EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


EPO Staff Union (SUEPO): “We Are Back to Battistelli’s Times”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents, Site News at 3:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flash News: Salary Erosion Procedure – Plundering your own staff during a pandemic

Breaking: SUEPO

Summary: The EPO‘s management continues its reckless and shameless attack on staff, based on complete lies and fabrications, even at times of uncertainty and stress

THE average innocent observer might think or be led to believe that an institution called “European Patent Office” — a de facto monopoly in Europe (granting authority isn’t up for grabs or tendering) — would treat its staff with respect and utmost dignity, especially at times of unprecedented crisis. The “nice” and “polite” António Campinos would surely not become anything like this guy, right?


“The average innocent observer might think or be led to believe that an institution called “European Patent Office” — a de facto monopoly in Europe (granting authority isn’t up for grabs or tendering) — would treat its staff with respect and utmost dignity, especially at times of unprecedented crisis.”A reader sent us 3 PDFs of recent SUEPO publications that we hadn’t seen before. Just to be very clear, we were never in direct contact with SUEPO; some SUEPO members, however, occasionally reach out to us.

“Business As Usual Despite Corona Pandemic Crisis,” one of them said/quoted, obviously upset at the attacks on staff which happen while the press isn’t paying attention (some journalists, by their own explicit admission, won’t cover EPO scandals because of “corona”).

As our reader put it: “Does the office, President Campinos, use the Corona crisis to push through his questionable reform plans at the next Administrative Council meeting? Is Campinos abusing his own staff in times of Corona crisis?”

“It’s a good time to attack staff, which is unable to gather (it might be illegal, not only as per Office rules).”Of course. It’s a good time to attack staff, which is unable to gather (it might be illegal, not only as per Office rules).

Our reader continued: “It looks as if the social dialogue has been completely removed from its agenda by the EPO administration. The question is: How will the Administrative Council react in its next meeting to those allegations and will they accept the morbid reform plans proposed by the President?”

Here’s the first publication of the bunch, dated 11 days ago:

30 March 2020

Flash news

We used to have, as all other international organisations, a salary adjustment procedure. The President is taking advantage of the Coronavirus crisis for rushing through an ill-conceived and detrimental salary adjustment procedure.

The proposed procedure does not deserve the name of a salary adjustment procedure but rather a salary erosion procedure.

We are not surprised that the President is advised to proceed in this way. He is still advised by the same persons who have destroyed the career of many, who have introduced the contracts for new staff, who have suppressed the invalidity insurance and who have weakened the healthcare insurance system to the extent that incapacitated colleagues are now hostages in their host country, including in a time of a pandemic.

We are shocked that the president keeps such advisors.

The current target is the salary adjustment procedure. And he wants to rush it. No matter.

The next ones will be the education allowance and the pension system.

At the same time the President expects you to work either by coming to the Office under unsafe conditions or to work from home under non ideal conditions. He expects you to take care of your small kids while producing the same. He will not give any time relief for that, but rather put pressure through his middle managers so that you use your own leave. He also generously offers to you to put your kids to bed and to start working again until midnight. He will seemingly only report cases of coronavirus after they have been in quarantine for 2 weeks. He will keep your staff representatives in the dark even when it concerns your health and your life during the pandemic. He expects you to produce as if it was business as usual. And he will take advantage of the fact that you cannot defend and organise yourselves to further destroy your working conditions, rushing it through with an impossible time framework.

What sort of management is this? What sort of President is this?

Your staff representatives have made a lot of efforts and have proposed compromise solutions (3 drafts already before this last report). All to no avail. All have been disregarded and discredited. Management is only pursuing a brutal solution with the help of costly consultants who have no clue about the salary environment in International Organisations. It is telling to see that the specialists within the administration, the people that actually know what a salary method of an International Organisation should look like – and why – have been kept entirely out of the loop during all these discussions. They were invited to sit in the different meetings, but were stifled to speak.

We are still open to discuss a reasonable compromise. But we refuse to be used as fig leaves if the President wants a to introduce a salary erosion procedure which is there only to cut your purchasing power as a result of a social monologue.

Yet another useless Video-Conference took place on Wednesday 25. Your representatives (appointees of the CSC in the Working Group) made yet another reasonable proposal to management and promised to send it shortly after the VICO which was done on Friday 27th. Despite knowing this was coming, the President released on Thursday some pathetic videos made with the consultant putting a bad light on your staff representatives and simply lying as to the effect of their proposals. This is a disgrace. Interestingly the date of recording of all videos is March 20th, i.e. it was clear to the President already since this date that all efforts by the staff representatives would not be taken into account after that date.

It is questionable why further meetings took place and are still are foreseen. Does the President really believe that he can fool the highly skilled staff of the EPO with this blunt mock consultation?

Are we back to the Battistelli era? Or did we ever leave it?

This is sickening.

Your SUEPO Central committee

This is all very much as expected. “I am only surprised to see a kind of tone that implies surprise,” I told a reader. “SUEPO was trying to play along with the Campinos “charm show” for a while, even when the facts suggested it was merely a show.”

“We don’t have direct access to the EPO or to SUEPO, but some people who have limited/selective access are kind and courageous enough to take the risk, rendering themselves ‘middle(wo)men’ for the sake of public awareness.”I want to remind my longtime readers here (the EPO series in particular) that journalists whom I attempted to contact in order for them to shed light on the scandals now use “corona” as an excuse to look the other way. They always have excuses. Seemingly endless excuses; it’s often the publisher (rich people at the top) who obstruct the journalism and EPO bribes for publishers certainly play a role. It’s not as profitable scrutinising EPO actions as it is sucking up to EPO management and composing puff pieces for these people. One publication that used to listen to staff representatives (Barney Dixon in particular) is still defunct. What a shame.

In these difficult times we’ll do our best to impose transparency on EPO actions and we invite readers to send us input and material of relevance. We don’t have direct access to the EPO or to SUEPO, but some people who have limited/selective access are kind and courageous enough to take the risk, rendering themselves ‘middle(wo)men’ for the sake of public awareness. The European public deserves and needs to know what goes on inside EPOnia.


Links 9/4/2020: Qt and Free Software Contention, ReactOS 0.4.1, Jitsi Meet

Posted in News Roundup at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What We Love About the New Lemur Pro Laptop

        The Lemur Pro is System76’s newest addition to our laptop line. You might have some questions such as, “What’s different about this laptop?” or, “WANT!” which we’ll certainly accept as another question. Here’s a few of our favorite things about the Lemur Pro.

        The Lemur Pro’s strength is in its long-lasting battery. Having a laptop with up to 14 hours of battery life allows you to finally break free of the leash that is your charging cord. Work wherever you want for however long you want, without having to drop everything in order to find an outlet.

      • System76 Lemur Pro Laptop Offers 14 Hour Battery Life, Coreboot Firmware For $1099+

        After they were teasing the new Lemur Pro at the end of March, the Lemur Pro is now ready and formally announced by Linux PC vendor System76.

        The new Lemur Pro offers options of Intel Core i5-10210U or i7-10510U processors, a 14.1-inch 1080p display, up to 40GB DDR4, dual M.2 SSD slots, USB 3.1 Type-C, and just a 2.2 lb weight and 32.1 x 21.6 x 1.55 cm dimensions.

        This laptop makes use of System76′s Open Firmware with Coreboot and EDK2 plus having open-source embedded controller firmware. Pop!_OS and Ubuntu are the usual operating system suspects for this lightweight, portable laptop. System76 formally advertises this laptop as being capable of a 14 hour charge.

      • The System76 ‘Lemur Pro’ laptop is available now with Coreboot and open source firmware

        System76 have now fully revealed the ‘Lemur Pro’ laptop, and not only is it powerful and good-looking it’s also their most open laptop yet.

        What makes it more open than their previous laptops, and from other hardware vendors? The Lemur Pro uses their own special System76 Open Firmware which includes Coreboot (a replacement for the traditional proprietary stuff), EDK2 and System76 Firmware Apps. Additionally, they also have the open source System76 Embedded Controller Firmware for controlling keyboard, fans, and battery and more. It’s a big step towards a fully open model and progress towards removing proprietary code entirely from all their hardware. It’s not just aimed at the FOSS crowd though, as System76 founder Carl Richell stated…

      • Meet The Lightest Linux Laptop From System76

        System76 is banging away on designing its own laptop and keyboards from scratch, but that final product could be years away. Thankfully the Linux hardware manufacturer has plenty of other systems to fill the void. The Lemur Pro — launching today — is the latest laptop in the company’s portfolio, and it looks like the sleekest one yet.

      • Google Chromebook vs. Gallium Chromebook

        Chromebooks have been improving a lot over the years. They’re not just web browsers with keyboards anymore. Many Chromebooks can now run Linux programs via an included Crostini virtual machine container, and many can also run Android apps. (As long as it’s not enrolled in enterprise management: Be careful about buying refurbished Chromebooks.) Those additions can greatly improve the usefulness of Chromebooks and greatly reduces their limitations.

        A few months ago, I wrote that a $99 Chromebook with Gallium OS installed is so much better. That was just an editorial with a “how to” though and I didn’t provide any in-depth experimentation or proof, so that’s what we’re going to do in this article.

        I bought two refurbished $60 Lenovo N22 Chromebooks and installed Gallium OS on one of them while letting the other one update itself to the latest version of Chrome OS 80. This is after I got them un-enrolled from Google’s Enterprise Management of course.

      • Samsung Chromebook Pro prepares overdue support for Linux apps on Chrome OS

        Samsung’s Chromebook Pro helped usher in a new era of Chromebooks, but over time it’s missed out on some things. The biggest complaint of many has been the lack of Linux app support on the Samsung Chromebook Pro but, now, it looks like that’s finally arriving.

        First spotted by an eagle-eyed Reddit user and highlighted by Chrome Unboxed, it sure looks like Linux app support is imminent for the Samsung Chromebook Pro. This feature rolled out to many, many other Chromebooks over the past two years but for whatever reason, the Pro was never on that list.

        Whatever the case, it seems like times are changing. This Reddit user was able to update his Chromebook Pro to Chrome OS v82 via the dev channel — a version that is being skipped in other channels due to the COVID-19 impact. On both v81 and v83 of Chrome OS on the Pro, the needed #enable-experimental-kernel-vm-support flag doesn’t appear any longer. Luckily, screenshots of Linux running on the Samsung Chromebook Pro were captured.

        As you can see below, Linux is running via Crostini on the Chromebook Pro and, apparently, the device was able to use the updated 4.19 Linux kernel too.

      • Linux apps are finally coming to the Samsung Chromebook Pro

        I have been waiting for more than a year and a half to write this article. It seems like a lifetime ago since I penned my theory about what Google was doing with containers and Chrome OS. Since then, the Crostini Project has brought Linux apps to millions of Chromebooks and in doing so, opened up a new world of opportunity for an operating system that was once considered little more than a browser. While most devices released in the past two years come out of the box with support for Linux apps, there is one platform that has suffered a great injustice at the hands of Crostini.

    • Server

      • Best Linux web hosting services

        Linux is an open-source operating system. Just like Windows and iOS, it is the main software component in a device. However, unlike other operating software, it uses a code that is accessible to the public to view or edit. This makes it easy to customize an operating system that works best for you because not only do you have access to a wider range of applications, you can also change core components within your device.

        Many who tap onto the Linux operating system want to create their websites. In this article, we have listed the best Linux web hosting services to help creators build their website.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Switchers to BSD | BSD Now 345

        NetBSD 8.2 is available, NextCloud on OpenBSD, X11 screen locking, NetBSD and RISC OS running parallel, community feedback about switching to BSD, and more.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 851

        covid 19 woes, docker

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 191 – Security scanners are all terrible

        Josh and Kurt talk about security scanners. They’re all pretty bad today, but there are some things we can do to make them better. Step one is to understand the problem. Do you know why you’re running the scanner and what the reports mean?

      • FLOSS Weekly 573: Hydra

        Hydra is a framework that simplifies the development of complex applications by enabling their configuration to be dynamically composed and overridden. It lets you focus on the problem at hand, compose your configuration dynamically, and has a pluggable architecture to enable it to integrate with your infrastructure.

      • Matt Layman: Episode 4 – Building User Interfaces

        On this episode, we look at templates, the primary tool that Django provides to build user interfaces in your Django app. Listen at djangoriffs.com. Last Episode On the previous episode, we talked about views and how views handle requests to create HTTP responses for users. Set Up Templates are static files that Django will fill in with data. In order to use those files, we must instruct Django on where to find them.

    • Kernel Space

      • LOOPFS File-System Proposed For Linux

        LOOPFS is the latest Linux kernel file-system proposal.

        LOOPFS isn’t a traditional Linux file-system for competing with the likes of EXT4, F2FS, Btrfs, and XFS but is a loop device file-system inspired by Android’s BinderFS.

      • Loopfs: A New Loop Device File System For Linux
      • [PATCH 0/8] loopfs
      • Linux 5.7 Begins Landing Support For The Kendryte K210 Dual-Core RISC-V SoC

        The RISC-V architecture changes have been submitted for the Linux 5.7 kernel and includes early work on bringing up a new RISC-V dual-core SoC.

        The new SoC support being worked on for the upstream Linux kernel is the Kendryte K210. There still are some issues pending as well as some patches that have yet to be upstreamed for lack of hardware access by the RISC-V maintainer, Palmer Dabbelt. The Kendryte K210 is self-described as a neural network accelerator capable of 0.8 TFLOPS and features two RISC-V 64-bit cores along with dedicated image recognition hardware. The typical power consumption of the chip is said to be less than one Watt.

      • Ceph Sees Some Nice Performance Improvements With Linux 5.7

        The Ceph open-source distributed storage platform is seeing some nice performance-related work to its kernel component in the Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Highlights of Ceph for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Support for async create and unlink when using the nowsync mount option. This allows for creates and unlinks to be satisfied locally without waiting on the metadata servers. The pull request notes this will really help metadata heavy workloads like Tar and Rsync running off Ceph.

        - Support for multiple BLK-MQ queues for Ceph’s RADOS Block Device (RBD). The driver has been using the BLK-MQ interface for a while but not actually multiple queues until now with having a queue per-CPU.

      • Samsung Releases exFAT-Utils To Format File-System, Fsck

        With the new exFAT file-system merged for Linux 5.7, Samsung engineers responsible for this open-source native Linux kernel driver for Microsoft’s exFAT file-system support have now issued their first official release of exfat-utils.

        The exfat-utils 1.0.1 release out this morning is their first official release of these user-space utilities for exFAT on Linux. The exFAT-utils package allows creating an exFAT file-system with mkfs.exfat as well as adjusting the cluster size and setting a volume label. There is also fsck.exfat for consistency checking of an exFAT file-system on Linux.

      • Intel Media Linux Driver Q1-2020 Released With Tiger Lake Features, Better VP9 Encode

        Intel’s open-source multimedia crew has released their Media Driver Q1’2020 build for Linux users. This Intel Media driver is what provides Video Acceleration API (VA-API) capabilities for Intel GPU-based video encode/decode for Broadwell through next-gen Tiger Lake.

        The Intel Media Driver Q1-2020 release has continued its bring-up of Tiger Lake. New features for Tiger Lake that are now exposed on the video front are HEVC SCC (Screen Content Coding) decode, better robustness, enhanced tile mode support, and other changes.

    • Benchmarks

      • X-Plane 11 Flight Simulator With Vulkan Performing Very Well On Linux – NVIDIA/AMD OpenGL vs. Vulkan Benchmarks

        Last week the X-Plane 11.50 beta was released with its long awaited Vulkan renderer to complement its mature OpenGL rendering code. Since then we’ve been busy benchmarking with 23 different graphics cards of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce line-ups while running Ubuntu Linux and comparing the OpenGL vs. Vulkan rendering performance for this realistic flight simulator.

        Ubuntu 20.04 in its near final state was used while for the Radeon graphics the default Linux 5.4 kernel was used paired with Mesa 20.1-devel from the Oibaf PPA. With this Radeon RADV Vulkan driver testing, worth noting is that RADV+ACO was used. The ACO compiler back-end yielded dramatically lower load times compared to the default AMDGPU LLVM code-path… The difference was incredible otherwise X-Plane 11.50 beta was loading very slow with RADV. On the NVIDIA side was the 440.64 driver. The cards tested included…

    • Applications

      • Best Graphics Tablets for Linux

        Gone are the days when you had to really struggle through the marketplaces to find the best graphics tablet for Linux. In part, we have to give credit to Linux 5.1 kernel cycle. It opened up new vistas of compatibility for high-end graphics tablets for an artist using the likes of Krita and GIMP. Previously, the main problem was you couldn’t work straight away with Linux. Messing with settings and installing shady drivers always came with the risk of compromising security. Anyway, those days are over. Below are the top seven graphics tablets for Linux we believe you should definitely look into!

      • Mumble dreams

        With everyone switching to remote tools for social distancing, I’ve been using Mumble more and more. That’s partly by choice — I don’t like videoconferencing much, frankly — and partly by necessity: sometimes my web browser fails and Mumble is generally more reliable.

        Some friend on a mailing list recently asked “shouldn’t we make Mumble better?” and opened the door for me to go on a long “can I get a pony?” email. Because I doubt anyone on that mailing list has the time or capacity to actually fix those issues, I figured I would copy this to a broader audience in the hope that someone else would pick it up.

      • HomeBank 5.4

        HomeBank is a free software (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) that will assist you to manage your personal accounting. It is designed to easy to use and be able to analyse your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and beautiful charts. If you are looking for a completely free and easy application to manage your personal accounting, budget, finance then HomeBank should be the software of choice.

      • The road to UDisks 2.9.0

        While the world is going crazy these days we continue to march in full strength towards the next UDisks release. It’s still a couple of weeks away and there are some interesting features still pending to be merged. With all the changes we’re bound with the promise to keep the public D-Bus and C API stable and that won’t change even that there were major changes under the hood. Overall we’ve been focusing on general stability and predictability, fixing various race conditions. But we’ve also added a couple of new interesting features.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • For The People Announced For Windows PC, Mac, and Linux

        You play as the newly elected mayor of Iron-1, a city in an alternate take on the Soviet Union. Navigate the politics of the Commonwealth of Orange Collectives as you fight for democratic reforms, or embrace your inner authoritarian dictator.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – A World Betrayed expansion now supports Linux

        Today, porting studio Feral Interactive have released the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – A World Betrayed expansion for Linux (and macOS) following the Windows release last month.

        With a brand new start date at 194 CE, A World Betrayed portrays a seminal moment in the history of the Three Kingdoms. Many of the iconic warlords of Total War: THREE KINGDOMS have now passed on, a catalyst that has spurred a new generation of warlords into making a play for their own dynasties.

      • Mesa 20.1′s RADV Lands More Performance Improvements For Recent id Tech Games

        A number of recent id Tech games (though seemingly not DOOM Eternal) have seen another performance optimization with Mesa 20.1′s RADV Radeon Vulkan driver.

        ID Tech games like Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Doom (2016), and Wolfenstein 2 should be seeing better performance with the very latest Mesa 20.1-devel Git code as of today for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver. This comes after various Mesa RADV improvements in recent days centered around the new DOOM Eternal game under Steam Play. All of these recent ID Tech games can run nicely on Linux thanks to Valve’s Steam Play built off Wine/Proton.

      • Humble Store has a big ‘City Builder’ sale going with lots of time consuming goodies cheap

        While not all of the games on sale fit directly as a ‘city builder’, they all at least have you build and manage something. The Humble City Builder Sale is live and there’s some great Linux games in it.

      • Google announces three more games coming to Stadia including Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

        Now that the Linux-powered game streaming service Stadia is open to everyone with two months of Stadia Pro free (if your country is listed for entry that is), Google has announced another three games coming.

        Dates aren’t listed, Google simply said “later this year” for all three of them.

      • City-builder god sim ‘The Universim’ has a massive update with bridges and pretty towerblocks

        The Universim from Crytivo continues pushing through Early Access updates, towards an eventual release later this year. A massive update is out now, which amongst other things adds in some fancy bridges to build.

        Crytivo’s aim with The Universim is to create what they’re calling a “a new breed of God Game”, to bring in features from some classic with a modern physics engine and blending in a city-builder. So far, so good. You can build a big beautiful city across an entire planet, and guide your Nuggets a little with various god powers. It oozes charm and the narrator brings some nice comedic value to it.

        The latest update is another step forward in the overall content available. While bridges are a great (and needed) addition to the game, personally I’m more excited about the huge Residential overhaul. From the Stone Age to the Modern Age, there’s a huge amount more variety in the buildings where your little Nuggets reside. It gives the game that bit more character to it.

      • Party-based RPG with base management ‘Zoria: Age of Shattering’ now has a Linux demo available

        Tiny Trinket Games emailed to mention their upcoming party-based RPG, Zoria: Age of Shattering, now has a Linux demo available for you to try out right now.

        A story-driven, party-based RPG that will have a focus on “strong” tactical elements with turn-based battles that have free movement rather than tiles, plus base and follower management. Taking place in the fantasy world of Zoria, a world filled with magic, ancient history, tumultuous politics, and countless mysteries. Tiny Trinket are promising something interesting too, with it being hand-crafted adventuring with multiple branching paths.

      • Jackbox Games goes global with Quiplash 2 InterLASHional out now, we have a few keys to give away

        Quiplash 2 InterLASHional is the first time Jackbox Games have attempted to go global, with this being their first fully localized party game.

        For English speakers, it’s basically the same as Quiplash 2 found in The Jackbox Party Pack 3 but expanding the languages is vitally important for a game developer since it’s one of the best ways to expand their reach. Obviously that’s good for people want to play where English isn’t their best language, a wonderful bit of “quality of life”. Now it’s available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish with a bunch of extra content for each language.

      • Plastris is a ‘hyper casual’ puzzle game with a wonderful style out now on Linux

        Plastris from developer Khud0 is a ‘hyper casual’ puzzle game, where all you need to do is fill all the tiles on the screen with simple clicks and it’s so weirdly satisfying. Releasing in March 2020, with Linux support arriving a few days ago. I decided to picked up a personal copy, since it’s only £1.69.

        I will admit, the term ‘hyper casual’ is a new one to me. Turns out, it’s a thing, and a term that came into light a few years ago with a new breed of casual mobile games. All you’re doing is clicking, and filling. However, you’re given a very specific fill-shape, so you also need to use the mouse right-click to remove some you’ve filled, to be able to complete each level. That’s it. Hyper casual? Yeah, sure is. The main thing is how super accessible they are and Plastris is certainly that.

      • Something Ate My Alien has a curious mixture of action, digging and puzzle platforming – demo up

        Something Ate My Alien is now confirmed to be launching in June, although there’s no exact date they at least have a release window now for their intriguing gameplay mix of action, platforming, puzzles and digging. There’s also now a demo.

        In Something Ate My Alien, you’re tasked with digging through different worlds to find all the items required for the pirate who hijacked your mining ship. During the adventure on each planet you have to battle environmental dangers, fight off wildlife, solve secret puzzle chambers, and all this while surviving on a depleting oxygen supply and a threat far scarier than the local wildlife.

      • Gutwhale is a claustrophobic ‘finite roguelite’ action game taking place in a digestive system

        Taking place entirely in a digestive system, Gutwhale is a ‘finite roguelite’ action game about managing your limited ammo in a very cramped space. Stuffed Wombat, the developer, said the only reason the game actually exists is that they were fired from their job due to Coronavirus so they took it as the perfect opportunity to finally release a game with help from Franek and Britt Brady.


        Currently, the Linux and macOS versions are only available on itch.io as they haven’t had enough testing. I’ve played it for a good while today and it’s a lot of fun and very challenging. Works perfectly with keyboard input, although one button prompt on the Logitech F310 gamepad was wrong as it says B to respawn when it’s X. Apart from that, it does work great!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The growing disconnect between KDE and the Qt Company

          Here’s a message posted by Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer to the kde-community mailing list detailing the current state of discussions between the KDE community, the Qt development project, and the Qt Company. It seems they are not going entirely well. “But last week, the company suddenly informed both the KDE e.V. board and the KDE Free QT Foundation that the economic outlook caused by the Corona virus puts more pressure on them to increase short-term revenue. As a result, they are thinking about restricting ALL Qt releases to paid license holders for the first 12 months. They are aware that this would mean the end of contributions via Open Governance in practice.”

        • Qt and Open Source

          There have been discussions on various internet forums about the future of Qt open source in the last two days. The contents do not reflect the views or plans of The Qt Company.

          The Qt Company is proud to be committed to its customers, open source, and the Qt governance model.

        • The Qt Company Provides A Brief Comment On Open-Source

          Yesterday a KDE developer who serves on the board of the KDE Free Qt Foundation commented that The Qt Company is evaluating restricting new releases to paying customers for 12 months. That was said to be under consideration due to COVID19 / coronavirus impacting their finances and needing to boost short-term revenues. The Qt Company has now come out with an incredibly brief statement on the matter.

          Obviously many are concerned that The Qt Company could be erecting a wall around new Qt releases with this possible year delay before going out cleanly as open-source. This comes months after The Qt Company already shifted to make Qt LTS releases customer-only, among other steps to boost their commercial business at the beginning of the year.

        • Calamares 2020q1

          Over on the Calamares website, most of the news items are about releases and the release schedule. Here’s some more community-related tidbits for the first quarter of 2020.

          Calamares development is sponsored by Blue Systems, which means I can spend three days a week – more, in practice – working on it. This is a form of service to the Open Source community; Calamares is used by some Linux distro’s that Blue Systems is interested in, but I (or Calamares) explicitly support all kinds of distro’s. Every downstream is a welcome downstream.

          In the first few months of 2020 I learned of several “new” distro’s that use Calamares. “New” to me; they have existed for years, usually, and I don’t pay attention to every Linux distro out there. Drop me a note by email, as a GitHub issue, or on Freenode IRC in #calamares if you have a distro that should be listed among the Calamares-users.

        • Plasma Mobile: Join our online sprint!

          To foster the evolution of Plasma Mobile and bring us closer to Plasma Mobile 1.0 we are hosting an online sprint this week. We see this as a perfect opportunity to get new people involved and ask everyone interested to join us.

          We will have two days of discussion about various mobile-related topics as well as a day dedicated to onboarding new people. On top of that, we are having an AMA with the core developers on /r/kde.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 143 is available for testing

          The next update is ready for testing. It contains a large number of updated packages in the build system and updates many important system libraries. Among all those updates are many bug fixes and some security fixes.

          The toolchain – all tools to build the distribution like compilers, linkers and essential system libraries – have been updated and are now based on glibc 2.31, GCC 9.3.0, binutils 2.34.

          The build system has also been optimised to take advantage of machines that have a lot of memory and uses less I/O resources by not writing any large temporary files to disk any more when this can be avoided.

      • BSD

        • Not-actually Linux distro review: FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE

          Desktop layer aside, the entire FreeBSD operating system doesn’t seem to get as much developer love and attention as the typical mainstream Linux distribution. It doesn’t take much use before you discover minor errors and paper cuts that really shouldn’t exist—like pkg search not returning metapackages, or the disk partitioner not accepting its own example arguments as valid.

          My personal biggest frustration with FreeBSD—and the major reason I switched from it to Linux in 2008—is the lack of automatic security upgrades. FreeBSD does have tools to discover vulnerabilities in packages and update them, but they aren’t designed to run in the background. They demand either interactive operation by an active and knowledgeable admin or significant tooling that the FreeBSD operating system itself does not provide.

          Worse yet, FreeBSD has at least two and often three entirely separate package systems to maintain. The source-based ports tree, the binary package system, and the base FreeBSD operating system itself—each uses entirely different tools for maintenance. If that’s not bad enough, ports and packages actually conflict with one another, requiring even more care to make sure neither gets clobbered during upgrades.

          Digital Ocean has an excellent overview of basic FreeBSD maintenance, which we would strongly advise any new FreeBSD admin to read and understand thoroughly.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Zstandard (zstd) Coming to >= gentoo-sources-5.6.4 (use=experimental)

          I just added zstd to gentoo-sources which will apply to gentoo-sources kernels >=5.6.4 when the ‘experimental’ use flag is enabled.

          zstd is described here[1] as “…a fast lossless compression algorithm, targeting real-time compression scenarios at zlib-level and better compression ratios. It’s backed by a very fast entropy stage, provided by Huff0 and FSE library.”

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Announcing the release of Oracle Linux 7 Update 8

          Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 Update 8. Individual RPM packages are available on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and the Oracle Linux yum server. ISO installation images will soon be available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud and Docker images are available via Oracle Container Registry and Docker Hub.

          Oracle Linux 7 Update 8 ships with the following kernel packages, which include bug fixes, security fixes and enhancements…

        • Paul Cormier Replaces Jim Whitehurst as Red Hat CEO

          As Red Hat’s CEO for the past 12 years moves to take on the role of IBM president, a 19-year Red Hat veteran is promoted to president and CEO of the open source company.

        • IBM and CGI U partner on the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge University Edition to take on COVID-19 and climate change

          Since Call for Code was announced two years ago by Founding Partner IBM, Creator David Clark Cause, and Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, we learned two important points in the process of tackling some of society’s biggest challenges: 1) We can’t do this alone, and 2) the most promising innovations often come from unexpected sources. The scope and urgency of the issues we’re facing demand diverse perspectives and expertise, and student participation is key to that. We are honored to partner with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) for the second year and to launch a dedicated University Edition within Call for Code.

          Last year, we saw students reach the final rounds of the Call for Code Global Challenge with some exciting solutions. Two of our top five teams came from universities: Team AsTeR from UC Berkeley and Rove from UCLA. Together, IBM and CGI U reached more than 10,000 students around the world. This year, we wanted to do more to encourage students to participate in Call for Code as we tackle the world’s reaction to COVID-19 and climate change.

          In a “Digital Innovation” class at San Jose State University in which IBMers are mentors, students are earning course credits for building IBM Watson-powered apps to help fight COVID-19 and for participating in the Call for Code University Edition. We’re especially thankful to Professor Yu Chen for partnering with us and supporting students’ desire to help in this time of need, while learning skills that will benefit them and society. We’d love other faculty and universities to join the effort by participating in Call for Code and integrating COVID-19 and climate change projects into coursework.

        • Rex 1.9.0 available in Fedora updates-testing repositories

          Version 1.9.0 of the friendly automation framework named Rex is now available in Fedoras updates-testing repositories. If you’re into DevOps and automation and need some alternatives to Ansible, Puppet or Salt, this one probably is for you.

        • Python 3.9 alpha in Fedora

          The Python developers have already released five alpha versions of Python 3.9.0 and you can already try the latest one in Fedora! Test your Python code with 3.9 early to avoid surprises once the final 3.9.0 is out in October.

        • Geany and Geany-Plugins for EPEL8

          If you’re a lucky user of a RedHat Enterprise Linux based system, you’re probably already aware of the Enterprise Packages for Enterprise Linux from the Fedora Project. In case you’ve missed the flyweight IDE Geany and it’s plugins there this is probably some good news for you: Geany is coming to EPEL8 soon!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta What’s New

          In this video, we are looking at some of the very exciting new features in Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta.

        • Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta.

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” – All You Need to Know

          Linux Mint 20 is codenamed “Ulyana” and to be released only in 64 bit. Here’s all you need to know.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Makes It Easy to Enable Fractional Scaling (But You Won’t Want To)

          While the ability to enable fractional scaling in Ubuntu isn’t new it is no longer a hidden option that only those with the right terminal commands can make use of.

          Ubuntu 20.04 has a switch to enable fractional scaling in the Settings > Screen Display panel. There, scaling values between 100% and 200% (yup, including the 125% sweet spot) are available when the feature is turned on…

        • An adventure through the Snap Store

          An application store with a large number of entries is a double-edged sword. It’s often a good sign of a vibrant, thriving community of software creators, developers and users working together. But then, people new to the ecosystem may struggle finding relevant content right away. The Snap Store currently offers about 7,000 applications, so exploration and discovery can take quite a bit of time and effort. We’d like to help you find useful, interesting applications by taking you on a little tour through the Snap Store.

        • CIS hardened Ubuntu: cyber attack and malware prevention for mission-critical systems

          The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a nonprofit organisation that uses a community-driven process to release benchmarks to safeguard enterprises against cyber attacks. It is one of the most recognised industry standards that provides comprehensive configuration checklists to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities in a computing environment.

          CIS benchmark has hundreds of configuration recommendations, so hardening a system manually can be very tedious. For large deployments and clouds that may not be practically viable. To drastically improve this process for enterprises, Canonical has made CIS automation tooling available to its Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure customers. The compliance tooling has two objectives: it lets our customers harden their Ubuntu systems effortlessly and then quickly audit those systems against the published CIS Ubuntu benchmarks. The SCAP content for audit tooling that scans the system for compliance is CIS certified.

        • Questioning the doc

          Here’s a VLOG about some changes we’re making to the MAAS documentation. It’s all about using questions at the top of articles to help direct attention.

          This idea grew out of our frustration over long pages with lots of complex information. We tried a top table of contents, but that looks weird and requires a lot of policing to keep up-to-date.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Jitsi Meet features update, April 2020

        While we work on making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with the recent surge in traffic, we have managed to ship some features we think you may like, let’s go!

      • Running your own secure communication service with Matrix and Jitsi

        So, to try to show off just how smooth this has become, we thought we’d do a run-through video showing installing Synapse, Riot & Jitsi on a completely fresh Debian install. It’s (almost) filmed in a single shot, and takes about 20 minutes from beginning to end.

      • This video conferencing software is recommended by Edward Snowden

        The main advantage of Jitsi is that, unlike its counterparts, it does not require the installation of a software or tool; in addition you do not need to create a user account, whether it is used on a desktop computer or on a mobile device, the specialists of the hacking course pointed out.

        While Jitsi sessions do not have end-to-end encryption (as well as Zoom) and some data could end up in Google’s hands due to the default use of Google Analytics, as an open source tool developers can collaborate with the project and implement slight modifications to remove this feature and make Jitsi as private as developers want.

      • ReactOS 0.4.13 Released With Fixes For USB Storage, Less Blue Screens of Death

        ReactOS 0.4.13 is out today as the newest feature update to this open-source operating system project continuing to strive for binary software compatibility with Microsoft Windows.

        ReactOS 0.4.13 is shipping with various improvements around USB storage, various boot issues and handling around their Live CD, various hardware improvements such as for HP laptops and separately for AMD SB600 chipsets, different Blue Screen of Death issues have been resolved, and a wide range of fixes.

      • CADO-NFS: Crible Algébrique: Distribution, Optimisation – Number Field Sieve

        CADO-NFS is a complete implementation in C/C++ of the Number Field Sieve (NFS) algorithm for factoring integers and computing discrete logarithms in finite fields. It consists in various programs corresponding to all the phases of the algorithm, and a general script that runs them, possibly in parallel over a network of computers. CADO-NFS is distributed under the Gnu Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 2.1 (or any later version).

      • [Cado-nfs-discuss] Factorization of RSA-250

        This computation was performed with the Number Field Sieve algorithm, using the open-source CADO-NFS software [2].

        The total computation time was roughly 2700 core-years, using Intel Xeon Gold 6130 CPUs as a reference (2.1GHz): [...]

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Saving your battery as well as your privacy? New Brave for Android claims 5% power reduction

            Brave has updated its Android web browser and claims a 5 per cent battery saving versus the previous release.

            The new release is version 1.5.120, already available in the Play Store, which has been “completely rebuilt over the past few months”, according to the company. Brave also said the code repository is now shared between the mobile and desktop versions, a unified codebase that will enable “easier implementations of features”. Brave continues to be based on the Google-sponsored Chromium project.

        • Mozilla

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 75 on POWER

            Firefox 75 seems to build uneventfully on this Raptor Talos II and as always this post is being typed in the new version. I’m not particularly enamoured of the zooming address bar and I’m sure you won’t be able to turn it off eventually, but for now you can. A number of the developer-facing features are quite compelling, though. In addition, if you’re on Wayland (Xorg forever), Firefox on Wayland now has H.264 VA-API and full WebGL support; I don’t know how well these work on Wayland on ppc64le and I’m not going to be the one to tell you, but I’m sure some of you folks will try.

          • We could all do with a bit of empathy in our systems, says Mozilla as it ships Firefox 75 in the thick of global pandemic

            Mozilla has squeezed out version 75 of the Firefox browser, crediting “empathy” in its systems for an ability to continue emissions even as Microsoft and Google hit the pause button on their Chromium-based apps.

            The release came hot on the heels of fixes aimed at plugging holes in both version 74 and the Extended Support Release (ESR) of Firefox.

            Version 75 of the newly third-placed browser (depending how you take your market-share statistics) includes some significant search improvements, with results arising from searches in the address bar featuring popular keywords in a bold font. The address bar itself also enlarges when the user opts to do a search, replete with a larger font.

            As well as the cosmetics (some of which bring Firefox more into line with the competition and also aligns the Linux version with other desktop incarnations), Direct Composition is being integrated for Firefox on Windows to speed things along and some Penguinistas will be delighted to find the thing available in Flatpak.

          • Andy Wingo: multi-value webassembly in firefox: a binary interface

            Hey hey hey! Hope everyone is staying safe at home in these weird times. Today I have a final dispatch on the implementation of the multi-value feature for WebAssembly in Firefox. Last week I wrote about multi-value in blocks; this week I cover function calls.

            on the boundaries between things

            In my article on Firefox’s baseline compiler, I mentioned that all WebAssembly engines in web browsers treat the function as the unit of compilation. This facilitates streaming, parallel compilation of WebAssembly modules, by farming out compilation of individual functions to worker threads. It also allows for easy tier-up from quick-and-dirty code generated by the low-latency baseline compiler to the faster code produced by the optimizing compiler.

            There are some interesting Conway’s Law implications of this choice. One is that division of compilation tasks becomes an opportunity for division of human labor; there is a whole team working on the experimental Cranelift compiler that could replace the optimizing tier, and in my hackings on Firefox I have had minimal interaction with them. To my detriment, of course; they are fine people doing interesting things. But the code boundary means that we don’t need to communicate as we work on different parts of the same system.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Macro Team: progress report

          Macros help users to automate common tasks in LibreOffice. In September 2019 we announced a new team in our community to work on macro support. A progress report was published in November 2019, so let’s review everything that happened since then.

          If you are interested in contributing to the macro team (development, testing or documentation), we’d love to hear from you – please send an email to ilmari.lauhakangas@libreoffice.org and we’ll get in touch.

        • Padded numbering in Writer, part 2

          I already posted about the start of padded numbering support in Writer, there the focus was to insert 0 characters to pad up the result to 2 characters. Let’s see how that got extended in the recent past…

          First, thanks Nicolas Christener who made this work by Collabora possible.

        • Presentation templates for Impress

          Possibly you search some nice presentation templates for LibreOffice Impress, because in-build templates aren’t good for you?

      • CMS

        • Why I Don’t Use A Static Site Generator

          Yeah, I hear you, WordPress is less secure than a static site. There’s no getting away from that fact – there’s no admin interface for a threat actor to compromise.

          For me, the potential risk of running WordPress vs a static site is what’s important here. By using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication and good InfoSec hygiene, the potential attack surface of WordPress is significantly reduced.

      • Education

        • How to set up a remote school environment for kids with Linux

          COVID-19 has suddenly thrown all of us into a new and challenging situation. Many of us are now working full-time from home, and for a lot of us (especially people who aren’t used to working remotely), this is taking some getting used to.

          Another group that is similarly challenged is our kids. They can’t go to school or participate in their regular after-school activities. My daughter’s elementary school closed its classrooms and is teaching through an online, web-based learning portal instead. And one of her favorite extracurricular activities—a coding school where she has been learning Scratch and just recently “graduated” to WoofJS–has also gone to an online-only format.

          We are fortunate that so many of our children’s activities can be done online now, as this is the only way they will be able to learn, share, and socialize for at least the next several months.

        • Could the coronavirus be the best thing to happen to higher education?

          Universities should embrace this staff engagement and seize the opportunity to transform pedagogy to meet the needs of the next generation of students. Incoming undergraduate and graduate students will have elevated expectations about the use of technology on campuses. In fact, they may already be accustomed to technology-enabled pedagogy, since schools in an increasing number of districts are light years ahead of higher education in this regard.

          Once we get beyond the current crisis, universities should shift the focus from basic training on tools to more advanced training incorporating course design and assessment of learning. Faculty enthusiasm may well be less than we are seeing now, but if we can get the messaging to resonate with faculty, they may just start participating in droves. That messaging should celebrate their current achievements with online tools while also recognising their pain points, and offer the training as an opportunity to build on that success and solve their technology-related teaching challenges.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Software Freedom Podcast #5 about regulation with Professor Lawrence Lessig

            This fifth episode of the Software Freedom Podcast covers the complicated topic of regulation. Our guest is Professor Lawrence Lessig from the Harvard Law School. Lessig is a former board member of the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as founder and present Board member of Creative Commons. Lessig has published several books, including the influential and often-quoted “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace”. In this episode we discuss with Professor Lessig the different types of regulation that affect society both, online and offline, such as laws, norms, the market, or architecture. In this respect we also touch upon code as a means of regulation. Enjoy learning about the positive and negative effects that some of these regulations can have on society, as well as the further development of ideas.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

            Elsevier and the other oligopoly academic publishers have reacted similarly in earlier virus outbreaks. Prof. John Willinsky pounced on this admission that these companies normal restrictive access policies based on copyright ownership slow the progress of science, and thus violate the US Constitution’s intellectual [sic] property [sic] clause:

            That Congress shall have Power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

            Below the fold I provide some details of his proposal.

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn LaTeX

          LaTeX is a professional document preparation system and document markup language written by Leslie Lamport. It’s a very mature system with development starting more than 30 years ago.

          LaTeX is widely used in the publication of scientific documents in many disciplines, such as mathematics, statistics, physics, economics, political science. It helps an author produce professional looking documents, papers, and books that are perfectly typeset. The formatted works are consistent, accurate, and reusable. It’s particularly suited to the production of long articles and books, as it has facilities for the automatic numbering of chapters, sections, theorems, equations etc., and also has facilities for cross-referencing. LaTeX is not a WYSIWYG system.

          LaTeX uses the TeX typesetting program for formatting its output. LaTeX is a set of macros for TeX that aims to help the user concentrate on the content, rather than the formatting.

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn LaTeX. If you’re looking for free LaTeX programming books, check here.

        • The 20 Best SQL Books for Beginner and Professional

          SQL is one of the widely used languages in this modern world. To deal with Relational databases, SQL is very necessary. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It allows a user to insert, update, search, and delete database records. SQL itself isn’t a programming language. However, its standard permits making procedural augmentations for it, which extends it to the usefulness of a develop programming language. Thus, it has become quite essential to own some proper SQL books for learning this language.

        • Tangling multiple files

          I have lately been using org-mode literate programming to generate example code and beamer slides from the same source. I hit a wall trying to re-use functions in multiple files, so I came up with the following hack. Thanks ‘ngz’ on #emacs and Charles Berry on the org-mode list for suggestions and discussion.

        • Eclipse Theia 1.0 Emerges as VS Code Alternative
        • Python

          • PyCharm 2020.1 Out Now

            Rebase your branch with ease, debug smarter, and use a font designed for programming. Download the new version now, or upgrade from within your IDE.

          • How to Provide Test Fixtures for Django Models in Pytest

            If you’re working in Django, pytest fixtures can help you create tests for your models that are uncomplicated to maintain. Writing good tests is a crucial step in sustaining a successful app, and fixtures are a key ingredient in making your test suite efficient and effective. Fixtures are little pieces of data that serve as the baseline for your tests.

            As your test scenarios change, it can be a pain to add, modify, and maintain your fixtures. But don’t worry. This tutorial will show you how to use the pytest-django plugin to make writing new test cases and fixtures a breeze.

        • Rust

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 333

            Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

  • Leftovers

    • Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity

      Acknowledging your grief is not self-pity, nor is it a cry for help. On the contrary, it has been empowering for me to recognize that I will live with this grief for as long as I live. But I won’t be paralyzed or mired in depression.

    • Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!

      Someone must have called Slavoj on his Radphone in the middle of the night and said go over to your window and look up at the sky; he did, and there it was: the Rad-Signal lighting up a silver Z. Some thought it was a call for Zorro; some said Zarathustra. Slavoj is a little bit of both. The voice on the phone continued on loudspeaker, “There’s a virus afoot, Slavoj, we need your wisdom.” He thanked the caller, an anxious acolyte, and hung up the phone. He climbed out of his phone-booth pajamas and raced over to his word processor and typed like a maniac on a mission from the entity formerly known as God.

    • John Prine: Jesus The Missing Years (RIP Good Buddy)
    • The Party of Lucifer
    • We’re Rolling/ My Sweetheart/ We’re Flowing/ By God
    • How to look your best on a video call

      Over the past few weeks, I’ve been optimizing my own video chat setup: from knowing where to sit to get the best light, to choosing the right microphone, to just staying comfortable. Here are my tips and tricks to becoming the video call MVP you were meant to be.

    • Science

      • Russia’s testing trouble continues Private Russian labs testing for COVID-19 were suddenly forced to stop as the government’s public health agency released its own paid test. Then, the agency abruptly changed course.

        Several major private laboratories have set up coronavirus testing in Russia’s regions in recent weeks following earlier regulatory hurdles. Then, they abruptly stopped, citing new recommendations from the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor). At the same time, the government agency launched its own testing system for COVID-19 that would require a fee from each patient, promising to expand the service to all of Russia’s regions. One week later, however, an order from Russia’s prime minister forced Rospotrebnadzor to allow for private testing once again.

      • Antivaxxer Levi Quackenboss vs. reality on COVID-19

        Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic is both a blessing and a curse to antivaccine activists. The curse comes from the knowledge that we are unlikely to be able to go back to a truly normal existence until an effective vaccine is developed and that people will be eagerly lining up for that vaccine when it is finally developed. On the other hand, the pandemic is a golden opportunity to gin up conspiracy theories about how Bill Gates, the World Health Organization, the CDC, and, well, just about everyone will use the pandemic as a pretext to institute forced vaccination, not just against COVID-19 whenever a vaccine becomes available, but against every disease for which routine vaccination is recommended, such as measles. Then, of course, there are the conspiracy theories, some quite ridiculous, that seek a way to blame vaccines themselves for the pandemic. Meanwhile, it amuses me to see antivaxxers fall all over themselves to tout an unproven drug, hydroxychloroquine, as the “cure” for COVID-19. They routinely falsely complain that vaccines are inadequately tested for safety and efficacy; yet now they’re willing to promote a pharmaceutical drug with very real and very significant side effects as a treatment for COVID-19, even though there is, in essence, no good evidence that it works? Of course, if I want a hot take that’s among the dumbest of the hot takes, there is one question I always ask: Has Levi Quackenboss chimed in about the pandemic yet? I think you know the answer to that one.

      • New record set for cryptographic challenge

        The researchers carried out this computation using CADO-NFS, which is free software developed by the team at INRIA Nancy. They used a number of computer clusters, including research group, university, and national research clusters in France, Germany, and UC San Diego.

      • EU’s science chief quits in frustration at politicians’ response to coronavirus

        The news was first announced by the Financial Times, based on a statement released to the paper by Prof Ferrari, who said he had “been extremely disappointed by the European response” to the pandemic.

        He complained about running into institutional and political obstacles as he sought to swiftly set up a scientific program to combat the virus.

    • Education

      • University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus

        In a set of stable circumstances, funding higher education should be a matter of automatic persuasion. If you want an educated populace, the tax payer should muck in. In some countries, however, this venture is uneven. In the United Kingdom, the system remains divided, an echo of class stratification. In Australia, which took so many of its behavioural and policy cues from ancestral Britain, investment in public education as a measure of Gross Domestic Product does not stack up well, in real terms, with other countries of the OECD. Its school system is also something of a mild perversion – wealthy private schools receive millions as a windfall; state schools, short of equipment and facilities, starve and moulder.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus

        Perhaps because I have so much of it, I am fascinated by the subject of fear.  One part of me, the “scaredy-cat” side, when its activated “dies a thousand deaths,” making me I suppose half a coward.  I honestly think I’m not alone in being thus half a coward, but I am relatively alone in being conscious of the low-level struggle in myself with debilitating fear. On one hand, I will not rush out and buy massive quantities of Clorox and scrub and spray everything that doesn’t move in my house, which to me is acting on a kind of blind fear.  On the other, in a time like this, when the veil has been ripped off the fear and uneasiness that has saturated us for decades in the “Age of Anxiety,” I struggle each day to stay on the non-cowardly side. This is not to say, I try to be unafraid, but to stay in a place of “relative equilibrium,” in which I can discern the crazy fear of my scaredy-cat side such that I can opt to “keep my head” rather than go there, and can act deliberately amidst the terrifying surroundings of the coronavirus epidemic.

      • More Than 2 Million Uninsured People May Be Hospitalized for COVID-19

        More than 2 million people living without health insurance in the United States may need to be hospitalized and treated for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has sparked a global pandemic and shut down much of the nation, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      • A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Colleagues. The Hospital Suspended Her.

        Olga Matievskaya and her fellow intensive care nurses at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey were so desperate for gowns and masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus that they turned to the online fundraising site GoFundMe to raise money.

      • Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?

        Louis Proyect writes: “I understand the reluctance to put a plus where Trump does, but this article [“How New Jersey’s First Coronavirus Patient Survived,” in the New York Times, ~3 April 2020] indicates that a doctor who was close to death had a miraculous recovery after receiving Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine.”

      • Trump Was Warned of Potential “Cataclysmic” Pandemic as Early as Last November

        In the middle of March, President Donald Trump claimed he and the rest of the federal government were caught off guard about the novel coronavirus, including its potential to spread outside of China and cause harm to other countries.

      • Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts

        One now sees people walking along streets masked, gloved, and occasionally gowned, as if on their way to a Halloween party. The unluckiest of them are zombies who don’t yet know that they are the living dead. The situation is unprecedented and, sadly, un-presidented. Because we are human, we search for a metaphor that encapsulates the situation.

      • With 1,175 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count jumps to 8,672 patients

        On the morning of April 8, Russian officials announced that the country has recorded 1,175 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 8,672 patients across 81 different regions. The latest infections were reported in 56 different regions: Moscow (+660), the Moscow region (+95), St. Petersburg (+34), the Leningrad region (+32), the Mari El Republic (+27), Murmansk (+25), Krasnodar Krai (+24), and Nizhny Novgorod (+24). 

      • Russian clinic releases at-home coronavirus tests for about $80 each

        The Russian clinical network “Bud zdorov” (“Be Healthy”), a subsidiary of the major insurance company Ingosstrakh, has released a test for COVID-19 that users can administer at home. A representative for Ingosstrakh told Meduza that the company originally planned to test patients in person at its clinics but ultimately turned away from that idea.

      • 7 Very Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana

        One of the nation’s hotspots is suffering severely from the outbreak.

      • Black People in Louisiana Account for 70 Percent of the State’s COVID-19 Deaths

        Louisiana faces one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the United States. New data shows Black people account for 70% of all the state’s coronavirus deaths, though they comprise just 32% of the state’s population. Louisiana also has the highest incarceration rate in the country, and more than 65% of the people in its jails and prisons are Black. At least 28 people are infected, and 22 corrections staff have tested positive. State corrections officials are sending infected prisoners to the Louisiana State Penitentiary — known as Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States — where they are being held in Camp J, a notorious part of the prison that was shut down in 2018 because of inhumane treatment.
        The ACLU of Louisiana sued to stop the statewide transfer of COVID-19 patients to Angola prison, but a judge denied the request last Thursday. We speak with Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, and Albert Woodfox, who served the longest time in solitary confinement of any prisoner in the United States — 44 years in Angola prison. His memoir is Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope.

      • Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana

        Virus Raging. Statewide Louisiana is second only to New York in deaths per 100,000 people with 582 reported as of April 7. Six parishes (counties) in the New Orleans area are in the top ten in deaths of all the counties in the nation: St. John the Baptist, Orleans, St. Charles, Jefferson, St. James and Plaquemines, according to the Wall Street Journal.

      • How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic

        The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said at the press conference on that day that this was “the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.” He said, “In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.” From March 11 onward, it became clear that this virus was deadly and that it had the capacity to tear through human society with ease. But this was not always so clear.

      • US Media Downplay Overseas Coronavirus Lessons to Focus on Easter Bunny

        New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern replied to a question at an April 6 press conference by declaring that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy had been declared “essential workers” amid that nation’s “stay at home” order. Directing her comments to local children, she did warn, “The Easter Bunny might not get everywhere this year.”

      • Direct virus lessons we can learn as we go

        Learning from pandemics is hard but vital. We need 1918’s virus lessons this time round to show us a better normal.

      • Coronavirus: Govt asks TikTok, Facebook to remove users spreading misinformation

        The coronavirus crisis has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization has called an “infodemic” of misinformation. Globally, platforms such as Facebook have responded by barring users from posting misleading information about the coronavirus, including denials of expert guidance and encouragement of fake treatments.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Remote Linux Desktops Made Easier & More Secure Than Ever
        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Mapping platform joins open source foundation

                Projects are licensed under the MIT licence and supported by developers at companies such as Eventbrite, Foursquare, Mapbox, The World Bank, Snapchat, Here Technologies and Mapillary. They include Transitland, a community-edited data service aggregating transit networks across metropolitan and rural areas around the world.

              • Linux Foundation, LF Networking, and LF Edge Announce Rescheduled Dates and Full Agenda for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, along with co-hosts LF Networking, the umbrella organization fostering collaboration and innovation across the entire open networking stack, and LF Edge, the umbrella organization building an open source framework for the edge, announced today the rescheduled event dates for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America (ONES, formerly Open Networking Summit) and the complete session line-up.

                ONES North America 2020 will take place September 28-30 at the JW Marriott LA Live in Los Angeles, California. The summit line-up features prominent speakers from AT&T, eBay, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Rancher Labs, Red Hat, Toyota Motor Corporation, Verizon, VMware, Wells Fargo, Yelp, and more. The full event agenda is available here.

              • ‘State of the Edge,’ the Project to Define Edge Computing, Now Part of Linux Foundation

                LF Edge, the edge-focused project that the Linux Foundation started early last year, is growing. On Wednesday, State of the Edge, an open project to define, explain, and quantify an edge computing ecosystem, officially became part of LF Edge. The Open Glossary of Edge Computing, which had been a stand-alone project within LF Edge, is getting rolled into State of the Edge.

              • Fintech Open Source Foundation Joins Linux Foundation to Expand and Accelerate Development Across Financial Services

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open collaboration, and the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS), a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate adoption of open source software, standards and best practices in financial services, today announced that FINOS will become a Linux Foundation organization. To enable this effort, the Linux Foundation has agreed to acquire the FINOS operating assets.

                The Linux Foundation will position FINOS as its umbrella project through which to advance further development of open source and standards within the financial services industry. The FINOS team, led by Executive Director Gabriele Columbro, will join the Linux Foundation. Columbro will continue in his role.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, ipmitool, krb5-appl, and telnet), Debian (ceph and firefox-esr), Mageia (firefox), openSUSE (bluez and exiv2), Red Hat (firefox), SUSE (ceph, libssh, mgetty, permissions, python-PyYAML, rubygem-actionview-4_2, and vino), and Ubuntu (libiberty and libssh).

          • NASA CIO Agencywide Memo: Alert: Cyber Threats Significantly Increasing During Coronavirus Pandemic [iophk: Windows TCO]

            A new wave of cyber-attacks is targeting Federal Agency Personnel, required to telework from home, during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. During the past few weeks, NASA’s Security Operations Center (SOC) mitigation tools have prevented success of these attempts. Here are some examples of what’s been observed in the past few days: [...]

          • Apple Safari Flaws Enable One-Click Webcam Access

            A security researcher has disclosed vulnerabilities in Apple’s Safari browser that can be used to snoop on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers using their microphones and cameras. To exploit the flaws in a real-world attack, all an attacker would need to do is convince a victim to click one malicious link.

            Security researcher Ryan Pickren has revealed details on seven flaws in Safari, including three that could be used in a kill chain to access victims’ webcams. The vulnerabilities were previously submitted to Apple via its bug-bounty program and have been patched – however, technical details of the flaws, including a proof of concept (PoC) attack, were kept under wraps until Pickren’s recent disclosure.

          • OK Zoomer: avoiding a privacy disaster in the post-coronavirus world

            It would be an understatement to say that Covid-19 has affected practically every aspect of our lives, given the scale of the transformation. Its impact on privacy, too, is evident. Last week, this blog wrote about a rush by governments around the world to use smartphones to help enforce quarantines and carry out contact tracing. However, a problem can also be an opportunity. One technology company is not just coping with the coronavirus wave, but thriving. Almost overnight, the videoconferencing app Zoom, hitherto mainly used by companies, became an indispensable tool for life under lockdown, and its most representative social platform.

          • Security monitoring in Linux with Tripwire

            Every sysadmin loses sleep every once and a while over system intrusions. Nobody wants a server they’re responsible for to be compromised. The problem is, even though you may review logs regularly, a truly effective system intrusion doesn’t leave obvious logs lying around. This makes it difficult to know definitively whether your systems are secure.

            In addition to setting SELinux to Enforcing and implementing regular pentests, one of the best ways to monitor your system for security breaches is to — well, monitor your system for security breaches. If that seems easier said than done, then you need to try Tripwire. Tripwire is a file integrity monitoring tool that watches for changes to critical files on your system. This article shows you how to install, setup, and use Tripwire on your network.

            Tripwire is both a company and an open-source code base. You can purchase monitoring from Tripwire, or you can use the GPLv2 code they’ve made available on GitHub. The usual trade-offs apply. If you pay for it, Tripwire does most of the hard work for you, and all you have to do is pay attention to the reports. If you implement Tripwire yourself, then you get to set it up and configure it on your own.

          • sshd attack traffic

            I firmly believe that security through obscurity is a fail. However, I do believe that all things being equal, making it a bit more obscure is better as long as you aren’t introducing more failure points, like a port knocker that has it’s own security bugs. Thus I’ve always run my sshd service on an alternative port. It’s simple, and keeps my logs clean and shouldn’t cause any additional security risks. Of course I use a secure configuration and keep my software up to date. However, I found out that in the past few weeks that my port of choice has been discovered.

            After the sad realization that I would need to pick a more random port I decided to look at the attempts to brute force my sshd service and summarize what I found.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Chinese Cybercriminals Target High-Value Linux Servers With Weak Defenses: BlackBerry
            • Hacking campaign puts Linux servers at risk of attack
            • Meet dark_nexus, quite possibly the most potent IoT botnet ever

              A newly discovered botnet that preys on home routers, video recorders, and other network-connected devices is one of the most advanced Internet-of-things platforms ever seen, researchers said on Wednesday. Its list of advanced features includes the ability to disguise malicious traffic as benign, maintain persistence, and infect devices that run on at least 12 different CPUs.

              Researchers from antivirus provider Bitdefender described the so-called dark_nexus as a “new IoT botnet packing new features and capabilities that put to shame most IoT botnets and malware that we’ve seen.” In the three months that Bitdefender has tracked it, dark_nexus has undergone 30 version updates, as its developer has steadily added more features and capabilities.

            • Dark Nexus: evolving IoT botnet targets variety of devices

              Security researchers are tracking a new botnet that has been in rapid development for the past several months and targets embedded devices with binaries that are cross-compiled for 12-CPU architectures.

              According to a new report from security vendor Bitdefender, the Dark Nexus botnet borrows ideas and features from previously successful IoT threats like Qbot and Mirai, but is largely an original creation by an established malware developer who advertises distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) services on YouTube and other social media websites.

              The bot client is cross-compiled for 12-CPU architectures, which means it can infect a wide variety of devices including routers, digital video recorders (DVRs) and surveillance cameras. Recent versions also deploy a SOCKSv5 proxy on the compromised systems, allowing hackers to tunnel malicious traffic through them in addition to abusing them in DDoS attacks.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Another Coronavirus Side Effect: In-Home Surveillance By Remote Workers’ Employers

              Well, it took a pandemic to normalize domestic surveillance by [checks notes] employers. Not sure if this is the dystopia we needed or the one we deserved, but the shelter-in-place policies that have turned lots of office workers into telecommuters has led to incredible growth in one particular market sector.

            • It Will Take A Hell Of A Lot More Than Whatsapp Tweaks To Fix Our Global Disinformation Problem

              With increased regulatory pressure surrounding the platform’s ability to help distribute disinformation (often to bloody and disastrous effect), Facebook owned Whatsapp this week announced it would be more tightly restricting how app messages can be forwarded. Under the new system, if a user receives a “highly forwarded” message – one which has been forwarded more than five times – that user will only be able to send it on to a single chat at a time. Previously, users could forward these messages on to five people at a time, a limit that was implemented last year.

            • WhatsApp Axes COVID-19 Mass Message Forwarding

              In an effort to stem what it says is misinformation being spread on its platform, WhatsApp is limiting the number of recipients to which its users can forward certain messages about the COVID-19 pandemic.

              Now, users of the Facebook-owned messaging app can only forward messages with double arrows — i.e., those that did not originate from a close contact — to one person rather than multiple WhatsApp contacts, according to a company post published Tuesday.

            • New Release: Tails 4.5

              The Tails team is happy to publish Tails 4.5, the first version of Tails to support Secure Boot.

            • Tested positive for coronavirus? Health workers may share your address with police

              In a growing number of cities and states, local governments are collecting the addresses of people who test positive for the coronavirus and sharing the lists with police and first responders.

              Law enforcement officials say this information sharing — which is underway in Massachusetts, Alabama and Florida, and in select areas of North Carolina — will help keep officers and EMTs safe as they respond to calls at the homes of people who have been infected. The first responders can take additional precautions in those cases to avoid being exposed to the virus, state health departments and local police officials say.

              But some public health experts and privacy advocates have raised concerns about police departments maintaining a list of addresses of confirmed coronavirus cases. They say that it could make people reluctant to seek medical care or get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, because of a fear of profiling by law enforcement.

            • Errors in the Levine 2017 paper on attacks against Freenet

              This is a short two-hour braindump from checking the weaknesses of the paper Levine et al. (2017) “Statistical Detection of Downloaders in Freenet”.

              It is neither polite nor aggressive, just unfiltered analysis of the publication with the background of knowing Freenet and being interested in its communication for more than 13 years.

              The core pillar of the detection they name is their claim of a 2.3% false positives rate. But they only reach it through many false assumptions: [...]

            • Why you should stop using Google Analytics on your website

              More recently my thinking about this has changed. Using Google Analytics is a habit website owners, bloggers and web developers should try to stop. Here’s a look at why you should remove Google Analytics from your website and help create a more open, independent web that’s more friendly to the visitors.

            • Mozilla installs Scheduled Telemetry Task on Windows with Firefox 75
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon

        Like many home-bounders during this coronavirus crisis, I’m watching movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I just finished watching a biography of Muhammad Ali, who was one of the greatest boxers of all time, if not the greatest.

      • Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide

        Sanctions have long been indefensible; now in the time of Covid-19, more so than ever. Nor are they some minor phenomena. Over a quarter of humanity lives under U.S. economic sanctions. That means millions of people lack untroubled access to food and medicines during a lethal pestilence. Thus in Iran, where the government fears millions of deaths from Covid-19, sanctions amount to genocide. Under ordinary circumstances, these embargoes are economic warfare. By putting Iran and Venezuela under economic siege even before the pandemic, the U.S. had murdered tens of thousands of those countries’ citizens. Yet most Americans seem unaware or unconcerned about this sadistic, criminal and murderous policy inflicted on millions in their name.

      • As US Consigns Iranians to Death, Corporate Media Look the Other Way

        Covid-19 has hammered few countries as hard as it has hit Iran, which reports (as of April 8) 64,586 cases and 3,993 deaths. US sanctions are a major reason that Iranians are getting infected with and dying from the coronavirus in such large numbers: The US’s economic warfare softened Iran up for the pandemic well before its outbreak.

      • The Congresswoman from Iran

        Remarkably, all of this was perfectly fine with Ilhan Omar. The only thing that bothered her was the imposition of sanctions against an aspiring nuclear power whose leaders had repeatedly sworn their commitment to wiping the U.S. and Israel off the globe.

      • Lawmaker In Iran Says Military Was Right In Shooting Down Ukraine Airliner

        On January 8, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) missiles shot down the Boeing plane killing all 176 onboard, as it was taking off from Tehran, but initially Iran claimed the plane crashed due to unknown reasons.

        It took three days for officials to admit that the military had shot down the aircraft and later claimed that some personnel were arrested.

        However, a member of parliament’s Legal and Judicial Commission, Hassan Norouzi, now says that nobody was arrested for the incident, and the military forces did their job well by downing the passenger plane.

      • Quarantined Islamic Sect Members Suspected Of Throwing Urine, Case Filed

        According to the FIR, based on a complaint filed by the Assistant Director of the quarantine facility in Dwarka’s Sector 16B, the isolated Jamaat attendees have been accused of throwing the bottles “to spread coronavirus among other people”.

      • The People Who Profited Off the Trail of Tears

        Expulsion was a windfall for the white Mississippians who raced into Choctaw houses, harvesting the crops and supping on the spoils. Over the next decade, the United States repeated the pattern from Ohio to Alabama, banishing some 80,000 women, men, and children beyond the Mississippi River, to the western fringe of an unabashed American empire. “They are on an outside of us,” a Senate committee exulted, “and in a place which will ever remain an outside.” More than 25,000 Native people died.

        In Unworthy Republic, Claudio Saunt, a historian at the University of Georgia, offers a damning synthesis of the federal betrayals, mass deportations, and exterminatory violence that defined the 1830s. Two of his principal arguments—that mass expulsion wasn’t inevitable and that it was a “turning point for indigenous peoples and for the United States”—are largely accepted among scholars. His third, that it was administratively “unprecedented” in American history, invites debate about longer histories of dispossession. But Saunt’s greatest contribution is to weld the narrative of deportation to new histories of capitalism that emphasize slavery’s centrality to national economic development: He follows the money, exhaustively researching company correspondence and government records to show how bankers in Boston and London financed the dirty work of dispossession in collaboration with southern speculators. The result is a haunting story of racialized cruelty and greed, which came to define a pivotal period in U.S. and indigenous history alike.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Coronavirus Is a Dress Rehearsal for Climate Change

        As everyone should by now be aware, the coronavirus crisis is not just a public health crisis. It’s a jobs and income crisis, a small-business crisis, a child care crisis, a poverty crisis. In a real sense, it is a dress rehearsal for the future. What this crisis plainly demonstrates is the critical importance of investment in the resilience and equity of social and technical systems. It bears repeating: The very idea of government and the public good have been the targets of a decades-long ideological assault. The result? There is absolutely no slack in any of our systems; a shock can disrupt the lives of millions. It should remind every car- or homeowner of what they already know: Preventive maintenance is always worthwhile.

        Perhaps the most important lesson of the coronavirus is that if we don’t prepare now, and start thinking about how to stop problems before it’s too late, we’re risking everything we care about: our homes, our jobs, and the health of our loved ones. This is where the virus has something very important to teach us—if we’re willing to learn.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • We Cannot Rely on Trump. Congress Must Lead the Way in This Unprecedented Crisis

        The American people deserve and require leadership from Washington amid this horrific pandemic and economic meltdown

      • How Are We Going to Pay for It?

        We will either have democratic socialism or we will continue to socialize suffering.

      • Trump Attacks Mail-In Voting After Admitting He Cast Ballot by Mail

        President Donald Trump Tuesday evening attacked voting by mail — a solution many rights advocates argue is particularly necessary amid the ongoing public health crisis — as a “terrible thing” even after admitting that he cast a mail-in ballot in the 2020 Republican presidential primary in Florida (presumably for himself) just last month.

      • More People Might Die Because Wisconsin GOP Forced Election

        Lines stretching city blocks, hours-long waits and polling officials in hazmat suits. That’s the scene voters in Wisconsin encountered as they braved the polls Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite growing outcry about the risks to public health and safety that in-person voting would pose, on Monday the state Supreme Court blocked Democratic Governor Tony Evers’s ruling to delay the election until June. At least 92 people in Wisconsin have died from exposure to COVID-19. In Milwaukee — the most diverse city in Wisconsin — the number of polling stations went from 180 to five. We speak with Jesse Wegman, longtime journalist and member of The New York Times editorial board.

      • Wisconsin’s Unconscionable Sham

        The state’s election was a danger to public health and a democratic travesty—all to help Republicans suppress more votes.

      • When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses

        Many mainstream Democrats claim if “democratic socialist” Sanders were their party’s presidential nominee, many party candidates running in down-ballot races would lose in races they should win. They warn that a Sanders’ led ticket could result in the Democrats not regaining control of the Senate and even losing their majority in the House along with many state positions.

      • As Coronavirus Pandemic Ravages Earth, Trump Announces Push to Mine the Moon

        An executive order quietly signed Monday makes clear the president. does not feel bound by international treaties on space exploration and resource extraction.

      • Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters

        In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court held that unequal distribution requirements for statewide petitions violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Again in 1970, citing the 1969 Illinois case, the SCOTUS struck down New York’s distribution requirements. Distribution requirements give voters in some geographical areas more power than voters residing in other areas in blatant disregard for a bedrock democratic principle: “one person, one vote.”

      • “It’s Corrupt… I’m Allowed To”: After Admitting He Cast Ballot by Mail, Trump Launches Bizarre Attack on Mail-In Voting

        “Trump’s baseless attacks on vote-by-mail are a pathetic attempt to suppress the vote in the middle of a national crisis.”

      • The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic

        As the international community is consumed by the impact of Covid-19, there are signs of the impact of the pandemic on the body politic. There is change throughout the international community, particularly the decline of the influence and power of the United States; the fragmentation of the European Community; the weakening of the transatlantic system; the increased influence of China; and the dire impact on Third World countries and their refugee problems. At home, the Trump administration’s “destruction of the administrative state” has made the battle against the virus far more difficult.

      • Moscow City Duma member says he was probably infected with coronavirus when he attended a meeting to approve fines for quarantine violations

        Mikhail Timonov, a Moscow City Duma member from the A Just Russia party, and Sergey Timokhov, the chief of staff of the Communist faction in the City Duma, have both contracted COVID-19, according to the publication Kholod. Timonov said in a message posted on Telegram that a test conducted at a Medsi clinic had shown he was infected with the virus. He said an earlier test had been negative.

      • WATCH: Bernie Sanders Announces End to 2020 Presidential Campaign

        “It was a good campaign against the odds in every single way and has clearly changed the course of history for the better.”

      • In Appeal to Progressives, Biden Praises ‘Powerful’ Movement Led by Sanders and Acknowledges He Must Earn Their Votes

        Biden has struggled to win the support of young and independent voters in the Democratic primary.

      • After Sanders Exits Race, Climate Campaigners Thank Him for ‘Raising the Bar’ and Urge Biden to ‘Step Up’

        “Sanders has been a constant, fearless voice for people and the planet, advocating for the bold ideas and real solutions like the Green New Deal, which met the scale of what is needed to avoid climate catastrophe.”

      • Bernie Sanders Ends 2020 Campaign With Vow to Continue Struggle for ‘What We Are Entitled to as Human Beings’

        “Let us go forward together. The struggle continues.”

      • Bernie Sanders Drops Out of the 2020 Presidential Race

        Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is suspending his bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

      • COVID-19 Is Trump’s 9/11. Like Bush, He Was Warned and Didn’t Act.

        Donald Trump is a rancid racist, misogynist, liar, fearmonger, panderer and the undisputed world champion of self-aggrandizement. Until a few days ago, however, George W. Bush was winning in the vile metric of the body count: From September 11 to Afghanistan to Iraq, the sheer volume of human suffering that took place during the eight grinding years of the Bush administration bloodbath — suffering that has continued unabated even unto this moment before us — put him in rare and terrible historic company.

      • Joe Biden Was Silent As GOP Death Cult Forced Wisconsin To Vote During COVID-19 Pandemic

        Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his campaign never called for the Wisconsin primary to be postponed. In fact, they were silent as Republican judges on the state’s supreme court and the United States Supreme Court issued decisions that forced officials to hold the primary during a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

        Yet, after voters risked their health on April 7, Biden appeared on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” and stated, “My gut is we shouldn’t have had the election in the first place, the in-person election,” as if that was his position all along.

      • ‘Return to Normalcy’ Not Going to Be Enough to Win Our Support, Young Progressives Tell Joe Biden

        “Why would we want a return to normalcy? We need a vision for the future, not a return to the past.”

      • With Sanders Out, Trump Wastes No Time in Stoking Division Among Democrats

        “This guy is nothing if not a skilled provocateur.”

      • Dear Bernie

        Four years ago, in the 2016 Democratic primaries, you made it respectable to talk about Medicare for All, free public higher education, and raising taxes on the wealthy. You alerted America to the vast and growing gap in income, wealth, and political power, and its dangers for our economy and democracy.

      • Can the United Nations Survive the Coronavirus?

        “This crisis has shown that neither China nor the U.S. is ready and able to lead the U.N. system,” Richard Gowan, the U.N. representative for the International Crisis Group, told Foreign Policy. “The French deserve credit for trying to pull everyone together, but the the P5 [the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council] are so fractured that even Macron has struggled to unite them.”

      • The Coronavirus Is Also Attacking the Ballot Box

        President Trump complains incessantly about solutions to these problems, highlighting the inequities in the system in the process. During the coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday, Trump called mail-in voting “corrupt” right after acknowledging that he mailed his absentee ballot to Florida last month. Earlier, on March 30th, he retreated to Fox News to complain about Democratic efforts to improve the relief bill he’d just signed into law. Democrats had sought sufficient funding to help states increase vote-by-mail capabilities, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the number of polling sites — in short, to ensure Americans could safely vote. Experts tell Rolling Stone such a revamping would cost anywhere from $2 billion to $4 billion; Republicans allowed only $400 million.

      • Bay Area coronavirus job losses will top 800,000: report; California faces nearly 4 million in job losses by May, study says

        As an example, the first round of announced job cuts in California included high-profile resorts and hotel operations such as Rosewood CordeValle in San Martin, Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, and Ventana Big Sur in Big Sur.

      • Why the government is bailing out airlines ahead of charities

        What is more, the airline industry has not exactly made the best case for itself. Just before EasyJet received its government loan, founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, whose family still own a third of the company’s shares, took a £60m dividend payment from the company, while Bloomberg reported earlier this week that Richard Branson had moved $1.1bn of shares in Virgin Galactic from the US to the British Virgin Islands. EasyJet and British Airways have both announced plans to furlough staff, while Virgin is “offering a one-time voluntary severance package to all employees”.

      • Yanis Varoufakis: “The European Union Is Determined to Continue Making the Same Errors It Made After 2008”

        There is a spectacular coincidence of errors by the European Union today and in 2010. They’re making the same category error: in 2010 they decided to paint the crisis as a crisis of public debt and lack of liquidity, meaning the solution must certainly be loans. So, the Greek state was loaned the largest amount in history, on condition of austerity. Mistaking a bankruptcy for a liquidity problem is what effectively incarcerated a very large section of Europe — a vast majority of Europeans — into permanent stagnation.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Is the coronavirus killing press freedom in Africa?

        Movement across Africa has been restricted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Since lockdowns began, journalists across the continent are reporting a sharp rise in physical attacks by security forces as they attempt to report on COVID-19. DW takes a look a some of Africa’s most challenging regions for journalists.

      • Beyond Words

        Yesterday Mark Sommers QC, the extremely erudite and bookish second counsel for Julian Assange in his extradition hearing, trembled with anger in court. Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser had just made a ruling that the names of Julian Assange’s partner and young children could be published, which she stated was in the interests of “open justice”. His partner had submitted a letter in support of his Covid 19 related bail application (which Baraitser had summarily dismissed) to state he had a family to live with in London. Baraitser said that it was therefore in the interests of open justice that the family’s names be made public, and said that the defence had not convincingly shown this would cause any threat to their security or well-being. It was at this point Sommers barely kept control. He leapt to his feet and gave notice of an appeal to the High Court, asking for a 14 day stay. Baraitser granted four days, until 4pm on Friday.

      • #SingalongaVanessa

        I have been sent footage of judge Vanessa Baraitser appearing in a school musical. Even though this is a remarkable survival of the scrubbing of her existence from the internet, I saw no public interest in publishing it until yesterday, when she ruled that in the interests of “open justice” the identities of Julian Assange’s partner and small children should be made public. So in the interests of “open justice”, here is Vanessa singing.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties

        We still have choices.

      • ‘You Cannot Get an Abortion Right Now in Texas’: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ban During Pandemic

        “How cruel and out of touch with reality do you have to be to exploit a global health pandemic to further your own political agenda?” 

      • This Passover, Let’s Free Them All

        It is incumbent upon us to amplify the cries of imprisoned immigrants with our own voices.

      • Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical

        Setting aside the pain and suffering of the infected for a moment, the most amazing part of the pandemic is its pulling back the curtain on the fragility and venality of the economic/political system in the “greatest country on earth”. Yah, sure. Some of those hybrid “planned economies” had better resources, and quicker responses, when their nationally supported professionals did the jobs they had trained lifetimes for; So What? We have better bombers. In fact, a bipartisan committee (that means Dems are in on it) is insisting, in the midst of the health crisis, the Marines buy another dozen or so of the most expensive planes ever built (that don’t work well) at a time when that service is seriously wondering why it has any, especially because it is having a very hard time getting people who want to fly them (and a few could be traded in to buy a whole lot of other stuff, like PPE) (and for all of us Bernie fans, he bought them too)

      • Democratic Senators Demand Answers on Trump’s Secretive Border Expulsions

        Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding information about what they call an “unprecedented expansion of executive power” by the Trump administration at the the U.S.-Mexico border, after a ProPublica story revealed how the administration has used emergency powers to bypass asylum law and summarily expel thousands of migrants.

        In a letter written by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., he and nine colleagues give the Department of Homeland Security until April 15 to explain why it believes it can use one section of U.S. law — which gives emergency powers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prohibit the entry of people or things that might “introduce” infectious disease — to preempt the government’s obligation under another section of federal law protecting migrants fearing persecution in their home countries.

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Strange Days’ By Beans On Toast

        Beans on Toast is the moniker of UK singer-songwriter Jay McAllister. Over the years he has built a cult following for himself for his mixture of quirky tunes and social commentary. Every year since 2009 he has released a new album on his birthday, December 1.

        His last album, “The Inevitable Train Wreck” was one of the best protest albums of 2019. The album focused on issues such as Brexit, climate change, automation and class inequality.

      • Emergency COVID-19 Laws May Become Permanent Features of the Security Landscape

        As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the world, so too do radical new security measures implemented by governments in response to the global crisis. Ruling by decree, closing borders to refugees and instituting sweeping powers of detention and surveillance: In the context of the current panic, these policies may seem appropriate to some, their extremism justified by the extreme times in which we now live.

      • Saudi women use social media to recount harassment

        But women who report incidents have faced smear campaigns on social media and been blamed for being harassed, rights groups say.

        “My friends were punished when they reported [their abuse] and experienced more harm,” wrote one Saudi Twitter user who called herself Bella. “I chose silence,” she said.

      • Coronavirus Hitting African American Communities Hardest

        Experts say the difference results from the unequal status of blacks in American society, from higher rates of chronic illnesses to job opportunities that result in more exposure to the virus.

        “We have a particularly difficult problem of an exacerbation of a health disparity,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci. “We’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately afflicting the minority populations, particularly the African Americans.”

        These are the same conditions that put patients at higher risk of severe illness and death, he added.

      • America set up black communities to be harder hit by COVID-19

        It’s hard to get a grasp on how discriminating the spread of the disease in the US really is; limited testing nationwide means we don’t even have a good baseline for how many Americans have contracted COVID-19. Many states aren’t reporting the breakdown of their cases by race, and many localities disclosing the race of COVID-19 patients don’t have demographic data for every single case. The data that we do have, however, is beginning to show a stark divide across the nation.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Jon Cusack The Latest Celebrity To Spread Nonsense About 5G

        Conspiracy theories have always plagued the deployment of new wireless technology. WiFi has no proven impact on human health, yet it has been a bogeyman for the better part of the last fifteen years. Fast forward to 2020, and social media is filled with “internet famous” folks claiming new fifth-generation (5G) wireless is part of a vast mind control conspiracy or a massive threat to human health. Russia, and likely other countries, have incorporated 5G for a few years into its online trolling operations, apparently believing it’s another wedge issue that can be used to amplify already heated divisions in western countries.

      • Unfortunate Natural Experiment Shows the Internet Works

        The Internet is working well under this sudden demand because of how it is designed. Nearly magic, the Internet is designed to be a reliable system built of unreliable parts. This might sound awful, as though it only works by accident, but it’s actually engineering genius. The Internet is a complex, reliable system that can be repaired with things that are inexpensive and ready to hand, which means that it will work under unexpected strains. Some have been worrying about whether the Internet can “stand up” under a heavy, widely distributed load. As long as the Internet’s myriad networks have been built with sound engineering, they will hold up. Despite all the media streaming and video conferences, measurable reports of trouble have been remarkably rare. The design works!

        Just over a year ago, we celebrated that a little over half the world’s population had access to the Internet. But what of those who don’t? They are often those with the fewest resources, the fewest advocates, and the biggest troubles. Yet all the unconnected deserve the chance to be connected if they want to be. We should not be shy about closing the gap in multiple ways.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Lengthening Patent Terms by 10 Years is Exactly the Wrong Response to COVID-19

          Governments around the world are taking steps to make sure that private corporations don’t use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to make unjustified monopoly profits. They’re doing that by ensuring that governments can override patents and issue compulsory licenses for COVID-19 related treatments, vaccines, and tools. Canada’s recent COVID-19 bill authorizes the government to make and use patented inventions as needed in fighting the pandemic. Governments in Chile, Ecuador, Germany, and Israel have taken similar steps.

          But in the U.S., lobbyists and lawyers for patent owners are pushing our government to move in the exact opposite direction. And they may succeed. Last week, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduced a bill that gives 10 extra years of patent rights (on top of the usual 20 years) to any “new or existing pharmaceutical, medical device, or other process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.” The patent rights grab, included in a bill that’s ostensibly about limiting medical lawsuits, also applies to improvements on existing technology.

        • FTC Just Sent Over $1 Million To People Scammed By ‘Patent Marketing’ Company The Former AG Matt Whitaker Was Involved With

          Not many people noticed this, but last week, the FTC announced that it was sending more than $1 million in “refunds” to people duped by the scam company “World Patent Marketing” that would try to sucker people who thought they had big ideas to pay WPM to either help them patent their “invention” or to “promote” their patented invention. In reality, it turned out (as with many of these companies) it was just a scam to get the company’s CEO quite rich:

      • Copyrights

        • Piracy and File-Sharing Traffic Surges Amidst Covid-19 Crisis

          Hundreds of millions of people are being asked to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. This is having a widespread effect on worldwide consumption habits including Internet usage. New data obtained by TorrentFreak suggests that there has been a surge in global file-sharing traffic as well as an increased number of visitors to pirate sites.

        • Russia Wants New Fines For Platforms That Don’t Remove Pirated Content Fast Enough

          Russia’s Ministry of Culture has plans to further tighten up the country’s response to the availability of pirated content online. Under current law, platforms can be ordered by a court to block or remove content within three days but according to the government, that needs to be reduced. Furthermore, non-responsive players should also receive new fines but to what extent remains unclear.

The Fall of the UPC – Part XVII: Bardehle Pagenberg in ‘Corona Zombie’ Mode

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unable to properly judge reality

Bardehle Pagenberg: Sorry, ma'am, your opinion on the FCC decision is inadmissible

Summary: Gymnastics in logic and outright lies told by Bardehle Pagenberg, which spent endless time and money trying to pass the UPC(A) for its patent-trolling clients

SO IN part 16 we mentioned the lies from Winfried Tilmann and his colleagues. Tilman Müller-Stoy has a similar name, similar role in UPC propaganda, but he works for massive boosters of software patents in Europe and patent trolls. It’s their “client base…”

This is like Team UPC ‘proper’; the ‘perpetrators’ of this scam, those looking to benefit the most from their own ‘coup’. Team Campinos/Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO) is in bed with them, maybe even literally because of growing gender diversity in this occupation/field.

“This is like Team UPC ‘proper’; the ‘perpetrators’ of this scam, those looking to benefit the most from their own ‘coup’.”So the other day the firm (Bardehle Pagenberg) tweeted about its own employee: “#IPNews: Read the comments by our partner Prof. Dr. Tilman Müller-Stoy and our Senior Consultant Dr. Rudolf Teschemacher on today’s UPC-related decision by @BVerfG: https://www.bardehle.com/fileadmin/Webdata/contentdocuments/ip_reports/20200312_COMMENT_UPC_Brexit_TMS_TER_EN.pdf … #intellectualproperty #Brexit #GermanPatentLaw #UPC [...]”

Yes, it is a PDF. One response we saw to it said: “I guess you miss the most important point: whether the CJEU has a say in patent law, notably software patents #monastry #isolation #silence #patent #law [...]”

But let’s have a closer look at what they said — as predictable as it was given their appalling track record. Hardly a new subject here…

“…let’s have a closer look at what they said — as predictable as it was given their appalling track record.”Some time before the decision from the FCC even these patent zealots and UPC conspirators admitted that the UPC was likely dead already. That was because of Britain’s position, which was shared with the media in late February. Back then even patent maximalists like Bardehle Pagenberg’s Tilman Müller-Stoy and Rudolf Teschemacher already knew it was a lost cause. They even published in a number of sites for patent maximalists some piece about a “Plan B”. From their original in their own site:

What will become of the European Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court after the United Kingdom has declared its withdrawal? Is everything over now or do we proceed? And if we do, how?

So many questions, so few answers. They just didn’t want to state the facts, not out loud and directly anyway.

Weeks later it got a lot worse. If it wasn’t already bad enough…

“We wrote some rebuttal to those sorts of lies (illogical nonsense) in previous parts.”Tilman Müller-Stoy and Rudolf Teschemacher (quite senior at Bardehle Pagenberg) then belittled if not lied about the UPC’s death, with a title that made one believe it’s just a little obstacle. They’ve lied all along, so why stop now? The vague title said “Comments On UPC Announcement Of The German Constitutional Court” (this does not say anything about the actual outcome), followed by: “The German Constitutional Court found the German Law on the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) to be null and void. It was passed in the German Bundestag without the necessary 2/3 majority, i.e. it suffers from a formal defect which can, however, be remedied by new legislative acts if there is still sufficient political support. Interestingly, the Court also published a dissenting opinion by three of eight judges.”

This is similar to the lie or gross distortion disseminated by Winfried Tilmann et al. We’re supposed to think that the number of judges tugging the other way really matters and that it’s just a temporary and easily-overcome setback. It is neither of those things. We wrote some rebuttal to those sorts of lies (illogical nonsense) in previous parts. We prefer not to repeat ourselves as the previous rebuttals were sufficiently detailed.

The Fall of the UPC – Part XVI: What’s Reality Got to Do With It? Ask Hogan Lovells.

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We cheated to... Win. We got... Fried.

Summary: Hogan Lovells, whose Counsel is Winfried Tilmann, wants us to think that UPC is dead only for formal reasons or that it’s not really dead because they just need to vote again; reality, however, is far more complicated, but lawyers gonna lie…

TODAY we deal with the first law firm, the employer of Winfried Tilmann, notorious for his endless UPC lies and participation in the ‘coup’. The European Patent Office (EPO) is close to him and we can imagine that he has contacts with António Campinos, Benoît Battistelli, or both. We wrote about him several times over the years and those who regularly read the site need no introduction to him.

“Tilmann conspired to break laws, constitutions etc. Now he’ll be lying aplenty.”Hogan Lovells, the employer, promoted this piece in media controlled by patent maximalists. Andreas von Falck, Miriam Gundt, Clemens Plassmann, Winfried Tilmann refer to the latter (or himself) as “Winfried Tilmann, one of the fathers of the unified patent system and Of Counsel at Hogan Lovells…”

Tilmann conspired to break laws, constitutions etc. Now he’ll be lying aplenty. This is what they wrote:

Today, on 20 March 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court in its decision on the Unified Patent Court ruled on the constitutional complaint against the law approving the agreement of 19 February 2013 on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) and declared it null and void on formal grounds. The necessary 2/3 majority in the vote of the German Bundestag was lacking. The other grounds for nullity raised by the complainant in the case were not admitted.

They were not considered. Because it was a lot simpler to toss out the UPCA rather than the complaint based on the simple observation that a few dozens of politicians connected to law firms gathered at 1AM to ‘vote’ almost ‘in secret’. It’s a major bruise and an insult to German democracy and Berlin would be shy to tell exactly what happened that night. The complainant wrote a detailed paper about it and had to identify, by carefully studying a video of that night, who exactly was present and why they were present.

“The complainant wrote a detailed paper about it and had to identify, by carefully studying a video of that night, who exactly was present and why they were present.”Tilmann was recently quoted aplenty by the media; he told so many lies, some of which we took note of in earlier parts. Tilmann, not to be mistaken for Tilman Müller-Stoy, may think he’s very clever, but the FCC saw the ploy and did the right thing. The Tilmann/Tilmann confusion is apparently rather common — to the point where I received an E-mail to highlight the differences. But both of them are prominent voices of Team UPC.

Tilman (with one N) will be the subject of the next part of this series.

The Fall of the UPC – Part XV: A Three-Week Parade of Lies From Team UPC and Its Media Collaborators

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fat liars. Lying about.

Sleeping sea lions

Summary: Team UPC continues to shamelessly lie about the fate of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA); we’ve studied all the responses we were able to find and we’ll tackle them one by one (or firm by firm)

TOMORROW marks 3 weeks since the judges (or Justices) in Germany dealt one final death blow to the UPC, crushing the remaining hopes of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, who two weeks ago lied about what had happened in the official “news” section of the European Patent Office (EPO).

We might as well politely note that the EPO said nothing about it since. It hasn’t even tweeted about it. All it left is a misleading headline with a quote from Campinos; later it wonders why people generally don’t trust the EPO…

“We might as well politely note that the EPO said nothing about it since. It hasn’t even tweeted about it. All it left is a misleading headline with a quote from Campinos; later it wonders why people generally don’t trust the EPO…”Not even the EPO’s own staff trusts the EPO.

What about media that covered the UPC/A over the past few years? More than 90% of it was wrong. All those articles about the ‘impending’ UPC were wrong. Anyone who relied on such articles for decision-making purposes may have wasted a lot of money. Law firms controlled such media and made “sales” this way.

The untold truth is that many front groups of law firms are disguised as “publishers”… some hire English and history graduates with no experience in (or knowledge in) law. Their job is just to collate quotes (lies) from lawyers, presenting these as factual articles with “reliable” sources. We don’t want to name any authors here; but few of them were mentioned in passing (previous parts).

“They tell readers or clients either what they want to hear or is beneficial to themselves (in the short term). They mislead people and rip them off, even consciously.”Today we focus on some law firms. We are going to show how most of them persisted with the lies instead of acknowledging they had told lies (or were innocently wrong). Some law firms, which we will name, were more frank and more sincere about the situation. We’ll give them some credit.

For the sake of tidiness and structural organisation we’re going to separate every firm or group of firms into clusters, each occupying a part of the series. At the end we’ll look back at it all and make a sort of scorecard or scoresheet or scoreboard. People deserve to know which law firms are more honest than others. Some are just blatant propaganda and lies; the same is true for some publishers. They tell readers or clients either what they want to hear or is beneficial to themselves (in the short term). They mislead people and rip them off, even consciously.

Coronavirus Has Not Slowed Down the EPO’s Promotion of Illegal Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO has got your back; It grants patents on software

Summary: Using the latest buzzwords and weasel words (digital, games, videogames, digitalisation etc.) the EPO continues to invite bogus patents/applications and boasts about granting a lot more of them

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) promotion of software patents in Europe is disguised using new — or novel-sounding — buzzwords again. They never say “software patents”; almost never! So one must learn if not internalise/memorise the weasel terms, which change over time (to shrewdly dodge public scrutiny and ride the latest hype waves).

“So one must learn if not internalise/memorise the weasel terms, which change over time (to shrewdly dodge public scrutiny and ride the latest hype waves).”Back in the Battistelli days European media was paid by the EPO’s coffers (likely illegal accounting!) to spread “4IR” hype — a nonsensical term adopted almost by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as much as other terms, including “hey hi” (AI), which António Campinos continues to name-drop every now and then. In the U.S., however, 35 U.S.C. § 101 is still meaningful (unlike the EPC in Europe, unless it goes to national courts).

“Notice how the page cited there has started (as in first entry) with promotion of illegal patents on algorithms conveniently disguised as “games” now that more gamers than ever are out there (or in there, in lock-down).”Earlier this week the EPO wrote again about “digital” things; it’s part of a campaign with Web pages, designed to call all sorts of things with a computer “digital” and allow patents on them — even patents that pertain to software alone. The EPO wrote: “Is #digitalcommunication your field of expertise? See how well it did in 2019 in terms of European patent applications here: https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … #EPOresults”

The EPO also tweeted: “If you’d like to learn more about #patents, we invite you to take a look at our e-learning centre. It’s very easy to use and free of charge! https://bit.ly/2rLhMKA”

“Remember that when the EPO set up a physical event for “Blockchain” it invited a very notorious patent troll to sit on the panel whilst acknowledging these were software patents.”Notice how the page cited there has started (as in first entry) with promotion of illegal patents on algorithms conveniently disguised as “games” now that more gamers than ever are out there (or in there, in lock-down).

“In crisis times,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, “patents of bankrupt companies will end up in the hands of patent trolls. Like it happened during the dotcom bubble…”

He himself is a victim of trolls. Trolls who leverage bogus software patents like the ones EPO grants in violation of the EPC.

This shows no signs of abatement; the EPO posted many tweets about “Blochchain” lately, including this from yesterday: “Are you interested in the following technologies? Sign up for our free webinars to find out more about innovation in these fields: – CAR T-cell immunotherapy – #Blockchain – Graphene composite technology – Quantum sensing and metrology https://bit.ly/2rtEVAP”

There were several tweets just like it this month.

Remember that when the EPO set up a physical event for “Blockchain” it invited a very notorious patent troll to sit on the panel whilst acknowledging these were software patents.


Links 8/4/2020: Tails 4.5, Septor 2020.2, GNOME Money Awards and Mozilla’s New CEO

Posted in News Roundup at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • My Linux Story: From 8-bit enthusiast to Unix sysadmin

      It all started in the mid-1980s with an Apple ][c that my parents purchased for our family. Although I enjoyed playing games, I quickly became fascinated with BASIC programming and how useful it could be for work and fun. This was an era when computers were viewed as little more than typewriters, so people with “advanced computer skills” could easily use them to their advantage.

      One example was using BASIC and a dot matrix printer to auto-generate punishment assignments. When I was assigned to write out 200 times some apologetic statements, I asked my teacher if it could be typed out. On confirmation, I wrote a 5 line BASIC program to generate it for me. Another example of subtle trickery was using non-WYSIWYG word processors, such as AppleWorks for micro-manipulation of fonts, line spacing, and margins to “stretch” term papers out to the required length.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Tuxedo InfinityBook Manjaro Announced: High-end Linux Laptop

        Spec-wise the Tuxedo InfinityBook Manjaro has a 15.6″ 1080p screen, 54Wh battery good for up to 12 hours at idle, a slim 19.9mm z-height and a 1.9kg weight. Networking comes from a Realtek gigabit ethernet chip and Intel Wireless-AC 9260, specced for up to 1.73Gbps combined throughput. The wireless card also provides Bluetooth 5.

        Processing and graphics come from either an Intel Core i7-10510U or Core i5-10210U with Intel UHD 620 graphics. Both are 4-core 8-thread 15W chips but the i7 raises cache from 6MB to 8MB, raises base clock from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz, and raises max turbo from 4.2GHz to 4.9GHz.

        Storage-wise the base configuration is a 250GB M.2 SATA SSD with options for up to a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD, or even a 970 PRO up to 1TB.

      • Samsung Galaxy Chromebook: Is the Ultimate Chrome OS Platform Worth the Price?

        The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is now available to buy — but the US$999 price tag for its one-of-a-kind configuration may cause an internal struggle between want and need.

        Samsung introduced its high-end Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020 in Las Vegas early this year. The company positioned it as the flagship Chromebook to meet potential demand for a more useful and powerful multipurpose premium mobile device.

        The Galaxy Chromebook is an ultra premium 2-in-1 laptop running Google’s Chrome OS. It ships with a durable aluminum body, the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, and a 13.3-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) touchscreen.

        The Galaxy Chromebook enters a market packed with laptops that are getting thinner and faster each year. However, its appearance no doubt is ill-timed, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Only time will tell if the Galaxy Chromebook’s premium build and high-end specs will make it essential for consumers and businesses.

        The comparative advantage to buying Chromebooks is usually their better battery life and more economical price — but not so much with this device, which functions as a clamshell laptop and swings into tablet mode via a set of 360-degree hinges.

        Despite the Galaxy Chromebook’s stunning aesthetics, Mercury Gray or bold Fiesta Red color options, and packed configuration, it is up against two potentially demanding competitors — The Google Pixelbook and the Asus Chromebook Flip C436, according to reviewers.

        Should serious Chrome OS users buy into this new unit? Generally speaking, no way, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

        “Serious Chromebook users tend to focus on Web-based processes and applications that don’t require a ton of compute power or storage capacity, and have a strong preference for low-cost products with high-quality mobility features,” he told TechNewsWorld.

    • Server

      • Remote support options for sysadmins

        As a sysadmin, you do support—support for local users as level I, II, III, or all of the above. You might have even supported remote users. Maybe your office environment was once 100 percent local and you had no remote support duties. But now, your job might be completely supporting remote users and systems. Great news, huh? Well, there’s hope. Using some great remote support tools, you can still do your job just as efficiently from a distance as you could with walk-up access. Sure, it’s a little more difficult, but once you establish your support tools and workflow, you might never return to a traditional office. This article highlights support tools for a new age of remote support.

        Remote support is difficult. To get an idea of just how difficult it is, I’ve only known one person in more than twenty years of working as a sysadmin who actually enjoyed supporting remote users. It was great for the rest of the team because we could just reassign tickets to him and away he’d go on them. For the rest of us, we felt like we were trying to wash dishes from across the room without really seeing the dishes. These remote support options will help you support your users without the frustration of a click-by-click follow-along session. You’ll be able to see everything that’s going on or actually perform the work yourself.

    • Linux Magazine’s Latest Issue (With Paywall)

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #337: SDRAngel Deep Dive

        Hello and welcome to Episode 337 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts take a deep dive into the shallow end of SDRAngel. The project is a GPLv3 licensed, modular front end and headless server for connecting to and operating SDR receivers and transceivers. Discussion includes where to find the software, how to build it, basic operation with broadcast FM stations, DMR, SSB, CW and more. Take a look. Try it out. Have fun with SDR. Hope you enjoy!

      • 2020-04-07 | Linux Headlines

        Microsoft proposes a new Linux kernel security mechanism, Firefox 75 rolls out significant changes, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation adopts Argo, and The Linux Foundation aims to boost adoption of the seL4 secure microkernel.

      • Going Linux #389 · Listener Feedback

        Bill burns out on distrohopping after providing multiple release reviews. Our listeners provide feedback on new user recommendations, hard drive mounting, encryption, trying Linux via USB, and the Linux Spotlight interview. We answer questions on security audit results.
        Episode 389 Time Stamps
        00:00 Going Linux #389 · Listener Feedback
        01:43 Bill burns out on distro hopping
        02:24 but he has some feedback on a few releases
        02:46 Linux Mint 19.3
        03:24 Linux Mint Debian Edition 4
        04:38 Endevour OS
        07:13 ArcoLinux
        10:19 Open Suse
        12:16 Ubuntu MATE
        14:49 Zorin
        17:55 New user recommendations
        24:22 Gregory: Hard drive mounting
        27:28 Gregory: Great interview
        30:09 John: Security audit recommendations
        34:19 George: Paul’s encryption problem
        37:57 David: Linux via USB
        44:09 goinglinux.com, goinglinux@gmail.com, +1-904-468-7889, @goinglinux, feedback, listen, subscribe
        45:17 End

      • mintCast 332 – Thunar Storm

        First up, in our Wanderings, I go on a LMDE tour, Tony Hughes becomes a model, Moss learns more about Grub, Tony Watts plays some music, Bo considers a pfSense deployment, and Joe gets caught up on shows.

        Then, in the news, Linux Mint Monthly news comes out, F-Droid gets some money,and Thunar and Java get updates.

      • OK OOMer | LINUX Unplugged 348

        Today we make nice with a killer, an early out-of-memory daemon, and one of the new features in Fedora 32. We put EarlyOOM to the test in a real-world workload and are shocked by the results.

        Plus we debate if OpenWrt is still the best router solution, and chew on Microsoft’s new SELinux competitor.

      • Episode #176: How python implements super long integers
      • 2020-04-08 | Linux Headlines

        The GNOME Foundation and Endless launch a new contest aimed at engaging young coders with FOSS, Tails 4.5 brings support for UEFI Secure Boot, the first release of Krustlet brings WebAssembly to Kubernetes, and Qt considers further limiting access to its releases.

    • Kernel Space

      • Some Older Intel Tablets Finally Seeing Working Touchscreen With Linux 5.7

        While Intel’s open-source Linux hardware support is extremely good even in time for launch day of not only for their server / data center products but also desktop and mobile platforms, occasionally there are exceptions. One of the biggest exceptions over the past decade has been the Bay Trail support sometimes taking years to see fixes or finishing up areas of the support. The latest example of this is some Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail tablets finally seeing working/reliable touchscreen support on Linux 5.7.

      • Linux 5.6.3

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.3 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.6.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.6.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 5.5.16
      • Linux 5.4.31
      • OverlayFS Can Be Paired With VirtIO-FS On Linux 5.7

        Notable to OverlayFS in the Linux 5.7 kernel is support for allowing a remote upper file-system, which in step with other changes allow for VirtIO-FS to be used as an upper layer. VirtIO-FS is the shared file-system for allowing VMs to access a directory on the host and is supported by most of the open-source Linux virtualization components. Up to now though VirtIO-FS hasn’t worked as an upper (writable) layer in an OverlayFS configuration while now that is possible.

      • Open-Source NVIDIA “Nouveau” Driver Should Trip Less Often On Some GPUs With Linux 5.7

        Last week there were a bunch of new improvements and features for the open-source kernel graphics/display drivers merged for Linux 5.7. There were not any feature changes on the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver front while this week at least are some fixes/workarounds so it’s less buggy for some hardware.

        A batch of Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver fixes were sent in this week for the Linux 5.7 merge window closing in a few days. This includes a number of AMDGPU Fixes around Navi/GFX10, BACO, HDCP, and other areas plus a random assortment of other fixes. Plus this time at least there are some Nouveau fixes in tow.

      • Bootlin toolchains updated, edition 2020.02

        Bootlin provides a large number of ready-to-use pre-built cross-compilation toolchains at toolchains.bootlin.com. We announced the service in June 2017, and released multiple versions of the toolchains up to 2018.11.

        After a long pause, we are happy to announce that we have released a new set of toolchains, built using Buildroot 2020.02, and therefore labelled as 2020.02, even though they have been published in April. They are available for 38 CPU architectures or architecture variants, supporting the glibc, uclibc-ng and musl C libraries when possible.

        For each toolchain, we offer two variants: one called stable which uses “proven” versions of gcc, binutils and gdb, and one called bleeding edge which uses the latest version of gcc, binutils and gdb.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia 440.82 Linux Graphics Driver Adds Linux Kernel 5.6 Support

          For all supported systems (Linux, BSD and Solaris), the Nvidia 440.82 graphics driver brings support for presenting from queue families that only expose the VK_QUEUE_COMPUTE_BIT Vulkan extension when XCB is being used in addition to the Xlib surfaces.

          For GNU/Linux systems, Nvidia 440.82 adds a workaround to make the DOOM Eternal video game work via Steam Play. The fix actually overrides app-requested memory locations, thus making sure performance-critical resources are placed in video memory.

        • TURNIP Vulkan Driver Lands Initial Geometry Shader Support

          The TURNIP open-source Vulkan driver continues advancing in-step with the other Mesa drivers.

          TURNIP is the open-source Vulkan driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware and developed by the same crew as the well known Freedreno. For a while after initially being merged to Mesa just over one year ago, there wasn’t much progress to report but recently the involved developers at Google and elsewhere have been picking up work on this Qualcomm Vulkan driver option.

        • AMD Rebases Their OpenMP For Radeon GPUs Against LLVM 11

          At the end of last year with ROCm 3.0 AMD introduced the AOMP compiler for OpenMP support targeting Radeon GPUs. AOMP is another downstream of LLVM Clang and on Tuesday marked the latest update.

          AOMP so far has been developed independently of the LLVM Clang code-base and it remains to be seen any mainlining plans they have of getting this OpenMP offloading for Radeon GPUs upstream. Following their AOMP update in March they have now announced AOMP Release 11.0-1.

        • AMD ACO Begins Using Navi NGG For Tessellation + Vertex Shaders

          The AMD “ACO” compiler backed by Valve for offering a faster shader compiler back-end than AMDGPU LLVM for the RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver has begun making use of Navi’s NGG “Next-Gen Geometry” hardware.

          It has been a slow path for the open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers to make use of NGG as found with the Navi/GFX10 hardware (sans Navi 14 being borked). There have been bugs to deal with and other obstacles in supporting this engine designed to offer faster geometry performance.

        • Vulkan 1.2.137 Specification Brings Many Clarifications + Fixes, Faster HTML Doc Loading

          Less than one month ago came the big Vulkan 1.2.135 update with official ray-tracing capabilities and other extension promotions. Out today is Vulkan 1.2.137 with a whole lot of clarifications and fixes.

          Vulkan isn’t slowing down at all due to the coronavirus but its adoption continues to grow and the Vulkan working group continues delivering timely updates with new extensions and fixes/corrections.

    • Applications

      • Repo Review: VidCutter

        VidCutter is a simple program available in the repository for performing very basic video editing tasks. It allows you to quite easily trim and split videos at multiple points, and also join video clips together without the need for a full featured video editing program.

        The user interface is, for the most part, fairly well laid out. Below the video preview screen is a nice timeline with thumbnails. At the right of the preview is the Clip Index. When you start making cuts in a video, each new clip you split will be added to the Clip Index, where you can rearrange the order in which they will be joined. To begin editing, click Open Media and load in a video file.

      • Foliate, the Best eBook Reader app for Linux, is Now Even Better

        I’ve called Foliate the best eBook reader for Linux desktops in the past and based on the change-log of its latest release, I don’t see that opinion changing.

        Foliate 2.0 is a MASSIVE update to this GTK-based .epub reader. It adds a crop of major new features, including a redesigned interface, new reading options, new navigation behaviour, more control, more choice, more everything.

        For me, the biggest change in Foliate 2.0 is the new distraction-free reading mode. This sees Foliate’s window chrome (GTK header bar and progress bar) auto-hide so that you can focus on reading the contents of .epub (and other supported files) rather than gawking at UI elements.

      • GTK+ eBook Reader Foliate 2.0.0 Released!

        Modern new GTK eBook reader Foliate 2.0.0 was released a few days ago with great new features and improvements.

        Foliate 2.0.0 features new selection popover, redesigned interface which works better with smaller screen. The headerbar and progress bar now auto-hide.

      • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Educational Games for Kids – Week 24

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

        With so many young children currently unable to follow their usual routine of going to school, playing with friends, and undertaking many hobbies, it’s vital to keep them happy and learning. There are many ways of advancing a child’s education and well-being including online lessons, video calls with family and friends, combined with parental guidance.

      • Watch Synchronized Videos With Your Remote Friends Using Syncplay (Linux, macOS, Windows)

        Syncplay is a free and open source tool to synchronize media players with remote friends to watch videos together, available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux and *BSD. It supports mpv, VLC, MPC-BE and MPC-HC, with each user being able to use any of these media players.

        The application synchronizes the position and play state of the media player over the Internet, allowing all viewers to watch the same video in the same time. So when one viewer seeks, pauses or unpauses a video, this is applied to all viewers / media players that are in the same Syncplay room, on the same server.

        You can choose to use one of the free public Syncplay servers, or you can host your own public or private Syncplay server, be it on Windows, macOS, Linux (including Raspberry Pi).

      • PeaZip 7.2.0

        Open and extract 180+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX – view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

      • Photo software options [Ed: GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) listed under "Freeware" (which is wrong)]

        GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source program that has been around since the mid-to-late 1990s so there’s been plenty of time to refine it. Available for the Linux, Mac OS X and Windows platforms it provides most of the same features as Adobe’s Photoshop and its user interface is highly customisable. It also supports many of the plugins offered by third-party developers.

      • Google Chrome 81 Now Available for Download on Linux, Windows, and Mac

        Google has just released Chrome 81 on all supported platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Mac.

        The new version is 81.0.4044.92, and it includes several notable improvements, including support for the Web NFC API, which means that web apps can finally use the built-in NFC.

        In other words, if your device is bundled with an NFC, web apps can use it though Google Chrome, either for data transfer or for other implementations.

        Google says it has resolves a total of 32 security vulnerabilities with this release, with the company once again paying thousands of dollars in bounties to researchers who reported the flaws.

      • It’s all in the dot file – YADM and Homeshick

        Backups are important. Backups are crucial. Backups are love, backups are life. Over the years, I’ve talked about the cardinal value of keeping your data safe, and that means multiple copies, multiple locations. We also talked about how to concoct your own quick ‘n’ dirty setup with tar and gpg recently. That one covers both data and application settings. Speaking of the latter …

        Let’s expand on this some more. If you have multiple computers, reinstall systems frequently, or just like to have a consistent configuration across multiple hosts, you might be interested in a way to manage application settings. In Linux, most software keeps their configurations in hidden files inside the home directory, either at the top level (/home/username) or inside the .config sub-directory. Either way, there could be plenty of them, you want to make sure you always have a copy, and if something goes wrong, you can easily revert to a good checkpoint. Introducting YADM and Homeshick.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Google has opened up their Stadia game streaming service, two months free Pro too

        The day has come, Google has finally opened up their Linux-powered game streaming service Stadia and they’re giving you two free months of Pro too so you can try it with the Pro games without paying a penny.

      • Valve put out a ‘Data Deep Dive’ to show how games are doing on Steam

        This new talkative Valve is certainly welcome, as they continue to do blog posts talking about the Steam ecosystem and how good and bad developers are doing. The latest is a ‘Data Deep Dive’ which has some interesting information.

        Giving a brief bit of history on how Steam was pretty much locked-down until Greenlight launched in 2012, opened up to a lot more indie games and then in 2017 they launched Steam Direct fully opening up Steam to pretty much any developer. Since then, obviously, Steam has exploded in size.

        Even with Steam having so many thousands of games now, according to Valve more “new releases than ever are finding success”.


        This still doesn’t mean launching on Steam will be an instant or guaranteed success, as Steam grows there’s clearly more games than ever also not reaching even $5K in the first two weeks. In Valve’s own graph in their research notes, they showed approximately 1,450 titles hitting $5K in the first two weeks in 2019 but when you look at how many titles released in 2019 it means the vast majority didn’t even hit that. This is debatable on how bad that actually is in reality, since even on Linux which is a niche platform on Steam there’s a large amount of very quickly made “filler” games released every year.

      • Shortest Trip to Earth should be releasing for Linux and hopefully soon

        Shortest Trip to Earth, a roguelike spaceship simulator focused on exploration, ship management and tactical battles is now officially coming to Linux and hopefully soon.

      • Realistic gun simulation FPS ‘Receiver 2′ launching April 14

        Receiver 2 is not a traditional first-person shooter, as it simulates the very mechanics of the guns down to every spring and pin. It’s now been given a release date for April 14.

      • Free and open source voxel game engine ‘Minetest’ has a new release up

        Minetest, a free and open source voxel game engine styled like Minecraft has a new release up with some graphical updates, UI improvements and more.

        While Minetest does come with a basic Minecraft-like game, really the power of Minetest is the plugin system. Out of the box, there’s not much in it. However, with a few button clicks in the built-in downloader, you can access a ton of extra content and entire game packs to add into it.

        Minetest 5.2.0 was released a few days ago and while it does include the usual assortment of fixes, there’s also some fun sounding improvements too. Waves are now generated with Perlin-type noise, arm inertia animations were improved, there’s now basic model shading possible, better natural light, visual feedback for button states in the UI, modding is a little easier as it should automatically enable a mod’s dependencies in the world config menu, tools/weapons can wear out on hits, lots of modding enhancements and so on.

      • NVIDIA 440.82 Linux Driver Brings DOOM Eternal Performance Fix, Linux 5.6 Compatibility

        NVIDIA today released the 440.82 Linux binary display driver as their newest stable update in the current 440 driver series.

        The NVIDIA 440.82 Linux driver brings a workaround for DOOM Eternal when running under Steam Play to ensure important resources are placed in vRAM. This important performance workaround has previously been available through NVIDIA’s Vulkan beta driver and is now in the stable release given the popularity of DOOM Eternal.

      • NVIDIA released the 440.82 stable ‘Long Lived’ Linux driver – helps DOOM Eternal on Steam Play Proton

        Today, NVIDIA released an update to their stable driver series with driver version 440.82 now available in their ‘Long Lived’ branch. After a few updates to their Vulkan Beta driver recently, it seems they’ve pulled in a bunch of changes from there.


        Multiple bug fixes made it into this release too, including one” that caused render-offloaded applications to crash on exit”. The rest of the fixes seem specific to using the NVIDIA driver with Linux kernel 5.6.

      • The wonderful and relaxing town-building RPG ‘Littlewood’ is now DRM-free on GOG

        Littlewood is a relaxing casual town-building RPG, a very peaceful game where there’s no combat needed as it blends together lots of different gameplay elements including farming, crafting, mining, gathering and so on.

        It was crowdfunded on Kickstarter back in February 2019 and it did really well with nearly four thousand backers, pledging over eighty thousand dollars.

      • Things To Do With Your PCLinuxOS In The Quarantine

        Well, since we are all quarantined, forced isolation, to prevent the proliferation of COVID-19, this does not mean that it is a frustrating and boring period. There are many things possible to do at home in those times.

        Families, who did not see each other very often, will once again be able to strengthen their ties, talk face to face (and not via whatsapp). I believe that, in some cases, the flame of romance will be rekindled. Of course, for every family brought together by this pandemic, there are very ugly cases of domestic violence that can even get worse.

        But, let’s try to look at the positive side of it all, and, with these forced “vacations”, let’s try to spend time in the best possible way, with a great companion: PCLinuxOS!

        What to do now in this isolation then? We’ll see now!


        Well, first of all, I would like to say that I am over 50. There is a prejudice against those who play, but this prejudice has to be undone: There is nothing wrong with playing with your computer. Many point a finger and say: A man of that age, playing kids’ video games! Well then, collecting retro-games is on the rise right now (the way the games industry goes, it’s no wonder). Metal Jesus, a YouTuber, is the living proof: he might be older than me, and he only has reviews of retro video games on his channel. Well, with that out of the way, let’s look at the game options available for PCLinuxOS in this period.

      • Game Zone: Last Chaos In PCLinuxOS

        Welcome! The medieval fantasy world of Last Chaos awaits you! Choose from 9 different character classes and discover the war torn continent of Iris! Master your class by choosing a class specialization and become a hero!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Best Linux Desktop Environments In 2020

        Let’s discuss the Linux desktop environments for the year 2020. These days every Linux distros have their own desktop environments which means that we have plenty of options available on the Internet to replace our default Linux desktop environment.

        Note: This is our list of best Linux desktop environments in 2020 but let us know if you want to include or remove any desktop environments from this list with your valid opinions.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt 5.12.8 Released

          I am happy to inform you we have released Ot 5.12.8 today.

          As earlier informed Qt 5.12 LTS is in ‘strict’ phase and so on it will receive only the most important bug fixes. But still this 8th patch release to Qt 5.12 LTS contains ~150 changes including fixes to more than 30 bugs. Please check most important changes from Qt 5.12.8 Changes Files.

          Qt 5.12.8 can be updated to existing online installation by using maintenance tool. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal or from qt.io Download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users in the Qt Account portal and at the qt.io Download page for open-source users. You can also try out the Commercial evaluation option from the qt.io Download page.

        • The Qt Company Publishes A 2020 Roadmap Culminating With The Qt 6.0 Release
        • New Qt Releases Might Now Be Restricted To Paying Customers For 12 Months

          With an apparent blame on the novel coronavirus, The Qt Company is said to be considering restricting new Qt releases to paying customers for a period of twelve months in an effort to boost their near-term finances.

          Earlier today The Qt Company published a 2020 Qt road-map while following that a Phoronix reader tipped us off to the latest discussions between KDE, the Qt project, and The Qt Company.

          KDE and the open-source Qt folks have been in discussions with The Qt Company especially with the restrictions announced back in January by The Qt Company that LTS point releases might only be available to commercial customers, Qt Accounts being needed for binary package downloads, etc.

        • Qt, Open Source and corona
          Dear KDE community,
          the relationship between the KDE community, the Qt project and The Qt Company 
          has always been close and beneficial for all three.
          * The Qt Company benefits from having a large and healthy community of 
          contributors, developers and experts around their product.
          * KDE benefits from being able to use Qt and to contribute directly to Qt.
          * The Qt project benefits from having the company as a steward and very large 
          contributor, and having KDE as a large and well-known sub-community.
          Last December, I published a document explaining the win-win-win-relationship: 
          Unfortunately, The Qt Company is currently considering to stop this healthy 
          Fortunately, the KDE Free Qt Foundation exists, which secures the continued 
          existence of Open Source Qt:
          Together with Martin Konold, I represent KDE in the board of the foundation.
          I will now give you a bit of background information.
          During the past two years, there have been negotiations between The Qt Company 
          and the KDE Free Qt Foundation for updating the contract.
          Our goals in negotiations:
          * helping the company increase their revenue without harming the Qt project or 
          the KDE community
          * strengthening the protection of the Qt project and of the KDE community
          * avoiding a parting of ways between The Qt Company and the Qt+KDE communities
          Concrete areas included in the negotiations are:
          * Fixing the incompatibility between paid Qt license terms and using or 
          contributing to Open Source
          (“Prohibited Combination” in https://www.qt.io/terms-conditions/ )
          * Fixing the license incompatibility between the Qt Design Studio (which is 
          only partly Free Software) and our existing contract with the company
          * Making our contract with the company stronger, requiring them to make 
          immediate Free Software releases of Qt (currently, they are allowed to delay 
          by 12 months) to ensure the availability of LTS security fixes for KDE
          * Updating our contract to include Wayland
          * Evaluating contract changes suggested by the company aimed at making the Qt 
          business more profitable, for example the option of selling bundles of Qt with 
          other software, or making integrations with proprietary third-party software 
          One setback in the negotiations has been an announcement of The Qt Company in 
          January: https://www.qt.io/blog/qt-offering-changes-2020
          They announced that LTS releases of Qt will only be available for paid license 
          holders. It is still unclear what this implies for contributions to Qt and for 
          the sharing of security fixes between the various parties (including The Qt 
          Company, the many Qt experts contributing, the KDE community, and Linux 
          At an in-person meeting in Frankfurt on March 6, we nevertheless managed to 
          lay the groundwork for a possible path forward, continuing with an approach 
          beneficial to all sides.
          But last week, the company suddenly informed both the KDE e.V. board and the 
          KDE Free QT Foundation that the economic outlook caused by the Corona virus 
          puts more pressure on them to increase short-term revenue. As a result, they 
          are thinking about restricting ALL Qt releases to paid license holders for the 
          first 12 months. They are aware that this would mean the end of contributions 
          via Open Governance in practice.
          Obviously, it cannot be in the middle- and long-term health of The Qt Company 
          to separate itself from the very strong Qt + KDE communities.
          We hope The Qt Company will reconsider. However, this threat to the Open 
          Source community needs to be anticipated, so that the Qt and KDE communities 
          can prepare themselves.
          The Qt Company says that they are willing to reconsider the approach only if 
          we offer them concessions in other areas. I am reminded, however, of the 
          situation half a year ago. We had discussed an approach for contract updates, 
          which they suddenly threw away by restricting LTS releases of Qt instead.
          What does this mean for the future of Qt and for the future of KDE?
          All software changes in Qt will still be available at as Open Source as 
          required by our contract – maybe with a delay of 12 months if the company 
          decides to part ways with the communities.
          We will continue to work on a contract update that helps all sides. But even 
          if these negotiations were to be unilaterally stopped by The Qt Company, Qt 
          will stay Open Source, and KDE will be able to use it. I am also absolutely 
          sure that the Qt + KDE communities will continue cooperation on new features, 
          bug fixes, and security fixes, even should The Qt Company decide to forgo the 
          benefits of cooperation.
          I invite The Qt Company to stay with us. It will be worthwhile.
          Best regards,
        • Learn PyQt: Packaging PyQt5 & PySide2 applications for Windows, with PyInstaller

          There is not much fun in creating your own desktop applications if you can’t share them with other people — whether than means publishing it commercially, sharing it online or just giving it to someone you know. Sharing your apps allows other people to benefit from your hard work!

          The good news is there are tools available to help you do just that with your Python applications which work well with apps built using Qt5. In this tutorial we’ll look at the most popular tool for packaging Python applications: PyInstaller.

          This tutorial is broken down into a series of steps, using PyInstaller to build first simple, and then increasingly complex PyQt5 applications into distributable EXE files on Windows. You can choose to follow it through completely, or skip ahead to the examples that are most relevant to your own project.

        • Virtual KDE PIM Sprint April 2020

          Last weekend would have been the traditional annual KDE PIM meeting in Toulouse, but with travel being largely shut down in Europe we had to do this virtually. That meant missing out on the culinary treats of being in France, but we got a few things done nevertheless.


          Nico has been working on this, eventually enabling platform calendar abstraction behind the KCalendarCore API. So the same application code could be using a calendar from Akonadi on a desktop system and the Android calendar on a phone.

          We hopefully managed to sort out the remaining conceptual questions for this (modeling hierarchies, lazy population of expensive calendars, separate classes for the calendar metadata or not).

          Moving PIM modules to KDE Frameworks

          KDAV is nearing completion for transitioning to Frameworks after the 20.04 release (so in May or June). A final review pass resulted in a few more improvements and API cleanups.

          Following KDAV the possible candidates are the KGAPI library, which is already used externally and thus would benefit most, as well as the various email frameworks (MIME, IMAP, SMTP).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New GNOME Mobile Shell Mockups Tease a Tactile Future on Tablets

          With Phosh, the mobile face of GNOME Shell, taking shape on phones it’s not a major leap to start thinking about how the GNOME user experience might function on larger screen sizes.

          Like, say a tablet.

          Despite some folks thinking that GNOME Shell is a touch-focused UI, it isn’t.

          In fact, it’s pretty tedious to use without a keyboard or a mouse. Same was true of Unity, RIP.

          To succeed in a finger-driven environment you need a finger-driven interface.

          Just like the one on show in “very experimental” concept images recently shared by GNOME designer Tobias Bernard on the GNOME design Gitlab.

          Tobias is lead UI/UX designer at Purism and works directly on Phosh.

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: Timelines on Calendar

          It’s been a long time since I last wrong a blog post about GNOME Calendar only. That doesn’t mean work has stalled!

          Since pretty much its inception, Calendar used copy-pasted code from Evolution to retrieve events from Evolution Data Server (EDS). It was a pair of classes called ECalDataModelSubscriber, and ECalDataModel. The first is an interface that classes implement when they handle adding, updating, and removing events. It was implemented by the week, month, and year views. The second Evolution class, ECalDataModel, is responsible for storing multiple subscribers, the time range of each subscriber, fetching the calendar data from EDS, and keeping subscribers aware of which events they should display.

          ECalDataModel is a fairly complicated code, full of threads and locks and synchronization points. It was hard to investigate and fix bugs related to it. In addition to that, Calendar tries to use the GDateTime API everywhere, but ECalDataModel (and most Evolution-related code) uses other time types such as time_t and GTimeVal. Over time, those points were growing the pain of maintaining Calendar.

          Even though ECalDataModel and ECalDataModelSubscriber worked mostly well for a long time, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to experiment with a new backend that uses more modern APIs and techniques, threads the heavy stuff away, and is closer to the style and idiosyncrasy of Calendar.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Septor 2020.2

          Tor Browser is fully installed (9.0.8)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of April 7, 2020
          Update Linux Kernel to 5.4.13
          Update Thunderbird to 68.4.1-1
          Update Bluez to 5.50-1.2
          Update Youtube-dl to 2020.03.24

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: mutse

          I started with ‘Linux’ after reading a magazine with a DVD with a number of ‘Linux distros’ in it, after it was mentioned that Windows XP would no longer be supported and would no longer receive security updates. I also did so out of curiosity and as a new challenge, in my already richly filled career.

          I “hopped” from one distro to another and then, by chance, ended up at PCLinuxOS. I then registered on the Dutch forum (pclinuxos.nl) where I got a certain name, A.J. Baudrez (Wamukota), discovered and also read that he lived in Bruges (also read in the PCLinuxOS Magazine). After I contacted Alain, I was invited to come to the “Brutux” meeting(s). That’s how I ‘rolled’ into that Linux world. I still go there every month.

          I am very happy that I have discovered PCLinuxOS (and Linux in general). I’ve already received a lot of help from DeBaas (both at the forum and personally in The Hague Netherlands, where he works as a volunteer in the computer club), also Alain and everyone here at the USA PCLinuxOS forum. Many thanks for that. I wish I had so much knowledge.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Cloud Application Platform Air gapped installation

          Containers has become first choice and ask from customers and Kubernetes is the first choice for container orchestration. Cloud native applications are being built. SUSE Cloud Application Platform is a modern application delivery platform used to bring an advance cloud native developer experience to Kubernetes. SUSE has containerized Cloud foundry.

          Container images being downloaded on Kubernetes master and worker nodes when we deploy SUSE Cloud Application Platform. Source of these container images can be SUSE registry site which is registry.suse.com or can be a local registry in the same network of Kubernetes master and worker nodes.

        • SUSE Home Office Workplace: Our offering for your business continuity strategy

          Providing employees in the home office with secure and reliable access to their business-critical applications – that is currently the big challenge for companies. Hardware bottlenecks, limited budgets and enormous time pressure make the implementation of emergency plans more difficult in many organizations. To help you work from home, we offer a cost-effective business continuity solution that you can implement quickly and easily: the SUSE Home Office Workplace.

        • SUSE Manager 4: The Smart Choice for Managing Linux

          “Only SUSE Manager combines software content lifecycle management (CLM) with a centrally staged repository and class-leading configuration management and automation, plus optional state of the art monitoring capabilities, for all major Linux distributions.”

          These days, IT departments manage highly dynamic and heterogeneous networks under constantly changing requirements. One important trend that has contributed to the growing complexity is the rise of software-defined infrastructures (SDIs). An SDI consists of a single pool of virtual resources that system administrators can manage efficiently and always in the same way, regardless of whether the resources reside on premise or in the cloud. SUSE Manager is a powerful tool that brings the promise of SDI to Linux server management.

          You can use SUSE Manager to manage a diverse pool of Linux systems through their complete lifecycle, including deployment, configuration, auditing and software management. This paper highlights some of the benefits of SUSE Manager and describes how SUSE Manager stacks up against other open source management solutions.

        • Automating the SAP HANA High Availability Cluster Deployment for Microsoft Azure
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Why Linux containers are a CIO’s best friend

          CIOs have many challenges today (to say the least), but one of the biggest is enabling the constant development and delivery of new applications — no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” in today’s ever-changing business and global environments. There are many tools that can help CIOs provide this support, but one of the most important is Linux containers.

          In a recent Smarter with Gartner report, Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Gene Alvarez named “enabling and balancing product and project management of applications to focus on delivering business outcomes while maintaining highly reliable core business operations” as being one of the key challenges CIOs face in 2020.

          Organizations are turning to containers as a way to provide this business-technology balance. Indeed, the use of Linux containers has increased significantly in just the last year.

        • Be careful when pulling images by short name
        • Migrating applications to OpenShift, Part 1: Overview
        • Red Hat names new CEO

          Open source specialists, Red Hat has announced that Paul Cormier has been appointed as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

          Comier is a long term Red Hat veteran and has previously served as the company’s president of Products and Technologies.

          Comier succeeds Jim White Hurst who will now serve as president of Red Hat’s parent company, IBM.

          In 2019, Red Hat was acquired by US software giant IBM in a $34 billion deal.

          During his time at Red Hat, Cormier has driven more than 25 acquisitions at Red Hat, as the company grew exponentially and expanded beyond its Linux routes.

        • RHEL pusher Paul Cormier appointed CEO to lead Red Hat into the IBM era

          Long-serving Red Hatter Paul Cormier has been named president and chief exec as his predecessor, Jim Whitehurst, sets off for fields Big and Blue.

          Cormier is very much a Red Hat insider, having joined in 2001 and overseen the addition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to the company’s line-up. He is also credited with pioneering the subscription model that shunted the firms and its wares into boardrooms.

          The CEO position had been vacated by Whitehurst, who was due to take up duties as IBM president today, 6 April. Arvind Krishna is also set to commence his tenure as Big Blue’s CEO today following January’s shenanigans, which saw former boss Virginia Rometty shown the retirement door (by the end of this year, at least).

          Whitehurst’s tenure at Red Hat saw the company’s revenues grow from $500m to almost $3bn before IBM swooped in with an eye-popping $34bn deal to acquire the open sourcer in 2018. Whitehurst then became a veep at IBM.

          Cormier, who described RHEL as “by far the most successful thing I ever have or ever will work on”, has his work cut out as Red Hat’s business is integrated with IBM’s. Research, sponsored by Red Hat itself, showed the company enjoyed a substantial share of the worldwide server operating system market ahead of the IBM acquisition. Buddying up with Microsoft will have done no harm to those figures, despite IBM’s well-documented struggles to keep its own cloud relevant.

        • A message from Paul Cormier: Red Hat is here to help

          We are living, and working, through a time of great uncertainty. At a time like this, I’ve found it helpful to remember our values and what’s important. What’s important to Red Hat is our commitment to our people, our customers and our communities. It goes without saying that wellbeing is priority number one, and we continue to take measures to prioritize the health and well-being of both Red Hat associates and the communities where we live and work.

          As we embrace new ways of working, we can look to the open source way of doing business, where the best ideas can come from anywhere, and where transparency and collaboration are vital, and showing up ready to help is a key component to success for each contributor and the community as a whole. We’re here, as always, to help.

          We are focusing our efforts on helping our associates, our customers and our communities thrive today, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come. Whether that’s continuing your business in a changing world, adapting to a virtual-first footing, or helping us all learn new things and stay inspired – all while maintaining some semblance of work/life balance.

          We have some ideas, and would love to hear yours. In the spirit of ‘release early, release often,’ here are some of the things we’re doing, with more to share in the weeks to come.

        • A partner’s guide to the Red Hat Summit virtual experience

          Partners play a critical role in Red Hat’s efforts to drive innovation with enterprise open source technology. From OEMs to global systems integrators to cloud and service providers, Red Hat’s extensive partner ecosystem helps customers around the world achieve success and IT modernization. We appreciate our partners and look forward to showcasing their innovative work at the first-ever Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience, a free, immersive multi-day event.

          If you’re a partner participating in Red Hat Summit, you won’t want to miss any of the action. Here are a few insider tips and tricks to help you navigate our newly virtual event.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.5 is out

          This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Tails, the security-focused OS, adds support for Secure Boot

          Tail OS, an operating system optimized for privacy and anonymity, has released version 4.5 this week, the first version that supports a crucial security feature named UEFI Secure Boot.

          Secure Boot works by using cryptographic signatures to verify that firmware files loaded during a computer’s boot-up process are authentic and have not been tampered.

          If any of the firmware checks fail, Secure Boot has the authority to stop the boot process, preventing the operating system from launching.

        • Tails 4.5 Anonymous OS Released with Secure Boot Support

          Arriving a month after Tails 4.4, this release is the first to offer support for computers that have the Secure Boot security feature enabled in the BIOS.

          According to the Tails development team, Tails can now boot on computers with Secure Boot enabled, including Macs. But if you get the error “Security settings do not allow this Mac to use an external startup disk” you must change the settings of your Mac’s Startup Security Utility to authorize Tails.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • UbuntuDDE: This New Linux Distro Combines Ubuntu 20.04 And Deepin Desktop

          Have you ever thought about combining the power of the most popular Linux distro Ubuntu with the out-of-the-box Deepin Desktop? Well, if you think this could be the best combination, then UbuntuDDE, a new Linux distribution, can be the best choice for you.

          UbuntuDDE is a new entrant in the world of Linux desktops packed with the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Deepin desktop environment. There’s no doubt that Deepin is one of the most beautiful desktops that somewhat lacks popularity. And shipping it on top of beginner-friendly Ubuntu results in an elegant and powerful Linux distribution.

        • What’s New in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Ubuntu 20.04 is the latest LTS release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS comes with a lot of new features and changes. In this article, I am going to talk about these new features and changes. So, let’s get started.

        • Simplify NFV adoption – Charmed OSM and Managed Apps

          Charmed OSM and Managed Apps let telecom operators accelerate adoption of NFV. This is needed because the way we consume data has changed. We want data at a cheaper price with faster speeds and in larger quantities. To meet the challenge, telecom operators are changing the underlying network infrastructure that delivers data. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) are enabling this by lowering costs and improving infrastructure flexibility. But how can telecom operators make sure their deployment of NFV is successful? How can they deploy faster and with less risk?

          Last week Canonical announced Managed Apps – a managed service that lets enterprises have their apps deployed and operated by Canonical. One of the ten apps that Managed Apps launched with, was Open Source MANO (OSM) – the NFV management and orchestration stack. Let’s look at what OSM is, how Managed Apps for Charmed OSM works and why you should use it. For a detailed understanding, sign up to this webinar on the benefits of Managed Apps.

        • The Wellcome Sanger Institute: sharing genomic research worldwide securely with supported Ceph

          A world-leading genomic research centre, the Wellcome Sanger Institute uses advanced DNA sequencing technology for large-scale studies that surpass the capabilities of many other organisations. Among other works, the Institute is currently heading the UK-wide Darwin Tree of Life Project to map the genetic code of 60,000 complex species. It is also working with expert groups across Britain to analyse the genetic code of COVID-19 samples, helping public health agencies to combat this now widespread virus.

          For advanced research, genomic scientists need to use and access a vast amount of data. They then need to be able to share this data with other scientists worldwide in a secure and reliable manner. To meet this data storage and retrieval challenge, the Institute opted for Ceph on Ubuntu as an on-premise solution offering superior robustness and scalability. Authorised users internal and external to the Institute can store and retrieve any volume of data from any location via the S3 protocol.


          With the IT infrastructure at the Wellcome Sanger Institute a key factor in pushing back the boundaries of science, Dr Peter Clapham, Informatics Support Group Team Leader says, “With Canonical, we have a platform in place for meeting leading edge requirements, ensuring resilience, and making sure that as it grows, the Institute has a provider that can grow with it and its support needs.” He adds, “We’ve engaged with Canonical for the confidence that we’re not just meeting challenges from today, but that we’re also looking to the future and the continuity of our technical solutions.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Strangest Operating Systems Ever Released

        Ninety-nine percent of computer users don’t give a single thought to their operating system. It comes with the machine, it gets updated automatically, and that’s all there is to it. But here at PCMag, we like to talk about that other 1 percent.

        If you’re really interested in getting into the guts of how your home PC works, installing a new operating system is a fascinating way to do it. While there are many alternative OS choices with dedicated user bases, there are also some weird beasts out there, made for niche interests and unique hardware. Here’s a tour through some of the strangest operating systems ever released.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla: Firefox 75 gets this new address bar, but we’re pausing features over coronavirus

            Firefox maker Mozilla has released version 75 of the browser with a revamped address bar and major search improvements.

            But while it won’t change its regular browser release schedule as Google and Microsoft have done during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it is holding back new security and privacy features that affect site compatibility.

          • Firefox 75 Released with Revamped Address Bar. Download Now.

            The most popular and privacy-focused modern web browser Firefox released the latest version 75 with the revamped address bar and many many changes.

            Used by millions of home, and enterprise users, Firefox with each release, adding more features for its users including some privacy-focused items as well.

          • Firefox 75 Released With Flatpak Support; Firefox On Wayland Now Has H.264 VA-API And Full WebGL Support

            The Firefox 75 release comes with a revamped address bar (screenshot above) with a clean search experience that’s optimized for small laptop screens, with top sites appearing when you select the address. There’s also improved readability of search suggestions, with a focus on new search terms.

            Also, when clicking on the address bar and the search bar, the behavior is now the same across Linux, macOS and Windows desktops: a single click selects all without primary selection, a double click selects a word, and a triple click selects all with primary selection (previously this worked differently on Linux).

          • Mozilla Firefox 75.0 Released with Flatpak Support

            Mozilla Firefox 75.0 was released today. Ubuntu security & updates repositories has published the packages for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and Ubuntu 19.10.

            Mozilla Firefox 75.0 comes with revamped address bar, which brings clean search experience. On Linux, the behavior when clicking on the Address Bar and the Search Bar changes: a single click selects all without primary selection, a double click selects a word, and a triple click selects all with primary selection.

            The new release also brings official Flatpak support, improves HTTPS compatibility, and various security fixes. See release note for details.

          • Firefox 75.0

            Firefox 75.0 has been released. New features include improvements to the address bar, making search easier, all trusted Web PKI Certificate Authority certificates known to Mozilla will be cached locally, and Firefox is available as a Flatpak. See the release notes for more details.

          • Keeping Firefox working for you during challenging times

            There’s likely not a single person reading this who hasn’t been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that school and office closings and “shelter in place” orders have taken a toll on many of you and have led to large adjustments in day-to-day routines.

            The team at Firefox is no different. As people have been adjusting to the new normal, our product leadership and release management looked into our teams’ capabilities and new limitations. Based on this, we believe we can maintain our 2020 Firefox release schedule as we navigate this global crisis together.

            Our Firefox staff and contributors are used to working remotely, including doing their tests on remote hardware. We often work with people in different timezones, whose regional culture is different. We’ve built empathy into our systems for handling difficult or unexpected circumstances. These strengths are what allow us to continue to make progress where some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work.

            We are launching our next release, Firefox 75, today, April 7, as scheduled. We will continue to monitor both internal and external feedback and remain open to making future adjustments.

            We know that this is a time when our users depend on Firefox to provide uninterrupted access to vital government and health services, so we have taken steps to avoid shipping changes that might negatively impact user experience or possibly break these websites.

          • Latest Firefox updates address bar, making search easier than ever

            We have all been spending a lot more time online lately whether it’s for work, helping our kids stay connected to their schools or keeping in touch with loved ones. While connecting is more important than ever as we face this pandemic together, we’ve also been relying on the power of “search” to access information, news and resources through the browser. Today’s Firefox release makes it even easier to get to the things that matter most to you online. Bringing this improved functionality to Firefox is our way of continuing to serve you now and in the future.


            With a single click in the address bar, you’ve got access to your most visited sites. And if by chance you have that site already opened in another tab but can’t find it, we’ve highlighted a text shortcut next to it (in teal!) so you can easily jump to that tab rather than going through the gazillion tabs you already have open. This also works for any page you’ve searched, and may not realize you’ve already opened it.

          • Firefox 75: Ambitions for April

            Even in these times of isolation, our engineering teams have adapted, kept focused, and worked hard to bring you another exciting new edition of Firefox. On the developer tools side, you’ll find instant evaluation in the console, evnt breakpoints for WebSockets, and many other things besides. On the web platform side, new additions include HTML lazy loading for images, the CSS min(), max(), and clamp() functions, public static class fields, and additions to Web Animations API support.

          • Firefox 75 arrives with revamped address bar, Mozilla sticks to 2020 schedule despite coronavirus

            Mozilla today launched Firefox 75 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Firefox 75 includes a revamped address bar with significant search improvements, a few performance tweaks, and a handful of developer features. You can download Firefox 75 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.

            When the coronavirus crisis took hold, millions found themselves spending more time in their browsers as they learn and work from home. But the crisis is also impacting software developers. Google was forced to pause its Chrome releases, which typically arrive every six weeks. Ultimately, Chrome 81 was delayed, Chrome 82 is being skipped altogether, and Chrome 83 has been moved up a few weeks. Microsoft has followed suit with Edge’s release schedule, consistent with Google’s open source Chromium project, which both Chrome and Edge are based on. Mozilla wants to make clear it is not in the same boat. The company took an indirect jab at Google and Microsoft today, saying: “We’ve built empathy into our systems for handling difficult or unexpected circumstances. These strengths are what allow us to continue to make progress where some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work.”

          • Mitchell Baker Named CEO of Mozilla

            The independent directors of the Mozilla board are pleased to announce that Mitchell Baker has been appointed permanent CEO of Mozilla Corporation.

            We have been conducting an external candidate search for the past eight months, and while we have met several qualified candidates, we have concluded that Mitchell is the right leader for Mozilla at this time.

            Mozilla’s strategic plan is focused on accelerating the growth levers for the core Firefox browser product and platform while investing in innovative solutions to mitigate the biggest challenges facing the internet. There is incredible depth of technical expertise within the organization, but these problems cannot be solved by Mozilla alone, so the plan also calls for a renewed focus on convening technologists and builders from all over the world to collaborate and co-create these new solutions. The need for innovation not only at Mozilla, but for the internet at large is more important than ever, especially at a time when online technologies and tools have a material and enduring impact on our daily lives.

            Since last August when it was announced that Mozilla would be seeking a new CEO, Mitchell has assumed an active role in day-to-day operations, formally becoming interim CEO in December 2019. Over the course of this time, she has honed the organization’s focus on long-term impact. Mitchell’s deep understanding of Mozilla’s existing businesses gives her the ability to provide direction and support to drive this important work forward. Her involvement in organizations such as the Oxford Internet Institute, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce Digital Economy Board gives her the ability to not only impact the broader internet landscape, but also bring those valuable outside perspectives back into Mozilla. And her leadership style grounded in openness and honesty is helping the organization navigate through the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created for Mozillians at work and at home.

          • Our Journey to a Better Internet

            he internet is now our lifeline, as a good portion of humanity lives as close to home as possible. Those who currently don’t have access will feel this need ever more acutely. The qualities of online life increasingly impact all of our lives.

            Mozilla exists to improve the nature of online life: to build the technology and products and communities that make a better internet. An internet that is accessible, safe, promotes human dignity, and combines the benefits of “open” with accountability and responsibility to promote healthy societies.

            I’m honored to become Mozilla’s CEO at this time. It’s a time of challenge on many levels, there’s no question about that. Mozilla’s flagship product remains excellent, but the competition is stiff. The increasing vertical integration of internet experience remains a deep challenge. It’s also a time of need, and of opportunity. Increasingly, numbers of people recognize that the internet needs attention. Mozilla has a special, if not unique role to play here. It’s time to tune our existing assets to meet the challenge. It’s time to make use of Mozilla’s ingenuity and unbelievable technical depth and understanding of the “web” platform to make new products and experiences. It’s time to gather with others who want these things and work together to make them real.

          • Open COVID Pledge: Removing Obstacles to Sharing IP in the Fight Against COVID-19
          • Mozilla Supports the Open COVID Pledge: Making Intellectual Property Freely Available for the Fight Against COVID-19

            COVID-19 has afflicted more than one million people worldwide, and the number continues to climb every day. However long the pandemic lasts, we know that scientists and others’ ability to share work toward solutions is critical to ending it.

            The Open COVID Pledge, a project of an international coalition of scientists, technologists, and legal experts, has been created to address this issue. The project calls on companies, universities and other organizations to make their intellectual property (IP) temporarily available free of charge for use in ending the pandemic and minimizing its impact.

      • CMS

        • People of WordPress: Mario Peshev

          Mahttps://wordpress.org/news/2020/04/people-of-wordpress-mario-peshev/rio has been hooked on computers ever since he got his first one in 1996. He started with digging into MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 first and learned tons by trial and error. Following that adventure, Mario built his first HTML site in 1999. He found development so exciting that he spent day and night learning QBasic and started working at the local PC game club. Mario got involved with several other things related to website administration (translating security bulletins, setting up simple sites, etc) and soon found the technology field was full of activities he really enjoyed.


          For Mario, one of the key selling points of WordPress was the international openness. He had previously been involved with other open source communities, some of which were US-focused. He felt they were more reliant on meeting people in person. With events only taking place in the US, this made building relationships much harder for people living in other countries.

          While the WordPress project started out in the US, the WordPress community quickly globalized. Dozens of WordCamps and hundreds of Meetup events take place around the globe every year. All of these events bring a wide variety of people sharing their enthusiasm for WordPress together.

          For Mario, the birth of WordCamp Europe was something magical. The fact that hundreds, and later on thousands, of people from all over the world gathered around the topic of WordPress speaks for itself. Mario has been involved with organizing WordCamp Europe twice (in 2014 and 2015).

      • Funding

        • Community Engagement Challenge

          The GNOME Foundation, in partnership with Endless, is proud to announce the inaugural Community Education Challenge, an exciting new opportunity to engage beginning coders with the free and open-source software (FOSS) community. Our goal is to encourage individuals or teams to submit stimulating ideas that will connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them involved for years to come.

        • GNOME launches a ‘Community Engagement Challenge’ with cash prizes

          With an idea to help get beginner coders interested in FOSS, and to help improve coding skills, the GNOME Foundation has teamed up with Endless for a Community Engagement Challenge.

          Not gaming news but anything that helps Linux and the FOSS community is important, everything we do is on Linux and expanding the FOSS community is vitally important. Games are built with code obviously, so it’s a good fit to mention!

          The Community Engagement Challenge is going to run through multiple stages, with the first opening on April 9 for anyone to send in their submissions if you (or your team) think you have a good idea for a project that will engage beginning coders with the free and open-source software (“FOSS”) community. You will then have until July 1 to submit a written proposal for your concept. From there, they will pick twenty entries that will move to the next round and each will be given $1,000 each. The next phase requires a proof of concept, with four projects moving into receiving $5,000 to then go into the final round. The last round requires a delivered product with the winner receiving $15,000 and the second place finisher receiving $10,000.

        • GNOME Announces Community Engagement Challenge Offering up to $65,000 in Rewards

          It’s always good to see several competitions or challenges trying to promote Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) more than ever.

          In a recent effort by GNOME with the help of Endless, they announced the inaugural GNOME Community Engagement Challenge.

          This Community Challenge is a part of their original announcement of coding education challenge for which GNOME was granted $500,000 funding by Endless last year.

          The three-phase challenge aims to attract new developers to engage with FOSS and potentially create new/unique solutions that would gain more traction from the next-gen coders.

        • GNOME Launching A Community Engagement Challenge With $65k+ In Cash/Prizes

          The GNOME Foundation in cooperation with Endless has launched their first Community Engagement Challenge where they are offering up many prizes and cash.

          The GNOME Community Engagement Challenge is described as a three-phase competition to “generate stimulating ideas that will help connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them active and engaged for years to come. Up to $65,000 in cash prizes are available to the individuals or teams with the best entries.”

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • COVID-19 Hackathons: Only Free Software creates global solutions

            Currently we see a lot of hackathons to find tools that help tackle the crisis of pandemic COVID-19. More and more governments and administrations are hosting or funding such hackathons. To make sure that the results of these hackathons can be used globally and adapted locally – that the software can be used, studied, shared and improved everywhere – the FSFE asks to publish the outcomes under a Free Software licence.
            Breaking the chain of COVID-19 infections and alleviating its dramatic impacts are of top priority within our societies. Software is inherently connected to achieve these goals, from 3D printing ventilators to tracking potential outbreaks or organising solidarity within communities. During the last weeks we have seen virtual hackathons being organised to help find and fund solutions that tackle the COVID-19 crisis. For the time being only some of them are published under a Free Software licence, also called Open Source Software or Libre Software licence, meaning that these solutions can be used, studied, shared and improved by everyone around the world.

            Meanwhile, more and more European governments and administrations are hosting virtual hackathons to help develop new tools. While some of them are explicitly supporting Free Software solutions only, like the WirVsVirus hackathon others are not mentioning their licence at all – like EUvsVirus initiated by the European Commission or Global Hack, funded by StartUpEU, making it difficult or impossible to reuse the software in other parts of the world.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • What a License Track!

            This year we had a great set of licensing related talks, and I’d like to discuss them all in this post.

            Monday morning started with Frank Karlitschek and his talk Why the GPL is great for business. This a great overview of how you can build an free and open source business – pros and cons and pitfalls to avoid.

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn CoffeeScript

          CoffeeScript is a very succinct programming language that transcompiles into JavaScript, so there is no interpretation at runtime. The syntax is inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell, and implements many features from these three languages.

          CoffeeScript is closely related to JavaScript without having its eccentricities. However, CoffeeScript offers more than fixing many of the oddities of JavaScript, as it has some useful features including array comprehensions, prototype aliases and classes. It allows developers to write less code to get more done.

          CoffeeScript is a new language, first appearing in 2009. The first stable release shortly followed in December 2010.

        • Robert Foss: Speed up `git log –graph` 18x times

          This is a speed up of ~18x, compared to the older versions.

          The way this works is that commit-graph file stores the commit graph structure along with some extra metadata to speed up graph in the .git/objects/info directory.

        • 15 years of Git: How to get started or learn something new

          If there’s anything that’s changed software in the past two decades, Git is at the top of the list.

          If you don’t use Git personally, you might think it’s just a tech fad, an incidental darling among developers just because it was created by the same person who started the Linux project itself. There may be some truth to that, but Git does manage to achieve some feats that no other industry has managed. With Git, developers spread all over the world are able to work on the same code, literally at the same time, with a history of every change made, and then merge all the work together to result in a finished product. The complexity is enormous, and so the tool itself can get complex, but in the end, it’s a major component in keeping the software industry running.

          Whether you know Git or not, you’ll very likely encounter it should you dig deep enough into open source software or enter into computer science. Whether you use Git to just download an installer package or whether you interface with it daily to manage code, learning more about it is elucidating and empowering.

        • EBCDIC Handling Library: A Ruby Project

          As long as we are going to be cooped up with the current pandemic, and to keep my sanity going, I decided to revive a software project that was the basis for my development of credit reporting software, the ASCII to EBCDIC translator.

          As long as I am going to revive this project, I may as well make a library of functions that handle data in EBCDIC with translations to and from ASCII. Of course, I would have to include UTF-8 and UTF-16 as these character codes did not exist back in the 1990s.


          One thing that EBCDIC and ASCII have in common is that each character takes up exactly one byte of storage. But that is where the similarity ends.

          Standard ASCII is actually seven bits long and has numeric values ranging from 0 to 127 (or 0×00 to 0x7f in hexidecimal). So what happens to the eighth bit? Standard ASCII has no default action for characters containing the eighth bit (hexidecimal values of 0×80 to 0xFF.)

          In practice, however, the eighth bit is typically used for displaying character graphics, i.e. symbols that are typically used to create things like windows on a text display, or large sized logos. This character set can be found on 8-bit machines like the Commodore PET/VIC-20/64/128, the Atari 8-bit line of machines, and even the IBM-PC models 5150, 5160 and 5170 (commonly known as the IBM-PC, XT and AT)

        • Squeezing the most out of the server: Erlang Profiling

          An obvious way to reduce costs is to make the system more efficient and this means entering the hazardous land of software optimization. Even for experienced programmers, identifying bottlenecks is a hard enough problem when using the right tools; trying to guess what could make the code run faster will not only waste time but is likely to introduce unnecessary complexity that can cause problems down the line. The cousin of premature optimization is necessary optimization without profiling first

          While Erlang is famously known for its concurrency model and fault-tolerant design, one of its biggest strengths is the level of live inspection and tuning it offers, often with little or no setup and runtime cost. In this article, we outline how we leverage those features to profile our system, driving the optimizations that can lead to cost reductions.

        • S. Lott: Why Isn’t COBOL Dead? Or Why Didn’t It Evolve?

          In short, why is FORTRAN still OK? Why is COBOL not still OK?

          Actually, I’d venture to say the stories of these languages are essentially identical. They’re both used because they have significant legacy implementations.

          There’s a distinction, that I think might be relevant to the “revulsion factor.”

          Folks don’t find Fortran quite so revolting because it’s sequestered into libraries where we don’t really have to look at it. It’s often wrapped into SciPy. The GCC compiler system handles it and we’re happy.

          COBOL, however, isn’t sequestered into libraries with tidy Python wrappers and Conda installers. COBOL is the engine of enterprise applications.

          Also. COBOL is used by organizations that suffer from high amounts of technical inertia, which makes the language a kind of bellwether for the rest of the organization. The organization changes slowly (or not at all) and the language changes at an even more tectonic pace.

          This is a consequence of very large organizations with regulatory advantages. Governments, for example, regulate themselves into permanence. Other highly-regulated industries like banks and insurance companies can move slowly and tolerate the stickiness of COBOL.

        • Google’s Propeller Is Beginning To Be Upstreamed For Spinning Faster Program Binaries

          We have begun seeing the start of upstreaming on Google’s Propeller Framework for offering post-link-time binary optimizations in the LLVM compiler stack to offer measurably faster (re)generated binaries.

          Propeller was developed by Google engineers as a result of Facebook’s BOLT post-link optimizer for speeding up applications by optimizing the generated binary after being linked.

        • 5 tips for working from home from a veteran remotee

          Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and its rapid development, we are all being called to take protective and preventative measures, including avoiding social contact as much as possible. Events are canceled, trips are postponed, and companies are asking their employees to work from home. It’s an exceptional situation for everyone, as remote work cultures with distributed teams are being introduced overnight. Many companies are being challenged to quickly organize a team that works completely remotely.

          Many articles and recommendations on remote work, home offices, and teleworking are circulating. For example, GitLab, a pioneer in remote work, has recently published a detailed manual on remote working. I highly recommend it to anyone who is facing the challenge of setting up and managing a remote team. At OpenProject, we have been working in distributed teams for over 10 years.

        • Love or hate chat? 4 best practices for remote teams

          I encourage you to explore open source alternatives to chat like Mattermost, Rocket.Chat, and Riot.

        • Create web tutorials with Reveal.js and Git

          Whether you’re a learner or a teacher, you probably recognize the value of online workshops set up like slideshows for communicating knowledge. If you’ve ever stumbled upon one of these well-organized tutorials that are set up page by page, chapter by chapter, you may have wondered how hard it was to create such a website.

          Well, I’m here to show you how easy it is to generate this type of workshop using a fully automated process.

        • Automation

          • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): 6 open source tools

            As with many new software implementations, there’s a build-or-buy choice when getting started with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

            On the build side, you can write your own bots from scratch, provided you’ve got the right people and budget in place. On the buy side, there’s a burgeoning marketplace of commercial software vendors offering RPA in various flavors, as well as overlapping technologies. (Some market themselves under different but related terms like “intelligent automation.”)

          • Things that are called ML/AI that really aren’t

            Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a genuine technical term to describe something that doesn’t quite yet exist in a truly cognitive form. However, AI is also a marketing buzzword used to distinguish items with extra usability or computing-power oompfh. The acronym often attempts to differentiate ordinary things, such as phones, from extraordinary things of the same ilk, such smartphones.

            Because there’s no legal governance over the use of AI in marketing, the label is abundantly applied to hardware or software use traditional algorithms as well as to things that actually learn. Calling all these things “smart” muddies the waters even more – and makes it difficult to make rational decisions.

            “Many times companies use the term ‘artificial intelligence’ to describe technology that operates without human interaction, but most times it’s just a sophisticated algorithm,” says Scott George, CEO of U.S. Consumer Healthcare Advocacy Group (USCHAG), a consortium of healthcare professionals, institutions, and organizations. He cites website chatbots as an example, which some consider AI – but usually don’t meet the technical criteria.

            “The confusion here is that for something to qualify as AI doesn’t actually require it to have an advanced form of cognition,” says Benjamin Nussbaum, AI/ML advisor to the Greystones Group, a technical support provider for the Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial clients. So many companies can tout what they do as AI is because the definition of AI was established back in the 1950s and only requires that a machine can do as well or better that which a human can do. “This opens the door for basic automation, analysis algorithms, etc. to all be categorized as AI,” adds Nussbaum.

            Naturally, that is extremely confusing for anyone who wants to assess any system’s value. The average algorithm is so sophisticated today that spotting the difference can be nearly impossible for the average buyer.

            The solution is to look at the system’s value without regard to how it’s built. If it genuinely uses AI or machine learning, great; but what matters is whether it makes life better.

          • An existential threat (that isn’t COVID-19)

            Many of you will know my good friend Peter Scott as a Perl luminary. More recently he has turned his attention and his considerable talents to focus on the future of AI, both as an unprecedented opportunity for our society…and as an unprecedented threat to our species.

            A few years back, he released an excellent book on the subject, and just recently he was invited to speak on the subject at TEDx. His talk brilliantly sums up both the extraordinary possibilities and the terrible risks inherent in turning over our decision-making to systems whose capacities are increasingly growing beyond our own abilities, and perhaps soon beyond even our own understanding.

        • Python

          • CircuitBrains Deluxe is a Tiny, CircuitPython-compatible Module (Crowdfunding)

            There are plenty of boards with Adafruit’s CircuitPython support, but Microchip SAMD51 powered CircuitBrains Deluxe is a little different since it’s a module with castellated holes that make it easy to solder to your own baseboard or integrate into a space-constrained product.

          • Arduino With Python: How to Get Started

            Microcontrollers have been around for a long time, and they’re used in everything from complex machinery to common household appliances. However, working with them has traditionally been reserved for those with formal technical training, such as technicians and electrical engineers.

            The emergence of Arduino has made electronic application design much more accessible to all developers. In this course, you’ll discover how to use Arduino with Python to develop your own electronic projects.

          • Webinar: “How To Build Real-Time Interactions In Your Django 3 App” with Calvin Hendryx-Parker

            Django 3 has been making the rounds, so time for a webinar showing how to use the new features within PyCharm Professional. Calvin Hendryx-Parker from Six Feet Up, previous webinar presenter, is returning to give us the highlights.

          • Python 101 – Working with Strings

            You will be using strings very often when you program. A string is a series of letters surrounded by single, double or triple quotes. Python 3 defines string as a “Text Sequence Type”. You can cast other types to a string using the built-in str() function.

          • S. Lott: The COBOL Problem

            First. Replacing COBOL with something shiny and new is more-or-less impossible. Replacing COBOL is a two-step job.

            1. Replace the COBOL with something that’s nearly identical but written in a new language. Python. Java. Scala. Whatevs. Language doesn’t matter. What matters is the hugeness of this leap.

          • Flask Delicious Tutorial : Building a Library Management System Part 2 – Start With A Loaded Skeleton

            In this tutorial we’ll be seeing how to run a minimal app. So that you can focus on the material, i’ve created a repo for you with some libs loaded.

          • Montréal-Python 76: Tonic Glacier

            At Montreal Python, we encourage you to stay at home – but not to stop writing Python ! This is why we are launching Montreal Python 76 – Tonic Glacier, a spectacularly virtual combo of a conference and, following a few days later, a hackathon to overcome COVID-19 with our keyboards.

          • The Singleton Design Pattern in Python

            In this article, we’ll be diving into the Singleton Design Pattern, implemented in Python.

            As time progresses, software gets more tailored to solving specific problems in different domains. While there are many difference in the application-level of our software, some aspects of software design remain largely the same. These aspects might not remain the same for all software out there but will hold true for a lot of scenarios. Therefore, learning and understanding them will be highly beneficial in helping us build resilient programs.

            This is the first in a series about Design Patterns in Python and the different patterns that we can utilize to build software.

          • Python Docstrings

            In Python, a function is a group of related statements that performs a specific task.

            Functions help break our program into smaller and modular chunks. As our program grows larger and larger, functions make it more organized and manageable.

            Furthermore, it avoids repetition and makes the code reusable.

          • Multiple inheritance and mixin classes in Python

            I recently revisited three old posts on Django class-based views that I wrote for this blog, updating them to Django 3.0 (you can find them here) and noticed once again that the code base uses mixin classes to increase code reuse. I also realised that mixins are not very popular in Python, so I decided to explore them, brushing up my knowledge of the OOP theory in the meanwhile.

            To fully appreciate the content of the post, be sure you grasp two pillars of the OOP approach: delegation, in particular how it is implemented through inheritance, and polymorphism. This post about delegation and this post about polymorphism contain all you need to understand how Python implements those concepts.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #415 (April 7, 2020)
          • Wing Tips: Debug Python Services Running on AWS with Wing Pro
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Three Comics For Understanding Unix Shell

            I just optimized Oil’s runtime by reducing the number of processes that it starts. Surprisingly, you can implement shell features like pipelines and subshells with more than one “process topology”.

            I described these optimizations on Zulip, and I want to write a post called Oil Starts Fewer Processes Than Other Shells.

            That post feels dense, so let’s first review some background knowledge, with the help of several great drawings from Julia Evans.

          • Targeted string replacements with sed and AWK

            Global replacement of A with B with sed or AWK might be a mistake unless you’re 100% sure that you really, truly want to replace every instance of A with B in the data file. Even more risky (says he, who has done it more than once to his regret) is globally replacing over a whole set of files:

        • Eclipse

          • Eclipse’s Theia released, missing KubeCon, and more industry trends

            The impact: From its website, “Eclipse Theia is an extensible platform to develop multi-language Cloud & Desktop IDEs with state-of-the-art web technologies.” This is both a smart move (meet people where they, get a bunch of functionality for free) and probably a lot of hard work (chase someone else’s implementation over time).

  • Leftovers

    • Microsoft Buys Corp.com So Bad Guys Can’t

      Wisconsin native Mike O’Connor, who bought corp.com 26 years ago but has done very little with it since, said he hoped Microsoft would buy it because hundreds of thousands of confused Windows PCs are constantly trying to share sensitive data with corp.com. Also, early versions of Windows actually encouraged the adoption of insecure settings that made it more likely Windows computers might try to share sensitive data with corp.com.

    • People Are Fleeing to Appalachia to Escape COVID-19. That Needs to Stop.

      This week, West Virginia became the latest to issue a statewide shelter-in-place directive, ordering residents to remain at home unless they are gathering supplies, caring for ill family members, or working jobs deemed essential.

    • Education

      • Tips on how to plan a [online] academic conference

        Unlike those who are now trying to move a conference midway through planning, we decided to go online from the outset. While that gave us an advantage, we feel it is possible to shorten the planning time for an online conference. Without the need to book rooms and organise accommodation, it is possible to organise an event with some speed. The advice below from lessons we learned may be of help to those of you considering running institutional conferences this summer – it may not be necessary to ditch your plan completely.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Warning of ‘Cramped and Unsanitary Conditions,’ Advocates Urge US Governors to Release Inmates at Risk for COVID-19

        The letter comes as calls mount globally for urgent government actions to limit the spread of the coronavirus in jails and prisons.

      • Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order

        On 12 March, British PM Boris Johnson informed the public that families would continue to “lose loved ones before their time” as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

      • ‘We Can’t Wait’: Congress Urged to Open Medicare to Every Uninsured Laid-Off Worker

        “Millions of workers and their families have been stripped of health insurance during a pandemic. Inaction is not an option.”

      • Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t

        Now there are two classes of people locally: those who can stay at home and those who cannot. Those who can stay at home are also divided by class between those who can have all delivered and those who must shop. Let me suggest that all City Officials can afford to have life delivered by workers which separates them in experience and therefore in policy. I suspect those individuals may have access to testing the rest of us do not.

      • Who Cares for Care Workers During the Pandemic?

        Lee Plaza, 60, is a caregiver for a 90-year-old woman in Los Angeles. She works 12 hours per day, six days per week helping her client shower, groom, eat and perform other basic day to day functions.

      • Lost in the Mail in the Coronavirus Era

        The pandemic threatens letter carriers, their customers, the US Postal Service itself – and even the November election.

      • Top Sanders Aide David Sirota Explains Why Billionaire Class Will Support “Coronavirus Care for All” But Never “Medicare for All”

        “The affluent political class supports Coronavirus Care For All because they fear getting COVID from poor people, but that same affluent political class opposes Medicare for All because they can’t get cancer from poor people.”

      • FLASH! Trump Just Endorsed Bernie’s Medicare-For-All Health Plan

        Will Anyone on His Staff be Brave Enough to Tell Him?

      • With 1,154 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count jumps to 7,497 patients

        On the morning of April 7, Russian officials announced that the country has recorded 1,154 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 7,497 patients across 81 different regions. The latest infections were reported in 43 different regions: Moscow (+697), St. Petersburg (+69), the Moscow region (+67), Bryansk (+32), and Kaliningrad (+29).

      • Central Russia has some of the country’s highest elderly populations. Here’s how officials are trying to protect them from COVID-19.

        Elderly people are particularly susceptible to complications, including deadly complications, from the novel coronavirus continuing its spread across the world. A Meduza investigation revealed that in Russia, the areas with the highest proportions of elderly residents are located in the Central Federal District. In the Tula, Tambov, Ryazan, and Tver regions in particular, COVID-19 poses an unusually high threat. Andrey Pertsev surveyed the actions government leaders in those regions are taking to protect their constituents, address potential ventilator shortages, and take care of those whose age makes them most vulnerable to the epidemic.

      • African Americans Have Contracted and Died of COVID-19 at an Alarming Rate

        The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted.

      • The COVID-19 Outbreak Has Enabled Trump to Advance His Right-Wing Agenda

        Last month, Donald Trump retweeted a doctored photo of himself playing the fiddle that was labeled “My next piece is called: nothing can stop what’s coming.” It was clearly an homage to the Emperor Nero who so infamously made music while Rome burned. To it, the president added this comment: “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”

      • A School on Navajo Nation Stayed Open. Then People Started Showing Symptoms.

        As some schools on the nation’s largest Native American reservation were ordered to close on account of the coronavirus, students at Rocky Ridge Boarding School in northeast Arizona continued attending class.

        School wasn’t supposed to be in session on March 16. Gov. Doug Ducey had declared that public schools would be closed as the state attempted to control the spread of the coronavirus.

      • 5G Isn’t Interesting Enough To Warrant These Stupid Conspiracy Theories

        Fifth generation wireless (5G) is not magic. It’s not witchcraft. It’s not a “race.” It’s not going to kill you. And frankly, it’s not even all that interesting.

      • The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914

        Government leaders everywhere are calling for their people to wage war against the coronavirus outbreak, recalling past victories in an effort to boost public morale. In Britain, politicians cite the Second World War as a suitable example of determined and successful resistance to a terrifying enemy.

      • What The President Said (About The Plague)

        Rather than place Trump’s statements in strict chronological order, I have sometimes put 2 or more of statements from different days together, to highlight Trump’s contradictions and subsequent deviations– these are prefaced by an asterisk. I have retained Trump’s numerous linguistic infelicities. It should be noted that Trump sometimes refers to himself in the third person:

      • Dr. Fauci Has Been Dreading A Pandemic Like COVID-19 For Years

        Reading the transcript almost a year later, I am struck by how clearly Fauci described this current pandemic. Our nation’s top public health officials have known that this outbreak, or something like it, was a serious possibility, and they haven’t been keeping this information to themselves. But it’s hard to find the collective will to prepare for — and stop — a theoretical threat. COVID-19 may be unprecedented, but it wasn’t unpredictable.

      • Mr. President: What’s the plan? Oh, right — he doesn’t have one

        It’s a simple question. It’s an obvious question. It’s an essential question. Yet most political reporters have been so caught up in the day-to-day drama that they haven’t asked it enough, if at all.

        And in all the countless hours of bluster and spin, Trump has never once articulated anything remotely like a plausible plan for how we get to the point where it’s safe for people to go back to work again — beyond some sort of unspecified miracle.

      • Corruption is The Easiest Way to Turn an Outbreak Into a Disaster

        The death of Dr. Li Wenliang (Feb.7.2020) sparks outrage as he was the first whistleblower for the current outbreak. Until this moment, many human rights groups and civil groups worldwide are demanding an investigation into his alleged grievance and speech suppression.

        China tried to cover-up the outbreak, which results in a disaster spreading to other countries.

        Since then we are cursed by ignorant regimes repeating China’s actions and expecting different results. There is no surprise here, they all breastfed from the same source: “Corruption”. So we have Iran and Egypt. (راضعين من نفس البز)

        The only description for what we are seeing right now is a late case of God complex with a false sense of undefeated superpower for the corrupted regime officials because their people don’t question them.

      • GMRT 2020 and lots of stories

        America had been having a history of high cost healthcare as can be seen in this edition of USA today from 2017 . The Affordable Care Act was signed as a law by President Obama in 2010 which Mr. Trump curtailed when he came into power couple of years back. An estimated 80,000 people died due to seasonal flu in 2018-19 . Similarly, anywhere between 24-63,000 have supposed to have died from Last October to February-March this year. Now if the richest country can’t take care of their population which is 1/3rd of the population of this country while at the same time United States has thrice the area that India has. This I am sharing as seasonal flu also strikes the elderly as well as young children more than adults. So in one senses, the vulnerable groups overlap although from some of the recent stats, for Covid-19 even those who are 20+ are also vulnerable but that’s another story altogether.

        If you see the CDC graph of the seasonal flu it is clear that American health experts knew about it. One another common factor which joins both the seasonal flu and covid is both need ventilators for the most serious cases. So, in 2007 it was decided that the number of ventilators needed to be ramped up, they had approximately 62k ventilators at that point in time all over U.S. The U.S. in 2010, asked for bids and got bid from a small californian company called Newport Medic Instruments. The price of the ventilators was approximately INR 700000 at 2010 prices, while Newport said they would be able to mass-produce at INR 200000 at 2010 prices. The company got the order and they started designing the model which needed to be certified by FDA. By 2011, they got the product ready when a big company called Covidgen bought Newport Medic and shutdown the project. This was shared in a press release in 2012. The whole story was broken by New York Times again, just a few days ago which highlighted how America’s capitalism rough shod over public health and put people’s life unnecessarily in jeopardy. If those new-age ventilators would have been a reality then not just U.S. but India and many other countries would have bought the ventilators as every county has same/similar needs but are unable to pay the high cost which in many cases would be passed on to their citizens either as price of service, or by raising taxes or a mixture of both with public being none the wiser. Due to dearth of ventilators and specialized people to operate it and space, there is possibility that many countries including India may have to make tough choices like Italian doctors had to make as to who to give ventilator to and have the mental and emotional guilt which would be associated with the choices made.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft reveals new code integrity feature for Linux

          Microsoft has published details about a new project called Integrity Policy Enforcement (IPE) that it has been working on for the Linux kernel.

        • Microsoft project proposed to aid Linux IoT code integrity
        • Linux and Microsoft’s exFAT Filesystem: The Story So Far [Ed: Fossbytes again promotes the lie that Microsoft Loves Linux. It is, in effect, participating in Microsoft's attack on Linux.]
        • Boeing Finds New Software Flaws on 737 Max

          The new flaws deepen the engineering challenge for Boeing as it tries to return its best-selling jet to the skies. One of the problems involves “hypothetical faults” in the computer’s microprocessor, which could lead the plane to climb or dive on its own, Boeing said. A safety system on the Max caused the jet to dive automatically in both accidents, but the problems aren’t related, Boeing said.

          The other newly revealed fault could potentially cause the autopilot to disengage as the aircraft prepares to land. Neither problem has been observed in flight, but the software changes will eliminate the possibility that they could occur, the company said. The modifications can be incorporated into the plane at the same time.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Cloud Foundry sees top leadership change

                or over a decade, Abby Kearns has been the face of the popular open-source, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud, Cloud Foundry. First as the project manager for Pivotal Cloud Foundry and then as the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s executive director. Now, Kearns’ moving on to another executive position, and CTO Chip Childers has assumed her role as executive director.

                Childers brings vast experience with Cloud Foundry to the head chair. With five-years under his belt at Cloud Foundry as CTO, he and Kearns have both been Cloud Foundry’s public faces. Before he came to Cloud Foundry, he had served as vice-president of Apache Cloudstack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). In short, Childers knows cloud technology like the back of his hand.

              • Mapzen open-source mapping project revived under the Urban Computing Foundation

                The Mapzen open-source mapping platform has a hard history. On the one hand, Mapzen is used by over 70,000 developers and it’s the backbone of such mapping services as OpenStreetMap, Remix, and Carto. But, as a business, Mapzen failed in 2018. Mapzen’s code and service lived on as a Linux Foundation Project.

                Now, it’s moved on to the Urban Computing Foundation (UCF), another Linux Foundation group with more resources. UCF is devoted to helping create smarter cities, multimodal transportation, and autonomous vehicles.

              • seL4 Microkernel Optimized for Security Gets Support of Linux Foundation

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host the seL4 Foundation, the nonprofit organization established by Data61, the digital specialist arm for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO. The seL4 microkernel is the world’s first operating system (OS) kernel that is proved secure; it is designed to ensure the security, safety and reliability of real-world critical computer systems.

                The new Foundation aims to accelerate the development of seL4 and related technologies, and under the Linux Foundation will provide a global, independent and neutral organization for funding and steering the future evolution of seL4. Founding members include Cog Systems, DornerWorks, Ghost Locomotion, HENSOLD Cyber and UNSW Sydney.

                The trustworthiness of embedded computing systems is vital to improving the security of critical systems around the world to safeguard them from cyber threats. This is particularly paramount in industries including avionics, autonomous vehicles, medical devices, critical infrastructure and defense. The seL4 microkernel is the world’s first operating system with a proof of implementation correctness and presents an unparalleled combination of assurance, generality and performance, making it an ideal base for building security- and safety-critical systems. The seL4 Foundation provides a forum for developers to collaborate on growing and integrating the seL4 ecosystem.

              • ‘State of the Edge,’ the Project to Define Edge Computing, Now Part of Linux Foundation
              • The seL4 microkernel: Optimized for security and endorsed by the Linux foundation

                The Linux Foundation is a fundamental organization for the promotion of open source software and has officially endorsed the seL4 microkernel. To further boost seL4, the Linux Foundation will host seL4 Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, established by Data61.

                In order to understand seL4, we must first know what a microkernel is. A microkernel is the bare minimum of components needed to form an operating system. Usually, microkernels are comprised of…

              • The Linux Foundation Throws Weight Behind Secure Microkernel

                Gernot Heiser, who will serve as chair of the new foundation, said the seL4 is unique in that it is mathematically proven to be secure, which provides a robust foundation on which a new generation of embedded systems can be built to drive, for example, internet of things (IoT) applications.

                Founding members of the seL4 Foundation include Data61, University of New South Wales in Sydney, HENSOLDT Cyber GmbH, Ghost Locomotion Inc., Cog Systems Inc. and DornerWorks Ltd.

                The hosting of the seL4 Foundation is sure to add more fuel to an increasingly fierce debate over the future of operating systems. Advocates of microkernels contend operating systems in terms of functions and size should be kept to an absolute minimum to both ensure security and maximize flexibility.

              • Linux Foundation backs security-oriented seL4 microkernel operating system

                However, SeL4 can be used, in theory, as a foundation for Linux and other Unix related operating systems. For example, it was briefly considered for use in Richard M. Stallman’s still-born Gnu Hurd operating system. Now, with its latest edition and broader support, seL4 may be more broadly deployed.

                This kernel is a member of the L4 microkernel family. SeL4 is a mathematically proven correct, bug-free operating system kernel. It’s designed to enforce strong security properties. Data61 claims it’s the world’s first operating system with such proof. It’s also, they say, the only proven operating system featuring fine-grained, capability-based security and high performance. In the real world, it supports mixed criticality real-time systems.

              • Linux Foundation To Support seL4 Foundation

                The Linux Foundation will be hosting seL4 Foundation, the nonprofit organization established by Data61 (the digital specialist arm for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO). The seL4 microkernel is designed to ensure the security, safety and reliability of real-world critical computer systems.

              • FINOS Joins Linux Foundation [Ed: For the second time in two days, the "Linux" Foundation announces backing a non-Linux OS (seL4 and now FINOS), this time it's announced by "Editorial Director, Project Insights at Linux Foundation" who came from Microsoft (yes, Mircrosofters run and speak for the Linux Foundation now)]

                During the 1960s and 1970’s, software developers typically used monolithic architectures on mainframes and minicomputers for software development, and no single application was able to satisfy the needs of most end-users. Vertical industries used software with a smaller code footprint with simpler interfaces to other applications, and scalability was not a priority at the time.

                With the rise and development of the Internet, developers gradually separated the service layer from these monolithic architectures, followed by RPC and then Client/Server.

                But existing architectures were unable to keep up with the needs of larger enterprises and exploding data traffic. Beginning in the middle of the 1990s, distributed architectures began to rise in popularity, with service-oriented architectures (known as SOA) becoming increasingly dominant.


                Today, on March 10th, 2020, The Linux Foundation is excited to announce that the TARS project has transitioned into the TARS Foundation. The TARS Foundation is an open source microservice foundation to support the rapid growth of contributions and membership for a community focused on building an open microservices platform.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and kernel-tools), openSUSE (glibc and qemu), Red Hat (chromium-browser, container-tools:1.0, container-tools:rhel8, firefox, ipmitool, kernel, kernel-rt, krb5-appl, ksh, nodejs:10, nss-softokn, python, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-ma, telnet, and virt:rhel), Scientific Linux (ipmitool and telnet), SUSE (ceph and firefox), and Ubuntu (haproxy, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.3, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.3, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, and linux, linux-hwe).

          • Josh Bressers: Who are the experts

            These are certainly strange times we are living in. None of us will ever forget what’s happening and we will all retell stories for the rest of our days. Many of us asked “tell me about the depression grandma”, similar questions will be asked of us someday.

            The whirlwind of confusion and chaos got me thinking about advice and who we listen to. Most of us know a staggering number of people who are apparently experts in immunology. I have no intention of talking about the politics of the current times, goodness knows nobody in their right mind should care what I think. What all this does have me pondering is what are experts and how can we decide who we should listen to?

            So I’ve been thinking a lot about “experts” lately. Especially in the context of security. There have been a ton of expert opinions on how to work from home, and how to avoid getting scammed, which video conferencing software is the best (or worst). There are experts everywhere, but which ones should we listen to? I’m not an expert in anything, but there are some topics I know enough about to question some of these “experts”.

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox), Debian (chromium and firefox-esr), Oracle (ipmitool and telnet), Red Hat (firefox and qemu-kvm), Scientific Linux (firefox, krb5-appl, and qemu-kvm), Slackware (firefox), SUSE (gmp, gnutls, libnettle and runc), and Ubuntu (firefox, gnutls28, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-4.15, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, and linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-oem-osp1, linux-oracle-5.0).

          • Linux Security Feature Revised For Randomizing The Kernel Stack Offset At Each System Call

            Patches have been revised for allowing Linux to support kernel stack base address offset randomization for each system call.

            This feature is designed for preventing various stack-based attacks that rely upon a known layout of the stack structure. With these patches and enabling the feature, the stack offset would be randomized on each system call so the layout changes for each syscall.

            The PaX/GrSecurity folks previously implemented a “RANDKSTACK” feature for which this upstream work is based on their idea but with a different implementation approach.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • If you don’t cover your Docker daemon API port you’ll have a hell of a time… because cryptocreeps are hunting for it

              Some Docker installations are getting hammered by malware skiddies hoping to mine digital cash using other people’s CPU time.

              Infosec outfit Aqua – no, not the Barbie Girl band – said miscreants have spotted that a decent number of Docker deployments are lazily or inadvertently exposing the daemon API port to the public internet with no protection. It’s a fairly common error that hackers have exploited in the past to mine digital coins, although lately we’re told there have been thousands of infection attempts daily via this interface, all involving a piece of Linux malware dubbed Kinsing.

              “These are the highest numbers we’ve seen in some time, far exceeding what we have witnessed to date,” noted researcher Gal Singer this week.

              “We therefore believe that these attacks are directed by actors with sufficient resources and the infrastructure needed to carry out and sustain such attacks, and that this is not an improvised endeavor.”

            • Kinsing Malware Hits Container API Ports With Thousands of Attacks per Day [Ed: So much media fuss over people improperly configuring things, then wondering why security issues can prevail]

              A misconfigured API port has led to a months-long campaign in which cybercriminals have been launching daily Kinsing malware attacks that number in the thousands, according to security researchers.

            • Linux Servers Under Attack for a Decade

              The “Decade of the RATs Research Report,” published today by BlackBerry, reveals how five Chinese APT groups targeted Linux servers, Windows systems, and mobile devices running Android in a prolonged cross-platform attack.

              Researchers said that they are confident that the APT groups “are likely comprised of civilian contractors working in the interest of the Chinese government who readily share tools, techniques, infrastructure, and targeting information with one another and their government counterparts.”

            • These hackers have been quietly targeting Linux servers for years [Ed: When ZDNet covers "Linux"... it is typically just to smear it, just because some people cannot properly configure and patch stuff]
            • BlackBerry uncovers hacker tools that it says opened data servers for a decade [Ed: The first decent article I see about this. #windows too was targeted, said the original report.]

              It says the tactics give the hackers the ability to extract information from huge amounts of valuable data from computers using the Linux operating system, which is used on most of the world’s web servers and cloud servers.


              But, he said, BlackBerry asserts that the security industry has missed a major component of tactics used by a well-established hacker umbrella group known as WINNIT, which the company says works with China’s government.

              “As an industry, we’ve tended to focus too much on Windows-based devices because they make up the lion’s share of the devices out there,” Cornelius said.

              “But the adversaries are determined and dedicated and . . . they find any opportunity and, in this case, we’ve called out some really novel techniques they’ve used against Linux and even the Android operating system to accomplish their goals.”

              Cornelius said the point of these China-backed hacking campaigns is to exfiltrate, or steal, information that the United States has claimed is worth “multiple billions of dollars” in intellectual property.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google-Fitbit Merger Would Cement Google’s Data Empire

              Google buying another tech company isn’t new.  But Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit poses an extraordinary threat to competition and user privacy.  Users face having their Fitbit information added to Google’s already large and invasive data pool, and a world that makes it harder and harder for privacy-focused tech companies to exist and compete.

              The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing the deal, and could take steps to either block it or establish conditions for approval.  The DOJ should take the first route, and block the deal altogether.  U.S. antitrust laws bar any merger that would “substantially lessen competition,” and Google buying Fitbit would do just that.

            • Thermal Imaging Cameras are Still Dangerous Dragnet Surveillance Cameras

              As governments around the world continue to seek solutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, companies are eager to sell their technology as a silver bullet to defeating the virus. The public already has seen privacy-invasive proposals for geolocation tracking and face recognition. Now, some vendors of surveillance equipment are advocating for the use of thermal cameras that would supposedly detect people who may be infected with the virus and walking around with a fever. These cameras threaten to build a future where public squares and sidewalks are filled with constant video surveillance—and all for a technology that may not even be effective or accurate at detecting fevers or infection. 

              Thermal cameras are still surveillance cameras. Spending money to acquire and install infrastructure like so-called “fever detection” cameras increases the likelihood that the hardware will long outlive its usefulness during this public health crisis. Surveillance cameras in public places can chill free expression, movement, and association; aid in the targeted harassment and over-policing of vulnerable populations; and open the door to face recognition at a time when cities and states are attempting to ban it. 

            • Zoom’s Security and Privacy Woes Violated GDPR, Expert Says
            • Zoom Caught in Cybersecurity Debate — Here’s Everything You Need To Know

              Over the past few weeks, the use of Zoom video conferencing software has exploded ever since it emerged the platform of choice to host everything from cabinet meetings to yoga classes amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and work from home became the new normal.
              The app has skyrocketed to 200 million daily users from an average of 10 million in December — along with a 535 percent increase in daily traffic to its download page in the last month — but it’s also seen a massive uptick in Zoom’s problems, all of which stem from sloppy design practices and security implementations.
              Zoom may never have designed its product beyond enterprise chat initially, but with the app now being used in a myriad number of ways and by regular consumers, the company’s full scope of gaffes have come into sharp focus — something it was able to avoid all this time.

            • Is It Going Too Far to Have a Smart Toilet?

              It seems we have two trends with the Internet of things right now: smart home and wearables. With smart home devices, it seems like sometimes they’re just slapping Alexa on everything we use and calling it smart home. There aren’t any known inclusions of Alexa for the experimental smart toilet, but nonetheless, it leads to the question of whether this is really something that is needed.

            • Analysis of Aarogya Setu

              The COVID 19 pandemic has changed the world we knew. Individuals, Government, everybody is trying to fight it out, cope with it. But to deal with the immediate problem, we often overlook the issues which are brought by the solutions.

              The Government of India has developed an app called Aarogya Setu. This is an app to trace out the people the user came in contact with. If there is someone who is or can be a Covid19 positive among those people, the app notifies the user and authorities. So they can take action. The app has already gained massive popularity among people and has already been downloaded over 10 million times.

              At a glance, the app and the aim behind it seem innocent and right. But if we dig deeper, we will be able to find out the real intention of the app, which is massive blanket data collection. ‘Data Retention’ and not ‘Data Deletion” is at the very core of the privacy policy of the app.

              There is a different prominent organization that has laid down some essential points to keep in mind while developing such apps. EFF says “our advice to organizations that consider sharing aggregate location data: Get consent from the users who supply the data. Be cautious about the details. Aggregate on the highest level of generality that will be useful. Share your plans with the public before you release the data. And avoid sharing “deidentified” or “anonymized” location data that is not aggregated—it doesn’t work.” Chaos Computer Club defines contact tracing as an inherently risky technology. They further say that privacy should be at the fundamental base of any such app. Here are some notable work done in the field by :

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Disinformation: The Invisible Sword Dividing Society

        Supermarkets have finally restocked their toilet paper in Hong Kong after weeks of panic buying when a rumor about toilet paper shortage due to closure of factories in China went viral. The toilet paper shortage did happen, but it was because of panic buying, not because of factory closure in China. How did the rumor spread? Was disinformation one of the culprits?

        On February 25th, the Internet Society Hong Kong Chapter organized a Hong Kong Internet Governance Forum Roundtable on disinformation. On the panel was Eric Wishart, News Management Member at Agence France-Presse (AFP); Masato Kajimoto from the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong; George Chen, Head of Public Policy (Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mongolia) at Facebook; and Charles Mok, a local Legislative Councillor.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • What a ‘Phase Four’ Stimulus Package Must Provide

        This bill must be passed quickly and must be sufficient in scope and magnitude to address the severity of the economic and public health crisis we are experiencing.

      • A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”

        + Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award?

        — Yes, it’s called Climate Change, and a successful international effort.

        + At the onset of a pandemic outbreak of a virus that viciously attacks the lungs of humans, the Trump administration is rolling back the clean cars rule, permitting a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

        — Have to, there may not be much time left for the fossil fuel companies to make one last killing.

        + Despite months of warning, the Coronavirus has now killed more people in the US than 9/11. By next week, it will probably be killing more people in the US than 9/11 every week. By the following week, every day.

        — Okay if it reduces overhead costs, and doesn’t cut productivity or kill market demand.

        + 6.6 Million initial jobless claims. That’s 10 million over the last two weeks. As designed, the neoliberal system is barely capable of serving the un- & underemployed in a mild recession. It’s going to collapse under the weight of a cratering depression. Then what? Are we to suppose that Biden and Trump, two of the most ridiculous figures ever to rise to leadership positions in this country, are going to work it all out on the phone from their respective bunkers?

        + They should just seal Biden up behind a wall of bricks as in the Cask of Amontillado. He’s done. Only the insurance industry can save him now and they’re toast, too…

      • It’s Spring and I’ve Turned 71 in a Pandemic-Induced Recession

        I’m feeling a little weird these days.

      • A Birthday in the Time of Pandemic

        What are the chances that nature itself may be revitalized as human dominance diminished?

      • Boastful Pay Cuts: the Coronavirus Incentive

        It has become a source of pride.  Highly salaried executives – often, it should be said, receiving pay very much disconnected from the value of their work – making voluntary pay cuts and telling everybody else about it.  In sport, celebrated figures such as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have chosen to reduce their enormous pay packages for the sake of the game.  Both play for football leagues in Spain and Italy, countries ravaged by COVID-19, and both earn amounts reputedly coming in at $100 million a year.  Such sums are scandalous to begin with, but it enables a sort of virtue to be practised, the sort that leaves few scares.  Clubs such as Barcelona and Juventus host an army of non-playing employees, and such armies risk being culled.

      • Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?

        Think Bigger

      • Russian police reportedly find fake ‘Bank of Russia’ on darknet that has printed a billion counterfeit rubles

        A store called “Bank of Russia” on the darknet marketplace Hydra has printed about a billion counterfeit rubles (no$13.2 million) in the year it has existed, the business newspaper Kommersant claims. Reporters received a tip about the counterfeit operation from sources in the Internal Affairs Ministry, which serves as Russia’s national police agency.

      • The Big Hit: COVID-19 and the Economy

        Most sectors took a big hit in employment, most concerning is a loss of 42,500 jobs in health care.

      • The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model

        When the wealthiest country in the world is unable to produce basic medical gear to cope with a rampaging pandemic, it is dealing with a strategic vulnerability by depending on multinational supply chains to produce manufactured goods. Absent sufficient redundancies and physical reserves of resources, “just-in-time” lean supply systems can’t cope with sudden disruptions. The global pandemic of 2020 is a case in point.

      • ‘Moronic But Consistent’: Outrage Over Trump Admin Giving PPE to Private Companies, Not States

        “They screwed up the one apparatus—supply chain delivery—that didn’t need to be fixed.”

      • Health Care Workers Need You to Be our Heroes. Here’s How.

        Yes, health care workers have a sense of duty. And yes, us doctors are driven by the Hippocratic oath. But none of us want to be martyrs. When we speak out publicly about the lack of PPE, we are calling attention to a public health crisis compounding the catastrophes of COVID-19.

      • Personal bankruptcies rise by 70 percent in Russia for procedural reasons, and the COVID-19 spike hasn’t even hit yet

        Between January and March of 2020, Russian courts acknowledged the bankruptcies of 22,400 citizens, including independent contractors. That figure represents a 68-percent increase over the same time period in 2019, RBC reported, citing statistics from the Unified Federal Registry of Bankruptcy Declarations (Fedresurs). In the whole of 2019, almost 69,000 Russians successfully declared bankruptcy.

      • Private Equity Firms Told to ‘Get to the Back of the Line’ as Wealthy Investors Try to Profit Off Coronavirus Relief Funds

        “I think the private equity industry can pull itself up from its trillion dollar bootstraps,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

      • Oversight of $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout in ‘Grave Jeopardy’ as Trump Fires Independent Watchdog

        “A direct insult to the American taxpayers—of all political stripes—who want to make sure that their tax dollars are not squandered on wasteful boondoggles, incompetence, or political favors.”

      • Putin explores putting Russians back to work early while acknowledging that COVID-19 peak is still ahead

        Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke openly about the possibility of ending a nationwide non-working period earlier than planned during a meeting in his suburban residence at the Novo-Ogaryovo estate.

      • How the Coronavirus Bailout Repeats 2008’s Mistakes: Huge Corporate Payoffs With Little Accountability

        In 2008, the first of the once-in-a-lifetime economic calamities of most of our lifetimes engulfed the country and the world. Now, just over a decade later, we get to experience the second.

        How well the country responded to the 2008 global financial crisis is still subject to debate. After the crisis peaked in September 2008 and the government intervened with various bailout programs, the financial system and corporate America stabilized. Corporate profits were rising again by the second half of 2009.

      • The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing the Plague of Neoliberalism

        The current coronavirus pandemic is more than a medical crisis, it is also a political and ideological crisis. It is a crisis deeply rooted in years of neglect by neoliberal governments that denied the importance of public health and the public good while defunding the institutions that made them possible. At the same time, this crisis cannot be separated from the crisis of massive inequalities in wealth, income and power. Nor can it be separated from a crisis of democratic values, education and environmental destruction.

      • Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back

        Amazon and its contractors have a pattern of retaliating against and intimidating employees who speak out. I know – because they also tried to do it to me.

      • A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Her Colleagues Using GoFundMe. The Hospital Suspended Her.

        Olga Matievskaya and her fellow intensive care nurses at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey were so desperate for gowns and masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus that they turned to the online fundraising site GoFundMe to raise money.

        The donations flowed in — more than $12,000 — and Matievskaya used some of them to buy about 500 masks, 4,000 shoe covers and 150 jumpsuits. She and her colleagues at the hospital celebrated protecting themselves and their patients from the spread of the virus.

      • Senate Intel Chair Sold Dutch Fertilizer Stock in 2018, Right Before a Collapse

        The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off almost $47,000 dollars worth of shares in a small Dutch fertilizer company in 2018, just weeks before its stock began a sharp 40% collapse.

        Beginning on Sept. 5, 2018, Burr and his wife sold off their stake in the company, OCI, in three days when its shares were priced near their highest point in the last four years.

      • Exposing ‘Folly of Tying Health Coverage to Jobs,’ New Study Estimates 7.3 Million More Uninsured in US by June

        Employer-based health insurance during the current coronavirus outbreak, said one researcher behind the study, “is like an umbrella that melts in the rain.”

      • After Putin ordered paid leave for all non-essential workers, half of Russian companies cut employee salaries

        Russia’s unusual economic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has centered on President Vladimir Putin’s order for all employers to grant non-essential workers paid leave at least until the end of this month. However, a new report from the Center for Strategic Research indicates that almost 30 percent of Russian companies mandated that at least some of their workers take unpaid leave instead. RBC reported on the new survey.

      • How CEOs Are Ruining America

        The first step toward fixing this broken system is to stop buying CEOs’ lies. How can we believe that Jamie Dimon’s initiatives on corporate philanthropy are anything other than public relations? Why should we think that he or his fellow CEOs seek any goal other than making more money for themselves and their firms? We can’t and we shouldn’t. They don’t have America’s best interests at heart — they’re making millions to be CEOs, not patriots.Big American corporations aren’t organized to promote the wellbeing of Americans, and Americans cannot thrive within a system run largely by corporations. Fundamental reform will be led only by concerned and active citizens.

      • Amazon Warehouse Workers Walk Off Job to Demand Safer Conditions During Pandemic

        Just a week after Amazon fired a worker who led a walkout, workers at the same Staten Island warehouse walked off the job again Monday to protest unsafe working conditions as online orders soar during the pandemic. We get an update from Angeles Solis, lead organizer at Make the Road New York, which helped organize the strike. Solis helps lead the group’s Beyond Amazon coalition in New York City. If Amazon doesn’t do more to protect workers, “they are not only profiting from this pandemic, but they’re helping to perpetuate it,” Solis says. We also talk about mutual aid organizing among immigrant and low-income communities, and Make the Road’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

      • Google pays only £44m in tax — but its staff get £234,000 each

        The average Google employee earned £234,000 last year as the company’s share price climbed, but it paid only £44 million in corporation tax.

        MPs and tax campaigners criticised the figures, arguing that Google were “writing their own rules”.

        The tax fell from the £66 million paid in 2018, after Google UK reported a fall in profits due to the hiring of 800 extra workers. The company still made £1.6 billion in revenue last year, up from £1.2 billion in 2018, leading to generous payouts for its 4,439 employees.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • GOP’s Achievement is Now on Display

        Significant blame for the failed response and delayed action in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic is being directed at Donald Trump. He fired the pandemic response team so crucial to readiness and progress, threw away the pandemic response book Obama’s administration left him, he cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding less than two weeks after the World Health Organization declared COVID an emergency, he called it a “hoax,” and “bad flu” when an early response would have been most crucial, etc…

      • To Stop Bernie Sanders, WaPo Willing to Risk Americans’ Lives

        Sanders is subjected to Post attacks, while his rival—who, like the Post, opposes Medicare for All—receives decidedly different treatment. 

      • While Rome Burns, Trump Gets What He’s Always Wanted

        A victory parade in the coronavirus moment.

      • Stay in the race Bernie Sanders. America needs you now more than ever.

        Progressive Democrats of America calls upon Senator Bernie Sanders to continue his presidential campaign until the end of the 2020 primary season.

      • ‘We Must Act’: Warren Proposes Billions to Fund 2020 Election Protections in Time of Coronavirus

        “We must not allow Republicans to exploit the pandemic to engage in voter suppression.”

      • Media Scholar Victor Pickard Explains the Historical Roots of the Current News Crisis – The Project Censored Show

        Mickey’s guest for the full hour is media scholar and author, Victor Pickard. Pickard is associate professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. They discuss Pickard’s latest book,”Democracy Without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society.” Pickard describes the dimensions of recent years’ precipitous drop in the employment of reporters, and the likely consequences for society, some of which we’ve seen with the rise of mis and disinformation in our social media age. He explains the historical roots of the current news crisis, and offers timely and significant remedies that center on building publicly-supported journalism institutions that aren’t coupled to commercial values.

      • NYT Writes Post-Mortems for a Sanders Campaign It Did Its Best to Kill

        With only about half the states having cast their votes in the Democratic primaries, the Covid-19 pandemic has frozen the majority of campaign activity, but the New York Times has already chosen its winner. In Times headlines, Sen. Bernie Sanders is as good as conceded, despite him still being in the race, hosting a virtual town hall to discuss a coronavirus relief package and advocating for frontline workers during the pandemic.

      • Pharma-Funded Group Promoting Malaria Drug to Trump Is Tied to Top Trump Donor

        A fight broke out among the White House coronavirus task force over the weekend regarding the potential use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients.

      • Just before Russia’s coronavirus shutdown, Moscow signed a huge procurement deal with a company owned by a politically-connected conglomerate

        On March 27, a day before Russia’s coronavirus shutdown took effect, the Moscow Mayor’s office signed a massive contract reportedly worth 3.2 billion rubles ($42.4 million) to purchase new concrete curbsides for the city. 

      • The Declaration of Arbroath, and the Way Forward Now

        This is my first ever attempt at a podcast. The family think it is hilariously boring, like a TV lecture from the 1950’s. I try to persuade them that being hilariously inept is vital to my charm, but that makes them laugh even more.

      • AOC Says Sanders’s Plans Highlight the Progressive Future We Need Amid COVID-19

        As millions hope to receive support as soon as possible from the massive coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress without adequate oversight mechanisms, we look at who will benefit from “extraordinary asymmetrical assistance” that went to corporations instead of working people. “Some of the people who need it the most are not getting it,” says Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “This contributes to a public health crisis in addition to an economic one.” She also discusses plans for the 2020 election and a “progressive future” for the United States with a single-payer health system and a living wage.

      • Supreme Court Blocks Absentee Ballot Extension in Wisconsin as COVID-19 Spreads

        The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority Monday night was accused of green-lighting “one of the most brazen acts of voter suppression in modern times” after the body overturned a lower court ruling that extended the absentee voting deadline in Wisconsin by six days in an effort to allow people to more safely exercise the franchise amid the coronavirus pandemic.

      • SCOTUS Just Set the Stage for Republicans to Steal the Election

        Three weeks ago, I wrote that the real threat to the 2020 election is not that Donald Trump will use the coronavirus to try to cancel it but that Republicans will try to steal it, state by state, county by county. In an election in which a record number of people may attempt to vote by absentee ballot, Republican state officials can choose simply to mail ballots to people in counties that traditionally vote for Republicans—and not mail enough ballots to the far more populous counties that traditionally vote for Democrats. In so doing, they can slant the general election toward Donald Trump and other Republicans running for election without Trump having to go through all the bother of declaring himself “dictator for life,” which might spook Mitt Romney.

        Last night, the Supreme Court gave Republicans the go-ahead to proceed with that scheme. You don’t need an army to cross the Rubicon when you have henchmen on the Supreme Court willing to do all the dirty work.

      • Russia Scores Pandemic Propaganda Triumph With Medical Delivery to U.S.

        But the delivery also represents a major optics win for Moscow as the worldwide delivery of medical supplies from competing powers takes on an increasingly geopolitical edge. The United States appears to have shed its traditional role of world leader in a global crisis, critics say, instead redirecting its focus on domestic needs. “We’re all talking about it as a trolling operation but in a large part that’s because the U.S. is flat on its back,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the U.S. National Intelligence Council. The State Department has gone as far as to issue a directive to its diplomats in countries that receive U.S. foreign aid to now ask them for help.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange case: Judge denies request to postpone extradition trial due to coronavirus pandemic

        A lawyer for Julian Assange failed Tuesday to convince a British judge to postpone the jailed WikiLeaks publisher’s extradition trial due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

        Edward Fitzgerald, a defense attorney for Mr. Assange, had asked that the proceedings be pushed back to September because of the pandemic instead of resuming as planned on May 18.

        But his application for an adjournment was denied by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who suggested it was too soon to tell whether U.K. courts will be operational next month.

      • Judge refuses to delay Assange’s extradition hearing over coronavirus pandemic

        A London court has ordered that the US can continue with extradition hearings against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in May despite the Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.

        Lawyers for Assange argued on 7 April that they would not be able to prepare an adequate defence for Assange, with the coronavirus lockdown expected to continue well into next month.

        Barrister Edward Fitzgerald, representing Assange, said his lawyers had been unable to communicate with their client or take instructions from Assange since before the lockdown.

        “It is an exceptional situation we find ourselves in. We cannot do justice to Mr Assange if the case goes ahead in May,” he told the court.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Inconvenient Truth of Rape

        Yes, we are in the middle of a contentious primary season and a presidential election with much on the line. And, yes, allegations of sexual assault or rape against the current leader in the Democratic primaries are inconvenient. But rape is even more inconvenient.

      • DC Court Says Terms Of Service Violations Can’t Trigger Federal CFAA Prosecutions

        In a win for researchers and the ACLU, a federal court has ruled that violating a site’s terms of service is not a criminal violation of the CFAA.

      • ‘Cruel, Reckless, and Deadly’: Amnesty Warns of Looming Covid-19 Disaster for Detained Immigrants and Refugees in US

        “We are adrift, about to sink, because if there is one person to be infected, in our unit we would all perish.”

      • What ProPublica Is Doing About Diversity in 2020

        ProPublica is committed to increasing the diversity of our workplace as well as of the journalism community more broadly, and each year we publish a report of what we’re doing about it. This is the report for 2020; here are our posts from 2019, 2018, and 2017.

        We believe that it is crucial to fill our newsroom with people from a broad range of backgrounds, ages and perspectives. We are committed to recruiting and retaining people from communities that have long been underrepresented, not only in journalism, but particularly in investigative journalism. That includes African Americans, Latinos, other people of color, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

      • Released From Rikers Island, NYU Student Speaks Out About COVID-19

        Crossposted from beyond-prisons.com

        Writer, artist, and NYU student Jose Díaz shares his experience of being arrested and imprisoned on a technical violation during the COVID-19 crisis.

      • Detainees Sue As Cook County Jail Becomes One Of Biggest COVID-19 Clusters In United States

        Kenneth Foster is a 39-year-old detained at Cook County Jail in Chicago. He has stage 4 stomach cancer, sarcoidosis in his lungs, asthma, bronchitis, and high blood pressure.

        According to a declaration filed in federal court [PDF], “Five or six people from Mr. Foster’s dorm have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, Mr. Foster is not exhibiting any symptoms and so he has not been tested.”

      • The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists

        “Give me, a white man, a reason to live,” a user posted to the anonymous message board 4chan in the summer of 2017. “Should I get a hobby. What interests can I pursue to save myself from total despair. How do you go on living.”

        A fellow user had a suggestion: “Please write a concise book of only factual indisputable information exposing the Jews,” focusing on “their selling of our high tech secrets to China/Russia” and “their long track record of pedophilia and perversion etc.”

      • Paradigm Shift by Pandemic

        Nobel-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg warned “the single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus.”  The Covid19 pandemic is a wakeup call to this existential truth.

      • The two-finger test continues to traumatise rape survivors in Pakistan

        According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the test is “unethical”, as a detailed examination of the hymen alone is often questionable in cases of suspected rape.

        Apart from the violation of human rights, the test “could cause additional pain and mimic the original act of sexual violence, leading to re-experience, re-traumatization and re-victimization.”

      • ‘The Purge’ Siren Used to Signal Curfew in Louisiana, Police Apologize

        “Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew. We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ‘Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose,” Acadia Parish sheriff K.P. Gibson said in a statement to the news station.

        All “The Purge” horror movies feature a 12-hour window of time where all crime, no matter how violent, is made legal in the U.S. The siren is used to signal the beginning of the Purge. It can be heard in most of the franchise’s trailers, including the most recent movie, “The First Purge.”

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Staying “safe” while you stream: DBD’s tips on living DRM-free during quarantine

        As most of us are cooped up in our homes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s somewhat natural that we turn to online movies, music, and other media to help pass the time. For most people, this involves turning to Internet streaming for convenient, “all-in-one” services that promise an endless array of recommendations to while away the hours. “Binging” is all well and good every once in a while, but we should remain careful that the ways we’re getting our media don’t come with compromises to our freedom. As we’ve mentioned before, Netflix and other giant media providers are responsible for keeping the practice of DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) alive, and it’s important not to provide them with the subscription fees they need to keep going. It’s also important, even under less dire circumstances, to support businesses and Web sites that provide DRM-free media, and to promote them to our friends. So to help provide you with a plethora of DRM-free and often gratis places to stream from while keeping your rights, here’s a few choice selections from our Guide to DRM-free Living.

        When it comes to finding good videos to watch during times of crisis, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Internet Archive. This section of the digital library contains bona-fide cinematic masterpieces like Nosferatu, as well as “classics” of a different sort like Plan 9 from Outer Space. Many of these works have been voluntarily uploaded to the Archive by their creators, or, like Night of the Living Dead, have fallen into the public domain due to some of the vagaries and finer points in United States copyright law.

    • Monopolies

      • Maybe It’s The Quarantine Talking, But NASCAR’s Esports Takeover Is Hilarious Fun

        As we all live through this bad but real life knockoff of a season of The Walking Dead, we’ve talked about how professional sports leagues are dealing with forced shutdowns. With auto-racing leading the way, several leagues and/or broadcast stations have turned to broadcasting athletes playing video game versions of their sports since they cannot broadcast the real thing. This has been done over varying mediums and to varying degrees of professionalism, but it’s quite clear that there is a thirst during what is nearly a national shutdown for something like the live sports the country regularly enjoys.

      • Patents

        • Open COVID Pledge
        • ‘US Asking India for Drugs Because We have Pro-people Patent Laws’: RSS-affiliate SJM on Drug Export Move

          RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Tuesday said that United States is asking for drugs amid the coronavirus crisis only because India took a stand in 1995 against the WTO mandate issued to member countries for a pro-business/company regime.
          Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of SJM, told News 18, “In 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) mandated the member countries to change patent laws which gave more advantage to the companies. India has a pro-people patent regime, allowing production of generic drugs along with compulsory licensing with reasonable fees.”
          “The US is asking for drugs only because we did not bow down to their pressure to amend our patent regime as per their wishes,” Mahajan said.
          On Tuesday, India decided to relax the complete ban placed on its export on drugs. It decided to export hydroxychloroquine as well as paracetamol on a case-by-case basis, after making sure that it has enough for its own domestic needs. The move came after a flood of requests for the anti-malarial drug by United States and its President Donald Trump hinting at “retaliation”.
          the SJM chief added, “We should get all support from all over the world to produce drugs for the virus and for the humanity at large. We produce the cheapest drugs and provide them throughout the world. This is also a way of showing to the international community how good our patent laws are.”

        • U.N. agency says coronavirus emergency could trump some patent rights

          Discussions are under way on enabling wider access to some patented drugs and medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the U.N.’s intellectual property agency said on Tuesday.

          Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said that during an emergency, health and safety “trumps everything”.

          World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that he backed a proposal by Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado to “create a pool of rights to tests, medicines and vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms for all countries”.

        • How can the US address coronavirus drug shortages?

          The escalating pandemic has caused devastating shortages not only of ventilators and personal protective equipment like masks, but also of essential medicines needed to treat COVID-19 patients. As detailed by STAT and the New York Times, prescriptions for painkillers, sedatives, anesthetics, and antibiotics are up, but the rate at which prescriptions are filled and shipped to hospitals is down. The FDA helpfully tracks drug shortages, but this doesn’t solve the problem. With the sudden spike in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 symptoms, physicians are using these drugs faster than manufacturers are making them.


          Supply has been slow to meet COVID-19-related demand—but slower still because of the outbreak’s disruption to the global supply chain. Many pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured in China, which has seen slowdowns (and in some cases, shutdowns) in manufacturing sectors across the country. Furthermore, because drugs do expire, they’re not stockpiled when there’s a surplus. In some instances, countries have banned the export of drug products important for treating COVID-19 to ensure adequate supply for their own citizens. India, for example, has banned exports on hydroxychloroquine in the event the drug proves useful in treating COVID-19. It’s a wicked problem: the very thing causing the sudden spike in demand is shutting down the means of supply.

          Importantly, it should be noted what the problem isn’t: patents. There have been recent calls to “break” pharmaceutical patents, both in the U.S. and abroad, in view of the public health necessity for some medications and their consequent short supply. But patents have not—either in general or for COVID-19—caused the shortages of important drugs. Rather, the issue arises in the face of generic entry, where generic competition is so intense that over time it has made the manufacture of a drug unprofitable. Unlike, say, Daraprim and Martin Shkreli, drug shortages aren’t a problem of greed; they’re a problem of aligning manufacturing incentives at the right time.

        • [Guest Post] COVID-19: The Invisible Enemy Revisited

          In 2009, Mexico battled an outbreak of a new strain of influenza, the AH1N1 disease, also known as swine flu. The first symptoms appeared in the country at the beginning of April 2009 and, sometime thereafter, two already marketed medicines indicated for influenza, TAMIFLU® (OSELTAMIVIR) and RELENZA® (ZANAMIVIR), were found to be effective against the disease. The government imposed tight measures across the country. Millions of face masks were handed out to citizens and Mexico City carried out a 10-day quarantine.

          Eleven years later, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19, contrary to AH1N1, is a coronavirus, rather than a strain of influenza. For this reason, we still know relatively little about the disease and although a vaccine is currently in the early stages of clinical trials, to date, no treatment has been identified and universally agreed-upon.


          The Mexican Industrial Property Law provides for the grant of compulsory licenses in the event of a national emergency, such as a serious disease as declared by the General Health Council. This law helps protect against the risk that patent protection will hinder the production and/or supply of drugs in the event of a health crisis.

        • Bad Idea Is Bad: Senator Sasse Wants To Give Whoever Patents COVID-19 Treatments 10 Extra Years Of Patent Protection

          It’s amazing how two people can look at the same situation and see the exact opposite conclusions. As experts are pointing out that to fight COVID-19 we should be relaxing intellectual property laws to enable more experimentation and collaboration, some have decided what we really need is more locking up of knowledge, and apparently Senator Ben Sasse falls into that ridiculous camp. We joked a few weeks ago about a law professor who’s never seen an intellectual property law he didn’t want to make worse, saying that pharma companies needed longer patent terms to incentivize the creation of treatments, but we didn’t think anyone in power would actually take that nonsense seriously.

        • Software Patents

          • Patent Troll Runs To Court To Whine About Mean People Online, Insists They Must All Secretly Be From Company It’s Suing

            Earlier this year (though it feels like decades ago…) we wrote about how Mycroft AI was being sued by a patent troll, and how the company’s CEO Joshua Montgomery had put up quite a blog post about the scourge of patent trolls, and how Mycroft AI had taken the position — like a few smart companies before them — to never settle and never give in to patent trolls. The blog post included this fun paragraph:

          • Patent Co. Asks High Court To Ax ‘Dangerous’ Fee Award [Ed: Law360 #patent maximalists call patent troll "patent company"; patent trolls complain that their blackmail and extortion might cost them money.]

            A patent licensing company founded by former WilmerHale and Kirkland & Ellis LLP partners is beseeching the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of attorney fees it was slapped with after a failed patent suit, saying that the award “sanctioned a dangerous expansion” of high court precedent.

            Blackbird Tech said in its petition for certiorari on Monday that the Federal Circuit misapplied the justices’ Octane Fitness decision when it agreed with a lower court that the patent licensing company was responsible for $363,000 in attorney fees for filing a frivolous patent suit.

            In deciding that Blackbird Tech’s suit was exceptional…

      • Trademarks

        • Company Registers YTS and Popcorn Time Trademarks to Promote Legal Streaming

          The Hawaiian company “42 Ventures” has registered various piracy-related trademarks. The company currently owns the US word marks for YTS, Popcorn Time, and Terrarium, which it uses to target key piracy services. This recently resulted in the suspension of the Twitter account of a popular Popcorn Time fork.

      • Copyrights

        • Short Topix: Plex Comes Under Fire From Pro-Copyright Group

          It might seem odd talking about someone attempting to find a cure for the common cold when we’re in the midst of a global pandemic from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, but such efforts are underway. According to a report on CNBC, Amazon is doing just that through its top secret “skunkworks” program Grand Challenge, which aims to conquer big problems by finding solutions that have a big impact on humanity. The program isn’t publicly acknowledged by Amazon, and works under the cover of Amazon’s AWS division.

          The specific project, called “Project Gesundheit,” is Amazon’s top secret project to tackle the common cold. In just the U.S. alone, the common cold is reported (in a 17 year old study, nonetheless) to cost just the U.S. economy $40 billion every year due to physician visits and lost productivity. By 2020, the cost is likely higher. The small team of scientists is hoping to be able to come up with a vaccine, while exploring multiple approaches to the problem of the common cold. The real problem is that the “cure” can have almost NO side effects, since most people are over most colds within one to two weeks.

          About 75 percent of colds are caused by rhinovirus, of which there are 160 known types. Plus, rhinoviruses are very adaptable, mutating exceptionally fast to thwart new treatments or vaccines. This makes the job of finding a vaccine or effective treatment even more difficult.


          Plex has become the latest neutral technology to get slammed for not doing enough to prevent movie and TV show piracy. According to pro-copyright lobby group CreativeFuture, which represents more than 560 companies and organizations, Plex – like Kodi – is a “dangerous digital media player” that has joined the ranks of “internet heavyweights who refuse to take responsibility for the criminal behavior on their platforms.”

          In days gone by, living rooms around the world could be found stacked with video cassette tapes full of films and TV shows. Some bought, others recorded at home, these copies would need to be waded through, to find whatever content the owner fancied watching that day.

          With the rise of digital technology, however, such physical collections have largely disappeared, replaced by copies that occupy virtually zero space, with thousands of movies, TV shows, music tracks, and photographs effortlessly stored on relatively cheap hard drives.

          Paper-based indexing systems, for those who cared to maintain them in the analog age, have now been replaced by software that not only does all the hard work but also makes collections a thing of beauty. While there are alternatives, Emby for example, the clear market leader is Plex. However, the company behind the software is now facing a backlash for failing to control how people interact with its creation.

          According to CreativeFuture, a pro-copyright coalition of more than 560 companies and organizations, Plex — which is basically a pretty media player — is helping to fan the flames of piracy. While there are some exceptions which we’ll come to shortly, people generally need to be in physical possession of movies or TV shows to watch them using Plex, with torrents providing the necessary material.

        • Watch Tower DMCA Subpoena Case Hots Up as Anonymous Objector Gains Traction

          When the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society filed an application for a DMCA subpoena recently , it hoped to obtain the identity of an ‘apostate’ who allegedly uploaded its videos to YouTube in breach of copyright. However, an anonymous objector is now making life difficult for the religious group with a series of filings that hope to cast doubt on its true aims.

        • ‘Ah Baby, We Gotta Go Now’: Music Legend John Prine Dies at 73 After Battle With Coronavirus

          The celebrated songwriter and performer “captured the simplicities and the complexities of the human existence in stark and stunning glory.”

        • Disney Is Making Damn Sure That None Of You Watch An Unauthorized Version Of Samuel L. Jackson Reading ‘Stay The Fuck At Home’

          Lots of famous folks have been making (often amusing) “Stay Home” public service announcements. One great one showed up last week, in which Samuel L. Jackson read a copy of a new “poem” by Adam Mansbach, the author (a decade ago) of the infamous Go the Fuck to Sleep. This time, it was Stay the Fuck at Home. As with the original, Mansbach wrote it, and they got Samuel L. Jackson to read it — though it debuted on the Jimmy Kimmel show (filmed with everyone at home, of course). You can see it embedded below (hopefully starting at the right part)…

        • Russian-language indie music stars drop new self-isolation album

          A group of Russian-language musical acts whose spring concerts were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic has collaborated on a group album titled Without Leaving Home.


Links 7/4/2020: Firefox 75, Python 2.7.1 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Galaxy Chromebook reviews

        I can’t imagine using something this fancy without wiping out the toy OS and installing Ubuntu Linux instead.

        One thing that struck me is that The Verge’s full-column warning (partially embedded below) about the clickwrap contracts the user must agree to just to start the machine. These are commonplace with gadgets, but rarely in such great numbers or with such hostile presentation. The reviewer writes they were unable to read them.

        Tech companies have turned Linux into a transmission vector for adhesion contracts that are virtually impossible to read. To think, they used to complain that the GPL was a virus!

    • Server

      • How to avoid man-in-the-middle cyber attacks

        Remember, you don’t have to click anything online right away, and you don’t have to follow random people’s instructions, no matter how urgent they may seem. The internet will still be there after you step away from the computer and verify the identity of a person or site demanding your attention.

        While MITM attacks can happen to anyone, understanding what they are, knowing how they happen, and actively taking steps to prevent them can safeguard you from being a victim.

      • Another perspective on Swift versus Ceph today

        Mark’s perspective is largely founded in the fault tolerance and administrative overhead. However, let’s a look at “keep using [Ceph] for object too”.

        Indeed the integration of block, POSIX, and object storage is Ceph’s strength, although I should note for the record that Ceph has a large gap: all 3 APIs live in separate namespaces. So, do not expect to be able to copy a disk snapshot through CephFS or RGW. Objects in each namespace are completely invisible to two others, and the only uniform access layer is RADOS. This is why, for instance, RGW-over-NFS exists. That’s right, not CephFS, but NFS. You can mount RGW.

        All attempts at this sort of integration that I know in Swift always start with a uniform access first. It the opposite of Ceph in a way. Because of that, these integrations typically access from the edge inside, like making a pool that a daemon fills/spills with Swift, and mounting that. SwiftStacks’s ProxyFS is a little more native to Swift, but it starts off with a shared namespace too.

      • API Priority and Fairness Alpha

        This blog describes “API Priority And Fairness”, a new alpha feature in Kubernetes 1.18. API Priority And Fairness permits cluster administrators to divide the concurrency of the control plane into different weighted priority levels. Every request arriving at a kube-apiserver will be categorized into one of the priority levels and get its fair share of the control plane’s throughput.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Pagure a GitLab Alternative: Neal Gompa | Jupiter Extras 69

        Pagure, the free software GitLab alternative no one is talking about.

        Neal Gompa joins us to discuss what makes it unique, which projects are using it, and the significant adoption in progress.

      • Building The Seq Language For Bioinformatics

        Bioinformatics is a complex and computationally demanding domain. The intuitive syntax of Python and extensive set of libraries make it a great language for bioinformatics projects, but it is hampered by the need for computational efficiency. Ariya Shajii created the Seq language to bridge the divide between the performance of languages like C and C++ and the ecosystem of Python with built-in support for commonly used genomics algorithms. In this episode he describes his motivation for creating a new language, how it is implemented, and how it is being used in the life sciences. If you are interested in experimenting with sequencing data then give this a listen and then give Seq a try!

      • 2020-04-06 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat names Paul Cormier as President and CEO, Unleashed OS has come to an end, the latest release of the Kaidan XMPP chat client adds audio and video messaging, and the open source eBook reader Foliate has a redesigned user interface for a distraction-free reading experience.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7 Changes So Far: New exFAT Driver, Tiger Lake Graphics By Default, Apple Fast Charge, Etc

        We are now one week through the two week long Linux 5.7 kernel merge window where new/improved functionality is introduced. Here is a look at the changes so far for Linux 5.7.

        If you are behind on your Phoronix reading, among the work we’ve noted so far during week one of the Linux 5.7 merge window includes

      • Intel P-State Driver Shifting To “Schedutil” Governor Default With Linux 5.7

        On top of all the other changes in Linux 5.7 so far, a secondary set of power management updates were sent in today for this next version of the kernel and includes now using the Schedutil governor by default for Intel P-State and Arm big.LITTLE systems.

        Intel’s P-State CPU frequency scaling driver has from the start defaulted to the “powersave” governor on most Linux distributions out there (and “performance” on a subset of other distributions as the default, which had been the upstream kernel default Kconfig value). But with time Schedutil has come together as a capable CPU frequency scaling governor that makes use of the kernel’s scheduler utilization date to make more accurate decisions about ramping up or down clock frequencies. Schedutil has been looked at by developers on replacing the existing governors as it matures enough.

      • F2FS Introduces Zstd Compression Support With The Linux 5.7 Kernel

        The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) updates have been sent in for the very active Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Most notable for F2FS in this next version of the Linux kernel is introducing Zstd transparent file-system compression support. LZO and LZ4 also remain available as the existing compression options. LZ4 meanwhile is the new default compression method for F2FS.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: Update on the Plumbers Covid-19 Situation

        We’re still planning to hold Plumbers, but adopting a wait and see attitude to the in-person component. As people have noticed, the global prospect for being able to travel to Halifax in August seems to be getting worse, so we’re posting this to give more transparency to what the Plumbers Conference decision points and options are.

        Our first consideration is a go/no-go decision point for the in-person conference. Currently, the date we were planning to put the first batch of tickets on-sale (15 May) represents the ideal date for this because it gives time (another 6 weeks) for more clarity to emerge on the situation, while avoiding people doing early purchases only to be disappointed if the event has to be cancelled at a later date.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD’s Marek Olšák Lands Even More OpenGL Threading Improvements Into Mesa 20.1

          One month ago to the day I was writing about OpenGL threading improvements for Mesa 20.1 and since then more “GLTHREAD” work has materialized and successfully landed for improving the Mesa OpenGL driver performance.

          Longtime AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák has been leading this recent work on GLTHREAD. Over the past month he has landed various GLTHREAD optimizations and whitelisting more games to flip on “mesa_glthread” by default.

    • Benchmarks

      • Initial Benchmarks With Intel oneAPI Level Zero Performance

        Last week Intel released an initial set of micro-benchmarks for their oneAPI Level Zero and with L0 support being plumbed into their open-source Intel Compute Runtime, this weekend I started toying around with some Level Zero benchmarks on a variety of Intel processors.

        The oneAPI Level Zero API is their direct-to-metal interfaces for accelerators from GPUs to other hardware. This testing in conjunction with the latest Intel Compute Runtime was testing their Gen9 and Gen11 graphics aboard various Intel CPUs.

        The Intel level-zero-tests micro-benchmarks aren’t the first time we are benchmarking oneAPI components but have been doing so for months. Via the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org and commonly within our hardware reviews are benchmarks on other oneAPI tools like Intel Embree, Open Image Denoise OSPray, OpenSWR, and others. Intel oneAPI continues to have us quite excited on the software front and closely are monitoring its open-source advancements through 2020.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 Milestone 2 Released For Latest Cross-Platform Benchmarking

        The second development release of the Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 cross-platform benchmarking software is now available for evaluation and testing.

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 Milestone 2 builds off the earlier work so far this development cycle on continuing to improve the PTS9-modern result viewer/portal for viewing local benchmark results.

      • Linux 5.6 I/O Scheduler Benchmarks: None, Kyber, BFQ, MQ-Deadline

        While some Linux distributions are still using MQ-Deadline or Kyber by default for NVMe SSD storage, using no I/O scheduler still tends to perform the best overall for this speedy storage medium.

        In curious about the current state of the I/O schedulers with the newly-minted Linux 5.6 kernel, here are benchmarks of no I/O scheduler against MQ-Deadline, Kyber, BFQ, and BFQ low-latency. This round of tests were done on the high performance Corsair Force MP600 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD while similar tests are still being conducted on SATA SSDs and HDDs off Linux 5.6.

    • Applications

      • Biogenesis – Play evolution

        Molecular biology is a fascinating thing. Combine it with computers, and you get yourself a platform for studying the evolution of life. Not an easy one, and scientists worldwide have been at this problem for many years now, trying to understand and replicate the environmental conditions that led to the creation of life on Earth.

        If you’re fascinated by the concepts of amino acids, RNA, cellular division and alike, you can partake in the discovery journey with Biogenesis, a free, cross-platform, Java-based visual microbiology simulator. The idea is simple: you get a primordial soup, and you get to control it, studying and creating organisms of your own. Sounds like good, solid educational fun. Let there be light. I mean Java.


        Biogenesis is not your everyday program, and it will most likely appeal to a tiny, tiny niche of users with some scientific inclination. However, it’s a very capable and fascinating educational tool, as it touches on many important aspects of life without forcing you to go through four years of university somewhere, not that you shouldn’t. It’s smartly designed, it has the right dose of simple and complex, and it entices the brain to think in just the right way.

        The one thing I’m missing are the actual algorithms in the background, which determine how applicable Biogenesis is for real-life simulations. Then again, it allows us to contemplate hypothetical early-life scenarios, and maybe gain understanding into why certain organisms are more prevalent, and how they have come to dominate life. Anyway, definitely worth testing. Begin.

      • 10 Best Free Skype Alternatives for a Linux PC

        Skype is unarguably one of the most popular voice over IP software for audio and video calls as well as instant messaging and file sharing – and that’s not just because Microsoft is the company behind it, it packs a rich set of features that enable its users to communicate in both informal and business environments.

        That notwithstanding, one of the beauties of an open software market is healthy competition and I am happy to inform you that there are more than a handful of alternatives with which you can conveniently send instant messages and host video calls as easily as you would with Skype.

      • Foliate Linux GTK eBook Reader 2.0 Released With A Plethora Of Changes

        Foliate Linux GTK eBook reader had a major new release. The latest 2.0 version comes a redesigned user interface that works better on smaller screens and other important changes, a new continuous scrolling layout, e-reader style navigation, new themes, and much more.

        Besides these important to have features for an eBook viewer, the application also has various minor features that many will find useful, like viewing an eBook’s metadata, remember where you left off, fullscreen mode, and more.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • KeeperRL, the fantastic mix of a dungeon simulator with roguelike and RPG bits has a new free version out

        Bored? Quarantine or Isolation due to the Coronavirus got you down? Time to check out a new game then. KeeperRL, a game that blends together a dungeon building sim with a roguelike and RPG mechanics has a free build up.

        Technically, you could get a free copy of KeeperRL before as the developer has given it away free for a long time—however that was the ASCII version with no proper graphics. It’s code is also open source under the GPL…

      • Paradox confirm a large free update for Stellaris in May, and it hit a big concurrent player peak recently

        Stellaris recently gained the massive Federations expansion, and now that’s out the door Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio are looking ahead towards a big free update due in May.

        Before we get into that, it looks like the popularity of Stellaris has been renewed somewhat since Federations launch. Stellaris hit a peak concurrent player count of over 64 thousand in March, the highest since release 4 years ago. Since then, it’s still regularly seeing higher than normally player counts.

      • Quirky metroidvania platformer ‘SHEEPO’ has you steal eggs and gain transformation powers

        SHEEPO, a new upcoming ‘quirky’ metroidvania platformer recently appeared on Steam, and it instantly pulled in my attention due to the beautiful style. When they describe it as quirky, they’re certainly not wrong. You play as some sort of shape-shifting sheep-thing, travelling across an uncharted planet. Why? You’re collecting samples of each living species for an intergalactic species database.

        You can’t just grab a fully grown creature though, you have to search to find their eggs. They’re guarded of course, so you have to overcome the Queen of each species. Once you manage to collect the egg, you then get the ability to transform into it.

      • Tactical RPG ‘Depth of Extinction’ gains a revamp with a Definitive Edition out now

        HOF Studios have given their tactical RPG with turn-based combat, Depth of Extinction, a full makeover with a fresh Definitive Edition as a massive free update.

        Blending together elements of FTL and XCOM, it didn’t get the best reviews (Mixed overall) and at release largely went unnoticed (until the Steam key debacle anyway). Still, thankfully, the developer kept at it and they’ve tried to expand it, while also removing or replacing elements that didn’t work well in this new Definitive Edition. You can now switch between characters instead of it using an initiative system (so it’s more like XCOM), there’s Stealth and Ambushes now, more mech units, the game loop has been shortened down from around 20 hours to 10, a brand new tutorial and so on. It’s a whole new game feel.

      • Ufflegrim is the most bizarre deck-builder yet but it looks awesome and it’s out now

        Ufflegrim, a new release from Corpse King Games arrived yesterday looks absolutely bizarre blending together a deck-builder with a roguelike. All the mechanics together make it sound thoroughly unique too.

        With 100 floors to travel through and clear, you need to collect creatures which form your deck. However, it’s not quite a standard ‘one card equals one creature’ mechanic, as you appear to be able to play one card on top of another to act like some sort of buff to the existing creature. You also have your own movement to take care of, while watching out for all the other nasties around the floor.

      • Shadow Warrior 2 | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Shadow Warrior 2 running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs great, few stutters here and there.

      • The brilliant ‘Golf With Your Friends’ has another massive content update

        A good time for an update with ton of people at home, and what a great game to play with others too! Golf With Your Friends just recently had a ‘Volcanic Update’ with quite a lot of new content.

        With an entirely new volcanic and sci-fi themed 18 hole course, the Volcano enters the race. There’s also a new Japanese translations, a new and improved Course Editor, new obstacles and hazards, a better tutorial and there’s even gamepad support to make it more accessible than ever.


        Just as a reminder, they announced recently that it was going to be leaving Early Access in Q2 this year, so presumably before the end of June and they’ve still got updates to come yet.

      • City-building strategy ‘Kingdoms and Castles’ adds Steam Workshop support ahead of AI kingdoms update

        Kingdoms and Castles, an absolute gem city-builder with some RTS elements to it just gained a highly requested feature with Steam Workshop support now enabled. Kingdoms and Castles can perhaps be compared with games like Banished, requiring you to plan ahead and make sure you have enough food to last through each winter.


        This should, hopefully, keep players going until the massive AI kingdom update arrives sometime. That’s going to be a massive change for the game, further expanding how you play and I’m super excited for it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The 20 Best Xfce Themes for Linux System in 2020

        Theming and customization is a huge aspect of the Linux world. No other operating system offers such kind of flexibility customizing the desktop. Every desktop environment is great for customizing the look of the Linux system. The Xfce desktop environment is no exception. Instead, it has a massive library of themes and large community support. They are consistently developing Xfce themes for your desktop. Installing and customizing Xfce themes for Linux is also very easy. This article is going to be a handbook for Xfce desktop customization and tweaks.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Maui Weekly Report

          There has been a lot of work into the Maui Project, and the Nitrux team has been actively working on the apps, the framework, and the libraries to make the convergence experience something unique and reliable for our first stable release. Since last time we posted something about the project, many things are refactored, a lot of improvements and UI/UX paper-cut fixes are introduced, and new platforms now have support. We were present at the Plasma Mobile sprint at Berlin, working on improving the Maui apps experience for such a platform. In the sprint, the UBPorts developers were also present, and we are looking forward to seeing the Maui Apps in their platform.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • elementary OS 5.1.3 released with performance improvements and bugfixes

          Courtesy of the development team’s efforts made in March and early April, elementary OS 5.1.3 is now available to the existing users and that too, with several fundamental changes that should get many of you interested.

          For those of you who are unfamiliar with this operating system, allow FOSSLinux to give you a brief introduction. Based on Ubuntu, elementary OS serves as a preferred gateway for users migrating to Linux from Windows or macOS systems.


          Since this is a minor update, what you’d usually expect is a few insignificant improvements and bug fixes. However, from the looks of the official blog post, we can tell that a lot more effort has been put into this update.

          First of all, it can be seen that the focal point of this update has been Code, which is the operating system’s code editor—duh! Keeping in mind all the colorblind folks and those who find it hard to remember things, the developers integrated the Git status of files into the tooltip of the project sidebar.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Move objects between Storage Classes using S3 Bucket Lifecycle Management
        • Tuning the Terabytes for SUSE Enterprise Storage

          This guide is the culmination of efforts I have been working on for more than a year. This all started as an internal wiki where we started capturing tuning information during the first few releases of SUSE Enterprise Storage. As things progressed and more information was scattered around the web and in conference presentations, I started collecting notes and digesting information.

          Then, about a year ago, I began work on the Media and Entertainment Solution guide for SUSE Enterprise Storage. This work centered on the use of CephFS during the media creation process. My goal was to build a fairly performant, all-flash, cluster that would provide suitable capacity and performance for the content creation pipeline and capture the information in a public document. During this work, I also decided to produce a couple of IO500 postings, the first being in June of last year for ISC19 and then again in the fall for SC19.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat appoints Paul Cormier as CEO

          He is credited with pioneering the subscription model that helped the company transform from an open source disruptor into an enterprise technology mainstay. Cormier was also ‘”instrumental” in helping the company combined with IBM following its $34 billion acquisition. “When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere,” Cormier said in a statement. “The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities. The opportunity for Red Hat has never been bigger than it is today and I am honoured to lead the company to help our customers solve their challenges and to keep Red Hat at the forefront of innovation.”

          Having worked with him at Red Hat for more than a decade, Whitehurst said that Cormier was the “natural choice” to lead the company. The IBM president called Cormier the driving force behind its product strategy and explained that he understands how to help its customers and partners make the most out of their cloud strategies. “He is a proven leader and his commitment to open source principles and ways of working will enable Red Hat not only to keep pace with the demands of enterprise IT, but also lead the way as emerging technologies break into the mainstream,” said Whitehurst. “It was my honour and privilege to lead a company filled with many of our industry’s best and brightest and I am excited to see what Red Hatters accomplish under Paul’s leadership.”

        • Paul Cormier Becomes Red Hat CEO

          Red Hat has named Paul Cormier as president and chief executive officer of the company, effective today. Cormier succeeds Jim Whitehurst who takes up his due role as IBM president.

        • Red Hat names longtime exec Paul Cormier as CEO, replacing Jim Whitehurst

          Paul Cormier is the new chief executive officer of Red Hat, replacing Jim Whitehurst who is taking over as president if IBM.

          Red Hat announced Cormier’s selection on the same day that Ginni Rometty steps down as the top executive at IBM, which acquired Red Hat last year for $34 billion in one of the largest tech mergers ever.

          Arvind Krishna replaces Rometty as CEO. In a separate blog post, Krishna spelled out his vision for IBM and reported a number of executive changes.

          The promotion obviously means a great deal to Cormier, who previously served as president of Products and Technologies. He’s worked at Red Hat since 2001.

        • Paul Cormier takes over as Red Hat CEO cites DEC as an inspiration

          Red Hat finally said goodbye to longtime CEO Jim Whitehurst today, and announced erstwhile product supremo Paul Cormier as his replacement.

          Whitehurst had long been scheduled to take up his new role as president of IBM as of today, reporting to Arvind Krishna who took over the Big Blue CEO spot from Ginni Rometty at the end of January.

          Cormier was named as Whitehurst’s successor this morning, though the fact he was highlighted alongside Whitehurst and Krishna in the wake of IBM’s tortuous takeover of the open source powerhouse last year was probably a strong indicator he’d take over the top job in time.

          In a public email to Red Hatters today, Cormier emphasised the firm’s open source heritage, and its commitment to the cloud.

        • Automation against the COVID-19 crisis: 4 suggestions to get started

          Without public cloud computing, we wouldn’t be able to face the pandemic in the way we are. On-premise data centers have never scaled this fast, and not even the most rigorous capacity planning in the world would have forecasted the resource consumption we face today. News outlets covering the outbreaks would have not been able to cope with an entire planet constantly refreshing the home page in the hope of reading good news (that’s what I do). Hospitals and research facilities publishing dashboards full of virus spread statistics would not have been able to acquire the massive datasets they have as fast as they did. Videoconferencing and streaming platforms wouldn’t be able to serve, exceptionally so far, the enormous amount of the human workforce suddenly forced to work from home.

          And what is public cloud computing in the end? An astonishing, unprecedented, disciplined, methodical, pervasive amount of automation (and a few other, equally critical things).

          Automation doesn’t just allow us to cope with the urgency and scale of the demand in the public cloud and inside our data centers. Automation is helping organizations around the world to transition to a work-from-home productivity model. Without automation, the security teams would be hard pressed to install VPN clients across millions of laptops, tablets and smartphones all around the world.

        • UNESCO CodeTheCurve global virtual hackathon: Build your skills and help make a difference

          At least 1.5 billion young people are currently at home due to school closures relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One hundred eighty-three countries have been disrupted. Students, parents, and communities continue to cope with social isolation, while exploring how to maintain a sense of normalcy with the sea of online learning content, collaboration tools, and social media platforms available for the world to consume. Conversations that once took place face-to-face have now moved virtual.

          For students, parents, teachers, educators, and others, home confinement has brought the additional attention and need for an innovative learning paradigm, one centered on practical and real-world digital skills. This is a time that’s especially challenging for the 49% of the global population who lack access to broadband internet. For those who are online, the spread of misinformation and disinformation relating to COVID-19 complicates the situation even further by diminishing confidence in public health guidance by authorities, and has given rise to panic and uncertainty.

        • IBM CEO Arvind Krishna shakes up leadership team on first day at the helm

          Krishna helped shape IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI initiatives in his previous role as vice president of cloud and cognitive software. The CEO is now appointing Howard Boville, formerly Bank of America Corp.’s chief technology officer, as senior vice president of cloud platform to lead the IBM Cloud business unit. The unit is already a central pillar of IBM’s strategy and is set to become an even bigger focus in the new strategic roadmap.

          The AI component of the strategy is being entrusted to newly appointed IBM President Jim Whitehurst. Whitehurst was previously CEO of Red Hat. In his new role, the executive will head IBM Strategy as well as the Cloud and Cognitive Software unit that Krishna led before taking over the top post.

          Two more key executives will take on new roles in the company’s leadership team. Bridget van Kralingely, previously the head of IBM’s global industries, clients, platform and blockchain units, will become senior vice president of global markets. The executive will now be responsible for “simplifying our go-to-market strategies across all business units as well as strengthening IBM’s client-centric culture,” Krishna wrote.

          Whitehurst’s previous CEO post at Red Hat is being handed to Paul Cormier, a 19-year veteran of the company who has until now served as vice president of engineering.

          As the new top executive at Red Hat, Cormier is poised to play a key part in shaping IBM’s strategy. On top of naming hybrid cloud as one of the company’s two core imperatives, Krishna told employees that “we have to win the architectural battle in cloud.” He elaborated that “there’s a unique window of opportunity for IBM and Red Hat to establish Linux, containers and Kubernetes as the new standard. We can make Red Hat OpenShift the default choice for hybrid cloud in the same way that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the default choice for the operating system.”

        • Why not the best? Red Hat vet Paul Cormier takes over as CEO

          In 2001, it was anyone’s guess who would be the dominant business Linux company. Yes, Red Hat was in the running, but so was Caldera, SUSE, and TurboLinux. And, there was still a reasonable chance that Sun with Solaris could fend off Linux from datacenters. Then, Red Hat realized that rather than competing with the others with do-it-all developer-oriented Linux distros, it should go after big business with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

          The person who directed this fundamental change? Red Hat’s new CEO and President Paul Cormier.

          With 20-20 hindsight, this move made perfect sense. But, then, people hated it. They screamed, “Red Hat has betrayed Linux” and “Red Hat wants to be the next Microsoft!” Many people within Red Hat didn’t like the idea one bit either.

        • Open-source giant Red Hat has a new CEO

          IBM has made a huge bet on Red Hat, hoping to dominate a potentially trillion-dollar market by scooping up the open-source giant for $34 billion last year.

          Cormier joined Red Hat in 2001, and according to the company is responsible for driving the move to a subscription model and shifting Red Hat Linux from offering a freely downloadable operating system to focus on selling an enterprise version to big business. The company said its Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now used by 90% of Fortune 500 organizations.

          In his time at the company, Cormier has also managed 25 acquisitions to add to the company’s business capabilities, the company said, as well as driving the company’s hybrid cloud-computing strategy.

          Cormier said: “When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere. The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities.”

          Whitehurst becomes chairman of Red Hat, taking over from Arvind Krishna, who is now CEO of IBM. Krishna said: “Red Hat is synonymous with open source and hybrid cloud – two of the biggest driving forces in our industry.”

      • Debian Family

        • [Sparky] Picom

          There are new tools available for Sparkers: Picom & Sparky Picom Manager. [...] Picom is a standalone compositor for Xorg, suitable for use with window managers that do not provide compositing. Picom is a fork of compton, which is a fork of xcompmgr-dana, which in turn is a fork of xcompmgr.

        • QOwnNotes for Debian (update)

          Some time ago I posted about QOwnNotes for Debian. My recent experience with the openSUSE Build System has convinced me to move also the QOwnNotes packages there, which allows me to provide builds for Debian/Buster, Debian/testing, and Debian/sid, all for both i386 and amd64 architectures.

          To repeat a bit about QOwnNotes, it is a cross-platform plain text and markdown note taking application. By itself, it wouldn’t be something to talk about, we have vim and emacs and everything in between. But QOwnNotes integrates nicely with the Notes application from NextCloud and OwnCloud, as well as providing useful integration with NextCloud like old version of notes, access to deleted files, watching changes, etc.

        • Martin Michlmayr: ledger2beancount 2.1 released

          I released version 2.1 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

        • Reproducible Builds in March 2020

          Welcome to the March 2020 report from the Reproducible Builds project. In our reports we outline the most important things that we have been up to over the past month and some plans for the future.

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-03

          On the 12th of March, I posted my self-nomination for the Debian Project Leader election. This is the second time I’m running for DPL, and you can read my platform here. The campaign period covered the second half of the month, where I answered a bunch of questions on the debian-vote list. The voting period is currently open and ends on 18 April.


          At DebConf19 I wanted to ramp up the efforts to make a Debian PeerTube instance a reality. I spoke to many people about this and discovered that some Debianites are already making all kinds of Debian videos in many different languages. Some were even distributing them locally on DVD and have never uploaded them. I thought that the Debian PeerTube instance could not only be a good platform for DebConf videos, but it could be a good home for many free software content creators, especially if they create Debian specific content. I spoke to Rhonda about it, who’s generally interested in the Fediverse and wanted to host a instances of Pleroma (microblogging service) and PixelFed (free image hosting service that resembles the Instagram site), but needed a place to host them. We decided to combine efforts, and since a very large amount of fediverse services end with .social in their domain names, we ended up calling this project Debian Social. We’re also hosting some non-fediverse services like a WordPress multisite and a Jitsi instance for video chatting.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • First Look: Ubuntu Kylin’s New Desktop Shell is Shaping Up *Very* Nicely…

          The upcoming release of Ubuntu Kylin 20.04 features a fancy looking new desktop environment, the Qt-based UKUI 3.0.

          UKUI 3.0 is a major retooling of the desktop compared to the MATE-based UKUI desktop you may be familiar with (it’s not a total divorce from MATE as a few MATE-related apps stick along for the ride).

          Below are a series of screenshots that an omg! reader (Lord Tech) kindly sent over. They ably illustrate just how well the fledgling UKUI 3.0 desktop is coming along.

        • An Exciting New Version Of Ubuntu 20.04 Offers The Deepin Desktop With A Twist

          Ever wished you could get the stability and familiarity of an Ubuntu LTS like the upcoming 20.04 release, but with the striking beauty of the Deepin Desktop out of the box? Then the brand-spanking-new UbuntuDDE might just be the perfect Linux distribution for you.

        • Already in final beta? That’s Madagascar: Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ gets updated desktop, ZFS support

          Canonical has dropped a final beta of Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa”, set for full release on 23 April.

          Ubuntu has a six-monthly release cycle, with a long-term support release every two years. Ubuntu 20.04 is one of those, so this will get hardware and maintenance updates until 2022, maintenance updates until 2025, and extended security maintenance until 2030. Other releases by contrast are only supported for nine months.

          Canonical says that 95 per cent of all Ubuntu installations are LTS – so for those users, this is the first new release since 18.04. The Linux kernel in 20.04 is 5.4, which is also a long-term release.

        • Move Trash Icon to Left Dock Panel in Ubuntu 20.04

          Want to remove the trash icon from your Ubuntu 20.04 Gnome desktop, and put it onto the left dock launcher?
          This quick tutorial is going to show you how to do the job by either running 2 commands or using a graphical configuration tool.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta

          As announced the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) beta images are now available! Those of you subscribed to ubuntu-server mailing list can clearly see the hard work that has gone on this cycle to get the latest and greatest software to our users.

          Check out the initial release notes for more details and please help us by testing the beta version of Ubuntu Focal! Setting up a test system and upgrading from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic) as well as trying out the live installer for fresh installs are particularly important.

          The Ubuntu Server live installer, based on subiquity, has a couple new features I would to highlight. First, initial support for automated installs is available; checkout the wiki page for more details. Second, the installer comes with the ability to update itself to get the latest bug fixes and features. This is a huge addition that makes it even simpler for users to get the latest features and bug fixes!

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Xubuntu 20.04 Beta. Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 625

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 625 for the week of March 29 – April 4, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Ubuntu Security Updates Released to Fix Denial of Service, Information Exposure

          When exploited, the vulnerabilities can be used to cause a denial of service, which crashes the system, and expose sensitive information in the kernel memory, Canonical warns.

        • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for Ubuntu to Fix 4 Flaws

          Canonical has released today new Linux kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu releases to address a total of four security vulnerabilities discovered by various researchers.

          Affecting all supported Ubuntu releases and kernels, a flaw (CVE-2020-8428) discovered by Al Viro in Linux kernel’s VFS (Virtual Filesystem Switch) layer, which could allow a local attacker to crash the system or expose sensitive information, was patched in this update.

          On top of that, the new Linux kernel security update also fixes a vulnerability (CVE-2019-19046) discovered in the IPMI message handler implementation, which could allow a local attacker to cause a denial of service (kernel memory exhaustion). This flaw affects only Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS systems running Linux kernel 5.3.

        • Canonical Contributing Upstream Improvements To Plymouth Ahead Of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          One of the immediate differences Ubuntu 20.04 desktop/laptop users will notice when booting in UEFI mode is the boot splash screen improvements thanks to leveraging Red Hat’s work on providing a flicker-free boot experience and pulling in the UEFI BGRT system/motherboard logo during the boot process to provide a more transitive experience. Canonical in turn is working on pushing some of their improvements back into upstream Plymouth.

          The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS boot experience is on-par to what has been found in Fedora and other Linux distributions like Arch Linux for over one year.

        • Canonical Joins Cloud Wars: Rolls Out Fully Managed Apache Kafka, Elastic, MongoDB, MySQL, More

          Company “open to any conversation on any open source app that organisations need managed”

          Canonical, the company best known for open source operating system Ubuntu (one of the most widely used OSs in the cloud) has made an unexpectedly aggressive gambit for a broader slice of the managed services pie — it is now offering to manage a wide range of applications including Apache Kafka, MongoDB, MySQL and ElasticSearch.

          The news, announced early this month, catapults Canonical deeper into the “cloud wars”; although it is not offering IaaS in its own data centres, it is offering the SaaS on infrastructure of choice and able to support fully managed applications across AWS, Azure and GCP, the company confirmed to Computer Business Review.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 6 Open-Source AI Frameworks You Should Know About

        Google’s open-source framework TensorFlow is an ecosystem of tools, libraries and resources that’s used by many popular companies like Airbnb, eBay, DropBox and more. TensorFlow aims to simplify and abstract away the complexity of machine learning algorithms to streamline development. Using visual models and flowgraphs, developers and data scientists can quickly create neural networks and other machine learning models to leverage data. Airbnb, for example, is using TensorFlow to categorize apartment listing photos to ensure they accurately represent a particular space.

      • The OpenUK Awards are now open for nominations.

        We are looking for the best in open source, hardware and data in the UK. Who had achieved something great? Who has not been recognised? Which company or project are doing fabulous work that needs exposure?

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 75 will respect ‘nosniff’ for Page Loads

            Prior to being able to display a web page within a browser the rendering engine checks and verifies the MIME type of the document being loaded. In case of an html page, for example, the rendering engine expects a MIME type of ‘text/html’. Unfortunately, time and time again, misconfigured web servers incorrectly use a MIME type which does not match the actual type of the resource. If strictly enforced, this mismatch in types would downgrade a users experience. More precisely, the rendering engine within a browser will try to interpret the resource based on the ruleset for the provided MIME type and at some point simply would have to give up trying to display the resource. To compensate, Firefox implements a MIME type sniffing algorithm – amongst other techniques Firefox inspects the initial bytes of a file and searches for ‘Magic-Numbers’ which allows it to determine the MIME type of a file independently of the one set by the server.

          • Firefox 75 Released, Official Flatpak Build Now Available

            We told you that a Firefox Flatpak build was coming to Flathub, the de-facto Flatpak App Store, a few weeks back. With the release of Firefox 75 the first Firefox Flatpak release is formally available to all.

            Flatpak aside, Linux users of Firefox also benefit from word selection in the address bar and search box that is consistent with macOS and Windows platforms, e.g., a single click selects no words; a double click selects a whole word; a triple click selects all words.

          • Firefox 75 Released With Flatpak Support, Wayland Improvements

            Mozilla has released Firefox 75.0 as what is a big update for Linux users.

            Firefox 75.0 ships with good Flatpak support as an easier means of deploying the web browser on the Linux desktop.

            Also significant for Firefox 75 on Linux is Firefox on Wayland having full WebGL and working VA-API support as some long overdue improvements.

            Firefox 75.0 also brings a number of search improvements, improved HTTPS compatibility, security fixes, support for the loading attribute on img elements to improve bandwidth/memory efficiency, and various other developer additions.

          • Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 75.0 Stable

            Firefox 75.0 is the latest stable version of the Firefox web browser. Its release date is April 7. 2020. Previously released versions of Firefox, including Firefox 74.0 and Firefox 74.0.1, as well as older versions, may be upgraded to the new version.

            All major versions of the Firefox web browser receive upgrades when Firefox Stable is updated. Firefox Beta and Dev versions are upgraded to version 76.0, Firefox Nightly is upgraded to version 77.0, and Firefox ESR is upgraded to version 68.7.

          • 6 Firefox browser extensions that make remote streaming even better

            More than ever these days, people are relying on the internet to stay informed, productive and connected to friends and family. A well-timed entertainment break also helps relieve stress and bring some joy. Here are six Firefox browser extensions to make online entertainment even better in your browser.

          • 13 Firefox browser extensions to make remote work and school a little better

            If you are newly working or going to school from home, the remote approach can be a big shift in how to get things done. Firefox has a number of browser extensions that might help make the #WFH transition a little easier and more productive.

          • Firefox 75 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 75, we are pleased to welcome the 40 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 38 of whom were brand new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions…

          • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 72
          • Nick Desaulniers: Off by Two

            “War stories” in programming are entertaining tales of truly evil bugs that kept you up at night. Inspired by posts like My Hardest Bug Ever, Debugging an evil Go runtime bug, and others from /r/TalesFromDebugging, I wanted to share with you one of my favorites from recent memory. Recent work has given me much fulfilment and a long list of truly awful bugs to recount. My blog has been quieter than I would have liked; hopefully I can find more time to document some of these, maybe in series form. May I present to you episode I; “Off by Two.”


            asm goto is a GNU C extension that allows for assembly code to transfer control flow to a limited, known set of labels in C code. Typically, regular asm statements (the GNU C extension) are treated as a black box in the instruction stream by the compiler; they’re called into (not in the sense of the C calling convention and actual call/jmp/ret instructions) and control flow falls through to the next instruction outside of the inline assembly. Then there’s an “extended inline assembly” dialect that allows for you to specify input and output constraints (in what feels like a whole new regex-like language with characters that have architecture specific or generic meanings, and requires the reference manual to read or write) and whether to treat all memory or specific registers otherwise unnamed as outputs as clobbered. In the final variant, you may also specify a list of labels that the assembly may jump control flow to. There’s also printf-like modifiers called Output Templates, and a few other tricks that require their own post.

            Within the compiler, we can’t really treat asm statements like a black box anymore. With asm goto, we have something more akin to structured exception handling in C++; we’re going to “call” something, and it may jump control flow to an arbitrary location. Well, not arbitrary. Arbitrary would be an indirect call through a pointer that could’ve been constructed from any number and may or may not be a valid instruction (or meant to be interpreted as one, ie. a “gadget.”) asm goto is like virtual method calls or structured expection handling in C++ in that they all can only transfer control flow to a short list of possible destinations.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • How to Create Templates in LibreOffice to Save Time and Increase Productivity

          Creating a template in LibreOffice can save you some time for the documents that you use often. It can be a letter, a financial spreadsheet or even a presentation.

          Time is one factor that a template can save and on the other hand it provides consistency where a group of people in an organization work together at the same project.

          For example, if you are a small organization that has to often issue certificates of experience, instead of copy-pasting from a saved document somewhere, you can create a template. When you need to issue a new certificate of experience, you create a new one from the template, edit it slightly and you are good to go.

        • Announcing the LibreOffice Help editor

          News from the documentation community: The Help project of LibreOffice underwent a major revamp in the last couple of years, with the introduction of the browser-based Help replacing the old Writer-Web solution. Still, editing the Help XML files (XHP) continued to be very hard for any volunteer or skilled developer, due to the specifics of the XML dialect and time required to be proficient in writing Help pages, which continued to be a major block for any individual.

          To address the issue, we developed an online editor to assist and make textual editing quicker for any Help writer, by featuring the possibility of rendering the help page at once, at the click of a button. Also, we implemented a series of checking, including XML validity and the verification of ID unicity, crucial for translation.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • COVID-19 +++ Global cooperation +++ Remote working

            Free Software is the only solution to offer full transparency and trust in its implementation. More and more people ask about the use and development of apps that aim at helping to contain the corona virus by tracking new infections and their contact persons. The Free Software Foundation Europe demands that any such app may only be introduced on a voluntary basis and the software must be published under a Free Software / Open Source Software licence. Only Free Software offers enough transparency to validate a complete data protection and a compliant use; thus trust can be established.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU MediaGoblin: We’re still here!

            Hello Goblin-Lovers! [tap tap] Is this thing still on? … Great! Well, we’ve had a few polite questions as to what’s happening in MediaGoblin-land, given our last blog post was a few years back. Let’s talk about that.

            While development on MediaGoblin has slowed over the last few years, work has continued steadily, with significant improvements such as multi-resolution video (Vijeth Aradhya), video subtitles (Saksham) and a bunch of minor improvements and bug-fixes. Like most community-driven free software projects, progress only happens when people show up and make it happen. See below for a list of the wonderful people who have contributed over the last few years. Thank you all very much!

            In recent years, Chris Lemmer Webber has stepped back from the role of much-loved project leader to focus on ActivityPub and the standardisation of federated social networking protocols. That process was a lot of work but ultimately successful with ActivityPub becoming a W3C recommendation in 2018 and going on to be adopted by a range of social networking platforms. Congratulations to Chris, Jessica and the other authors on the success of ActivityPub! In particular though, we would like to express our gratitude for Chris’s charismatic leadership, community organising and publicity work on MediaGoblin, not to mention the coding and artwork contributions. Thanks Chris!

          • GNU MediaGoblin Announces They Are Still Alive

            One of several GNU projects that have been silent in recent years is MediaGoblin, the effort to provide a free and decentralized web platform for sharing of digital media.

            It’s been four years already since the last release of GNU MediaGoblin, which was version 0.9 that offered Python 3 support and better OAuth security and other improvements. Since then this multimedia web platform has been silent.

            But the MediaGoblin crew announced today that they are in fact still working on the project. They acknowledge work has slowed in recent years but have been working towards new features like multi-resolution video, video subtitles, and other improvements and fixes.

      • Programming/Development

        • Safer SSH agent forwarding

          As mentioned, a better alternative is to use the jump host feature: the SSH connection to the target host is tunneled through the SSH connection to the jump host. See the manual page and this blog post for more details.

          If you really need to use SSH agent forwarding, you can secure it a bit through a dedicated agent with two main attributes:

          it holds only the private key to connect to the target host, and

          it asks confirmation for each requested signature.

        • LLVM’s Flang/F18 Fortran Compiler Might Be Back On Track For Merging Soon

          Since the “f18″ open-source Fortran compiler front-end was approved last year for merging as the newest LLVM sub-project and using the Flang name, there have been a number of false starts in getting the code merged. This year alone Flang had multiple delays and cancelled merge plans as the developers worked to get the code ready for upstream. Now though it looks like it could be ready to cross that long sought after milestone for having an in-tree Fortran front-end.

          Richard Barton announced today that the team now believes F18 is ready to be merged. There still are some open items still being worked on, but should be easily resolved after the F18 code is within the tree as the new “Flang” compiler.

        • A Telegram bot in Haskell on Amazon Lambda

          So instead adding layers and complexities, can I solve this instead my making things simpler? If I compiler my bootstrap into a static Linux binary, it should run on any Linux, including Amazon Linux.


          I am mostly happy with this setup: My game is now available to more people in more ways. I don’t have to maintain any infrastructure. When nobody is using this bot no resources are wasted, and the costs of the service are neglectible — this is unlikely to go beyond the free tier, and even if it would, the cost per generated image is roughly USD 0.000021.

          There is one slight disappointment, though. What I find most intersting about Kaleidogen from a technical point of view is that when you play it in the browser, the images are not generated by my code. Instead, my code creates a WebGL shader program on the fly, and that program generates the image on your graphics card.

        • Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium – recap of our online event
        • Digital Making at Home: Storytelling with code
        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.14 More perspectives

            Andrew Shitov has even been more busy than the past weeks. Apart from adding more and more views to the Covid-19 Observer, so many that there’s now an impressive “What’s new” page. But Andrew didn’t stop at that: an article on Perl.com titled “Observing Coronavirus Pandemic with Raku” (/r/perl comments) explains to the readers how some of the unique features of Raku were applied in processing all of the data. And in the meantime Andrew still found time to publish Chapter 7 of their compiler book.

          • Dancer2 0.300001 Released

            On behalf of the Dancer Core Team, I’d like to announce the availability of Dancer2 0.300001. This maintenance release brings brings a revamped tutorial, fixing of a YAML-related regression, repair of an encoding bug, and a slew of documentation fixes.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 054: Kth Permutation Sequence + Collatz Conjecture
        • Python

          • Python 2.7.18rc1

            Python 2.7.18 release candidate 1 is a testing release for Python 2.7.18, the last release of Python 2.

          • Python 2.7.18 release candidate 1 available

            A first release candidate for Python 2.7.18 is now available for download. Python 2.7.18 will be the last release of the Python 2.7 series, and thus Python 2.

          • Python Software Foundation: Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q1 2020

            Congratulations! Thank you for your continued contributions. We have added you to our Fellow roster online.

            The above members have contributed to the Python ecosystem by teaching Python, creating education material, contributing to circuitpython, contributing to and maintaining packaging, organizing Python events and conferences, starting Python communities in their home countries, and overall being great mentors in our community. Each of them continues to help make Python more accessible around the world. To learn more about the new Fellow members, check out their links above.

            Let’s continue to recognize Pythonistas all over the world for their impact on our community. The criteria for Fellow members is available online: https://www.python.org/psf/fellows/. If you would like to nominate someone to be a PSF Fellow, please send a description of their Python accomplishments and their email address to psf-fellow at python.org. We are accepting nominations for quarter 2 through May 20, 2020.

          • How to Make an Instagram Bot With Python and InstaPy

            What do SocialCaptain, Kicksta, Instavast, and many other companies have in common? They all help you reach a greater audience, gain more followers, and get more likes on Instagram while you hardly lift a finger. They do it all through automation, and people pay them a good deal of money for it. But you can do the same thing—for free—using InstaPy!

            In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to build a bot with Python and InstaPy, which automates your Instagram activities so that you gain more followers and likes with minimal manual input. Along the way, you’ll learn about browser automation with Selenium and the Page Object Pattern, which together serve as the basis for InstaPy.

          • Sending Encrypted Messages from JavaScript to Python via Blockchain

            Last year, I worked with the Capacity team on the Crypto stamp project, the first physical postage stamp with a unique digital twin, issued by the Austrian Postal Service (Österreichische Post AG). Those stamps are mainly intended as collectibles, but their physical “half” can be used as valid postage on packages or letters, and a QR code on that physical stamp links to a website presenting the digital collectible. Our job (at Capacity Blockchain Solutions) was to build that digital collectible, the website at crypto.post.at, and the back-end service delivering both public meta data and the back end for the website. I specifically did most of the work on the Ethereum Smart Contract for the digital collectible, a “non-fungible token” (NFT) using the ERC-721 standard (publicly visible), as well as the back-end REST service, which I implemented in Python (based on Flask and Web3.py). The coding for the website was done by colleagues, of course using JavaScript for the dynamic elements.

          • Unpacking in Python: Beyond Parallel Assignment

            Unpacking in Python refers to an operation that consists of assigning an iterable of values to a tuple (or list) of variables in a single assignment statement. As a complement, the term packing can be used when we collect several values in a single variable using the iterable unpacking operator, *.

            Historically, Python developers have generically referred to this kind of operation as tuple unpacking. However, since this Python feature has turned out to be quite useful and popular, it’s been generalized to all kinds of iterables. Nowadays, a more modern and accurate term would be iterable unpacking.

            In this tutorial, we’ll learn what iterable unpacking is and how we can take advantage of this Python feature to make our code more readable, maintainable, and pythonic.

            Additionally, we’ll also cover some practical examples of how to use the iterable unpacking feature in the context of assignments operations, for loops, function definitions, and function calls.

          • Spin the table: Solution!
    • Standards/Consortia

      • You Need To Stop Using HTML Email

        We need to change this norm from the ground up as a grass roots effort. We’ll never convince Gmail and others to automatically display emails in plain text for all users. Nor will we convince companies to stop sending HTML emails to their clients. The only way is to start sending plain text emails and setting up our email programs to only display our received emails as plain text.

        As more and more people do this the companies will begin to follow suite due the increasing number of people being unable to easily read their messages.

        It’s also our duty as good email users to only every send emails as plain text because we can not always be sure that the receiver of our emails is using a program that will render out all the HTML instead of displaying it as a webpage.

        Keep in mind that by plain text I don’t mean you should not encrypt your emails. If you need to encrypt them then please do; PGP and GPG work very well. When sending an encrypted message; type up your message, encrypt it, and the paste the encrypted output into the email as plain text.

  • Leftovers

    • “The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin

      On February 26, before coronavirus disrupted normal rhythms of life all over the world, I spoke for twenty minutes with my friend, legendary guitarist Tony Chin, at the Dub Club in Los Angeles; only a few hours later, in a spirited, sizzling performance, Tony would headline a memorable show there with fellow legendary members of the Soul Syndicate—the top studio band in Jamaica during the 1970s—bassist George “Fully” Fullwood, and drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis. What follows is a transcript of our discussion, modified only slightly for clarity and space considerations.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Teaching Your Kids to Be Safe Online: A Hasty Primer

        Yet in all the chaos of this pandemic, I forgot why we had been so cautious about the digital universe in the first place — until bad things started happening. There were lunchtime Zoom chats involving lewd conversations about body parts. Rude emails sent and received. Screen shots taken of chats without permission. And poop emojis — so many poop emojis.

        I wasn’t about to take the tablet away, but I realized I needed to set ground rules and have some important conversations. But how do you talk a young kid about online etiquette? About sexting? About, dear God, pornography?

        I wasn’t sure, so I talked to some digital literacy experts. They were empathetic toward all the parents who have thrown their kids headfirst into the digital deep end over the past few weeks. “Let’s be easy on ourselves, because none of us — no one — is going to do things perfectly right now. It’s impossible, because we’re trying to juggle too much,” said Diana Graber, the founder of Cyberwise and the author of “Raising Humans in a Digital World.”

        Here’s the advice I was given.

      • National university curriculum not the answer to ‘low quality’ courses

        The current arrangements are preferable because higher education differs in so many ways from secondary education. Higher level study is infinitely specialised; you only need peruse the Ucas website to see how many different approaches there are to any given subject, and these approaches are informed by developments in both knowledge and current affairs.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft announces IPE, a new code integrity feature for Linux [Ed: Proprietary software of Microsoft would only make GNU/Linux weaker, not stronger]
        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, gnutls28, and libmtp), Fedora (cyrus-sasl, firefox, glibc, squid, and telnet), Gentoo (firefox), Mageia (dcraw, firefox, kernel, kernel-linus, librsvg, and python-nltk), openSUSE (firefox, haproxy, icu, and spamassassin), Red Hat (nodejs:10, openstack-manila, python-django, python-XStatic-jQuery, and telnet), Slackware (firefox), SUSE (bluez, exiv2, and libxslt), and Ubuntu (firefox).

          • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 191 – Security scanners are all terrible

            Josh and Kurt talk about security scanners. They’re all pretty bad today, but there are some things we can do to make them better. Step one is to understand the problem. Do you know why you’re running the scanner and what the reports mean?

          • L1d Cache Flush On Context Switch Moves Forward For Linux In Light Of Vulnerabilities

            A new patch series sent out just under one month ago was providing opt-in L1 data cache flushing on context switching. That work has now been revived again and now with documentation added it’s clear that this work is being done in response to a recent CVE being made public.

            The patches originally sent out by an Amazon engineer characterized the work as for the “paranoid due to the recent snoop assisted data sampling vulnerabilities, to flush their L1D on being switched out. This protects their data from being snooped or leaked via side channels after the task has context switched out.”

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • BlackBerry: Chinese cybercriminals target high-value Linux servers with weak defenses [Ed: To CBS, servers that are improperly maintained or set up are "Linux"; if it's something Windows, they won't even specify the platform and won't blame Microsoft.]
            • Linux Security: Chinese State Hackers May Have Compromised ‘Holy Grail’ Targets Since 2012 [Ed: Davey Winder and other Microsoft propagandists (long history) knocking very hard with GNU/Linux FUD at the moment, perpetuating the idea "Linux" is dangerous because some people set it up the wrong way (misconfigured), don't patch etc.]
            • Misconfigured Docker API Ports Targeted by Kinsing Malware

              Security researchers observed an attack campaign that targeted misconfigured Docker API ports with samples of Kinsing malware.

              According to Aqua Security, the campaign began when it capitalized on an unprotected Docker API port to run a Ubuntu container.

              The command used for creating the Ubuntu container included a shell script “d.sh.” By means of its 600+ lines of code, the shell script began by disabling security measures, clearing logs and disabling other malware and cryptominer samples. It’s then that the command killed rival malicious Docker containers before loading its Kinsing payload.

            • Docker Users Targeted with Crypto Malware Via Exposed APIs [Ed: People who use things they do not understand can leave holes, but this is not the fault of the software]

              Hackers are attempting to compromise Docker servers en masse via exposed APIs in order to spread cryptocurrency mining malware, according to researchers.

              Aqua Security claimed to have tracked the organized campaign for several months, revealing that thousands of attempts to hijack misconfigured Docker Daemon API ports are taking place almost every single day.

              “In this attack, the attackers exploit a misconfigured Docker API port to run an Ubuntu container with the kinsing malicious malware, which in turn runs a cryptominer and then attempts to spread the malware to other containers and hosts,” it explained.

              The Ubuntu container itself is designed to disable security measures and clear logs, and kills applications on the system including any other malware, as well as downloading the kinsing malware designed to mine for digital currency on the compromised Docker host.

            • Misconfigured Containers Again Targeted by Cryptominer Malware

              An attack group is searching for insecure containers exposing the Docker API and then installing a program that attempts to mine cryptocurrency. It’s not the first time.
              Attackers are searching for containers that expose a misconfigured port for the Docker API to add another container to do their bidding and run malicious code to mine cryptocurrency, container security firm Aqua Security stated in an April 3 advisory.

              The campaign appears to target containers that allow Docker commands to be executed without authentication, with — in some cases — more than a hundred scans targeting each IP address on the Internet every day. A search using the port-scanning service Shodan revealed that some 6,000 IP addresses may have vulnerable installations of Docker, says Idan Revivo, head of cybersecurity research for Aqua Security.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • COVID-19 Will Someday Fade Away. The Wireless Location Data Practices Being Embraced To Track It Probably Won’t.

              Location data has long proven to be hugely profitable to wireless carriers, given it’s used by everyone from city planners to marketing departments. Now it’s proving useful to help spread the track of COVID-19, allowing researchers to see not only who an infected person has been in contact with and where they’ve been, but also helping them predict where hot spots might appear next. Such technology was used during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to help both track and predict the movement of the disease.

            • Congress Let Spy Powers Expire Last Month, Which Is Having Almost No Effect On Current Spying

              Thanks to the goddamn everything else going on in the world right now, we’ve now learned what happens when Congress lets surveillance authorities expire. Nothing, really. Here’s Charlie Savage for the New York Times.

            • The Surveillance Industry Won’t Save Us From Crises

              Turning to the security industry isn’t the solution: it’s a symptom of the problem. 

            • Senate Bill Challenges Online Encryption, Constitutional Rights to Speech and Privacy

              The bill’s title—an acronym for Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies—refers to a legal shield that protects online service providers from liability for content posted by the users of their sites, which was established by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The bill’s aim, according to its sponsors and supporters, is to make online service providers “earn” their immunity from liability claims over child sex abuse material.

            • How to Protect Privacy When Aggregating Location Data to Fight COVID-19

              As governments, the private sector, NGOs, and others mobilize to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen calls to use location information—typically drawn from GPS and cell tower data—to inform public health efforts. Among the proposed uses of location data, one of the most widely discussed is analyzing aggregated data about which locations people are visiting, whether they are traveling less, and other collective measurements of individuals’ movement. This analysis might be used to inform judgments about the effectiveness of shelter-in-place orders and other social distancing measures. Projects making use of aggregated location data have graded residents of each state on their social distancing and visualized the travel patterns of people on returning from spring break. Most recently, Google announced that it would publish ongoing “COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports,” which draw on the company’s store of location data to report on changes at a community level in people’s travel to various locations such as grocery stores, parks, and mass transit stations.

              Compared to using individualized location data for contact tracing—as many governments around the world are already doing—deriving public health insights from aggregated location data poses far fewer privacy and other civil liberties risks such as restrictions on freedom of expression and association. However, even “aggregated” location data comes with potential pitfalls. This post discusses those pitfalls and describes some high-level best practices for those who seek to use aggregated location data in the fight against COVID-19.

            • Google data: Finns swap shopping centres for parks and jogging trails

              The stats show that between 16 February and 29 March, Finns have reduced the time they spend in shopping centres, cafes, restaurants, museums and cinemas by some 52 percent.

              Trips to grocery stores and pharmacies also dropped by some 21 percent. Public transport usage fell by 59 percent and commuting trips dropped by a quarter.

              At the same time, people spent 48 percent more time in parks and in waterfront settings.

            • Tech pitches in to fight COVID-19 pandemic

              As IT pros around the world go all-out to support a workforce that’s suddenly fully remote, many technology workers and companies are also joining efforts to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in various ways, including developing products to combat the virus, tracking and predicting its spread, and protecting hospitals from cyberattacks.

            • Facebook Expands Location Data Sharing With Covid-19 Researchers

              The world’s largest social network shares anonymized, aggregated location information as part of an effort to study disease outbreaks, and more than 150 organizations partner with the company to use that data for research. Facebook is adding new data points for researchers fighting Covid-19, including information about whether people are staying at home, and other material that details “the probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company said Monday.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Holy men How Russian Orthodox priests helped annex Crimea

        Six years ago, Russia annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian region on the Black Sea. The annexation took place following a referendum organized by the Russian government, which to date has not been recognized by most of the international community, including Ukraine. In the days leading up to the referendum, strange groups of people started gathering next to Ukrainian military bases all over Crimea. In addition to the infamous “little green men,” or armed people without insignia on their uniforms, there were Cossacks and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church. After a series of negotiations at the gates of military bases, practically all Ukrainian troops stationed on the peninsula laid down their arms. Meduza investigative journalist Liliya Yapparova tells the story of how the Russian Defense Ministry got Orthodox Priests to participate in negotiations with Ukrainian military personnel during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

      • Russia’s Victory Day organizing committee asks government not to invite elderly veterans to 75th anniversary parade

        Anton Kobyakov, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has asked the country’s executive cabinet not to issue invitations to anyone over 65 years old for the 75th-anniversary celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II. The guests excluded will include all living veterans of the war. Interfax confirmed the official’s request after reports of its existence appeared on social media.

      • UN Chief Warns Coronavirus Lockdowns Bringing About ‘Horrifying Global Surge in Domestic Violence’

        “Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19.”

      • “He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”

        On April 4, 2020, my friend Steve Kelly will begin a third year of imprisonment in Georgia’s Glynn County jail. He turned 70 while in prison, and while he has served multiple prison sentences for protesting nuclear weapons, spending two years in a county jail is unusual even for him. Yet he adamantly urges supporters to focus attention on the nuclear weapons arsenals which he and his companions aim to disarm. “The nukes are not going to go away by themselves,” says Steve.

      • US Weaponizing COVID-19 Against Venezuela, Iran: Oliver Stone

        “As a number of religious scholars have warned, ‘plagues expose the foundations of injustice’ in our societies,” film director Oliver Stone wrote in an op-ed Saturday exposing the United States (U.S.) government “profound lack of human decency” amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

        In the piece published by the New York Daily News, Stone denounces the U.S. government for refusing to remove murderous sanctions on Iran and Venezuela in the context of a global health crisis. He urged for a “serious moral self-reflection,” and warned that countless lives were at risk unless there is an “immediate change in course.”

      • In Historic First, U.S. Labels Russian White Supremacists a Terrorist Group

        The designation on RIM and three of its leaders—Stanislav Vorobyev, Denis Gariev, and Nikolay Trushchalov—means they will be blocked from the U.S. financial system and any of their assets in the international financial system subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen. “We think that that’s going to make it substantially more difficult for them to move money throughout the international financial system,” Sales said.

        Officials say the line between domestic white supremacist groups and foreign ones is blurring—adding new urgency to the task of tracking foreign white supremacist groups as domestic cases of terrorism grow.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Company Sells Low-Cost Ventilator Funded by US Taxpayers at a Markup Overseas

        Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tried to plug a crucial hole in its preparations for a global pandemic, signing a $13.8 million contract with a Pennsylvania manufacturer to create a low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ventilator that could be stockpiled for emergencies.

      • ‘Smash-and-Grab Economics’: Trump White House Weighing Tax Cut for Rich Investors as Workers and Small Businesses Struggle

        Critics slammed the Trump administration for considering “rewarding vulture capitalists profiting off a crisis.”

      • Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

        Mainstream politicians have long insisted that Medicare for All, a universal basic income, student debt relief and a slew of other much-needed public programs are off the table because the federal government cannot afford them. But that was before Wall Street and the stock market were driven onto life-support by a virus. Congress has now suddenly discovered the magic money tree. It took only a few days for Congress to unanimously pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will be doling out $2.2 trillion in crisis relief, most of it going to Corporate America with few strings attached. Beyond that, the Federal Reserve is making over $4 trillion available to banks, hedge funds and other financial entities of all stripes; it has dropped the fed funds rate (the rate at which banks borrow from each other) effectively to zero; and it has made $1.5 trillion available to the repo market.

      • ‘We Are Undervalued’: Target Delivery Workers to Walk Off Job in Demand for Better Treatment Amid Outbreak

        “We are exposing ourselves to great risk so others don’t have to. During these uncertain times, Shipt must not put profits before people.”

      • Returning to the Economic Status Quo After COVID-19 Crisis Should Not Be an Option

        A growing contingent of grassroots advocates are raising their voices, demanding change, and telling our elected officials that the challenges working families face are deeply ingrained and must be addressed.

      • Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish

        Among the countless distressing news stories covering the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month are the heartwarming ones that focus on what ordinary human beings are doing to help one another during this historic crisis. Many of these “good news” reports have focused on a nation-wide effort by fashion industry labels, domestic apparel manufacturers, and amateur seamstresses to mass-produce the much-needed masks that are in short supply. But what most of the stories are missing is a systemic framework that offers a critical view as to why such an effort is needed in the first place.

      • Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis

        On Thursday, April 2, the bottom fell out of the US economy, as the US Department of Labor reported that an unprecedented 6.6 million more workers in the US had been laid off and had filed claims for unemployment compensation payments with their state Unemployment Offices last week. That stunning news followed the already shocking news from last week that 3.3 million workers had lost their jobs and had filed for benefits the week before. This means that over the past two weeks, a total of 10 million workers — about 6.7% of the total US labor force — had filed for unemployment benefits in less than half a month.

      • Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

        To say that these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century. Even as the United States became the latest target of Hurricane COVID-19, in “hot spots” around the globe a continuing frenzy of health concerns represented yet another drop down the economic rabbit hole.

      • Wall Street Wins Again With Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

        To say that these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century. Even as the United States became the latest target of Hurricane COVID-19, in “hot spots” around the globe a continuing frenzy of health concerns represented yet another drop down the economic rabbit hole.

      • Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

        An all-American urge to offer corporate welfare.

      • How New York City’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Ended Up on the Auction Block

        In July 2006, with an aggressive and novel strain of the flu circulating in Asia and the Middle East, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a sweeping pandemic preparedness plan.

        Using computer models to calculate how a disease could spread rapidly through the city’s five boroughs, experts concluded New York needed a substantial stockpile of both masks and ventilators. If the city confronted a pandemic on the scale of the 1918 Spanish flu, the experts found, it would face a “projected shortfall of between 2,036 and 9,454 ventilators.”

      • Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die

        Carlos Fernández de Cossío, head of the U.S. desk at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, recently accused the U.S. government of “terrible moral decadence.” He was reacting to U.S. threats against nations confronting the COVID 19 pandemic and assisted by Cuba. He was also criticizing poor pre-epidemic preparations in the United States.

      • COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism

        The desperate policies of panic-driven governments involve throwing huge amounts of money at the economies collapsed in response to the coronavirus threat. Monetary authorities create money and lend it at extremely low interest rates to the major corporations and especially big banks “to get them through the crisis.” Government treasuries borrow vast sums to get the collapsed economy back into what they imagine is “the normal, pre-virus economy.” Capitalism’s leaders are rushing into policy failures because of their ideological blinders.

      • White House Weighs Tax Cuts for Wealthy as Workers and Small Businesses Struggle

        As desperate workers, the unemployed, and small businesses struggle to obtain benefits authorized under the multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus package President Donald Trump signed into law late last month, the White House is reportedly considering an additional slate of aid measures that critics say would disproportionately favor the wealthy while providing little relief for those most in need.

      • Pension bomb fuse just got shorter

        Homeowners have enough to worry about in the current coronavirus crisis.

        They face an April 10 deadline for the second installment of their annual property tax bill and there is no relief — yet — coming from either the governor’s office or the majority of county treasurer/tax collectors.

        Many taxpayers have been furloughed or laid off and the chances are high that property values throughout America will take a hit — even in California.

        How could things possibly get worse?

        Here’s how. The coronavirus crisis and the damage it inflicts on the state’s economy has exposed the Potemkin village of the state’s actual financial condition.

      • Tenants advocates, landlord groups both say coronavirus eviction ban falls short

        In the week after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide ban on evicting tenants unable to pay their rent because of the coronavirus outbreak, complaints surfaced from tenants and landlord advocates alike who say the executive order leaves both unprotected.

        Tenants rights advocates complained that while the governor’s order forbids the ouster of renters affected by the pandemic for 60 days, it doesn’t stop landlords from starting the process by filing new eviction cases in court.

        During an online news conference on Wednesday, April 1, two state lawmakers and legal aid workers expressed concern there would be a wave of evictions come June because tenants will be unable to pay their back rent as required.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Pandemic Makes the Bernie 2020 Campaign More Vital Than Ever

        At a time when the structural failures of a corporatized society have never been more glaring and deadly, we desperately need Sanders’ voice to be heard far and wide.

      • Amid Pandemic, Wisconsin Mayors Demand Emergency Halt to ‘Irresponsible’ In-Person Voting Set for Tuesday

        Calls continue to mount for state leaders to “extend the period for requesting and casting absentee ballots so that voters do not have to risk getting a deadly disease in order to vote.”

      • Fired Intel IG Speaks Out Against Trump as Watchdog Warns of a Democracy In ‘Gravest Danger’

        “The president’s attempts to rid the government of those who would provide appropriate oversight and accountability for abuses… sets us on a dangerous trajectory.”

      • Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image

        A Brazilian government official (r) posing for a photo next to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-A-Lago who tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus.

      • With Public Health and Democracy at Stake, Wisconsin Governor Issues Order Postponing In-Person Primary Voting Until June

        “The chaos in Wisconsin is exhibit A for why US needs to adopt universal vote by mail.”

      • Should Bernie Drop Out or Stay In? Wait, There’s Another Choice.

        The most selfless thing Bernie can do now is not to leave the race, but stay in it.

      • Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually

        With Joe Biden now looking like the certain Democratic presidential nominee, it is pretty clear that we will not get to Medicare for All in a single step. Even if Sanders had won it would have been a long shot, but without a president committed to the program, there is not even a possibility.

      • Team Trump Won’t Let a Pandemic Get in the Way of Its Far Right Agenda

        It’s understandable that the media is almost entirely obsessed with the coronavirus crisis. After all, more than 70 percent of the U.S. population is on “stay at home” orders and deaths are rising exponentially. Needless to say, the Trump administration’s erratic and inconsistent response to the crisis has requires tremendous media resources and attention simply to convey the basic facts on the ground and let people know what to do.

      • The Political Toll of COVID-19

        The supporters of Bernie Sanders will not accept being silenced or stage-managed out of existence.

      • Mr. Impeached Pretend President, What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?
      • Special Guests Victor Pickard Explains the Historical Roots of the Current News Crisis – The Project Censored Show, Uncategorized

        Mickey’s guest for the full hour is media scholar and author, Victor Pickard. Picard is associate professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. They discuss Pickard’s latest book,”Democracy Without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society.” Pickard describes the dimensions of recent years’ precipitous drop in the employment of reporters, and the likely consequences for society, some of which we’ve seen with the rise of mis and disinformation in our social media age. He explains the historical roots of the current news crisis, and offers timely and significant remedies that center on building publicly-supported journalism institutions that aren’t coupled to commercial values.

      • Who Has Emergency Authority Over Elections? Nobody’s Quite Sure.

        In each of the past seven years, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has sought authority to revamp or reschedule elections in case of emergency. Every time, the legislature has blocked him. These rebuffs had repercussions in Westborough, a Boston suburb that was set to hold its town election last month.

        As COVID-19 cases rose across the state, the governor shut down gatherings of more than 25 people two days before ballots were to be cast, making it illegal for voters to congregate at the local polling place, a senior center, on election day, March 17. Yet neither Galvin’s office nor the local elections administrator, Town Clerk Wendy Mickel, had the power to reschedule the election.

      • Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump

        Truth may be stranger than fiction as Mark Twain once said.  Yet fiction often speaks truth to  reality.   In the case of civilization living under the dagger of Covid-19, many are turning to books and plays for distraction and pleasure.  While some might read Waiting for Godot in hopes that the quarantines and the disease will soon pass, or  Sinclair Lewis’ account of malaria in Arrowsmith, a better read would be both  Albert Camus’s The Plague and The Stranger.  Together they capture the absurdity and tragedy of life in the age of Covid-19, one full not necessarily of one where people pull together but instead cast a wary eye toward others, seeing in others the face of death or danger.

      • Trump’s COVID-19 Power Grab

        But it is also tailor-made for Donald Trump, who has spent a lifetime exploiting chaos for personal gain and blaming others for losses.

      • To Stop Bernie Sanders, WaPo Willing to Risk Americans’ Lives

        There’s little the Washington Post won’t do to stop Bernie Sanders, including endanger American lives.

      • Report: Pentagon Knew Of Possible Coronavirus Threat For Years

        The 103-page document, which the magazine describes as an update to an earlier Defense Department pandemic influenza response plan, cites a novel respiratory illness as the “most likely and significant threat” in a pandemic situation.

        The document also warns that shortages of masks and ventilators would have a “significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”

        “The intelligence community and the military were well aware of what could, and unfortunately, did happen” said Nation reporter Ken Klippenstein in an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered.

      • ‘A Really Chilling Moment’: Trump Refuses to Allow Dr. Fauci to Answer Question on Dangers of Hydroxychloroquine

        “This is unacceptable. Dr. Fauci, one of the world’s top infectious disease scientists, was just censored live at a White House press conference.”

      • Dr. Anthony Fauci Has a Target on His Back

        Yet this victory hangs by a thread, as does Fauci’s own position in the White House. Fauci is running into opposition on two fronts from both Trump and the larger right-wing media and political culture that supports Trump: the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and the economic costs of a national lockdown.

      • The FCC will not investigate President Trump over alleged misinformation

        The Federal Communications Commission will not pursue misinformation complaints against broadcasters who air President Trump’s daily press conferences, the commission announced today.

        The FCC’s announcement came in response to an emergency petition by the advocacy group Free Press, which had called on the commission to investigate “the spread of false COVID-19 information via broadcast outlets across the United States.” In particular, Free Press alleged that the president was spreading misinformation about the efficacy of the drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been erroneously promoted as a miracle cure for the ongoing pandemic.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • SLAPP Suit Filed Against Fox News Over Awful & Dangerous COVID-19 Coverage

        Pretty much everyone knew this was coming. Fox News’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been absolutely despicable — insisting that it was little more than the flu, was overhyped by Trump’s political enemies, and nothing anyone should be worried about, before turning on a dime to suddenly pretend they never said any of that earlier, and that suddenly it was always obvious it was serious:

      • Benjamin Netanyahu, Hater Of Fake News And Purveyor Of Fake News

        As most of you will know, the term “fake news” has been so bastardized at this point so as to be more a moniker of quite literally the opposite of its original intended meaning. Once used to label the sort of nonsense news stories that people would share haphazardly on social media, the term is now almost exclusively used by government strong-men with paper-thin skin and entirely too much power. Still, the term does have a real meaning, if only we made a point of getting back to it.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalists demand freedom for their colleagues in prison

        The statement called for the release of journalists who are in prison for their work and are dangerously exposed to the coronavirus outbreak.

      • Concern about Pakistani dissident journalist’s disappearance in Sweden

        The editor of the Balochistan Times news website, Sajid Hussain went missing after boarding a train in Stockholm at around 11:30 a.m. on 2 March to go Uppsala, 70 km to the north, with the aim of collecting the keys to his new apartment and leaving some personal effects there.

        No one has heard from him since then. His Pakistan-based wife, Shahnaz Baloch, was due to join him in Uppsala a few days later. The Swedish police told RSF that he did alight from the train in Uppsala 45 minutes after it left Stockholm.

      • Exile Not Always Guarantee of Safety for Pakistani Journalists

        News of Hussain’s disappearance from Uppsala, Sweden, which became public March 28, sent shock waves through Pakistan’s journalism community and brought the risks, even in exile, into focus.

        A Pakistani blogger in the Netherlands was attacked in February, and others have been warned by European authorities to be vigilant.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Chechnya’s leader praises the cops who beat up a man for violating coronavirus self-isolation

        In a new video live-streamed on Instagram and aired on local state television, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he supports the police officers who recently beat up a local resident for violating the republic’s self-isolation restrictions. 

      • As COVID-19 Spreads Behind Bars, Will Officials Release Pregnant People?

        Mandi Grammer was watching the evening news, and the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic, when she was called into her counselor’s office.

      • Russia’s prime minister tells regional leaders that only the federal government can close internal boundaries

        Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has prohibited Russia’s regional leaders from closing their internal boundaries as the country fights the spread of coronavirus. “The government’s signals about the inadmissibility of such measures were heard and the situation was corrected over the weekend, though I want to reiterate for regional leaders: do not confuse regional powers with federal powers,” Mishustin said on Monday.

      • As Russia self-isolates, street artist Katrin Nenasheva prepares to fill Moscow with graffiti messages to frontline workers

        Because most Muscovites can’t leave their homes to see them, street artist Katrin Nenasheva posted the first few pieces from her latest project on Facebook. “An Artist in the Pandemic: Tactics and Strategies” is a collaboration between Nenasheva and fellow artist Polina Andreyeva. The project is their effort to ask how public art can continue when the public sphere itself is almost empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nenasheva and Andreyeva began by asking their social media followers to share their worries about the rapidly spreading disease. The resulting phrases (“scary”; “tired of living in fear”; “I’m so lonely I could die”) ended up scattered around Russia’s capital in an unsettling graffiti series. The next step, Nenasheva said, is to collect more encouraging messages from self-isolated Russians to the city’s pharmacy staff, first responders, and food delivery workers. The artists themselves have not been self-isolating, choosing to continue their work instead.

      • Change Love and the Need for Unity

        Much needs to change in our world, and while this was clear before COVID-19, the pandemic is highlighting festering issues and creating a space in which to re-access current modes of living. New and just socio-economic and political systems are required together with positive values that encourage the good. Mankind needs to learn to share, to live more simply, to cooperate and to create a world free from conflict, and the planet needs to be allowed to heal. The list is long, but everything is interrelated.

      • Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?

        My grandmother, Edna Clayton Steber, a woman of the 19th century who’d lived through a pandemic (1918), and as well lost a child to pneumonia, was mild in most things, but adamant about hand-washing after handling either pennies or library books.  This was no suspicion of libraries on her part; she was a reader.  The germs were the foes, not the library “commons.” Every visit to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s included a walk to the Ilion Public Library, and sampling its delights.   It was she who, while encouraging my vice of preferring reading to just about any activity, also planted in me my first notion of protecting myself against invisible malevolent microbes, or “germs.”  Although my brother and I tended to snicker over Grandma’s old-fashioned notions directing us to do something our mother never made us do,  the fear message had traction, perhaps more than the valid science of hygiene she tried to impart.

      • Illinois Quietly Reversed Its Ban on a Dangerous Physical Restraint for Students

        Five months ago, when Illinois schools Superintendent Carmen Ayala learned students were being repeatedly shut inside small rooms alone as punishment and physically held down on the floor, she said she cried. She vowed it would never happen again.

        But Illinois State Board of Education officials negotiated with a key legislative rule-making committee to allow schools to use prone restraint for one more school year, aiming to phase out its use by July 2021. The decision last week came after a few small schools — including one whose advisory board includes state lawmakers — mounted letter-writing campaigns and direct appeals to government leaders.

      • Lawmakers Vow to Push for a Statewide Ban on Face-Down Restraint of Children in Illinois Schools, Despite Reversal

        State lawmakers said Monday that they will push for a law to ban face-down restraint of children in Illinois schools after learning that education officials had reversed their positions and decided to allow the controversial practice.

        The lawmakers’ response came after the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois reported Monday that the Illinois State Board of Education, pressured by a few schools that regularly use prone restraint, quietly decided to allow the technique until July 2021 with the hope that it would then be phased out.

      • Target’s Delivery Workers Are Staging a Walkout

        Gig workers on Target’s delivery platform, Shipt, are organizing a walkout on Tuesday to protest the lack of safeguards in place to protect them during the coronavirus pandemic—the first worker-organized action against the gig economy giant.

        Workers are demanding $5 of hazard pay per order, 14 days of paid sick leave for all workers regardless of whether they’ve received a positive coronavirus test, personal protective gear for all gig workers, and a return to a clear, commission-based pay model. Organizers are also asking customers to boycott the app on Friday, April 10 in solidarity with Shipt workers.

      • Gig Workers Struggle To Get Financial Help During Pandemic

        Gig companies like Instacart, Uber and Lyft connect people who need tasks done with workers willing to do them. But the companies consider these workers independent contractors, not employees. The firms generally do not provide paid sick leave or other employee benefits.

        Now, however, that’s changing. The nature of the work that Instacart shoppers, Uber and Lyft drivers and other gig workers do puts them in close contact with strangers. They are, in essence, on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, and some of them are getting sick.

        McGhee joined other Instacart workers who walked off the job Monday to demand better safety measures. She says the company’s policy not only puts her at risk, it encourages people who are sick to keep working and, potentially, spread the disease.

      • We Can’t Shut Down Democracy in a Crisis

        As an apparent safety measure, the Australian government has decided to suspend Parliament for an extended period of four months. As Greens Party leader Adam Bandt argues, in a time of crisis, we need more democracy, not less.

      • Two more prisoners die after testing positive for coronavirus

        Two more prisoners have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus.

        Both inmates had underlying health conditions, a Prison Service spokesperson said.

        They continued: ‘A 46-year-old HMP Low Newton prisoner and a 59-year-old HMP Littlehey prisoner died in hospital over the weekend.

        ‘Our condolences are with their families at this time. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.’

      • COVID-19 pandemic: urgent steps are needed to protect the rights of prisoners in Europe

        I call on Council of Europe member states to safeguard the rights and health of all persons in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Convicted prisoners and persons on remand are among those most vulnerable to viral contagion as they are held in a high-risk environment: in general, detention facilities are not adapted to face large-scale epidemics, and the basic protective measures such as social distancing and hygiene rules cannot be observed as easily as outside, exposing prisoners to greater health risks. Furthermore, in many European countries the pandemic strikes in a context of overcrowded prisons and poor detention conditions in cramped, collective cells, with unsatisfactory health services, as well as higher rates of infectious and chronic diseases among detainees, such as tuberculosis, diabetes and HIV. Across Europe, a number of contaminations and some COVID 19-related deaths in prison have already been reported; tension in prisons has increased since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, leading to acts of protest (sometimes violent) in reaction to restrictions on visits or other activities.

        To prevent large-scale coronavirus outbreaks in places of detention, several member states initiated the release of certain categories of prisoners. Many others are adapting their criminal justice policies in order to reduce their prison population through various means, including temporary or early releases and amnesties; home detention and commutation of sentences; and suspending investigations and the execution of sentences. I strongly urge all member states to make use of all available alternatives to detention whenever possible and without discrimination.

      • ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Assange Won’t Be Released Amid Virus Crisis, Australian Newswire Reports

        Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is not eligible for an early Covid-19 release from prison with other inmates because he is not serving a criminal sentence, the Australian Associated Press has reported.

        British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Saturday that some low-risk inmates, weeks from release, will be let go with monitoring devices to help avoid a further outbreak of Covid-19 in the nations’ prisons.

      • UK Rejects Assange Release Request Amid COVID-19 Crisis, But Frees Thousands Of Others

        So far 88 prisoners and 15 staff have tested positive for the virus in British prisons. More than 25 percent of the nations’ prison staff are quarantining themselves.

        “This government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law,” Buckland said in a statement. “But this is an unprecedented situation because if coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk.”

        The Ministry of Justice told the AAP that Assange won’t be among those released because he isn’t serving a custodial sentence.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • California Legislator Introduces Fiber Broadband for All Bill

        Senator Lena Gonzalez has introduced legislation (SB 1130), which would allow the California state government to actively promote the transition of the state’s legacy communications infrastructure into a multi-gigabit fiber network that is competitive, affordable, and available to all residents lacking high-speed access. It does so by reforming the current California Advanced Services Fund (CASF): raising the fund’s minimum standards of what constitutes being “served” by broadband, requiring that any broadband network funded by the state to be high-capacity, and holding companies subject to open-access rules that promote competition. The legislation would put California on par with its international competitors, end the digital divide for Californians, and prevent a repeat of the lack of connectivity challenges residents have faced as they engage in social distancing, remote education, and working from home. EFF endorses S.B. 1130 and will work hard to get it passed into law this year. 

      • [Old] How SEO Ruined the Internet

        Today, if you’re looking for something that is technical, specific, academic or generally non-commercial, good frigging luck. The world’s best information retrieval system has devolved into something reminiscent of 2006-era Digg: A popularity index that’s controlled by a small number of commercially motivated players. They call themselves “SEOs.”


        If you’ve ever re-read an article and sworn that the headline, hyperlinks and headings were modified, you’re not imagining it. SEO specialists “optimize” old articles to make them more marketable (and to drive visitors into newer, more commercial content). When I look back at articles that I wrote a decade ago, they’ve been updated with text that I didn’t write, carrying meanings that I didn’t mean.

    • Monopolies

      • Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore

        Here’s how Bookshop works: American Booksellers Association stores can sign up to sell books through the website, and 30% of the profits from those sales go directly to them (recently increased from 25% because of coronavirus fallout). That’s versus 40 to 45% if they do it themselves, according to Poets & Writers, but Bookshop handles the entire fulfillment process through the wholesaler Ingram. Additionally, stores can opt in to split an earnings pool that’s 10% of all non-bookstore affiliate sales, thus getting a second source of revenue.

        That second source of sales can come from pretty much anywhere, because anyone — a book club, a media company, an individual bookstore employee — can create a Bookshop account and get kickbacks on any books they sell through their proprietary links. It’s all about affiliate revenue, and it’s a little complicated, but that’s where the organization stands the biggest chance of defeating Amazon.

      • Patents

        • USPTO Answers FAQs on Extension of Patent Deadlines under CARES Act

          In a USPTO Alert e-mail distributed earlier today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced the release of a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding extensions of time for filing certain patent-related documents and paying certain required fees that resulted from the temporary authority provided to the USPTO under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The Office announced the availability of such extensions on March 31 (see “USPTO Announces Extension of Certain Patent Deadlines”).

          The Office released 21 FAQs regarding patent-related extensions. In its responses to the FAQs, the Office noted that the statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which must accompany the filing or payment, “need not be verified or provided in affidavit or declaration form.” However, the Office reminded applicants and practitioners that such statements constitute a certification under 37 C.F.R. § 11.18(b), and that violations of 37 C.F.R. § 11.18(b) may be subject to sanctions pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 11.18(c). The Office also noted that statements can be included in the paper being filed, but if included in the paper being filed, “should be made in a conspicuous manner.”

        • A method of removing “the plank in your own eye”

          Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV). The Federal Circuit’s new decision in Myco Industries v. BlephEx, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020), offers a modern and less-metaphorical treatment of the same issues.

          BlephEx has a patent on a particular method using a swab to remove debris from a human eye. U.S. Patent No. 9,039,718 (treatment method for blepharitis). Myco is an unwelcome newer competitor with its AB (anterior blepharitis) MAX product. However, rather than suing for infringement, BlephEx apparently started threatening lawsuits against both Myco and also Myco’s customers (typically opthalmic/optometric medical professionals).

          Myco filed suit – asking for a declaratory judgment of no infringement and also invalidity as well as seeking unfair-competition damages for bad-faith patent infringement statements by BlephEx. In the lawsuit, Myco also asked for and was a preliminary injunction against BlephEx’s ongoing speech.


          In any event, the court’s ruling here is that it is OK to tell Doctors that they are infringing and that you may “take action” to stop the infringement. Even though you can’t sue the doctor, you might sue the supplier for contributory infringement.

          Before finishing, the court also took the district court to task for faulty claim construction — offering the kind “reminder” that “limitations from different dependent claims should not be interpreted as if they were general statements of disavowal from the written description.”

        • The European Patent Office (EPO) updated the fees

          The regular bi-annual revision of fees at the European Patent Office (EPO) has become due this year and resulted in an updated fee schedule effective as of April 1, 2020. In case of the majority of fees the increase is in the region of 4%. Renewal fees have been increased in this range, too. Apparently the only exceptions are the fee for ordering various paper copies (e.g. certified copies of priority documents) which increased to EUR 105 and the appeal fee for large entities which amounts to EUR 2705.

          Fees charged by the EPO as an international authority, with the exception of protest fee, as well as fees for designation of extension and validation states remain unchanged.

        • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Last month, in Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey finding certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,853,156 to be directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and remanded for further proceedings. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s finding that the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,173,859 and 8,673,927 were invalid for obviousness and obviousness-type double patenting.


          On appeal, Boehringer argued that the District Court’s conclusions of invalidity for obviousness-type double patenting and obviousness depended on its determination that the claimed dosages would have been obvious. In affirming the District Court’s findings of invalidity for obviousness-type double patenting and obviousness, the Federal Circuit concluded that the District Court’s alternative finding (i.e., that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have obtained the claimed dosages through routine experimentation) is not clearly erroneous. The Court therefore did not need to decide whether the District Court’s presumption determination of obvious was correct. The Federal Circuit thus affirmed the District Court’s decision finding the asserted claims of the ’859 and ’927 patents to be invalid for obviousness and obviousness-type double patenting.

        • How many times can a patent holder violate EU antitrust law in a single litigation? (Nokia v. Daimler)

          Last week the Munich I Regional Court’s press office confirmed to me that the Nokia v. Daimler ruling scheduled for this week’s Thursday (April 9) had not been postponed. The government of the federal state of Bavaria has not imposed any additional corona-based restrictions since. From what I hear, Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann is the only member of the court’s 7th Civil Chamber to go to the courthouse almost every day, while his side judges are working from home. German courts have sometimes postponed patent rulings on very short notice, but for now the operating assumption is that a decision (which may or may not be a final judgment) will come down on Thursday.

          With the automotive industry being hit so hard by the coronavirus crisis, Nokia’s pursuit of an injunction–while there are plenty of willing licensees (Daimler and a number of suppliers)–is ethically questionable, though there is a possibility of the injunction not having immediate effect in practical terms. So much for corona and ethics; let’s also not talk today about the enormous strength of Daimler’s invalidity contention, or about proportionality under Art. 3 IPRED and its political ramifications (a Nokia “win” on Thursday–an injunction against entire cars over one of thousands of tiny features of a single cellular standard–would give the whole German patent reform debate new impetus). Now I’ll just focus on the antitrust implications of what might happen.

          If Nokia obtained and enforced that injunction, it would likely set a new record in the number of EU antitrust violations a patent holder can commit in connection with a single patent infringement case…

        • Munich I Regional Court postpones Nokia v. Daimler patent ruling from April 9 to May 20, 2020

          In light of the coronavirus crisis, I double-checked with the Munich I Regional Court’s (Landgericht München I) press office and found out that the Nokia v. Daimler standard-essential patent ruling scheduled for this week’s Thursday (April 9) has been pushed back to May 20, 2020.

          The court did not cite any particular reason for the postponement. A postponement of a ruling date is not unheard of in complex cases, and this is a big one in every respect. It’s always better if courts take their time than to rush to judgment.

          Without speculating on whether this has anything to do with corona, it’s simply a fact that the Free State of Bavaria has not imposed any new restrictions in more than two weeks. The current rules (social distancing, partial lockdown) will be in force until at least April 19, 2020. Presently, courts can hold hearings and trials they deem time-sensitive, and they are free to announce decisions, with the presiding judge of a given panel determining courtroom modalities such as a minimum distance to keep between any two persons.

        • Willful Blindness and Enhanced Damages: Is Ignorance Bliss?

          In the United States, a judge may increase the damages for patent infringement up to threefold[1] resulting in awards of millions, or even billons, of dollars. In 2016, the Supreme Court, in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics,[2] rejected the then prevailing objective standard for determining enhanced damages and replaced it with a subjective one requiring, at a minimum, knowledge of patent infringement. Thus, in the wake of Halo, some organizations have adopted policies that prohibit review of third-party patents. This post explores whether enhanced damages are nonetheless a possibility where an infringer purposefully avoids knowledge of patent infringement.


          Although commentators have condemned the practice,[25] some organizations have adopted policies that prohibit review of third-party patents to protect against enhanced damages. In 2019, several district courts considered such policies with mixed results.

          In Motiva Patents v. Sony Corp., HTC Corp., the Eastern District of Texas held that a policy of non-review was sufficient to state a claim of willful blindness.[26] The court stated that both the creation and enforcement of “a policy prohibiting review of patents” by defendant HTC Corp. were the kinds of “‘deliberate action to avoid learning’ of potential infringement” that could amount to willful blindness and support a finding of willful infringement.[27]

          By contrast, in Nonend Inventions, N.V. v. Apple Inc., et al., the same court dismissed a claim for enhanced damages on the grounds that, even if the defendant Motorola had the alleged policy of not reviewing third party patents, such a policy “does not per-se constitute ‘willful blindness.’”[28] And because there was no suggestion the defendant subjectively believed a high probability of patent infringement existed, there was no willful blindness.[29] Thus, in this case, an alleged policy of ignoring patents was insufficient, without more, to “surpass recklessness and negligence” and rise to the level of “willful blindness.”[30]


          Until the Supreme Court or Federal Circuit hold otherwise, district courts are likely to continue to accept well-pled allegations of willful blindness as a substitute for knowledge of patent infringement. But a corporate policy of non-review should not be considered “willful,” absent both a subjective belief that there is a high probability of patent infringement and deliberate actions to avoid learning of that particular fact. Moreover, to justify the award of enhanced damages, the circumstances of the case must support a finding of egregious misconduct that is worthy of punishment.

          Ultimately, the protection from treble damages provided by a policy of not reviewing third-party patents will likely depend on the perceived likelihood of patent infringement and the justification for any such policy (e.g., economic limitations). Corporations should carefully consider such factors before adopting policies of non-review. After all, the Federal Circuit has only provided one exemplar of behavior that will protect an organization from enhanced damages: an opinion of counsel[42]—an option that is not available to a corporation with no actual knowledge of the patent because of its policy of non-review.

        • Software Patents

          • Huawei Joins Linux Patent Consortium ‘Open Invention Network’

            By joining OIN , Huawei is reinforcing its commitment to OSS as an enabler of advanced communications systems. Open to all, OIN’s community practices patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Patents owned by Open Invention Network are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System.

          • Motion Offense patent challenged as likely unpatentable

            On April 3, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 10,013,158, owned and asserted by Motion Offense, LLC (an NPE and Oso IP affiliate). The ’158 patent, generally directed to sharing files from one user to another using a link without attaching the file itself, is at issue in district court cases involving Sprouts Farmers Market and Dropbox.

          • Predictive Text Patent Troll Tries To Shake Down Wikipedia

            WordLogic is a patent troll. The company has been around for a while and holds a bunch of patents (such as US Patent 7,681,124) which it claims covers the concept of predictive text writing. While WordLogic is (was?) a publicly listed company, the stock is currently worth $0.0001 per share. About the only news about the company has to do with hiring patent lawyers and failing to live up to bragging press releases.

      • Trademarks

        • USPTO Extends Trademark And Patent Deadlines Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

          As IP Offices around the world work to mitigate the impact of the global health threat, the U.S. CARES Act gives USPTO authority to extend statutory deadlines to help ease burden of IP owners affected by COVID-19

          The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, 2020, which provides relief to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis, also offers relief to intellectual property owners facing challenges meeting filing and response deadlines due to the unprecedented health crisis.

          Section 12004 of the CARES Act gives additional authority to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify any timing deadline” established by law in order to help bring relief to trademark and patent owners currently facing business uncertainties due to the pandemic.

        • USPTO Extends Trademark And Patent Deadlines Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
      • Copyrights

        • Czech court rules that placement of advertisements on a building constitutes a moral rights infringement

          In 2016, Czech media reported that an enormous side-wall billboard and a 100-square-meters-large roof front digital banner attached to a 1980s brutalist architecture building in Czechia’s Prague had been causing headaches to Prague’s citizens and the city’ authorities for 10+ years. Albeit unsuccessfully, Prague’s officials, architectural conservationists, neighbouring citizens and apparently even the building’s owner have fought long bureaucratic battles to have the billboard and the banner removed from the building.

          As further reported, the current owner of the building has acquired the building in insolvency (from previous owner) and claims that he has merely “inherited” the lease agreement that enables placement of both the billboard and the banner. “The lease agreement is impossible to terminate,” said the current owner to the Czech media and noted that he would rather wait for the contract to terminate by a lapse of time (in two to three years) than risking potential actions for damages for breach of contract should he try to remove the advertisements himself.

          It has also been reported that the tenant to the lease agreement and the actual owner of the advertisements in question is a company seated in Panama’s Mossack Fonseca law-firm as a “shell company” with anonymous owners. “The owner pays rent and upholds the agreement” reported the Czech media.

        • [Old] Why is Facebook muting classical music videos?

          When a copyright dispute claim is made on Facebook, the benefit of the doubt is given to the claimant and the video’s audio is automatically muted. Conflicting claims may even be made by multiple publishers. This causes headaches for the musicians. They must scramble to dispute the claims as they watch their video slowly sink into digital oblivion.

        • Movie Company Boss Urges US Senators to Make Streaming Piracy a Felony

          In the United States, criminal copyright infringers can be sentenced to five years in prison. However, this is not the case for streaming piracy, which is seen as a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year. Millennium Films boss Jonathan Yunger is callling on senators to change this, so the Department of Justice can effectively shut down and prosecute streaming piracy operations.

        • Movie & TV Giants Sue ‘Pirate’ Nitro IPTV For ‘Massive’ Copyright Infringement

          A coalition of entertainment companies headed up by Universal, Paramount, Columbia, Disney and Amazon have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against ‘pirate’ IPTV service Nitro TV. Alleging ‘brazen’ and ‘massive’ breaches of their rights, the companies are demanding millions in damages and a broad injunction.

        • That Coronavirus Image Is Public Domain, But That Won’t Stop Getty From Trying To Sell You A $500 License To Use It

          Late last week, we wrote a nice story about how the infamous image of the coronavirus that is causing COVID-19 is in the public domain, since it’s a work of the US federal government. That’s part of the reason why it’s everywhere these days:

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts