. And given the option, three quarters of these workers say they would like to work from home at least 1-2 days a week once the pandemic is under control.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Desklab Portable USB-C Monitor

        I bought a mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter and for my first test ran it from my laptop, it was seen as a 1920*1080 DisplayPort monitor. The adaptor is specified as supporting 4K so I don’t know why I didn’t get 4K to work, my laptop has done 4K with other monitors.

        The next thing I plan to get is a VGA to HDMI converter so I can use this on servers, it can be a real pain getting a monitor and power cable to a rack mounted server and this portable monitor can be powered by one of the USB ports in the server. A quick search indicates that such devices start at about $12US.

        The Desklab monitor has no markings to indicate what resolution it supports, no part number, and no serial number. The only documentation I could find about how to recognise the difference between the FullHD and 4K versions is that the FullHD version supposedly draws 2A and the 4K version draws 4A. I connected my USB Ammeter and it reported that between 0.6 and 1.0A were drawn. If they meant to say 2W and 4W instead of 2A and 4A (I’ve seen worse errors in manuals) then the current drawn would indicate the 4K version. Otherwise the stated current requirements don’t come close to matching what I’ve measured.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘A Scandal’: Contracts Show Trump Giving Big Pharma Free Rein to Price Gouge Taxpayer-Funded Coronavirus Drugs

        “The amount of money the government is throwing at companies is unprecedented. Normally when you write bigger checks, you should have more leverage, not less leverage.”

      • Trump’s Contagion Road Show Heads West

        It’s like a Stephen King horror novel where a nation is swept by a deadly and uncontrollable disease, sickening millions and killing over 100,000 citizens. Ignoring the advice of top infectious disease specialists who say, “Don’t go to large-scale gatherings,” a crazed president insists on holding rallies for the sole purpose of boosting his rapidly sinking chances of reelection. While recklessly ignoring precautions and exhorting his followers to do the same, he leaves not hope, but contagion and death in his path. Only it’s not a novel, it’s our reality — and now Trump’s traveling horror show heads west.

      • The People Must Rise Up and Remove Trump-Pence From This Horror Show Handling of the Pandemic

        The citizenry must quickly mount irresistible pressure for Trump and Pence to step aside.

      • Who Made the Plague?

        (A nursery rhyme for grownups)

      • As Pandemic Soars in US and Brazil, Red Cross Federation Chief Slams Trump and Bolsonaro for Anti-Science Responses

        The remarks from International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies president Francesco Rocca for lawmakers to heed science came as Trump said the coronavirus is “going to sort of just disappear.”

      • Trump Says Covid-19 Is ‘Going to Sort of Just Disappear, I Hope’ on Same Day New US Cases Topped 50,000 for First Time

        “These reckless statements are false—and coming from the president, they are dangerous.”

      • Trump Says COVID Is “Going to Sort of Just Disappear” as New US Cases Top 50k

        President Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Wednesday that he hopes the coronavirus will “sort of just disappear” on its own, remarks that came on the same day new infections in the United States topped 50,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

      • ‘We Are Not Even Beginning to Be Over This Pandemic’

        Just this week, something startling occurred. We heard the unvarnished truth about Covid-19 in the United States from a major public health official, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s principal deputy director Anne Schuchat. She is not a political appointee, has been at the agency since 1988, occupied many leadership roles since then, and has been at the forefront of the US response to pandemics like SARS and H1N1 influenza. The CDC’s career scientists have largely been silent since the early days of the current crisis, when Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials took charge of the American effort against Covid-19, under tight control by the president and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

      • We Take Homelessness for Granted. The Pandemic Should Change That.

        When San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued the nation’s first shelter-in-place order in mid-March, some San Francisco families were panic-shopping and wondering how on earth they would stay inside their homes for several weeks. Other families were grasping at straws to get inside at all.

      • As Arizona COVID Cases Surge From Reopening, Indigenous Nations Suffer

        In the days before Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey changed course by urging people to stay home, Scottsdale city councilman Guy Phillips donned a face covering and shouted “I can’t breathe” into a microphone at an anti-mask rally. His mocking of the last words of George Floyd is only one more example of the racism that seems to shadow the outbreaks of contagious viruses.

      • A Japanese Cityt Has Just Banned Using Phones While Walking

        Now, as passengers arrive at Yamato’s train station, a recorded voice broadcasts a warning about using smartphones while walking down sidewalks or in parks.

        “Using smartphones while walking is banned. Please operate your smartphones after you stop walking,” the recording says.

        But for now, that’s the extent of it: AFP reports that there’s no punishment linked to the crime of tweeting while walking, other than perhaps the ire of those around you.

      • E.U. coronavirus safe list: This is why the U.S. was nowhere near making the cut

        In fact, the Europeans say, the exclusive club was devised using strict epidemiological criteria.

        That’s why the U.S. — which has the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world — was nowhere near making the cut, according to three E.U. diplomats involved in the negotiations, who spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about them.

      • Diaspora Organizations Are Stepping Into the Void on Covid-19

        As Covid-19 began to take its toll in New York City back in March, over in Hong Kong, artist Tiffany Sia watched the number of infections and deaths rise in horror. Having spent her childhood and adolescence in Manhattan before returning to her city of birth, she was deeply troubled by the lack of available basic protection, even as she watched her friends and family members living there contract Covid-19, and American officials tell people not to wear masks. Frustrated that Americans weren’t embracing what she saw as a simple way to confront an increasingly dire situation, she got in touch with a few friends, including Wilfred Chan, a contributing writer to The Nation, to set up a “DIY supply network”—in their words—to fundraise, purchase masks from a reliable distributor contact Sia had found, and get these masks in the hands of people working on the front lines at medical centers, at supermarkets, and inside Rikers.

      • Sanders Files Amendments to Force Pentagon to Pass Audit, Mass Produce Masks

        Sen. Bernie Sanders late Tuesday filed a slate of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act aiming to force the Pentagon to pass an independent audit, require the federal government to mass-produce and deliver free masks to everyone in the U.S., and bar funding for the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

      • Amid Pandemic, Oklahoma Residents Vote to Expand Medicaid Coverage

        A measure to expand Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma passed by a slim, 1 percent margin on Tuesday night, as the state grapples with growing concerns over coronavirus in recent weeks.

      • The GOP’s Grotesque Response to a Pandemic Will Never Be Forgotten

        With nearly 130,00 US deaths and 2.6 million infections—gosh, what to do now? Of course! Let’s take away the health care coverage of some 23 million Americans!

      • Blood on His Hands: The Nursing Home Covid-19 Crisis is Donald Trump’s Fault

        The president is desperate to deflect from the truth: Over 54,000 nursing home residents and workers are dead. Those deaths were preventable. Their deaths are his fault.

      • Big Pharma Trade Group Blasted as ‘Morally Bankrupt’ for Suing to Block Minnesota Insulin Affordability Law

        The law is named for Alec Smith, an uninsured 26-year-old who died in 2017 after rationing his insulin.

      • Texas Lt. Governor Says “No, Thank You” to Fauci’s Advice as COVID Cases Spike

        Appearing in an interview on Fox News with host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday evening, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lambasted Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and one of the nation’s top experts on infectious diseases.

      • As COVID Burns Through the South and West, Trump Fans the Flames

        Donald Trump has labored since March to imagine himself into a world where COVID-19 will go away in time to save his re-election campaign. Sure, people were getting sick and dying by the thousands in places like New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Detroit, but those weren’t “his voters,” so Trump decided they weren’t his problem.

      • ‘Deplorable Act in Face of Global Crisis’: Trump Condemned as US Buys Up Nearly Entire Supply of Covid-19 Drug

        “It’s a very concerning precedent because if we see the vaccine coming from a U.S. company, we’re likely to see the same type of behavior and hoarding by the U.S. and other developed countries.”

      • Covid-19 and the Masque of the Red States

        Now that the pandemic is raging in the south and west, Trump’s governors finally are face-to-face with reality. Wear your damn mask.

      • Herman Cain is receiving treatment for coronavirus at an Atlanta hospital
      • Inside Congo’s Ebola emergency

        Beginning on 1 August 2018 and continuing for almost two years, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo grappled with the world’s first Ebola outbreak in an active conflict zone. It became the country’s deadliest outbreak to date and, with more than 2,200 lives lost, the second deadliest anywhere so far.

        On 25 June it was officially declared over, though responders are mindful that more than 1,000 survivors could relapse or infect others through body fluids, and that further outbreaks are likely in other parts of Congo, where Ebola remains endemic.

        The New Humanitarian was on the ground reporting throughout the just-ended epidemic. On this page, we’ve gathered all our key coverage so you can look back, explore what took place, and ponder the lessons learnt. We will continue to report on the aftermath of the epidemic and on new outbreaks, including cases detected in the northwest of the country in June.

      • Despite COVID-19 setbacks, displaced Kachin women keep their families afloat

        Uprooted for nearly a decade, women in displacement camps in Myanmar’s Kachin State are finding new ways to support their families as coronavirus restrictions squeeze livelihoods and aid.

        The New Humanitarian spoke with three women in Je Yang about life in long-term displacement, their hopes for peace, and how the coronavirus has forced communities in Myanmar’s northern borderlands to contend with new worries.

        June marked nine years since conflict resumed between the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and Myanmar’s military, ending a 17-year ceasefire. Since 2011, the conflict has displaced more than 100,000 people, including some 38,000 living in KIO-controlled areas near the Chinese border.

        Je Yang, Kachin’s largest internal displacement camp, holds 8,700 people. They live in cramped shelters perched along mountainous terrain near the KIO base of Laiza.

        The women who spoke with TNH — Marip Bawk Nu, 49; Labang Nan Doi, 56; and Lashi Lu, 48 — are the main providers for their families. Female-headed homes are common in Je Yang and other displacement camps. Some men have lost their lives to war or to landmines, while others serve in the KIO or leave in search of work in China or in Kachin’s vast jade mines at Hpakant, a government-controlled area about 250 kilometres away.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Two Musts for Managing a Remote Workforce: Identity Governance and Lifecycle

        Identity governance and lifecycle have always been fundamental to controlling user access and visibility into access activity in the workplace. But in a time when “the workplace” has been recast to mean every user’s home and a multitude of devices (including personal devices), these capabilities take on new meaning and importance. Identity governance suddenly isn’t just about who has access to what; it’s about where, how and why they have access. The meaning of identity lifecycle must be expanded, too, in light of the need to be concerned not just about securely enabling access to data, but about doing so when users aren’t inside a protected physical environment. Let’s look at some real-world examples of the identity management challenges remote work is creating, and at what it means to rethink identity governance and lifecycle to meet those challenges.

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware Gangs Don’t Need PR Help

          Overall, I’ve tried to use each story to call attention to key failures that frequently give rise to ransomware infections, and to offer information about how other companies can avoid a similar fate.

          But simply parroting what professional extortionists have posted on their blog about victims of cybercrime smacks of providing aid and comfort to an enemy that needs and deserves neither.

        • Ransomware gangs are doing their homework before encrypting corporate data

          In the last three months, the criminal hackers behind the Maze ransomware have attacked two big IT service providers, one of which is a Fortune 500 company. Other ransomware gangs have hit big corporate targets, and in so doing are first locking computer systems and then publicly shaming companies that don’t pay up by dumping their data.

          For corporations that do pay the ransom, the pain sometimes isn’t over. There is no guarantee that the decryption key handed over by the attacker works, said Wendi Whitmore, global lead at IBM Security X-Force.

        • Zoom Will Offer End-To-End Encryption To All Its Users [Ed: But no. You cannot trust proprietary software to do what it claims to do.]

          The pandemic has moved more activities online–and specifically onto Zoom–than ever before. For an enterprise tool like Zoom, that means new users that the company never expected and did not design for, and all the unanticipated security and privacy problems that come with that sudden growth. Zoom’s decision to offer end-to-end encryption more widely is especially important because the people who cannot afford enterprise subscriptions are often the ones who need strong security and privacy protections the most. For example, many activists rely on Zoom as an organizing tool, including the Black-led movement against police violence.

          To use Zoom’s end-to-end encryption, free users will have to provide additional information, like a phone number, to authenticate. As Zoom notes, this is a common method for mitigating abuse, but phone numbers were never designed to be persistent all-purpose individual identifiers, and using them as such creates new risks for users. In different contexts, Signal, Facebook, and Twitter have all encountered disclosure and abuse problems with user phone numbers. At the very least, the phone numbers that users give Zoom should be used only for authentication, and only by Zoom. Zoom should not use these phone numbers for any other purpose, and should never require users to reveal them to other parties.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation To Boost Open Software Standards With Community Specification
              • New Community Specification Process Facilitates Open Standards

                The Linux Foundation has announced Community Specification, which aims to facilitate and accelerate the creation of open standards.

                “Open Standards are best defined as specifications made available to the public, developed, and maintained via an inclusive, collaborative, transparent, and consensus-driven process. Open standards facilitate interoperability and data exchange among different products or services and are intended for widespread adoption,” according to a recent post on the Linux Foundation website.

              • Driving Compatibility with Code and Specifications through Conformance Trademark Programs

                A key goal of some open collaboration efforts — whether source code or specification oriented — is to prevent technical ‘drift’ away from a core set of functions or interfaces. Projects seek a means to communicate — and know — that if a downstream product or open source project is held out as compatible with the project’s deliverable, that product or component is, in fact, compatible. Such compatibility strengthens the ecosystem by providing end-users with confidence that data and solutions from one environment can work in another conformant environment with minimal friction. It also provides product and solution providers a stable set of known interfaces they can depend on for their commercially supported offerings.

                A trademark conformance program, which is one supporting program that the LF offers its projects, can be used to encourage conformance with the project’s code base or interfaces. Anyone can use the open source project code however they want — subject to the applicable open source license — but if a downstream solution wants to describe itself as conformant using the project’s conformance trademark, it must meet the project’s definition of “conformant.” Some communities choose to use words other than “conformant” including “certified”, “ready”, or “powered by” in association with commercial uses of the open source codebase. This is the approach that some Linux Foundation projects take to maintain compatibility and reduce fragmentation of code and interfaces.

                Through this approach, we enable our projects to create flexible, custom-tailored conformance programs to meet the needs of their respective communities. In fact, our conformance programs can operate as open source projects themselves (see, for example, https://cncf.io/ck ). They incorporate a balance of interests from vendors, end-users, and contributors to the project and enable the community to define how the commercial ecosystem participants can leverage the use of the community’s mark.

        • Security

          • WordPress file permissions: the guide to configuring secure website & web server permissions
          • Updating the Git protocol for SHA-256

            The primary force behind the move from SHA-1 to SHA-256 is contributor brian m. carlson, who has been working over the years to make the transition happen. It has not been an easy task; the original Git implementation hard-coded SHA-1 as the only supported algorithm, and countless repositories need to be transitioned from SHA-1 to SHA-256. Moreover, in the time this transition is taking place, Git needs to maintain interoperability between the two hash algorithms within the context of a single repository, since users may still be using older Git clients.

            The problems surrounding that transition are complicated. Different versions of Git clients and servers may or may not have SHA-256 support, and all repositories need to be able to work under both algorithms for some time to come. This means Git will need to keep track of objects in two different ways and seamlessly work correctly, regardless of the hashing algorithm. For example, hash values are often abbreviated by users when referencing commits: 412e40d041 instead of 412e40d041e861506bb3ac11a3a91e3, so even the fact that SHA-256 and SHA-1 hash values are different lengths is only marginally helpful.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium and firefox-esr), Fedora (chromium and ntp), SUSE (ntp and unbound), and Ubuntu (libvncserver).

          • Canonical Outs Important Linux Kernel Security Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            The most important security issue fixed in this new Linux kernel update was discovered in the SELinux network label handling implementation by Matthew Sheets. This vulnerability (CVE-2020-10711) affects Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, 19.10, 18.04 LTS, and 16.04 LTS, and could allow a remote attacker to cause a denial of service (system crash).

            On Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS systems using either Linux 5.3 or 5.0 kernels, the new security update addresses another important vulnerability (CVE-2020-10751) discovered by Dmitry Vyukov in the SELinux netlink security hook, which could allow a privileged attacker to bypass SELinux netlink restrictions.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Hundreds of Police Departments with Deadly Histories Partner with Amazon’s Ring Surveillance Cameras

              Research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) shows that hundreds of U.S. police departments with deadly histories have official partnerships with Amazon’s Ring—a home-surveillance company that makes it easy to send video footage to law enforcement.

              Ring sells networked cameras, often bundled with doorbells or lighting, that record video when they register movement and then send notifications to owners’ cell phones. Ring’s partnerships allow police to seek access to private video footage directly from residents through a special web portal. Ring now works with over 1400 agencies, adding 600 in the last six months alone. An analysis of data from Ring, Fatal Encounters, and Mapping Police Violence shows that roughly half of the agencies that Ring has partnered with had fatal encounters in the last five years. In fact, those departments have been responsible for over a third of fatal police encounters nationwide, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Botham Jean, Antonio Valenzuela, Michael Ramos, and Sean Monterrosa.

            • Amazon’s Ring Enables the Over-Policing Efforts of Some of America’s Deadliest Law Enforcement Agencies

              Ring, Amazon’s “smart” doorbell camera company, recently began sharing statistics on how many video requests police departments submit to users, and the numbers are staggering. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, police requested videos over 5000 times, using their partnerships with the company to email users directly and ask them to share private videos from their Ring devices.

              It’s unclear how many video requests were successful, as users have the option to deny the requests; however, even a small percentage of successful requests would mean potentially thousands of videos shared with police per year. With a warrant, police could also circumvent the device’s owner and get footage straight from Amazon, even if the owner denied the police. 

            • Onion Service version 2 deprecation timeline
            • HongKongers prepare for China and new national security law by scrubbing digital footprint

              As China takes over Hong Kong with a new national security law, Hongkongers prepare by cleaning up their social media presence. Before, under the now demolished “one country, two systems” lie, people posted online with an expectation that freedom of expression would be respected. That may no longer be on the table now that China is exerting its control over Hong Kong.

            • After exaggerated claims about their importance, here’s the reality of contact tracing apps

              Back in February, this blog was one of the first to warn that the obvious technological response to the coronavirus – the use of contact tracing apps – raised important privacy questions. Since then, both the apps and their implications have been the subject of debate around the world. That’s particularly the case for the UK’s approach, which was even more contested than others. There were two key areas that were problematic. One was the decision not to use the Apple-Google contact-tracing framework. The UK government was unwilling to agree to the strong data protection safeguards built in to that, since it wished to adopt a centralized approach – the other problem – something ruled out by Apple and Google. Things went badly, and the UK has bowed to the inevitable, and abandoned its own code in favor of the Apple-Google framework.

            • [Old] TikTok offered details about how its most popular feed works. Experts seem unimpressed.

              Earlier this year, the Intercept obtained internal policy documents that encouraged content moderators to limit videos appearing in the “For You” feed that were deemed “undesirable,” including those featuring people with an “abnormal body shape” and “ugly facial looks.” TikTok also reportedly reached out to some high-profile users of its app to update them about changing rules, and the company censored political speech on its livestreaming feature.

            • Palmer Luckey’s surveillance startup Anduril signs contract for ‘virtual border wall’

              US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has signed a deal with Anduril, the “virtual border wall” startup launched by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. The Washington Post reports that the agency awarded Anduril a five-year contract to deploy portable surveillance towers meant to detect moving vehicles and human figures across the US border. The deal will see CBP purchase 140 towers in 2021 and 2022, supplementing 60 towers that were already part of a pilot program. A company executive told the Post that the deal was worth “several hundred million dollars.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Did the Army Ignore a Soldier’s Murder? Questions Mount over Vanessa Guillén Disappearance

        The U.S. Army says it has a suspect in custody in connection with the disappearance of Vanessa Guillén, a missing 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier whose family says her remains were likely found in a shallow grave near the Texas Army base. A second suspect in the case — a soldier who the Guillén family lawyer named as Aaron Robinson — killed himself in Killeen, Texas, as officers approached. The news comes after months of anguish for Vanessa Guillén’s family, who say she was sexually harassed by a higher-up prior to her disappearance and that the military was slow to investigate when she went missing. We get an update from the family’s attorney, Natalie Khawam.

      • New ICC Complaint Filed Over US-Israel War Crimes in Palestine

        Prominent international critics have called the ongoing Zionist colonization of Palestine an act of ethnic cleansing and the exclusively Jewish settlements a form of apartheid.

      • U.S. Marine Corps Concludes Its Investigation Into a Fatal 2018 Midair Crash Was Inaccurate

        The U.S. Marine Corps acknowledged in a new high-level review that its original investigation into a fatal 2018 midair crash off the coast of Japan was inaccurate and incomplete, led by a commander who was more concerned with how his findings would be perceived by his bosses than getting to the truth.

        The new review reexamined the December 2018 crash between an American fighter jet and a refueling tanker during a nighttime training exercise. The Marine Corps’ original investigation into the crash, which killed six Marines, largely blamed the squadron itself, painting the men as reckless aviators who flouted safety protocols and abused prescription drugs.

      • Military deployed in Ethiopian capital after more than 80 killed in protests

        The protests were sparked by the assassination of popular musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa on Monday night and spread from Addis Ababa to the surrounding Oromiya region.

        The killing tapped into grievances fuelled by decades of government repression and what the Oromo, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, describe as their historic exclusion from political power.

      • A New Anti-War Mobilization Must Topple Trump—and Challenge Biden

        Building a new anti-war movement that is connected to the domestic anti-police struggle is the only thing that can rein in US militarism.

      • ‘Day of Rage’: Palestinians and Global Allies Rise Up Against Annexation Plan and Israeli Apartheid

        “The Palestinian struggle today is not just about fighting annexation, which we must continue to do. It is about dismantling the entire system of apartheid.”

    • Environment

      • Less rain will fall during Mediterranean winters

        Mediterranean winters could bring 40% less rain, hurting farmers in what’s called the cradle of agriculture – and not only farmers.

      • A potentially deadly weather pattern is setting up across the central US

        The seriousness of excessive heat cannot be overstated. Although hurricanes and tornadoes gain the most notoriety in the world of weather, many are surprised to learn that it is heat that is the top weather killer.

        In fact, heat kills nearly twice as many Americans each year than tornadoes and almost three times more Americans than hurricanes.

      • How climate change is affecting your cup of coffee

        “It was thought that it could handle average temperatures up to even 30 degrees Celsius, but when we looked into its relationship with those climate variables, we found it performed best at much cooler conditions, so around 20.5 degrees.”

        The issue is not whether the plants can survive at the higher temperatures, Dr Kath said, but whether they could produce a viable crop.

        This is especially important, he said, because it had widely been thought that coffee plantations could transition from arabica to robusta crops as the global temperature increased.

      • Fires rage across Amazon rainforest, sparking fears of another disastrous summer season

        In the month of June alone, almost 2,250 separate fires were recorded in the Amazon rainforest – up from around 1,900 fires detected in the same period last year. NGOs are worried that this summer will see a repeat of the infernos that raged across the Amazon last summer.

      • In Russia, a New Generation of Activists are Taking on Climate Crisis

        Against a hostile media—and a powerful fossil lobby, young people in Russia are coming out to build a safe climate future.

      • Silver Linings on a River

        Stillwater, Me.—Biking through my neighborhood, I notice a new Trump/Pence sign on the lawn strewn with Americana ornaments. A far cry from the rainbow animal sculptures down the road celebrating LGBT pride. Our small community on the Stillwater River is sandwiched between the progressive college town of Orono, headquarters to the University of Maine, and the working-class paper mill community of Old Town, near the home of the Penobscot Nation and the world-famous canoe. These disparate places are connected by the river, which I am fortunate to have winding along my backyard. It was this river that offered sanctuary to my parents after a war divided our country, Cyprus, in 1974. This river was my companion as a child who spent most of her time outdoors. This river urged me to move with my family back to Maine from New York when, after eight years, the apple started to sour. This river, a small artery in the web of life, offers me relief today as humanity cries, I can’t breathe.

      • Energy

        • IEA Report Misses the Mark on ‘Sustainable Recovery’ by Sidelining 1.5°C

          The decisions made over the next three years will set our course to 2030. To be a useful authority on a sustainable recovery, the IEA needs to choose a side.

        • Oil Industry and Allies Look to Pump Brakes on Democrats’ Plans to Move Transportation Off Petroleum

          The infrastructure bill comes on the heels of a new climate action plan released June 30 by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. That plan offers a roadmap for mostly eliminating globe-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. by 2050. Achieving zero emissions from the nation’s transportation sector is a key priority in this plan.

        • Warning: The world won’t hit climate goals unless energy innovation is rapidly accelerated

          The International Energy Agency sounded the alarm Thursday about the “critical need” to rapidly accelerate clean energy innovation. That’s because the climate goals set by governments and corporations around the world depend on technologies that have not yet reached the market.

          “The message is very clear: in the absence of much faster clean energy innovation, achieving net-zero goals in 2050 will be all but impossible,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.

        • New Analysis Says Coal’s Hit a ‘Tipping Point’ And No Longer Makes Financial Sense

          Renewable energy such as wind and solar projects are already cheaper to build than it is to continue operating 40 percent of the world’s existing coal fleet, according to analysis released Tuesday.

          In a report outlining how the world can phase out the most polluting fuel while powering an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a group of experts said coal had reached a financial “tipping point” making it uncompetitive in most markets.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Project Censored’s 2020 Summer Reading List – Censored Notebook

        The End of White Politics: How to Heal Our Political Divide, Zerlina Maxwell

      • China’s new national security law is already chilling free speech in Hong Kong

        At 11pm local time on Tuesday, Hong Kong’s government unveiled the text of a draconian new national security law that gives the Chinese government vast new powers to crackdown on free speech and dissent in Hong Kong.

        Drafted in secrecy by top Chinese officials in Beijing — and not seen by the public until that very moment — the law criminalizes “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.”

        Those who commit such acts — which experts say are vaguely defined in the law, and thus allow for an extremely broad interpretation by authorities — face severe punishment, up to and including life in prison.

      • Reddit bans 2,000 communities in major censorship action

        Meanwhile, hiding behind the banning of the widely despised subreddit r/The_Donald, Reddit executives also took action to shut down some 2,000 other groups, including a popular left-radical forum called r/ChapoTrapHouse, named after a popular podcast, which had approximately 160,000 users in its community.

      • America Exports Cancel Culture to the World

        ecently, I was interviewed for a video for the Dutch media outlet NU.nl, a popular news website in the Netherlands. The topic was cancel culture, which refers to the social trend of ending (or attempting to end) an individual’s career or prominence to hold them to account for violating moral norms. The video was about the uses and abuses of this new trend, including how cancel culture has rightly jettisoned reprehensible individuals like Harvey Weinstein from polite society. On the other hand, it also discussed its excesses, such as the recent social media mobbing of J.K. Rowling. During my segment, I described how individuals use cancel culture to elevate their own social position.

        Three days after it was published, the video was taken down. I contacted the journalist who interviewed me, asking what happened. He replied that although the video gathered over 176,000 views and was positively received by viewers, his employer determined that it “didn’t meet their profile.” He then revealed that his supervisors believed the video was too sympathetic to the targets of cancel culture. In other words, a video about cancel culture was cancelled.

        This social phenomenon is spreading beyond our shores. [...]

      • Radio Is Quietly Scrubbing the Word ‘Urban,’ Sources Say

        A rep for iHeartMedia — the U.S.’s largest radio conglomerate, operating 855 stations — says that the company is in the process of removing “urban” from job titles, adding that it has “already transitioned away from it” and into “more descriptive and specific names such as hip-hop and R&B” to break from the past. iHeart will also no longer use “urban” when referencing the format or in internal communication. The term is “definitely outdated,” the rep says.

        In addition, multiple major label executives and other industry sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone that the iHeart-owned data analytics company Mediabase, which powers the industry’s go-to charts on radio airplay, is planning to remove “urban” from its chart names. Mediabase currently publishes two charts reflecting the top-played tunes at U.S. Urban stations and Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) stations; these charts will be renamed Hip-hop/R&B and R&B, respectively, sources say. Mediabase did not respond to request for comment on Thursday.

      • India bans 59 apps it says have privacy, national security problems. In a massive coincidence, they’re all Chinese

        India has banned the use of 59 smartphone apps it says violate its citizens’ privacy and threaten national security. In a massive coincidence they come from China, and just weeks after border skirmishes between the two nations.

        The Indian government’s announcement of the software banishment said the offending apps “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.“

        “The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” the statement continued.

        “The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.“

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Wikileaks-Hosted “Most Wanted Leaks” Reflects the Transparency Priorities of Public Contributors

        The government recently released a superseding indictment[1] against Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange, currently imprisoned and awaiting extradition in the United Kingdom. As we’ve written before, this prosecution poses a clear threat to journalism, and, whether or not Assange considers himself a journalist, the indictment targets routine journalistic practices such as working with and encouraging sources during an investigation.

        While considering the superseding indictment, it’s useful to look at some of the features carrying over from the previous version. Through much of the indictment, the government describes and refers back to a page on the Wikileaks website describing the “Most Wanted Leaks of 2009.[2]” The implication in the indictment is that Wikileaks was actively soliciting leaks with this Most Wanted Leaks list, but the government is leaving out a crucial piece of nuance about the Most Wanted Leaks page: Unlike much of Wikileaks.org, the Most Wanted Leaks was actually a publicly-editable wiki. 

      • RSF Reiterates Call For Charges Against Julian Assange To Be Dropped As US Issues New Indictment

        Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the US Department of Justice’s issuing of a new superseding indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – the latest in a long series of US government attempts to manipulate legal loopholes and undermine Assange’s defense. RSF calls again for all charges against Assange to be dropped and for him to be immediately released.

        On 24 June, the US Department of Justice filed a new superseding indictment against Assange, broadening the “scope of the conspiracy” claimed in the hacking allegations against him. Assange had previously been indicted on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one charge under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA); the new superseding indictment did not add new charges, but expands the scope of the CFAA charge and changes the evidential basis of some of the other charges against him.

      • Belarus Media Arrests Are Sign of Election Crackdown, Experts Say

        As President Alexander Lukashenko prepares for what experts say could be his stiffest election challenge yet, Belarusian authorities have detained at least 20 journalists and bloggers.

        In the months leading up to the August 9 election, authorities have arrested opposition presidential candidate Viktor Babaryko on suspicion of financial crimes, and over 100 protesters who were calling for an end to Lukashenko’s 26-year rule.

        At least 14 journalists covering the protests were among those detained. On June 23, three were convicted of participating in illegal protests – charges the journalists denied. Separately, about six bloggers were arrested over their blog posts or commentary.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Tear Gas and Clubs in Lafayette Square Were Just the Beginning

        On June 1, President Trump ordered National Park Police and troops from the District of Columbia National Guard and some other federal law enforcement agencies to drive peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, north of the White House, to clear the way for his Bible-holding photo op. The same day, Trump and his Attorney General William Barr, along with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, also placed a call to the nation’s 50 governors.

      • How Did Police Unions Get So Powerful?

        New York City’s liberal mayor, elected on a platform of overhauling a police department accused of deep-seated racism and corruption, had a seemingly obvious idea for reform: instituting civilian oversight of the police.

      • Housing Activists Unite to Fight Mass Evictions and Defund Police

        As COVID-19’s second wave bears down, nearly half of all states’ eviction moratoria have already expired or are set to expire in the next two months. A federal moratorium that bans evictions of people in rentals backed by the government expires July 25. To make matters worse, the CARES Act’s supplemental boost to unemployment insurance ends July 31.

      • Police Unions Are Racist Power Brokers in Opposition to Movement for Black Lives

        The scene is all too frequent — a Black person is slain or wantonly brutalized on camera by police officers, most often white, and in response, a white police union leader steps to the microphone and unequivocally defends the actions, no matter how indefensible they are. A police chief or mayor, under pressure from the community, attempts to invoke modest reforms in response, and the union wields the power of its contract to defeat the measures. Progressive-leaning prosecutors are mercilessly attacked and judges plied with union contributions to support “law and order.” Killer cops are supplied with lawyers, at union expense, when they are administratively charged or criminally prosecuted. When a department, pursuant to a consent decree or community pressure, implements de-escalation and peer intervention training, the union provides alternative “warrior mentality” training free of charge. The union leaps to the defense of a cop who sends a defenseless 75-year-old peace activist to the hospital in critical condition. Several police union leaders are notorious “repeater beaters” with long records of shootings, beatings and other misconduct. Cops in their union garb pack courtrooms to intimidate cops who break the code of silence and bravely testify about police torture and murder. Union leaders rally for Trump, while he encourages their violence. And the list goes on.

      • Markey Bill Backed by Sanders and Warren Seeks to Abolish Qualified Immunity

        In the wake of the recent killings of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky — which sparked a national uprising against racial injustice and police violence — Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Wednesday introduced a new bill in the U.S. Senate that would end “qualified immunity” for law enforcement officers accused of excessive force and violating the constitutional rights of civilians.

      • The White Left Needs to Embrace Black Leadership

        We are seeing one of the largest uprisings in US history, and Black leftist organizers and Black working-class people are leading it. The video of George Floyd begging for his life and calling for his mother as Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds made Floyd this generation’s Emmett Till. When white Americans watched that scene of unchecked racism, state power, and the toxic masculinity that permeates police culture, they had a choice: to allow that cop to speak for them or to hit the streets as part of a movement against white supremacy and police repression. Millions across the world opted for the latter.

      • With Epstein Suicide Looming, Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Assurances of Ghislaine Maxwell’s Safety While in Custody

        “I hope the SDNY and all relevant parties have conducted an extensive review of the failures of Epstein’s custody,” said the New York Democrat.

      • 300+ Law Professors Agree: Congress Should ‘Pass a Bill Tomorrow’ to End Qualified Immunity for Police

        The Supreme Court has “drained the life” from a law meant to ensure people can seek redress when their constitutional rights are violated by the police, the professors said.

      • Black Visibility Matters—and Not Just During Trauma

        “We would love for you to share your experience on this very important topic.”

      • Tactics And The Truth: The Geoffrey Rush Defamation Appeal Unpacked

        Actress Eryn Jean Norvill – one of the central figures in the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Geoffrey Rush – was described by a judge as “A witness prone to exaggeration and embellishment”. Hannah Marshall from Marque Lawyers unpacks the findings in the Geoffrey Rush defamation appeal, and some gaping flaws in our judicial system.

      • The New EARN IT Bill Still Threatens Encryption and Free Speech

        The day before a committee debate and vote on the EARN IT Act, the bill’s sponsors replaced their bill with an amended version. Here’s their new idea: instead of giving a 19-person federal commission, dominated by law enforcement, the power to regulate the Internet, the bill now effectively gives that power to state legislatures. 

        And instead of requiring that Internet websites and platforms comply with the commission’s “best practices” in order to keep their vital legal protections under Section 230 for hosting user content, it simply blows a hole in those protections. State lawmakers will be able to create new laws allowing private lawsuits and criminal prosecutions against Internet platforms, as long as they say their purpose is to stop crimes against children. 

      • He Built a Privately Funded Border Wall. It’s Already at Risk of Falling Down if Not Fixed.

        Tommy Fisher billed his new privately funded border wall as the future of deterrence, a quick-to-build steel fortress that spans 3 miles in one of the busiest Border Patrol sectors.

        Unlike a generation of wall builders before him, he said he figured out how to build a structure directly on the banks of the Rio Grande, a risky but potentially game-changing step when it came to the nation’s border wall system.

      • Biden Compared Indicted War Criminal to “George Washington”

        In 2010, current Democratic Party presidential hopeful Joe Biden Jr. referred to Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader Hashim Thaci as the “George Washington of Kosovo.”

      • Traditional Russophobia in an Unusual Election Year

        Why would Russia pay Taliban troops to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan? “Russia has never gotten over the humiliation they suffered in Afghanistan,” Nancy Pelosi explains helpfully, “and now they are taking it out on us, our troops.”

      • America is Falling Because You Can’t Maintain a Democratic Republic With a Stupid Population

        Ok, fair enough.

        Good to know for next time.

      • Barbara Ransby on the Biden Problem: Social Movements Must Defeat Trump & Also Hold Dems Accountable

        Amid a mass uprising against racism and state violence, social movements are not just fighting hostility and backlash from President Trump, but also dealing with a “Biden problem,” according to historian, author and activist Barbara Ransby. “I think it’s fair to say that Joe Biden is not our dream candidate, by any means,” she says. “We should be critical of Joe Biden. We should be ready to hold Joe Biden accountable come January. But we should be clear about the need to defeat Trump in November.”

      • The Untold History of Mount Rushmore
      • The Untold History of Mount Rushmore: A KKK Sympathizer Built Monument on Sacred Lakota Land

        As tribal governments call on President Trump to cancel his Mount Rushmore Independence Day celebration, we look at why Native Americans have long pushed for the removal of the monument carved into the sacred Black Hills and designed by a sculptor with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. “This place is very, very sacred to our people,” says Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of the NDN Collective. “Stealing our land and then carving the faces of four white men who were colonizers, who committed genocide against Indigenous people, is an egregious act of violence.”

      • COVID-19 Outbreak Feared At Massachusetts Prison After Incarcerated Man Collapses In Kitchen

        Advocates and incarcerated people fear a potential COVID-19 outbreak at MCI Norfolk in Massachusetts after an incarcerated man collapsed during his kitchen duty shift.

        The man was taken to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19. Officials placed his housing unit on lockdown, but only after he potentially exposed kitchen staff and incarcerated people in his housing unit to the virus.

      • Russian LGBTQ activist charged with distributing pornography faces new allegations of ‘gay propaganda’

        Law enforcement have filed a new administrative protocol against artist and LGBTQ rights activist Yulia Tsvetkova for “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors” — a violation of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda law.” Tsvetkova, who is from the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, is already facing up to six years in prison for the criminal distribution of pornography, over drawings she posted on social media.

      • Detroit Police Chief Says Facial Recognition Software Involved In Bogus Arrest Is Wrong ’96 Percent Of The Time’

        The law enforcement agency involved with the first reported false arrest linked to facial recognition software is talking about its software. The Detroit Police Department — acting on a facial recognition “match” handed to it by State Police investigators — arrested resident Robert Williams for allegedly shoplifting watches from an upscale boutique.

      • Fears grow of a surge in child marriages in Malawi

        Before coronavirus pandemic struck, Malawi already had one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world. But ever since schools closed to help combat the spread of COVID-19, remote areas have reported an increase in child marriages.

      • The Erasing Of Iranian Women, Their History, And Their Aspirations

        As an American teen who played soccer, had a boyfriend, spoke her mind, laid by the pool and laughed loud, I found my homeland at once beautifully familiar and grossly threatening. The morality police I had been warned about were indeed everywhere, all the time. From Tehran to Shiraz, Esfahan, and the Caspian Sea, they found ways to humiliate, violate, interrogate, threaten, and prohibit, not least because we stubbornly (or naively) traveled the country without a male escort, by itself an illegal act.

        The conventional wisdom about Iran is that things have much improved since those dark days of the 1980s. But the truth is that the Iranian people have only grown accustomed to tyranny, and their suffering has only calcified. This is the nature of totalitarian regimes; time works to deepen their rot, never to reform them. All the while their societies disintegrate and their people flee, the corrupt rulers do advance, but only in their nefarious actions, military arsenals and chest puffing. Those on the inside see through the bluster, lies and deception, as their lives worsen.

      • Facebook Accused by Black Manager of Systemic Discrimination

        Thursday’s complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by a Washington-based operations program manager adds pressure on the social network, which is facing an advertising boycott over its failure to remove violent, divisive, racist and discriminatory posts. Along with other major tech companies, Facebook also has been criticized for its lack of diversity.

        Oscar Veneszee Jr., a decorated 23-year U.S. Navy veteran hired by the company in 2017 to recruit other workers retired from the armed services, said he filed the complaint after his objections to Facebook managers over treatment of African Americans went nowhere. It was filed as a class action to represent other Black people who’ve experienced discrimination inside the company, as well as those who claim they were unfairly denied jobs with the social network.

      • Facebook to launch Fourth of July voter registration drive

        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the platform’s voter registration efforts in a post last week, writing that information on the voting center will be visible at the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds over the next few months.

      • [Old] How Cambridge Analytica Mined Data for Voter Influence

        We are now in the age of data science. The ability to scrape data from across multiple social media platforms, capturing user behavior patterns and comments are unprecedented. It has spawned a huge demand for top-notch data scientists, who are figuring out how to harvest and analyze vast quantities of data, creating algorithms that cull and respond, and building predictive models. Their toolbox is an impressive mix of machine learning, statistics, robust programming skills and both artificial and natural intelligence—and they are all trying to capture and influence human behavior in evermore nuanced and targeted ways.

      • Prisoners Mobilize for Black Lives and Against Brutality Behind Bars

        Over Memorial Day weekend, a mob of ten or more prison guards maced and beat “Pooh Bear,” a Black man incarcerated in Alabama’s Kilby Correctional Facility, in the head arms, ribs, legs and back with clubs.

      • Charles Webb Enters Heaven

        Charles Webb, author of The Graduate (an identity that dogged and bedeviled him his whole life). died a few days ago at age 81. I met Charles in early 1970, shortly after the release of his second novel, The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker. I was waiting for my own novel to come out that summer and decided as a way to stop obsessing about it I would help promote the work of some other writers whose work I admired. Like nearly everyone of my generation, I had been hypnotized by the movie of The Graduate, and when I read the novel I realized all the producers of the movie had to do for a script was transcribe the dialogue of the novel (not an ordinary formula.)

      • After Weeks of Allowing ‘Autonomous Zone,’ Seattle Police Clear CHOP Amid Violence, Growing Complaints

        As the city’s police chief said, “Enough is enough,” one organizer lamented that “it didn’t end how it started and that’s the tragedy of the situation.”

      • Progressive Populism and a 21st Century Challenge

        Grassroots activists are re-defining populism for a new era.

      • Crisis After Crisis on the Border

        Ciudad Juarez has a long history of crises–foreign invasions, revolutions, economic recessions tied to the United States, the 9-11 border constriction and transnational gangland wars. Then there’s the perpetual crisis of putting food on the table in a high-priced, low-wage city while staying safe in a place where violence can surge at any moment.

      • Jamaal Bowman Calls for Rent Cancellations and Defunding the NYPD

        As a surge of progressive candidates of color see victories in Democratic primaries across the country, we speak with former Bronx middle school principal Jamaal Bowman about his upset victory over New York Congressmember Eliot Engel, the 16-term Foreign Affairs Committee chair. Bowman ran on a Green New Deal, Medicare for All platform and recently joined protests demanding an end to racism and police brutality. He says his upset over Engel came down to mobilizing people who are “disenfranchised and ignored” by the political establishment. “We didn’t just target those who consistently vote in primaries. We targeted everyone,” he says. Looking forward, he describes his support for Palestine, a rent strike and police accountability.

      • SCOTUS Ruling on Religious Schools Threatens Church-State Separation

        The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a ruling civil liberties advocates warned could make taxpayers “underwrite religious education” — opening a massive crack in the bedrock principle of church and state separation.

      • A Call for Radical Humanism: the Left Needs to Return to Class Analyses of Power

        How do white people live with themselves? This is the presumed ethical position emanating from liberal corners in the aftermath of the recent protests around the US. While a seemingly thought-provoking question nudging white folks to contemplate “their racism,” the problem with this question is the question itself. Indeed the minute we individualize what are structural problems of police violence and focus upon rooting out “wrong thought” as if a new global war on terror, we necessarily default to witch hunts of individuals through McCarthyesque callouts instead of understanding racism as a byproduct of structural inequalities.

      • As Monuments to War Generals Come Down, Let’s Replace Them with Monuments to Peace

        The monuments to Confederate generals and to those who fought to maintain slavery are coming down. That’s a good thing and long overdue. It cannot stop there, however, as we move not only to eradicate their symbolism, but the very real systemic racism they represent, and which sadly persists in this country.

      • Congress Urged to Repeal Program That Transfers ‘Weapons of War’ to Local Police

        “In response to the national outrage, armored vehicles, assault weapons, and military gear once again filled our streets and communities, turning them into war zones.”

      • In New York, Zionism and Liberalism Faced Off—and Liberalism Won

        It is usually a mistake to try to draw historical lessons from events just days old. It’s an even dicier proposition when it involves just the 50,000 voters who participated in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary in New York’s 16th district. But I’ve been working for years on a book about the history of the Israel/Palestine debate in the United States and I’m going to risk it, because I think American politics—specifically American Jewish politics—is undergoing a significant shift with important implications.

      • Black Lives Matter: Walking Forward
      • Cheyenne River Sioux Chair Offers to Rip Down Mount Rushmore—”Free of Charge… By Myself If I Must”

        “Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or treaty than the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Closing the Digital Divide in Nepal

        While connecting some of Nepal’s most remote places isn’t easy, two community network projects are case studies of how it can be done. They are Wireless for Communities (W4C) Nepal and Rural Communities Access to Information Society (RUCCESS), both supported by the Internet Society.

        Community networks are networks built, managed and used by local communities. They are often established in rural and remote areas that are not commercially viable for Internet service providers (ISPs). The networks are often built using low-cost WiFi equipment and unlicensed spectrum bands to interconnect members of the community and improve their lives.

    • Monopolies

      • Four Top Tech C.E.O.s Will Testify on Antitrust, Panel Says

        Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, which owns Google and YouTube, will appear at the hearing, said Shadawn Reddick-Smith, a spokeswoman for the House Judiciary Committee, which is said to be nearing the end of its investigation.

        The date and whether the executives will appear in person or virtually, as has become common during the coronavirus pandemic, are still being discussed, Ms. Reddick-Smith said.

      • USMCA, Trump’s new NAFTA deal, explained in 600 words

        Intellectual [sic] property [sic] and digital trade: The deal extends the terms of copyright to 70 years beyond the life of the author (up from 50). It also includes new provisions to deal with the digital economy, such as prohibiting duties on things like music and ebooks, and protections for [I]nternet companies so they’re not liable for content their users produce.

        Sunset clause: The agreement adds a 16-year sunset clause — meaning the terms of the agreement expire, or “sunset,” after 16 years. The deal is also subject to a review every six years, at which point the US, Mexico, and Canada can decide to extend the USMCA.

      • A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign

        Rage can be that most trendy of things, and social media rage has become modish. If you dislike something, scream it in a certain number of characters and post it on every network you subscribe to. You might even feel good about it. When the pot is taken off the boil, the matter goes away. Things cool till other ingredients are added. The moralist can keep silent till the next rage breaks.

      • With Edge, Microsoft’s forced Windows updates just sank to a new low

        If I told you that my entire computer screen just got taken over by a new app that I’d never installed or asked for — it just magically appeared on my desktop, my taskbar, and preempted my next website launch — you’d probably tell me to run a virus scanner and stay away from shady websites, no?

        But the insanely intrusive app I’m talking about isn’t a piece of ransomware. It’s Microsoft’s new Chromium Edge browser, which the company is now force-feeding users via an automatic update to Windows.

        Seriously, when I restarted my Windows 10 desktop this week, an app I’d never asked for…

      • Patents

        • Global Patent Prosecution – June 2020

          In some circumstances, appealing the rejection of a patent application is the only practical recourse a patent applicant may have to advance prosecution. In doing so, the patent applicant can appeal an examiner’s decision refusing to grant a patent application to an administrative panel. This issue of Global Patent Prosecution discusses various considerations patent applicants may take into account when appealing their patent applications at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).

        • Patents on genetically modified chimpanzees scrapped

          Two patents relating to the genetic modification of apes were removed by the European Patent Office (EPO) on Thursday. The patents themselves still exist but can no longer include apes, an EPO spokesperson said.

          Animal welfare activists have celebrated the decision as a success, including world-renowned British primatologist Jane Goodall who called it a “wise and responsible decision.”

          The assigning of patents resulted in “the suffering of these animals without any substantial medical benefit to man or animal,” the EPO said.

          The controversy arose after a US company filed two patents claiming that genetically modified chimpanzees as well as other animal species, were an invention that could be used in experiments. The patents were filed in 2012 and 2013, with 14,000 signatories supporting groups that opposed the patents.

        • EPO reports emissions cut and new partnerships

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has published its first annual review of its current strategic plan, revealing progress on international partnerships and environmental sustainability.

      • Copyrights

        • Simon & Schuster was unaware of Mary Trump’s NDA, already printed copies of book

          The publisher of Mary Trump’s potentially explosive tell-all memoir reportedly revealed in a Tuesday night court filing that the company already printed 75,000 copies of the book — after publication was temporarily blocked earlier in the day.

          Simon & Schuster also wrote it was only recently made aware of the nondisclosure agreement the author signed as part of a dispute over the 1999 will of President Trump’s father, Fred Trump, the Washington Post reported.

        • New York Times Selectively Cracks Down on ‘Copyright Infringing’ Trump Meme

          Twitter has removed a Trump meme posted by the US President himself. The social media platform took action after the New York Times sent a copyright complaint. The news organization owns the related copyright and can have the tweet removed. However, it doesn’t appear interested in going after others sharing the same meme.

        • The Pirate Bay: VPN Provider OVPN Hit With Court Injunction, Vows to Fight

          After an injunction obtained by two movie studios against an ISP with alleged links to The Pirate Bay was dismissed, the parties have returned to court demanding that VPN provider OVPN hands over information relating to the notorious site. OVPN informs TF they will fight the injunction “the entire way”.

[Humour] European Patents Only Useful Outside the Legal Framework?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Star Trek explosion before and after: EPO Grants, Patent courts

Summary: Patents that aren’t valid in the eyes of courts would best serve patent trolls that settle out of courts, en masse

Microsoft’s Share in Web Servers Rapidly Falls to Just 4.5% (Falling More Than 5% in a Single Month)

Posted in Site News at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft at Netcraft

Summary: Microsoft’s share as measured at Netcraft (de facto authority in this area) is rapidly declining; expect IIS to go the way of the dodo some time in the coming years

THE world is changing all around us. Some will perish and it seems like Free software can thrive.

The lock-downs may be killing Microsoft, which stopped hiring a number of months ago. Three times last month Microsoft announced layoffs, including closure of each and every one of its stores worldwide. We kindly remind readers that, as we’ve noted before, Microsoft does not have 90% of the desktop/laptop market. It’s a lie and it’s gleefully perpetuated by GNU/Linux ‘news’ sites which perhaps unwittingly cite a Microsoft-connected firm (we wrote many articles about that firm more than a decade ago). Regarding servers, judging by this comprehensive and respected Web servers survey, Microsoft went down from 9,053,159 active sites (4.72%) to just 8,551,282 (4.52%) last month. It’s actually down more than 5% in a month, having lost half a million active sites. It won’t be long before they reach zero (or zero point something percent) and IIS development isn’t considered financially sustainable anymore.

“It won’t be long before they reach zero (or zero point something percent) and IIS development isn’t considered financially sustainable anymore.”As psydread put it in our IRC channel an hour ago (full logs to be published tomorrow morning), “this explains why Microsoft seems like a headless chicken going in a 1000 different directions these days, it looks like they are preparing to go out with a (big) bang [...] losing on the server side, losing more and more on the client side, dead on phones and other devices [...] where will it all end for them…?”

At the moment they are trying to hijack the competition, e.g. by bribing the OSI, infiltrating the Linux Foundation, and coming up with that "inner source" scam. Will they succeed? We ought not let them.

The Lock-downs Are Over and Still Zero Media Coverage About EPO Scandals and Corruption

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Animal Office SAP
“Animal office” (an internal caricature from the EPO, poking fun at António Campinos and the subservient Council)

Summary: The appalling state of journalism in Europe (and to some extent in the world at large) means that the EPO’s management can get away with all sorts of horrible crimes and fraud; the silencing of the media is, in its own right, quite scandalous

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has had its share of bad publicity and it is routinely being sued. See all the “v Kappos”, “v Lee” and “v Iancu” cases in the docket. There’s at least some sense of accountability in the US patent system — something we still lack here in Europe, as Benoît Battistelli very well demonstrated (he belongs in prison, not the top of a prestigious law school).

“…if the press isn’t capable of critically assessing parts of this system, “productivity” will mean a million monopolies per year and “quality” imply immediacy.”Patent law doesn’t seem to apply here either; it’s made up on the spot by a bunch of people who collect money and then gamble it away. They’d call software patents “CII”, “ICT”, “4IR”, “AI” and so on.

The media in Europe is farcical and compromised. Whatever was left of it to cover EPO scandals was bribed, co-opted or blackmailed. Watch how World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) went all rogue (after getting rid of people who exposed EPOnia’s abuses every now and then). Now it does greenwashing spam [1] for corrupt European Patent Office (EPO) officials. Who writes such nonsense? Pure fluff, not journalism. They used to have some decent writers; I knew some of them in person.

There was only one exception we found this week. DW wrote: “Two patents relating to the genetic modification of apes were removed by the European Patent Office (EPO) on Thursday.” [2]

So finally they mention the crazy patent maximalists who want patents on seeds, plants, mammals and various micro-organisms.

God complex comes to mind…

Any rational person would acknowledge that this is not a normal mindset but a deranged one, attributed to those who are eager and determined to bribe officials into making it OK and codified into law in defiance of public objections and protests by the still-sane. Such outlandish thinking led to the EPO even considering such ludicrous patent applications. The media should have ridiculed it for years, but where was it? Hiding in the pockets of some law firms?

The media crisis will exacerbate the patent crisis; if the press isn’t capable of critically assessing parts of this system, “productivity” will mean a million monopolies per year and “quality” imply immediacy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EPO reports emissions cut and new partnerships

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has published its first annual review of its current strategic plan, revealing progress on international partnerships and environmental sustainability.

  2. Patents on genetically modified chimpanzees scrapped

    Two patents relating to the genetic modification of apes were removed by the European Patent Office (EPO) on Thursday. The patents themselves still exist but can no longer include apes, an EPO spokesperson said.

    Animal welfare activists have celebrated the decision as a success, including world-renowned British primatologist Jane Goodall who called it a “wise and responsible decision.”

    The assigning of patents resulted in “the suffering of these animals without any substantial medical benefit to man or animal,” the EPO said.

    The controversy arose after a US company filed two patents claiming that genetically modified chimpanzees as well as other animal species, were an invention that could be used in experiments. The patents were filed in 2012 and 2013, with 14,000 signatories supporting groups that opposed the patents.


“Microsoft’s Deadly Love” by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Full credit goes to PCLOS Magazine for publishing this good piece, which we’re reproducing below

I hesitated a lot before writing this article. In fact, my heart was heavy. It would be like telling children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, or the tooth fairy is an invention and the Easter rabbit is a scam. How to do this, right now that Linux is becoming mainstream? Throwing a bucket of cold water in newcomers to Linux? Discourage new users?

However, I can’t just think about who’s coming now. I need to think about who has always been here, along the way. People who have lived great times, bad times, and, our times now, where everything looks good, but it is not. It is for those who have always been Linux users that I write this article. After all, we are like citizens, people who live in an area, in the city, which is old, ugly, even marginalized. Big contractors have marked our neighborhood for gentrification. And, they will go to great lengths to expel us from our homes, our /homes.

How did the cancer turn into love?

What has been happening, with Microsoft, since Steve Ballmer left the presidency, for those who observe it from the outside, seems incredible. How did Microsoft, a company that has always been an antagonist of Free Software in general, and GNU/Linux in particular, come to cooperate, finance and get involved with the community?

Ballmer in 2001

How was that? We cannot forget that Steve Ballmer called Linux and Open Source cancer in 2001. Incidentally, he, at the time, already dismissed the term Free Software in favor of the term Open Source, and even so, he confused the two terms and what it was possible to do with them. He said in 2001: “Government funding should be for work available to everyone,” he says, patriotic. But “open source is not available to commercial companies” and therefore must be considered a violation of public trust.” Said the guy who loved a government purchase, you know, where the money is let loose. And, that money comes out of the taxpayers’ pockets. Let’s be honest here: Government work, office work, can be done on Linux, or in a cloud, without the need for Microsoft systems, or its applications, and all the pendants that come along (anti this, anti that, etc, etc…).

But, this Ballmer mentality pushed Microsoft to a dead end: Everyone was using Free Software as a competitive advantage, but Microsoft, because of its CEO (Ballmer), remained an opponent of Free Software. Of course, Ballmer had his share of messes, like getting involved in cell phone manufacturing, which Bill Gates was opposed to, but Ballmer thought it best to acquire Nokia’s plants and force his line of Windows Phone OS-based phones. That turned out to be an epic blunder, as we have all seen.

If you can’t beat them, pretend you love them…

The situation with Ballmer had escalated, to the point that there was no other way out but his (Ballmer) departure from Microsoft. He retired from the company in 2014, and with his retirement bonuses and compensations, he was able to live very well. He even bought a basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers. One thing, however, is that, despite being publicly considered “friends”, there was quite a rivalry with Bill Gates. He never liked Ballmer’s style, and with Ballmer at the helm, he saw the company shrink and become much less relevant than it was. Don’t get me wrong. The company has shrunk, but it has remained profitable, breaking many records of profit and growth. It just became more of a technology company, and it was no longer the all-powerful Microsoft. Gates remained on Microsoft’s board of directors until this year, 2020. And, we can speculate that Ballmer’s departure had a finger from Gates, for the reasons mentioned.

Despite no longer the CEO, Gates has enormous power inside Microsoft

A new face, but the same old intentions

As I mentioned above, Ballmer’s style had burned all the bridges with Free Software (which they like to call Open Source), to the point that the company no longer had any credibility with the community. Enter Satya Nadella.

A friendly face, great public relations

Satya Nadella’s entry had an immediate impact on Microsoft. After decades of leadership by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, there was an aggressive, sometimes toxic, culture at Microsoft. Satya has dramatically changed Microsoft’s culture, employee morale has improved and the corporate market was ready for the move to the cloud. Well, this new face, this change in culture, this whole turn around was what the company, Microsoft, wanted everyone to realize. In fact, Nadella’s entry was a major publicity stunt. Not that he wasn’t capable. He worked at Sun and started at Microsoft in 1992, talent he had and has. The change, however, was only cosmetic.

So much so that, when asked about equal wages for men and women at Microsoft, he went off on a tangent. That is, the more things seem to change, the more they remain the same.

If you can’t beat them, buy a seat at the table.

Nadella started a movement towards Free Software, since all the other big players were already there.

Nadella, in charge of Microsoft, approached the company with companies and technologies with which Microsoft also competes, including Apple Inc., Salesforce, IBM, and Dropbox. In contrast to Microsoft’s previous campaigns against the Linux operating system, Nadella proclaimed that “Microsoft Linux” and Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum member in 2016.

Yes, Microsoft bought a seat at the table, and forced its foot on the door. But it was not just that.

In doing so, Nadella lived up to the Mafia saying: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.”

But, when building these “bridges”, seeking this approach, Nadella set in motion plans with hidden motives, where the true nature of Microsoft appears, despite the friendly and smiling face.

Let’s never forget James Plamondon

James Plamondon was an evangelist for Microsoft technologies. For eight years, he created and implemented Microsoft’s technology evangelism tactics. There is a famous presentation of his “Evangelism is War”, where he details the tactics that should be used to destroy Microsoft’s enemies. Now, about technical journalists, he wrote: “Mind control: to control mental output, you need to control mental input. Take control of the channels through which developers receive information, so they can only think of the things you tell them. So, you control the mind!” The full text can be accessed here.

Since Microsoft has a good part of today’s technical press on its payroll (ads and publicity), it is clear that it gets great articles, mainly about the bold plans to make the company, an Open Source company, of its CEO Nadella.

Years later, Plamondon regretted his actions.

Of course, in order for the community to believe in the “new” Microsoft, they had to invest in sites that dealt with Free and Open Source Software, such as Fossbytes and others. And, so much so, that today, there are sites on Linux that deal more with Microsoft advertising than with Linux itself.

Thanks to all the positive publicity, Microsoft has managed to change its image. But the icing on the cake was still missing, which was having all Free Software and Open Source projects for itself. And, incredible as it may seem, it materialized.

The purchase of github, or, how to have (almost) all Free Software in one stroke

GNU/Linux has always benefited from diversity. What some pointed out as a weakness, fragmentation, was actually, and still is, a quality and a strength of Free Software.
So much so, Ballmer would have said that “There is no company called Linux, there is only a roadmap for Linux. However, Linux kind of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love very, very much about it. That is, it is free.”

Exactly, in such fragmentation, the organicity of Linux was its strength and shield. However, that would change a lot, with centralizations that would leave Linux vulnerable.
With Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft started with a wave of acquisitions, which proved to be better than Ballmer’s clumsy acquisitions. He (Ballmer) bought Nokia, Skype and some other assets, which depreciated or lost relevance.

Github was where all the cool kids were

In 2014, Nadella’s first acquisition by Microsoft was Mojang, a Swedish gaming company best known for the computer game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. He followed this up by buying Xamarin for an undisclosed amount. He oversaw the purchase of the professional LinkedIn network in 2016 for $26.2 billion. On October 26, 2018, Microsoft acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion.

However, even the purchase of Github was a very well thought out move. In fact, an attack that could not have been done, but with great patience.

And, it took a long time to materialize.

In 2014, Microsoft’s cloud chief Scott Guthrie wrote a proposal to acquire GitHub. Then he filed the plan in a drawer. From time to time, he would take the plan, look at it and then return it to the drawer.

Guthrie felt that Microsoft was simply not ready to acquire the popular open source company. “We would have screwed up,” said Guthrie. In addition, the developers – many of whom viewed Microsoft as the #1 public enemy for its attacks on open source software distributed for free – would have revolted.

“The open source world would have seen us correctly as the antichrist,” he said. “We did not have the credibility that we have now regarding open source.” The whole story can be read here.

And this is correct. Has Microsoft changed? No way. They are still the antichrist. Only their tactics have changed. After all, a snake can change scales, but it remains a snake.

Microsoft, the empire created on the shoulders of others.

For those who do not know the company’s history, it was founded on the work of others, which were not always legally acquired. The first product for IBM-PC computers, MS-DOS, was not even produced by them, but by Tim Patterson, of a Seattle company, which Microsoft hastily bought to present to IBM.

But it does not stop there. Over the years, the company has appropriated much more.

1994 – Stac, which created disk compression software, Stacker, and in 1993, Microsoft released MS-DOS 6.0, which included a disk compression program called DoubleSpace. Microsoft had previously discussed with Stac to license its compression technology and discussed with Stac engineers and analyzed the Stac code as part of the due diligence process. Result: They copied the technology, launched the product and gave nothing to Stac. Stac sued Microsoft and won in 2001.

1995 – Syn’x Relief sues Microsoft for software piracy: Several pioneering 3D animation features developed by the French company Syn’x Relief for its “Character” product, were copied by SoftImage. They were negotiating a license for several features with SoftImage, which was acquired by Microsoft. Negotiations were interrupted when SoftImage made irrational demands. These features are unambiguous and unique in the industry, and Microsoft had promised to remove them all from the SoftImage product. Microsoft did not remove any of them and Syn’x Relief found that they had no recourse but to sue. Syn’x Relief won in 2001.

1998 – Sun Microsystems sues Microsoft – the Java case – Microsoft, recognizing that Sun’s Java environment could make Windows irrelevant, determined to corrupt and pervert it. To do this, they needed to license Java from Sun. Sun, wishing to promote Java as much as possible, felt that licensing it to Microsoft would be very advantageous for them, although James Gosling, its main creator, felt that dealing with Microsoft was too dangerous. Microsoft, in possession of the Sun license, modified Java in a way that programs made on other platforms would not work properly on Microsoft’s Java and vice versa. Since Microsoft had signed a no-change clause in the software, Sun sued Microsoft, and in 2002 Microsoft had to settle, pay $ 20 million and no longer produce the Java virtual machine (JRE).

Well, all these lawsuits and problems were a thing of the past, weren’t they? After all, now it’s the new Microsoft, from Satya Nadella, a company that LOVES Linux and embraced the spirit of Free Software!

But no, they continue with the old practices, even today.

2020 – AppGet “really helped us”, says Microsoft, but does not offer apologies to the developer for killing the open source package manager: A preview of WinGet (program to manage packages on Windows, Apt-Get clone) was launched by Microsoft during the recent Virtual Build event, prompting AppGet developer Keivan Beigi to post about how he was approached by Microsoft in July 2019, supposedly to offer him development aid. He said he was asked by the vendor in detail about his package management ideas, asked to apply for a job at Microsoft to work on an official version of AppGet and did not hear anything else until the moment before WinGet was released. After that, Beigi gave up working on AppGet. Link here.

2020 – I think it’s time to share publicly about how Microsoft stole my code and spat on it: “Microsoft copies/steals lerna” – Lerna, A tool for managing JavaScript projects with multiple packages, was what “inspired” a similar tool, Rush, from Microsoft, who does the same thing. The author, Jamie Kyle, after analyzing the Rush code, came to this conclusion. But Microsoft did even worse, according to Jamie: “In the readme, they recognize the fact that there are other solutions and say they are bad. No mention of the fact that Rush was taken directly from one of those bad solutions.”

The entire story was removed from the internet, being kept only in the org web archive and in articles spread across the internet. Who knows how Microsoft coerced the developer.

Embrace, Extent, Extinguish no more

No, actually, the 3E attack has changed. But, this was only possible with a new actor, a new face, the friendly Nadella, who, behind that smile and that sleepy face, continues to perpetuate all the harms of Microsoft, whether with its employees, with complaints of harassment and low wages for women, such as the practice of taking possession of someone else’s work and giving no compensation for it.

Have there been changes at Microsoft? Advertising and public relations, yes, attitudes, no.

Otherwise, let’s see:

  • Has Microsoft Office adopted ODF as a standard? No.
  • Has Microsoft helped the expansion of Linux on the desktop? No, and I will cover how it plans to kill Linux on the desktop.
  • Did Microsoft port MS Office for Linux? Of course not.
  • Did Microsoft port DirectX to Linux? Surely not.

So nothing has changed. Or, it changed for the worse: At least, under Ballmer’s direction, Microsoft was not disguised: it wanted to destroy Linux and that was very clear. With Nadella, it still wants to destroy it, but in a veiled way.

However, how does Microsoft act now, in relation to Linux? With another EEE strategy, however it is now Envelope, Extend, Extinguish.

The new EEE

Since Microsoft couldn’t compete with Linux, and the focus of the IT industry had changed (before, you had a company that manufactured software, to be sold, with licenses, support and maintenance. Now, you must have a company that sells services, infrastructure, virtualization and storage space), it then approached Free Software to be able to profit from it too.

But how would Microsoft profit from Free Software, which it has attacked so much over the years? Simple, make Linux need Microsoft to run. And, introduce Microsoft as the best Linux provider that can exist. How come? Yes, it’s possible, and this is happening now.

Microsoft, one of the biggest contributors to the Linux kernel

Yes, it is true, Microsoft has become one of the biggest contributors to the development of the Linux kernel. What’s more, it even put a programmer, employed by it, as second in the hierarchy of development of the Linux kernel. With all this support, Linux should already be super developed, compatible with all Microsoft hardware (Surface tablets), with DirectX, with OOXML files from MS Office, and even with Xbox games, right?

No, of course not. Microsoft’s contributions are only in its own interest. In fact, all of this effort in developing the Linux kernel is just about making Linux performance better, running within Hyper-V. And now, it gets worse, because it is no longer emulating Linux on the server side, but also WSL, emulating Linux on the Windows 10 desktop. Yes, Microsoft is investing heavily to be able to emulate Linux in the best possible way, within their platforms: On the server, Azure, and on the desktop, WSL.

Make no mistake: Everything that is happening now, has happened before …

Does history repeat itself? I would say that people repeat history, because they do not change. And, what we see today, with this approach of Microsoft, Linux and Free Software, is nothing more than the 90s repeating itself.

How? Well, who is younger does not remember this story, but it happened. Paul Maritz, head of the company’s operating systems business, amid fierce competition with Netscape, would have outlined, in 1995, the strategy to defeat the competitor. He would have said: “We are going to cut off their air supply. Whatever they are selling, we will donate for free” After that, the next version of Windows, Windows 98, came with Internet Explorer built-in, free of charge, so that users didn’t waste time buying and installing Netscape navigator, the Netscape browser.

The result of this was that Netscape was slowly languishing and dying, since with a built-in browser, Microsoft could create extensions for HTML, CSS and other things, which competitors could not keep up with. Besides, who would buy a browser, when there was already one built in with the operating system? The company shrunk to the point that it was bought by AOL in 2002. Its flagship product, the Netscape navigator, was open sourced and became the basis for Firefox. And, AOL sued Microsoft for unfair practices in the browser market in July 2002. In 2003, Microsoft agreed to settle with AOL, where it would pay US $750 million in compensation for its practices, ending the lawsuit. But at that point, almost ten years had passed, Netscape had almost gone bankrupt, and the Netscape Navigator was no longer even remembered. A victory, too late.

And today history repeats itself …

And what is the relationship of this history with the current status of Linux? The same. Microsoft is working hard, investing heavily in the development of the Linux kernel to make it a client software for its Windows products, both on the desktop (WSL) and on the server (Azure). The logic is the same: Who will take the trouble to install Linux, when it is already built into Windows 10? Add to that the fact that new versions of the Linux kernel will come with specific drivers for WSL, mainly in the graphics (video drivers for OpenGL), and we are already in the second E (xtend), now for Envelope, Extend and Extinguish.

The sky is falling?

Not yet, but you should be aware. Next month, I will write more about how corporations are gradually taking over GNU/Linux, and, with its influence and power, changing the direction of its development, in order to alienate users and favor their corporate agendas. Until then, a big hug, and sleep with one eye open and one closed in this matter.

Links 2/7/2020: Microsoft Partner Says GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops at 4% Even After Lock-downs, OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 and Mageia 8 Alpha 1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Manage your Personal Collections – Week 36

      This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

      If you’re like me, you’ll have a few collections. Books, movies, coins, whatever takes your interest. Keeping track of that collection can be time-consuming, but it’s important to any serious collector. I was therefore keen to test a few open source collection managers on the RPI4.

      I’ve tested Tellico, GCStar, and Alexandria (the latter not to be confused with Alexandra, a separate project).

    • The Linux-friendly Ghost Canyon Intel NUC 9 Extreme is finally available for purchase

      Intel’s diminutive NUC bare-bones computers are quite a bit of fun. Not only are they cute and tiny, but once you add RAM and storage, they can run both Windows 10 and Linux brilliantly. Hell, I am currently running macOS on one as a “Hackintosh” (Shh! Don’t tell Apple). The only knock on the NUC is that you can’t really upgrade the GPU. Unless your NUC has Thunderbolt 3 and you add a pricey eGPU, you are essentially stuck with Intel’s ho-hum onboard graphics.

      With the unveiling of the “Ghost Canyon” Intel NUC 9, however, this changed. While obviously bigger than earlier NUC models, this unit can accommodate a proper gaming card from AMD or NVIDIA (if you choose to add one). You can even eventually upgrade the CPU with what Intel calls replaceable “compute elements.” And now, if you have some money to spare, you can finally buy the top model of Ghost Canyon — the drool-worthy Intel NUC 9 Extreme is available today!

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux Marketshare Climbed to All-Time High in June, Stats Show

        A new month means new Linux marketshare stats from net analytics company NetMarketshare and they show Linux and Ubuntu usage is up for the fourth consecutive month in a row.

        The share of Linux desktops monitored by the firm’s technology has grown consistently and continually for several months. The figures for June 2020 don’t prove the exception with Linux rising from 3.17 percent in May 2020 to 3.61 percent in June 2020…

      • The Linux market share appears to continue rising with Ubuntu winning

        Take it with your usual dose of salt and scepticism but when looking over the Linux market share, at least on NetMarketShare it appears to continue rising.

        While the latest from the Steam Survey shows a dip during June, the opposite is true here. We reported last month that NetMarketShare was showing a clear upwards trend. The sort of thing you can easily write-off across one or two months but now three months in a row it gives it a bit more credit.

        Going from 1.36% in March 2020, up to 2.87% in April, 3.17% in May and now June’s figure is in with 3.61%. Looking over past figures from them, this might be the first time we’ve ever seen it rise three months in a row without a break. This is not counting Chrome OS either, like some other stats end up bundling with Linux. Chrome OS has stayed around ~0.40%, with Ubuntu over this period rising from 0.27% in March to 2.57% in June which is crazy.

      • Steam On Linux Is Still Bouncing Around 0.9% For Summer 2020

        With the start of a new month comes the latest numbers out of Valve for the rough Linux gaming market percentage from the Steam Survey.

        For June 2020 the company is reporting a 0.88% marketshare for Linux, or roughly 0.03% drop. Quite close to being flat month over month. But year-over-year it’s up with last year’s numbers for June coming in at 0.78%, which given the ever increasing Steam userbase is a good sign that the Linux gaming marketshare is growing albeit ever so slightly.

      • OneGx1 mini laptop tested running Linux Ubuntu 20.04

        Brad Linder from Liliputing has been putting the OneGx1 mini laptop through its paces running Linux Ubuntu 20.04. Linder explains, “I decided to take Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for a spin, and I was pleasantly surprised that most of the OneGx1 hardware was supported. But there are a few things that could certainly work better.”

      • Linux on the OneGx1 mini laptop: Running Ubuntu 20.04

        The One Netbook OneGx1 mini laptop is an unusual little computer that features a 7 inch display, an Intel Core i5-10210Y quad-core processor, and a physical design clearly inspired by gaming laptops. It supports an optional set of detachable game controllers that can clip onto the sides of the device. And One Netbook offers the OneGx1 with optional support for 4G LTE or 5G cellular networks.

        As I discovered after spending a few days testing the OneGx1, it offers decent performance for general purpose computing, but gaming is a bit of a mixed bag. But that was with Windows 10. What about other operating systems?

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 585: Linux Professional Institute

        In this episode, we discuss open source certification as well as career support offered through LPI. Doc Searls and Aaron Newcomb interview Jon “Maddog” Hall, who is a committed educator and a community developer. He is the board chair at LPI as well as the Co-founder and Senior Adviser to Caninos Loucos, which is a project to get Single Board Computers (SBCs) designed and built-in Brazil. This allows students to receive needed supplies to go to university. He is also the President of Project Cauã, which teaches university students how to run their own IT business and work part-time as they go to school.

      • 2020-07-01 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla’s Firefox 78 rollout is not going smoothly, antirez steps down as the Redis Labs leader, Couchbase debuts a new managed service, the ArcMenu GNOME extension introduces new features, and manjaro32 closes its doors.

      • Destination Linux 180: Is Matrix.org The Future of Communication? + Linux Mint 20 & Firefox VPN

        00:00:00 Intro
        00:00:24 Welcome to DL180
        00:00:45 What Ryan has been up to . . .
        00:02:07 What Michael has been up to . . .
        00:04:24 What Noah has been up to . . .
        00:04:38 Discussion: ProtonMail and their aim at Google’s GSuite
        00:06:42 Noah shows that his segues are legendary
        00:07:00 Sponsored by Digital Ocean · [do.co/dln]
        00:09:07 Community Feedback about the Pinebook Pro and some issues with it
        00:10:01 Ryan’s response to the feedback
        00:11:03 Noah’s response to the feedback
        00:12:14 DLN Forum & Telegram group are great places for tech help
        00:12:45 News: Mozilla announces the Firefox VPN service
        00:18:06 News: Linux Mint 20 Released
        00:30:04 Main Topic: Matrix / Riot Might Be The Future of Communication
        00:52:03 Linux Gaming: Ryan Gives Noah Suggestions for FPS Games on Linux
        00:59:51 Software Spotlight: Tux Typing
        01:01:14 Tip of the Week: Increase Your Terminal History Size
        01:03:16 Outro
        01:03:24 Get More DL by Becoming a Patron
        01:04:20 DLN Store destinationlinux.network/store
        01:04:55 How to Join the DLN Community
        01:04:58 Noah’s delivery of this part is totally lit
        01:05:40 Destination Linux Network destinationlinux.network
        01:06:00 FrontPageLinux.com frontpagelinux.com
        01:06:15 Patron Post Show (become a Patron to Join us each week!)

      • BSD Now 357: Study the Code

        OpenBSD 6.7 on PC Engines, NetBSD code study, DRM Update on OpenBSD, Booting FreeBSD on HPE Microserver SATA port, 3 ways to multiboot, and more.

      • Slow Cooked Servers | Self-Hosted 22

        Chris is slow cooking some servers, Alex has self-hosted AI with a nasty gotcha and a damp basement.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E15 – Vertical chopsticks

        This week we’ve been helping HMRC and throwing a 10th birthday party. We discuss “Rolling Rhino”, split personality snaps, UBPorts supporting Project Treble devices, ZFS on Ubuntu 20.04 plus our round-up from the tech news.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 864

        sodipodi, 3d printing a camper, arm supercomputer, novell, opensuse

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.7

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.7 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.4.50
      • Linux 4.19.131
      • Linux 4.14.187
      • Linux 4.9.229
      • Linux 4.4.229
      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel’s IGC 1.0.4241 Graphics Compiler Adds DG1 Platform Support

          Significant with this new version of the IGC compiler is the DG1 platform is supported, their first graphics card. IGC already supported Gen12/Xe while now the initial bits are in place for the forthcoming DG1 discrete graphics card. For weeks now we’ve been seeing Intel’s many open-source developers posting new DG1 enablement patches from the Linux kernel through their Mesa stack to the media encode/decode driver and now working its way into DG1 for their compute stack. Obviously you also need to be running on the future Linux 5.9 kernel and more for getting this DG1 support all aligned but at least the IGC side work is now in place.

        • Weston 9.0 release schedule
          Hi all,
          Here is the release schedule for Weston 9.0, the next major version:
          - Alpha: July 30th, in 4 weeks
          - Beta: August 13th
          - RC1: August 27th
          - First possible release: September 3rd
          Package maintainers are encouraged to pick up the pre-releases to make
          sure packaging can be tested (and fixed) before the stable release.
          Let me know if there's something in particular you want merged for 9.0.
          Simon Ser
        • Wayland’s Weston 9.0 Aims For Release In Early September

          With Weston 8.0 having shipped in January, Wayland developers are beginning to prepare for the next feature release of this reference Wayland compositor.

          Simon Ser has once again stepped up to take over Weston release management duties. He is planning to tag the Weston 9.0 Alpha at the end of June, a Weston 9.0 Beta in mid-August, and a first release candidate at the end of April. If all goes well he hopes to ship Weston 9.0 on 3 September but could be delayed by some days if additional release candidates are warranted.

        • LLVMpipe Gallium3D Driver Now Exposes OpenGL 4.0

          The LLVMpipe Gallium3D driver that provides a software/CPU-based OpenGL implementation for running on systems as a fallback path when no GPU / hardware OpenGL driver is available, a vendor-neutral path for debug purposes, and similar use-cases, now has OpenGL 4.0 support.

        • NVIDIA Video Codec SDK 10 Brings Few Changes For This Proprietary Library

          NVIDIA has quietly released Video Codec SDK 10 as the newest version of their proprietary video encode/decode implementation designed for their GPUs.


          NVIDIA has already contributed to FFMpeg support for using the new NVENC presets, multi-pass encode modes, and low-delay key frame scaling for this video library as part of the Video Codec SDK 10 support. A follow-up commit added additional H.264 levels now supported.

        • RadeonSI Switches To Make Greater Wave64 Use On Navi

          While RDNA/Navi brought Wave32 support, the open-source RadeonSI Gallium3D driver for Linux has decided to switch to make greater use now of Wave64 for more shaders.


          The change to use Wave64 for more shader stages was merged this week for Mesa 20.2. The commit does add the new “nggctess” perf flag for always using NGG culling for tessellation, complementing the existing nggc (for always using NGG culling) and nonggc for disabling NGG culling.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Binding Locations

          So let’s get down to pixels. The UBO indexing is now fixed-ish, which means moving onto the next step: setting up bindings for the UBOs.

          A binding in this context is the numeric id assigned to a UBO for the purposes of accessing it from a shader, which also corresponds to the uniform block index. In mesa, this is the struct nir_variable::data.binding member of a UBO. A load_ubo instruction will take this value as its first parameter, which means there’s a need to ensure that everything matches up just right.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking The Performance Overhead To LKRG 0.8 For Better Security

        Back in March I benchmarked the Linux Kernel Runtime Guard (LKRG) as a means of achieving additional security safeguards for a ~5% performance hit. With LKRG 0.8 having been released a few days ago, here is a fresh look at the LKRG performance compared to the stock kernel on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        LKRG adds runtime integrity checking to the Linux kernel and other runtime detection of security exploits. LKRG 0.8 was released last week and the focus of our latest benchmarking. LKRG 0.8 adds new safeguards as well as support for newer kernel builds, experimental 32-bit ARM and Raspberry Pi support, new tunables, and other changes.

    • Applications

      • Unblock Websites Restricted By ISPs In Some Countries With GreenTunnel

        So how does this unblock websites? GreenTunnel runs as a localhost HTTP proxy server that does the following.

        For HTTP, GreenTunnel sends requests in 2 parts, for example GET / HTTP/1.0 \n Host: www.you as the first part, and tube.com \n … as the second part. This way the Internet Service Provider (ISP) doesn’t match the blocked word “youtube” in the packets, and as a result the data is not throttled or blocked.

        In the case of HTTPS, the application splits the first CLIENT_HELLO packet into small chunks so the ISP can’t parse the packet and find the SNI (Server Name Indication, an extension of TLS that indicates the actual destination hostname a client is attempting to access over HTTPS) field.

        As for DNS (Domain Name System), GreenTunnel makes use of DNS over HTTPS and DNS over TLS to get the real IP address and prevent DNS hijacks.

      • The best photo-editing software in 2020 [Ed: A lot here is proprietary]

        An open-source photo editor that debuted on Unix-based platforms, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Today it’s available in versions for Linux, Windows and Mac. GIMP offers a wide toolset – everything you’re accustomed to is within easy reach, including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement.

        The team that oversees development has worked hard to ensure compatibility too, so you’ll be able to work with all the popular file formats without any trouble at all. You’ll also find a very capable file manager built in, along similar lines to Adobe’s Bridge.

      • The Best Free Software of 2020 [Ed: A lot here is not free but a trap; also proprietary]

        Open-source Audacity can record and edit audio files on more tracks than you can imagine. It then outputs exactly what you need, even to MP3 if you use a plug-in. It is perfect for noobs and pros alike, on any desktop OS.

      • The 10 Best Cross-Platform Task Apps

        Task management apps have surely made life simpler for many. There are scores of software in the market which handle a variety of tasks such as accounting software, office suits, and management tools, etc.

        However at times, despite having such software, it becomes challenging to hop from one task to another on your to-do-list because of priorities, different clients, and deadlines to meet. But, fortunately, there are lots of software that are dedicated for task management.

        Such software not only organizes workflow but also improves one’s capability to handle challenging tasks, especially when it comes to an individual task with several requirements.

        Through this article, we will introduce you to some of the best cross-platform task apps which will manage your business and work needs.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.71.1 – try again

        This is a follow-up patch release a mere week after the grand 7.71.0 release. While we added a few minor regressions in that release, one of them were significant enough to make us decide to fix and ship an update sooner rather than later. I’ll elaborate below.

        Every early patch release we do is a minor failure in our process as it means we shipped annoying/serious bugs. That of course tells us that we didn’t test all features and areas good enough before the release. I apologize.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Video: testing curl for security
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Chrome OS to run Steam starting with 10th Gen Intel Chromebooks
      • Chrome OS will get Steam as part of new Linux virtualization environment

        Back in January, we exclusively reported that Google wants to add Steam to Chrome OS and introduce more powerful Chromebooks, possibly running on AMD silicon. Now further details have emerged. 9to5Google found a new Linux emulator in the Google’s Chromium Gerrit codenamed “Borealis” that includes a pre-installed copy of Steam. It might even replace the current Linux implementation in the long term.

        Chrome OS has had a virtual Linux emulator in beta for more than a year, codenamed Crostini. It’s not a full-blown separate OS but more of a collection of compatibility software that helps seamlessly integrate Linux apps with the rest of the Chrome OS interface. We can assume this is the model Borealis and the pre-installed Steam will adopt.

      • Google Confirms Massive Upgrade For Chrome Users

        What brings about such a big change? It’s a technology called Segment Heap, which Microsoft introduced in its Windows 10 May 2020 update. Segment Heap optimizes memory management and Microsoft said early tests on Chromium-based browsers immediately saw memory consumption reduced by as much as 27%. Google engineers concurred saying: “Experiments with per-machine opting-in to the segment heap for chrome.exe suggests that this could save hundreds of MB in the browser.”

        But the shock here is how quickly Google has got this working, with Chrome programmer Bruce Dawson revealing “This change made it into today’s Chrome Canary (Version 85.0.4182.0 (Official Build) canary (64-bit)… I can confirm that the segment heap is enabled.”

        Chrome Canary primarily targets developers, so I would not advise you use it as your primary browser. That said, this is no either/or situation and those keen to discover the benefits of Segment Heap can run Chrome Canary alongside the standard version, keeping any essential tabs away from the developer edition.

      • Steam is Coming to Chromebooks with Ubuntu-based “Borealis” Feature

        Chrome OS has the ability to run desktop and command line Linux apps now Google plans to expand this support to include Linux games too.

        And when we’re talking about gaming on Linux we’re of course talking about Steam, the premiere games distribution platform created by Valve that is available natively for Linux desktop operating systems.

        Google equipping Chrome OS’s gaming feature as part of a project called “Borealis“. This is not only enigmatic sounding but also hugely exciting if you are an Ubuntu fan.

      • Chrome OS appears to be edging closer to Steam support with Linux

        Looks like Linux gaming may get yet another boost, thanks to Google? Yes. Backing up previous information on Steam support coming to Chrome OS it looks like the project is still going.

        This isn’t some kind of wild rumour either, given the previous info with Google’s own Kan Liu confirming their plans. This time the report comes from 9to5Google, which points out something being worked on called “Borealis” which appears to be a kind of Virtual Machine with a full copy of Ubuntu and Steam pre-installed and ready to go. It’s interesting as they already had Crostini with Debian but it appears they’re going a different way for Steam.

      • Kerbal Space Program ‘Shared Horizons’ is out with ESA missions and comets

        Ready to spend another thousand hours building spaceships and now chasing comets? Take charge of the Kerbal Space Program once again in the latest free upgrade.

        This is quite a significant update to KSP too, bringing in their European Space Agency (ESA) content including the ESA space-suit texture, new parts and variants, and two of their most iconic and groundbreaking missions into the game. So now you will be able to build the Ariane 5, visit comets and more.

      • Dark sci-fi action RPG ‘Hellpoint’ launches July 30

        Hellpoint from Cradle Games and tinyBuild is now set to officially release with Linux support on July 30. Originally funded on Kickstarter back in 2017, with 1,351 backers pledging around $63,553 Canadian Dollars we’re keen to see the full release.

        Set in the aftermath of a massive quantum cataclysm called the Merge. You wake up on board the Irid Novo space station, a beacon of galactic cooperation and scientific exploration where everything has gone horribly wrong. What happens next will be solely determined by your choices.

      • The ‘Update of Plenty’ has arrived for Dead Cells – revamping lots

        The 19th update for Dead Cells is a bit of a big one, overhauling quite a lot of game mechanics and the overall difficulty.

        “Dead Cells is a rogue-lite, metroidvania inspired, action-platformer. You’ll explore a sprawling, ever-changing castle… assuming you’re able to fight your way past its keepers in 2D souls-lite combat. No checkpoints. Kill, die, learn, repeat.”

        One of my favourite indie games by far, and awesome to see it continue to update and expand. This time they’re not adding in new enemies and weapons but going over Dead Cells with a fine-tooth comb to ensure your play-through is as smooth as it can be.

      • Thief inspired FOSS stealth game The Dark Mod has a massive new release

        The Dark Mod, a free and open-source first-person stealth game inspired by the Thief series has a huge new release up.

        Powered by the open-source id Tech 4 game engine (the Doom 3 engine), The Dark Mod is an impressive stand-alone project that has quite a lot of community-created mission packs available. The Dark Mod 2.08 has been in development for over a year, and it’s quite an impressive boost with lots of underlying modern tech upgrades like using more modern OpenGL techniques.

      • A chat with the developer of the action-packed roguelike Burning Knight

        Burning Knight is a recently released action-packed roguelike, featuring slick pixel-art and fantastic lighting along with plenty of over the top action and a little sprinkle of comedy.

        As part of our ongoing series of speaking to game developers, we sat down and had a chat with the developer about it and how the release went.

      • Panzer General – A supreme classic revisited

        Roughly 25 years ago, I remember playing Panzer General for the first time. The game’s hexagonal-map, turn-based, inventory-and-strategy style grabbed me instantly, and became one of the enduring classics on my proverbial digital shelf of good ole antiquities. A few days ago, I fired up DOSBox and had another go at Panzer General. Not sure what prompted me to play it again, perhaps inspiration following a recent bout of reading military history books on Stalingrad and Berlin, or perhaps a big-boy-toy warehouse management OCD itch that lurks in every grown man. Or just the fact it’s a darn good game, and it’s time to play it, enjoy it, review it.

        It may sound unusual talking about a 1994 game title – but hey, classics be classics. I did mention it in one of my DOSBox compilations on old game revival, but now I want to give it a proper, in-depth review, even if most of you won’t be able to play it, or even find it. Besides, it’s a trip down the memory lane. I don’t remember the full journey, but I did preserve the game and its save files carefully over the years, from floppy (maybe) to CD to DVD to a folder on a disk, which could be mounted and summoned at will. My original game saves are there, most of them, the earliest dating back to 2000, and the newest to 2007. So not only do I get to have fresh fun, I also have a glimpse of my own military cunning two decades removed. Well, let’s blitz.

      • Chrome OS preparing Steam gaming support, starting with 10th Gen Intel Chromebooks

        Earlier this year, it was reported that Google was working to bring Steam to Chrome OS. We’ve now discovered how Chrome OS will run Steam and which Chromebooks will support it to start.

        For over a year now, Chrome OS has had support for running Linux apps, a project also known as “Crostini.” Under the hood, Crostini runs an entire Linux distribution in a virtual machine, vaguely similar to a developer running an Android emulator on their desktop. (You can think of a Linux distribution as a complete operating system package, usually with its own unique flair.)

        Over the past few weeks, we’ve been tracking a new project within the Chromium open-source code under the codename “Borealis.” Based on some of the related code changes, Borealis seems to also be related to virtual machines for Chrome OS.

        Through a fair bit of digging, we were able to obtain a copy of Borealis, which turned out to be another full Linux distribution. Unlike Crostini, which is based on Debian, Borealis is based on Ubuntu, another popular variety of Linux. Just like the existing Linux apps support, we believe Borealis will integrate itself with Chrome OS rather than being a full desktop experience.

        However, we found one key difference between Borealis and a normal installation of Ubuntu, as Borealis includes a pre-installed copy of Steam. This lines up with what we learned at CES 2020, when Kan Liu, Google’s director of product management for Chrome OS, shared that the upcoming Steam gaming support would be based on Linux.

      • The Dark Mod 2.08 Released As One Of The Few Games Powered By Open-Source id Tech 4

        There is finally a new release out of The Dark Mod, the original total conversion mod for Doom 3 that transformed into its own standalone game powered by the open-source id Tech 4 engine. This remains the lone flagship example of the open-source id Tech 4 game engine in action by the community (besides the DHEWM3 / RBDOOM-3-BFG engine work) with ioDoom3 having never taken off like ioquake3.

        The Dark Mod 2.08 is shipping with fixes for its multi-threading support, uncapped FPS, and better x86 64-bit support.There is also improved coding standards, replacing legacy OpenGL usage with more modern OpenGL usage, better visuals thanks to SSAO and other rendering improvements, AI improvements, gameplay enhancements, better mapping toolkit support, and all around performance improvements. The multi-core support in particular is no longer considered experimental.

      • Stadia exclusive Crayta is out, plus more Stadia Pro titles and UI updates

        Crayta, the promising looking multiplayer game creation tool is now available exclusively on Stadia and there’s more Stadia news to cover today.


        The big one is Crayta, which allows people to jump into games together online and also make their own. It comes ready with multiple games like Prop Hunt, Crayta Cooking (looks like Overcooked), Disaster Party where you need to just stay alive as long as possible and more.

      • Sandbox vehicle building adventure ‘TerraTech’ gets some fun new tech

        Although it already has tons of blocks to make crazy vehicles with, Payload Studios clearly aren’t finished expanding TerraTech and this latest update looks fun.

        Mixing together a block-based vehicle building system, open-world environments and a full sandbox-style campaign where you go at your own pace, TerraTech can be a lot of fun if you enjoy getting lost in a big world. It’s satisfying mix of scavenging, crafting, combat and exploration together make for a fun experience.

        You can build some truly insane stuff too and the latest set of blocks and missions are in with the Reticule Research update.

      • Open source OpenXR runtime ‘Monado’ expands with multi-application support

        Monado is the in-development OpenXR runtime for VR / AR on Linux and Collabora continue to make excellent progress on bringing it up to eventually support more platforms and features.

        Currently developed for Linux while they get as much feature and hardware support as possible, it’s taken another big step recently. The team recently implemented OpenXR’s XR_EXTX_overlay extension, which will now expose the multi-application capabilities of Monado which was recently merged into the project.

      • Now crowdfunding – Neko Ghost, Jump! blends 2D and 3D puzzle-platforming

        After a puzzle-platformer that’s a little unique and challenging? Neko Ghost, Jump! blends together traditional 2D platforming and 3D modes to offer a fresh take.

        Mentioned very briefly here on GOL back in February, it’s quite a sweet idea. You’re able to switch between modes at any time during a level and you need to do so in order to complete the puzzles since some paths, obstacles and enemies might be hidden in one view.

        It’s now crowdfunding on Kickstarter to get the monies needed to finish it, with a $15,000 base goal and it has until July 31 to hit it. The demo that was previously available was also expanded to include Ghost Blocks that you need to change into a special ghost form to interact with, 9 languages, new artwork and performance optimizations.

      • Linux-powered Atari VCS ships for backers in October, full release by end of year

        It seems the Atari VCS is not dead and will actually be seeing a launch this year, as Atari themselves have now confirmed.

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo that raised over three million dollars they’ve seen repeated delays, a lawsuit or two and plenty of ridicule from other publications. Still, they kept at it, giving out updates on their Medium blog about the ongoing production and optimization process.

        Back in April they claimed mass production had started, although when you saw the actual post details it was only 500 units total. Not exactly mass production but okay, whatever. Last month in June they mentioned they had 96 actually be delivered to them, although 500 were in fact produced with “more than 10,000 VCS units this summer” to be ready.

      • Atari VCS is going directly head-to-head with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X this Christmas

        Atari have announced that their long in-development PC/console hybrid is going to be arriving with their crowdfunding backers this October before going on general sale in time for Christmas.

        The Atari VCS looks lovely, but it certainly is going to be a hard sell to the wider public – we’re still unsure who they’re actually targeting. The system will be packed with a number of classic Atari titles along with support for AntStream Arcade for retro classics across other platforms. It supposedly is also a full PC that can run other OSes through the Sandbox mode meaning you can pop Windows 10 onto an external drive and access your Steam, Epic and other libraries.

        The Atari VCS features an AMD Raven Ridge 2 CPU alongside an unspecified AMD Ryzen GPU. It will pack with 4GB or 8GB RAM and internal storage of 32GB with support for external hard drives.

        The HDMI output supports 4K video and the OS is based on Ubuntu, but as mentioned you can install your own OS on there if you choose.

      • 11 years ago this month GOL was created, Happy Birthday to GamingOnLinux

        From the rise and fall of LinuxGamePublishing, Humble Indie Bundles, the indie store Desura rising and falling, Steam and GOG started supporting Linux, itch.io grew much bigger, the Vulkan API being formally released, Steam Machines plus SteamOS, Steam Play, the slow rise of game streaming services and more. We’ve seen such a huge amount of ups and downs over the years. We plan to continue going for the next 11 years and beyond too! So we hope you will stick with us for daily Linux + Gaming news.

      • Command the undead as shields and weapons in Millions of Minions

        Millions of Minions: An Underground Adventure is a brand new dungeon crawler that recently released into Steam Early Access, giving a slightly unique take on it.

        With a setting and layout clearly inspired by the likes of Isaac and others, you crawl through a dungeon with small enclosed rooms as you fight off waves of enemies. Here though you’re not using swords or anything like that, instead you gather energy and summon a bunch of little minions. You then use them as shields and send them flying towards enemies. It’s actually a little amusing.


        There’s a demo up on Steam too if you want to try before you buy. I’ve spent a little time with it and while it feels a lot more simpler than the likes of The Binding of Isaac, the streamlined feel might be better for quick runs when you’re shorter on time. It will be interesting to see how much they do expand this over Early Access.

      • Craft slick chiptune music for games or fun as FamiStudio adds Linux builds

        FamiStudio, a pretty fun looking program designed for people making chiptune music and NES homebrewers recently had a big new release and it came with their first Linux build.

        Quite an impressive feature set too with it being able to export to various formats, not only that though the editor itself has some sweet features. Some you would expect like Copy/Paste and Undo/Redo along with Volume, fine pitch, vibrato effect tracks and more. The latest release adds in some great sounding features too (on top of Linux support) like trackpad controls, a command-line interface, extended MIDI keyboard support, improved WAV export and import of instruments from any supported format.

      • FMV mystery thriller ‘Jessika’ will launch on August 25

        Assemble Entertainment and Tritrie Games have confirmed that Jessika, a full-motion video mystery-adventure will be launching with Linux support on August 25.

        Your job as a digital content specialist is to go through the footprint left behind by deceased people, on behalf of their relatives. In Jessika, the subject is a sensitive one as it’s touching on suicide and it seems their family are determined to find out why. What at first seems to be a job like any other quickly develops into a dark drama with twists and turns.

      • FNA3D now has Vulkan support in Alpha, FNA 20.07 is out

        FNA3D, the upcoming advanced graphics library for FNA has reached a new milestone on the way to full Vulkan support.

        As a refresher – FNA was originally a fork of MonoGame, with an aim to be an accuracy-focused reimplementation of Microsoft’s XNA. It’s since expanded and improved in huge ways and FNA3D is the next step. FNA3D was announced back in May, as a more advanced rendering system for FNA that brings with it better performance and the ability to support other graphics APIs.

        FNA is used in tons of games like TowerFall Ascension, Streets of Rage 4, FEZ, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Rogue Legacy, Chasm, Axiom Verge and the list goes on for a while.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Modern and Traditional ArcMenu v47 is here with Major Updates

          The ArcMenu team announced the release of its latest version of the traditional and modern menu system for GNOME desktops.

        • Arc Menu 47, Popular Gnome Extension Released With New Layout

          Arc Menu 47, Popular Gnome Extension Released With New Layout

          Arc Menu v47 with a new menu layout called “Tognee” is now available for the download. Arc Menu is a Gnome shell extension designed to replace the standard menu found in Gnome 3.

          “Flip Layout Horizontally” and “Searchbar Location” options is now available in traditional panel layouts.

        • GNOME Shell Review: Minimal Desktop with Great Performance

          If I had to guess, I would probably say that a huge majority of Linux users have/had used GNOME Shell in one way or another. It’s the default Desktop Environment on a huge number of very popular Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Fedora, and Pop!_OS, and it’s an option for installation on even more. This GNOME Shell review will cover performance, user experience, and recommendations on who will find GNOME Shell to be a good fit.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Ikey Doherty Is Making a New Distro, Serpent Linux, and We Should All Support Him

          Believe it or not, ex-Solus leader Ikey Doherty is making a new operating system called Serpent Linux, which aims to be a truly modern Linux distro.

          It’s been almost two years since Ikey Doherty, the founder and lead developer of the popular Solus distribution, left the project he loved the most in pursuit of new endeavors.

          After a year long break from the Linux world, he created a new company called Lispy Snake, Ltd., an indie game studio with a focus on developing an open source game engine named Serpent for creating 2D games.

        • Zenwalk 15.0 – milestone 2020 07 02 is ready

          Once a year, Zenwalk Current is considered stable enough for a “milestone” release, here’s Zenwalk 15 milestone 2020.

          Based on Slackware Current July 2020, Zenwalk 15 milestone 2020 is fully compatible.

          As usual, the goal is to provide fast simple setup, refined desktop, selection of the best apps, ease of use, with full respect of the Slackware philosophy.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Cinnamon Edition, Full Review

          Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” was recently released, and in this video we’ll explore some of the highlights and even some of the controversial changes as well. The installation process, Warpinator, and the anti-snap changes are explored, and more.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • The first step towards Mageia 8 – Alpha 1 is available for testing

          We are happy to announce the release of the test images of Mageia 8. These are available to early testers to help with the development towards a stable final release of Mageia 8. There have been large scale updates of all packages as well as new features implemented to improve what Mageia already offered.

        • Mageia 8 Enters Development with Linux Kernel 5.7, Improved ARM Support

          The upcoming Mageia 8 Linux distribution now has a first alpha release that the community can download and test if they want to help the devs fix bugs before the final release or get an early taste of the new features and improvements.

          Donald Stewart announced today the general availability of Mageia 8 Alpha 1, the first step towards the next major release of this wonderful GNU/Linux distribution that continue the legacy of the Mandrake Linux operating system.

          And it’s packed with a lot of goodies, starting with the latest Linux 5.7 kernel series and continuing with better support for ARM devices with dedicated images for some of the most popular of them in the coming months, as well as a much-improved installer with better support for the F2FS (Flash-Friendly File System) and NILFS2 filesystems.

          Mageia 8 also promises faster boot and installation times due to the use of the Zstd (Zstandard) lossless, real-time data compression algorithm that most GNU/Linux distributions are adopting these days. In addition, Zstd is being used to accelerate the package metadata parsing within urpmi package manager.

        • Mageia 8 Alpha 1 Linux distribution now available for download

          Mageia isn’t one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems, but it has its share of fans. The operating system is primarily a KDE affair, although GNOME and Xfce are available desktop environments too. It is a quality distro that you should check out if interested.

          The last major release of Mageia was version 7, which came out nearly a year ago. Today, Mageia 8 Alpha 1 becomes available for download. Despite many Linux distributions stopping development of 32-bit variants, Mageia is apparently not giving up — you can download a special 32-bit ISO that uses the Xfce desktop environment.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Leap “15.2″ Release Brings Exciting New Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and Container Packages

          The openSUSE release team is proud to announce the availability of community-developed openSUSE Leap 15.2. Professional users, from desktops and data-center servers to container hosts and Virtual Machines (VM), will be able to use Leap 15.2 as a high-quality, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade Linux operating system.

        • OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 Released With AI/ML Packages Added, YaST Improvements

          OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 is out today as the Linux distribution built from the same sources as SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 sources.

          OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 adds a number of new packages, particularly on the machine learning and artificial intelligence front. Tensorflow, PyTorch, ONNX, and other popular AI/ML solutions are finally packaged up for openSUSE Leap. Leap 15.2 also has Kubernetes support available as an official package for the first time. There are also a variety of other container additions to Leap 15.2 in catching up to the other Linux distributions catering to container workloads.

        • OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 released

          The openSUSE Leap 15.2 release is now available; see the announcement for a long list of new features. “In general, software packages in the distribution grew by the hundreds. Data fusion, Machine Learning and AI aren’t all that is new in openSUSE Leap 15.2; a Real-Time Kernel for managing the timing of microprocessors to ensure time-critical events are processed as efficiently as possible is available in this release.”

        • openSUSE Leap 15.2 Released With Focus on Containers, AI and Encryption

          openSUSE Leap 15.2 has finally landed with some useful changes and improvements.

          Also, considering the exciting announcement of Closing the Leap Gap, the release of openSUSE Leap 15.2 brings us one step closer to SLE (SUSE Linux Enterprise) binaries being integrated to openSUSE Leap 15.3 next.

          Let’s take a look at what has changed and improved in openSUSE Leap 15.2.

        • openSUSE Leap 15.2 Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

          The openSUSE Project released today openSUSE Leap 15.2, the second major installment in the latest openSUSE Leap 15 operating system series, based on SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2.

          openSUSE Leap 15.2 comes more than a year after openSUSE Leap 15.1 to bring you not only software updates and security fixes, but also new applications and technologies. Most specifically, it brings exciting new Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL) technologies.

          Among these, there’s Tensorflow, a deep learning framework used by data scientists for numerical computations and data-flow graphs, PyTorch, a machine learning library, ONNX, a program that provides interoperability in the AI tool space, as well as the Grafana and Prometheus tools for creating interactive visual analytics.

        • Review of the HP Pavilion 14-ce0830nd

          Would I recommend the HP Pavilion 14-ce0830nd? To be honest, its a mixed bag on openSUSE. Installation of openSUSE Leap 15.2 was very easy. And installation of a dual boot system with Windows 10 was easy as well. The laptop has an attractive look and feel. The display, speakers, keyboard and external ports are all good. The touchpad is too sensitive. The machine has enough RAM, enough storage and the hard drives are performant. The Intel CPU/GPU is great. Which means that this is a great machine for multitasking. The gaming performance on the Intel GPU on openSUSE Leap 15.2 is good enough to play various open source games on medium/high settings.

      • Slackware Family

        • Netpkg 7.0 : simpler, faster tool to manage packages

          Netpkg 7.0 has been released.

          Netpkg is the original network package management tool provided in Zenwalk since 2005, and was the first tool of this kind available for Slackware back in the days.

          Over the years, following users requests, netpkg has evolved into a graphical (GTK) application with CLI counterpart.

          Netpkg is Slackgnostic ;) : it work for any Slackware system.

          The CLI version has proven to be easier for the user, is faster, and requires no dependencies except bash, wget, and a few command line utilities found on any Slackware installation : so it can run in level 3 with just the “ap” packages installed (could even run from the setup from a chrooted mountpoint).

        • Flatpak is available on Zenwalk

          Flatpak is the freedesktop.org software deployment and package management standard for Linux, offering a sandbox environment in which users can run application software in isolation from the rest of the system.

          In Zenwalk : Flatpak is managed through the App Outlet application (https://app-outlet.github.io/).

          You can also browse https://flathub.org/apps, find what you’re looking for (ie : VLC) and just launch “flatpak install VLC” in an unprivileged user terminal.

      • Arch Family

        • First Arch Linux Snapshot Powered by Linux Kernel 5.7 Is Here

          In the first day of every month, we see a new Arch Linux ISO snapshot being released, including the most recent package versions and, occasionally, brand-new GNU/Linux technologies, such as the bump to a newer Linux kernel branch.

          Well, Arch Linux 2020.07.01 has been released today as July 2020’s ISO snapshot, and it’s the first to ship with the latest Linux 5.7 kernel series. While not the latest, Linux 5.7.6 is included in the Arch Linux 2020.07.01 image as the default kernel.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Systemd 246 Is On The Way With Many Changes

          With it already having been a few months since systemd 245 debuted with systemd-homed, the systemd developers have begun their release dance for what will be systemd 246.

        • Containers: Understanding the difference between portability, compatibility and supportability

          Portability alone does not offer the entire promise of Linux containers. You also need Compatibility and Supportability.

        • Red Hat Updates Ansible Automation Platform

          Red Hat recently announced key enhancements to the Ansible Automation portfolio, including the latest version of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and new Red Hat Certified Ansible Content Collections available on Automation Hub.

        • IBM Cloud Pak for Integration in 2 minutes
        • Introducing modulemd-tools

          A lot of teams are involved in the development of Fedora Modularity and vastly more people are affected by it as packagers and end-users. It is obvious, that each group has its own priorities, use-cases and therefore different opinions on what is good or bad about the current state of the project. Personally, I was privileged (or maybe doomed) to represent yet another, often forgotten, group of users – third-party build systems.

          Our team is directly responsible for the development and maintenance of Copr and a few years ago we decided to support building modules alongside building just regular packages. We stumbled upon many frustrating pitfalls that I don’t want to discuss right now but the major one was definitely not enough tools for working with modules. That was understandable in the early stages of the development process but it has been years and we still don’t have the right tools for building modules on our own, without relying on the Fedora infrastructure. You may recall me expressing the need for them at the Flock 2019 conference.

        • GSoC 2020 nmstate project update for June

          This blog is about my experience working in nmstate project and first month in GSoC coding period. I was able to start working on implementing the varlink support mid of community bonding period. This was very helpful because I was able to identify some issues in the python varlink package that was not mentioned in documentation and I had to spend more time finding the cause of the issue. There have been minor changes to proposed code structure and project timeline after the feedback from the community members. In the beginning it was difficult to identify syntax errors in varlink interface definitions. This has been slow progress because of new issues and following are the tasks I have completed so far.

        • Between Two Releases of Ubuntu 20.04 and Fedora 32

          Both Ubuntu Focal Fossa and Fedora 32 released in the same time April this year. They are two operating systems from different families namely Debian and Red Hat. One of their most interesting things in common is the arrival of computer companies like Dell and Star Labs (and Lenovo’s coming) that sell special preinstalled laptops and PCs. I make this summary to remind myself and inform you all growth of these great operating systems. Enjoy!

        • Getting started on your SAP HANA journey with RHEL 8 for SAP Solutions

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, which was released at the Red Hat Summit in May 2019, can provide significant performance improvements across a range of modern workloads.

          As of March 31, 2020, SAP officially announced the support for SAP HANA 2.0 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 for SAP Solutions on Intel 64 and IBM POWER9 architectures.

          With this offering, SAP HANA is fully certified and supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 for SAP Solutions as documented in SAP notes 2777782 and 2235581. Beyond the benefits provided by the latest version of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, RHEL 8 for SAP Solutions offers the following components…

        • CI/CD with OpenShift
        • Red Hat Audit to ‘Eradicate’ Problematic Language in Its Code

          Red Hat has become the latest software company pledging to remove “problematic” language from its platforms.

          In a blog post published to the company’s website, Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright said the company would be “standing up a team to audit our own work—our code, documentation and content—and identify potentially divisive language.”

          “When we looked at why certain words are still being used in open source, we questioned why they persisted and what we could do about it,” Wright told Motherboard in an email.

        • System Configuration Proc File System
        • Install VirtualBox 6.1 on Oracle Linux 8
        • Install VirtualBox 6.1 Extension Pack on Oracle Linux 8
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20: Still the best Linux desktop despite one quirk

          You’ll also need at least 15GBs of disk space, but I recommend 20GBs. Finally, you’ll need a graphics card and monitor that supports a 1024×768 resolution. In short, you can pretty much run Mint on any PC you find in a second-hand junk store.

          Under the hood, Mint 20 runs on top of the 5.4 Linux kernel. It’s most notable new features are support for AMD Navi 12 and 14 GPUs, AMD Arcturus graphics cards, AMD Dali APU, AMD 2020 APU platforms, and Intel Tiger Lake CPUs.

          One thing you can’t do easily yet is upgrade from Mint 19.3 to 20. Clement “Clem” Lefebvre, Mint’s lead developer, explained, you can’t use the 19.3′s update manager because “the process will be completely different since this is a new major version and a new package base.” By mid-July, Mint will release an easy upgrade path. For now, you must install Mint 20 from scratch.

          For my tests, rather than use old hardware, I used a 2019 Dell XPS 13. This model, which came with Ubuntu 18.04, was powered by an Intel Core i7-10710U processor. It also came with a 512GB SSD and 16GBs of RAM. This is vastly more powerful hardware than you need for Mint.

          First, I installed Linux Mint 19.3 on it so I could get an idea of how well Mint 20 compares to its immediate ancestor. Then, I installed Linux Mint 20 on it with the Cinnamon 4.6 desktop. I did this by downloading the Mint 20′s 2GB ISO image and then burning it to a USB stick. That done, I set the XPS 13′s firmware to boot from the USB stick and installed 20, reset it to boot from the SSD and I was on my way. The entire process, from beginning to end took about half-an-hour.

        • Ubuntu Cinnamon | Review from an openSUSE User

          There is something fun about the smattering of new releases of Ubuntu and flavors every six months. I don’t try them all as I just don’t have the time. I do like to try the new ones, see what they’re all about. It’s one thing to try Kubuntu, where you already know what you are getting, it’s another thing to try a respin, especially one that is brand new to the scene.

          As part of the BDLL community, we are encouraged to try out the new shiny and then talk about it. We had the conversation on the 27th of June, 2020. I didn’t have much to contribute as I was late to the party in testing it. We also had the privilege of having the distribution maintainer and creator, Josh, there as well too.

          Button line up front: Ubuntu Cinnamon, as a new remix was a remarkably enjoyable experience, especially since this is the first release and Josh is, not exactly a seasoned distro maintainer. I am not particularly a fan of Cinnamon and I knew this going into it but was interested in seeing a version of Cinnamon as an alternative to Mint due to their rather poignant stance on the universal Linux package system, Snaps. This is the first release of Ubuntu Cinnamon and I think it is well done. I would not switch to it but I do think it is worth trying, if nothing else, to hedge your Cinnamon bets.

          This is my brief experience as a biased openSUSE User from installation to desktop usage perceptions.

        • What’s New In Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS

          The Ubuntu MATE team has been announced and released Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS On April 23rd, 2020. Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS is the fourth Long Term Support (LTS), It will be supported with security and software updates for 3 years, until April 2023, This release rolls-up various developments, fixes, and optimizations that have been released since the 19.10 LTS.

          Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS ships with the latest MATE Desktop Environment 1.24 series by default, Added multiple colored theme variations, panel layout switching which is now stable and reliable via MATE Tweak Tweak and Ubuntu MATE Welcome, The key-bindings for window tiling have only worked on full keyboards, includes a new Indicator that provides a “notification center”

          Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and powered by the most recent and advanced kernel, Long term Support of Linux kernel 5.4. which brings improved hardware support (among other features). A new GTK front end for the firmware update tool is added that lets you upgrade, downgrade, and reinstall firmware on devices supported by Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS), including the LVM and the ZFS option.

        • Linux Mint 20 isn’t exactly bursting with freshness but, hey, there’s kernel 5.4 and it’s a long-term support release

          The Linux Mint team has released Mint 20 Cinnamon, a long-term support (LTS) release. It is based on Ubuntu 20.04, will be supported until 2025, and new Mint versions will use the same package base until 2022.

          Linux Mint comes in three flavours, all of which are now available in Mint 20 “Ulyana” editions. One uses the minimalist Xfce desktop environment. The second, called MATE, uses a fork of the GNOME 2 desktop, while the third, Cinnamon, uses a fork of the GNOME 3 desktop created and maintained by the Mint team. Cinnamon appears to be the most common choice among Mint users. More details on the origins and difference between MATE and Cinnamon are here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • An Easy Introduction to Open Source Projects

        So what is an open source project anyway? It seems like the answer should be easy. “It’s openly available code,” right? Well, not necessarily. It all depends on how the project is licensed. A license tells other people what they can and cannot do with a project. A project like Unity is openly available but its license states it’s only available for reference, not for modification or redistribution. Other projects are openly available but have no license at all. According to copyright law, this means the project is automatically all rights reserved, meaning it’s illegal to do anything at all with the project without the author’s express permission.

        Neither of these examples are open source projects, because neither of them are licensed in a way that’s in accordance with the Open Source Definition (OSD). This is a set of 10 requirements that a project must meet to be considered “open source.” If a project doesn’t meet each one of those 10 requirements, it violates the OSD and, by definition, is not an open source project.

        The easiest way to make sure a project is actually open source is to look at the license under which it’s released. If it’s an Open Source Initiative-approved license, then you’re guaranteed that the project meets all 10 of the requirements of the OSD and is definitely an open source project. That’s because the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the standards body that maintains and protects the OSD, has reviewed those licenses and confirmed that any project that uses one of them will provide the 10 requirements of the OSD. Projects that use a different non-approved license or no license at all cannot be guaranteed to be open source and may be risky or even illegal to use. Some popular OSI-approved licenses include GNU General Public License GPL, Apache License 2.0, MIT license, and the suite of Creative Commons licenses.


        Some people contribute because they believe in the Four Freedoms and the power that these freedoms have to foster equality and equity for all people. Whatever reasons you have for wanting to contribute, always remember that’s exactly what those reasons are: yours. No one else will have the same needs, goals, or constraints. Your reasons are unique and personal.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 78 arrives with accessibility and video call improvements

            Mozilla today launched Firefox 78 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Firefox 78 includes accessibility features and video call improvements and is the last to support three older macOS releases. You can download Firefox 78 for desktop now from Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.

            While Google and Microsoft had to adjust their respective browser release schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic, in April Mozilla committed to sticking with its 2020 Firefox release schedule and the browser’s four-week release cadence. While the schedule remains unchanged, Mozilla shifted its roadmap to avoid shipping changes that might negatively impact government and health services websites and to address video conferencing issues.


            “While Apple does not have a public policy governing security updates for older macOS releases, their ongoing practice has been to support the most recent three releases,” Mozilla says in a support article. “The last security update applicable to macOS 10.11 was made available in July 2018. Unsupported operating systems do not receive security updates, have known exploits, and can be dangerous to use, which makes it difficult to maintain Firefox on those versions.”

          • Firefox 78: Protections dashboard, new developer features… and the end of the line for older macOS versions

            Mozilla has released Firefox 78 with a new Protections Dashboard and a bunch of updates for web developers. This is also the last supported version of Firefox for macOS El Capitan (10.11) and earlier.

            Firefox is on a “rapid release plan”, which means a new version every four to five weeks. This means that major new features should not be expected every time. That said, Firefox 78 is also an extended support release (ESR), which means users who stick with ESR get updates from this and the previous 10 releases.

            The main new user-facing feature in Firefox 78 is the Protections Dashboard, a screen which shows trackers and scripts blocked, a link to the settings, a link to Firefox Monitor for checking your email address against known data breaches, and a button for password management.

            Handy, but does the Protections Dashboard have much real value? It is doubtful; the more revealing thing is to click the shield icon to the left of the address bar on a web page, which tells you what is blocked on that site.

          • Firefox 78 Released with “Reset to Default” Option

            Mozilla Firefox 78 was released a few days ago with some new features and improvements.

            Firefox 78 added “Refresh Firefox” button to the Uninstaller, which also available in about:support page, allows to reset Firefox to its default state, while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, cookies.

          • Let’s meet online: Virtual All Hands 2020

            Here I am again sharing with you the amazing experience of another All Hands.

            This time no traveling was involved, and every meeting, coffee, and chat were left online.

            Virtuality seems the focus of this 2020 and if on one side we strongly missed the possibility of being together with colleagues and contributors, on the other hand, we were grateful for the possibility of being able to connect.

            Virtual All Hands has been running for a week, from the 15th of June to the 18th, and has been full of events and meetups.


            Thank you for your participation and your enthusiasm as always, we are missing live interaction but we have the opportunity to use some great tools as well. We are happy that so many people could enjoy those opportunities and created such a nice environment during the few days of the All Hands.

            See you really soon!

          • Securing Gamepad API

            As part of Mozilla’s ongoing commitment to improve the privacy and security of the web platform, over the next few months we will be making some changes to how the Gamepad_API works.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.0 RC1 Bug Hunting Session

          LibreOffice 7.0 is being developed by our worldwide community, and is due to be released in early August 2020 – see the release notes describing the new features here.

          In order to find, report and triage bugs, the LibreOffice QA team is organizing the second Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 7.0 on Monday July 6, 2020. Tests will be performed on the first Release Candidate version, which will be available on the pre-releases server the day of the event. Builds will be available for Linux (DEB and RPM), macOS and Windows.

        • Simulated Animation Effects Week#4

          After getting simulated animation effects somewhat a presentable state in week 3 on my experimental branch, this week my goal was to make them saveable.

          Since I wanted them to be saveable on SMIL hierarchies, like the rest of the animations, I’ve started by creating new xml tokens that’ll be used and named them “motion-simulated” and “animateSimulation”.

          Made required connections for importing/exporting these animation effects mimicking how path motion is imported/exported.

          Later created a new animation preset on Effects.xcu for testing purposes and called it arbitarily “Simulated Basic”.
          And lastly, connected stuff with animation effects panel creating a new category there for simulated animations.

        • How to Create a Pareto Diagram [80/20 Rule] in LibreOffice Calc

          In this LibreOffice tip, you’ll learn to create the famous Pareto chart in Calc.

      • CMS

        • The Month in WordPress: June 2020

          June was an exciting month for WordPress! Major changes are coming to the Gutenberg plugin, and WordCamp Europe brought the WordPress community closer together. Read on to learn more and to get all the latest updates.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Borderlining with GIMP

            On your computer, with GIMP you can emphasize pictures in colorful ways. You can make red rectangle or ellipse to focus your readers to a point in a picture. Of course you can use blue, green, orange, and other colors too. It is easy to do once you know how. I present you here a new video again followed by short explanations, an example, and exercises. Lastly, don’t forget that this tutorial is a part of GIMP Guide for Author. Happy editing!

          • Intel Graphics Driver Fixes Include Assembly Sources To Satisfy GNU Linux-Libre Folks

            Last month you may recall that the free software purists maintaining the GNU Linux-Libre kernel dropped the Intel “iGPU Leak” security fix for Ivybridge / Haswell as they considered the compiled shaders/kernels responsible for clearing those residual contexts to be binary blobs. A resolution is now pending for upstream.

            Mitigating “iGPU Leak” for Gen7/Gen7.5 Intel graphics requires flushing the GPU between jobs by means of clearing EU/L3 residual contexts. That flushing code is compiled via the IGT user-space Intel compiler code and from the kernel side submitted to the hardware when needed. But because the GNU Linux-Libre maintainers viewed it as a “binary blobs as arrays of numbers”, they dropped the fix.

          • ath9k wifi devices may not work with linux-libre 5.7.6

            if you have a USB wifi device which uses the ath9k or ath9k_htc kernel module, you should postpone upgrading to linux-libre 5.7.6; or the device may not work when you next reboot – PCI devices do not seem to be affected by this bug

          • [Guix] Securing updates

            Software deployment tools like Guix are in a key position when it comes to securing the “software supply chain”—taking source code fresh from repositories and providing users with ready-to-use binaries. We have been paying attention to several aspects of this problem in Guix: authentication of pre-built binaries, reproducible builds, bootstrapping, and security updates.

            A couple of weeks ago, we addressed the elephant in the room: authentication of Guix code itself by guix pull, the tool that updates Guix and its package collection. This article looks at what we set out to address, how we achieved it, and how it compares to existing work in this area.

      • Programming/Development

        • The 10 Best Programming Fonts for Developers

          Looking for the best programming fonts? Well, your search ends here as this list of top 10 programming fonts will get you introduced to some of the best available fonts for programming. Just follow this post to know more!

        • Customizing my Linux terminal with tmux and Git

          I use tmux, a terminal multiplexer technology, to manage my terminal experience.

          At the bottom of the image above, you can see my green tmux bar. The [3] at the bottom indicates this terminal is the third one: each terminal runs its own tmux session. (I created a new one to make the font larger, so it’s easier to see in this screenshot; this is the only difference between this terminal and my real ones.)

          The prompt also looks funny, right? With so much information jammed into the prompt, I like to stick in a newline so that if I want to do impromptu shell programming or write a five-step pipeline, I can do it without having things spill over. The trade-off is that simple sequences of commands—touch this, copy that, move this—scroll off my screen faster.


          The first bit in the prompt is the bit I like the most: one letter that lets me know the Git status of the directory. It is G if the directory is “(not in) Git,” K if the directory is “OK” and nothing needs to be done, ! if there are files unknown to Git that must be added or ignored, C if I need to commit, U if there is no upstream, and P if an upstream exists, but I have not pushed. This scheme is not based on the current status but describes the next action I need to do. (To review Git terminology, give this article a read.)

          This terminal functionality is accomplished with an interesting Python utility. It runs python -m howsit (after I installed howsit in a dedicated virtual environment).

        • Compare the speed of grep with Python regexes

          As we were converting our Shell scripts to Python anyway I thought I could rewrite it in Python and go over the file once instead of 20 times and use the Regex engine of Python to extract the same information.

          The Python version should be faster as we all know file I/O is way more expensive than in-memory operations.

          After starting conversion it turned out to be incorrect. Our code became way slower. Let’s see a simulation of it.

        • Compare the speed of Perl and Python regexes

          The regex engine in Perl is much faster than the regex engine of Python.

          The are both slower than grep as measured when I compares Python with grep.

        • SSH Emergency Access

          Why would you want this? Only as an option of last resort. A backdoor into your servers when, for whatever reason, nothing else works.

          Why use certificates instead of public/private keys for emergency access?

          Passive revocation. Certificates expire; public keys don’t. You can mint an SSH certificate valid for 1 minute, or even 5 seconds. Once it expires, the certificate will become unusable for new connections. This is perfect for occasional emergency access.

          You’ll be able to create a certificate for any account on your hosts and send short-lived certificates to colleagues as needed.

        • Cartesi Launches ‘Descartes’ SDK Portal – Future of DApps

          Cartesi, the most recent Binance Launchpad IEO announced the launch of their Descartes SDK Documentation portal. The SDK Portal represents a leap forward for the Cartesi team in fulfilling their ambition in bridging the world of Linux open-sourced software, with the inherent security benefits of blockchain technology.

        • Cartesi launches Decartes SDK bringing blockchain dapp development to Linux

          The Cartesi Foundation today announced the launch of the Decartes software development kit and developer portal to enable developers to build distributed ledger blockchain apps using the Linux operating system.

          The SDK, which is currently an alpha test version, will allow developers to use mainstream software and libraries to develop distributed apps, or dapps, more easily while also keeping the security and capabilities of the blockchain.

        • Cartesi Launches SDK and Developer Portal Making DApp Development Feasible with Linux

          Cartesi, an innovator in the blockchain space, today announces the publishing of the alpha version of its Descartes Software Development Kit (SDK) and developer portal in line with its roadmap.

          Erick Demoura, CEO & Co-Founder of Cartesi said, “With this SDK release, we prove our continued commitment to making DApps powerful and easy to build. The SDK launch will allow developers who are already in the blockchain space to perform heavy computations and to get the convenience and the tools they were lacking before. Our vision is to make it possible, in the future, for any developer to build on top of Cartesi, to remove the boundaries and to make broad adoption of DApps a reality.”

        • Isolating PHP Web Sites

          If you have multiple PHP web sites on a server in a default configuration they will all be able to read each other’s files in a default configuration. If you have multiple PHP web sites that have stored data or passwords for databases in configuration files then there are significant problems if they aren’t all trusted. Even if the sites are all trusted (IE the same person configures them all) if there is a security problem in one site it’s ideal to prevent that being used to immediately attack all sites.


          The Apache PHP module depends on mpm_prefork so it also has the issues of not working with HTTP/2 and of causing the web server to be slow. The solution is php-fpm, a separate server for running PHP code that uses the fastcgi protocol to talk to Apache. Here’s a link to the upstream documentation for php-fpm [4]. In Debian this is in the php7.3-fpm package.

        • Template Haskell recompilation

          I was wondering: What happens if I have a Haskell module with Template Haskell that embeds some information from the environment (time, environment variables). Will such a module be reliable recompiled? And what if it gets recompiled, but the source code produced by Template Haskell is actually unchaned (e.g., because the environment variable has not changed), will all depending modules be recompiled (which would be bad)?

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl 7: A Risk-Benefit Analysis

            At the recent Conference in the Cloud for Perl and Raku, Sawyer X (the pumpking of Perl) announced an ambitious plan for Perl 7. Since Perl 6 was renamed to Raku to better communicate its fundamental differences from the well known identity of Perl, major versions are now available again for Perl to leverage, and it is a very important step to show that the language is still developed and used. I completely agree with the motivation and ideals presented, and have thought a lot about the benefits and risks involved in such ideas long before I was aware of this project.

            I do not generally work with ancient code that uses ancient practices. I work with CPAN modules that maintain compatibility with wider or narrower ranges of Perl versions for various reasons. I work with modern code for my own and business use that already will not function on older Perls. I work with newcomers that have written code based on modern Perl tutorials, and newcomers that have written code based on ancient Perl tutorials. It’s from this perspective that I evaluate the proposed direction, the stated goal of which is to optimize for new users and active maintainers over abandoned code.

          • Breathing life into the (Emacs) cperl-mode

            If you are an Emacs user, you might know or even use cperl-mode. I am using it, more or less since my first days with Perl. Back then, newsgroups were a thing, and Ilya Zakharevich recommended it occasionally. In older times cperl-mode was shipped with Perl, today it is part of Emacs.

          • From the user perspective, Perl strings have no bugs and work well.

            I feel that in the upcoming version of Perl, the core team fixes the Unicode bug as a reason to break backward compatibility Perl 5.

            Unicode in Perl internally has some inconsistencies due to conflicts between latin-1 and UTF-8.

            this is true.

            On the other hand, from the user’s point of view, a Perl string works perfectly fine if you only accept it can’t tell whether it’s a decoded string or a bytes.

            We are solving this problem by convention.

          • Monthly Report – June

            COVID-19 seems to be still haunting us but life is getting back to normal slowly. I had the pleasure to attend the first “Conference in the Cloud”. It was 3 days event. I booked 3 days off from the work so that I can focus on the event without any interruptions. It was my first experience attending event in the cloud. I found it hard to focus on the talk in general.

            Could it be as I was at home with kids running around?

            The day one itself started on a very happy note with the announcement of “Perl 7″ by Sawyer X. The entire day one was dedicated to this very topic. brian d foy even had his first book “Preparing for Perl 7″ launched with the announcement. Thanks to the author brian d foy, I had the pleasure to read the first copy of the book. I simply loved it. The best introductory book on Perl 7 so far. Please go and check out yourself.

            I have been attending Perl conference for many years now but never had the opportunity to meet Damian Conway. The “Conference in the Cloud” made it possible to watch him live for the first time. As expected, I loved his talk, although it was recorded.

        • Python

          • Add a Column to a Pandas DataFrame Based on an If-Else Condition

            When we’re doing data analysis with Python, we might sometimes want to add a column to a pandas DataFrame based on the values in other columns of the DataFrame.

            Although this sounds straightforward, it can get a bit complicated if we try to do it using an if-else conditional. Thankfully, there’s a simple, great way to do this using numpy!

            To learn how to use it, let’s look at a specific data analysis question. We’ve got a dataset of more than 4,000 Dataquest tweets. Do tweets with attached images get more likes and retweets? Let’s do some analysis to find out!

          • Get Started With Django Part 2: Django User Management

            If you finished the first part of this series, then you may already have a lot of ideas for your own Django applications. At some point, you might decide to extend them with user accounts. In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn how to work with Django user management and add it to your program.

          • Django bugfix releases issued: 3.0.8 and 2.2.14

            Today we’ve issued 3.0.8 and 2.2.14 bugfix releases.

            The release package and checksums are available from our downloads page, as well as from the Python Package Index.

          • Python 101 – Learning About Tuples (Video)

            If you prefer to read rather than watch, then you should check out Python 101 – Learning About Tuples

          • Tryton News: Newsletter July 2020

            A major improvement has landed which reduces memory usage on the server by between 30% and 40% and increases its speed by around 15%.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #5
          • Python Software Foundation: Announcing the PSF Project Funding Working Group

            For the past 3 years, the PSF has been working on grant funded projects to improve our internal systems and platforms. This work has been done with the Packaging Working Group, and focused on our packaging ecosystem of PyPI and pip. We have been able to show that applying directed funding to open source projects has the ability to dramatically increase the speed of development, and move our community forward in a much more sustained way than relying solely on volunteer effort.


            The PSF has created the Project Funding Working Group to help our community seek similar funding for their own projects. We hope to expand the amount of money going into the Python community as a whole, by providing resources and advice to projects who are interested in seeking funding from external sources.

            Our charter starts with our intended purpose:

            This Working Group researches, and advises Python community volunteers on applying for external grants and similar funding to advance the mission of the PSF, which includes, but is not limited to, things such as advancing the Python core, Python-related infrastructure, key Python projects, and Python education and awareness.
            You can read the entire charter for more information about the vision for the group that we intend to build over the medium and long term.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • More stupid Bash tricks: Variables, find, file descriptors, and remote operations

            This blog post is the second of two covering some practical tips and tricks to get the most out of the Bash shell. In part one, I covered history, last argument, working with files and directories, reading files, and Bash functions. In this segment, I cover shell variables, find, file descriptors, and remote operations.

  • Leftovers

    • Desolation Center
    • Photographers Grapple With ‘Informed Consent’ in Uprising

      The bill of rights is a lengthy, multifaceted, non–legally binding document that seeks to address gender and race bias within the image-taking industry, setting up policy guidelines to address issues of pay, safety, accountability and documenting abuse in the world of lens-based media workers (photographers, videographers, visual editors, etc.).

    • Education

      • Prioritizing Children’s Wellness Over Cops: The Movement To End Policing In Schools

        In the wake of protests that swept the United States after Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, teachers, unions, and activist groups across the United States have renewed pushes to remove police from school districts.

        Several school boards voted or are in the process of voting on resolutions that would defund school police forces

      • Online Learning Isn’t Even Remotely Equal

        Ivanka Brutus, a fifth-grade student in a Black and low-income county in Miami, Fla., struggled to complete her coursework when school moved online. Her Internet connection is extremely spotty—the beginning of Tropical Storm Arthur brought flood levels to the county that haven’t been seen in 20 years. And as hurricane season continues, it’s only expected to get worse. “I have experienced many tough things while learning online,” Brutus told The Nation. “I still don’t have access to my own computer, and our power can cut off at any time.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘The People Have Spoken’: Thwarting GOP Push for Cuts, Oklahoma Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion

        “Voters are tired of politicians ignoring the problem or worse, trying to take their healthcare away, and they’re rejecting that approach in even the deepest of red states.”

      • A Small Victory for Reproductive Rights

        “WE WON,” read the heading on the e-mail from Women with a Vision, a queer Black women’s group based in Louisiana. “We Won!” cheered the New Orleans Abortion Fund. All day long, triumphant messages flitted across my screen—from the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Vote ProChoice, Vote Mama, and many more. “We Are Shook,” was the headline from Rewire, the online reproductive justice news service. “SCOTUS just protected abortion access.”

      • An Employee at a Private Sports Club Owned by This Billionaire Governor Tested Positive for Coronavirus

        After at least three complaints alleging lax reopening practices at West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s luxury resort hotel, a kitchen employee has tested positive for the coronavirus at a residential and sports club affiliated with The Greenbrier.

        Local Health Department officials directed a 14-day quarantine for potentially exposed employees at The Lodge, a restaurant at the Greenbrier Sporting Club, and the venue will remain closed until July 10. Festivities planned at the club for July 4 will go on, but with food from other facilities.

      • Internal Messages Reveal Crisis at Houston Hospitals as Coronavirus Cases Surge

        At Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital on Sunday, the medical staff ran out of both space for new coronavirus patients and a key drug needed to treat them. With no open beds at the public hospital, a dozen COVID-19 patients who were in need of intensive care were stuck in the emergency room, awaiting transfers to other Houston area hospitals, according to a note sent to the staff and shared with reporters.

        A day later, the top physician executive at the Houston Methodist hospital system wrote to staff members warning that its coronavirus caseload was surging: “It has become necessary to consider delaying more surgical services to create further capacity for COVID-19 patients,” Dr. Robert Phillips said in the note, an abrupt turn from three days earlier, when the hospital system sent a note to thousands of patients, inviting them to keep their surgical appointments.

      • Managed democracy meets managed epidemiology How Russia rewrote its coronavirus outbreak to clear a path to resetting Putin’s presidential term clock

        More than a month ago, on May 26, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had overcome its first wave of coronavirus infections. That was more than four weeks ahead of the start of nationwide voting on constitutional amendments and the “zeroing out” of the president’s own term clock (potentially allowing him to serve in office until 2036). In the time remaining before the plebiscite, regions across the country reported uniform declines in the number of new COVID-19 cases (or at least stabilized infection rates), while simultaneously lifting containment measures. Despite considerable evidence from overcrowded hospitals, the country seems to have forgotten the pandemic. Meduza special correspondent Liliya Yapparova spoke to doctors, patients, and scholars in Russia’s Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Sverdlovsk region, and St. Petersburg (which currently lead the nation in new cases) and found out how the disease is still spreading and where it would be the worst, if statistics were reported honestly. 

      • Workers Filed More Than 4,100 Complaints About Protective Gear. Some Still Died.

        COVID-19 cases were climbing at Michigan’s McLaren Flint hospital. So Roger Liddell, 64, who procured supplies for the hospital, asked for an N95 respirator for his own protection, since his work brought him into the same room as COVID-positive patients.

      • ‘The Decision to Not Combat the Coronavirus Was a Choice’
      • She Needed Lifesaving Medication, but the Only Hospital in Town Did Not Have It

        Mabel Garcia had just said good morning to her grandson, who slept overnight in a chair near her hospital bed. Then suddenly, she stopped talking.

        The right side of her face sank and her eyes fluttered as nurses at Memorial Hospital of Texas County in Guymon, Oklahoma, surrounded her bed. Her mouth gaped open.

      • Dr. Cammy Benton: An antivaxxer plays the “both sides” card on masks for COVID-19

        If there’s one thing about the COVID-19 pandemic that’s been depressing to behold (other than the mass death, the lockdowns, and the utter failure of US national leadership to coordinate a policy to slow the spread of the disease), it’s the way that the pandemic has revealed just how polarized public health policy has become. (Also, it depresses me how prone to pseudoscience physicians like Dr. Cammy Benton, whom we will meet shortly, are.) The specific example I have in mind is the increasingly angry—and sometimes even violent—resistance to the requirement to do something as benign as wearing a mask in public in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. I realize that, in a way, this is not new. There was, for example, an actual “Anti-Mask League” formed in 1919 during the great influenza pandemic; so one could view history as repeating itself. However, thanks to social media and people of a certain political persuasion having decided that wearing a mask is more about “control” than public health and that the refusal to wear one brands them as a “free-thinking rebel,” resistance to masks among a small but unfortunately not insignificant minority of Americans has reached truly irrational and potentially violent levels. You don’t have to go too far to see videos of people angrily ranting and refusing to wear a mask, badgering and threatening underpaid workers at grocery stores and restaurants who try to enforce masking policies by politely asking them just to wear a mask.

      • Public Smoking Ban Extended to Cover E-Cigarettes

        From tomorrow, Dutch supermarkets will also no longer be allowed to display any tobacco products including cigarettes, rolling tobacco, cigars and e-cigarettes. This same ban will apply to other stores from January 1.

      • Ed Yong on the “Disgraceful” U.S. Pandemic Response & How Medicare for All Could Have Saved Lives

        As the United States experiences the world’s worst outbreak of COVID-19, we speak with Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic, who warned of the country’s unpreparedness for a viral outbreak in 2018. Now he says “it’s truly shocking and disgraceful” how badly the pandemic has been handled in the United States, and blames a lack of federal leadership for most of the damage. “A country with the resources that we have should not be in this state,” he argues, and adds that Medicare for All could have saved lives.

      • ‘A mask is not a symbol’: These restaurants had seen too many disrespectful customers. They closed rather than serve them.

        “A mask is not a symbol,” he said. “It’s just a device that is going to help protect your community and your neighbors from the spread of a virus.”

      • Severe Neurological Ailments Reported in COVID-19 Patients

        lthough respiratory distress is the predominant complication of COVID-19, there are also rare, yet serious, neurological ailments that may arise. A survey of UK hospitals found that some patients also experience strokes, dementia-like symptoms, and delirium. The findings were published on June 25 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

      • Imagining a Vegan Superman

        My wife and I recently stared rewatching ‘Smallville,’ the WB show about Superman’s young adulthood. She was a fan of the series when it was on the air and introduced it to me a few years ago. ‘Smallville’ is far from prestige television, but I kind of love it. In these dark times, the show is an optimistic, wholesome distraction.

      • ‘Beyond Outrageous,’ Says Sanders, That Trump Officials Ignored Labor Safety Complaints as Health Workers Died From Covid-19

        Senator’s condemnation came in response to an investigation into the handling of over 4,100 OSHA complaints from frontline workers.

      • New Flu Virus Reported in China Highlights Risk of Animal-Borne Pandemic Originating in Factory Farms

        “We are constantly at risk of new emergence of zoonotic pathogens and that farmed animals, with which humans have greater contact than with wildlife, may act as the source for important pandemic viruses.”

      • ‘Brutal Pandemic Reality Check’: Top CDC Official Gives Grim Assessment on Coronavirus Containment

        CDC principal deputy director Dr. Anne Schuchat said we’re “not even beginning to be over this.”

      • In the news: India’s northeast faces ‘twin disasters’

        Severe flooding in the northeast Indian state of Assam has submerged cropland and villages, pushing at least 27,000 people into relief camps.

        Days of heavy rainfall over the past week caused riverbanks to burst. State authorities say the floods have affected at least 1.3 million people in 25 of Assam’s 33 districts, with more rain predicted in the coming days.

        The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the disaster’s impacts on a population that was already struggling with lost jobs and livelihoods amid COVID-19 lockdowns.

      • Readers react | #BlackLivesMatter and challenging Western power structures in aid

        The globalisation of vulnerability – made clear by the coronavirus pandemic and a global anti-racism movement – is putting into question traditional conceptions of humanitarian aid.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation and Linux Plumbers Conference

              • Networking and BPF Summit CfP Now Open

                We are pleased to announce that the Call for Proposals for the Networking and BPF Summit at Linux Plumbers Conference 2020 is now open.

              • Linux Plumbers Conference: Announcing Town Hall #2: The Kernel Weather Report

                Thank you to everyone who attended the Linux Plumbers town hall on June 25th. It was successful thanks to your participation. We’re pleased to announce another town hall on July 16th at 8am PST / 11am EST / 3pm GMT. This town hall will feature Jon Corbet of LWN giving “The Kernel Weather Report”. This talk will focus on the current state of the kernel community and what is to come.

              • FinOps Will Drive Efficiency for DevOps

                DevOps in the cloud has broken traditional procurement, which is now outsourced to engineers. Engineers spend company money at will and make financial decisions on cloud providers like AWS, GCP and Azure at rapid speed with little time to consider cost efficiency. Finance teams struggle to understand what is being spent on the cloud. Leadership doesn’t have enough input into how much will be spent or ability to influence priorities. Enter the concept of FinOps, and the need for a community of practitioners to advance best practices beyond vendor tooling, whose aim is to increase the business value of cloud by bringing together technology, business and finance professionals with a new set of processes.

                That’s why we’re so excited to announce our intent to host the FinOps Foundation with the Linux Foundation to advance the discipline of Cloud Financial Management through best practices, education and standards. The FinOps Foundation focuses on codifying and promoting cloud financial management best practices and standards to help the community. It currently includes 1,500 individual members representing more than 500 companies and $1B in revenue. They include Atlassian, Autodesk, Bill.com, HERE Technologies, Just Eat, Nationwide, Neustar, Nike, and Spotify among founding charter members.

              • Scality Affirms Commitment to Open Source as Founding Member of New Linux Foundation

                Scality announced its founder status and membership of SODA Foundation, an expanded open source community under the Linux Foundation umbrella. As a founding member, Scality joins forces with Fujitsu, IBM, Sony and others to accelerate innovation in meeting the challenges of data management across multiple clouds, edge and core environments for end users.

              • New Training Course Aims to Make it Easy to Get Started with EdgeX Foundry

                LFD213, was developed in conjunction with LF Edge, an umbrella organization under The Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. The course is designed for IoT and/or edge software engineers, system administrators, and operation technology technicians that want to assemble an edge solution.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (bind, chromium, freerdp, imagemagick, sqlite, and tomcat8), Debian (coturn, imagemagick, jackson-databind, libmatio, mutt, nss, and wordpress), Fedora (libEMF, lynis, and php-PHPMailer), Red Hat (httpd24-nghttp2), and SUSE (ntp, openconnect, squid, and transfig).

          • Microsoft releases emergency security update to fix two bugs in Windows codecs
          • John the Ripper explained: An essential password cracker for your hacker toolkit

            The tool comes in both GNU-licensed and proprietary (Pro) versions. An enhanced “jumbo” community release has also been made available on the open-source GitHub repo. The Pro version, designed for use by professional pen testers, has additional features such as bigger, multilingual wordlists, performance optimizations and 64-bit architecture support.

            Some of the key features of the tool include offering multiple modes to speed up password cracking, automatically detecting the hashing algorithm used by the encrypted passwords, and the ease of running and configuring the tool making it a password cracking tool of choice for novices and professionals alike.

          • Debian LTS and ELTS – June 2020

            Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

            In June, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I was assigned 30h for LTS (out of 30 max; all done) and 5.25h for ELTS (out of 20 max; all done).

            While LTS is part of the Debian project, fellow contributors sometimes surprise me: suggestion to vote for sponsors-funded projects with concorcet was only met with overhead concerns, and there were requests for executive / business owner decisions (we’re currently heading towards consultative vote); I heard concerns about discussing non-technical issues publicly (IRC team meetings are public though); the private mail infrastructure was moved from self-hosting straight to Google; when some got an issue with Debian Social for our first video conference, there were immediate suggestions to move to Zoom…
            Well, we do need some people to make those LTS firmware updates in non-free

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Brazil’s Proposed ‘Fake News’ Law Says Internet Users Are Guilty Until Proven Innocent, Demands Constant Logging From ISPs

              Brazil’s legislature is set to vote on its proposed “fake news” law. This law would criminalize speech the government doesn’t like, under the handy theory that anything it doesn’t like must be “fake.” There was some mobilization on this not-even-legal-yet theory back in 2018, ahead of an election, when the Federal Police announced it would be keeping an eye on the internet during the election process. There are plenty of ways to combat misinformation. Giving this job to people with guns is the worst solution.

            • Senate Waters Down EARN IT At The Last Minute; Gives Civil Liberties Groups No Time To Point Out The Many Remaining Problems

              As expected, the EARN IT Act is set to be marked up this week, and today (a day before the markup) Senators Graham and Blumenthal announced a “manager’s amendment” that basically rewrites the entire bill. It has some resemblance to the original bill, in that this bill will also create a giant “national commission on online child sexual exploitation prevention” to “develop recommended best practices” that various websites can use to “prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children,” but then has removed the whole “earn it” part of the “EARN IT” Act in that there seems to be no legal consequences for any site not following these “best practices” (yet). In the original bill, not following the best practices would lose sites their Section 230 protections. Now… not following them is just… not following them. The Commission just gets to shout into the wind.

            • Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google CEOs to Testify in Congress

              Representative David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat who leads the probe as chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, has said he wants appearances by top tech company executives before wrapping up the probe and recommending changes to antitrust law.

              Facebook and Amazon spokespeople declined to comment. A Google spokesman deferred to the committee. Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

            • Facebook Shared User Data With Developers Longer Than Promised

              The company previously said that third-party app developers would be blocked from accessing user data if a person didn’t interact with the developer’s app for 90 days. At that point, the developer would be required to ask users for permission to re-access their data, including information like email addresses, birthdays and hometowns.

              That failed to happen in some instances, Facebook said Wednesday in a blog post. If a user of a third party app was also connected to a Facebook friend through that app, developers are allowed to pull data from both users at once. But a flaw in the company’s system meant developers who pulled data from one active user could also see data from that user’s friend, even if the friend had not opened the app in more than 90 days, a spokesperson said. The issue applies to apps from some 5,000 developers, but the company didn’t disclose how many users might be affected.

            • Peter Thiel-Backed Surveillance Startup Anduril Is Valued at $1.9 Billion

              The business is controversial. Anduril builds surveillance towers and drones, along with software to automatically monitor areas like international borders and the perimeter of military bases. “We founded Anduril because we believe there is value in Silicon Valley technology companies partnering with the Department of Defense,” Brian Schimpf, the chief executive officer of Anduril, said in a statement Wednesday.

              But it’s Anduril’s work with other agencies that draws the greatest criticism. The company’s first government contracts were with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where it put up towers along the U.S.-Mexican border. Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of the agency, told Congress in February that immigration authorities planned to have 200 autonomous surveillance towers in place this year.

            • With Facebook hemorrhaging advertisers, CEO agrees to meet with boycott organizers

              In addition to controversies surrounding the company allowing President Donald Trump to use its platform to disseminate hate speech — particularly leaving up a post about the George Floyd protests saying “when the looting start, the shooting starts” — the company has also been criticized for allowing hate speech that contributed to a 2017 genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and for the fact that a terrorist used the site to livestream mosque shootings in New Zealand last year. The company has also done little if anything to crack down on misinformation about the George Floyd protests, and has enlisted fringe right-wing news site The Daily Caller as a fact-checking partner; it also lists the right-wing nationalist site Breitbart News as a “trusted” source.

            • Zuckerberg Agrees to Meet With Groups Behind Advertising Boycott

              Facebook reached out to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change last week to arrange a meeting with Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, a company spokesman said. The civil rights groups said they wanted Zuckerberg to be at the meeting, the spokesman added.

            • Privacy and Data Protection in Chinese Civil Code: First Clarification of Personal Data Protection from the Perspective of Civil Law in China

              On 28 May 2020, the first Chinese Civil Code (CCC) was adopted. It will come into effect on 1 January 2021.

              Chapter 6 (Privacy and Protection of Personal Information) of Part 4 (Personality Rights) of the CCC emphasises ‘privacy and personal data’ in particular and provides several principles and data rights for personal data collection and processing.

              Combined with relevant legislation, regulations and standards, such as the cybersecurity law, the consumer protection law, the ninth amendment to the criminal law and the personal information standard, the protection of privacy rights and personal information is further strengthened in China. This marks overall improvement of the legal status of personal data protection in this country.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Police and the Pentagon Are Bringing Our Wars Home

        We need to end systemic racism and the militarism that makes it even deadlier—from Kabul to Atlanta and Baghdad to Minneapolis.

      • COVID-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon

        In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Washington has initiated its largest spending binge in history. In the process, you might assume that the unparalleled spread of the disease would have led to a little rethinking when it came to all the trillions of dollars Congress has given the Pentagon in these years that have in no way made us safer from, or prepared us better to respond to, this predictable threat to American national security. As it happens, though, even if the rest of us remain in danger from the coronavirus, Congress has done a remarkably good job of vaccinating the Department of Defense and the weapons makers that rely on it financially.

      • My Grandmother, Icon of Palestinian Resilience

        My grandmother passed away on Tuesday, June 16. She was 103 years old. One of my poems, “This Is Why We Dance,” begins with “Home, in my memory, is a green, worn-out couch / And my grandmother in every poem.”

      • When US Backed A Mass Murder Program In Indonesia: Interview With Vincent Bevins On ‘The Jakarta Method’

        Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola welcome Vincent Bevins, the author of The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World, to discuss his book.

        He was the Brazil correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and the southeast Asia correspondent for the Washington Post.

      • The Return of the Anti-Antiwar Left

        In her recently published memoir, Circle in the Darkness, the author and journalist Diana Johnstone recalls that only “a few decades ago, “the Left” was considered the center of opposition to imperialism, and champion of the right of peoples to self-determination.”

      • De-Militarizing the United States

        More than a half-century ago, exactly one year before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. brilliantly identified the keys to the American political, economic, and social crisis that has worsened over the years.  At the Riverside Church in New York City, King linked the militarism of the Vietnam War; the racism of American society; and the inequality and materialism of the American economy to demand a movement toward social justice that we seek today.  The central civil rights leaders of the time, including Ralph Bunch, asked King to radically alter the speech and to dissociate racism from the Vietnam War.  The central newspapers of the time, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, maligned the speech, terming it an “oversimplification” that would hurt both the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. Fifty-three years later, we are still trying to solve the ills of racism, militarism, and materialism that beg for social justice.

      • Sanders Files Amendments to Force Pentagon to Pass Clean Audit, Require Mass Production of Free Masks for All

        “National security,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, “means doing everything we can to improve the lives of our people, many of whom have been abandoned by our government decade after decade.”

      • Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee Could Defy “the Madness of Militarism” as Co-Chairs of the Democratic Convention’s Biggest Delegation

        Khanna and Lee have a tremendous—indeed, historic—opportunity.

      • Uncovering John Bolton’s ‘distorted’ tales in ‘The Room Where It Happened’
      • Russia holds key to UN Syria aid operation

        UN aid to Syria’s rebel-held northwest will come to a halt this month if Russia does not agree to a deal in the Security Council, potentially putting healthcare, food, and rudimentary shelter for millions of people in jeopardy.

        After more than nine years of war, the government of President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, controls most of Syria, except Idlib province and surrounding parts of the northwest, and the mostly Kurdish-controlled northeast.

        Damascus has a history of blocking aid within Syria to the northwest and other parts of the country it says are controlled by “terrorists.” The UN estimates that some four million people live in the Idlib province and other opposition-held parts of northwestern Syria. Seventy percent of them are in need of some sort of assistance, including many displaced people who were forced to flee a recent government offensive and are now facing rising rates of hunger.

    • Environment

      • Climate change caused havoc 2000 years ago

        An Alaskan volcano once spurred climate change, darkening Mediterranean skies, launching a famine and possibly changing history.

      • The Climate Emergency Won’t Wait for the Press to Play Catch-up Again

        This story is being co-published by The Guardian, The Nation, and Columbia Journalism Review as part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 400 news outlets committed to transforming news coverage of the defining story of our time.

      • The young people fighting the worst smog in Europe

        “I started looking online for other solutions and I found you can buy sensor equipment for about €60,” he says. Cavkovski and colleagues ordered around 50 sensors and distributed them to colleagues. The devices need to be placed outside, such as on a balcony, fixed to a wall and away from direct sunlight, rain and other sources of contamination, such as chimneys. They also can’t be higher than four storeys up if they’re to get an accurate indication of ground-level pollution.

        Cavkovski created an app, PulseEco, collating all the readings, and made the data open source so that it shows on AirCare too. Cavkovski also published guidelines for how people can order and construct sensors themselves and how other cities can join the network.

        However, the sensors are controversial because they don’t meet the European Air Quality Index’s (EAQI) measurement standards and give lower quality data. As a result, politicians in the country have spoken out against their use. “I do appreciate what civil society’s doing, because if they’re not making noise no one will be aware,” says Olivera Kujundzic, who is head of air quality at Montenegro’s environment agency and co-author of several studies for the EU and UN Development Programme into Macedonia’s air pollution. But she worries that DIY solutions may damage public trust in science and expertise. “We need to adhere to standards.”

      • House Democrats Have a Climate Plan, And It’s Pretty Damn Good

        Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), joined by members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, delivers remarks during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on June 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. Pelosi joined her colleagues to unveil the Climate Crisis action plan, which calls for government mandates, tax incentives and new infrastructure to bring the U.S. economy’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

      • NOAA’s Emergency Response Imagery

        As soon as weather permits following major natural disasters, the National Geodetic Survey begins aerial survey missions to assess damages to affected areas. Typical weather-related events include hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. NGS responds to other events, such as oil spills, as well. Directly georeferenced-imagery data are collected, rapidly processed, and made available via open-source Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These data and images provide emergency and coastal managers with information needed to develop recovery strategies, facilitate search and rescue efforts, identify hazards to navigation and HAZMAT spills, locate errant vessels, and provide documentation necessary for damage assessment through the comparison of before-and-after imagery. Images are also available to view and download by the general public as a tool to assess impacts to their homes and community.

      • Energy

        • In the Shadow of Shuttered Philadelphia Refinery, Neighbors Recall Those Lost to Decades of Pollution

          On Monday, June 22, as Black Lives Matter protests continued nationwide, members of Philly Thrive, a local grassroots group, arrived outside the perimeter of the refinery complex in South Philadelphia. They posted “in memorium” placards bearing the names of deceased Philadelphians along the facility’s chainlink borders, handwritten fenceline memorials for departed members of the refinery’s fenceline community. Speakers that day recalled less the fiery explosion that tore through the plant one year earlier and more the long-term harms caused by decades of fossil fuel production in the majority Black neighborhood.

        • VanMoof’s e-bike ad banned in France for creating a ‘climate of anxiety’

          The ad, which premiered on June 6th and is intended for both TV and the web, features scenes of traffic jams, vehicle crashes, and tailpipe pollution reflected on the surface of a sports car that eventually begins to melt, giving way to VanMoof’s new S3 e-bike. “The alternative to gridlocked freeways and overflowing subways,” the text reads. “Time to ride the future.”

        • Bike maker cries foul as anti-car ad refused in France

          It asked the company to modify the ad, but Djalo said: “We don’t want to distort our video and water it down just to make the French auto industry happy.”

        • After a decade of losses for US shale oil, 2020 may be a final reckoning

          But the industry failed to turn its vast new reservoirs of American oil and gas into profits. Chesapeake only saw prices fall as the industry grew. Its bankruptcy filings listed assets of $16.2 billion, and liabilities of $11.8 billion.

          The winnowing of weaker players is intensifying. After averaging more than 30 bankruptcies per year since 2015, the number of US shale defaults is likely to roughly double in 2020, reports Deloitte. Oil demand has cratered with no signs of a quick return. Telecommuting and reduced international trade and travel have slashed millions of barrels from global consumption. Electric cars and renewable energy are offering a credible, competitive alternative to fossil fuels.

          The remaining shale oil companies are hoarding cash to stay alive. With production expected to fall from 13 million of barrels per day to 10 million by year’s end, investment in new capacity has fallen by half.

        • Taiwan’s Pingtung County begins installing 99MW solar power station

          A solar power company on June 23 began installing a 99MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power station in Jiadong Township, an area of Pingtung County severely affected by subsidence, after two years of negotiations with more than 1,000 landowners.

          Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Ysolar Co. (力暘能源公司) President Huang Zhi-wen (黃志文) said that the biggest challenge facing the development of solar energy is obtaining approval from landowners, CNA reported. He added that the company offered 20-year leases and NT$400,000 (US$13,333) for every 0.96992 hectare of land.

          After two years of effort, more than 242.5 hectares of land have been leased to the solar energy company, the report said.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Chomsky: We Must Not Let Masters of Capital Define the Post-COVID World

        The global outbreak of COVID-19 has many thinking that a new economic and political order is inevitably under way. But is that so? In the U.S., the moneyed class, which has thrived under Donald Trump, won’t go down without pulling all stops to make sure that popular pressures for radical reforms will be blocked, says world-renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky. Chomsky also reminds us that overt racism has intensified under Trump, and that police violence is a symptom of the underlying white supremacy that plagues U.S. society. Meanwhile, Trump’s anti-environmental policies and his trashing of arms control treaties are bringing the world ever closer to an environmental and nuclear holocaust.

      • Hey Congress, Move the Money

        The past month’s activism has changed a great deal. One thing it’s helped with is brushing aside the tired old argument over whether government should be big or small. In its place we have the much more useful argument over whether government should prioritize force and punishment, or focus on services and assistance.

      • Republicans and Democrats Agree: GM Should Pay Back the Taxpayers of Ohio

        In a rare display of bipartisanship in an era of political division, Republicans and Democrats across Ohio are pressuring General Motors to repay millions of dollars in public subsidies after the company reneged on a promise to keep its sprawling Lordstown plant open.

        Among the latest to join the chorus is Ohio Attorney General David Yost, a Republican, who in an unusual move Tuesday filed a blistering 63-page brief before state tax regulators demanding they seek full restitution of more than $60 million in tax credits the automaker received between 2009 and 2016.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Four arrested during rally opposing constitutional amendments in St. Petersburg

        At least four people were arrested in St. Petersburg during a “Stop the Amendments” rally against changes to the Russian constitution, reports OVD-Info. More than 100 people reportedly attended the protest.

      • Russia’s Election Commission modifies website to disable automatic downloads of plebiscite results

        The website where Russia’s Central Election Commission publishes official data on elections and referendums, vybory.izbircom.ru, has disabled automatic downloads of the constitutional plebiscite results. The site now includes a captcha test, to determine whether or not the user is a human, reports Grigory Melkonyants, the co-chair of the voter protection movement “Golos.”

      • Photo: Moscow’s protest against resetting Putin’s presidential term clock
      • ‘Meduza’ stands with ‘Mediazona’ correspondent David Frenkel, who was injured by St. Petersburg police while reporting on Russia’s constitutional plebiscite

        David Frenkel, a correspondent for the outlet Mediazona (which covers Russia’s justice system), visited a polling station in St. Petersburg on June 30, in order to confirm the fact that the precinct had tried to expel a voting member of the electoral commission. When the site commissioner asked the police to remove Frenkel for supposedly “impeding” the commission’s work, two officers shoved him to the ground and pinned him against a doorway, breaking his arm. Thankfully, there is video footage of the event clearly showing that Frenkel doing nothing to provoke the officers. He was later hospitalized and treated in a four-hour operation on his arm.

      • Here’s how Russia’s constitutional plebiscite achieved 55 percent turnout before the final day of voting

        July 1 marks the final day of voting in Russia’s nationwide plebiscite on constitutional amendments, which includes reforms that could keep Vladimir Putin in the presidency until 2036. After the first six days of early voting, turnout had already exceeded the Kremlin’s reported goal of 55 percent. To achieve this benchmark, teachers and doctors, along with subway and construction workers, and the employees of major enterprises close to the state, were forced to cast their ballots during the early voting period. Meduza shares a roundup of a number of these cases.

      • UK’s Labour Leader Sacks the Most Left-Wing Member of His Shadow Cabinet

        As a Labour party member, it is unavoidable that I should have an opinion on the party leader Keir Starmer’s sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey.

      • Trolling Trump, the Lincoln Project Also Peddles Militarism

        The Lincoln Project is producing the strangest and most memorable ads in the 2020 election cycle because it has a unique goal: to troll the president. Founded by Republicans who hate the Trumpian takeover of their party, the super PAC has so far been focused on creating ads that don’t really persuade voters, but do rile up Trump and entertain journalists and political insiders. The ads air in Washington, D.C., which is not a locale where you can reach swing voters who could shift the Electoral College. But Washington is the place to run ads if you want to get Trump to see them and get steaming mad.

      • Booker’s Loss Was Devastating. But We Can’t Lose Sight of Defeating McConnell

        Only by ousting obstructionists like McConnell and freeing the Senate from Republican control can a progressive vision be achieved.

      • Sunrise Movement Says Wins by Corporate Democrats Like McGrath and Hickenlooper Must Be ‘Moment of Reckoning’ for Progressives

        “These were not races that progressives could afford to sit out, but too many organizations did.”

      • “Into the World of Bad Spirits”: Slavery and Plantation Culture

        Between 1500 and 1880 ten to eleven million Africans were moved by force and terror into “new worlds.” Sir Philip Sherlock and Hazel Bennett write of the immensity of the “physical suffering, anguish of spirit and unbearable cruelty” of their lot “from the time of … capture” (The Story of the Jamaican People [1997, p. 122]). Chained together in the “floating tombs,” Africans were bound for a strange land and doomed to serve a strange owner of another race for life. Gordon Lewis, author of the monumental Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: the historical evolution of Caribbean society in its ideological aspects, 1492-1900 [1983, p. 5], comments: “Caribbean society thus became a society of masters and slaves. It constituted open and systematic exploitation of chattel labour, therefore, based, in the final resort on the psychology of terror.”

      • Why Do People Want to See Donald Trump’s Tax Returns?

        The Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases regarding access to President Donald Trump’s tax filings soon. At the heart of the cases: Can House committees and a New York grand jury subpoena financial institutions for Trump’s personal and business tax filings?

        If the Supreme Court rules against Trump, it opens the possibility that the public could eventually see his personal tax return and business records, though experts say it would be unlikely to happen quickly. Here’s why people want to see Trump’s tax returns and what they may reveal about the president.

      • Moscow’s online voting system has some major vulnerabilities, allowing votes to be decrypted before the official count

        Russia’s nationwide vote on constitutional amendments continued the country’s experiment with online voting, but only in the Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod regions. This time around, developers changed the voting system so that individual voters are guaranteed the ability to decrypt their own votes. On the one hand, this makes it easier to force people to vote. On the other hand, it could allow for a partial monitoring of the integrity of the vote count.

      • With India’s TikTok Ban, the World’s Digital Walls Grow Higher

        India’s decision strikes at a number of China’s leading technology companies, including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. But perhaps none will be more affected than TikTok and its Beijing-based parent, ByteDance, which has built a huge audience in India as part of an aggressive and well-funded expansion around the world. TikTok has been installed more than 610 million times in India, according to estimates by the data firm Sensor Tower. In the United States, the app has been installed 165 million times.

        China itself began putting up walls within the global [I]nternet years ago. By blocking Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook, Beijing created a controlled environment in which homegrown upstarts could flourish, and where the Communist Party could keep a tight grip on online conversation.

      • Hong Kong: UK makes citizenship offer to residents

        About 350,000 UK passport holders, and 2.6 million others eligible, will be able to come to the UK for five years.

        And after a further year, they will be able to apply for citizenship.

      • Advertisers Are Fleeing Facebook Over Its Failure to Moderate Hate Speech

        In recent weeks, over 400 companies have pulled advertising from the social media giant. Coca-Cola, Adidas/Reebok, and Hershey’s are among the major brands to suspend Facebook advertising through the month of July, while others have pledged suspensions through the end of the year, or indefinitely. “When we re-engage will depend on Facebook’s response,” Levi Strauss CMO Jen Sey wrote in a blog post announcing the company’s decision to cease advertising. The decision, she wrote, was made out of “concern about Facebook’s failure to stop the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform.”

      • Most of Facebook’s top 100 advertisers have not joined the boycott: analysis

        Most of Facebook’s top 100 advertisers have not joined the boycott against the social media website and its sibling website Instagram, according to a CNN Business analysis released Wednesday.

        Hundreds of companies have pledged to stop advertising on Facebook and Instagram as part of a monthlong boycott to protest how the social media company has handled hate speech and misinformation.

        But CNN Business’s analysis based on data from market research firm Pathmatics found that most of Facebook’s top 100 advertisers, including Walmart, American Express and Home Depot, have not joined the boycott set to begin Wednesday.

      • Hundreds of brands are pulling ads from Facebook. Its largest advertisers aren’t among them.

        The data suggest the ongoing boycott may have a limited impact on Facebook’s bottom line, at least as it stands right now. Even if all 100 of Facebook’s biggest advertisers joined in, they would account for just 6% of the company’s annual ad revenue.

      • More than 600 ballots invalidated due to at-home voting irregularities in Moscow

        Two of Moscow’s districts saw more than 600 ballots invalidated due to irregularities involving at-home voting in Russia’s ongoing plebiscite on constitutional amendments, reports Ilya Massukh, the head of Moscow’s Community Headquarters for Election Monitoring. 

      • A Driving Force

        When considering debates about political formulations as nebulous yet as desperately crucial as “the Latinx vote,” it can be vexing to consider those Latinx who vote Republican. In the age of Covid-19, Black Lives Matter protests, and radical right Trumpism, how could they exist? What common ground could Latinx voters possibly find with the Republican Party and its current fusion of fascistic nativism and deadly bottom-line billionaire capitalism? After all, are Latinx not, in the eyes of the Trump faithful, the living embodiment of the dire threat that Samuel P. Huntington saw to “the distinct Anglo-Protestant culture of the founding settlers”?

      • ‘Only together’ An annotated reading of Vladimir Putin’s first and only national address devoted exclusively to Russia’s plebiscite on constitutional amendments

        On June 30, Vladimir Putin made his first and only national address exclusively devoted to Russia’s now ongoing plebiscite on constitutional amendments. Unlike in recent marathon speeches about the government’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic, the president spoke for just three minutes this time, never once mentioning the most controversial amendment up for approval: the “zeroing out” of Putin’s presidential term clock, which could theoretically extend his administration to 2036. This comes as little surprise, of course; in the campaign to boost voter turnout, the Russian authorities have totally avoided the subject of prolonging Vladimir Putin’s access to the presidency. 

      • Online voting in Russia’s constitutional plebiscite reaches 90 percent

        Roughly 90 percent of all voters registered to cast ballots online in Russia’s plebiscite on constitutional amendments (including reforms that could extend the Putin presidency to 2036) have already voted. As of the morning of June 30, election commissions had already issued more than 1.07 million ballots for remote voting.

      • The Hatchet Man’s Tale: Why Bolton Matters

        Unreliable narrators are a staple of literature. Consider the delusional, self-serving narrator of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or the way Humbert Humbert used his cultured references and gorgeous prose to dress up his crimes in Nabokov’s Lolita.

      • Online voting in Russia’s constitutional plebiscite closes with 93 percent turnout

        Online voting in Russia’s plebiscite on amendments to the constitution closed at 8:00 p.m., Moscow time, on June 30. In total, 93.02 percent of all voters registered to cast ballots online had voted by the closing of the online polls: of the 1,107,644 ballots issued for remote voting, 1,090,185 votes were received.

      • Russia’s Presidential Council denies reports of voting violations

        Nearly all of the reports of electoral violations collected by the voter protection movement “Golos” during the plebiscite on constitutional amendments are false, says Alexander Brod, a member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights and co-chair of the association “Civil Control.”

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Parler Speedruns The Content Moderation Learning Curve; Goes From ‘We Allow Everything’ To ‘We’re The Good Censors’ In Days

          Over the last few weeks Parler has become the talk of Trumpist land, with promises of a social media site that “supports free speech.” The front page of the site insists that its content moderation is based on the standards of the FCC and the Supreme Court of the United States:

        • ‘But Without 230 Reform, Websites Have No Incentive To Change!’ They Scream Into The Void As Every Large Company Pulls Ads From Facebook

          One of the most frustrating lines that we hear from people criticizing internet website content moderation is the idea that thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, websites have no incentive to do any moderation. This is a myth that I consider to be the flip side of the claims by aggrieved conservatives insisting that Section 230 requires “no bias” in moderation decisions. The “no incentive” people are (often lawyers) complaining about too little moderation. For reasons I cannot comprehend, they seem to think that the only motivation for doing anything is if the law requires you to do it. We’ve tried to debunk this notion multiple times, and yet it comes up again and again. Just a couple weeks ago in a panel about Section 230, a former top Hollywood lobbyist trotted it out.

        • VKontakte blocks popular misogynist group in Russia

          The Russian social network VKontakte has blocked a private community known as “Men’s State” (Muzhskoe Gosudarstvo) for inciting violent acts. According to the website TJournal, the misogynist group had roughly 160,000 members when administrators shut it down. About 4,000 members have since migrated to a reserve community page. Creator Vladislav Pozdnyakov has described the community’s ideology as “national-patriarchy.” 

        • Big win for online freedom in EU: key parts of France’s new “hate speech” law ruled unconstitutional

          One of the most worrying trends in today’s online world is a move by governments against “hate speech”. That’s a vague term in itself, so policing it is hard. Making things even worse, recent moves to rein in such hate speech typically involve placing the responsibility with online platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter. This effectively outsources censorship to private companies, which makes it much harder to scrutinize what they are doing, and why. Moreover, they will naturally tend to take down material which may or may not be “hate speech”, in order to avoid often major fines that can be imposed if they do not.

        • China’s national security law for Hong Kong covers everyone on Earth

          The new law is “asserting extraterritorial jurisdiction over every person on the planet,” wrote Donald Clarke, a professor of law at George Washington University. Alarmingly, the law has an even broader reach than mainland Chinese criminal law, which only holds a foreigner liable for a crime committed outside of China if the effect of that crime occurs in China. Hong Kong’s nationals security law has no such limitation, Clarke explained. “If you’ve ever said anything that might offend the [Chinese] or Hong Kong authorities, stay out of Hong Kong.”

        • Ethiopia is in uproar and its [I]nternet blocked over the shooting of a popular Oromo singer

          The shooting took place around 9:30 pm local time in the city’s Kality area. Addis Ababa Police said a number of suspects have been detained and that an investigation is ongoing. Thousands of outraged fans across the country have taken to the streets demanding justice. In an attempt to quell the riots and prevent news coverage of them, the Ethiopian government has shut down [I]nternet services nationwide.

        • ‘A calculated weapon of repression’: Democrats, activists, NGOs raise alarm over Hong Kong security law as gov’t hails enactment

          27 countries joint-statement – delivered by UK Ambassador Joshua Braithwaite at the United Nation Human Rights Council

        • China’s hue & cry over apps ban contradict its own rule of [I]nternet censorship

          The Great Firewall prevents users from accessing foreign news sites such as the BBC, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

      • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • The Anchorage Museum, Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica Present “Unheard,” a Public Photography and Audio Installation Highlighting Alaska’s Sexual Assault Survivors

          “Unheard,” a new public photography installation, is being erected Wednesday on the façade of the Anchorage Museum. Co-presented by the Anchorage Museum, Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica, the installation features 27 empowering portraits of survivors of sexual assault from across Alaska, along with quotes from them about their experiences. The portraits and stories were originally published by the Daily News and ProPublica throughout June as part of a joint reporting project of the same name. Occupying 27 nine-foot panels on the museum’s outdoor façade, the photography installation also includes recorded audio from most of the people featured, literally making their voices heard. It will remain on view through mid-September.

          For more than a year, the Daily News and ProPublica have investigated sexual violence in Alaska, which has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation — nearly four times the national average. Yet for some, it is a secret so embedded in everyday life that to discuss it is to disrupt the norm. The survivors featured in “Unheard” chose to speak publicly about their experiences.

        • An Opportunity to Listen as Our “Unheard” Project Becomes a Museum Installation

          Over the past year, the reporting teams at the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica have explored Alaska’s high rate of sexual assault and have worked to bring attention to the survivors who have gone unheard. On Wednesday, we’ll add another medium to the collection: an outdoor installation at the Anchorage Museum.

          The installation launches at the close of a monthlong project about 29 survivors who chose to speak about what happened to them. Each day in June, we published a portrait and a story of a survivor of sexual assault on the front page of the paper. All of the participants worked closely with Daily News photographers to create a portrait true to them. (We wrote about that process in this essay.) These individual features culminate Wednesday with a “space of silence” dedicated to those who are not yet ready to share their stories.

        • Then as Farce: the Commodification of Black Lives Matter

          Martin Luther King was arrested in April 1963 for publicly protesting, an act deemed illegal in Alabama at the time. While in jail, eight white clergy figures publicly admonished King, judging his actions “unwise and untimely”. It was this which prompted King to respond with his little-shared letter about the “white moderate”, a comment that is most often elided whenever progressive liberals feel the need to throw out some a cute meme on an auspicious “I’m not a Racist” occasion, like MLK Day.

        • Since We Reported on Flawed Roadside Drug Tests, Five More Convictions Have Been Overturned

          Courts in Las Vegas overturned five drug convictions following reporting by ProPublica that detailed flaws in the field tests that police departments across the country have used for decades to make arrests.

          The Clark County District Attorney’s Office only disclosed the 2017 wrongful convictions this year to the National Registry of Exonerations, which added them to its national database. The Las Vegas exonerees were convicted of possessing small amounts of cocaine between 2011 and 2013.

        • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Domestic Terrorist’ From Die Jim Crow Records

          Die Jim Crow Records, the first record label for current and formerly incarcerated musicians, has recorded music in five prisons in Colorado, Ohio, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

          The label released their first album on Juneteenth—BL Shirelle’s “Assata Troi”—and now they have released a single, “Domestic Terrorist,” by a musician who is unnamed in order to protect them while they remain incarcerated.

        • How An NYPD Officer Can Hit A Teen With His Car In Front Of Several Witnesses And Get Away With It

          The NYPD has made internal discipline procedures a loop so closed that even its “independent” oversight — the Civilian Complaint Review Board — can’t get in the door. The NYPD is effectively its own oversight. Decisions made by the CCRB can be overridden by the Police Commissioner. Even if the Commissioner agrees with the findings, recommended punishments can be departed from or ignored completely.

        • NY Judge Apparently Unaware Of The Supreme Court’s Ban On Prior Restraint: Puts Temporary Restraining Order On Trump’s Niece’s Book

          Last week, we wrote about the president’s brother, Robert Trump, suing his (and the president’s) niece, Mary Trump to try to block her from publishing her new book that criticizes the president. The initial filing to block the publication failed for being in the wrong court, but the follow up attempt has succeeded, at least temporarily. NY Supreme Court (despite the name, this is the equivalent of the district court in NY) Judge Hal Greenwald doesn’t seem to have even bothered to do even a cursory 1st Amendment analysis regarding prior restraint, but agreed to rush out a temporary restraining order, while ordering the the parties to brief the matter before July 10th on whether or not the ban should be made permanent.

        • What Makes Us Crack

          How sorrow breaks us and rage fuels us.

        • The Victory of DACA Is a Reminder that Nothing Will Put Us Down

          The passion organizers poured into DACA galvanized me and many others to keep organizing—and to aim for the collective liberation of all.

        • Removing ‘Unjust Barrier’ to Asylum, Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump Rule Forcing Refugees to Seek Safety Elsewhere

          The ruling reaffirmed “that for the last 244 years we have been, and will continue to be, a country ruled by law, not men,” said Human Rights First.

        • Wrongly arrested Black man said he knew he was going to be falsely accused as police approached him

          The way Wheeler was holding Smith prohibited him from putting his hands behind his back and caused Smith’s wrist to break when he was slammed to the ground, Haugabrook said.

        • `You broke my wrist!’ Police sued for taking down wrong man

          Body camera video shows Antonio Arnelo Smith handing his driver’s license to a Black police officer and answering questions cooperatively before a white officer walks up behind him, wraps him in a bear hug and slams him face-first to the ground.

          “Oh my God, you broke my wrist!” the 46-year-old Black man screams as two more white Valdosta officers arrive, holding him down and handcuffing him following the takedown. One eventually tells Smith he’s being arrested on an outstanding warrant, and is immediately corrected by the first officer: They’ve got the wrong man.

        • Jamaal Bowman on NY Primary Upset, Rent Strikes, Police Brutality & Opposing West Bank Annexation

          As a surge of a progressive candidates of color see victories in Democratic primaries across the country, we speak with former Bronx middle school principal Jamaal Bowman about his upset victory over New York Congressmember Eliot Engel, the 16-term Foreign Affairs Committee chair. Bowman ran on a Green New Deal, Medicare for All platform and recently joined protests demanding an end to racism and police brutality. He says his upset over Engel came down to mobilizing people who are “disenfranchised and ignored” by the political establishment. “We didn’t just target those who consistently vote in primaries. We targeted everyone,” he says. Looking forward, he describes his support for Palestine, a rent strike and police accountability.

        • Wasteful, Secret and Vicious: the Absurd Prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery

          This week has not been a good one for the Australian legal system. For those who feel that an open justice process requires abuses of power to be exposed and held to account, it was particularly awful. It began with the Q&A program on the national broadcaster, the ABC, which supposedly gives an airing to the vox populi. The dominant theme of the conversation between the panellists was that of secrecy and the prosecution (read persecution) of lawyer Bernard Collaery and his client, a former intelligence officer known as Witness K.

        • Confronting the Living History of the Civil Rights Struggle

          Our country is experiencing a moment of honest reckoning, one that has been a long time building. To understand the enormity of this moment, one needs only to turn to the American South for the living, breathing memory of the struggle for civil rights.

        • ‘2020. It will be ours!’ Art group projects political ad favoring constitutional changes on American Embassy building in Moscow

          Members of the Russian art group “Re:vansh” projected an advertisement promoting voting in favor of the amendments to the constitution on the building of the American Embassy in Moscow on the evening of June 29.

        • Aimee Stephens
        • Should NYC’s Wall Street Be Renamed “Eric Garner St.?”

          Scenes of sorrow spread across the US. Football teams apologize. Cops march with demonstrators. Democratic Party politicians call for “structural change” in police departments.

        • My Student Comes Home

          When Lawrence Bell, an orphan living in an abandoned house in Camden, New Jersey, went to prison he was 14-years-old. Barely literate and weighing no more than 90 pounds, he had been pressured by three Camden police detectives into signing a confession for a murder and rape he insisted at his trial he did not commit, although admitted he was in the car of the man who dragged a young mother into the bushes where she was sexually assaulted and strangled to death. It made no difference. The confession condemned him, although there was no scientific evidence or any independent witnesses tying him to the crime. He would not be eligible to go before a parole board for 56 years. It was a de facto life sentence.

        • Progressive Lawmakers Call on US to ‘Take a Clear Stand’ by Suspending Military Aid If Israel Carries Out ‘Illegal’ Annexation

          “American taxpayers shouldn’t be supporting policies that undermine our values and interests, in Israel, in Palestine, or anywhere.”

        • ESPN to Follow “Somebody’s Daughter” in Bringing International Attention to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Tragedy

          As the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council continues to take decisive action to protect the Pikunni people from the coronavirus pandemic, another existential threat to the tribe and all of Indian Country will receive international focus this week on ESPN. Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi will premiere on the “worldwide leader” this Tuesday at 7.30 pm EST. However, this isn’t a rags to riches “Cinderella Man” story, this is a story where victory is survival.

          Filmed at the Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club in Browning, Montana, the 29 minute film follows the club’s owner and trainer, Frankie Kipp, as he uses boxing to empower Blackfeet women and girls in the all-too familiar struggle to avoid being the next MMIWG victim. Kipp’s club members are literally training for the fight of their lives. “If you don’t fight for your life, you won’t have a life,” said Kipp.

          Under 7% of Montana’s population is indigenous, but indigenous people comprise approximately 26% of the state’s missing persons. The Urban Indian Health Institute logs Montana as the state with the fifth highest incidence of MMIW cases in the US. Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible is framed against the backdrop of one of Indian Country’s highest-profile MMIWG cases, the disappearance of Blackfeet tribal member Ashley Loring Heavy Runner.

        • The West’s humanitarian reckoning

          #BlackLivesMatter and the COVID-19 pandemic are exposing the hypocrisies and structural problems that have long underpinned international humanitarian action, said activists, aid workers, and analysts during an online conversation recently hosted by The New Humanitarian.

          In a departure from the diplomatic parlance that tends to dominate discussions about reform of humanitarian aid, they called for taking a “sledgehammer” to systems that perpetuate inequality, de-funding institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and abandoning the humanitarian principle of neutrality as ways of “decolonising” international aid.

      • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

        • We don’t really own the digital possessions that we buy online

          The popularity of access-based consumption has obscured the rise of a range of fragmented ownership configurations in the digital realm. These provide the customer with an illusion of ownership while restricting their ownership rights. Companies such as Microsoft and Apple present consumers with the option to “buy” digital products such as eBooks. Consumers often make the understandable assumption that they will have full ownership rights over the products that they pay for, just as they have full ownership rights over the physical books that they buy from their local bookstore.

          However, many of these products are subject to end user licence agreements which set out a more complex distribution of ownership rights. These long legal agreements are rarely read by consumers when it comes to products and services online. And even if they do read them, they are unlikely to fully understand the terms.

          When purchasing eBooks, the consumer often actually purchases a non-transferable licence to consume the eBook in restricted ways. For instance, they may not be permitted to pass the eBook on to a friend once they have finished reading, as they might do with a physical book. Also, as we have seen in the case of Microsoft, the company retains the right to revoke access at a later date. These restrictions on consumer ownership are often encoded into digital goods themselves as automated forms of enforcement, meaning that access can be easily withdrawn or modified by the company.

      • Monopolies

        • “Don’t Believe Proven Liars”: The Absolute Minimum Standard of Prudence in Merger Scrutiny

          Anti-monopoly enforcement has seen a significant shift since the 1970s. Where the Department of Justice once routinely brought suits against anticompetitive mergers, today, that’s extremely rare, even between giant companies in highly concentrated industries. (The strongest remedy against a monopolist—breaking them up altogether—is a relic of the past). Regulators used to go to court to block mergers to prevent companies from growing so large that they could abuse their market power. In place of blocking mergers, today’s competition regulators like to add terms and conditions to them, exacting promises from companies to behave themselves after the merger is complete. This safeguard continues to enjoy popularity with competition regulators, despite the fact that companies routinely break their public promises to safeguard users’ privacy and rarely face consequences for doing so. (These two facts may be related!) When they do get sanctioned, the punishment almost never exceeds the profits from the broken promise. “A fine is a price.” Today, we’d like to propose a modest, incremental improvement to this underpowered deterrent:

          Read on for three significant broken promises we’d be fools to believe again.

        • Patents

          • Software Patents

            • Q2 2020 Patent Dispute Report

              The apparent shutdown has not deterred a significant rise in Aggregators and Finance-backed entities along with increasing litigation being filed in the Western District of Texas. This has driven cases in Q2 to the highest since Q4 of 2016. Several NPEs have shown new strategies such as WSOU Investments who has focused on filing a large number of single patent cases against tech companies. It is not surprising though, once one realizes that the CEO was previously heading Uniloc, a well known NPE who was a profligate filer. In addition the PTAB saw a modest increase compared to previous quarters and Unified Patents was the #3 overall.


              Litigation reached an all-time high since Q4 of 2016 with 1,069 new patent cases, with 66% of cases being asserted by NPEs.

              The Western District of Texas has now become the leading venue for patent litigation, with a 6-time increase in NPE Aggregators and a 7-time increase in finance-backed litigation.

              PTAB filings are up 12% from Q1 of 2020, also reaching an all-time high since Q4 of 2018.

              NPEs continue to dominate High-Tech patent assertions with 88%; however, NPEs only accounted for 60% of High-Tech AIA challenges, an 8% decrease from Q1 of 2020.

            • MasterObjects patent challenged as likely invalid

              On June 30, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 10,311,073, owned and asserted by MasterObjects, Inc., an NPE. The ‘073 patent is directed to partial search technology, including asynchronous retrieval of information from a database. MasterObjects has filed suit involving the ’073 patents and others against several companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and eBay.

            • In this Case, Persuasive Authority Must be Considered

              ECT sued ShoppersChoice on its US9373261, but the district court (S.D.Fla.) dismissed the case on the pleadings–holding that the claims were ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

        • Copyrights

          • Rightsholders Want African Countries to Up Their Anti-Piracy Game

            According to a coalition of prominent copyright industry groups, piracy remains a widespread and serious problem among all African countries. United in the IIPA, they ask the US Government to make trade benefits for sub-Saharan African countries dependent on local copyright laws and the effectiveness of their anti-piracy enforcement.

          • Police Arrest Pirate IPTV Operator & ‘Hijack’ Streams With Anti-Piracy Warning

            Police officers from a Cyber and Serious Organised Crime Unit in the UK arrested a 24-year-old man yesterday under suspicion of operating a pirate IPTV service. Users of at least one service are now being presented with an anti-piracy warning delivered by Norfolk and Suffolk Police. The force in question informs TF that the warning is genuine and not part of a hack.

          • Companies Issuing Bogus Copyright Claims To Hide Police Training Materials From The Public

            California law says all police training materials must be published “conspicuously” on its Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) website. This is part of the reforms to public records law that finally allowed the public to have access to law enforcement records related to misconduct and use-of-force. This is the law a bunch of cops sued over, as well as a bunch of journalists and activists. The former group is still trying to argue they shouldn’t have to fully comply with the law. The latter is arguing cops aren’t fully complying with this law.

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