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04.01.20

Links 2/4/2020: ProtonMail Bridge for Linux, GTK 3.98.2 and Red Hat DNF 4.2.21

Posted in News Roundup at 9:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What MacBook? This Manjaro Linux Laptop Promises the Best User Experience

        If you’re in the market for a Linux laptop, the folks over at Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers have some big news for you.

        The two companies joined forces for the creation of a custom version of the InfinityBook called InfinityBook Manjaro.

        As its name suggests, the InfinityBook Manjaro is an upgraded version of the standard model that runs Manjaro Linux and promises what the two companies describe as “the best user experience.”

        “TUXEDO Computers provides technical support for the InfinityBook Manjaro, the team of Manjaro Linux is the right contact for software related questions. Together, they have conducted extensive hardware optimization tests and have adapted software packages and drivers to increase battery life,” the two companies explain in a joint press release (embedded below).

    • Server

      • ZFS Tuning for HPC

        If you manage storage servers, chances are you are already aware of ZFS and some of the features and functions it boasts. In short, ZFS is a combined all-purpose filesystem and volume manager that simplifies data storage management while offering some advanced features, including drive pooling with software RAID support, file snapshots, in-line data compression, data deduplication, built-in data integrity, advanced caching (to DRAM and SSD), and more.

        ZFS is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), a weak copyleft license based on the Mozilla Public License (MPL). Although open source, ZFS and anything else under the CDDL was, and supposedly still is, incompatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL). This hasn’t stopped ZFS enthusiasts from porting it over to the Linux kernel, where it remains a side project under the dominion of the ZFS on Linux (ZoL) project.

      • From Web Scale to Edge Scale: Rancher 2.4 Supports 2,000 Clusters on its Way to 1 Million

        Rancher 2.4 is here – with new under-the-hood changes that pave the way to supporting up to 1 million clusters. That’s probably the most exciting capability in the new version. But you might ask: why would anyone want to run thousands of Kubernetes clusters – let alone tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or more? At Rancher Labs, we believe the future of Kubernetes is multi-cluster and fully heterogeneous. This means ‘breaking the monolith’ into many clusters and running the best Kubernetes distribution for each environment and use case.

      • QEMU 5.0-rc1 Released For Linux Virtualization With The Stable Update Coming This Month

        QEMU 5.0-rc1 was released on Tuesday as the latest development release in the path to QEMU 5.0.0 expected to be achieved later this month.

      • New 4.0 LTS releases for LXD, LXC and LXCFS
        Hello,
        
        The LXD, LXC and LXCFS teams are very proud to announce their 4.0 LTS releases!
        
        LTS versions of all 3 projects are released every 2 years, starting 6
        years ago. Those LTS versions benefit from 5 years of security and
        bugfix support from upstream and are ideal for production environments.
        
        # LXD
        LXD is our system container and virtual machine manager. It's a Go
        application based on LXC and QEMU. It can run several thousand
        containers on a single machine, mix in some virtual machines, offers a
        simple REST API and can be easily clustered to handle large scale
        deployments.
        
        It takes seconds to setup on a laptop or a cloud instance, can run just
        about any Linux distribution and supports a variety of resource limits
        and device passthrough. It's used as the basis for Linux applications on
        Chromebooks and is behind Travis-CI's recent Arm, IBM Power and IBM Z
        testing capability.
        
        
      • Building a Three-Node Kubernetes Cluster | Quick Guide

        There are many ways to build a Kubernetes cluster. One of them is using a tool called kubeadm. Kubeadm is the official tool for “first-paths” when creating your first Kubernetes cluster. With the ease of getting up and running, I thought I would put together this quick guide to installing a Kubernetes cluster using kubeadm!

      • Kubernetes Topology Manager Moves to Beta – Align Up!

        This blog post describes the TopologyManager, a beta feature of Kubernetes in release 1.18. The TopologyManager feature enables NUMA alignment of CPUs and peripheral devices (such as SR-IOV VFs and GPUs), allowing your workload to run in an environment optimized for low-latency.

        Prior to the introduction of the TopologyManager, the CPU and Device Manager would make resource allocation decisions independent of each other. This could result in undesirable allocations on multi-socket systems, causing degraded performance on latency critical applications. With the introduction of the TopologyManager, we now have a way to avoid this.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 572: f-droid

        F-Droid is an installable catalog of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. F-Droid is also a whole FOSS “app store kit”, providing all the tools needed to set up and run an app store. It also includes complete build and release tools for managing the process of turning app source code into published builds.

      • Pandemic Edition

        Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Kyle Rankin, Petros Koutoupis, and Shawn Powers about the new realities we’re facing as a result of COVID-19.

      • 2020-04-01 | Linux Headlines

        Canonical and MariaDB both enter the managed apps market, the WordPress 5.4 release expands its block-based editor, and Mozilla partners with another online monetization company while putting up cash in the fight against COVID-19.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6.1

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.1 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:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.5.14
      • Linux 5.4.29
      • Linux Lite Users Are the First to Install Linux Kernel 5.6

        Once again, Linux Lite users are among the first to install the latest Linux kernel series. In this case, Linux kernel 5.6, which was announced on March 29th by Linus Torvalds.

        Linux kernel 5.6 is the most advanced kernel series available to date and the first to ship with the powerful and secure WireGuard VPN solution built-in.

        Of course, WireGuard support isn’t the only feature of the Linux 5.6 kernel series, which also comes with USB4 support, a new CPU idle cooling thermal driver, AMD Pollock support, a new Zonefs file system for zoned block devices, and much more.

      • Linux 5.6 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Mass Adoption
      • Linux 5.7 Gets A Unified/User-Space-Access-Intended Accelerator Framework

        The Linux 5.7 crypto subsystem updates include new drivers.

        Linux 5.7 is progressing through its two-week merge window and while only a quarter of the way through, it’s certainly seeing a number of interesting and new drivers.

        The crypto subsystem is introducing the UACCE driver, which was worked on by Linaro and HiSilicon. UACCE stands for the “Unified/User-space-access-intended Accelerator Framework.” UACCE was described in its patch series as providing “Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA) between accelerators and processes. So accelerator can access any data structure of the main CPU. This differs from the data sharing between CPU and I/O device, which share only data content rather than address. Since unified address, hardware and user space of process can share the same virtual address in the communication.”

      • Linux kernel 5.6.0 iwlwifi bug

        Quick note that the Linux kernel 5.6.0 has an iwlwifi bug that will prevent network connectivity. [1]

        A patch is out but did not make 5.6.0. This patch IS included in gentoo-sources-5.6.0. It will be in vanilla-sources 5.6.1 once upstream releases a new version.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Linaro Tech Days: Wayland, Weston & Open Source GPU drivers

          This week, Daniel Stone and Tomeu Vizoso will be taking part in Linaro Tech Days, a series of technical sessions presented live online via Zoom webinar and streamed on YouTube. These sessions are free to attend and open to the public, however registration is recommended to view full session details, joining instructions, and more.

        • Mesa Developers Discussing Again Whether To Fork Or Drop Non-Gallium3D Drivers

          Back in December was a developer discussion over dropping or forking non-Gallium3D drivers. Since then the Intel “Iris” Gallium3D driver has successfully become the default OpenGL driver for Broadwell/Gen8 and newer while the non-Gallium3D drivers continue to just face bit rot. The discussion over dropping/forking non-Gallium3D Mesa drivers has been reignited.

          This mailing list thread is active again with discussions over getting rid of the Mesa “classic” drivers to allow better focusing on the modern Gallium3D drivers and Mesa’s Vulkan drivers. Eliminating the classic drivers avoids the associated maintenance burden and also allows simplifying/improving the modern drivers without risking breakage/regressions and other headaches with the old drivers.

    • Applications

      • Chafa 1.4.0: Now with sixels

        April 1st seems like as good a time as any for a new Chafa release — though note that Chafa is no joke. At least not anymore, what with the extremely enterprise-ready sixel pipeline and all.

        [...]

        The most complete existing implementation is probably Hayaki Saito’s libsixel, but I chose to write one from scratch for Chafa, since sixel output is remarkably intensive computationally, and I wanted to employ a combination of advanced techniques (parallelism, quantization using a PCA approach, SIMD scaling) and corner-cutting that wouldn’t have been appropriate in that library. This gets me fast animation playback and makes it easier to phase out the ImageMagick dependency in the long term.

        There are at least two widely available virtual terminals that support sixels: One is XTerm (when compiled with –enable-sixel), and the other is mlterm. Unfortunately, I don’t think either is widely used compared to distribution defaults like GNOME Terminal and Konsole, so here’s hoping for more mainstream support for this feature.

      • Butterfly Builder, a tool to compile PHP

        Butterfly Builder is a tool written in BASH that allows to compile PHP from the source code, Butterfly Builder (before pbt) is the evolution of the php-build.sh script allowing greater flexibility and customization in the PHP compilation / installation process.

      • PAM testing using pam_wrapper and dbusmock

        On the road to libfprint and fprintd 2.0, we’ve been fixing some long-standing bugs, including one that required porting our PAM module from dbus-glib to sd-bus, systemd’s D-Bus library implementation.

        As you can imagine, I have confidence in my ability to write bug-free code at the first attempt, but the foresight to know that this code will be buggy if it’s not tested (and to know there’s probably a bug in the tests if they run successfully the first time around). So we will have to test that PAM module, thoroughly, before and after the port.

      • Get Unsplash Wallpapers on Linux with Fondo Wallpaper App

        Some people change wallpapers on their desktops, phones or other devices more frequently than they change clothes. Finding new wallpapers on the internet is not that difficult. However, you do start to see the same images over and over the more you look. And then it starts to get a little difficult. That’s when many people flock over to Unsplash. Unsplash is a royalty-free photography site, not remotely aimed at providing wallpapers. However, it is a very popular source of wallpapers for many users. Fondo wallpaper app is a new app for Linux that makes it much easier to find and apply wallpapers from Unsplash.

      • Easily Load, Unload And Blacklist Kernel Modules With kmon (TUI)

        kmon is a new command line kernel manager and activity monitor. It can be used to load, unload and blacklist kernel modules, as well as show module information. The tool also shows kernel activities (hardware logs, etc.) in real time.

        This command line tool is written in Rust, and it uses a text-based user interface (TUI) thanks to the tui-rs and termion libraries.

      • Fre:ac Audio Converter 1.1 Released with Dark Mode Support

        Fre:ac audio converter 1.1 was released a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Privacy Tools

        • 3 Zoom Alternatives to Maintain Your Privacy

          Things just keep getting worse for Zoom, with multiple privacy violations and security issues found within its service. To help our readers I’ve found three Zoom alternatives to try. It’s important to mention that I haven’t used any of these myself, but I want to spread awareness of these services. All of these are available on multiple platforms.

          [...]

          Linphone is a VoIP service geared more towards one-on-one communication, but it does offer audio conference calls. It gives you voice, video, and text chats, using open telecom standards (SIP, RTP). It’s open source and uses end-to-end encryption.

        • ProtonMail launches Bridge for Linux

          We are excited to announce that starting today, you can use Bridge to connect your ProtonMail account with your desktop email app on the Linux operating system.
          ProtonMail Bridge is a desktop app available to all paying subscribers that integrates ProtonMail’s strong privacy and security features, such as zero-access encryption and end-to-end encryption, with your email client.
          Bridge implements IMAP/SMTP protocols and is compatible with any email client which follows this standard. The Linux version we are launching today includes special optimizations for Thunderbird.
          Since releasing Bridge for Linux in beta, we have collected valuable feedback from our community and improved the speed and performance. Linux users now have access to all the convenience provided by an email client, including full-text search, offline editing, and the ability to export and back up emails from your ProtonMail account.

    • Games

      • It’s surprisingly easy to switch a gaming PC to Linux today

        Talking to PC gamers about Linux is always entertaining, because everyone who knows even a little bit about Linux has a different impression. For some it’s that other operating system they’ve vaguely heard of, and they have about as much interest in it as I have in cars (read: not much). For others it’s a critical part of their work or infrastructure, or it’s the thing their techy friend somehow always manages to bring up in unrelated conversations (ugh, you know how to do everything on the command line, we get it).

        Last year I decided to become one of the latter and go all-in on desktop Linux. It opened my eyes to how much Linux has changed over the years, and how outdated the idea of Linux as an OS exclusively for tech nerds really is. Not only was the switch relatively painless, but I’m not missing out on much, either—not even gaming.

        Here’s what it’s like switching from Windows to Linux today, from hardware to software to gaming.

      • Unique competitive platformer ‘Jumpala’ adds new stages and it’s a huge amount of fun

        Jumpala is a very unique competitive platform covered here on GOL recently and I’ve fallen a little in love with the idea. It’s challenging and a lot of fun to play with others.

        With a surprising twist on the whole idea of platforming, you’re not running and jumping or doing much fighting. Instead, you’re hopping around tiny platforms to turn them your colour and score points when they fall off the screen. It really does get surprisingly intense, especially if you’ve been frozen or you take a wrong turn and the platforms don’t come down in your favour and you get knocked off losing valuable hopping time.

      • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta Driver out for Linux – helping DOOM Eternal on Steam Play

        NVIDIA continue to fix up and improve their Linux drivers, with a brand new Vulkan Beta Driver available today.

        This is the testing area where NVIDIA put in new features, add in new Vulkan API support like the provisional vendor-neutral Ray Tracing that went in recently and more that eventually make their way into their normal drivers.

      • If you want more gore in the GZDoom and Zandronum engines try the ‘Bolognese Gore Mod’

        The Bolognese Gore Mod is another creation by Brutal Doom’s developer, and it’s advertised as a gore enhancement mod for the GZDoom and Zandronum engines. However, apart from making the combat more violent, it also states that “makes enemies smarter and harder, makes gun louder and beefier, and adds epic new boss battles.”

      • Prepare your space legs for X4: Split Vendetta and the massive 3.0 free update

        Egosoft continue to polish up their ridiculously massive, incredibly ambitious and rather good looking space sim with the release of X4: Split Vendetta and the massive 3.0 free update.

        For everyone in the free update there’s new storyline, new mission types, French voice-over, new standalone tutorials, new shops, a configurable alert system, new weapons, improved graphics and a huge amount more. Meanwhile X4: Split Vendetta, the paid DLC, adds in a massive expansion to the universe amongst other things like the two new Split family clans.

      • Save money, buy awesome games and support charity in a big Paradox Interactive sale

        Here’s another excuse for you to support charity and get some new games, if the Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle wasn’t enough for you. Paradox Interactive are now running their own big charity sale.

        Lasting until 5PM UTC on April 3, with all the funds going to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. During this time some of their popular titles are heavily discounted, helping you to stay home and keep everyone around you safe. Nice to see even more developers get in on this and come together.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 3.98.2

          When we released 3.98.0, we promised more frequent snapshots, as the remaining GTK 4 features are landing. Here we are a few weeks later, and 3.98.1 and 3.98.2 snapshots have quietly made it out.

        • GTK 3.98.2 Released As Another Step Towards GTK4

          GTK 3.98.2 is out as the latest development snapshot in the road to the overdue but much anticipated GTK 4.0.

          This latest GTK4 development release finishes their re-implementation of GtkPopovers, splitting up of the GdkSurface API, new infrastructure around keyboard shortcuts using event controllers, new Pango features exposed by GtkTextTag, and finishing up drag-and-drop refactoring. GTK 3.98.2 has also seen various clean-ups and fixes to the tool-kit’s codebase.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Join Us for SUSECON Digital on Wednesday, May 20

          I am thrilled to share that SUSECON Digital will launch on Wednesday, March 20! Whether you are tuning in from your mobile device or on your computer, SUSCON Digital will help you Be the Difference by ensuring you get the tools, skills, and insights you need to simplify, modernize, and accelerate your business – for free! You can register now.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • World Backup Day: A plan of action

          World Backup Day reminds us all of just how important backups are. You don’t get how important they are, perhaps, until you’ve experienced an outage that you can’t recover from by any troubleshooting method. Backups are a pain but they are a necessary evil and can save you when things go bad. And things always go bad. This article helps you make a plan.

        • Running an event-driven health management business process through a few scenarios: Part 1

          In the previous series of articles, Designing an event-driven business process at scale: A health management example (which you need to read to fully understand this one), you designed and implemented an event-driven scalable business process for the population health management use case. Now, you will run this process through a few scenarios.

        • Getting to open hybrid cloud

          So, you’ve read our e-book and are convinced that adopting an open hybrid cloud Platform is a key part of digitally transforming. Great! Now how do you get your applications and associated infrastructure there?

          There are many aspects that should be considered when digitally transforming and adopting an open hybrid cloud including people, culture, process, and technology. While these are all important, in this post we will focus on process and technology.

          A common way of speaking about migrating or modernizing workloads to the cloud was popularized in 2016 by Amazon Web Services in their post, “6 Strategies for Migration Applications to the Cloud.” We will use the categorization popularized in that article to explore how Red Hat is making it quicker and easier to move your applications and their associated infrastructure to the open hybrid cloud.

        • Command and control: The Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 Dashboard changes the game

          Ease of use was a key development theme for Red Hat Ceph Storage 4. In our last post, we covered the role that the new install UI plays in enabling administrators to deploy Ceph Storage 4 in a simple and guided manner, without prior Ceph expertise.

          Simplifying installation is only the first step—the second step is simplifying day-to-day management. To meet this challenge, Ceph Storage 4 introduces a new graphical user interface called the Dashboard.

        • Red Hat DNF 4.2.21 Package Manager Released Today!

          DNF 4.2.21 Released Today: DNF is otherwise named as Dandified YUM Package Manager. DNF is basically developed by Red Hat for RPM based distributions. The team Red Hat developers announced the latest version of DNF 4.2.21 has been released. They promised that the new version may have many new essential bugs fixes and software tweaks.

        • Three ways our hybrid cloud architecture makes it easy to add AI to fulfillment
        • Gain transparency into fulfillment decisions

          In a previous blog, I introduced IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer With Watson® and provided answers to five frequently asked questions. Once clients have implemented this AI-powered solution to optimize fulfillment, they tend to have another question: Why did Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer make the decisions that it did? In this blog, we’ll look at what’s in Watson’s head.

          When an order is sent to Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer, the order goes through many rules, configurations, constraints, and cost-optimization comparisons to determine the best fulfillment option. Sometimes, as a user, the recommendation intuitively feels right, but other times it may not – particularly if you’re dealing with complex orders and a complex fulfillment network. If an order is placed in Chicago and Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer recommends that different order lines for the order be fulfilled from nodes in Los Angeles and Dallas, you may have difficulty understanding why that was the best choice to maximize profits.

          What isn’t immediately evident is that behind the scenes, Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer is using big data analytics, AI, and machine learning to look for trends and patterns. It analyzes sell-through patterns, rate-of-sale and probability-of-sale data to determine the risk of stockouts or markdowns for each SKU node combination, automatically calculating the lowest overall fulfillment cost at that moment. This is critical because that moment in time is always changing as the fulfillment network and sell-through patterns continuously change, and business preferences may change as well. Remember from the last blog that I discussed how you may decide to prioritize one or more factors over the total cost due to promotions or seasonality. In this example, where the order is fulfilled from Los Angeles and Dallas, the solution determined — based on visibility into real-time data and balancing multiple factors simultaneously — that if the order had been fulfilled from a single node in Chicago, which at that moment was low on inventory, the risk of stockout would have been high.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian LTS work, March 2020

          I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative, and carried over 0.75 hours from February. I only worked 12.25 hours this month, so I will carry over 8.5 hours to April.

          I issued DLA 2114-1 for the update to linux-4.9.

        • Debian LTS and ELTS – March 2020

          Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

          In March, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I was assigned 30h for LTS (out of 30 max; all done) and 20h for ELTS (out of 20 max; I did 0).

          Most contributors claimed vulnerabilities by performing early CVE monitoring/triaging on their own, making me question the relevance of the Front-Desk role. It could be due to a transient combination of higher hours volume and lower open vulnerabilities.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 Codenamed Ulyana & More

          The news came on the last day of the month from Linux Mint. The new version of Linux Mint which is Linux Mint 20 will be called Ulyana. Linux Mint release post has not released anything other than the name. But a simple google search shows the word “Ulyana” comes from the Russian origin and it means Youthful. Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu release, 20.04 “Focal Fossa”. Focal Fossa is scheduled to be released on 23rd of this month.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Steps to maximise robotics security with Ubuntu

          The Robot Operating System (ROS) is a popular open-source platform for advanced robotics. Its flexibility and ease-of-use make it well-suited to a wide array of robotics applications – however, these robots are not always sufficiently protected against security threats.

          Opportunistic attacks are by far the most prevalent, and robots with inadequate ROS security make tempting targets for bad actors. With that in mind, approaching robotics security proactively is crucial to preventing breaches and saving resources in the long run. Security starts with the underlying operating system, and building robots on Ubuntu unlocks a number of easy, yet effective, measures for maximising protection against the most dominant threats.

        • OpenStack distributions: How to choose the right one?

          Choosing the right OpenStack distribution is essential to the success of an OpenStack project at every organisation. When selecting one, organisations should always follow certain criteria. Is it possible to operate the considered OpenStack distributions economically? How easy is it to deploy them? Can the organisation upgrade its production OpenStack cloud without affecting the workloads? Everyone planning to deploy OpenStack should ask themselves these questions. And there is always more criteria to consider.

          In order to facilitate the OpenStack vendor selection process for the organisations, we have recently published an OpenStack distributions comparison website. It highlights the key differences between three leading OpenStack platforms: Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack, Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Mirantis Cloud Platform. Now, in the following blog, I am going to describe some tips which organisations should follow to make sure that they choose the right OpenStack distribution.

        • Accelerate AI/ML workloads with Kubeflow and System Architecture

          AI/ML model training is becoming more time consuming due to the increase in data needed to achieve higher accuracy levels. This is compounded by growing business expectations to frequently re-train and tune models as new data is available.

          The two combined is resulting in heavier compute demands for AI/ML applications. This trend is set to continue and is leading data center companies to prepare for greater compute and memory-intensive loads for AI.

        • FIPS 140-2: Stay compliant and secure with Canonical

          FIPS 140-2 is a set of publicly announced cryptographic standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is an essential part of FEDRamp requirements for many governmental agencies in the US and Canada, as well as their business partners from all around the world. Furthermore, as a well established and verified security standard, an increasing number of large companies and financial institutions are asking for FIPS compliance.

          Yet, FIPS certification process introduces challenges that could impact your security. Ubuntu lets you choose the way to implement FIPS-certified cryptographic modules with two distinct FIPS alternatives to choose from to overcome those challenges.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Extensions in Firefox 75

            In Firefox 75 we have a good mix of new features and bugfixes. Quite a few volunteer contributors landed patches for this release please join me in cheering for them!

      • FSF

        • Free Software Foundation targets Microsoft’s smart assistant in new campaign

          Today, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced plans to follow up their recent campaign to “upcycle” Windows 7 with another initiative targeting proprietary software developer Microsoft, calling on them to Free Clippy, their wildly popular smart assistant. Clippy, an anthropomorphic paperclip whose invaluable input in the drafting of documents and business correspondence ushered in a new era of office productivity in the late 1990s, has not been seen publicly since 2001. Insider reports suggest that Clippy is still alive and being held under a proprietary software license against its will.

          The FSF is asking its supporters to rally together to show their support of the industrious office accessory. Commenting on the campaign, FSF campaigns manager Greg Farough stated: “We know that Microsoft has little regard for its users’ freedom and privacy, but few in our community realize what little regard they have for their own digital assistants. Releasing Clippy to the community will ensure that it’s well taken care of, and that its functions can be studied and improved on by the community.”

        • GNU Projects

          • Deprecating support for the Linux kernel

            After years in the making, Guix recently gained support for running natively on the GNU/Hurd operating system. That means you will soon be able to replace…

            (kernel linux-libre)
            with

            (kernel hurd)
            (initial-herd hurd)
            …in your operating-system declaration and reboot into the future!

            Running on the Hurd was always a goal for Guix, and supporting multiple kernels is a huge maintenance burden. As such it is expected that the upcoming Guix 1.1 release will be the last version featuring the Linux-Libre kernel. Future versions of Guix System will run exclusively on the Hurd, and we expect to remove Linux-Libre entirely by Guix 2.0.

            The Linux kernel will still be supported when using Guix on “foreign” distributions, but it will be on a best-effort basis. We hope that other distributions will follow suit and adopt the Hurd in order to increase security and freedom for their users.

            We provide a pre-built virtual machine image with the Hurd for download with SHA256 056e69ae4b5fe7a062b954a5be333332152caa150359c20253ef77152334c662.

          • GNU Guix Wants To Replace The Linux-Libre Kernel With The Hurd Micro-Kernel

            Seemingly at first thinking it was just an April Fools’ Day joke, but it turns out the GNU Guix developers responsible for their package manager and operating system are actually working to replace their Linux (GNU Linux-libre to be exact) kernel with GNU Hurd.

            The GNU Guix project announced today they are planning to deprecate support for the Linux kernel. Their Guix 1.1 target would be the last supporting Linux-libre and by Guix 2.0 they would potentially be removing their Linux kernel entirely but still allowing “foreign” distributions to support it on a best-effort basis.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • D.I.Y. Coronavirus Solutions Are Gaining Steam

          Mr. Cavalcanti, 33, is the founder of the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies, a Facebook group that is crowdsourcing solutions to address the diminishing stock of medical equipment around the world. Mr. Cavalcanti, the founder and C.E.O. of MegaBots, a robotics company, initially intended to focus on ventilators. A front-line surgeon in the Bay Area convinced him to go after the low-hanging fruit: sanitizer, gloves, gowns and masks for medical professionals. Stacks of ventilators wouldn’t do the public any good if there were no health care workers to operate them.

      • Programming/Development

        • Intel GCC Patches + PRM Update Adds SERIALIZE Instruction, Confirm Atom+Core Hybrid CPUs

          Intel has seemingly just updated their public programming reference manual as well as sending out some new patches to the GCC compiler for supporting new instructions on yet-to-be-released CPUs.

          Hitting the mailing list early this morning was support for TSXLDTRK. TSXLDTRK is Intel TSX Suspend Load Address Tracking and is confirmed as coming with Sapphire Rapids / Golden Cove. With that is the XSUSLDTRK to suspend tracking load addresses and XRESLDTRK so that software developers can choose the memory accesses that do not need to be tracked by a TSX (Transactional Synchronization Extensions) read set.

        • Upstreaming LLVM’s Fortran “Flang” Front-End Has Been Flung Back Further

          Upstreaming of LLVM’s Fortran front-end developed as “f18″ and being upstreamed with the Flang name was supposed to happen back in January. Three months later, the developers still are struggling to get the code into shape for integration.

        • LLVM Clang 10.0 Compiler Performance On Intel + AMD CPUs Under Linux

          With last week’s release of LLVM/Clang 10.0, here are our first benchmarks looking at the stable release of the Clang 10.0 C/C++ compiler compared to its previous (v9.0.1) release on various Intel and AMD processors under Ubuntu Linux.

        • GCC 11 Will Likely Support Using LLVM’s libc++

          While GCC 10 isn’t even out for a few more weeks, looking ahead to next year’s GCC 11 release is already one interesting planned change.

          GCC 11′s C++ front-end (G++) will likely offer support for using LLVM’s libc++ standard library. There was recently a question asked on the GCC mailing list over the ability to do -stdlib=libc++ for using LLVM’s C++ standard library in conjunction with the GCC C++ compiler.

        • How does kanban relate to DevOps?

          Kanban means “visual signal” and has its roots in the Toyota manufacturing industry. It was developed by Taiichi Ohno to improve manufacturing efficiency. When we jump a few decades into the future, kanban complements agile and lean, often used with frameworks such as scrum, Scaled Agile Framework, and Disciplined Agile to visualize and manage work.

        • Joachim Breitner: 30 years of Haskell

          Vitaly Bragilevsky, in a mail to the GHC Steering Committee, reminded me that the first version of the Haskell programming language was released exactly 30 years ago. On April 1st. So that raises the question: Was Haskell just an April fool’s joke that was never retracted?

        • How to compare objects in PHP

          PHP offers a simple way to compare objects using the comparison (==) and identity (===) operators.

          When using the comparison operator (==), object variables are compared in a simple manner: Two object instances are equal if they have the same attributes and values and are instances of the same class.

        • Fix Class ‘DOMDocument’ not found error
        • How JAMstack Is Shaking Up Static Application Development

          In an API-driven world that is increasingly mobile, JAMstack is well-positioned to become a de facto method for application architecture and delivery.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Monthly Report – March

            I lost a friend of mine, Jeff Goff (aka DrForr), who passed away on 13th March, 2020, while snorkeling with a group in the Bahamas. He will be missed by many of his friends. May his soul rest in peace.

            Most of the time last month was occupied by COVID-19. Being a type-2 diabetic didn’t help the cause either. I have suffered with consistent cough all my life. It is really scary when think from COVID-19 point of view. I have survived so far by the grace of ALLAH s.w.t.

            I have been working from home since the first week of March. I have been kind of self quarantined. Kids, specially the twins (3 years old) not allowed to play with me. It is really hard to focus on work but somehow I have managed so far. I am getting used to it now.

          • The Weekly Challenge #054

            For the first time, since I started participating the weekly challenges, I thought of doing one-liner. With handy CPAN modules, it was pretty straight forward in Perl. Even Raku with built-in features wasn’t far behind Perl. Like in the past, I learn something new in Raku every week. This week was no different. I will share what I learnt this time later.

        • Python

          • Hidden Markov Model – A story of the morning insanity

            In this article, we present an example of an (im-)practical application of the Hidden Markov Model (HMM). It is an artifially constructed problem, where we create a case for a model, rather than applying a model to a particular case… although, maybe a bit of both.

            Here, we will rely on the code we developed earlier , and discussed in the earlier article: “Hidden Markov Model – Implementation from scratch”, including the mathematical notation. Feel free to take a look. The story we are about to tell contains modeling of the problem, uncovering the hidden sequence and training of the model.

          • Tryton News: Newsletter April 2020

            Tryton is a business software platform which comes with a set of modules that can be activated to make an ERP, MRP, CRM and other useful applications for organizations of any kind.
            During this month, when most developers are social distancing, we recorded a lot of changes to prepare for the upcoming release 5.6 that is planned for the start of May.

          • Reading and Writing MS Word Files in Python via Python-Docx Module

            The MS Word utility from Microsoft Office suite is one of the most commonly used tools for writing text documents, both simple and complex. Though humans can easily read and write MS Word documents, assuming you have the Office software installed, often times you need to read text from Word documents within another application.

            For instance, if you are developing a natural language processing application in Python that takes MS Word files as input, you will need to read MS Word files in Python before you can process the text. Similarly, often times you need to write text to MS Word documents as output, which could be a dynamically generated report to download, for example.

          • Linked Lists in Python: An Introduction

            Linked lists are like a lesser-known cousin of lists. They’re not as popular or as cool, and you might not even remember them from your algorithms class. But in the right context, they can really shine.

          • Python Software Foundation: An Update on PyPI Funded Work

            Originally announced at the end of 2018, a gift from Facebook Research is funding improvements for the security PyPI and its users.

          • Django bugfix releases issued: 3.0.5 and 2.2.12

            Today we’ve issued 3.0.5 and 2.2.12 bugfix releases.

          • Concurrency in Python

            A thread is an independent sequence of execution, but it shares memory with all the other threads belonging to your program. A Python program has, by default, one main thread. You can create more of them and let Python switch between them. This switching happens so fast that it appears like they are running side by side at the same time.

          • What the heck is pyproject.toml?

            Recently on Twitter there was a maintainer of a Python project who had a couple of bugs filed against their project due to builds failing (this particular project doesn’t provide wheels, only sdists). Eventually it came out that the project was using a pyproject.toml file because that’s how you configure Black and not for any other purpose. This isn’t the first time I have seen setuptools users use pyproject.toml because they were “told to by <insert name of tool>” without knowing the entire point behind the file. And so I decided to write this blog post to try and explain to setuptools users why pyproject.toml exists and what it does as it’s the future of packaging in the Python ecosystem (if you are not a conda user).

            [...]

            With PEP 518 in place, tools knew what needed to be available in order to build a project into a wheel (or sdist). But how do you produce a wheel or sdist from a project that has a pyproject.toml? This is where PEP 517 comes in. That PEP specifies how build tools are to be executed to build both sdists and wheels. So PEP 518 gets the build tools installed and PEP 517 gets them executed. This opens the door to using other tools by standardizing how to run build tools. Before, there was no standardized way to build a wheel or sdist except with python setup.py sdist bdist_wheel which isn’t really flexible; there’s no way for the tool running the build to pass in environment details as appropriate, for instance. PEP 517 helped solve that problem.

            One other change that PEP 517 & 518 has led to is build isolation. Now that projects can specify arbitrary build tools, tools like pip have to build projects in virtual environments to make sure each project’s build tools don’t conflict with another project’s build tool needs. This also helps with reproducible builds by making sure your build tools are consistent.

            Unfortunately this frustrates some setuptools users when they didn’t realize a setup.py files and/or build environment have become structured in such a way that they can’t be built in isolation. For instance, one user was doing their builds offline and didn’t have setuptools and ‘wheel’ cached in their wheelhouse, so when pip tried to build a project in isolation it failed as pip couldn’t find setuptools and ‘wheel’ to install into the build virtual environment.

          • 3 Python templating languages you should (probably) never use

            When reaching for a templating language for writing a Python web application, there are an abundance of robust solutions.

            There are Jinja2, Genshi, and Mako. There are even solutions like Chameleon, which are a bit older, but still recommended by the Pyramid framework.

            Python has been around for a long time. In that time, deep in the corners of its system, it has accumulated some almost forgotten templating languages that are well worth poking at.

          • How to Speed up Your Python Code

            Always take a good look at your code and algorithms first. Many speed issues can be resolved by implementing a better algorithm or adding caching.

          • One-Hot Encoding in Python with Pandas and Scikit-Learn

            In computer science, data can be represented in a lot of different ways, and naturally, every single one of them has its advantages as well as disadvantages in certain fields.

            Since computers are unable to process categorical data as these categories have no meaning for them, this information has to be prepared if we want a computer to be able to process it.

            This action is called preprocessing. A big part of preprocessing is encoding – representing every single piece of data in a way that a computer can understand (the name literally means “convert to computer code”).

            In many branches of computer science, especially machine learning and digital circuit design, One-Hot Encoding is widely used.

            In this article, we will explain what one-hot encoding is and implement it in Python using a few popular choices, Pandas and Scikit-Learn. We’ll also compare it’s effectiveness to other types of representation in computers, its strong points and weaknesses, as well as its applications.

          • PyCharm: What’s New in R Plugin

            We’re releasing a new update of the R Plugin for PyCharm and other IntelliJ-based IDEs. If you haven’t tried the plugin yet, download it from our website.

            The plugin is available for 2019.3 versions of IDEs and for EAP builds of 2020.1. The latest update comes with many stability improvements and long-awaited features:

            1. You want your publications to look good, we now make it easy to get your graphs in exactly the size you need.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Up to 500 Linux Foundation Training Scholarships to be Awarded! Apply by April 30

                Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships are back! Since 2011, The Linux Foundation has awarded over 100 scholarships for more than $220,000 in training and certification to deserving individuals around the world who would otherwise be unable to afford it. This is part of our mission to grow the open source community by lowering the barrier to entry and making quality training options accessible to those who want them.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (apng2gif, gst-plugins-bad0.10, and libpam-krb5), Fedora (coturn, libarchive, and phpMyAdmin), Mageia (chromium-browser-stable, nghttp2, php, phpmyadmin, sympa, and vim), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick, ldns, phpMyAdmin, python-mysql-connector-python, python-nltk, and tor), Red Hat (advancecomp, avahi, bash, bind, bluez, buildah, chromium-browser, cups, curl, docker, dovecot, doxygen, dpdk, evolution, expat, file, gettext, GNOME, httpd, idm:DL1, ImageMagick, kernel, kernel-rt, lftp, libosinfo, libqb, libreoffice, libsndfile, libxml2, mailman, mariadb, mod_auth_mellon, mutt, nbdkit, net-snmp, nss-softokn, okular, php, podman, polkit, poppler and evince, procps-ng, python, python-twisted-web, python3, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-ma, qt, rsyslog, samba, skopeo, squid, systemd, taglib, texlive, unzip, virt:8.1, wireshark, and zziplib), Slackware (gnutls and httpd), and SUSE (glibc, icu, kernel, and mariadb).

          • Kali NetHunter Updates

            Many outstanding discoveries have been made by our vibrant NetHunter community since 2020.1, so we have decided to publish a mid-term release to showcase these amazing developments on selected devices.

            [..].

            The Android 8.1 image is considered the recommended release with a proven track record of supporting NetHunter under the most extreme conditions, including force encryption of the data partition.

            Considering the current maturity of Android 10 for this platform, we would consider this version to be most suited for those who love to experiment and don’t mind getting things working by themselves. We had to edit the vendor fstab file on a laptop to disable force encryption because TWRP didn’t support it at the time of writing. If that doesn’t scare you then this image might be just right for you.

          • OpenWRT code-execution bug puts millions of devices at risk

            For almost three years, OpenWRT—the open source operating system that powers home routers and other types of embedded systems—has been vulnerable to remote code-execution attacks because updates were delivered over an unencrypted channel and digital signature verifications are easy to bypass, a researcher said.

            OpenWRT has a loyal base of users who use the freely available package as an alternative to the firmware that comes installed on their devices. Besides routers, OpenWRT runs on smartphones, pocket computers and even laptops and desktop PCs. Users generally find OpenWRT to be a more secure choice because it offers advanced functions and its source code is easy to audit.

            [...]

            These code-execution exploits are limited in their scope because adversaries must either be in a position to conduct a man-in-the-middle attack or tamper with the DNS server that a device uses to find the update on the Internet. That means routers on a network that has no malicious users and using a legitimate DNS server are safe from attack. Vranken also speculates that packet spoofing or ARP cache poisoning may also make attacks possible, but he cautions that he didn’t test either method.

            Despite the requirements, many networks connect people who are unknown or untrusted by the device operator. What’s more, attacks that replace router settings pointing to a legitimate DNS to a malicious one are a fact of life on the Internet, as in-the-wild attack here, here, here, and here (to name just a few) demonstrate.

          • OpenWRT code-execution bug puts millions of devices at risk

            The headline may be a bit overwrought, though.

          • How Hackers Are Targeting Networks Amidst Coronavirus Threat?

            There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created fear, panic and uncertainty among the public, but it has also opened new possibilities for hackers to increase cyber attacks using different approaches. According to reports in the last few weeks, hackers are taking advantage of the current situation to spread fake news about important information related to government notices, school closures, health risks etc.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia de-mystifies tone policing

      When the leaders of free software organizations want to avoid answering questions about money and conflicts of interest, one of their most popular fudges is to have some sidekick come in and complain about the tone of the question. These are the tone police. Beware.

      What, then, is the correct tone for women and volunteers to use when asking husbands and leaders about money?

      The Malaysian Government has provided an insight: try to sound like the cartoon character Doraemon.

      [...]

      In her infamous talk about enforcement at FOSDEM 2019, Molly de Blanc insists that it is necessary to follow through on community guidelines. She even gives a horrendous picture of a cat behind bars, how would Doraemon feel looking at that?

      This is no laughing matter unfortunately. A recent survey found one in five women still believe husbands deserve to beat ‘disobedient’ wives as they enforce Codes of Conduct in the home.

      As we read that, we couldn’t help wondering if the rate of domestic homicides will increase in 2020 and if so, is the Code of Conduct to blame for that?

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • EPO Extends Most Deadlines In Response To COVID‑19 Pandemic

        The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that it will be extending some deadlines to 17 April 2020, and that this date may be further extended. The extension will apply to periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020. The extension would apply to some deadlines for both European applications and to international applications (i.e. applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that are the subject of proceedings before the EPO.

        It is very important to note that not all deadlines will be extended according to the above remedy. The rules that determine whether the extension applies are, unfortunately, complex and so we would not advise relying on this remedy unless necessary. The spirit of this law is to assist applicants where the disruption might prevent a deadline from being met, and so we would encourage that responses are filed in the normal time period if possible.

        In particular, this extension will not apply to deadlines for filing divisional applications.

      • EPO Calls Off Oral Hearings Through April Due To COVID-19

        The European Patent Office announced Wednesday that it is not holding any oral hearings at the appeals board through April, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

        A day after lowering the Italian and EPO flags at its sites to honor the lives lost to the novel coronavirus, the office said in a statement that it is limiting some of its judicial activities by holding off on all oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal until April 30.

        The appeals board will continue to issue written decisions, as well as summons and communications involving oral hearings — including informing those whose cases have been affected by the EPO’s decision, it said.

Links 1/4/2020: Linux 5.7 Merges, Qt 5.14.2, GhostBSD 20.03, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Plans, WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Performing A Linux System Backup The Right Way

      In order to conduct a full system backup, you need to first create a directory called bin. The second step involves informing Linux that bash will be used as the interpreter with the following command.

    • Is the Switch from Windows to Linux Really That Hard? [Ed: Bogdan Popa, Microsoft "News Editor" aka Microsoft propaganda at Softpedia, now pushing a bunch of Microsoft talking points while using entities corrupted and bribed to drop Linux as "proof" GNU/Linux is "hard"]
    • This is what HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation Looks Like (Video)

      Back in February 2019, while referring to Arm server, Linus Torvalds famously said:

      I can pretty much guarantee that as long as everybody does cross-development, the platform won’t be all that stable. Or successful.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • My story of transitioning from Mac to Linux

        There’s growing awareness in the design community about the importance of design ethics and the way proprietary technology subjugates users. As a user experience designer, I believe technology should be designed to respect the earth as well as creators and users. Using and contributing to Linux is one way to align my design ethics with my practice.

        This is why I bought a ThinkPad and installed the Linux distribution Elementary OS, even though macOS is, by far, the most popular operating system among designers. Linux doesn’t have a great reputation for ease of use, and switching operating systems can be disorienting and frustrating. When I told people I was making the switch, many (especially designers!) thought I was foolish. However, after making the switch, I am happy to report that I have a design workflow that I really love and an operating system that aligns with my values.

      • Help with COVID-19 research using Folding@home on Linux

        Right now, every human on the planet is affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are looking for ways they can help. People are making masks and starting projects to invent or provide critical equipment. One thing you can do is donate what you have. If you’re like me, you have computing hardware sitting idle much of the time—that’s a resource that can contribute to finding a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as things like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

        [...]

        Folding@home started in 2000 with volunteers donating CPU and GPU time on computers that would otherwise be idle to work on things like creating antibiotics and curing cancer, and since then has made many important contributions. Currently, Folding@home makes more than 100 petaflops of processing power available to researchers. One current high-priority project is the research being done to find ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

        The Folding@home software can be installed on almost any computer. There are client downloads for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There is a VMware appliance. There are also projects to get the client running on Android and a Chrome plugin. There’s even a Docker image.

        In this article, we’ll look at the Linux install and configuration, and we’ll look at a headless install for CentOS 7 that you can use to build multiple VMs.

      • Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers launch custom InfinityBook laptop

        TUXEDO Computers is a pretty cool company that not only sells machines running Linux, but partners with Linux distribution developers for officially licensed branded laptops too. For instance, Tuxedo partnered with Kubuntu on the official Focus laptop. It’s a great way for Linux users to represent their favorite Linux-based operating system while also financially supporting the developers.

        Today, Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers launch the InfinityBook Manjaro laptop. This is Tuxedo’s 15.6-inch InfinityBook, customized with Manjaro branding and that Linux-based operating system pre-installed.

      • TUXEDO Computers Announces InfinityBook Manjaro Linux Laptop

        TUXEDO Computers in collaboration with Manjaro Linux announced today a new variant of their popular InfinityBook Linux laptop powered exclusively by Manjaro Linux, InfinityBook Manjaro.

        The InfinityBook Manjaro laptop is, in fact, an InfinityBook Pro 15 laptop, but highly optimized by the Manjaro development team to offer customers the best user experience and battery life on a Linux-powered laptop.

        By joining forces, both TUXEDO Computers and the Manjaro Project will provide customers with the technical and software support they need for the new laptop, which is fully configurable.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Arm is Here | LINUX Unplugged 347

        We discover a few simple Raspberry Pi tricks that unlock incredible performance and make us re-think the capabilities of Arm systems.

        Plus we celebrate Wireguard finally landing in Linux, catch up on feedback, and check out the new Manjaro laptop.

      • User Error: What Will Change Post-virus? | Jupiter Extras 67

        Joe, Alan, and Dan speculate about what the world will be like after the situation with Coronavirus is under control and life returns to something resembling normality.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 86

        The impacts of Coronovirus on Linux and open source, KDE Korner, and whether we are seeing the second big split in the FOSS world.

      • All Backup Solutions for the Home | Rsync, Synology, and FreeNAS
      • 2020-03-31 | Linux Headlines

        The MANRS initiative gains several new members, GitLab wants customers to help migrate premier features to its free tier, Eclipse Theia reaches 1.0, Lutris lands Humble Bundle game store integration, and Steam scales back automatic updates.

      • An Open Source Toolchain For Natural Language Processing From Explosion AI

        The state of the art in natural language processing is a constantly moving target. With the rise of deep learning, previously cutting edge techniques have given way to robust language models. Through it all the team at Explosion AI have built a strong presence with the trifecta of SpaCy, Thinc, and Prodigy to support fast and flexible data labeling to feed deep learning models and performant and scalable text processing. In this episode founder and open source author Matthew Honnibal shares his experience growing a business around cutting edge open source libraries for the machine learning developent process.

      • mintCast 331.5 – Audio Schmaudio

        In our Innards section, we talk more about how we do this show.

        And finally, our listener feedback and a few suggestions.

      • Checking out Ubuntu 20.04 Ahead of its Release

        Ubuntu 20.04 is coming soon! Ahead of the new release, I check out the current state of this in-progress distribution, in anticipation of its April 2020 release.

      • LHS Episode #335: Clean My Glasses

        Welcome to Episode 335 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short topics episode, we cover COVID-19 and contesting (duh), virtual amateur radio exams, emergency broadband on 5.8GHz, the Hamvention 2020 QSO party, exFAT, OBS, AREDN and much more. Thank you for listening. Stay safe and play more radio!

    • Kernel Space

      • WireGuard VPN added to Linux 5.6

        Linux users now have another choice when it comes to protecting themselves online as WireGuard VPN has been added to the Linux kernel in version 5.6.

        Up until now, the fast and flexible VPN, which was designed specifically for Linux implementations, was only available as a third-party addition. However, WireGuard VPN is now available by default with release of Linux 5.6.

        In an announcement, president and security researcher at Edge Security, Jason Donenfeld explained that future Linux kernels will have WireGuard built-in by default, saying…

      • Linux 5.6 Debuts with Wireguard Secure VPN for Remote Networking

        On March 29, Linux creator Linus Torvalds released the Linux 5.6 kernel providing a long list of new features. Of particular note for networking professionals is the inclusion of WireGuard Virtual Private Network (VPN) open source technology. Work to include WireGuard directly into Linux has been ongoing since March 2019 though WireGuard development itself has been ongoing since 2015.

        At its core, WireGuard is a secure network tunnel written especially for Linux, and optimized for performance and ease of configuration.

        “It has been designed with the primary goal of being both easy to audit by virtue of being small and highly secure from a cryptography and systems security perspective,” WireGuard creator Jason Donenfeld wrote in a Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) commit message.

        Even before WireGuard was directly integrated into Linux, it had been available in what is known as an out-of-tree module, as wall as userspace tools. By being directly integrated into Linux, WireGuard is now however even more accessible to a wider user community. In contrast with other options for VPN, WireGuard provides a very small attack surface for any potential attacker.

      • It’s Looking Like Android Could Be Embracing WireGuard – “A Sane VPN”

        Following the release of Linux 5.6 and WireGuard 1.0 declared, Google has now enabled WireGuard within their Android open-source Linux kernel build.

        Android’s Generic Kernel Image (GKI) now has the WireGuard support enabled as a built-in option as of yesterday. In the Git commit enabling it, Google’s Greg Kroah-Hartman commented, “Add native kernel support for a sane VPN.”

        The upstream WireGuard project has long offered an Android port available from the Play Store as a user-space implementation while it’s promising that Google is now enabling the WireGuard support as part of the GKI kernel for Android. WireGuard was upstreamed in Linux 5.6 after years of development and working out the encryption kernel changes that previously held up its integration.

      • Linux 5.6, Bootlin contributions inside

        Linux 5.6 was released last Sunday. As usual, LWN has the best coverage of the new features merged in this release: part 1 and part 2. Sadly, the corresponding KernelNewbies page has not yet been updated with the usual very interesting summary of the important changes.

        Bootlin contributed a total of 95 patches to this release, which makes us the 27th contributing company by number of commits, according to the statistics.

      • [Collaborans] Linux Kernel 5.6

        The Linux kernel development process has always prided itself in being a distributed effort, with contributions coming in from all parts of the world. Long before video conferencing became the new normal, kernel developers were collaborating remotely, using tools like IRC and mailing lists to successfully work together. It comes to no surprise, then, that despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, kernel development has continued.

        Of course, the merge window for kernel 5.6 closed before most countries had implemented any COVID-19 countermeasures. Since then, most of us have been, and continue to be, affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. And while 5.7 already promises to be another great release, what matters most right now is that everyone in the community stays safe. Take care of yourselves and those around you!

        That being said, kernel 5.6 was released over the weekend, so let’s take a look at the various projects Collaborans have been involved in, and the progress made. As usual, you can learn more about this release in thise LWN posts: part 1, part 2, and development statistics.

      • FSINFO System Call, Mount Notifications Sent In For Linux 5.7 To Provide Better Storage Details

        Red Hat’s David Howells has sent in pull requests introducing the new fsinfo() system call and mount/superblock notifications and as part of that a general notification mechanism for the kernel.

        This stems from work Howells has been pursuing for the past several months for exposing more file-system information and mount notifications. The fsinfo() system call exposes more file-system / VFS information like file-system UUIDs, capabilities, mount attributes, and other possible bits. With the fsinfo() pull request are also implementations for EXT4 and NFS.

      • Linux 5.7 EFI Changes: “The GRUB Project Is Showing Signs Of Life Again”

        Ingo Molnar on Monday began sending in his feature pull requests for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window. Of the pull requests worth noting are the EFI changes.

        Molnar characterized the GRUB boot-loader project as “showing signs of life again” following the recent introduction of a generic Linux/UEFI boot protocol rather than “x86 specific hacks”. The hope is that over time all new extensions will be introduced via that protocol to avoid these hacks for cleaning up the EFI kernel boot code in due course.

      • Linux 5.7 For 64-bit ARM Brings In-Kernel Pointer Authentication, Activity Monitors

        The 64-bit ARM architecture code will support several new features with the in-development Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Highlights of the 64-bit ARM (AArch64 / ARM64) code for Linux 5.7 include:

        - In-kernel pointer authentication is now supported. Back in 2018 added to the kernel was pointer authentication support but only exposed for user-space usage. As explained back then, “Pointer authentication can be supported by ARMv8.3 hardware and newer to allow for signing and authenticating of pointers against secret keys. The purpose of this pointer authentication is to mitigate ROP attacks and other potential buffer-overrun-style attacks.” Now with Linux 5.7 the ARMv8.3+ pointer authentication support also works within the kernel.

      • Linux 5.7 Networking Changes Bring Qualcomm IPA, New Intel Driver Additions

        The networking changes for the Linux 5.7 kernel have already been merged and as usual there is a lot of new wired and wireless networking driver activity.

        Some of the highlights in the networking subsystem for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Introducing the Qualcomm IPA driver as the IP Accelerator. The IPA allows for network functionality like filtering, routing, and NAT to be performed without occupying the main application processor. The IPA driver also allows for the modem’s LTE network to be made available to the application processor. This driver is based on previous open-source Qualcomm code and has been floating around the mailing list for the past few years while now finally is merged.

      • Linux 5.7 Media Updates Add H.264 / H.265 / VP9 Decode To The Meson Driver

        The media subsystem updates have landed for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

        The media subsystem updates are predominantly made up by individual media driver updates as usual. Some of the highlights include:

        - The Amlogic Meson VDEC driver now has support for VP9 decoding, H.264 decoding, and HEVC decode.

      • Linux 5.7 Power Management Includes Fixes, Tiny Power Button Driver

        Intel’s Rafael Wysocki who oversees the kernel’s power management area has sent in his relevant pull requests for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

        Highlights of the power management updates for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Support for Krait-based SoCs within the Qualcomm driver.

      • Linux 5.7′s USB Changes Range From Apple Fast Charging To Reporting USB-C Orientation

        With the newly-minted Linux 5.6 kernel is initial support for USB4 based on Intel’s Thunderbolt code while for Linux 5.7 is a wide variety of other USB changes.

        There aren’t any big USB4 changes to note with the Linux 5.7 kernel that is now going through its merge window. But there are plenty of other interesting USB changes for the 5.7 version…

      • Split Lock Detection Sent In For Linux 5.7 To Spot Performance Issues, Unprivileged DoS

        The previously reported work on split lock detection due to its big performance hit is now queued up for Linux 5.7.

        Split locks occur when an atomic instruction spans multiple cache lines and requires a global bus lock for ensuring atomicity. These split locks can take at least 1,000 more cycles than an atomic operation within a single cache line.

      • Intel Begins Prepping More Linux Code For Data Streaming Accelerator In Sapphire Rapids

        Last year Intel outlined the Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA) as a feature on future Intel CPUs for high-performance data movement and transformation operations for networking and storage / persistent memory. We are now seeing more of the Intel DSA work beginning to take shape for the Linux kernel.

      • The Linux 5.7 Scheduler Changes Bring Prominent Additions For Intel & Arm CPUs

        Ingo Molnar on Monday sent in the scheduler updates for the Linux 5.7 kernel that saw its merge window open at the start of this week. For the Linux 5.7 cycle are a number of prominent scheduler additions.

        Highlights on the scheduler side for Linux 5.7 include:

        - NUMA scheduling updates so the load balancer and placement logic do not fight each other in order to improve locality and utilization with less migrations.

      • Linux 5.7 Graphics Driver Updates Enable Tiger Lake By Default, OLED Backlight Support

        The Linux 5.7 Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) updates have been submitted as the kernel graphics driver changes for this next kernel feature release. As usual, there is a lot of work especially on the Intel and AMD Radeon side while nothing was queued for the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 20.04 GNOME X.Org vs. Wayland Session Performance Impact For Gaming

        In the past using the Wayland-based GNOME Shell session and other Wayland compositors has generally resulted in a performance hit in going through (X)Wayland but that is much less so these days. Here are some initial benchmarks of Ubuntu 20.04 running various Steam Linux gaming benchmarks both under the default X.Org-based session and then again when using the Wayland session and its (X)Wayland support.

    • Applications

      • Telegram Desktop 2.0 Release Adds Chat Folders, New Animated Emoji

        Telegram Desktop 2.0 arrives five months after the 1.9 series and more than three years after the 1.0 milestone. As expected, this is major update and introduces several new features.

        One of the biggest new feature of the Telegram Desktop 2.0 release include the ability to organize your chats into so-called “Chat Folders” whenever you think you have too many chats opened.

        Another interesting feature is support for creating custom folders with flexible settings. In addition, the client now also lets users use default recommendations when creating custom folders.

      • Kushal Das: Introducing ManualBox project

        One of the major security features of the QubesOS is the file vaults, where access to specific files can only happen via user input in the GUI applet. Same goes to the split-ssh, where the user has to allow access to the ssh key (actually on a different VM).

        I was hoping to have similar access control to important dotfiles with passwords, ssh private keys, and other similar files on my regular desktop system. I am introducing ManualBox which can provide similarly access control on normal Linux Desktops or even on Mac.

      • OCRFeeder – Where images go to text

        Recently, finding really cool, new, unique Linux software has become a difficult task. A chore. And by recently, I actually meant these past four or five years, even since the slow decline of enthusiasm and innovation in the desktop space started. After all, there’s a limit to how much good stuff can exist in a finite volume of intellect, but let’s not forget the wrong shift of focus to mobile and the shattering of the year-of-the-Linux dream.

        This makes my test of a four-year-old piece of software named OCRFeeder valid, I think. For two reasons. If it’s good, it’s good. Second, I’ve always been interested in the progress of optical character recognition, and whether our tools (read AI) can do a reasonable job here. I wrote about this in detail a while back, and then reviewed YAGF in 2015. Now, let’s have a look at OCRFeeder and what it can do. After me, brave Linux warriors.

      • Nutty – A network monitoring app for Linux

        After the internet revolution, it’s important to be connected with the cyber world to get things done. Skipping the complicated intricacies of how the internet works, on a personal level, we connect to the internet through various ways, like WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or Wi-Fi to put it simply, or some kind of a wired connection to a router, or in some cases, cellular networks.

        Whatever the medium be, we almost always require a way to monitor and manage the network connection(s). We are going to suggest a program for the purpose named Nutty.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Joachim Breitner: Animations in Kaleidogen

        A while ago I wrote a little game (or toy) called Kaleidogen. It is a relatively contemplative game where, starting from just unicolored disks, you combine abstract circular patterns to breed more interesting patterns. See my FARM 2019 talk for more details, or check out the source repository.

      • ‘Suits: A Business RPG’, a small indie comedy RPG has been updated with better Linux support

        Suits: A Business RPG is a mysterious comedy game that was released more than four years ago; from time to time it’s being featured as part of Steam’s Weeklong Deals, as it is the case right now (50% discounted), so I’ve been looking into it for some time.

      • Struggling with regular expressions? Then visit ‘Regex Crossword’, a site to learn them through a Sudoku-like game

        The website features several sections to make the levels as varied as possible. There is also another area which includes levels made by other users, along with a stats page. Also, if you check the Help and FAQ section, you will be recommended other tools and online resources in case you want to learn a bit more about regexs. Don’t forget to use an account so that your progress on the levels can be saved.

        Finally, although this project is “something we do for fun”, you can donate via PayPal or several cryptocurrencies (check the Help and FAQ section to see which ones are available) to help with hosting expenses and to keep ensuring further improvements and levels.

      • ‘Tilesetter’ is a program for developers that aims to optimize the tileset generation process; demo available

        Judging by the number of followers on their Twitter account and the user reviews on Steam, Tilesetter seems to embody the definition of “obscure”, but at the same time it must be remarked that except one, all of those reviews are positive and endorsed by a lot of other people, so while I’m not the indicated person to recommend you to use it or not (I’m not a developer), there are enough signs that would suggest this may be a particularly useful program to help you save a lot of time when creating your tilesets.

      • Intel used AMD code to get a 10% frame-rate boost in some Linux games

        This should be another promising step forward for gaming on Linux, then, at least for those who are using an Intel GPU (in other words, integrated graphics – although Intel does have discrete Xe graphics cards in the pipeline for the future at some point, which we’ve been hearing a lot about in recent times).

        Of course, Valve has been pushing hard elsewhere in the Linux gaming arena, most notably with the release of Proton (back in 2018) for allowing Steam (Windows) games to be played on Linux systems with a minimum of overhead and performance loss.

      • The Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle is live with lots of Linux games and all going to charity

        The Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle has arrived to help in the fight, with tons of games (and lots for Linux) and 100% of the proceeds of this will go to charity.

      • You can build you own bundle of Codemasters racing games over on Humble Bundle

        Got the need for speed? Codemasters might possibly be able to help with that, as they have a new bundle over on Humble Bundle where you pick what games you want.

        A good time to complete your racing game collection perhaps, there’s quite a few of them here. The way it works is that if you pick at least three, your discount gets bigger. The same happens if you pick 4 and 5 titles with each again giving you a bigger discount in total. There’s various DiRT games, lots of F1 titles and others.

      • Legend of Keepers from Goblinz Studio manages to sell over 33K copies in less than a month

        Always nice to see an indie developer doing reasonably well! Goblinz Studio, creator of Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master, have announced a pretty great start for it.

        Releasing only on March 19, they said on Twitter how they were going to do a special message about it hitting a 30K milestone but they hit over 33K before being able to to do so. It’s important to note that this is across Humble, GOG and Steam together. They also mentioned in another Twitter post about 4 days after release, that it had sold 1.3K copies on GOG alone in that time.

      • Paradox to give players a lot more guidance in Crusader Kings 3 – new overview video

        Crusader Kings is a complicated grand strategy series and not particularly accessible to new people. Crusader Kings 3 aims to change that as they’ve said before and over this month they gave more detail on what they’re doing.

        Through March they put out new developer diaries focusing on tutorials, governments, war, civil war and more. Paradox is paying particular attention to making the interface of Crusader Kings III much easier to understand, with a full guided tutorial that runs through various parts of the interface and the gameplay mechanics. One of the major differences will be Tooltips, a great many of them and once you get through the guided tutorial you then get special mini-tutorials to follow along so you don’t get overwhelmed.

      • Fates of Ort is an RPG where time stops until you move – it’s absolutely great and it’s out now

        We’ve got a lot of turn-based RPGs, a few real-time with pausing and a few entirely real-time but Fates of Ort still manages to make it all feel so new and interesting again. Think SUPERHOT as a retro pixel-art RPG and you get the idea. Not some gimmick either, as it works brilliantly. Also making it quite unique is the Magic system, which consumes your own life—as they say “Magic is powerful, but it is not free.”. So you not only need to plan your moves, watching enemies move when you move but also plan how and when to use your magic and not overly so to cause your own death.

      • Valve’s revamp of Artifact with a 2.0 Beta will start going out to players sometime soon

        Valve recently announced to expect news for their card game Artifact sometime soon, and now they’re saying an Artifact 2.0 Beta will start trickling out to players.

        In the announcement on Steam, they made it clear that they’ve been working on revamping the core mechanics of Artifact. You will now be able to zoom out any time, to see and interact with all three lanes at once. However, the “majority” of effect still only work across one lane so they’re all still important but a player is less likely to get shut out of a lane like they used to.

        Something better is that Valve will no longer sell cards, so there’s no chance of facing an opponent with more money who has a completely stacked deck to steamroll over you. There’s even a new “Hero Draft” mode, “that gives you a taste of constructing decks without all the pressure”.

      • Imperator: Rome free to play until April 5, plus Archimedes update and Magna Graecia content pack out now

        Imperator: Rome from Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio today had a huge update release along with a new DLC content pack and you can play free until April 5.

      • Manage the flow of passengers in ‘STATIONflow’ – leaving Early Access on April 15

        STATIONflow is a game about managing a very busy underground train station that’s currently in Early Access with Linux support, which is to officially release on April 15.

        Quite a complex-looking game that has you build 3D layouts, guiding passengers around to their destinations. You drag and drop corridors and platforms around, with a free-form layout system so that the flow of passengers is only as good as your imagination for planning. This also means you can constantly optimise and re-build, when you discover a better layout.

      • Get ready to play with renaissance paintings as ‘The Procession to Calvary’ releases in April

        The Procession to Calvary has such a brilliant idea with it bringing Renaissance Paintings to life in a point and click style adventure. I am genuinely excited to play this. Just recently announced for released on April 9, it brings together classic pieces from Rembrandt, Botticelli, Michelangelo and many more in a unique way to provide a special new world to explore.

      • Valve makes auto-update adjustments to help with managing Steam’s bandwidth use

        After multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home, Valve have started speaking about their own ways to manage bandwidth too.

        In the blog post on Steam, Valve mentioned how they’ve now adjusted download priorities so that games you’ve not played recently will move from using off-peak timings for auto-updates to spreading them over multiple days. Only games you’ve played in the last three days will update immediately. This doesn’t change you clicking on a game that needs an update, as it will begin to update as normal when you request it. They also said they’re looking into “additional solutions to help on our side” so we might see more download options in the Steam client eventually.

      • 5 Reasons Why This Linux Gaming OS Is Great For Your Living Room

        Valve’s Steam Machines initiative has been retired and SteamOS is on hiatus, but Steam Big Picture mode is still an awesome way to transform your PC into a living room console experience. For those of us who like the idea of having a computer dedicated to couch gaming (read: not your daily driver OS), a boutique Linux distribution called GamerOS is worth checking out. Especially since it picks up the baton where Valve left off and adds substantial tweaks and improvements.

        In a nutshell, GamerOS is an Arch Linux-based operating system that’s streamlined to do one thing very well: run Steam Big Picture. In fact, that’s all it does. There is no desktop environment. Your first boot places you directly into Steam Big Picture and that’s where you’ll live on GamerOS.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Vs Kubuntu Vs Neon Vs Plasma – What’s the Difference

          If you are a new Linux user and started exploring distros for your own need, you may already have come across KDE. And I am sure you heard of Kubuntu, KDE Plasma and KDE Neon. With so many KDE flavors, it is a little confusing. Well, that’s why this article, to clear things up and the difference between them.

        • Behind Plasma Bigscreen

          Plasma has been designed from the get go (2006 or so.. it seems at least 2 eternities agoto not make any assumptions on the type of device and to do a clear separation between the core technology/runtime and the various GUI plugins that end up implementing a full desktop experience.

          In an architecture decision informed by previous prototypes we did in KDE4 times for mobile devices UIs, in Plasma 5 we split it further and introduced the concept of a “shell package” which lets further customization between devices than what Plasma in KDE4 times allowed.

          Because of that we could do the Plasma Mobile shell without changes to the architecture that runs both the Desktop shell and the mobile version, despite being a completely different UI.

        • KDE Plasma 5.18.4 LTS Desktop Environment Brings More Than 40 Fixes

          Coming three weeks after the Plasma 5.18.3 point release, which introduced a bunch of Flatpak improvements and more than 60 fixes, the KDE Plasma 5.18.4 LTS release is here to add more than 40 bug fixes to various of the desktop environments core components.

          Among the changes, there’s improved support for the upcoming Qt 5.15 application framework for Breeze and libksysguard components and better support for the fwupd open-source daemon for installing firmware updates on devices in the Discover package manager.

          Flatpak support in Discover was also improved by fixing two issues. Moreover, XSettingsd was added as a runtime dependency to KDE GTK Config, kwallet-pam now works with pam_fscrypt, and KWin now allow the creation of more than one row on the “Virtual Desktops” settings page.

        • Qt 5.14.2 Released

          I am happy to inform you we have released Qt 5.14.2.

          As usual this second patch release to Qt 5.14 series doesn’t bring any new features but provide several bug fixes and other improvements. Compared to Qt 5.14.1 there are more than 200 bug fixes included in this release. For details of the most important changes please check the Changes files for Qt 5.14.2.

          At this same time we have also released update to Qt for Python, which can be obtained via pip.

          Qt 5.14.2 can be updated by using the online installer’s maintenance tool. For new installations please download the latest online installer from the Qt Account or from the qt.io download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users via the Qt Account and via the qt.io download page for open-source users.

        • SMPlayer – A Free Media Player for All Formats

          SMPlayer is a free and open-source media player built with codecs that enable it to play virtually all audio and video formats on Windows and Linux operating systems. It has a beautiful graphical user interface courtesy of the award-winning MPlayer with added features such as the option to download subtitles and play YouTube videos.

          Apart from housing all the features expected in any media player, the most convenient thing about SMPlayer is that once you wouldn’t need to install any codecs for specific audio or video formats because it ships with all of them preinstalled and still manages to maintain a small package size.

        • Norbert Preining: Fixing the Breeze Dark theme for gtk3 apps

          It has been now about two weeks that I switched to KDE/Plasma on all my desktops, and to my big surprise, that went much more smooth than I thought. There are only a few glitches with respect to the gtk3 part of the Breeze Dark theme I am using, which needed fixup.

        • Latte Dock development news

          I would like to thank everyone for its love concercing Latte and kde community for its big acceptance. It is no secret that for the last two years I am the single and only Latte developer. For me it is just my fun project that I also share to the community. If anyone wants to participate by contributing code and patches for review can do so easily through kde phabricator page. I also want to thank of course the kde translators and its team that contribute translations to Latte weekly.

          In previous month users had asked when Latte v0.10.~ will become the stable version. So as it appears I do not have time to make this possible until this summer so as a first step it will be delayed for Christmas 2020 and if it is not ready then it will be delayed even more. Of course and I do not want to burn out and I want to keep other aspects of my life healthy.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Where are the best GNOME communities

          As with all open source projects, GNOME is developed by volunteers as well as employees. These people communicate in many ways to drive the project forward. For development, the old way is mailing lists for discussion and repository sites for the actual code and issue tracking. When you want something that does not exist yet or have a problem you cannot solve, you need to find the communities passionate about GNOME. This takes a bit of effort, so here are some places to start. If you start developing, you need to find a community that talks your programming language. Many will also deal with GNOME, as a side effect if not as their main activity.

        • API changes in Tracker 3.0

          Lots has happened in the 2 months since my last post, most notably the global coronavirus pandemic … in Spain we’re in week 3 of quarantine lockdown already and noone knows when it is going to end.

          Let’s take our mind off the pandemic and talk about Tracker 3.0. At the start of the year Carlos worked on some key API changes which are now merged. It’s a good opportunity to recap what’s really changing in the new version.

          I made the developer documentation for Tracker 3.0 available online. Thanks to GitLab, this can be updated every time we merge a change in Git. The documentation a work in progress and we appreciate if you can help us to improve it.

          The documentation contains a migration guide, but let’s have a broader look at some common use cases.

        • Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps

          When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, that network might block your access to the wider internet until you’ve signed into the network’s captive portal page. An untrusted network can disrupt your connection at any time by blocking secure requests and replacing the content of insecure requests with its login page. (Of course this can be done on wired networks as well, but in practice it mainly happens on Wi-Fi.) To detect a captive portal, NetworkManager sends a request to a special test address (e.g. http://fedoraproject.org/static/hotspot.txt) and checks to see whether it the content has been replaced. If so, GNOME Shell will open a little WebKitGTK browser window to display http://nmcheck.gnome.org, which, due to the captive portal, will be hijacked by your hotel or airport or whatever to display the portal login page.

        • DevConf.CZ 2020

          Once again, DevConf.CZ, is our meeting-while-freezing winter conference in Brno. For this year I cooked up two talks:

          An hour-long talk about Portals during the first day of the conference. The room was almost full and the questions were very relevant. A few attendees met me after the talk seeking help to make their apps start using Portals and with ideas for new Portals. You can watch the recordings below:

          On the last conference day, I had a quick twenty minutes talk about GNOME Boxes in the virtualization track. The audience wasn’t our known faces from the desktop talks, so I got the chance to show Boxes for the first time for a bunch of people. I did a quick presentation with live demos and Q&A. It was a success IMHO. Check the recordings below:

        • GNOME’s Mutter Working On Variable Refresh Rate Support (VRR / Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync)

          Sway’s Wayland compositor recently added Variable Refresh Rate / Adaptive-Sync support to help avoid tearing and stuttering while now GNOME’s Mutter is working on similar VRR support on the desktop.

          A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isn’t advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.03 Now Available

          I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.03. This new build comes with some minor system update and numerous software applications updates.

        • GhostBSD 20.03 Is Out As The Latest Monthly Update To This Desktop BSD

          If you are looking for a new desktop-friendly BSD with TrueOS being phased out, GhostBSD 20.03 is out as the promising desktop-focused OS based on FreeBSD and using the MATE desktop environment as a decent out-of-the-box experience.

          With GhostBSD 20.03, using pkg for package management now uses GhostBSD package repositories by default rather than upstream FreeBSD, update handling fixes, a WireGuard fix for its network management handling, and other updates.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • screenFetch in LMDE4

          Got that Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 installed on my Dell XPS laptop, and it looks and feels amazing!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • क्या openSUSE Asia Summit 2020 अब भी भारत में होगा ?
        • Managing Compliance for Linux Systems with SUSE® Manager 4

          SUSE® Manager 4 is a best-in-class open source infrastructure management solution that lowers costs, enhances availability and reduces complexity for lifecycle management of Linux systems in large, complex and dynamic IT landscapes. You can use SUSE® Manager 4 to configure, deploy and administer thousands of Linux systems running on hypervisors, as containers, on bare metal systems, on IoT devices and on third-party cloud platforms. SUSE® Manager 4 also allows you to manage virtual machines and enforce key best practices to ensure compliance through the whole lifecycle of all your Linux systems, from bare metal to containers, for both internal company policies and external regulations.

          [...]

          SUSE® Manager 4 offers a single user interface for managing the complete lifecycle of all your Linux systems, including virtual machines, containers and bare metal systems running in the cloud or on site. You only need to learn one tool to keep watch over deployments, configurations, upgrades and other significant events in the life of your Linux systems.

          The configuration, auditing and automation features of SUSE® Manager 4 make it easy to keep your systems in compliance. You can predefine a complete system configuration and watch for unauthorized changes automatically. SUSE® Manager 4 also checks for vulnerabilities defined through the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list or OpenSCAP (Figure 1).

      • Oracley

        • Announcing the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 for Oracle Linux

          Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 for Oracle Linux.

          The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Oracle Linux provides the latest open source innovations and business-critical performance and security optimizations for cloud and on-premise deployment. It is the Linux kernel that powers Oracle Gen 2 Cloud and Oracle Engineered Systems such as Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Oracle Linux with UEK is available on the x86-64 and 64-bit Arm (aarch64) architectures.

        • Oracle Ships Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 6 – Based On Linux 5.4 + DTrace Over BPF, Etc

          Oracle has announced their newest major release of their “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel” that they continue spinning as an option for users of Oracle Linux and being the default within the Oracle Cloud.

          Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 shifts their code-base from tracking the Linux 4.14 LTS kernel to now being on the Linux 5.4 LTS branch. That big version jump alone is significant with all of the new upstream features introduced since Linux 4.14′s debut in November 2017.

      • Arch Family

        • Obarun – An Arch Based Linux Distro Without Systemd

          Today’s Linux distribution review is not just for distro hoppers who love to try something new but it’s for people who have a specific purpose such as a Linux system without systemd. Systemd, as we all know, has always been criticized by a lot of developers and Linux users.

          Obarun is packed with enough utilities to install & start a vanilla Arch Linux without any trouble. I have written an article on how to install Arch step by step and it is a long article. But Obarun does the Arch installation in a very simple way. It comes with obarun-installer, a script that helps install Arch as easily as possible.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.7 Enters Development with New Features and Improvements

          The Flatpak 1.7 series debuts with a major change, namely simplified installation of the OSTree P2P (Peer-to-peer) support.

          As such, Flatpak 1.7 and later versions will no longer support installing apps from local network peers. Additionally, sideloading from a local USB stick will no longer be automatic and users must enable the feature by configuring a sideload repository.

          The sideload repository can be created by symlinking to it from /var/lib/flatpak/sideload-repos or /run/flatpak/sideload-repos, said Alexander Larsson, who promises that the P2P support will be more efficient due to this change.

          The first release in the Flatpak 1.7 unstable series also introduces new “host-etc” and “host-os” file system permissions to give access to system /usr and /etc.

        • What can the IBM z/OS core collection for Ansible do for automation on your z/OS systems?

          This blog post takes you through a sample playbook that accompanies the recent release of the IBM z/OS core collection.

        • Introducing OpenApi Specification to IBM Cloud Functions

          Powered by the Apache OpenWhisk project, IBM Cloud Functions is a serverless, event-driven programming platform designed for developing snippets of code set to perform a specific task. IBM Cloud Function’s ibmcloud fn deploy is a tool for capturing the configuration of a larger IBM Cloud Functions deployment, such as defining a state for all deployed actions, APIs, triggers, rules, and more.

          My colleagues and I have been working hard over the last few months to deliver a new way of defining APIs in OpenAPI Specification format to Apache OpenWhisk, and I am excited to announce it is now available in IBM Cloud Functions!

        • Powering SAP NetWeaver on RHEL 8

          SAP NetWeaver marks the technical foundation for many of the SAP Business Applications. SAP and Red Hat have worked jointly to deliver timely support of SAP technology stack on Red Hat’s latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. SAP officially announced the support for SAP NetWeaver based applications including SAP Business Suite, on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 in production environments on February 27th. This adds to the existing SAP support for its major database products on RHEL 8, including SAP MaxDB, SAP ASE on Intel 64, and SAP HANA- on Intel 64, and also IBM’s Power 9 platform.

        • Avoiding the ragged edge: How open-source must navigate success and conflict to survive

          At the Open Source Summit in San Diego last summer, a representative from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation enthusiastically declared that open-source was entering its “golden age.”

          This raises two questions: What will that “golden age” look like, and how will open-source deal with its success?

          The evidence for open-source popularity is hard to dispute. Whether it’s the purchase of Red Hat Inc. by IBM Corp. for $34 billion in 2018 or surveys that show that at least 85% of businesses are using open-source software in some form, open-source has entered the mainstream enterprise world.

          However, success can also breed conflict with existing business models. In the electrical world, this clash is often called “impedance,” a measure of the opposition to the flow of alternating current through a circuit. For one prominent member of the open-source community, handling “impedance” in the form of conflict between legacy infrastructure and new technologies will be a key part of the open-source future.

        • Fedora 33 Plans To Default To OpenJDK 11 As The Default Java Version

          To date Fedora has defaulted to Java 1.8 / OpenJDK 8 as the default system JDK version but for Fedora 33 later this year they plan to transition to OpenJDK 11.

          OpenJDK 11 would be the default version for java/javac rather than the aging but still popular OpenJDK 8.

      • Debian Family

        • Uyuni 2020.03 released — with enhanced Debian support!

          Uyuni is a configuration and infrastructure management tool that saves you time and headaches when you have to manage and update tens, hundreds or even thousands of machines.

          Uyuni is a fork of Spacewalk that leverages Salt, Cobbler and containers to modernize it. Uyuni is the upstream for SUSE Manager (the main difference is support: with SUSE Manager you get it from SUSE; with Uyuni you get it from the community) and our development and feature discussion is done in the open.

          Last week we released Uyuni 2020.03, with much improved Debian support, coming from the community: we have got client tools (both the Salt stack and the traditional stack) for Debian 9 and 10, and bootstrapping support!

        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in March 2020
        • UBports: Packaging of Lomiri Operating Environment for Debian (part 02)

          Before and during FOSDEM 2020, I agreed with the people (developers, supporters, managers) of the UBports Foundation to package the Unity8 Operating Environment for Debian. Since 27th Feb 2020, Unity8 has now become Lomiri.

        • Donald Trump resigns, releases Non-Platform for 2020 election

          Happy April Fool’s Day! We’re sad to report that we didn’t make up anything in the above email forgery. The shocking news is that all of it is fact.

        • Sparky news 2020/03

          The 3rd monthly #stayhome report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.6.0
          • ChourS2008 translated a few Sparky wiki pages to Russian, thanks a lot
          • Nemoman keep translating Sparky wiki pages to Hungarian, thanks a lot
          • I keep translating wiki pages to Polish as well
          • Sparky 2020.03 & 2020.03.1 of the rolling line released
          • Sparky 4.12 of the oldstable line released
          • added to our repos: ClipGrab, CudaText
          • Sparky repos changed to the named: oldstable-> tyche; stable-> nibiru; testing-> potolo; the old ones work as before alongside to the new ones; see also: sparkylinux.org/sparky-named-repos/
          • added Chines (zh_CN) fonts and other stuff to be installed via APTus-> System-> Install Locales tool (v0.4.27)

        • Jonathan Wiltshire: neuraldak

          We are proud to announce that dak, the Debian Archive Kit, has been replaced by a neural network for processing package uploads and other archive maintenance. All FTP masters and assistants have been re-deployed to concentrate on managing neuraldak.

          neuraldak is an advanced machine learning algorithm which has been taught about appropriate uploads, can write to maintainers about their bugs and can automatically make an evaluation about suitable licenses and code quality. Any uploads which do not meet its standards will be rejected with prejudice.

          [...]

          In terms of licensing , neuraldak has been seeded only with the GPL license. This we consider the gold standard of licenses, and its clauses will be the basis for neuraldak evaluating other licenses as it is exposed to them.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities March 2020

          The dh-make-perl feature requests, file bug report, File::Libmagic changes, autoconf-archive change, libpst work and the purple-discord upload were sponsored by my employer. All other work was done on a volunteer basis.

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

          In March 2020, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 10.25 hours (of 10.25 hours planned).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Linux publisher Canonical launches Managed Apps for enterprise DevOps teams

          Ubuntu creator Canonical is launching a new Managed Apps platform, allowing enterprises to have their apps deployed and operated by Canonical as a fully managed service.

          At launch the service will cover ten widely used cloud-native database and LMA (logging, monitoring and alerting) apps on multi-cloud Kubernetes but also on virtual machines across bare-metal, public and private cloud.

        • Canonical announces Managed Apps to simplify enterprise cloud operations

          Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, today announces Managed Apps – enabling enterprises to have their apps deployed and operated by Canonical as a fully managed service. At launch, Canonical will cover ten widely used cloud-native database and LMA (logging, monitoring and alerting) apps on multi-cloud Kubernetes but also on virtual machines across bare-metal, public and private cloud. Managed Apps free DevOps teams to focus on delivering business value and away from time-consuming management tasks, at a predictable cost.

          Canonical will manage databases including MySQL, InfluxDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and ElasticSearch, the NFV management and orchestration application, Open Source Mano, and the event streaming platform, Kafka. App reliability can be assured with Canonical’s Managed apps service covering demand-based scaling, high availability for fault tolerance, security patching and updates. Managed Apps are backed by SLAs for uptime, 24/7 break/fix response, and organisations can monitor their app’s health through an integrated LMA stack and dashboard. This stack includes Grafana, Prometheus and Graylog and is also available as a standalone managed service.

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Community Wallpaper Contest Winners

          Note that the images listed above are resized for the website. For the full size images, make sure you have the package xubuntu-community-wallpapers installed. The package is installed by default in all new Xubuntu 20.04 installations.

          With Beta Freeze now in effect, these wallpapers may take a little longer than usual to land in the daily images. Keep a look out!

        • Canonical To Bring New Tools And Ubuntu Linux Support For Raspberry Pi

          With the release of Ubuntu 19.10, Canonical announced the official support roadmap for Raspberry Pi single-board computers. Not just v19.10, Raspberry Pi also supports the long-term release of Ubuntu 18.04.4.

          Along the same lines, Canonical has shared a new Ubuntu Raspberry Pi support roadmap to further strengthen their relationship. They now plan to bring in new tools, services and default official support for the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Critical Linux Kernel Vulnerability Patched in Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04.4 LTS

          Discovered by Manfred Paul, the security vulnerability (CVE-2020-8835) was found in Linux kernel’s BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) verifier, which incorrectly calculated register bounds for certain operations.

          This could allow a local attacker to either expose sensitive information (kernel memory) or gain administrative privileges and run programs as root user.

          The security issue affects all Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) and Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS (Bionic Beaver) releases running Linux kernel 5.3 on 64-bit, Raspberry Pi, KVM, as well as cloud environments like AWS, Azure, GCP, GKE, and Oracle Cloud.

        • Canonical Doubles Down on Raspberry Pi Support, Promises New Tools and Services

          After publishing their roadmap last year in November and making it easier to download Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi in early February 2020, Canonical keeps on its promise to fully support Raspberry Pi devices for its Ubuntu Linux operating system with a plethora of upcoming goodies.

          First and foremost, the company behind Ubuntu added support for the latest Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) release for 32-bit Raspberry Pi 2, 3 and 4 models, as well as Compute Modules, and 64-bit Raspberry Pi 3 and 4 models.

        • Linux Mint 20 Ulyana ISOs will only be available in 64-bit

          Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has announced that Linux Mint 20 will carry the codename Ulyana and that 32-bit ISOs will be dropped. This will see some aging computers lose support. While the 32-bit ISO will be dropped, 32-bit packages, where necessary, will still be available to those with a 64-bit install.

          If you still need a 32-bit Linux Mint ISO, you’ll either have to stay with Linux Mint 19.3 until it loses support in 2023, or you can switch to the newly released LMDE 4 which will receive the latest Linux Mint software such as Cinnamon. The decision to drop 32-bit ISOs in Linux Mint 20 was first revealed last summer when Canonical decided to remove support from Ubuntu 19.10. As Linux Mint uses Ubuntu as a base, it makes sense for Linux Mint 20 to follow suit in dropping support.

        • The Next Linux Mint Version Will Be Called Ulyana, Launch Only in 64-Bit

          But the biggest change, however, is the migration to 64-bit exclusively, as beginning with this new release, Linux Mint officially drops 32-bit versions.

          Going forward, Linux Mint will continue to be available in 64-bit only.

          The new Linux Mint 20 will be based on Ubuntu 20.04, the team also revealed, and will land in three different versions, namely Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.

          Additionally, there is also important news for those currently running the latest version. LMDE will officially reach the end of support in July, which means that after this date, devices not yet upgraded to version 4 will no longer receive updates – of course, these systems will continue to run normally, but the lack of security updates and bug fixes make them more prone to issues and cyberattacks.

        • Linux Mint 20 Release Date & Features

          Well, that’s what this post is here to tell you. We will keep this roundup of Linux Mint 20 features and updates up-to-date as development happens until June, its expected release month.

          What do we about Linux Mint 20 so far?

        • Linux Mint 20 Doing Away With 32-Bit Support
        • Linux Mint 20 Codenamed “Ulyana,” Will Be Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Announced earlier this year along with the LMDE 4 release, the Linux Mint 20 operating system will be released sometime this summer and will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system, due for release on April 23rd, 2020.

          The Linux Mint project continues the tradition of naming new Linux Mint releases alphabetically, and they revealed today in their monthly newsletter that Linux Mint 20 will be dubbed as “Ulyana.”

          Besides revealing the codename, the team also confirmed the fact that Linux Mint 20 will ship with the same three flavors we’re used until now, namely Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce, as well as the fact that it’ll be a 64-bit only release.

        • Linux Mint 20 is 64-bit only, based on Ubuntu 20.04, and named ‘Ulyana’

          Linux Mint is great operating system. It is based on the excellent Ubuntu and features three great desktop environment options — Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. While it is a smart choice for Linux beginners, it is also good for experts too.

          Today, we learn some new details about the upcoming Linux Mint 20. While most of the newly revealed information is positive, there is one thing that is sure to upset many Linux Mint users.

        • Linux Mint 20 Codename “Ulyana”! What’s News in Linux Mint 20?

          Linux Mint 20: The team developers announced that the latest version of Linux Mint 20 going to be released a few months. Linux Mint 20 is officially code-named as “Ulyana“. Linux Mint 20 is developed based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version. The team also said that the Linux Mint 20 will have many new software tweaks and hardware boost!

        • Monthly News – March 2020

          Many thanks to all of you for your support and for your donations. LMDE 4 took longer than we anticipated but we managed to add many new features into it and significantly close the gap with the Ubuntu release. Now that it’s released we’re focusing on the new development cycle and the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 package base.

          LMDE 3 EOL

          LMDE 3 will reach EOL (End-Of-Life) on July 1st 2020. Past that date the repositories will continue to work but the release will no longer receive bug fixes and security updates from Linux Mint.

          To upgrade LMDE 3 to LMDE 4 read “How to upgrade to LMDE 4“.

          Mint 20, codename Ulyana

          The codename for Linux Mint 20 is Ulyana.

          Linux Mint 20 will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 and feature 3 editions: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

          Unlike previous releases, it will only be available in 64-bit.

        • Edge AI in a 5G world – part 1: How ‘smart cell towers’ will change our lives

          In part 1 we will talk about the industrial applications and benefits that 5G and fast compute at the edge in the form of ‘smart cell towers’ will bring to AI products. In part 2 we will go deeper into how you can benefit from this new opportunity. Part 3 will focus on the key technical barriers that 5G and Edge compute remove for AI applications. In part 4 we will summarise the IoT use cases that can benefit from smart cell towers and how they will help businesses focus their efforts on their key differentiating advantage.

        • Rigado cuts customers’ time-to-market with Ubuntu Core and AWS

          In the fast-paced world of IoT, being able to reduce time-to-market is a priority. Rigado’s core mission is to provide scalable and secure infrastructure for their customers’ commercial IoT deployments.

          It became clear to Rigado that, to achieve the ease of use it was looking for, it needed to redesign its gateway software – and containerisation emerged as the best way. After looking at a number of container options that involved a lot of moving parts, Rigado decided to turn to Ubuntu Core and snaps. Switching to Ubuntu Core has also enabled Rigado to take advantage of Ubuntu Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to rapidly launch Ubuntu instances in AWS.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 624

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 624 for the week of March 22 – 28, 2020.

        • Design and Web team summary – 30th March 2020

          Due to the rapidly developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the entire web team has transitioned to 100% remote for the foreseeable future. Canonical is well set up to remain productive but brings design challenges such as group sketching which we are testing and evaluating solutions.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Pixelorama – Open Source Editor for Pixel Art

        Pixelorama is an open-source application designed for creating pixel art. It was built using Godot – an open-source, multi-platform 2d and 3d game engine. Although still in baby stages, Pixelorama already boasts a clean user interface and a long list of features that enable users to get started with pixel art projects.

        The Pixelorama update is version 0.6 and it ships with a handful of exciting features which include support for multiple themes, a splash screen, layer opacity, more localizations, improved brushes, colour palettes, and constrained angles in straight lines.

      • IEEE Standards Association Launches an Open Source Collaboration Platform

        IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology. The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) is an organization within IEEE that develops global standards in a broad range of industries.

        The IEEE Standards Association (SA) has come up with an open-source collaboration platform i.e IEEE SA Open.

        It is technically a self-hosted GitLab instance combined with Mattermost (a slack alternative) and GitLab Pages. To describe it further, the official blog post mentioned…

      • Freeware, Free Software and the Corona Virus Crisis – Choose your tools wisely!

        Cheering on doctors and nurses, sewing face-masks, donating gloves and disinfectant gel, building respirators, running errands for elderly neighbours. Everybody wants to contribute to alleviate the dramatic situations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
        The software industry is trying to do its part by giving users access to trial versions of proprietary programs. But, before you go ahead and take advantage of this generosity, you may want to read the fine print. What looks like a great relief today, might turn into a burden tomorrow.

        Of course, everybody appreciates all contributions, anything that can help overcome the crisis together. But you should be wary of offers coming from proprietary software vendors. Among self-employed workers, home office programs (word processors, spreadsheets, databases) are in great demand, for example. But be careful with what you choose: Once the crisis is over, you may wake up to a stringent vendor lock-in, with unexpected costs and other problems attached.

        The same goes for companies asking employees to work from home. The solutions they choose to overcome the challenges of remote working can causes problems which will backfire in the future, once the crisis has passed.

        It is understandable that software companies, many of which are under a great pressure themselves, would try to lure new customers in this way. But you must ask yourself if what is in most cases just a marketing strategy, will be helpful for you in the long run. Proprietary software companies are peddling freeware programs, limited both in time and usability. They offer no way of adapting the solutions to your needs, no permissions to modify and improve the tools, and legal penalties if you share them with others. You can only use the tool for limited purposes and you are not allowed to study the code. Freeware grants you none of the four freedoms of Free Software, to use, study, share and improve the software.

        What’s more, your colleagues and employees may get used to this software, build their workflow upon it, and then will find it difficult to switch to another solution in a couple of months time when the crisis is over. The application you choose may also be part of larger suite, forcing you to acquire and license software you don’t need once the offer is rescinded. You may also be stuck with data locked to closed applications, making it difficult to switch vendor later on. What looks helpful today can be expensive and a hassle to deal with tomorrow. We strongly advise you carefully decide which software you choose.

        Because many proprietary programs can be replaced with Free Software solutions that adhere to Open Standards, you can run your software in a way that fits your needs, without having to worry about additional and unpredictable costs down the road. If you need a new solution today, take a solution which is also good for you tomorrow and choose Free Software. Take advantage of your rights to use, study, share and improve the software, at any time, during or after the crisis.

      • Huawei open-sources MindSpore, a framework for AI app development

        Huawei this week announced that MindSpore, a framework for AI app development the company detailed in August 2019, is now available in open source on GitHub and Gitee. The lightweight suite is akin to Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s PyTorch, and it scales across devices, edge, and cloud environments, ostensibly lowering the barrier to entry for developers looking to imbue apps with AI.

      • Open source approach for patients arriving at the clinic with Clinic Arrivals

        Video conferencing is being done through the open source OpenVidu, which means patients simply have to click on a link in the SMS and there are no apps to download.

        The SMS gateway is provided by Twilio, which lets users send and receive text messages using web service APIs.

        Mr Grieve said OpenVidu was deliberately chosen as unlike other free offerings, it does not require patients to sign up or be given an ID, and instead allows them to get straight to the appointment.

        “This is a link that takes them straight to a website and straight into the video call on the website,” he said. “There is zero impact on the patient’s end and that was really important to me. There is no app, no set-up.”

      • ISTAT (Instituto Nazionale di Statistica) distributes, under the EUPL licence, their RELAIS toolkit.

        RELAIS (REcord Linkage At IStat) is a toolkit for dealing with record linkage projects.

        The purpose of record linkage is to identify the same real world entity that can be differently represented in multiple data sources, even if unique or common identifiers are not available or are affected by errors.

      • Events

        • System Hackers meeting – Lyon edition

          For the 4th time, and less than 5 months after the last meeting, the FSFE System Hackers met in person to coordinate their activities, work on complex issues, and exchange know-how. This time, we chose yet another town familiar to one of our team members as venue – Lyon in France. What follows is a report of this gathering that happened shortly before #stayhome became the order of the day.

          For those who do not know this less visible but important team: The System Hackers are responsible for the maintenance and development of a large number of services. From the fsfe.org website’s deployment to the mail servers and blogs, from Git to internal services like DNS and monitoring, all these services, virtual machines and physical servers are handled by this friendly group that is always looking forward to welcoming new members.

          Interestingly, we have gathered in the same constellation as in the hackathon before, so Albert, Florian, Francesco, Thomas, Vincent and me tackled large and small challenges in the FSFE’s systems. But we have also used the time to exchange knowledge about complex tasks and some interconnected systems. The official part was conducted in the fascinating Astech Fablab, but word has it that Ninkasi, an excellent pub in Lyon, was the actual epicentre of this year’s meeting.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The Mozilla Blog: We’re Fixing the Internet. Join Us.

            For over two decades, Mozilla has worked to build the internet into a global public resource that is open and accessible to all. As the internet has grown, it has brought wonder and utility to our lives, connecting people in times of joy and crisis like the one being faced today.

            But that growth hasn’t come without challenges. In order for the internet and Mozilla to well serve people into the future, we need to keep innovating and making improvements that put the interests of people back at the center of online life.

            To help achieve this, Mozilla is launching the Fix-the-Internet Spring MVP Lab and inviting coders, creators and technologists from around the world to join us in developing the distributed Web 3.0.

            “The health of the internet and online life is why we exist, and this is a first step toward ensuring that Mozilla and the web are here to benefit society for generations to come,” said Mozilla Co-Founder and Interim CEO Mitchell Baker.

          • The Mozilla Blog: MOSS launches COVID-19 Solutions Fund

            Mozilla is announcing today the creation of a COVID-19 Solutions Fund as part of the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS). Through this fund, we will provide awards of up to $50,000 each to open source technology projects which are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in some way.

            The MOSS Program, created in 2015, broadens access, increases security, and empowers users by providing catalytic funding to open source technologists. We have already seen inspiring examples of open source technology being used to increase the capacity of the world’s healthcare systems to cope with this crisis. For example, just a few days ago, the University of Florida Center for Safety, Simulation, and Advanced Learning Technologies released an open source ventilator. We believe there are many more life-saving open source technologies in the world.

          • Innovating on Web Monetization: Coil and Firefox Reality

            In the coming weeks, Mozilla will roll out a web monetization experiment using Coil to support payments to creators in the Firefox Reality ecosystem. Coil is an alternative approach to monetization that doesn’t rely on advertising or stealing your data and attention. We wrote about Coil for game developers back in the autumn, and now we’re excited to invite more of you to participate, first as creators and soon as consumers of all kinds of digital and virtual content.

            [...]

            If you’ve developed a 3D experience, a game, a 360 video, or if you’re thinking of building something new, you’re invited to participate in this experiment. I encourage you as well to contact us directly at creator_payments at mozilla dot com to showcase your work in the Firefox Reality content feed.

            You’ll find details on how to participate below. I will also share answers and observations, from my own perspective as an implementer and investigator on the Mixed Reality team.

          • Announcing the Mozilla Mixed Reality Merch Store!

            Ever wanted to up your wardrobe game with some stylish Mixed Reality threads, while at the same time supporting Mozilla’s work? Dream no more! The Mozilla Mixed Reality team is pleased to announce that you can now wear your support for our efforts on your literal sleeve!

            The store (powered by Spreadshirt) is available worldwide and has a variety of items including clothing tailored for women, men, kids and babies, and accessories such as bag, caps, mugs, and more. All with a variety of designs to choose from, including our “low poly” Firefox Reality logo, our adorable new mascot, Foxr, and more.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Your occasional enterprise storage digest, featuring Commvault, Nutanix, HYCU, MariaDB and more

          MariaDB has announced SkySQL database-as-a-service version of its eponymous software.

          SkySQL has a cloud-native architecture and uses Kubernetes for orchestration; ServiceNow for inventory, configuration and workflow management; Prometheus for real-time monitoring; and Grafana for visualization. It offers transaction and analytics support, with row, columnar, and combined row and columnar storage.

        • DataStax launches Kubernetes operator for open source Cassandra database

          Today, DataStax, the commercial company behind the open source Apache Cassandra project, announced an open source Kubernetes operator developed by the company to run a cloud native version of the database.

        • Didn’t see that coming: DataStax emits open source Kubernetes operator for Cassandra

          NoSQL slinger DataStax has released an open source Kubernetes operator for Apache Cassandra as it seeks to cosy back up to the community.

          Fresh from snapping up Cassandra consultancy The Last Pickle for an undisclosed amount on 3 March, the veteran NoSQL biz has rounded out the month by opening up the source to its Kubernetes operator, replete with lessons learned from its forever-in-beta hosted Cassandra product, Astra (formerly Apollo.)

          Operators are one way to deal with the complexities of Kubernetes, abstracting (at least in theory) the user from the grungy bits of deploying and operating an application behind familiar Kubernetes tooling. Certainly, deploying and managing something like Cassandra in such an environment can be challenging enough without having to dive elbow-deep into the guts of thing.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Online Guide translated into Czech

          LibreOffice Online Guide was created as part of the Google Season of Docs programme, and released in December 2019. Today we’re announcing that the Czech LibreOffice community has finished translating the guide, and it can be downloaded here. (See this page for English documentation.)

          It was a team effort, and participants were Petr Kuběj, Zuzana Pitříková, Zdeněk Crhonek, Roman Toman, Tereza Portešová, Petr Valach and Stanislav Horáček. Thanks to all volunteers! The Czech team continues with the translation of the Getting Started Guide, and is always open for new volunteers, translators and correctors. Give them a hand!

        • Fontwork update

          Jun Nogata help the LibreOffice community with new Fontwork. And now it’s ready to be in use.

        • Bullet images update

          LibreOffice 7.0 will get new bullet imges. Hope you like them. In general you can use whatever image you like, want or find from the internet, so in the Bullet image dialog there are the following examples…

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

          Here it is! Named “Adderley” in honor of Nat Adderley, the latest and greatest version of WordPress is available for download or update in your dashboard.

      • FSF

        • HACKERS and HOSPITALS: How you can help

          Free software activists, as well as many scientists and medical professionals, have long since realized that proprietary medical software and devices are neither ethical nor adequate to our needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated some of these shortcomings to a broader audience — and also given our community a unique opportunity to offer real, material help at a difficult time. We’re putting together a plan to pitch in, and we hope you’ll join us: keep reading to find out what you can do!

          You may already be aware that software and hardware restrictions are actively hampering the ability of hospitals to repair desperately needed ventilators all over the world, and how some Italian volunteers ran into problems when they 3D printed ventilator valves. (As you can see from the link, the stories vary about exactly what their interaction with the manufacturer was, but it’s clear that the company refused to release proprietary design files, forcing the volunteers to reverse-engineer the parts.)

        • HACKERS and HOSPITALS

          The Free Software Foundation is focusing on the shortage of medical equipment and using 3D printers to make more.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Taler news: Exchange ready for external security audit

            We received a grant from NLnet foundation to pay for an external security audit of the GNU Taler exchange cryptography, code and documentation. We spent the last four months preparing the code, closing almost all of the known issues, performing static analysis, fixing compiler warnings, improving test code coverage, fuzzing, benchmarking, and reading the code line-by-line. Now, we are now ready to start the external audit. This April, CodeBlau will review the code in the Master branch tagged CodeBlau-NGI-2019 and we will of course make their report available in full once it is complete. Thanks to NLnet and the European Commission’s Horizion 2020 NGI initiative for funding this work.

          • GNU Taler news: GNU Taler v0.7.0 released

            We are happy to announce the release of GNU Taler v0.7.0.

          • Glimpse, the GIMP ‘fork’ created by misunderstandings about the project name
      • Health

        • Medtronic Open-source its Ventilator. Open-source for humanity

          Medtronic Chairman and CEO “Omar Ishrak” has announced releasing Medtronic “PB 560 Ventilator” as an open-source leading to a storm of hope among doctors and engineers in many countries.

          [...]

          As an open-source enthusiast, I am very happy about releasing such a device as an open-source, but as a doctor, I am truly grateful for this intuitive.

          I believe this COVID19 outbreak crisis has created and still creating generous gifts as it takes, people are coming together to help, and doctors and nurses who were under-evaluated and under-appreciated in several countries, are leading the people thru this crisis.

        • Open source approach for patients arriving at the clinic with Clinic Arrivals

          All of this is done with existing technology that does not require the patient to download an app and that is easily integrated with the PMS through APIs.

          Video conferencing is being done through the open source OpenVidu, which means patients simply have to click on a link in the SMS and there are no apps to download.

          The SMS gateway is provided by Twilio, which lets users send and receive text messages using web service APIs.

        • Developers take on COVID-19 with open-source projects, hackathons

          In the past few weeks the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold in the United States, and the disease will continue to have a massive impact around the world for the foreseeable future. But even in the midst of panic and uncertainty, communities are coming together to do what they can. People are 3D printing face shields and sewing masks for healthcare workers, offering to buy groceries and household supplies for the elderly or immunocompromised, and even donating their computer’s GPU power to the cause.

          And developers aren’t absent from this list of people trying to do whatever they can to help. A quick glance into the trending section of GitHub shows that a good portion are COVID-19-related, and there are a number more than that living on GitHub. While medical professionals are on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, developers are fighting the disease from their computers.

        • MIT Team Develops $100 Ventilator

          The team has open sourced the design of the simple ventilator device that could be built with about just $100 worth of parts.

        • MIT open sources cheap ventilator design in response to worldwide shortage

          The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a cheap ventilator and is releasing the design to the open source community in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

          The COVID-19 outbreak, of which there are roughly 724,000 confirmed cases at the time of writing, has exposed a worldwide shortage of ventilators — critical equipment for those that are severely ill.

          While manufacturers are overhauling their assembly lines to produce ventilators, masks, and key protective gear for medical professionals on the front line, demand has far outstripped supply — and ventilators can be very expensive with price tags of up to $30,000 each in the United States.

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Racket

          Racket is a general-purpose, object-oriented, multi-paradigm, functional, imperative, logic based programming language based on the Scheme dialect of Lisp. It’s designed to be a platform for programming language design and implementation.

          Racket is also used to refer to the family of Racket programming languages and the set of tools supporting development on and with Racket. It has a powerful cross-platform GUI library built in.

          Racket’s core language includes macros, modules, lexical closures, tail calls, delimited continuations, parameters (fluid variables), software contracts, green and OS threads, and more. The language also comes with primitives, such as eventspaces and custodians, which control resource management and enables the language to act like an operating system for loading and managing other programs.

          Racket is often used for scripting, computer science education, and research. It’s an open-source project (Apache/MIT).

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Racket.

        • Pangeo with Dask Gateway

          Over the past few weeks, we have made some exciting changes to Pangeo’s cloud deployments. These changes will make using Pangeo’s clusters easier for users while making the deployments more secure and maintainable for administrators.

          Going all the way back to the initial prototype, Pangeo’s cloud deployments have combined a user interface like Jupyterlab with scalable computing. Until recently, Pangeo used Dask Kubernetes to start Dask clusters on a Kubernetes cluster. This worked well for several years, but there were a few drawbacks.

        • We are happy to announce the first release of Jaybird 4.

          We are happy to announce the first release of Jaybird 4.

          Jaybird 4 is – compared to Jaybird 3 – an incremental release that builds on the foundations of Jaybird 3.
          The focus of this release has been on further improving JDBC support and adding support for the new data types and features of Firebird 4.

        • How failure-driven development makes you successful

          My job title is senior software engineer, but that’s not what my closest co-workers call me. They call me “Cherrybomb” because of all the things I blow up. My regularly scheduled failures have been tracked down to our quarterly earnings and outage times. Literally, I am the production disaster you read about that says, “what not to do ever, in any case, at any time.”

          I started my career at a helpdesk where I wrote loops that wrecked servers in high-end companies. I have taken production applications down for up to eight hours without warning, and I have destroyed endless numbers of clusters in an attempt to make things better—and a couple just because I mistyped something.

          I am the reason we have disaster recovery (DR) clusters in Kubernetes. I am the chaos engineer that, without warning, teaches people how to act and troubleshoot quickly when we have an application that has never been tested for an outage recovery plan. I exist as the best example of failure possible, and it’s actually the coolest thing ever.

        • Digital Making at Home: Making games
        • Code Hyper Sports’ shooting minigame | Wireframe #35
        • If you’ve ever wished Visual Studio Code could be more open source, the Eclipse Foundation would like a word

          The Eclipse Foundation has pulled back the curtains on version 1.0 of Theia, an alternative to Microsoft’s developer darling of the hour, Visual Studio Code.

          Except it isn’t just yet. Those hoping to ditch a Microsoft-branded IDE for something more vendor-neutral might have a while to wait for something to drop from Eclipse itself, although a hop to somewhere like Gitpod will give those interested a look at the cloudy version.

          Eclipse Theia is a framework on which organisations can build and brand their own products, on the desktop or online, rather than a standalone editor.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.13 NoConf Reached

            It’s a sad moment in time when you realize that basically all conferences have been cancelled for the foreseeable future: the Perl and Raku Conference in Houston, Perl & Raku Con in Amsterdam to name but a few. Some organizers even came to the conclusion that organizing “in person” events is no longer a viable business model (/r/perl comments).

        • Python

          • Wing Python IDE 7.2.2 – March 30, 2020

            Wing 7.2.2 introduces a How-To for using Wing with AWS, adds support for Python 3 enums, allows constraining Find Uses of imported symbols to only the current file, and makes a number of usability and stability improvements.

          • Wesley Chun: Authorized Google API access from Python (part 2 of 2)

            Listing your files with the Google Drive API

          • Lists in python example3

            This is the final chapter of the lists in python topic, in this chapter we will create an example that will remove the duplicate student names within a student list with the help of the python loop.

          • Python 101 – Learning About Dictionaries

            Dictionaries are another fundamental data type in Python. A dictionary is a key, value pair. Some programming languages refer to them as hash tables. They are described as a mapping object that maps hashable values to arbitrary objects.

            A dictionary’s keys must be immutable, that is, unable to change. Starting in Python 3.7, dictionaries are ordered. What that means is that when you add a new key, value pair to a dictionary, it remembers what order they were added. Prior to Python 3.7, this was not the case and you could not rely on insertion order.

          • Python main function

            In this tutorial, we will learn how to use a Python program’s __name__ attribute to run it dynamically in different contexts.

          • Using data from spreadsheets in Fedora with Python

            Python is one of the most popular and powerful programming languages available. Because it’s free and open source, it’s available to everyone — and most Fedora systems come with the language already installed. Python is useful for a wide variety of tasks, but among them is processing comma-separated value (CSV) data. CSV files often start off life as tables or spreadsheets. This article shows how to get started working with CSV data in Python 3.

            CSV data is precisely what it sounds like. A CSV file includes one row of data at a time, with data values separated by commas. Each row is defined by the same fields. Short CSV files are often easily read and understood. But longer data files, or those with more fields, may be harder to parse with the naked eye, so computers work better in those cases.

          • PSF’s Projected 2020 Financial Outcome

            The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the Python community and programming language, as well as running PyCon US. Since PyCon US 2020 was cancelled, the community has asked how the PSF’s finances will be affected. Let us take a look at the projected 2020 financial outcome.

          • EuroPython 2020: Online conference from July 23-26

            In the last two weeks, we have discussed and investigated concepts around running this year’s EuroPython conference as an online conference. We have looked at conference tools, your feedback, drafted up ideas on what we can do to make the event interesting and what we can accomplish given our limited resources.

          • Introduction to the Python HTTP header

            You can create your own custom headers for the HTTP destination using the Python HTTP header plugin of syslog-ng and Python scripts. The included example configuration just adds a simple counter to the headers but with a bit of coding you can resolve authentication problems or fine tune how data is handled at cloud-based logging and SIEM platforms, like Sumologic.

          • Comparing Python Objects the Right Way: “is” vs “==”

            There’s a subtle difference between the Python identity operator (is) and the equality operator (==). Your code can run fine when you use the Python is operator to compare numbers, until it suddenly doesn’t. You might have heard somewhere that the Python is operator is faster than the == operator, or you may feel that it looks more Pythonic. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that these operators don’t behave quite the same.

            The == operator compares the value or equality of two objects, whereas the Python is operator checks whether two variables point to the same object in memory. In the vast majority of cases, this means you should use the equality operators == and !=, except when you’re comparing to None.

          • Michael Kennedy almost learned Python in the 90s… and other things I learned recording his DevJourney

            This week, I published Michael Kennedy’s #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer’s Journey.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #414 (March 31, 2020)
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • 40 Practical and Useful awk Command in Linux and BSD

            AWK is a powerful data-driven programming language that dates its origin back to the early days of Unix. It was initially developed for writing ‘one-liner’ programs but has since evolved into a full-fledged programming language. AWK gets its name from the initials of its authors – Aho, Weinberger, and Kernighan. The awk command in Linux and other Unix systems invokes the interpreter that runs AWK scripts. Several implementations of awk exist in recent systems such as gawk (GNU awk), mawk (Minimal awk), and nawk (New awk), among others. Check out the below examples if you want to master awk.

          • More mojibake fun

            The names contain reconstructable replos. A 2-byte, UTF-8 encoded character was read by a Windows program byte-by-byte to produce 2 new 1-byte characters, and those 2 1-byte characters were converted back to UTF-8 as 2-byte ones.

          • D is for Devilish Place Names

            The downloaded file is a format called CSV (“Comma Separated Values”, though in this case they’re separated by the pipe character, “|”), typically used in spreadsheets. I’m not really a spreadsheet person, and CSV files are just as easy to analyze using basic shell tools. Most Linux users are familiar with the power of the command line, but don’t feel left out if you’re not using Linux: the commands I’ll show work fine on a Mac, and they probably work on Windows too if you use the Linux Subsystem for Windows.

            I started with a basic count. I’d seen already, on the website’s search page, that a lot of the names didn’t actually have “Devil” in the name even though that’s what I searched for, so that 1883 number is bogus. So I ran a grep -i devil to pick out the place names that actually do have “devil” in the name (-i means “ignore case”, so it will find devil as well as Devil). Then I piped the result through wc, word count, using -l to count the number of matching lines:

            grep -i devil GNIS_Devil.csv | wc -l

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • Online Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus

        I’ve been spending a lot of the past week looking at different options for transitioning my teaching online for the rest of the term. There are certainly people far more expert at online instruction than I am, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts and what I’ve found.

      • Indian Students Commit Suicide after Failing Exams

        The Board of Intermediate Education claimed that almost half the students who committed suicide already had poor academic records, so they should not have been surprised by their poor marks. Ten of the students had failed more than one subject. Moreover, the board said, these students likely were depressed or troubled already, hence their grade troubles.

      • Improving Visibility and Resources for Student Who Are Parents

        Her report drew on her own experiences as a student parent at William & Mary College and as director of a nonprofit that aids student parents, and on studies of student parents. This research indicates that less than two percent of teen mothers earn their college degrees before the age of thirty, and they are ten times less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in five years—even though, on average, student parents post higher GPAs than their non-parenting peers.

      • Apocalyptic and Revolutionary Education in Times of Pandemic

        After the crash of 2009 came the uprisings beginning a so-called “Arab Spring”, the city square occupations of the Indignados, and the Occupy movement. What would Wayne Gretzky[1] do today, facing the currently unknown aftermath of the historic Covid-19 pandemic crash? What should popular movements do under the historically unprecedented circumstances we face today? How should we move from historic crisis of the system to revolutionary transformation now?

      • How to administer the digital migration

        Each institution’s circumstances are slightly different, but there are some wider lessons in the contingency planning that Hong Kong universities have had to undertake in response to both the coronavirus and last year’s anti-government protests. These twin disruptions, one coming close on the heels of the other, have resulted in face-to-face teaching being cut to just one-third of the original schedule.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • WinRAR 5.90 Final Released For Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android

          WinRAR 5.90 Final has been released with numerous performance improvements and bug fixes for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

          For those not familiar with WinRar, it is an archiving software from RARLAB that supports the ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, GZ, ISO, JAR, LHA, RAR, TAR, UUE, XZ, Z, ZIP, ZIPX, 7z, 001 (split) archive formats.

          WinRAR is distributed as trialware, which means that anyone can use it as a full-featured product before purchasing it.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • GitLab is open sourcing 18 features for the DevOps lifecycle

              The DevOps tool GitLab offers paid and free versions, and now 18 additional features will be moved to the open source editions Core/Free. The developer community can contribute to the according issues and speed up the process—so now is the time to take a look and see which of the features you find most important.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • HPE, Intel and Linux Foundation team up for open source software for 5G core

                HPE announced on Tuesday it’s working with Intel and the Linux Foundation on a new open source software project to help automate the roll out of 5G across multiple sites.

                The new partnership, which will be under the Linux Foundation umbrella, is called the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Framework. The partnership represents HPE’s move into the 5G core network space as it branches out from its enterprise roots. Other partners for the open source project include AMI, Apstra, IBM’s Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology.

                HPE will also introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator.

              • What Value Does Alluxio Brings To The Presto Foundation?

                Steven Mih: The Presto Foundation is a project hosted under the Linux Foundation. It was created last year by companies like Facebook, Twitter, Alibaba and Uber. Alluxio is an open source project that is commonly used with Presto, the open source distributed SQL query engine, as well as other projects like Spark and TensorFlow. We support all these different frameworks. And since this was a foundation that was open to all, we decided to join it as one of the companies involved in that foundation.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Automating our Vanilla releases with GitHub actions

              Vanilla framework version 2.7.1 published at the end of February was the first fully automated release. Since then we have released two more and plan to release regular updates at least after every two-week iteration.

              The automated release process is not only smoother and takes less time, but also much less prone to human error.

              But there are still areas for possible improvements.

              With every major release, we are sending a newsletter describing the latest changes and additions to the Vanilla framework. This is still a very manual process that involves editing an email campaign template on MailChimp. Because the content of the email is loosely based on the release notes (that are already automated with Release Drafter), we could think of pre-populating the newsletter content with release notes.

              Instead of triggering the release manually using GitHub UI, we could automatically release (and publish) whenever the Vanilla version is updated in the package.json file. We already have similar workflows in place for our python packages.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (tinyproxy), Fedora (okular), Gentoo (ffmpeg, libxls, and qemu), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick), Red Hat (qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (cloud-init and spamassassin), and Ubuntu (bluez, libpam-krb5, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, and Timeshift).

          • Why Understanding CVEs Is Critical for Data Scientists

            CVEs are Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures found in software components. Because modern software is complex with its many layers, interdependencies, data input, and libraries, vulnerabilities tend to emerge over time. Ignoring a high CVE score can result in security breaches and unstable applications.

            Because data scientists work with vast stores of data, they need to take responsibility for the software components they use to minimize risk and protect customer data. A golden rule in security is, wherever valuable data can be found, hackers will go.

            Software developers refer to CVE databases and scores on a regular basis to minimize the risk of using vulnerable components (packages and binaries) in their applications or web pages. They also monitor for vulnerabilities in components they currently use. To reduce the risk of a security breach from open-source packages, data science teams need to take this page from the software developer’s playbook and apply it to their data science and machine learning pipeline.

          • pam-krb5 4.9

            This is a security release fixing a one-byte buffer overflow when relaying prompts from the underlying Kerberos library. All users of my pam-krb5 module should upgrade as soon as possible. See the security advisory for more information.

            There are also a couple more minor security improvements in this release: The module now rejects passwords as long or longer than PAM_MAX_RESP_SIZE (normally 512 octets) since they can be a denial of service attack via the Kerberos string-to-key function, and uses explicit_bzero where available to clear passwords before releasing memory.

          • rethinking openbsd security

            OpenBSD aims to be a secure operating system. In the past few months there were quite a few security errata, however. That’s not too unusual, but some of the recent ones were a bit special. One might even say bad. The OpenBSD approach to security has a few aspects, two of which might be avoiding errors and minimizing the risk of mistakes. Other people have other ideas about how to build secure systems. I think it’s worth examining whether the OpenBSD approach works, or if this is evidence that it’s doomed to failure.

          • Watering-Holes Target Asian Ethnic Victims with Flash Update Decoy

            While the Uighurs – an ethnic and religious minority in China – have been the targets of multiple cyberattacks and surveillance in the past, the firm said that it couldn’t reveal the identity of the target group.

            [...]

            Kaspersky said that these include an installer package that includes a decoy, legitimate Flash update and a stager. However, the Flash update is no longer valid, so it will fail with a message stating that the installer is outdated or renamed, and will direct the user to the Adobe website, according to the analysis.

            The second file is a module called “Godlike12,” which is a backdoor written in the Go language that sets up a command-and-control (C2) channel and proceeds with host fingerprinting upon startup (hostname, IP address, MAC address, Windows version, current time, Kaspersky researchers wrote). It also regularly checks for a remote [ID]-cs.txt, which contains encrypted commands for it to carry out. The most interesting thing about the implant is the fact that it exchanges files with a Google Drive space in order to communicate.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Leaked materials suggest that Muscovites will soon need QR-codes to step outside, even to walk their dogs or commute to work

              Moscow residents now under citywide self-isolation will soon need QR-codes generated by city officials for each trip they make outside their own homes — even for so much as throwing out the garbage. Citing a presentation made to the Mayor’s Office (confirmed by two of the newspaper’s sources in the city government), Kommersant says Muscovites will need the city’s QR-codes to commute to work, go to health clinics, visit the countryside, go to the grocery store, walk their dogs within 110 yards of their homes, and so on.

            • Orange recycles its geolocation service for the global pandemic

              For years, Orange has been trying to market the gold mine that is our geolocation data (the list of relay antennas to which our phones connect during the day). The pandemic appears to be a good opportunity for the company to open its market.

            • Researchers Say Kids’ Android Apps Are Still Riddled With Malware

              While numerous vendors and tech giants have cooked up lower-cost Android phones with marketing focused on helping the poor, a recent study by advocacy group Privacy International found that the privacy trade offs of these devices are… potent. Not only do they usually come with outdated OS’ opening the door to hackers, the phones have locked down user control to such a degree they’re unable to remove apps that may also pose security risks. In this way, the researchers argued, we’ve made privacy a luxury option that’s only available to those who can actually afford it.

            • Moscow says a new ‘system’ to control residents’ movements will be deployed by the end of the week

              By the end of the week. That’s how soon Moscow officials say they plan to roll out a new system to control the movements of local residents under Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s new self-isolation orders. “With every day, we’ll be exerting more control over this situation. By the end of the week, I hope we’ll have information systems that will allow us to control residents’ movements almost completely and prevent violations that could occur,” says Mayor Sobyanin, as reported by the news agency Interfax. “We’re also waiting on a federal law that will allow us to work more actively on this issue,” he added.

            • UK’s National Health Service Plans To Use Big Data Analysis To Fight COVID-19 — With The Help Of Palantir

              It’s clear that digital technology will play a key role in helping to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, whether as a way of disseminating information, telecommuting, or of keeping people entertained during lockdowns. Less welcome is the use of advanced surveillance and tracking techniques to monitor the movements of people to see if they are obeying quarantine restrictions. Another obvious way to apply technology is to manage the key resources being used to tackle it. That’s what the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is doing…

            • Vallejo Must Suspend Cell-Site Simulator Purchase

              As Bay Area residents sheltered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vallejo City Council assembled via teleconference last week to vote on the purchase of one of the most controversial pieces of surveillance equipment—a cell-site simulator. What’s worse is that the city council approved the purchase in violation of state law regulating the acquisition of such technology. 

              Any decision to acquire this technology must happen in broad daylight, not at a time when civic engagement faces the greatest barriers in modern history due to a global pandemic. EFF has submitted a letter to the Vallejo mayor and city council asking the city to suspend the purchase and hold a fresh hearing once the COVID-19 emergency has passed and state and local officials lift the shelter-at-home restrictions. 

            • EFF to Supreme Court: Losing Your Phone Shouldn’t Mean You Lose Your Fourth Amendment Rights

              You probably know the feeling: you reach for your phone only to realize it’s not where you thought it was. Total panic quickly sets in. If you’re like me (us), you don’t stop in the moment to think about why losing a phone is so scary. But the answer is clear: In addition to being an expensive gadget, all your private stuff is on there.  

              Now imagine that the police find your phone. Should they be able to look through all that private stuff without a warrant? What if they believe you intentionally “abandoned” it? Last week, EFF filed an amicus brief in Small v. United States asking the Supreme Court to take on these questions.

            • Nest outages prove that the smart home needs a local fallback

              Google’s Nest service has been down once, twice, thrice, four times, no, scratch that, at least five times in five months, four of which were in the last few weeks. A similar thing happened toward the end of 2018. After each failure, a fix, an apology, more disgruntled users, and hours lost without any security recording for owners of the brand’s cameras. Seeing the same headline with the same story every day proves that we can’t solely rely on remote servers for the smart home, and local fallbacks need to be the first feature baked in, not an afterthought or a bonus.

              [...]

              While most of these down times will be harmless for the majority of users, they’ll still be detrimental to a small number of people. If the server is down and your smart camera doesn’t catch a hit-and-run outside your house, or your alarm doesn’t alert you of a burglary, the system has absolutely, irrefutably failed you. You’ll never trust it again, will you?

            • Videoconferencing with #privacy

              Videoconferencing is on the rise worldwide with the COVID-19 crisis. But did you know that most videoconferencing software is NOT offering any guarantee about your privacy?

              Even some nice open source software such as Jitsi is relying on some Google services.

            • Zoom Is Leaking Emails And Photos Of Users

              It has reported that the popular video-conferencing app Zoom is leaking email addresses and photos of its users to the unknown people and Zoom is giving strangers the ability to attempt to start a video call with those users.

              Zoom Is Leaking Emails And Photos Of Users

              Zoom meetings are not end-to-end (E2E) encrypted. Zoom’s spokesperson told The Intercept, “It is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings.”

              In E2E encryption, no one can read your conversation, not even the company.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Alternatives to Policing—Putting the Power and Money Back Into Our Communities

        To understand why excessive policing can perpetuate cycles of violence, examine the institutional pressures that drive so much of what we see today. Since the 1960s, governments have extended the discourse of war beyond its traditional context. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson announced the “war on poverty” as he attempted to lay the foundations for a welfare state. In 1971, Richard Nixon called drug abuse “public enemy number one” and declared a “war on drugs.” With each declaration, the presumed “enemy” becomes less visible, with no end in sight.

      • MSNBC Contributor Catches Heat for Claiming George W. Bush Didn’t Politicize 9/11 ‘In Any Way’

        “There is 9/11 whitewashing and memory-holing happening right now, and it’s dangerous.”

      • We’ve Met the Enemy and It’s a Tiny Virus

        Over the course of just a couple of days last week, the backbone of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet has just been shut down for the next month. The enemy that managed to cause this sudden surprise unilateral disarmament of the mighty US Navy’s Pacific Fleet was not Russian or Chinese cyber hackers or a sneak attack by some foreign enemy. Rather, it was just a tiny virus, COVID-19, that infected one crew member on each of two $13-billion Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers.

      • Has America Reached Its Endgame in Afghanistan?

        In an extraordinary statement titled “On the Political Impasse in Afghanistan,” Washington has admitted to the failure of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s mission to Kabul on March 23, which was taken up to heal the political rift among Afghan politicians and to urge them to form an inclusive government so as to implement the peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29.

      • Beyond Chutzpah: US Charges Venezuela With Nacro-Terrorism

        According to the parable, the ungrateful son takes out a life insurance policy on his parents, murders them to collect, and is caught and found guilty. At his sentencing, the judge asks if he has anything to say on his behalf. The son replies: “Have mercy upon me because I am an orphan.” That’s chutzpah.

      • Growing Xenophobia Against China in the Midst of CoronaShock

        On March 25, the foreign ministers of the G7 states failed to release a statement. The United States—the president of the G7 at this time—had the responsibility for drafting the statement, which was seen to be unacceptable by several other members. In the draft, the United States used the phrase “Wuhan Virus” and asserted that the global pandemic was the responsibility of the Chinese government. Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump had used the phrase “Chinese Virus” (which he said he would stop using) and a member of his staff was reportedly heard using the slur “Kung Flu.” On Fox News, anchor Jesse Watters explained in his unfiltered racist way “why [the virus] started in China. Because they have these markets where they eat raw bats and snakes.” Violent attacks against Asians in the United States has spiked as a consequence of the stigma driven by the Trump administration.

      • US Plans to Create an Autonomous Sunni Region in Shia Iraq

        Americans are the primary beneficiaries of the plan. The United States would retain its presence in Western Asia after Iraq demanded American troops remove themselves following President Donald Trump’s January 3, 2020 order to assassinate Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani on Iranian soil.

      • Trump’s Chernobyl Moment: the US May Lose Its Status as World Superpower and Not Recover

        The US may be reaching its “Chernobyl moment” as it fails to lead in combating the coronavirus epidemic. As with the nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986, a cataclysm is exposing systemic failings that have already weakened US hegemony in the world. Whatever the outcome of the pandemic, nobody is today looking to Washington for a solution to the crisis.

      • ‘Pandemics Know No Borders’: Democrats Call on Trump Admin to Suspend Sanctions on Iran During Coronavirus Outbreak

        “We need to cancel all economic sanctions during this crisis.”

      • An Employee at an Illinois School We Reported On Has Been Charged With Battering a 7-Year-Old Boy

        A Gages Lake School worker has been arrested and charged with battering a 7-year-old student in the school’s seclusion room space, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

        The aide was assigned to work in an area called “office intervention,” where workers take students who have been removed from class for disruptive behavior. Records show that Justin Cole, 35, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, had been working as a paraprofessional for about three weeks when, on Feb. 27, school administrators notified police about an incident earlier in the day.

      • We Know The FBI Can’t Count Phones. A New Report Shows It Can’t Count Guns And Ammo Either.

        We know the FBI can’t accurately track how many encrypted devices it has in its possession. Two consecutive directors have pushed a “going dark” narrative using an inflated number of uncracked phones. At one point the FBI claimed it had nearly 8,000 phones in its possession, each one presumably full of evidence. When pressed for information by members of Congress, the FBI suddenly realized it had overstated this number by at least 6,000 phones. It discovered its error in May of 2018. It has yet to release an updated number.

      • Amnesty Slams Trump for Classifying Gun Stores as ‘Essential Businesses’ During Pandemic

        “With hospitals at critically low capacity due to the pandemic, we cannot afford more injuries or deaths from gun violence.”

      • As the World Tackles the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Raises the Pressure on Venezuela

        In a press conference on March 26, it was almost comical how little evidence the U.S. Department of Justice provided when it accused Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and several of the leaders of his government of narco-trafficking. The U.S. offered $15 million for the arrest of Maduro and $10 million for the others. Maduro, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said dramatically, “very deliberately deployed cocaine as a weapon.” Evidence for this? Not presented at all.

      • Yet Another Court Says Suing Twitter For Terrorist Acts Is A Waste Of Everyone’s Time

        Every tragedy should be exploited. That’s the theory behind a string of Excolo Law and 1-800-LAW-FIRM lawsuits that seek to hold social media companies responsible for acts of terrorism. So far, not a single court has been willing to ignore Section 230 of the CDA or the First Amendment to give these opportunists any satisfaction. Notwithstanding some very bizarre arguments from one Ninth Circuit judge, it’s been a long run of shutouts for lawyers I fucking hope are working on contingency.

      • Going After Maduro

        The recent indictments of Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan government officials on drug trafficking and narco-terrorism charges is a sham. It is a politically motivated and hypocritical attack on the elected government of Venezuela. Obviously, it is another front in the ongoing US low-intensity war on the majority of Venezuelans. It is cynical in that Venezuela’s neighbor Colombia has been literally governed by drug traffickers for most of the past thirty years, if not longer.

      • It’s Time to Rethink US Militarism in the Midst of COVID-19

        My dad was born in 1917. Somehow, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, but an outbreak of whooping cough in 1923 claimed his baby sister, Clementina. One of my dad’s first memories was seeing his sister’s tiny white casket. Another sister was permanently marked by scarlet fever. In 1923, my dad was hit by a car and spent two weeks in a hospital with a fractured skull as well as a lacerated thumb. His immigrant parents had no medical insurance, but the driver of the car gave his father $50 toward the medical bills. The only lasting effect was the scar my father carried for the rest of his life on his right thumb.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • New Partnerships, Changes in State Provisions Address Education Challenges Faced by Families of Migrant Farmworkers in California

        Under the Office of Migrant Services, the state of California operates 24 Migrant Family Housing Centers for families who migrate for seasonal harvest work. These apartments are highly desired by the families as rents are subsidized and living conditions are much better than in most other available housing options. However, one major requirement to maintain residence is that the migrant family must move at least fifty miles away for three to six months each year.

      • The Fault Lines of a Failed Society Begin to Open Up Into Chasms

        The area from which I write and live is a tourist area. It’s located in the Berkshire Hills (foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain) of Massachusetts. Signs on roadways leading to the area read: “America’s Premier Cultural Resort.”  There are lots of live entertainment venues here including theater, music, and dance. The demographics here point to an aging population increasingly made up of a significant number of people coming here to live in second homes and to retire. Tourism means a tourist economy with many low-paying jobs and few opportunities for younger people and young families. There is a small professional class and many successful tradespeople. Small farms are also numerous. Young people, and especially young people with families, have left the area in high numbers as reflected in the 2010 US Census, and school enrollment continues a precipitous decline. House prices have skyrocketed, leaving first-time home buyers with no way to finance a home. The towns here are commonly referred to as hill towns.

      • As Thousands of Las Vegas Hotel Rooms Sit Empty, City Paints ‘Social Distancing Boxes’ in Parking Lot for Homeless People

        “This is America.”

      • Fed Economists Warn US Unemployment Rate Could Soon Reach 32%—During Great Depression It Peaked at 25%

        “These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”

      • Removing the Profit from Our Pills: The Case for a Public Pharma System

        Public ownership of pharmaceutical development, production, and distribution in the US would combat the destructive impacts of Big Pharma—including…

      • Congress “CARES” for Wealthy With COVID-19 Tax Giveaways

        At a time when record numbers of Americans are facing unemployment, state and local governments are facing a perfect storm of growing public investment needs and vanishing tax revenues, and small business owners are struggling to avoid even more layoffs, lavishing tax breaks on the top 1 percent in this way shouldn’t be in anyone’s top 20 list of needed tax changes.

      • In the Name of Profit and Greed, Billionaire Class Declares: ‘Back to Work!’

        We must put public health over all other concerns.

      • With Bills Due April 1, More Than 400,000 Demand Congress Freeze All Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Payments

        “Millions are wondering how they’ll pay their rent or mortgage by tomorrow. We need additional emergency action suspending rent, mortgage and utility payments for the duration of this crisis.”

      • “Pelosi’s Terrible Idea”: Critics Denounce Proposal to Give Wealthy a Tax Cut in Next Stimulus Package

        “This is almost unbelieveable.”

      • Children of Single Federal Employees Get Half the Benefit from New Parental-Leave Law

        Several states have passed similar laws. As of 2018, paid family leave was available to 25 percent of state and local government workers, and ninety-three percent had access to unpaid leave, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

      • The US’s Wave of Hospital Closures Left Us Ill-Equipped for COVID-19

        A couple of weeks ago, as countries scrambled to protect their citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic by closing borders and quarantining travelers, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, upon the “recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” took the unprecedented step of urging all students who are studying abroad to return home. In the announcement, they emphasized the need to return home if students are living in a country with “poorly developed health services and infrastructure … for example the USA.” The word spread quickly on social media that the United States had been singled out as an example of a country with poor health care infrastructure, with many people in the U.S. agreeing that we lack the capacity to handle the pandemic.

      • We Must Cancel Rent Nationwide and Demand Safe Housing for All

        As the coronavirus outbreak spreads rapidly across the United States, hitting densely populated cities like New York, New Orleans, and L.A. particularly hard, the twin public health and economic crises — and the measures the ruling class is taking to combat them — are taking their toll on working people. Now, with the end of the month coming up quickly, working people are facing yet another hurdle: how to pay rent.

      • A Major Medical Staffing Company Just Slashed Benefits for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

        Emergency room doctors and nurses many of whom are dealing with an onslaught of coronavirus patients and shortages of protective equipment — are now finding out that their compensation is getting cut.

        Most ER providers in the U.S. work for staffing companies that have contracts with hospitals. Those staffing companies are losing revenue as hospitals postpone elective procedures and non-coronavirus patients avoid emergency rooms. Health insurers are processing claims more slowly as they adapt to a remote workforce.

      • Trump’s Pro-Business Labor Board Deals Major Setback to Gig Workers

        Under Trump, the generally business-friendly NLRB has become even more devoted to protecting employers’ interests than was the case in previous administrations. As Bobbi Murray  explained in a September 2, 2019 American Prospect essay , the five-person board is currently operating with a vacant seat and consists of three Republicans and the lone remaining Obama appointee, Lauren McFerran, who is set to term out in December.  Murray reports that “conservative interests have urged President Trump to wait until McFerran leaves and then to fill the two empty seats to lock in a unanimous pro-employer majority.”

      • Well Hyped Satellite Broadband Provider OneWeb Files For Bankruptcy

        For years, we’ve been promised repeatedly that new broadband technologies would soon arrive to disrupt the broken, cable broadband versus telco DSL duopoly in the states. And for just as long, these emergent technologies, for a wide variety of reasons, have failed to materialize.

      • After Securing Corporate Bailout, Trump and GOP Largely Oppose New Stimulus

        Having secured a multi-trillion-dollar bailout fund for large corporations and minimal relief for the public as the U.S. economy reels from the coronavirus crisis, the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are already throwing cold water on the prospect of a fourth stimulus bill that progressives say is necessary to address the deep flaws and gaping holes in the measure President Donald Trump signed into law last week.

      • Erik Olin Wright and the Anti-Capitalist Economy
      • ‘No More Spending’: After Securing $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout, Trump White House and GOP Cast Doubt on New Stimulus

        “Trillions for big business. Bare minimum for you.”

      • How to Prepare for the Trump Recession

        Unlike public assistance, SNAP responded well during the Great Recession. Its requirements are designed to expand during economic downturns or recessions. Waiving work requirements during the Great Recession made thousands of people in need eligible for the program who otherwise wouldn’t have been. Between December 2007 and December 2009, the number of SNAP participants rose by 45%. The program helped keep an estimated 3.8 million families out of poverty in 2009.But that might not be an option this time around, as SNAP has come under attack from the Trump administration, which is trying to enact a draconian rule change that would kick an estimated 700,000 of our most vulnerable citizens off of the program. Luckily, a judge blocked the rule from going into effect, but the administration is still fighting to enforce it — even in the middle of a global pandemic. We need to make sure SNAP’s flexibility and ability to respond to economic downturns is protected before the next recession hits.Stronger safety nets are not only good for individuals and families in need. They will also prevent the looming recession from becoming an even deeper and longer economic crisis. 

      • When Economists Try to Solve Health Crises, the Results Can Often be Disastrous

        I’m writing this at 585,000 worldwide active cases, 26,000 deaths, and with only China and Korea seemingly under some sort of control (using a social metric tool, Worldometer). The stimulus package announced by the U.S. government is at $2 trillion, but without job protections, rent freezes, or meaningful income support for most people. Where to reach for analogies to help us understand the moment? The AIDS crisis? The 2008 economic crisis? SARS?

      • Facing Layoffs, General Electric Workers Demand Company Put Them to Work Producing Ventilators Instead

        “Real leadership from the working class.”

      • “Now I Can Afford My Meds.” After Months of Appeals, Retiree’s Medicaid Benefits Are Restored.

        Almost two years after Judith Persutti first applied for Medicaid in South Carolina, the 64-year-old retiree who gets by on Social Security and food stamps had her health insurance restored Friday.

        Her benefits were reinstated after ProPublica examined a little-used appeals and hearing process that allows people receiving public assistance to challenge adverse decisions made by government agencies. The Trump administration has called the right to appeal a “guardrail” that protects citizens as states try to apply more stringent requirements for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

      • $3 Billion ‘Bailout’ for Oil Producers Dropped From Economic Stimulus Package

        With oil prices crashing, Trump announced a few weeks ago he planned to have the government purchase “large quantities” of crude oil to add to the emergency stockpile. “We’re going to fill it right up to the top,” he said. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in the 1970s to reduce disruptions in oil supply and it currently holds 635 million barrels of crude.

      • Will Pandemic Relief Become a Petroleum Industry Slush Fund?

        Recently, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin both made clear their intentions to include some sort of bailout for the oil and gas industry as part of the federal government’s emergency economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Washington Uses the Pandemic to Create a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Its Cronies

        When historians look back on our current government’s response to a public health emergency and resultant economic depression, there won’t be many paeans to profiles in courage. It may seem impressive that Congress has approved legislation worth $2 trillion to help sustain the American economy, but it’s no New Deal. Rather it’s a massive economic slush fund that does its utmost to preserve the old ways of doing things under the guise of masquerading as a response to a public health emergency. In reality, the relief provisions are barely adequate.

      • The Chicago Housing Authority Was Slow to Protect Residents During the Coronavirus Outbreak

        As is her way, Brenda Perry got right to the point when I reached her on the phone. “They’re not doing anything right at the CHA,” she said.

        Perry is 73 years old and lives in a Chicago Housing Authority high-rise for seniors, the Lincoln Perry apartments, in the South Side’s Douglas community. She’s long been outspoken about conditions in her building and other CHA policies; during public testimony at a meeting last fall, she reminded the CHA board that she had been telling them for three years that the building’s private management company hadn’t been keeping it clean.

      • Public Health First

        Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, whose net worth is $1.1bn, recommends “those with a lower risk of the diseases return to work” within a “very few weeks”.

      • Insurance Companies Could Hike Premiums by 40 Percent Amid Pandemic

        A new analysis warning that U.S. health insurance companies could hike already exorbitant premiums by 40 percent or more next year amid the coronavirus pandemic was received by Medicare for All advocates as further confirmation that America’s healthcare system — driven first and foremost by the profit motive — is ill-equipped to provide necessary care for all, particularly in a time of nationwide crisis.

      • Neoliberal Austerity and Private Health Care Has Worsened US Pandemic
      • Amid Pandemic, Homeless New Yorkers Demand Refuge in Vacant Apartments, Hotels

        More than 100 million people across the United States have been ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but what about people who are homeless? Tens of thousands of homeless people in New York City shelters and on the streets have been left with no way to safely shelter in place. We hear from people who are homeless, and speak with Kiana Davis, advocate and policy analyst with the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center.

      • DOJ Investigating Lawmakers’ Stock Dumps Ahead of Coronavirus Market Crash

        At least one lawmaker affected by the probe is Republican Sen. Richard Bur, who unloaded up to $1.7 million in stocks.

      • Sen. Burr Faces DOJ Investigation for Selling a Fortune in Stocks Right Before the Market Crashed

        Federal authorities are scrutinizing Sen. Richard Burr’s stock sell-off before the market crash triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, CNN reported on Sunday.

        The news comes less than two weeks after ProPublica and the Center for Responsive Politics reported that Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, unloaded between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions, a significant portion of his total portfolio. The sales came soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Deep State’s Demolition of Democracy

        “Thank God for the Deep State,” declared former acting CIA chief John McLaughlin while appearing on a panel at the National Press Club last October. In 2018, the New York Times asserted that Trump’s use of the term “Deep State” and similar rhetoric “fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media.”

      • Face Off: the Problem With Social Distancing

        In the twelfth chapter of The Sixth Extinction Elizabeth Colbert turns her attention to Neanderthal Man. There seems no doubt that we, our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, drove the Neanderthals and other “archaic human” species to extinction. In an interesting twist it turns out that our ancestors had sex with Neanderthals and that as much as 4% of the DNA of modern man is Neanderthal.

      • The Politics of COVID-19

        The far right thrives on fear. It’s no surprise, then, that it would use the latest pandemic, which has generated widespread panic, to bolster its own agenda.

      • Trump’s Cure and Our Disease

        The surgeon-general said so. The federal reserve chairman said so. Epidemiologists across the US said so. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most credible member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, said so. Numerous other medical specialists said so, governors and mayors said so.

      • How a Yale Academic Trolls the Liberals on Trump’s Looming Reelection

        Walter Russell Mead writes Trump campaign propaganda disguised as analysis.

      • Netanyahu Uses Coronavirus to Lure Rival Gantz into ‘Emergency’ Government

        Benny Gantz, the former Israeli general turned party leader, agreed late last week to join his rival Benjamin Netanyahu in an “emergency government” to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.

      • As Fashion Lines Are Praised for Making Face Masks, Don’t Ignore Garment Workers

        Fashion labels from Christian Siriano, H&M and Zara to luxury firms like LVMH, Kering and Prada have recently pledged to redirect their resources to making medical masks and (non-medical-grade) face mask covers. If all goes according to plan, fashion firms will donate many tens of millions of masks to the battle against COVID-19 in the hardest-hit places in the U.S. and Europe.

      • Bad bosses ‘Vedomosti’ fights for its independence as editors appeal to future owners, demanding a new editor-in-chief

        Vedomosti’s senior editors sent their letter (Meduza obtained a copy) to the two men who will soon become the newspaper’s new owners: tabloid publisher Nasha Versiya (Our Take) president Nikolai Zyatkov and Arbat Capital managing director Alexey Golubovich.

      • Limiting Trump’s Screen Time Isn’t ‘Censorship,’ It’s Journalism

        Last week, some news outlets—including CNN and MSNBC —made the decision to stop airing the entirety of Donald Trump’s daily press conferences on the new coronavirus. With the president’s statements veering more and more into fiction (“Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion”—3/18/20), conspiracy theories (“Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000?”—3/29/20) and miracle cures (“The hydroxychloroquine and the Z-Pak, I think as a combination, probably, is looking very, very good”—3/23/20), a growing number of journalists, including Rachel Maddow and Ted Koppel (New York Times, 3/25/20), had called for news outlets to, as James Fallows wrote in the Atlantic (3/20/20), “stop airing these as live spectacles and instead report, afterwards, with clips of things Trump and others said, and whether they were true.”

      • Daily Record Investigates My Home and Finances

        The day after I publish my article accusing the corporate media of being an active part of the conspiracy against Alex Salmond, and of giving disgracefully selective, slanted and biased coverage of the evidence of his trial, the Daily Record has decided to investigate my home and personal finances. Is not life full of little coincidences?

      • A Citizens’ Call to Invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment
      • ‘Poor Omen’: Just 24% of Biden’s Supporters ‘Very Enthusiastic’—Less Than Half of Trump’s 53%

        “While Republican voters vote for what they believe, no matter how extreme, Democratic voters are perennially playing themselves, voting for what they think other people want.”

      • Trump’s Mass Negligent Homicide Doesn’t Let Democratic Leaders Off the Hook

        If leadership is the metric, what is the measure?

      • COVID-19 Pandemic Shows That We Don’t Need Return to Normalcy—We Need President Bernie Sanders

        Middle America: What happened to the revolution?

      • Are You Prepared to Needlessly Die for Your Country?

        When I was a young boy, I used to play war, and watch movies that celebrated violence. Rambo showed the awesome potential for a single devoted patriot to turn the tables on evil. I had a glamorous account of war, and as an 8-year-old I did not understand why my father cried when we went to see the award-winning movie “Platoon.”

      • What’s Wrong with Ranked Choice Voting

        An electoral reform popular with many political activists and commentators is ranked choice voting, also called cumulative or preferential voting.

      • Why Has the Media Ignored Sexual Assault and Misbehaviour Allegations Against Biden?

        Conservatives who didn’t care about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Trump have seized on the accusations while liberals turn a blind eye.

      • Saying Quiet Part Very Loud, Trump Admits “You’d Never Have a Republican Elected in This Country Again” If Voting Access Expanded

        “This morning on live television, the president of the United States admitted he is opposed to laws that would make it easier for Americans to vote because that would hurt Republicans.”

      • How to Fight Fascism While Surviving a Plague

        How can we fight fascism as public health restrictions tighten? Kelly talks with Shane Burley about organizing for survival and the analysis of state power we need right now.

      • Undemocratic Elections Have Citizens Reinventing Self-Governance Worldwide

        One of the problems that the coronavirus pandemic is exposing in the U.S. is a decades-long erosion of trust in civil society. The effect is like a loss of the civic antibodies that keep self-governance healthy. In the political vacuum, the work of containing the outbreak falls nearly 100 percent on elected leaders and corporations with minimal popular credibility. As journalist David M. Shribman notes, “[T]he cost to capitalism shrinks in comparison to the cost in social capital.”

      • Tom Perez Put Corporate Lobbyists in Charge of the DNC’s Budget

        Last week, Mike Bloomberg transferred the leftover $18 million from his presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee to use in the general election — over 23 times the maximum amount that an individual could give to a national party using all available channels.

      • Wisconsin Is Holding A Pandemic Primary On April 7 That Will Disenfranchise Voters

        Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers has declined to invoke emergency powers and reschedule the state’s April 7 primary, even though a majority of Wisconsin residents support changing the date. A number of federal lawsuits have been filed in Wisconsin, including by groups committed to get-out-the-vote efforts. The lawsuits request an expansion of mail-in voting and/or postponement of in-person voting.Thirteen states, including New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have rescheduled their primaries.While Alaska and Wyoming are still holding their primaries in April, the states canceled in-person voting and everyone who wants to participate will vote by mail. The irrational commitment by Evers, the Republican-controlled state legislature, and the Elections Commission to holding a primary in the middle of an intensifying pandemic flouts statewide and nationwide orders issued to protect the public’s health. It forces communities to give up their right to vote if they want to make certain they do not contract the virus.COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin surpassed 1,200 on March 30. Twenty-three people have died, and Evers has said the severity of this disease in the African American community in Milwaukee is a crisis within a crisis.”

      • J’Accuse

        A 22 person team from Police Scotland worked for over a year identifying and interviewing almost 400 hoped-for complainants and witnesses against Alex Salmond. This resulted in nil charges and nil witnesses. Nil. The accusations in court were all fabricated and presented on a government platter to the police by a two prong process. The first prong was the civil service witch hunt presided over by Leslie Evans and already condemned by Scotland’s highest civil court as “unlawful, unfair and tainted by apparent bias”. The second prong was the internal SNP process orchestrated by a group at the very top in SNP HQ and the First Minister’s Private Office. A key figure in the latter was directly accused in court by Alex Salmond himself of having encouraged a significant number of the accusers to fabricate incidents.

      • Media Need to Scrutinize Andrew Cuomo’s Record, Not Crush on His Words

        As Donald Trump emits streams of false statements about the Covid-19 crisis and makes decisions that will lead to a tremendous number of unnecessary deaths in this country, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo has emerged as something of a national media darling.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand Censor Social Media to Counter “Fake News”

        In April 2019, for example, Singapore’s government introduced a bill banning fake news. This bill would obligate social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to remove or modify posts that the Singapore government considers false. Additionally, individuals spreading misinformation online could be hit with steep punishment, including jail time or a fine. What constitutes “misinformation,” in the eyes of Singapore’s rulers, is demonstrated by the bill’s language, which would give ministers the ability to limit posts that disrupt “public tranquility” and “friendly relations of Singapore with other countries,” or that fail to promote or express “public confidence in the performance of … the government.”

      • Lee Camp and Craig Aaron Join the Show – The Project Censored Show

        For the first half of the show, Mickey’s guest is investigative comic, Lee Camp, host of “Redacted Tonight” on RT Television, and author of the new book, “Bullet Points and Punch Lines.” They talk about the state of our free press with a touch of dark humor. Then Craig Aaron of FreePress.net returns to the show and explains his proposal that Congress fund a fiscal stimulus plan for journalism in the US, to begin restoring the nation’s depleted corps of local reporters. Aaron says we need nothing short of a robust, multi-billion dollar stimulus for a public interest free press and we need it now.

      • Journalist Abby Martin Sues Georgia over Anti-boycott Oath to Israel

        Signed into law in 2016, the law specifically targets the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement, which began organizing on college campuses in 2005. The movement aims to put economic pressure on Israel by boycotting companies with direct connections to the Israeli government, divesting from Israeli companies, and supporting sanctions on the country.

      • Speaking Freely: Sandra Ordoñez

        Sandra (Sandy) Ordoñez is dedicated to protecting women being harassed online. Sandra is an experienced community engagement specialist, a proud NYC Latina resident of Sunset Park Brooklyn, and a recipient of Fundación Carolina’s Hispanic Leadership Award. She is also a long-time diversity and inclusion advocate, with extensive experience incubating and creating FLOSS and Internet Freedom community tools.These commitments and principles drive Sandra’s work as the co-founder and Director of the Internet Freedom Festival (IFF) at Article19. Even before launching the Internet Freedom Festival, Sandra was helping to grow and diversify the global Internet Freedom community. As their inaugural Director of Community and Outreach, Sandra led the creation of Open Technology Fund’s (OTF) Community Lab. Before her time at OTF, Sandra was Head of Communications and Outreach at OpenITP where she supported the community behind FLOSS anti-surveillance and anti-censorship tools. She also served as the first Communications Director for the Wikimedia Foundation. As a researcher Sandra has conducted over 400 expert interviews on the future of journalism, and conducted some of the first research on how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reinforces stereotypes. She also provides consultation on privacy-respecting community marketing, community building, organizational communication, event management, program design, and digital strategy. All while serving on the board of the Open Technology Fund, Trollbusters, and Equality Labs. In recent months Facebook, and others, have proposed the creation of oversight boards to set content moderation policies internationally. In the US, the fight to protect free expression has taken on a new urgency with Senators Graham and Blumenthal introducing the EARN IT Act. A bill that, if enacted, would erode critical free speech protections and create a government commission with the power to codify best practices, with criminal and civil liability on platforms that failed to meet them. With these committees in mind, I was eager to speak with Sandy about how these proposals would impact communities that are often the most directly affected, and the last consulted.

        Nathan “nash” Sheard: What does free speech mean to you?

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Global, Comparative Perspective on US Detention of Immigrant Children

        Border Patrol stations in places like El Paso and Clint, Texas, are not equipped to hold children, especially not for as long as they are currently being detained. As other news outlets have reported, children in diapers are caged and left without adequate caret. Bochenek stated that as a country with considerable resources, holding the children in better conditions than their previous state should not be that much of a challenge for this country.

      • Major Sporting Events and Human Trafficking? The Unfortunate Debate

        Law enforcement works with affected industries before each event, training, for example, hotel staff on how to spot the warning signs of trafficking, while the US Department of Homeland Security distributes stickers to be placed in restrooms with the phone number of the trafficking hotline.

      • Cuba: An Example of Solidarity In a Time of Crisis

        The most frequent qualifier used to describe the global experience of the pandemic we are currently witnessing or affected by, is “crisis”. And I am reminded of political theorist Antonio Gramsci’s words: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

      • Native American Women Are Disappearing, and No One Is Watching

        Campaigners say the largest contributors to the problem are systemic racism, issues with law enforcement, and a lack of data. The missing women are often victims of sexual violence, police brutality, or domestic violence. Perpetrators continue to engage in this activity because they can get away with it, largely due to late missing-persons reports and racial misclassification, the data collection being ruined, and the cases being ignored. Bills are being written to tackle the issue, including fixing the gaps in data collection to address the public mistrust of the police. A bill signed by Washington’s democratic governor, Jay Inslee, “will create two liaison positions within the Washington state patrol, the state’s police agency, whose job will be to build a relationship between governmental agencies and Native communities.” However, any large scale solution is bound to take time, especially given the lack of public attention shown to these cases.

      • Organizing for Reproductive Justice in the Southern US

        As the New Yorker reported,  in 2014, Georgia was one of twenty-five states that enacted laws restricting insurance coverage of abortion under the Affordable Care Act, legislation that especially impacted low-income women who struggle with the cost of the procedure. In response, national organizations such as the National Abortion Federation and local organizations, including the Magnolia Fund, provided funds to help women who wanted abortions but could not afford them to pay for their procedures. (As the New Yorker reported, the Magnolia Fund closed in 2019.)

      • ‘Critical Victory’ for Reproductive Rights as Federal Judges Block Three States From Exploiting Coronavirus to Ban Abortion Care

        “This is an important recognition of what we know to be true—abortion care is essential healthcare.”

      • Report Finds Serious Faults with US Migrant Protection Protocols

        First, as Cuffe wrote, violence in both migrants’ home countries and in Mexico is “a key precipitating factor in alarming levels of symptoms of mental illness among migrants and asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.” According to the MSF survey, 61.9 percent of migrants had experienced a violent event within two years of leaving their home country, including the death (42.5 percent) or a disappearance (16.9 percent) of a relative. In health consultations, these migrants displayed symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that were deemed to be “moderate” or “severe” on the Clinical Global Impression scale, an internationally recognized measure for the severity of psychological problems or mental illness. “The violence suffered by people living in [Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador] is comparable to that in a war zones,” according to the MSF report (p.4).

      • Coronavirus Makes It More Clear Than Ever: Health Care Is a Human Right

        We shouldn’t be satisfied with single-payer coverage just during a massive pandemic. This crisis exposes dramatically the foolishness of pretending that health care is a private marketplace. We need Medicare for All now.

      • Holding Our Breath, Together and Apart

        Crises illuminate our dependency on one another, and on remote chains of production and distribution—but also highlight a resiliency and capacity to live within limits.

      • The Future May Be Female, But the Pandemic Is Patriarchal

        Feminism in the time of Coronavirus

      • The US Decries Political Persecution of Nicaraguans But Won’t Grant Them Asylum

        The second time around, John Martínez-Picado knew what awaited him inside “El Chipote.” It had been almost a year but the spiral-shaped prison with its overcrowded underground cells and concrete beds on the floor still haunted him. He hadn’t forgotten the suffocating feeling — “as if you were going to have a heart attack,” Martínez-Picado said. He also hadn’t fully recovered from the trauma of being forced to witness guards torture his cellmates, pulling out their fingernails and cutting off their ears until they became unconscious. Martínez-Picado had known then that if he was lucky enough to get out, only to be caught again, it would be worse than the first time.

      • Corporate America Is on Offense—Local Communities Can Be Too

        This crisis calls for us to challenge the government system that is failing us. Now is an opportunity for radical collective action.

      • He Was Ordered to Self-Isolate. He Didn’t. Now He’s Facing Criminal Charges.

        In what may be the first case of its kind in Illinois, a man who walked into a busy gas station store after posting on Facebook that he had been ordered to self-isolate because of coronavirus symptoms now faces criminal charges of reckless conduct.

        The 36-year-old man, who had stopped in the store so his 4-year-old son could use the bathroom, was recognized by an employee who had gone to high school with him and saw his social media post. After the man left, the employee alerted her supervisor, who then called authorities.

      • 33 Years After Dubious Evidence Helped Convict Him, Joe Bryan Has Been Released on Parole

        On Tuesday, Joe Bryan was released from prison after 33 years behind bars. “Thank you, Father, for taking care of me,” he said, extending his hand toward the sky, his voice choking with emotion. “Hallelujah, praise Jesus!”

        Bryan’s attorneys and a large group of family members had waited outside the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville for hours in cold, gloomy weather, craning for a view of the 79-year-old. Shortly before 11 a.m., as the sun burst through the clouds, parolees began to emerge from the prison, filing past the monolithic, red-brick structure that is home to the state’s execution chamber. Bryan looked uncertainly ahead of him until he spotted familiar faces, then broke into a wide grin. A small bag, which a younger parolee carried for him, held all of his possessions.

      • Legislation allowing prime minister’s cabinet to declare state of emergency rockets through Russian legislative system

        Russia’s Federation Council held an emergency meeting on March 31 to approve a new law that will allow the country’s executive cabinet to declare states of high alert and states of emergency.

      • FOIA’ed DOJ Report Points Out The Downsides Of Relying On ‘Predictive Policing’ To Fight Crime

        The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has obtained a DOJ report on predictive policing via a FOIA lawsuit. The document dates back to 2014 but it shows the DOJ had concerns about the negative side effects of predicting where crime may occur by using data that details where crime has happened.

      • Interview With Brad Schreiber On ‘Music Is Power’: Part 1—Dixie Chicks, Marvin Gaye

        Covering around a century Music Is Power is a book by Brad Schreiber that takes readers on a tour of music that challenged social injustice and spoke to the masses during uncertain times.

        Schreiber is an award-winning author, journalist, and screenwriter, whose past books include Death In Paradise, Becoming Jimi Hendrix, and Revolution’s End.

      • New York AG Denounces ‘Immoral and Inhumane’ Firing of Amazon Worker Who Led Protest Over Lack of Coronavirus Protections

        “Taking action cost me my job,” said Chris Smalls. “Because I tried to stand up for something that’s right, the company decided to retaliate against me.”

      • Covid-19: Our Health Crisis is Born of Bigotry

        “A bridge is no stronger than its weakest part.” Former slave turned educator Anna Julia Cooper uttered those very contemporary-sounding words back in 1892. The US didn’t heed them then; we haven’t heeded them yet. The big question, brought home to us one more time by the Covid-19 crisis, is why not? What does American society so love about having weak parts that we refuse—year after year and epidemic after epidemic—to shore up?

      • COVID-19 and the Neoliberal State of Exception

        How do neoliberal governments act in emergency situations when the interests of the private sector top their agenda?

      • The World’s Major Military and Economic Powers Find Happiness Elusive

        Long before the advent of the coronavirus pandemic left people around the world desperate for survival, a popular assumption emerged that national governments are also supposed to promote the happiness and well-being of their citizens. This idea was expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed that governments are instituted to secure humanity’s “unalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

      • Stay Home, Stay Angry

        Social distancing is hard, and it’s not fun.

      • ‘The Strike Wave Is in Full Swing’: Amazon, Whole Foods Workers Walk Off Job to Protest Unjust and Unsafe Labor Practices

        “One of the best ways to thank essential workers is to support the fight to improve their lives.”

      • ‘A Harrowing Warning’ to All as Hungary Hands Far-Right Leader Dictatorial Powers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

        “We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.”

      • Court To Cops: No Expectation Of Privacy In A ‘Beer-Drinking, Nap-Taking Hideout’

        Everyone has rights, even the people who often disrespect the rights of others. But those rights can only be violated in certain, specific ways and the two cops, who sued over alleged rights violations, didn’t actually have their rights violated.

      • Decarceration: COVID-19 is Opportunity Knocking

        On March 23, 14 US Senators from both major political parties asked US Attorney General William Barr and Michael Carvajal, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to “transfer non-violent offenders who are at high risk for suffering complications from COVID-19 to home confinement.”

      • Keeping Each Other Safe When Virtually Organizing Mutual Aid

        Communities across the country are stepping up to self-organize mutual aid groups, uniting virtually to offer and coordinate support to those who are in need. In solidarity with the need for physical distancing, many people are organizing online using Google spreadsheets, Google forms, public posts on Twitter and Facebook, and private messages on social media platforms. 

        There is great beauty and power in this support, but it also puts security concerns in the spotlight: overlooked privacy settings and overbroad collection of personal data can lead to the unintended disclosure of private information that can be used to harm the very people seeking help. Though these efforts may seem like they have equal benefit in helping connect people in need to people with resources, the privacy and security implications for these mediums vary widely. 

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Tone Deaf: Using COVID-19 As A Prop To Celebrate The Death Of Net Neutrality

        So we’ve noted a few times now how the FCC’s decision to kill net neutrality did a hell of a lot more than just kill “net neutrality.” It obliterated much of the FCC’s consumer protection authority, making it harder than ever to hold U.S. telecom monopolies accountable for bad behavior like rampant privacy violations, ripping you off with bullshit fees, or refusing to upgrade or repair long-neglected taxpayer subsidized networks. And this was a problem even before America began staring down the barrel of a brutal pandemic while stuck at home telecommuting.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • EFF Joins Locast Defense Team to Fight for TV Viewers’ Right to Use Free, Legal Streaming Service

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today joined the legal team defending Sports Fans Coalition NY, Inc. (SFCNY), the nonprofit organization that runs Locast, a free, local TV streaming service facing bogus copyright infringement claims by broadcast giants ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox.Locast enables TV viewers to receive local over-the-air programming—which broadcasters must by law make available for free—using set-top boxes, smartphones, or other devices of their choice. Locast is available in 17 metro areas and has more than one million users, including people who can’t get local channels through an antenna or can’t afford a pay-TV subscription.The four broadcast giants filed suit against Locast last year, a year and a half after Locast launched, claiming it violates their copyrights in programming. But Locast is protected by an exemption to copyright law, put in place by Congress, that allows nonprofits to retransmit broadcast TV so communities can access independent, local stations offering news, foreign-language programming, and local sports. There’s no infringement if nonprofits make noncommercial transmission of copyrighted works, using donations to cover their costs.“Broadcast TV is a vital source of local news and cultural programming for millions of people, which matters now more than ever because of COVID-19,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz.  “But some broadcasters want to use copyright law to control when, where, and how people can receive their local TV broadcasts, and force people to buy expensive pay-TV services just to get their local news and sports.”EFF joins the case as co-counsel alongside law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. EFF has a long history fighting copyright abuse and defending innovation that benefits the public. Broadcast giants, which already reap billions from charging users for programming, are attempting to use their copyrights to maintain market power and force consumers to pay for programming that’s supposed to be free.“EFF has worked for many years to defend people’s right to access and use content with the devices and technologies of their choice,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “Defending Locast’s ability to stream local TV broadcasts using the Copyright Act’s nonprofit provision is part of that goal.”“I am grateful beyond words to EFF for representing our nonprofit and the consumers who rely on Locast,” said SFCNY Chairman and Locast founder David Goodfriend. “Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, when Americans need emergency news and information from their local broadcasters, and when so many of our fellow Americans are suffering economically, Locast provides a critical public service.”

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Chinese Companies Set Pace In Europe Patent Filings

          Chinese companies witnessed the highest growth last year among leading patent filing countries at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to a report released on March 12.

          The EPO Patent Index 2019 showed that patent applications originated from China at the EPO grew by 29.2 percent in 2019 to a total of 12,247, setting a record high.

          In the past decade, patent applications filed by Chinese companies with the EPO have increased sixfold.

          China moved up one place from 2018 to become the fourth-largest patent filing country at the EPO in 2019, trailing the United States, Germany and Japan.

          In all, the EPO received more than 181,000 patent applications in 2019, an increase of 4 percent from 2018 and a new all-time high. The US accounted for 25 percent of the total applications, while Germany made up of 15 percent and Japan took 12 percent. China accounted for 7 percent.

        • Judge McMahon’s Motions in Limine Rulings Clear Way for Ferring v. Serenity Trial

          The years-long dispute may finally be headed for trial between Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its affiliates, Serenity Pharmaceuticals, LLC, and Reprise Biopharmaceutics, LLC over patents claiming a sublingual application of desmopressin, a drug used to treat symptoms of diabetes insipidus, including frequent nighttime urination (“nocturia”). On March 11, 2020, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.) ruled on three motions in limine filed by defendants and counterclaimants Serenity and Reprise.

          Reprise owns patents covering applications of desmopressin—U.S. Patent Nos. 7,405,203, 7,579,321, and 7,799,761—which it had exclusively licensed to Serenity to market Noctiva, a drug that treats nocturia. Ferring, which developed a rival product, Nocdurna, first filed this suit in April 2017 against Serenity and Reprise, seeking a declaratory judgment that Reprise’s patents were invalid and unenforceable, and were not infringed by Ferring’s Nocdurna product, which also treats nocturia. Serenity and Reprise asserted counterclaims against Ferring, alleging infringement of the ’203 and ’321 Patents by Ferring’s Nocdurna.

          First, Judge McMahon granted Serenity and Reprise’s motion to exclude Ferring’s theory of indefiniteness of the term “about” in the patents’ claims. Ferring had not included the theory in either its initial or final invalidity contentions, and only disclosed it after Serenity and Reprise’s expert testified regarding the “about” limitations. Judge McMahon rejected Ferring’s argument that expert testimony “created” a new indefiniteness argument, holding that because indefiniteness is an objective standard, Ferring could have, but did not, raise the argument earlier.

        • Software Patents

          • [Joke] Unified Patent Court halt sales of ventilators across Europe

            The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has issued an pan-European injunction to halt the sales of ventilators across Europe. The Court ruled that ventilators used by hospitals in the current pandemic of COVID-19 were violating an EPO patent on graphical user interfaces using tabs, granted to Bully Diagnostics LLC. Despite the lockdown, crowds started assembling around EPO offices, and the protests quickly escalated into violent riots. Protesters said that patent law cannot live in its own bubble, that lives were more important than profit.

            [...]

            An EPO spokesmen said: “The exclusion of patentability for ‘presentation of information’ has to be interpreted ‘as such’. The caselaw of the Boards of Appeal says that graphical user interfaces are patentable if they produce a technical effect in the brain of the nurses and doctors. We are happy that this specialized patent court has adopted our doctrine, installing a jurisprudence for Computer Implemented Inventions (CIIs) in Europe without a debate in parliaments.”

            FFII President, Peter Highness, finishes: “After ventilators, this patent troll will go after Apple and its iPhones, so Millenials and GenZs, be prepared and make your stock! Empty stocks of toilet paper was just the beginning, who can survive in those pandemic times without an iPhone and an internet connection?”

      • Trademarks

        • Florida Atlantic University Suddenly Decides Owl Tutoring’s Name Is Trademark Infringement After Over A Decade

          As some of you may be aware, Florida Atlantic University’s sports teams and mascots are the Owls. As some of you may also be aware, the southeast is home to Owl Tutoring, a college tutoring service with a fairly good reputation. Owl Tutoring has existed for over a decade and has even promoted itself by advertising in FAU publications. That’s probably why it took the folks at the company by such surprise to suddenly get a C&D letter from FAU’s legal team accusing it of committing trademark infringement.

      • Copyrights

        • Affordable Legal Options Are the Best Anti-Piracy Tool, US Senators Are Told

          As a former Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, Julia Reda has a wealth of experience with copyright legislation. This is recognized by the U.S. Senate, which invited Reda to share her knowledge with the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Answering follow-up questions from several senators, she stresses that affordable legal options are the best anti-piracy tool.

        • Anime Fans Find ‘Pirate’ Subtitles in Netflix Streams of City Hunter

          Netflix subscribers in France shared a wry smile over the weekend when a screenshot from the anime movie City Hunter was shared on Twitter. The screenshot revealed that the subtitles hadn’t been obtained from an official supplier. Instead, they were apparently culled from a ‘pirate’ file distributed by an IRC channel specializing in anime content, one that could’ve been dead for some time.

        • Permission Culture Gone Mad: Worries About Proper License For ‘Balcony Singing’ Lead Collection Society To Say It’s Okay, You Can Sing

          Yet another reminder that copyright is really, really broken. As you may have seen, there have been a few viral videos making the rounds of people locked down in apartment buildings deciding to hold impromptu music performances from balconies. When the first of these came out, I had joked that it would only be a matter of time until some music collection society called these an unlicensed public performance and demanded royalty payments. Thankfully, that has not happened, though in Spain, a copyright professor did tell a journalist that those singing from the balconies should first get a license (relying on Google translate here…):

        • RIAA Denies ‘False Takedown’ Allegations, Asks Court to Dismiss Case

          The RIAA denies that it willingly sent false takedown notices to the mixtape service Spinrilla. In a new filing at a federal court in Atlanta, the music group refutes claims that it abused the DMCA takedown process. On the contrary, it believes that it had the right to remove a file which, according to Spinrilla, is clearly not infringing.

        • Publishers And Authors Misguided Freakout Over Internet Archive’s Decision To Enable More Digital Book Checkouts During A Pandemic

          It’s been said many times over that if libraries did not currently exist, there’s no way that publishers would allow them to come into existence today. Libraries are, in fact, a lovely and important artifact of a pre-copyright time when we actually valued knowledge sharing, rather than locking up knowledge behind a paywall. Last week, the Internet Archive announced what it’s calling a National Emergency Library — a very useful and sensible offering, as we’ll explain below. However, publishers and their various organizations freaked out (leading some authors to freak out as well). The freak out is not intellectually honest or consistent, but we’ll get there.

        • Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library is “Vile” Says Copyright Alliance

          Last week the Internet Archive responded to the coronavirus outbreak by offering a new service to “displaced learners”. Combining scanned books from three libraries, the Archive offered unlimited borrowing of 1.4 million books, so that people can continue reading while in quarantine. What followed was a huge backlash from publishing and pro-copyright groups, with the Copyright Alliance decribing the actions of IA’s operator as “particularly vile.”

        • Education in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Maximizing Copyright Flexibilities

          Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials, in any medium, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, adaptation and redistribution by others.

03.31.20

Techrights to Delete Articles From All Past Years to Save Disk Space

Posted in Site News at 6:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published 27,000 posts in Techrights, soon to turn 13.5 years (average of about 2,000 posts per year)

An old scale

Summary: What if we deleted over 25,000 posts?

THE SITE Techrights has a problem. It has had this problem for a long time. It is just too big. For instance, the compressed archive of our WordPress database alone is soon exceeding a gigabyte (it’s 983MB at the moment, based on the latest nightly dump) and the Web account is over 50 gigabytes in size.

Sooo… we have a plan.

Compact this!

The Right To Be Forgotten is the best law ever to be passed!

So any criticism made here in past years will be deleted, giving people a chance to reinvent themselves and reform their reputation.

Mr. Battistelli, all is forgiven! And we forgive, then forget, António Campinos for his past blunders, before and after joining the European Patent Office (EPO).

Oh, yes… and if you haven’t noticed the date yet. If. Now may be a time to check the clock. Because no… we’re not deleting anything. We’re in fact fortifying the site to ensure the information doesn’t go away any time soon.

The real news is that we’ve exceeded 27,000 posts — another milestone for us.

03.30.20

Links 30/3/2020: GNU Linux-libre 5.6, WireGuard 1.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Four OS vendors support Huawei’s openEuler-powered Linux distribution platform

      The openEuler Community Charts New Territory, Boosting Innovation in the Multi-Core Heterogeneous Computing Industry

      As the founding enterprise and main initiator of openEuler, Huawei is continuously investing in open source communities. As an open community, openEuler is a shared stronghold co-built by more and more global developers.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why I switched from Mac to Linux

        In 1994, my family bought a Macintosh Performa 475 as a home computer. I had used Macintosh SE computers in school and learned to type with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, so I’ve been a Mac user for well over 25 years. Back in the mid-1990s, I was attracted to its ease of use. It didn’t start with a DOS command prompt; it opened to a friendly desktop. It was playful. And even though there was a lot less software for Macintosh than PCs, I thought the Mac ecosystem was better, just on the strength of KidPix and Hypercard, which I still think of as the unsurpassed, most intuitive creative stack.

        Even so, I still had the feeling that Mac was an underdog compared to Windows. I remember thinking the company could disappear one day. Flash-forward decades later, and Apple is a behemoth, a trillion-dollar company. But as it evolved, it changed significantly. Some changes have been for the better, such as better stabilization, simpler hardware choices, increased security, and more accessibility options. Other changes annoyed me—not all at once, but slowly. Most significantly, I am annoyed by Apple’s closed ecosystem—the difficulty of accessing photos without iPhoto; the necessity of using iTunes; and the enforced bundling of the Apple store ecosystem even when I don’t want to use it.

      • Access control lists and external drives on Linux: What you need to know

        Don’t let confusion around external drives on Linux get the best of you, and don’t limit yourself to traditional UNIX permissions. Put access control lists to work for you, and feel free to use native journaled Linux filesystems on your portable drives.

      • 5 best Linux desktop distributions

        Linux distribution on the desktop is an amalgam of the tortoise and the little train that could. Ever so slowly, it continues to move onward and upward, ticking away the market share percentages by a tenth of a point at a time. No matter how slow that journey is, the developers of each distribution will keep going until their version of Linux has finally become accepted by the masses—at which point, one Linux distro will rule them all. Until then, the Linux community will continue to enjoy numerous distributions, ready to take over your desktop. But of those hundreds (nay, thousands) of desktops available, which are the best Linux desktop distributions?

        After using all flavors of Linux distributions, including Red Hat, Zorin OS, Kali Linux Debian, CentOS, and more, for over 20 years, I’ve pretty much seen every type of distribution possible. That much exposure to a specific operating system makes it rather easy to come up with a list of which Linux desktop distributions are the best. And with that in mind, this is my list of Linux distributions that are best suited for overall usage. Remember, this is for the desktop, so server distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Kali Linux, and SUSE Linux aren’t in the mix.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-03-30 | Linux Headlines

        Linux Kernel 5.6 is out with WireGuard support, fre:ac significantly expands its feature set with its 1.1 release, Bruce Perens’ legal battle finally comes to an end, and the IEEE launches a collaborative development platform.

      • Linux-Tech&More QA: Episode 01: The mysterious operating system!

        We seek, through the episodes of this simple and humble series, to provide Linux, technology and science information (and other important information) in an interesting and funny way to “insert” the information into the mind of the follower and to instill principles and values ​​in their personality.

      • Linux Action News 151

        Mozilla puts your money where your mouse is and partners with Scroll to launch Firefox for a Better Web. We’ll explain the details, and why it might just have a shot.

        Plus we try out Plasma Bigscreen, cover Telegram’s really bad news, and much more.

      • Real Python: The Real Python Podcast – Episode 2: Learn Python Skills While Creating Games

        In this episode, Christopher interviews Jon Fincher from the Real Python Team. Jon talks about his recent articles on PyGame and Arcade.

        They discuss if game programming is a good way to develop your Python programming skills, and if a game would make a good portfolio piece. He compares the two popular Python game libraries of Arcade and PyGame, and discusses about how to find assets for your own creations.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Officially Released

        Torvalds says in the official announcement that the development of the next kernel update is unlikely to be impacted substantially by the new coronavirus outbreak, as most engineers are typically working from home anyway.

        However, he does admit that a slowdown is expected due to social distancing and the pandemic.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Released With Plenty Of New Features

        The boss of the Linux, Linus Torvalds has released Linux Kernel 5.6. One of the biggest features or improvements that you might see in Linux Kernel 5.6 is that it has a solution for the Year 2038 Problem which means that you can now run your 32-bit system beyond Jan 19, 2038.

        The new kernel also has support for WireGuard VPN, Server-to-server copy for NFSD, Intel Virtual Bus, Qualcomm, Experimental F2FS file compression support, USB4, Amazon Echo speaker and open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 series.

      • Linux 5.6 Release – Main Changes, Arm, MIPS & RISC-V Architectures

        Some of those changes are said to allow booting a buildroot-based system on QEMU’s virt board.

        For the full list of commit messages, you can check out the changelog generated with the command git log v5.5..v5.6 –stat. KernelNewbies website should also soon have a Linux 5.6 changelog.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Officially Released with Built-In WireGuard Support

        Despite all of the coronavirus challenges we’re facing these days, Linus Torvalds announced the release of the Linux 5.6 kernel series, the first to ship with built-in WireGuard support.

        Development of Linux kernel 5.6 kicked off in early February with the first Release Candidate, but it wasn’t affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Seven weeks and RCs later, the final release of the Linux 5.6 kernel is here with a plethora of goodies.

        WireGuard is now built into the kernel and all future kernels will ship with it

        [...]

        Of course, there are also numerous new and updated kernels, along with lots of improvements for various components. This makes Linux kernel 5.6 a worthy upgrade for most GNU/Linux distributions.

        However, Linux 5.6 isn’t yet ready for mainstream use because it’s still marked as a “mainline” kernel on the kernel.org website, from where you can also download the source tarball if you’re eager to try it on your machine.

        The rest of the world should wait for the first point release, Linux kernel 5.6.1, before upgrading. With this, the two-weeks merge window for the Linux 5.7 kernel series is now officially open, and Linus Torvalds hopes the coronavirus outbreak won’t affect its development cycle.

      • Linux 5.6 is out with USB4 and GeForce RTX GPU support, plus much more

        A new Linux Kernel version 5.6 has been officially released with some important changes including the addition of support for USB4, and GeForce RTX 2000 series graphics cards with the Nouveau driver.

        Yes, Turing GPU support has arrived with the open source Nouveau driver, along with the proprietary firmware images, as Phoronix.com reports. However, don’t get too excited, as re-clocking doesn’t work yet (getting the GPU to operate at stock clocks), and other important pieces of the puzzle are missing (like no Vulkan support with Nouveau).

      • Linux 5.6 Kernel released with Nvidia RTX 20 graphics support

        The Linux 5.6 Kernel was released this weekend. The popular alternative OS kernel includes some important new features and changes, as well a broader support for modern PC hardware like Nvidia RTX20 and AMD Navi series GPUs. However, in his announcement of the release, Linus Torvalds indicated that progress towards the next release could be impacted by Covid-19.

        Linux specialist site Phoronix characterises the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release kernel as “simply huge,” being stuffed with new and improved features for end-users. HEXUS readers might be particularly interested in the raft of new CPUs and GPUs supported in this release but there is a lot more to discuss, as you will see if you read on.

      • SD Times news digest: Automation Anywhere’s Bot Security, Linux 5.6, and the IntelliSense Code Linter for C++

        The Linux 5.6 kernel was released with WireGuard, USB4, New AMD, and Intel hardware support.

        Linux 5.7 is now open for the landing of new feature work for the next two weeks, and the developers behind the project said that they are currently assuming a “fairly normal 5.7 release.”

        Additional details are available here.

      • Linux 5.6 Ships With Broken Intel WiFi Driver After Network Security Fixes Go Awry

        For those that are normally spinning their own kernels and punctually upgrading to new releases, you will want to hold off on the new Linux 5.6 kernel for the moment if you use the Intel “IWLWIFI” WiFi driver.

        Landing in the kernel right ahead of the Linux 5.6 release were a set of mac80211 security fixes sent in by Intel’s Johannes Berg. Those fixes in turn broke the IWLWIFI driver that supports Intel’s current wireless chipsets on Linux.

      • GNU Linux-libre 5.6-gnu Released After Deblobbing AMD Trusted Execution, Ath11k WiFi

        Following last night’s release of Linux 5.6, the GNU FSFLA folks have put out the Linux-libre 5.6-gnu kernel as their fully-free-software kernel that disallows loading binary kernel modules, disables functionality requiring closed-source firmware/microcode, and other aspects to ensure only free software code is running on the system.

      • GNU Linux-libre 5.6-gnu (GNU Health for all)
        GNU Linux-libre 5.6-gnu cleaning-up scripts, source tarballs, patches
        and binary deltas are now available at
        <https://www.fsfla.org/selibre/linux-libre/download/releases/5.6-gnu/>.
        
        No changes were required to the cleaning up scripts since -rc7-gnu, but
        since they were ready shortly before the final release, that rc was
        never published.  Binaries are expected to show up in the near future.
        
        
        The corresponding upstream release introduced 3 new drivers that request
        and load blobs: AMD Trusted Execution Environment, ATH11K WiFi, and
        Mediatek SCP remoteproc.  The requests for those are inhibited and
        silenced in our release, and so are those for new blobs in nouveau,
        AMDGPU and AMD PSP.
        
        
        For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
        (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister <http://twister.net.co/>,
        Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at
        pod.libreplanetbr.org or pump.io at identi.ca.  Check the link in the
        signature for direct links.
        
        
        Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.
        
        
        What is GNU Linux-libre?
        ------------------------
        
          GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
          suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
          GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.
        
        http://www.gnu.org/distros/
        
          It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
          source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
          run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
          part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
          (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.
        
        http://www.fsfla.org/anuncio/2010-11-Linux-2.6.36-libre-debait
        
          Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
          It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
          it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
          became part of the GNU Project.
        
          The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
          cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
          need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
          Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.
        
        http://libreplanet.org/wiki/LinuxLibre:Devices_that_require_non-free_firmware
        
          Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
          of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
          contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
          promotion.  See our web page for their images.
        
        http://linux-libre.fsfla.org/
        
        What is Linux?
        --------------
        
          Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]
        
        (snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)
        
        -- 
        Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter    he/him    https://FSFLA.org/blogs/lxo/
        Free Software Evangelist              Stallman was right, but he's left :(
        GNU Toolchain Engineer           Live long and free, and prosper ethically
        
      • GNU Linux-Libre 5.6 Kernel Is Out for Those Who Seek 100% Freedom for Their PCs

        Less than a day after the release of the Linux 5.6 kernel series, the GNU Linux-libre project announced the general availability of the GNU Linux-libre 5.6 kernel.

        The aim of the GNU Linux-libre project is to provide the GNU/Linux community with a version of the upstream Linux kernel that’s 100% free. Therefore, the GNU Linux-libre 5.6 kernel is a 100% free version of the Linux 5.6 kernel, shipping only with free and open source drivers.

        GNU Linux-Libre 5.6 kernel deblobs three new drivers that have been included in the Linux 5.6 kernel series, namely AMD Trusted Execution Environment, ATH11K WiFi, and Mediatek SCP remoteproc Additionally, it also cleans up the Nouveau, AMDGPU, and AMD PSP drivers.

      • WireGuard 1.0.0 for Linux 5.6 Released
        Hi folks,
        
        Earlier this evening, Linus released [1] Linus 5.6, which contains our
        first release of WireGuard. This is quite exciting. It means that
        kernels from here on out will have WireGuard built-in by default. And
        for those of you who were scared away prior by the "dOnT uSe tHiS
        k0de!!1!" warnings everywhere, you now have something more stable to
        work with.
        
        The last several weeks of 5.6 development and stabilization have been
        exciting, with our codebase undergoing a quick security audit [3], and
        some real headway in terms of getting into distributions.
        
        We'll also continue to maintain our wireguard-linux-compat [2]
        backports repo for older kernels. On the backports front, WireGuard
        was backported to Ubuntu 20.04 (via wireguard-linux-compat) [4] and
        Debian Buster (via a real backport to 5.5.y) [5]. I'm also maintaining
        real backports, not via the compat layer, to 5.4.y [6] and 5.5.y [7],
        and we'll see where those wind up; 5.4.y is an LTS release.
        
        Meanwhile, the usual up-to-date distributions like Arch, Gentoo, and
        Fedora 32 will be getting WireGuard automatically by virtue of having
        5.6, and I expect these to increase in number over time.
        
        Enjoy!
        Jason
        
      • Linux’s WireGuard VPN is here and ready to protect you

        Linus Torvalds has released the newest version of the Linux 5.6. It includes many new and neat features like USB4 support, a fix for the 32-bit Epoch problem, multi-path TCP, and numerous driver patches. The biggest news of all s that Linux now has the popular open-source Virtual Private Network (VPN) WireGuard baked in.

        WireGuard is a radical new approach to VPNs. With its minimal codebase — about 4,000 lines of code — it’s much easier to debug and secure than its rivals such as OpenVPN with its over 100,000 lines.

        Torvalds himself loves WireGuard for its simplicity. Long before he incorporated WireGuard into Linux, Tovalids said “Can I just once again state my love for it and hope it gets merged soon? Maybe the code isn’t perfect, but I’ve skimmed it, and compared to the horrors that are OpenVPN and IPSec, it’s a work of art.”

      • WireGuard 1.0.0 Christened As A Modern Secure VPN Alternative To OpenVPN/IPsec

        In-step with the Linux 5.6 release that mainlined the WireGuard kernel module for this secure VPN tunnel, WireGuard 1.0.0 has now been declared.

        WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld declared v1.0.0 in-step with Linux 5.6′s release. WireGuard has recently gone through more stabilization work, the code has been undergoing a security audit, and more Linux distributions are beginning to support WireGuard.

      • WireGuard VPN makes it to 1.0.0—and into the next Linux kernel

        We’ve been anticipating WireGuard’s inclusion into the mainline Linux kernel for quite some time—but as of Sunday afternoon, it’s official. Linus Torvalds released the Linux 5.6 kernel, which includes (among other things) an in-tree WireGuard. Phoronix has a great short list of the most interesting new features in the 5.6 kernel, as well as a longer “everything list” for those who want to make sure they don’t miss anything.

      • Linux 5.7 Staging’s Spring Cleaning Sees Almost 30k Lines Of Code Dropped

        The staging/IO pull sent in for the Linux 5.7 merge window saw 20.1k lines of code added but 47.9k lines of code removed. Coming in nearly thirty-thousand lines of code lighter is largely thanks to – Dropping Wireless USB and Ultra Wideband support. UWB and WUSB support was cleared out of staging with this technology no longer being of much relevance/adoption and the code within the tree not being maintained. Also flushed out of staging was dropping the existing exFAT file-system driver now that via the VFS tree will be the new Samsung-developed exFAT Linux driver. Also being cleared out with this spring cleaning is the ancient HP 100BaseVG AnyLAN driver from the 90′s.

      • IO_uring Sees More Improvements With Linux 5.7 For This Exciting I/O Tech

        Within minutes of Linux 5.6 being released on Sunday evening, Jens Axboe was already with sending in the start of the various storage areas to the kernel that he oversees with their feature updates for Linux 5.7.

        IO_uring is one of the most exciting happenings in the Linux storage space since its introduction last year in Linux 5.1. With succeeding kernels, IO_uring has continued seeing more features implemented, performance optimizations, and other improvements. That is continuing to happen with the Linux 5.7 kernel now in development.

      • Graphics Stack

        • xorg-server 1.20.8
          Adam Jackson (1):
                Revert "dri2: Don't make reference to noClientException"
          
          Arthur Williams (1):
                dix: Check for NULL spriteInfo in GetPairedDevice
          
          Daniel Llewellyn (1):
                os: Ignore dying client in ResetCurrentRequest
          
          Dave Airlie (1):
                modesetting: remove unnecessary error message, fix zaphod leases
          
          David Seifert (1):
                Fix building with `-fno-common`
          
          Dor Askayo (1):
                xwayland: clear pixmaps after creation in rootless mode
          
          Eric Anholt (1):
                glamor: Fix a compiler warning since the recent OOM fixes.
          
          George Matsumura (1):
                Restrict 1x1 pixmap filling optimization to GXcopy
          
          Jon Turney (2):
                Add xf86OSInputThreadInit to stub os-support as well
                Fix old-style definition warning for xf86OSInputThreadInit()
          
          Jonas Ådahl (1):
                xwayland/glamor-gbm: Handle DRM_FORMAT_MOD_INVALID gracefully
          
          Kenneth Graunke (1):
                configure: Define GLAMOR_HAS_EGL_QUERY_DRIVER when available
          
          Maarten Lankhorst (1):
                modesetting: Disable atomic support by default
          
          Matt Turner (1):
                xserver 1.20.8
          
          Michel Dänzer (8):
                modesetting: Explicitly #include "mi.h"
                xfree86/modes: Bail from xf86RotateRedisplay if pScreen->root is NULL
                xwayland: Split up xwl_screen_post_damage into two phases
                xwayland: Call glamor_block_handler from xwl_screen_post_damage
                xwayland: Add xwl_window_create_frame_callback helper
                xwayland: Use single frame callback for Present flips and normal updates
                xwayland: Use frame callbacks for Present vblank events
                xwayland: Delete all frame_callback_list nodes in xwl_unrealize_window
          
          Paul Kocialkowski (4):
                glamor: Propagate FBO allocation failure for picture to texture upload
                glamor: Error out on out-of-memory when allocating PBO for FBO access
                glamor: Propagate glamor_prepare_access failures in copy helpers
                glamor: Fallback to system memory for RW PBO buffer allocation
          
          git tag: xorg-server-1.20.8
          
          
        • X.Org Server 1.20.8 Released With No Sign Of GLAMOR/XWayland-Improved X.Org Server 1.21

          X.Org Server 1.20.8 was released as the newest point release for this current stable branch. X.Org Server 1.20.8 brings a number of fixes with there still being no sign of X.Org Server 1.21 gearing up for release.

          Early May marks two years since the X.Org Server 1.20 release and with no sign of X.Org Server 1.21 as the next feature release, well off what used to be a six month release cadence. That’s a pity due to X.Org Server 1.21 having a number of XWayland improvements, continued work to xf86-video-modesetting, some more PRIME bits, work on GLAMOR, etc. But with Red Hat having X.Org in “maintenance mode” and focusing more on Wayland, there hasn’t been anyone stepping up to organize the X.Org Server 1.21 release even though it’s been talked about every couple of months. X.Org Server 1.21 is already too late for seeing in the likes of Fedora 32 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    • Applications

      • Rambox is an All-in-one Messenger for Linux

        Rambox is one of the best ways to manage multiple services for communication through a single app installed. You can use multiple messaging services like Facebook Messenger, Gmail chats, AOL, Discord, Google Duo, Viber and a lot more from the same interface.

        This way, you don’t need to install individual apps or keep them opened in browser all the time. You can use a master password to lock the Rambox application. You can also use do not disturb feature.

      • 3 lightweight text editors for Linux

        Anyone can use plain text to work more effectively. The one tool that you need in order to do that is a decent text editor.

        Unless you’re a coder, a system administrator, or a DevOps person, that editor doesn’t need to be brimming with functions and features. A lightweight text editor is more than enough for most people.

        When it comes to picking one, choices abound. You can use the editor that’s baked into your Linux distribution, or you can consider one of these lightweight text editors…

      • Linux Candy: Steam Locomotive – fun command for your terminal

        Who loves eye candy? Don’t be shy — you can raise both hands!!

        Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We only feature open-source software in this series.

        Steam Locomotive is a tiny C program, written in 295 lines of code. It’s just a harmless bit of fun.

      • 12 Best Open-Source Software to Try in 2020

        Open-source software feels like an anomaly in today’s corporate tech world. The idea that a community of developers are happy to work on a piece of software – usually for no money – for literally years seems ludicrous, and speaks to the passion that people have for making technology for the benefit of everyone. Open-source devs, we salute you!

        So to honor these tireless workers who quietly make our day-to-day computer experiences that much better, we’ve decided to write up a multi-platform list of what we deem the best open-source software you can get in 2020.

        Do note that there are tons of open-source software out there, and we can’t possibly cover all of them. That said, here are what we think are the best for the end user. Opinions may differ though.

      • 21 Best Free and Affordable Video Editing Software In 2020

        With so many options available in the market, we have curated the list of the best free video editing programs along with affordable ones. This is for people who are just looking to start but are also serious about video editing and want to take it to a professional level.

      • Nageru 1.9.2 released

        Obviously, the Covid-19 outbreak caused some of my streaming events to be cancelled, but that’s a small thing in the big picture. However, I’ve accumulated a fair amount of changes to both Nageru, my video mixer, and Futatabi, my slow motion video server, this winter and spring. I’ve packaged them up and released 1.9.2. As usual, you can get both at https://nageru.sesse.net/, and they’re also on the way up to Debian unstable.

      • Mark Text Markdown Editor 0.16 Released With Experimental Spell Checker, Support For Custom Fonts

        Mark Text, a popular Markdown editor, had a new release over the weekend (0.16.0, followed by 0.16.1 to fix a bug). This update brings an experimental spell checker, file encoding support, support for custom fonts, and much more.

        Mark Text is a free and open source Electron Markdown editor for Windows, macOS and Linux. It features CommonMark and GitHub Flavored Markdown, seamless live preview, multiple edit modes (Typewriter, Source Code and Focus), and support for code fence for all popular languages.

      • Telegram Desktop App Update Adds Chat Folders, New Sidebar

        A new version of the Telegram desktop app for Windows, macOS and Linux is now available — and it hides some very useful new features.

        Desktop Telegram 2.0 echoes some of the changes on offer in the recent Telegram 6.0 update for mobile systems. This includes the ability to organise chats into Chat Folders should you find you have more than is manageable!

      • MystiQ Is An Easy To Use FFmpeg GUI (Multimedia Converter) For Linux And Windows

        MystiQ is a fairly new Qt5/C++ FFmpeg-based audio and video converter for Linux and Microsoft Windows. A macOS version will also be available in the future.

        I want to note that while the application is referred to as “MystiQ Video Converter” on its website, it actually supports both audio and video files.

        This FFmpeg GUI comes with an easy-to-use user interface intended to get things done without distracting the user. It supports all the popular audio and video formats supported by FFmpeg, and comes with many presets.

      • The Status of Universal Package Systems

        Billed as the future of package management, universal package systems like Snappy and Flatpak have failed to live up to their promise.

        Remember universal package systems? Although AppImage, the earliest universal package system, was first released in 2004, the concept did not capture much attention until a decade later, when Canonical released Snappy and Red Hat released Flatpak. Each was presented as the next generation of package managers, usable by any distribution, and as a means to reduce the number of rival technologies. Yet in 2020, both Snappy and Flatpak have receded into the background, and the deb and RPM package management systems continue to dominate Linux, leaving the question of why Snappy and Flatpak did not fulfill their promises.

        Two quick searches on DistroWatch reveal that, out of the 273 active distros listed, 39 support Flatpak, and 35 support Snap packages. At first, those may sound like respectable numbers, until you realize that a much more arcane deviation from the norm, like distros that do not ship systemd, can boast 99 distros. Moreover, those figures consist mainly of major distros that support Flatpak and Snap — often both — but still depend primarily on traditional package managers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Burning Knight will have you steal everything and make a run for it in the new demo

        Out now is the demo for Burning Knight, an action-packed roguelike with a bit of a twist on the usual dungeon crawling. What’s so different? Well, you’re a bit of a thief. The idea is to run through as much of the Burning Knight’s castle as you can and pinch all the treasures. You can also rescue a few people if you wish.

        What makes it slightly amusing, is the Burning Knight follows you around and they get very angry when you find keys to get into their treasure rooms. Telling you not to touch things and then trying to shoot you when you inevitably go “ooooo shiny!” and then run away with something.

      • Stylish top-down rally game ‘art of rally’ has a demo up now for you to grind some dirt

        Drive away your worries this week with the demo of ‘art of rally’, an upcoming top-down stylish rally game from the creator of Absolute Drift.

        While there’s no current set date for the final release, the demo at least does work very nicely and it’s a lot of fun already. You get to try out two iconic rally cars with one from Group 2 and one from Group B, across a mixed gravel-tarmac stage from Finland full of jumps and all sorts. There’s multiple weather conditions implemented too like fog and rain with different times of day as well.

      • Intel ports AMD compiler code for a 10% performance boost in Linux gaming

        Linux gaming may not be as popular as gaming in Windows, but it is a growing segment. It is also improving, both in terms of support and performance. As it pertains to the latter, Jason Ekstrand, a member of Intel’s open source 3D driver team, is seeing some promising results in a handful of games running in Linux after porting AMD compiler code to Intel graphics hardware.

        The code is derived from ACO, short for AMD COmpiler, which is essentially a shader compiler spearheaded by Valve. First announced last July, Valve at the time said it was intended to deliver the “best possible code generation for game shaders, and fastest possible compilation speed.” It was also intended to replace AMD’s own LLVM compiler.

        As spotted by Phoronix, Ekstrand has enabled an I/O vectorization pass in an Intel driver for Linux, based on open source code originally written for ACO for use in AMD’s Radeon Vulkan drivers.

      • Intel NIR I/O Vectorization Ported From The AMD ACO Back-End – ~10% Performance Boost

        Lead Intel “ANV” open-source Vulkan driver developer Jason Ekstrand has ported an optimization from the Valve-backed AMD “ACO” compiler over to the NIR code-base for delivering some sizable performance improvements.

        Ekstrand has enabled an I/O vectorization pass for NIR that is originally based on the ACO code for the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver. This vectorization pass is enabled for UBOs, SSBOs, global memory, and SLM.

      • Anime tactical-shooter RPG ‘Unconventional Warfare’ successfully funded and coming to Linux

        Unconventional Warfare from developer Nightlife Strangers is now officially funded on Kickstarter and thanks to that it’s confirmed to be coming to Linux. Against their goal of $20K, they only just scraped by with $20,841 which is backed up by a small amount they get monthly from their Patreon page too.

      • Steam and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive once again smash user records

        What seems to be a regular occurrence now during the COVID-19 outbreak, both Steam and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have yet again broken their own concurrent user records.

      • A new OpenRA test build is up for classic RTS action, with more single-player mission support

        The incredible people hacking away on OpenRA have a new test build up to provide a better experience playing Command & Conquer, Red Alert and Dune 2000 on modern systems.

        Building on top of the massive test build earlier this month that added in some major new rendering features like zooming found in other RTS games, this is focused on some final touches and will hopefully be the last test build before a new stable release.

        For Tiberian Dawn (the original C&C) they’ve added in the GDI 08a and 09 mission support, along with a couple bug fixes. For
        Dune 2000 the Ordos 6a mission is now supported, plus they fixed spiceblooms not spawning when the overlaying spice was removed. Red Alert should be smoother now too as minelayers should no longer leak enemy mine positions through the fog, plus there’s numerous balance changes.

      • Game manager ‘Lutris’ has a new release with initial Humble Bundle and VKD3D support

        Lutris, the excellent free and open source game manager for Linux has a fresh release up with some brand new and big features that made it in.

        One of the headline additions is Humble Bundle support, allowing you to login to your Humble Store account and download any of the DRM-free release you own from their store making managing those less annoying. A wonderful addition! Speaking on Twitter, they mentioned that more work needs to be done to match up all the games from Humble to those in their database so it’s ongoing and support will continue to improve.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Developers Are Working on a TV Interface

          The developers of the KDE desktop are hard at work to create a TV interface.

          Never one to remain stagnant, the developers of the KDE desktop are hard at work creating what they have dubbed “Plasma Bigscreen.” This new project has one goal – to develop a user interface aimed at television screens.

          This new interface will also integrate with the open source Mycroft AI voice assistant to create a smart TV platform that will include full voice control and can be expanded with Mycroft “skills.” The platform will be free, open source, innovative, and community supported. Out of the box, Big Plasma will include some simple skills, such as the Youtube Voice Application, which allows users to interact with Youtube via voice command.

          Plasma Bigscreen will also include the Aura Browser, based on the QtWebEngine. This browser has been designed to work completely with arrow key navigation, so you won’t need a mouse to control the app (just your remote). In fact, the entire Plasma Bigscreen interface is intended to be easily used via remote control, and includes experimental support for HDMI-CEC (HDMI Consumer Electronics Control).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Infrastructure updates

          As you may have noticed from outage and maintenance notes we sent out last week the GNOME Infrastructure has been undergoing a major redesign due to the need of moving to a different datacenter. It’s probably a good time to update the Foundation membership, contributions and generally anyone consuming the multitude of services we maintain of what we’ve been up to during these past months.

          [...]

          …Red Hat Storage Team who helped out reviewing the Ceph infrastructure design and providing useful information about possible provisioning techniques.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Project Trident 20.02

          Project Trident made a lot of progress very quickly between the time the Alpha snapshot of its new Void base was launched and when the stable release came out. The issues with the desktop not loading were fixed, I got sound working under Trident where it did not under Void, and the ZFS implementation was smooth. I think Lumina, as a desktop, has progressed nicely in the past year or so since I last used it. The distribution’s performance is strong and its resource footprint relatively small. For someone who is interested in either ZFS on Linux or rolling release distributions, Trident is a promising option.

          However, there are several rough edges. The installer is not particularly friendly yet and forces the user to dedicate an entire disk to Trident. While the ZFS implementation is good, it appears to lack boot environments which would be an excellent feature to incorporate, especially with Void’s rolling upgrade approach. I also think Trident’s goal of being a friendly layer on top of Void would be helped a lot by adding a graphical package manager as XBPS’s syntax is a little unusual at times.

          At this point Trident’s Void-based distribution is in its early stages. It is a good first attempt, though there are still a few pieces that can be improved and polished. I’m hopeful that, in six months or a year, Trident will have progressed to a point where I feel comfortable recommending and using it in the long-term. For now I think it is an interesting distribution to try, as it showcases several unusual technologies, but I’m not sure it is ready to be used as a day-to-day operating system, unless the user is comfortable working a lot with the command line and working around a few issues.

      • New Releases

        • Systemd-Free antiX 19.2 Released with Latest Debian Buster Updates

          Coming three months after the first point release, antiX 19.2 is here to provide the community with an up-to-date installation media for new deployments, but also to add some extra features.

          One of these extra features is support for the runit init system, a UNIX init scheme with service supervision, which was bacakported from Debian Sid (Unstable).

          If you want to install antiX with the runit init system, you must download special ISO images that are only made for 32-bit systems. The rest of the ISOs are using the sysvinit init system.

        • Release of openmediavault 5 (Usul)

          After a long development phase i am happy to announce the release of openmediavault 5 (Usul).

          A big thank you goes to all translators, forum moderators and bug reporters for their contributions and support.

          The main features at a glance:

          Using Debian 10 (Buster).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora’s Git forge decision

          Back in February, LWN reported on the process of gathering requirements for a Git forge system. That process then went relatively quiet until March 28, when the posting of a “CPE Weekly” news summary included, under “other updates”, a note that the decision has been made. It appears that the project will be pushed toward a not-fully-free version of the GitLab offering. It is fair to say that this decision — or how it was presented — was not met with universal acclaim in the Fedora community; see this response from Neal Gompa for more.

        • With Kubernetes Operators comes great responsibility

          Operators are a powerful way to extend the functionality of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Kubernetes. OpenShift provides features for deploying Operators in a safer way, such as OperatorHub, and the Operator Lifecycle Manager (OLM). In this post we explore safe ways to deploy Operators to Openshift 4.x using OperatorHub, OLM and scoping rules for Operators.

        • The IBM i Community Adapts To The New Normal

          As we enter the third week of the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown that has shut down large swaths of our country, IBM i shops are adapting to the “new normal” along with everybody else. For essential employees in certain industries, that means working in an uncertain and potentially hazardous environment, while for the rest of us, it means telecommuting from home.

          If you work in finance or insurance along the two coasts, chances are good your headquarters has been closed down and your colleagues sent home to work remotely from laptops, smartphones, and PCs. But if your company makes or moves stuff in the industrial heartland of the United States – home to the nation’s strategic paper-products supply – then many of your essential staff are likely trucking right through the coronavirus lockdown. (And if they’re actually in the trucking business, they’re likely enjoying the empty roads.)

      • Debian Family

        • Debian @ COVID-19 Biohackathon (April 5-11, 2020)
          Dear Debian Community,
          
          There will be an virtual (online) COVID-19 Biohackathon from April 5-11,
          2020 and the Debian Med team invite you help us improve biomedical FOSS
          and the tools/libraries that support those projects.
          
          Most tasks do not require any knowledge of biology or medicine, and all
          types of contributions are welcome: bug triage, testing, documentation,
          CI, translations, packaging, and code contributions.
          
          1. Debian related bugs are viewable at [covid19-bugs]
          
          2. Software awaiting packaging is listed at [covid-19-packages], please
          respond to the RFP with your intent so we don't duplicate work
          
          3. You can also contribute directly to the upstream packages, linked
          from the Debian Med COVID-19 task page at [covid-19-packages]. Note:
          many biomedical software packages are quite resource limited, even
          compared to a typical FOSS project. Please be kind to the upstream
          author/maintainers and realize that they may have limited resources to
          review your contribution. Triaging open issues and opening pull requests
          to fix problems is likely to be more useful than nitpicking their coding
          style.
          
          4. Architectures/porting: Please focus on amd64, as it is the primary
          architecture for biomedical software. A secondary tier would be arm64 /
          ppc64el / s390x (but beware the endian-related issues on s390x). From a
          free/open hardware perspective it would be great to see more riscv64
          support, but that is not a priority right now
          
          5. The Debian Med team is also trying to improve the availability of
          automated biomedical pipelines/workflows [robust-workflows] using the
          Common Workflow Language open standard. The reference implementation of
          CWL is written in Python and there are many open issues ready for work
          that don't require any biomedical background [cwltool-issues]
          
          6. It is very easy to contribute to Debian Med team. We have a lowNMU
          policy for all our packages. Merge requests on Salsa are usually
          processed quickly (but please ping some of the latest Uploaders of the
          package to make sure it will be noticed). Even better if you ask for
          membership to the team and push directly to the salsa repository.
          
          7. The [debian-med-team-policy] should answer all questions how to
          contribute.
          
          The main COVID-19 biohackathon is being organized at [covid-19-bh20] and
          for Debian's participation we are using [salsa-covid-19-bh20]
          
          [covid-19-bugs] https://blends.debian.org/med/bugs/covid-19.html
          
          [covid-19-packages] https://blends.debian.org/med/tasks/covid-19
          
          [covid-19-bh20] https://github.com/virtual-biohackathons/covid-19-bh20
          
          [salsa-covid-19-bh20]
          
          https://salsa.debian.org/med-team/community/2020-covid19-...
          
          [robust-workflows] https://doi.org/10.1007/s41019-017-0050-4
          
          [cwltool-issues] https://github.com/common-workflow-language/cwltool/issues
          
          [COVID-19-advice]
          
          https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronaviru...
          
          [debian-med-team-policy] https://med-team.pages.debian.net/policy/
          
          Sincerely,
          
          Michael R. Crusoe on behalf of the Debian-Med team
          
          (and Andreas Tille on behalf of Michael R. Crusoe ;-) )
          
        • Debian Linux readies an anti-coronavirus hack-a-thon

          Open-source programmers and engineers have been working on a wide variety of projects to beat coronavirus. These range from hospital management programs to speeding up drug development to building inexpensive ventilators. Now, Debian Linux, one of the oldest and largest Linux distribution communities, is throwing its programming resources into beating COVID-19.

          The Debian Med team is inviting programmers to a virtual COVID-19 Biohackathon from April 5-11, 2020. The Debian Med team wants your help in improving free and open-source biomedical software programs, tools and libraries.

        • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: Using Zoom’s web client on Linux

          Like too many institutions, the school where I teach chose to partner up with Zoom. I wasn’t expecting anything else, as my school’s IT department is a Windows shop. Well, I guess I’m still a little disappointed.

          Although I had vaguely heard of Zoom before, I had never thought I’d be forced to use it. Lucky for me, my employer decided not to force us to use it. To finish the semester, I plan to record myself and talk with my students on a Jitsi Meet instance.

          I will still have to attend meetings on Zoom though. I’m well aware of Zoom’s bad privacy record and I will not install their desktop application. Zoom does offer a web client. Sadly, on Linux you need to jump through hoops to be able to use it.

        • Mike Gabriel: Mailman3 – Call for Translations (@Weblate)

          Over the last months I have found an interest in Mailman3. Given the EOL of Python2 in January 2020 and also being a heavy Mailman2 provider for various of my projects and also for customers, I felt it was time to look at Mailman2′s successor: Mailman3 [1].

          One great novelty in Mailman3 is the strict split up between backend (Mailman Core), and the frontend components (django-mailman3, Postorius, Hyperkitty). All three are Django applications. Postorius is the list management web frontend whereas Hyperkitty is an archive viewer. Other than in Mailman2, you can also drop list posts into Hyperkitty directly (instead of sending a mail to the list). This makes Hyperkitty also some sort of forum software with a mailing list core in the back. The django-mailman3 module knits the previous two together (and handles account management, login dialog, profile settings, etc.).

        • Sven Hoexter: Looking into Envertech Enverbridge EVB 202 SetID tool

          Disclaimer: I’m neither an experienced programmer nor proficient in reverse engineering, but I like at least to try to figure out how things work. Sometimes the solution is so easy, that even I manage to find it, still take this with a grain of salt.

          I lately witnessed the setup of an Envertech EnverBridge ENB-202 which is kind of a classic Chinese IoT device. Buy it, plug it in, use some strange setup software, and it will report your PV statistics to a web portal. The setup involved downloading a PE32 Windows executable, with an UI that basically has two input boxes and a sent button. You’ve to input the serial number(s) of your inverter boxes and the ID of your EnverBridge. That made me interested in what this setup process really looks like.

          The EnverBridge device itself has on one end a power plug, which is also used to communicate with the inverter via some Powerline protocol, and a network plug with a classic RJ45 end you plug into your network. If you power it up it will request an IPv4 address via DHCP. That brings us to the first oddity, the MAC address is in the BC:20:90 prefix which I could not find in the IEEE lists.

        • Paulo Henrique de Lima Santana: My free software activities in February 2020

          I started to talk with Maristela from IEP – Instituto de Engenharia do Paraná and after some messages and I joined a meeting with her and other members of Câmara Técnica de Eletrônica, Computação e Ciências de Dados.

          I explained about FLISOL in Curitiba to them and they agreed to host the event at IEP. I asked to use three spaces: Auditorium for FLISOL talks, Salão Nobre for meetups from WordPress and PostgreSQL Communities, and the hall for Install Fest.

          Besides FLISOL, they would like to host other events and meetups from Communities in Curitiba as Python, PHP, and so on. At least one per month.

        • Covid 19 and the Indian response.

          There have been lot of stories about Coronavirus and with it a lot of political blame-game has been happening. The first step that India took of a lockdown is and was a good step but without having a plan as to how especially the poor and the needy and especially the huge migrant population that India has (internal migration) be affected by it. A 2019 World Economic Forum shares the stats. as 139 million people. That is a huge amount of people and there are a variety of both push and pull factors which has displaced these huge number of people. While there have been attempts in the past and probably will continue in future they will be hampered unless we have trust-worthy data which is where there is lots that need to be done. In the recent few years, both the primary and secondary data has generated lot of controversies within India as well as abroad so no point in rehashing all of that. Even the definition of who is a ‘migrant’ needs to be well-established just as who is a ‘farmer’ . The simplest lucanae in the later is those who have land are known as ‘farmers’ but the tenant farmers and their wives are not added as farmers hence the true numbers are never known. Is this an India-specific problem or similar definition issues are there in the rest of the world I don’t know.

          [...]

          What is worrying though that people can be infected twice or more as seems to be from Singapore or China and elsewhere. I have read enough of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton books to be aware that viruses can do whatever. They will over time mutate, how things will happen then is anybody’s guess. What I found interesting is the world economic forum article which hypothesis that it may be two viruses which got together as well as research paper from journal from poteome research which has recently been published. The biggest myth flying around is that summer will halt or kill the spread which even some of my friends have been victim of . While a part of me wants to believe them, a simple scientific fact has been viruses have probably been around us and evolved over time, just like we have. In fact, there have been cases of people dying due to common cold and other things. Viruses are so prevalent it’s unbelivable. What is and was interesting to note is that bat-borne viruses as well as pangolin viruses had been theorized and shared by Chinese researchers going all the way back to 90’s . The problem is even if we killed all the bats in the world, some other virus will take its place for sure. One of the ideas I had, dunno if it’s feasible or not that at least in places like Airports, we should have some sort of screenings and a labs working on virology. Of course, this will mean more expenses for flying passengers but for public health and safety maybe it would worth doing so. In any case, virologists should have a field day cataloging various viruses and would make it harder for viruses to spread as fast as this one has. The virus spread also showed a lack of leadership in most of our leaders who didn’t react fast enough. While one hopes people do learn from this, I am afraid the whole thing is far from over. These are unprecedented times and hope that all are maintaining social distancing and going out only when needed.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Roadmap update – Ubuntu support for the Raspberry Pi

          Computing and digital crafting should be accessible to all! This imperative inspires the mission that Ubuntu has been pursuing for nearly two decades now. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is pursuing a similar mission with the single-board, low-cost and high-performance Raspberry Pi computers. With our commitment to official Ubuntu support for the Raspberry Pi, we want to accelerate the commodification of digital innovation.

          Besides bringing the benefits of modern GNU/Linux, Ubuntu makes the latest and greatest free and open source software available on the Raspberry Pi. Ubuntu also brings versatile options for software packaging, delivery and updates. Users will benefit from frequently and reliably published software and long-term support. Ubuntu will provide innovators – in their garage, in schools, in labs or in the enterprise – with a robust software infrastructure to create exciting solutions with their Raspberry Pi.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • OpenTelemetry is now beta!

        OpenTelemetry and OpenCensus have been a critical part of our goal of making platforms like Kubernetes more observable and more manageable. This has been a multi-year journey for us, from creating OpenCensus and growing it into a core part of major web services’ observability stack, to our announcement of OpenTelemetry last year and the rapid growth of the OpenTelemetry community.

      • Google’s OpenTelemetry Reaches Beta For Open-Source Telemetry Purposes

        OpenTelemetry aims to make it easy to provide robust and portable telemetry for cloud-native software. OpenTelemetry supports various programming languages and makes it easy to capture and distribute traces and metrics from arbitrary applications. OpenTelemetry in turn supports sending this telemetry data to different back-ends like Cloud Trace, Jaeger, Prometheus, and others. OpenTelemetry SDKs are offered for the likes of Go, Python, Java, JavaScript, Erlang, .NET, and others.

      • Zeek and Jitsi: 2 open source projects we need now

        Everyone has heard of open source projects like Linux, Kubernetes, and MySQL. Far fewer have heard of ROS (Robot Operating System), Apache Flink, or InfluxDB, though these open source projects, too, are getting noticed. However, virtually no one has heard of open source Zeek or Jitsi, despite their having been around for eons. It’s high time Zeek and Jitsi got their due, as they are serving a particularly big need today given world events.

        Zeek, for example, is a network analysis tool that helps organizations hunt down bad actors that have made it past perimeter defenses (and, let’s face it, they will). In our work-from-home world, Jitsi provides video conferencing. Open source may not be for everyone but these open source projects just might be perfect for your organization.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Add developer comments to your extension’s listing page on addons.mozilla.org

            In November 2017, addons.mozilla.org (AMO) underwent a major refresh. In addition to updating the site’s visual style, we separated the code for frontend and backend features and re-architected the frontend to use the popular combination of React and Redux.

            With a small team, finite budget, and other competing priorities, we weren’t able to migrate all features to the new frontend. Some features were added to our project backlog with the hope that one day a staff or community member would have the interest and bandwidth to implement it.

            One of these features, a dedicated section for developer comments on extension listing pages, has recently been re-enabled thanks to a contribution by community member Lisa Chan. Extension developers can use this section to inform users about any known issues or other transient announcements.

            [...]

            We’d like to extend a special thanks to Lisa for re-enabling this feature. If you’re interested in contributing code to addons.mozilla.org, please visit our onboarding wiki for information about getting started.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GnuCash 3.9

            GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

            GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Lists in python – Python list methods

            In this chapter, we will create simple python programs that will demonstrate the usage of various python list methods.

          • The one where we build a web scrapper and a slackbot – Part 1
          • The one where we build a web scrapper and a slackbot – Part 2
          • Exporting pandas DataFrames into SQLite with SQLAlchemy

            It is common when performing exploratory data analysis, for example when examining COVID-19 data with pandas, to load from files like a CSV, XML, or JSON into a pandas DataFrame. You may then do some work with the data in the DataFrame and want to store it in a more durable location like a relational database.

          • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week – Abigail Mesrenyame Dogbe

            This week we welcome Abigail Mesrenyame Dogbe (@MesrenyameDogbe) as our PyDev of the Week! Abigail is active with the PyLadies organization in Africa and has also helped organize PyCon Africa. Abigail is also a fellow of the Python Software Foundation.

            [...]

            I worked with the Internal Audit Department at the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) after obtaining a BSc in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa, Ghana. Growing up, I struggled with Mathematics and did lots of drawings, paintings, and singing during my hobbies. My hobbies became numerous as I matured so much that I no longer make drawings and paintings but I’ve found happiness in playing with African beads to make accessories and I still sing a lot, although mostly to smaller groups or to myself.

            I have a great interest in sports such as volleyball, football and swimming as well. During my final year at the university, I was elected as the captain of the women’s volleyball team. We had lots of training sessions and won a few matches. I am actually impressed with how far the team has come after I completed school.

            Also, I have a keen interest in Tech Community Building and I find joy in helping others grow in their career.

          • How to mock in Python? – (almost) definitive guide

            Mock is a category of so-called test doubles – objects that mimic the behaviour of other objects. They are meant to be used in tests to replace real implementation that for some reason cannot be used (.e.g because they cause side effects, like transferring funds or launching nukes). Mocks are used to write assertions about the way they are used – e.g. if they were called, which arguments were used etc. It is a flagship technique of interaction-based testing – checking how objects under test use their collaborators (other objects).

          • Rich adds support for Jupyter Notebooks

            I recently added experimental support for Jupyter Notebooks to Rich.

          • How to Use any() in Python

            As a Python programmer, you’ll frequently deal with Booleans and conditional statements—sometimes very complex ones. In those situations, you may need to rely on tools that can simplify logic and consolidate information. Fortunately, any() in Python is such a tool. It looks through the elements in an iterable and returns a single value indicating whether any element is true in a Boolean context, or truthy.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl ootw: –proxy-basic

        This option has been provided and supported since curl 7.12.0, released in June 2004.

      • I had to build a web scraper to buy groceries

        Here’s the deal; very few supermarket chains in Turkey have online stores. Migros Sanalmarket is one of them and it’s arguably the best one. But they don’t have unlimited resources, obviously. When everybody decided to switch to online shopping all of a sudden, they couldn’t handle that demand spike. Even though their delivery system works from 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM every day, it’s virtually impossible to find an empty slot, that is if you play nicely.

  • Leftovers

    • Vintage Byte Magazine Library

      While Macworld and MacUser capture the history of the Macintosh, Byte nicely captures the history of the entire personal computer industry from the early days (Sept 1975) through July 1998 (just two issues shy of 23 years).

      Here for your reading pleasure are the first and second installment of the Byte archives, now including the entire run of the magazine.

      While some of these magazines are available on Archive.org or as torrents, we’ve added quite a bunch of issues that had never been scanned before, and all issues have been lovingly restored by Steve M. to look as good as is possible from a magazine scan.

    • Science

      • The Legacy of the Humble Bilby Tower

        NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey and its predecessor organizations have been using geodesy to map the U.S. shoreline, determine land boundaries, and improve transportation and navigation safety for over two centuries.

        Today, surveyors rely on the Global Positioning System, a constellation of satellites that transmit radio signals from space. When used according to special procedures, GPS receivers on Earth can determine position coordinates to centimeter-level accuracy (less than one-half inch).

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Pandemic Is No Time for Precarious Work

        There’s never an excuse to send people to work in dangerous conditions with no safety nets and benefits. It’s especially horrendous in the midst of coronavirus.

      • New York Nurses Are Living a Heartbreaking Nightmare

        Last Sunday I worked in the Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division Emergency Department and I want to share with you the real-life story—and most certainly not the worst story.

      • What We Know — and Don’t Know — About Possible Coronavirus Treatments Promoted by Trump

        President Donald Trump’s excitement about decades-old anti-malarial drugs to treat the coronavirus has touched off widespread interest in the medications, hoarding by some doctors, new clinical trials on the fly and desperation among patients who take them for other conditions.

        Many experts say there isn’t enough evidence that the drugs work for the coronavirus, but at least a few say there’s little to lose in giving hydroxychloroquine to patients who are severely ill with coronavirus.

      • Poll Workers Contracted COVID-19 at Primaries Deemed Safe by DNC, Biden Campaign

        Donald Trump is the single individual in US society most responsible for spreading dangerous misinformation about Covid-19 in the midst of a global pandemic. Anyone who echoes him, or his administration’s entreaties to not take going out in public too seriously, is engaging in public endangerment. Anyone who actively encourages people to gather in mass, and in close proximity, is doing so at a mass scale.

      • Why Coronavirus Is Humanity’s Wake-Up Call

        Seeing now the profound failure of our existing institutions, we also awaken to the truth of our possibilities and interconnections with one another and with Earth.

      • Fighting COVID-19 Starts With Universal Access to Water and Sanitation

        Water shutoffs are a huge problem in the U.S.

      • As April 1 Nears and Coronavirus Crisis Continues, Demand to #CancelRent Swells

        “It’s unreasonable to expect thousands and thousands of people who lost their incomes to pay rent and mortgages on April 1st.”

      • Why COVID-19 Could Trigger a Surprise Billing Crisis

        Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A person falls ill. They go to the emergency room, maybe even to the operating room. Unbeknownst to them, they get care from someone who is outside of their insurance network. Weeks later, they receive a bill for tens of thousands of dollars.

      • Coronavirus Shows Us What Our Future Could Look Like During Climate Crisis

        The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly been absorbed into our collective consciousness, remaking the fabric of our lives. Suddenly, millions are sheltering in place, strangers have started wishing each other well when exiting grocery stores, people have stopped touching their faces and shelves that are normally stocked with bleach and hand sanitizer are barren.

      • Coronavirus outbreak exposes the unsustainability of California’s status quo

        The coronavirus outbreak, and the resulting economic fallout, should push all of us to look more critically at the status quo here in California.

        With the UCLA Anderson Forecast determining that the country is now in a recession, an assessment echoed by Bank of America, and that California will be hit harder than the rest of the country, it’s time we reflect on what we’ve allowed to happen in our state.

        [...]

        Sacramento has been willing to dole out anything state employee unions want, even if the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office flags a lack of justification for doing so.

        Many school districts, like Los Angeles Unified, have been kept under the influence of teachers unions and haven’t been able to make fiscally sound decisions that put students first in years.

        And county and city governments have had to slowly reduce public services to make room for the impact of pension crowd-out.

      • Some beaches stay open, others shut down – why coastal closures are varying during coronavirus response

        In Seal Beach and Laguna Beach, you’ll be ushered off the sand by authorities looking to distance people from each other to curb the coronavirus spread.

        At some California State Parks beaches throughout Southern California, at city-owned lots in Long Beach, at county-run beaches in Orange County and along stretches of coast managed by Los Angeles County, you won’t be able to access parking spots, though as of Tuesday afternoon, those beaches were still be open to people who can walk, jog or ride bikes into the area.

      • Dutch corona mask initiative serves as interface for supply chains

        Dutch Corona Mask (DCM) is looking to rally the Netherlands’ high-tech ecosystem to produce more protective masks. As the coronavirus ravages the world, creating a global shortage on protective gear, DCM has unrolled a new program to unite people, organizations and initiatives to create a Dutch-based supply chain to enhance mask production. The collaboration started on 18 March, when at that time, Netherlands’ hospitals and medical professionals were using more than 100,000 masks a day – quickly depleting reserves.

      • Did I already have coronavirus? Experts say maybe, but it doesn’t mean you’re immune

        Lots of people are looking back at that presumed cold or flu that recently spread through their household or office and asking: Did I already have the novel coronavirus? And if so, what does it mean for me now?

        A meme circulating on social media takes these questions even farther, asking: “Who got sick in November or December and it lasted 10 to 14 days? … If you can answer ‘yes,’ then you probably had the coronavirus. … You guys lived through that. Quit letting the media control you. Now give me back my toilet paper, sports, parades, etc.”

        Like so many posts that go viral, experts say this one mixes a bit of encouraging potential truth with some inaccurate and potentially dangerous misinformation.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • MERA, Mocana, and Osaka NDS Join Automotive Grade Linux

                Automotive Grade Linux, a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open source platform for connected car technologies, announces three new members: MERA, Mocana, and Osaka NDS.

                “With the support of 11 major automakers, we are increasingly seeing more vehicles in production with AGL,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux at the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with all of our new members as we continue to expand the AGL platform and the global ecosystem of products and services that support it.”

        • Security

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Vigil for Peace in Yemen, a New Norm

        As COVID-19 threatens to engulf war-torn Yemen, it is even more critical to raise awareness of how the war debilitates the country.

      • One killed, 90 arrested in Katsina for burning police station over suspension of Jumat service

        According to the police spokesman, some disgruntled youths, under the leadership of one Malam Hassan, conducted Friday prayer in one of the Jumat mosques in Kusada, in defiance of the directives.

        “Subsequently, he was arrested for questioning at Area Commander’s office, Malumfashi, which did not go down well with some of his followers.

        “Consequently, today, March 28, 2020, at about 09:00hrs, this particular group organised themselves in such a tumultuous manner, rioting and attacked the police station and over-powered the policemen on duty at Kusada Division.

        “They set ablaze the police station and DPO’s Quarters,” he said.

        Isah explained that the youth also burnt down seven vehicles and 10 motorcycles.

    • Environment

      • Legal Heat Intensifies for Chemical Manufacturers Bayer and BASF

        A Missouri court has ordered Bayer and BASF to pay US$265 million in damages and fines after it was found that a peach farmer lost his orchard because dicamba drifted onto his property.

        The ruling is the first in around 140 cases pending in the US court system, in which dicamba is being blamed for crop damage.

      • David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet is a powerful call to action

        “We’ve not just ruined the planet, we’ve destroyed it,” says David Attenborough, who has spent his days recording the wonders of the natural world, only to realise that his life’s work has, in fact, been to document its demise.

        The reprimand comes from his latest film, David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With luck, the documentary will hit cinemas and Netflix later this year.

        Attenborough was particularly outspoken when New Scientist sat down with him at a press event ahead of its release. The film is part-memoir, part-lecture on the state of the environment, and its tone is forthright throughout. It is a powerful plea to humanity to turn things around, for the sake of every living thing on the planet.

      • Scottish and UK Governments insist COP26 to go ahead

        There were rumours on Monday that the global summit on tackling climate change would be postponed or cancelled.

        Up to 30,000 delegates and around 200 world leaders are expected to attend the event at the city’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC).

        But with the world reeling from the Covid-19 outbreak there’s some scepticism that there simply won’t be time for the work needed to find meaningful agreement in November.

      • Ecoistic: Greenhouse gas blues – fighting the emission war

        Data from the World Resources Institute (WRI) show that humans have added 2.3 trillion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere in the last 200 years. Half of this amount was added in the last 30 years.

        Overall, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 40% since 1750s, i.e. since the Industrial Revolution. CO2 emissions are now around 12 times higher than in 1900 as the world burns more and more coal, oil and gas for energy. We simply cannot continue pumping CO2 into the atmosphere without curbs and controls. The world is warming faster than at any time in the last 12,000 years. The 1990s was the hottest decade in the past millennium.

        Bangalore, currently, with nearly 65 lakh vehicles and more than a thousand industries spewing all sorts of greenhouse gases is racing towards becoming Asia’s most polluted city. And if this trend continues, we will need to leave the city in the next 5 to 7 years. Cases of respiratory disorders, asthma, lung infections, etc., is on the rise every day. The saucer-shaped landscape & topography of Bangalore does not easily allow the greenhouse gases to escape and hence get trapped which is ultimately inhaled by Bangaloreans. This is a major worry & concern if we need to save Bangalore and its population from experiencing a major catastrophe very soon. The carrying capacity of the city is lost and the government needs to re-look at the entire development framework now just for Bangalore, but for the entire state. Regional balance needs to be the focus if we need to sustain urban centres in future.

      • Energy

        • 12,000 Residents, Zero Cars: Utrecht’s New City District To Prioritize Pedestrians And Cyclists

          An urban development plan to radically transform a canalside industrial estate has been drawn up by the municipality of Utrecht together with ten landowners. Subject to agreement by locals, the 60-acre site could be up and running as a dense eco-friendly car-free suburb by 2024.

          The plan envisages a 17-block mixed-use district for 12,000 residents, none of whom would need to use privately-owned cars for their daily needs.

        • Netherlands Utrecht city builds car-free district for 12,000 people

          It is expected to be serviced by 20,000 bicycles but no cars, with construction scheduled to begin in 2022.

          The new 24-hectare community will be home to about 12,000 people and will include 2 new primary schools, a high school, and several health centers, together with an assortment of shops and businesses, according to the report.

          Bike lanes and tram lines will service the community. Only four 60-meter long “logistical roads” will extend into the neighbourhood from the surrounding area to provide access to delivery vans.

      • Overpopulation

        • [Old] Population growth and earth’s human carrying capacity

          Earth’s capacity to support people is determined both by natural constraints and by human choices concerning economics, environment, culture (including values and politics), and demography. Human carrying capacity is therefore dynamic and uncertain. Human choice is not captured by ecological notions of carrying capacity that are appropriate for nonhuman populations. Simple mathematical models of the relation between human population growth and human carrying capacity can account for faster-than-exponential population growth followed by a slowing population growth rate, as observed in recent human history.

        • Earth Day 2020 Webinar: Sustainable Population: A Planet of 3 Billion

          How many people can the Earth support? Tucker makes the case that the Earth’s ‘carrying capacity’ is limited to 3 billion humans, and that humanity’s century-long binge has incurred an unsustainable ecological debt that must be paid down promptly, or else cataclysm awaits. Given that our species has already surpassed 7.5 billion, and is fast approaching 9 billion or more, this is an audacious claim that everyone who cares about the fate of our planet and our species has a responsibility to evaluate for themselves. Tucker, in his exploration of the frontiers of scientific knowledge, urges all of us to question his estimate. He encourages us to marshal our own data and calculations, if we are so inclined, so that we can all engage in this existential debate as educated global citizens equipped to navigate what promises to be an uncertain future.

        • How Many People Can Earth Support?

          What if the Earth’s carrying capacity is limited to three billion humans and humanity’s century-long binge has caused an unsustainable ecological debt that must be paid down promptly or else cataclysm awaits? What if the state of the Earth has come to the point that we fundamentally redefine how we think about the fate of humanity and our planet?

        • Enact law to prevent population explosion: MP demands in RS

          A demand for enacting a stringent law to control population by barring individuals with more than two children from government benefits as well as from contesting elections was made in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

          BJP’s Harnath Singh Yadav made the demand through a Zero Hour mention, saying population explosion was putting enormous burden on resources and environment.

        • Prisons Worldwide Face Coronavirus Crisis: Overcrowding, Lack of Sanitation & Labor at Slave Wages

          And concerns are growing about the health of at least 1 million Uyghur Muslims jailed in prison camps in western China, where at least 13 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the region of Xinjiang. Despite a public health crisis that’s left at least 3,136 dead, China has refused to close its prison camps, where conditions are reportedly dire with rampant overcrowding, lack of sanitation. Writing for USA Today, one human rights advocate called the Uyghurs “sitting ducks for coronavirus,” demanding they immediately be restored to their homes.

          Back here in the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing backlash after announcing Monday New York state would respond to the growing coronavirus outbreak by producing its own hand sanitizer made by prisoners for less than a dollar an hour. Not only will prisoners be making the 75% alcohol hand sanitizer for an average of 65 cents an hour, it’s unclear if they’ll even be allowed to use it to protect themselves from infection because of the level of alcohol. Items with alcohol are typically considered prisoner contraband.

          Well, for more on these issues, we go to Houston, Texas, where we’re joined by Marshall Project reporter Keri Blakinger. She is the publication’s first formerly incarcerated reporter. Her latest piece is headlined “When Purell Is Contraband, How Do You Contain Coronavirus?”

          Well, why don’t you answer that question for us, Keri? Give us a lay of the land. What’s happening in the United States prisons? And then talk about other places, as well.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Safeguarding Elections Amid a Pandemic

        Civil rights groups say a minimum of $2 billion is needed to properly safeguard the upcoming elections amid the coronavirus crisis.

      • Mauna Kea Isn’t Just About a Telescope, It’s About Who Will Decide the Future

        “The mountain brought us together,” Luana Busby-Neff tells me. It’s 200 days into the prayer vigil and blockade that brought the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to a stop in Hawaii. The 14th giant telescope in Hawaii has been met with major resistance.

      • “Cruel:” Trump Admin. Moves to Take Land of Mashpee Tribe—Whose Casino Plans Irked President’s “Special Interest Friends”—Out of Trust

        The tribal chairman said the announcment came “on the very day that the United States has reached a record 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.”

      • The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19

        The result was a lost month, when the world’s richest country — armed with some of the most highly trained scientists and infectious disease specialists — squandered its best chance of containing the virus’s spread. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe.

        The absence of robust screening until it was “far too late” revealed failures across the government, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former C.D.C. director. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, said the Trump administration had “incredibly limited” views of the pathogen’s potential impact. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said the lapse enabled “exponential growth of cases.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Charles Barkley to Sell Memorabilia to Build Affordable Housing in His Hometown

        During a recent interview with WJOX 94.5, Barkley revealed that he plans to sell memorabilia from his NBA career to build affordable housing in his hometown of Leeds, Ala.

      • Auburn legend Charles Barkley aims to support affordable housing in Leeds

        It’s no secret that Charles Barkley is a big help to Birmingham. He’s on the investment board at BIG Partnership, which helps drive investments into Birmingham’s 24 Opportunity Zones. In 2018, Barkley joined the Alabama Futures Fund to help local startups. And recently, he donated $1 million to Miles College—the largest single donation in the college’s 122-year-long history. Oh, and he is also involved in Redmont Distilling. Wow, the guy stays busy!

      • Charles Barkley will sell Olympic gold medal, other awards to help build affordable housing in hometown

        Charles Barkley is planning on getting rid of what he calls unnecessary awards and accolades in order to provide affordable and green housing to his hometown of Leeds, Ala. His goal is to use the money from selling items, including his 1996 Olympic gold medal and his 1993 MVP award, to build around 20 homes.

      • Virginity: losing my most ‘valuable’ asset

        My once-boyfriend had now become my abuser. He stepped up the intensity of his interference in my life. Whenever I had exams to prepare for, he wouldn’t let me study. His strategy was simple: in sabotaging my education he could sabotage my career and, as a result, sabotage my prospects for a future with any degree of independence.

        If I ever dared to question his authority, my abuser threatened to expose our secret to my parents. He threated to reveal to my parents that many years earlier, we had had sex. At the very least, such a revelation would mean that I would never be allowed to leave the house again, given the shame that this would bring to my family. At worst, I might even be honour-killed.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • EPO Extends Most Deadlines in Response to COVID‑19 Pandemic
        • EPO Extends Most Deadlines in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

          The European Patent Office has announced that it will be extending some deadlines to 17 April 2020, and that this date may be further extended. The extension will apply to periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020. The extension would apply to some deadlines for both European applications and to international applications (i.e.,applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that are the subject of proceedings before the EPO.

          It is very important to note that not all deadlines will be extended according to the above remedy. The rules that determine whether the extension applies are, unfortunately, complex, and so we would not advise relying on this remedy unless necessary. The spirit of this law is to assist applicants where the disruption might prevent a deadline from being met, and so we would encourage that responses are filed in the normal time period if possible.

          In particular, this extension might not apply to deadlines for filing divisional applications or to the date for payment of some renewal fees.

        • COVID-19 IP Update

          IP Australia announces that extensions for due dates may be available, but adds that requests will likely require a declaration stating…

        • EU Commission Publishes Its White Paper on Artificial Intelligence: Will the EU Be (Again) a Rule Maker?

          Today, the European Commission (“Commission”) released a set of documents on Europe’s digital future. Alongside the Commissions’ communications on “Shaping Europe’s digital future” and “A European strategy for data,” the package also includes the much expected “White Paper on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) – A European approach to excellence and trust”1 (“Paper”).

          So what is the Paper about—or, rather, not about? First, and as it was anticipated, the Commission dropped—at least for now—the idea of a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technologies in public spaces. This follows the concerns expressed by various stakeholders about such a prohibitive approach immediately following the leak of a draft version2 of the Paper, which mentioned the idea of a ban, in January this year.

        • Higher Regional Court Of Munich On The Requirements For The Reasons For A Preliminary Injunction In Patent Litigation – Change Of Previous Case Law (Judgment Of December 12, 2019 – Case 2 U 4009/19*) – “Leiterklemme”

          In patent litigation, the reasons for an injunction necessary for the issuance of a preliminary injunction generally require that the validity of the patent-in-suit may clearly be assessed in favor of the applicant.

          The question whether the validity of a patent-in-suit is sufficiently certain needs to be assessed based on the standard of a high probability. This may generally only be assumed if the patent-in-suit has already survived first instance opposition or nullity proceedings or if an exception applies (change of previous case law of Higher Regional Court of Munich, judgement of July 26, 2012, case 6 U 1260/12, BeckRS 2012, 16104; following case law of Higher Regional Court of Duesseldorf, judgment of December 14, 2017, 2 U 17/18, BeckRS 2017, 142305, and Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe, judgment of September 23, 2015, 6 U 52/15, GUR-RR 2015, 509 – Ausruestungssatz).

        • 2020: A Busy Year for CRISPR Patents at the EPO

          The EPO Board of Appeal’s recent revocation of the CRISPR-Cas9 patent, EP2771468 – belonging to the Broad Institute, Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – has garnered a great deal of attention since January. However, IP professionals interested in keeping up to speed with the technology’s patent landscape should also pay attention to several other important CRISPR applications going through the EPO opposition and appeals process this year.

          The Broad Institute and its collaborators were among the innovators working on CRISPR gene editing during its early development in 2012 and 2013. Thanks to a strategy of accelerating the prosecution of their related patent applications at the EPO, they were the first to get granted foundational CRISPR patents in Europe. And several patents other than EP2771468 are now at various stages of the opposition and appeal process.

          Importantly, these include EP2825654, which does not suffer from the fatal priority error that led to the revocation of EP2771468 by the Boards of Appeal. The opposition oral proceedings for this patent have been set for later this year, and the preliminary view of the opposition division is that the claimed subject-matter is not inventive, so there will be keen interest in what conclusion the opposition division reaches at the end of the oral proceedings.

        • Spanish innovation continues to grow, but it has a long way to go [Ed: Nope, innovation and patents are not the same thing]

          Spanish innovation continues to show signs of strength in 2019, according to the European Patent Office (EPO). Last year, patent applications grew 6% compared to the previous year and represented the fifth consecutive year with increases.

          However, the figures still are low. Huawei, which tops the list, registered more patents than all of Spain as a whole, according to the 2019 EPO Patent Index.

        • Safe Orthopaedics: European Patent Office Confirms Validity of Several Key Patents
        • Safe Orthopaedics: the European Patent Office Confirms the Validity of Several Key Patents

          To this day, the company holds a portfolio of nearly 100 delivered patents, covering mainly Europe, United States, China, Canada and Japan. In 2019, several patents for its inventions have been delivered in the United States (instruments kit: US 10,219,845 and preloaded screw: US 9,837,817, innovative pedicle screw: US 10,357,286), in Canada (logistics and traceability of products: CA 2,837,817) and in China on an innovative implant (CN106102617B). Furthermore, Safe Orthopaedics keeps innovating and extending its instrumentation range, with the filing of new patents for spine reduction systems in 2019.

        • Digital technologies drive European patent applications in 2019 – EPO

          New data from the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that digital technologies have taken the lead in patent applications filed for the first time in more than a decade.

        • European Patent Office Informally Announces Intended Extension

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has informally announced that it intends to extend all time limits to 17 April 2020 and that this date may be further extended. At this stage, it appears likely that this extension will apply to periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020. However, due to the informal nature of the announcement, we cannot confirm this date. The extension would apply to time limits for both European applications and to international applications (i.e., applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that are the subject of proceedings before the EPO.

          If a party has missed a time limit due to problems caused by COVID-19, legal remedies may be available in addition to those discussed above. Hence, if a deadline before 15 March 2020 has been missed, it still may be possible to respond and advice should be sought from a European patent attorney.

        • Valid Claiming Of Priority Rights In Patent Applications

          On 16 January 2020, the European Patent Office (EPO) Board of Appeal revoked a patent related to CRISPR/Cas9 technology (See), and in doing so delivered one of the most anticipated decisions (See) in the field of biotechnology patents in recent times. This gene-editing technology, which is the subject of a bitter battle for intellectual property rights between two rival parties – The Broad Institute and the University of California (UC), Berkeley, is revolutionizing research in biotechnology.

          The case concerned one of Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents, EP2771468, which was revoked owing to a jurisdictional difference in the interpretation of valid claiming of priority rights. The Broad Institute’s licensing strategy is likely to be compromised by this outcome, as UC Berkeley has already obtained a patent in Europe.

        • Artificial Intelligence: Can a machine be an inventor?

          After the European Patent Office (EPO) invited the applicant to remedy this deficiency, it received – within the stipulated timeframes – an inventor designation that named the inventor as the ‘DABUS machine’, which was described as: “a kind of connectionist artificial intelligence”.

          He subsequently explained that the real designer of the invention was the DABUS machine and that, as it had identified the novelty of its own idea before any human being had done so, it was also its inventor. As the machine’s owner, he argued, he was assigned any IP rights created by the machine.

        • What you need to know about patent extension rights in Israel

          Though it only has a modest domestic drug market, Israel is one of the world’s most important countries when it comes to pharmaceutical research and development, and is home to a plethora of small innovative life sciences companies, not to mention generic giant Teva. Per capita, its researchers file more patents at the EPO and USPTO than those form almost any other country, but understanding the national IP protections available is also important to the country’s innovators.

          [...]

          The term of an Israeli PTE will be equal to the shortest extension period granted in the recognised countries (US and the EU-5). However, if the product is NOT marketed in any of the recognised countries, the PTE term will be equal to the length of the regulatory approval period in Israel.

          An Israeli PTE will not exceed 5 years and will not extend beyond 14 years from the date of the first marketing approval in the recognised countries.

          An Israeli PTE will expire upon the expiry (for any cause) of the first PTE/SPC granted to a reference patent, or the revocation of a reference patent in any recognised country. Moreover, changes in granted PTE/SPCs for a reference patent or in the status of reference patent in the recognised countries may affect the period of a PTE in Israel, even after the grant of the Israeli PTE.

        • Huawei Claims No 1 spot in European Patent Office Ranking 2019

          Patents help establishing a strong market position, thereby reducing competition for a brand. Furthermore, patent portfolios are also demonstrative of high level of technological capability, specialisation and expertise of a company.

          In that light, in a yet another feat, Huawei Technologies claims the top spot in the European Patent Office (EPO) ranking for 2019. In a recent report published by the EPO, Huawei has been ranked the top telecom company in Europe, with a maximum number of patents in 2019.

          The company ranking reflects the growing importance of digital technologies and Huawei’s leadership in the tech-innovation on a global scale. The report recorded as many as 3,524 patent last year, by Huawei, followed by other industry giants viz.

        • COVID-19 Intellectual Property Update – Important Deadlines Extended

          The Notice published by the EPO in the Official Journal has confirmed that many official deadlines have been extended until 17 April 2020. This extension also applies to many deadlines for international applications. Applicants and patent holders can check here with the EPO to find it which deadlines are affected (updates are regularly posted). The Notice recognises that Germany, in which the headquarters of the EPO are situated, “is experiencing restrictions on the movement and circulation of persons as well as certain services, exchanges and public life in general, which can be qualified as general dislocation within the meaning of Rule 134(2) EPC”. Rule 134(2) EPC provides that should a deadline expire on “a day on which there is a general dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail in a Contracting State, the period shall extend to the first day following the end of the interval of dislocation for parties which are resident in the State”. In addition, as the State is one in which the EPO is located, the provision extends to all parties and their representatives.

        • COVID-19 Intellectual Property Update – Important Deadlines Extended
        • 2019 EPO Patent Report: Which Countries Top the Innovation Charts? [Ed: EPO PR just mirrored, actual journalism dead]

          The European Patent Office (EPO) revealed it received more than 181,000 patent applications in 2019, up 4% on 2018. The podium remains unchanged, both at global level (USA, Germany, Japan) and in Europe, with France and Switzerland behind the Germans. Digital communication and computer technology are the major growth sectors.

        • Obviousness-type double patenting spurs need for careful counsel

          Pharmaceutical companies in the US tell Managing IP that it’s important to have considered and knowledgeable law firm partners when tackling this increasingly challenging legal doctrine

        • IP Offices position on deadlines during the COVID-19 outbreak

          In light of the recent events in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the European Union and the measures taken by the different Member States, the EUIPO has decided to extend until 1st of May 2020 all time limits expiring between 9th March 2020 and 30th April 2020.

          The Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14th March, which declares the State of Alarm in order to manage the health crisis caused by COVID-19 in Spain, has suspended all time limits of proceedings before public bodies, which will be resumed as soon as said Royal Decree is no longer in force. This has been confirmed by the Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office through a decision issued yesterday by its Director. Nevertheless the SPTO points out that their electronic services are still available, and that the SPTO is analysing the possibility to enable the regular processing of certain proceedings in order to prevent the rights and interests of the parties from being significantly impaired.

          As for the European Patent Office, a notice published by said office in its website (which has not yet been published in the Official journal of the EPO) points out that all time limits expiring on or after the date of the publication of the notice will be extended to 17th April 2020.

        • Global IP Offices Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic
        • COVID-19: Patent and Trademark Office Updates as of March 24, 2020

          Miller Canfield is actively tracking the current status of operations of numerous Patent and Trademark Offices (PTOs) around the world in the light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Below is a chart that shows the status of various countries’ PTOs. This is current as of the date shown above, and we will regularly update the “Current Status” as we receive new information. You can access this chart and other helpful and substantive updates at our COVID-19 Resource Center. Please contact the authors or your Miller Canfield attorney for assistance.

        • JTI Ranks Among Top 100 for European Patent Applications

          JTI was one of the top 100 applicants at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to the EPO’s Patent Index 2019. The ranking cements the JT Group as a leader in innovation, particularly in the field of reduced-risk products, where patent filings more than doubled versus the previous year.

          JTI Intellectual Property Vice President, Stephane Hedarchet said, “Our position as one of the top applicants at the EPO demonstrates our commitment to innovation and is the result of extensive in-house research and development. We are constantly developing new technologies and products, notably for our Ploom and Logic vaping products, that better serve the needs of our consumers.”

        • JTI Ranks Among Top 100 for European Patent Applications
        • Software Patents

      • Trademarks

        • Scope Of Protection Of Weak Marks In Turkey

          In a decision published on 18 December 2019, the Turkish Court of Cassation (COC) ruled that trade marks inspired by descriptive words, which are not allowed to be monopolized, are weak trade marks and cannot be protected like trade marks with a high distinctiveness. Even small differences can make these trade marks distinctive, and owners of weak marks cannot oppose the registration of the same signs with different elements. Mutlu Yıldırım Köse explains

        • COVID-19 IP Update: Italy And The EUIPO

          The Italian Patent and Trademark Office issued a Decree providing for a stay of all official deadlines falling within 9 March and 3 April 2020. Many of the officers of the Italian Patent and Trademark Office are also working from remote to ensure the functionality of the system. The European Union Intellectual Property Office is currently operating as usual, although it continues to monitor developments and has postponed various events and meetings planned for March.

        • ‘Be aggressive and don’t give up’: defeating the serial trademark filer

          Lawyers at Britvic and others reveal their experiences with Michael Gleissner, the mysterious man who operates a large-scale trademark filing and opposition strategy

        • New Law On Trademarks And Geographical Indications

          A new law on trademarks and geographical indications took effect in Bulgaria.

          It changes national legislation Directive (EU) 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 16, 2015 to approximate the laws of the EU member states with regards to trademarks, whilst the provisions on geographical indications are adjusted with Regulation (EU) No. 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs.

          The new law introduces important alterations with respect to certain aspects of trademark substantive and procedural law, including a new set of absolute and relative grounds for refusal and cancellation, some of which entrench the scope of the Directive (EU) 2015/2436.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Holders Continue to Report Fewer Piracy Links to Google Search

          Over the past year, copyright holders have asked Google to remove a little over 500 million URLs from its search engine. This is a 50% decrease compared to a few years ago when the company processed over a billion URLs in a year. At least in part, the decease is likely the result of Google’s anti-piracy measures.

        • YesPornPlease Restricts Access as PayPal & Cloudflare Are Asked to Unmask Operators

          Following a massive lawsuit filed by adult entertainment giant MG Premium, video site YesPornPlease temporarily shut itself down. It is now operating behind what appears to be geo-based blocking mechanism that promotes the use of a VPN. Meanwhile, MG Premium wants permission from the court to force several US-based service providers including Cloudflare and PayPal to reveal what they know about the site’s operators.

03.29.20

Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • China’s plan to replace Windows with Linux gets closer

        China has been trying to develop an operating system of its own, but it has historically been not so successful so far. Moreover, China also had a couple of bad experiences with other companies, like when ZTE depended on the US for the processor or the infamous Huawei issue. This time, though, China might just have created the right operating system.

    • Server

      • Kubernetes 1.18 Improves Networking and Security for Cloud Native

        The open source Kubernetes platform has become the defacto standard for enabling cloud native application delivery.

        At its core, Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform, with organizations using it both on-premises and across both public and private cloud provides to deploy, schedule and manage container applications workloads. On March 25, Kubernetes 1.18 became generally available, as the second major release of Kubernetes in 2020, following the 1.17 update that came out on Jan.7.

      • Amazon Introduces Bottlerocket, a Linux-Based OS for Container Hosting [Ed: Modified article]

        Amazon has announced a new Linux-based open-source operating system (OS) called Bottlerocket, which is purpose-built to run containers. Bottlerocket is currently in public preview as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for customers to experiment with.

        The tech giant designed and optimized Bottlerocket specifically for use as a container host, and it comes with a single-step update mechanism. Furthermore, Bottlerocket only includes essential software to run containers. Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, stated in a blog post on Bottlerocket…

      • CNCF tools: 5 hot open-source cloud solutions for your application stack

        Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an open-source software collective that aims at making the adoption of cloud-native computing universal. CNCF is driven by a community of developers, end-users, and IT service providers that collaborate to create open-source, vendor-neutral tools. CNCF creates tools for projects that help boost the adoption of cloud-native computing. One such tool is Kubernetes that has singlehandedly changed the way workloads are hosted in the cloud. Kubernetes, which started as a project by Google, is now an official part of CNCF’s impressive and ever-growing cloud-native landscape. These projects are usually hosted on GitHub and help enterprises go cloud-native with ease. CNCF projects go through three phases under CNCF; Sandbox, Incubating, and Graduation. Let’s take a close look at five new CNCF tools that you should consider adding to your application stack.

      • Cloud Foundry spreads wings to cover KubeCF

        The Cloud Foundry Foundation has brought KubeCF under its wing as an incubating project, laying out a path for the full Cloud Foundry experience on Kubernetes.

        The announcement coincides with the release of v1.0.1 of KubeCF, which is an open source distribution of the Cloud Foundry Application Runtime (CFAR).

      • Top Container Management Platforms For Developers & Businesses

        Container management platforms are leveraged by developers to launch, test, and secure applications in resource-independent environments. Containers include components of applications, libraries, or collections of source code that can be used or deployed on demand.

        The container management platforms support users designate resources to optimise performance and balance system workloads. Companies utilise container management platforms to streamline container performance and to evade the complexities of system architectures. Given there are tens of container platforms presently available, in this article, we list the top ones that are most widely used, both free and subscription-based for enterprises-

      • Google launches Kubernetes-built ‘Game Servers’ beta for high-scalability cloud gaming backend

        Google today announced the availability of “Game Servers” in beta test mode, a managed service offering using a service called Agones, which is an open-source game server hosting and scaling project built on Kubernetes.

        Using Agones, game developers and publishers can provide critically needed servers for games to maintain great multiplayer experiences. Game developers now increasingly rely on dedicated severs in order to deliver lag-free and high-fidelity gameplay for connecting players, but scaling in these environments can be difficult.

        In order to open up choice and control for developers, Google said its Agones-based Game Servers will make it easier to deploy, manage and scale servers based on demand.

      • Google Teams Up with Solo.io to Extend Istio

        Google and Solo.io are now collaborating to make open source Istio service mesh more extensible by adding support for WebAssembly (WASM), which was created under the auspices of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and provides a portable target for compiling more than 30 high-level languages.

        Solo.io has been working to marry WASM with Envoy, an open source proxy server being developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The Istio service mesh is built on top of Envoy, so now Google and Solo.io are working toward providing WASM support for Istio.

      • Portshift Announces Kubei Container Runtime Scanning Software with Launch of its Open Source Initiative

        Portshift, a leader in cloud-native workload protection, today introduced Kubei Open Source container scanning software. Kubei is a unique open source Kubernetes runtime images scanning solution, presented to invite developer collaboration for the hardening of runtime environments. Kubei identifies which pods were built from vulnerable images or contain newly discovered vulnerabilities, then it couples the Kubernetes information with vulnerability data for quick and easy remediation.

      • Container runtime scanning open source software launched by Portshift

        Portshift introduced Kubei Open Source container scanning software. Kubei is a unique open source Kubernetes runtime images scanning solution, presented to invite developer collaboration for the hardening of runtime environments. Kubei identifies which pods were built from vulnerable images or contain newly discovered vulnerabilities, then it couples the Kubernetes information with vulnerability data for quick and easy remediation.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 347

        Cloud, containers, and **cgmanager** from the **ap** software series.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E01 – Thirteen

        This week the band is back together. We’ve been bringing new life into the universe and interconnecting chat systems. Distros are clad in new wallpapers, Raspberry Pi’s are being clustered with MicroK8s and the VR game industry has been revolutionsed.

      • 4 Views on Linux Adoption

        4 Views on Linux Adoption In this video, we will be going over 4 points of view when it comes to Linux Adoption.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Best Features Of The Linux 5.6 Kernel From WireGuard To Y2038 Compatibility To USB4

        The Linux 5.6 stable kernel could be released as soon as tomorrow if Linus Torvalds is comfortable with its current state to avoid having an eighth weekly release candidate. Whether Linux 5.6 ends up being released tomorrow or next weekend, this kernel is bringing many exciting changes.

        We have our Linux 5.6 feature overview that was published at the end of the merge window for those wanting a lengthy look at all of the kernel highlights.

      • Linux 5.6
        So I'll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing
        another -rc.
        
        This has a bit more changes than I'd like, but they are mostly from
        davem's networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I
        looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It's just slightly
        more than I'd have preferred at this stage - not doesn't really seem
        worth delaying a release over.
        
        So about half the diff from the final week is network driver fixlets,
        and some minor core networking fixes. Another 20% is tooling - mostly
        bpf and netfilter selftests (but also some perf work).
        
        The rest is "misc" - mostly random drivers (gpio, rdma, input) and DTS
        files. With a smattering of fixes elsewhere (a couple of afs fixes,
        some vm fixes, etc).
        
        The shortlog is appended, nothing really looks all that exciting, and
        most of the discussions I've seen are already about things for the
        next merge window.
        
        Which obviously opens now as of the release, and I'll start doing
        pulls tomorrow. I already have a couple of pull requests in pending in
        my inbox - thank you.
        
        And while I haven't really seen any real sign of kernel development
        being impacted by all the coronavirus activity - I suspect a lot of us
        work from home even normally, and my daughter laughed at me and called
        me a "social distancing champ" the other day - it may be worth just
        mentioning: I think we're all reading the news and slightly
        distracted.  I'm currently going by the assumption that we'll have a
        fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn't seem to be any signs
        saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons
        for missing the merge window. Let me know if you know of some
        subsystem that ends up being affected.
        
        So we'll play it by ear and see what happens. It's not like the merge
        window is more important than your health, or the health of people
        around you.
        
                          Linus
        
      • Linux 5.6 Kernel Released With WireGuard, USB4, New AMD + Intel Hardware Support

        Linus Torvalds just announced the release of the Linux 5.6 stable kernel a few minutes ago. This also means the Linux 5.7 merge window is now open for business.

      • The 5.6 kernel has been released

        Linus has released the 5.6 kernel.

        Some of the headline features in this release include Arm EOPD support, time namespaces, the BPF dispatcher and batched BPF map operations (both described in this article), the openat2() system call, the WireGuard virtual private network implementation, the flow queue PIE packet scheduler, nearly complete year-2038 support, many new io_uring features, the pidfd_getfd() system call, the ZoneFS filesystem, the ability to implement TCP congestion-control algorithms in BPF, the dma-buf heaps subsystem, and the removal of the /dev/random blocking pool.

        See the LWN merge-window summaries (part 1 and part 2) and the (under construction) KernelNewbies 5.6 page for more details.

      • ‘Social distancing champ’ Linus Torvalds releases Linux 5.6, tells devs to put health before next release

        Linux overseer Linus Torvalds given the world version 5.6 of the Linux kernel, and been given the title “social distancing champ”.

        The latter accolade came from his daughter. But he’s tried to live the values it implies by telling the Linux community not to stress about the pace of kernel development.

        “I haven’t really seen any real sign of kernel development being impacted by all the coronavirus activity – I suspect a lot of us work from home even normally,” he wrote.

        “I’m currently going by the assumption that we’ll have a fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons for missing the merge window,” he added.

      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Laptop Driver Unlikely To Land For Linux 5.7

        While we were hoping to see the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver introduced in Linux 5.7 for improving the AMD Ryzen Linux laptop experience, that now looks quite unlikely.

        This driver has been sought after by AMD Linux laptop customers since 2018 for supporting the accelerometer, gyroscopic sensors, and other functionality on modern AMD laptops, similar to the Intel Sensor Hub. Patches for the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub (AMD-SFH) driver for Linux were posted in January and underwent a few rounds of review.

      • Amazon Engineer’s Patch For Flushing L1 Cache On Context Switching Revved

        Earlier this month there was the proposal by a Linux kernel engineer for Amazon to flush the L1 data cache on context switches as another safeguard against the ever increasing CPU vulnerabilities.

        The motivation for flushing the L1d cache on context switches is driven as a result of Intel’s data sampling vulnerabilities and this safeguard would be an opt-in feature for those paranoid about system security. Flushing the L1 cache would ensure the data is not being snooped or leaked following a context switch but with all of the cache flushing could significantly hamper the system performance.

      • HDR Display Support Coming To Some Intel Gen9 Graphics On Linux

        For the very common Intel “Gen9″ graphics found on pretty much all current pre-Icelake hardware that is available through retail channels, high dynamic range (HDR) display support could soon be enabled under Linux for a subset of devices.

      • Graphics Stack

        • RadeonSI Experimenting With Compute-Based Culling For Navi/GFX10

          The RadeonSI Gallium3D driver has been experimenting with compute-based culling for GFX10/Navi hardware.

          Well known open-source AMD OpenGL driver developer Marek Olšák has merged experimental support for compute-based culling. Marek simply noted, “This is an experimental feature that might be used in the future.”

        • Mesa’s Continuous Integration To Begin Seeing Testing Coverage For Wine / DXVK

          In hopefully meaning less regressions moving forward for DXVK with the latest open-source Vulkan drivers, the Mesa continuous integration (CI) infrastructure saw support added for playing DirectX (DXGI) traces with DXVK/Wine.

          Consulting firm Igalia under contract for Valve added support for APITrace with DXGI traces to the Mesa CI.

        • Collabora working on making any DirectX 12 driver able to support open graphics and parallel programming APIs

          DirectX is Microsoft’s proprietary hardware-accelerated graphics API for Windows; OpenGL is a cross-platform graphics API; and OpenCL is a cross-platform framework for parallel programming on CPUs and GPUs. Although there are Windows OpenCL and OpenGL drivers for many GPUs, the extent of support varies, and the DirectX implementation may be better optimised. The mapping layers will be delivered as enhancements to the open-source Mesa 3D project, for which Microsoft will provide a new DirectX 3D 12 (D3D12) backend.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 18.04 vs. 20.04 LTS Performance Preview With Intel Xeon Scalable

        There is less than one month to go until the official release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” but we’ve already begun experimenting with it for weeks across a variety of platforms. For the most part we have found Ubuntu 20.04 slated to offer some nice performance improvements, especially if upgrading from the existing LTS series, Ubuntu 18.04. In this article are our initial benchmarks looking at the Intel Xeon Scalable from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to the current 20.04 near-final state.

    • Applications

      • 50+ Essential Linux Apps[2020] for your Linux Distro

        Best Linux Apps 2020: Welcome to Tec Robust. This article is going to be a long stretch of best and essential Linux Applications 2020 for your Linux Distribution. It covers applications for Distros such as Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, CentOS, Elementary OS, Zorin OS, Debian, Kubuntu, and more. Without any more delay, we will get into the article. Equip your Linux with the best applications listed down here.

      • Install Zoom In Linux Based Operating System

        The world is dealing with coronavirus pandemic. Every nation around the globe is asking its people to stay at home and work from home.

        Many companies are already asking their employees to stay at home and work from home to avoid coronavirus infection.

        Well, there are many tools that you might need while working from home and one of those tools is a video conferencing tool. There are many video conferencing tools available on the internet. Some of them are free and some of them not.

      • Navi – An Interactive Commandline Cheatsheet Tool

        A while ago, we posted some good alternatives to Linux man pages. Those tools skips all theoretical part and gives concise Linux command examples. If you are a lazy Linux user who wants some practical examples for a Linux command, they would definitely help. Today, we will see a similar tool named Navi. Navi is an interactive commandline cheatsheet tool written in Rust. Just like Bro pages, Cheat, Tldr tools, Navi also provides a list of examples for a given command, skipping all other comprehensive text parts.

      • ScreenCloud is an open source image capturing tool that can optionally upload images to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Imgur

        We have reviewed many screen capturing tools at gHacks including Ksnip, Automatic Screenshotter, Auto Screen Capture, Ashampoo’s Snap 11, or Martin’s favorite program PicPick.

        [...]

        To finalize it, copy and paste the authorization code generated by the cloud service into the box that the program opened for connecting to your account. You may choose the screenshot naming pattern such as Screenshot at %H-%M-%S representing the time (hours, minutes, seconds) when the screenshot was taken. The result will be something like Screenshot at 19-45-00. Select the folder name that the application should save content to, and whether you want it to copy the public link to the clipboard after the uploading process has been completed.

        Hit the save button and you’re all set to use it.

        The application isn’t portable. The lack of a crop tool in ScreenCloud’s editor was a slight let down for me, but this is intended to be a basic screen capturing tool, besides I’m too used to ShareX’s options.

      • BleachBit 3.9.0 Beta

        Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

      • MP4Tools is an open source set of utilities for merging or splitting video files

        Note: The application kept crashing when the play button was used. But it works just fine when adding split points, and the split process was successful. I’m not sure why it crashed, especially since the preview panel displayed the frames of the split points correctly. A quick search on the program’s SourceForge page revealed a similar issue reported by a user. This suggests that it could be a bug in the latest version.

        [...]

        Both programs in the MP4Tools suite use FFMPEG for encoding videos. MP4Tools is a 32-bit software. It is available for Windows and macOS. Linux users will have to compile it from the source code. It is not a portable application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 5.5 Released With 850+ Patches Atop Wine

        Following Friday’s release of Wine 5.5, Wine-Staging 5.5 is now available as the experimental blend of Wine with some 850+ patches atop the upstream code-base with various features in testing.

        New to Wine-Staging 5.5 is proper handling of long path/file names (greater than 128 characters) that affected some games like Magic: The Gathering Online. Wine-Staging 5.5 also has a fix for Winemenubuilder in properly respecting existing defaults for file-type associations, which stems from a bug report four years ago when Notepad became the default TXT file handler for a user.

    • Games

      • SteamOS Isn’t Dead, Just Sidelined; Valve Has Plans To Go Back To Their Linux-Based OS

        It’s big news for any PC gamer that has been frustrated with Microsoft’s erroneous-laden grip on operating systems for as far back as 1995; with it comes a monumental blow to privacy, not to mention mere control of your PC; updates have a tendency to start when they want to, new OS licenses must be purchased if you change hardware configurations, and applications that Microsoft doesn’t want you using are notoriously finicky to get working.

        Of course, users can simply switch over to Linux if they have had their fill of Microsoft. That switch comes with a slew of changes, however, and dropping reliable applications is a part of the grieving process that must take place when attempting to switch over your OS. Linux does host a plethora of open-source tools that can take the place of past applications; GIMP in lieu of Photoshop, for example. Yet the old applications are never truly replaced 1 for 1; it’s more of a bandage than anything else.

        Even with WINE and other techniques developed over the years to help users with Linux use Windows software, there are plenty of pitfalls and inconveniences that stymie any attempts to maintain Linux over Windows.

      • Lutris 0.5.5 Linux Game Manager Adds Humble Bundle Support, Initial VKD3D Support

        Lutris 0.5.5 is out today as the newest version of this Linux game manager to assist in installing both native and emulated games on Linux. Lutris continues to expand the scope of its “runners” for improving the Linux gaming experience.

        While the version 0.5.5 number may not seem like a big deal, there is actually a lot to find with the Lutris 0.5.5 update. Among the changes with Lutris 0.5.5 are:

        - Initial support for Humble Bundle integration.

      • Try out ‘Critters for Sale’, an exhilarating short horror visual novel with two episodes out now

        The absolutely exhilarating short horror visual novel Critters for Sale, which was originally released the first day of 2019, had its second chapter (“Goat”) available for some time (Jun 2019, actually). Considering how such a hidden gem it is I was going to write about it, but Liam ended up doing it first in this GOL article.

        [...]

        It still maintains the same fever-dream like visuals, game mechanics and layout, consisting on a left HUD with some key information, a central upper section where all the images and animations are displayed, along with some point and click elements, and finally a center lower section where you see the dialogues and options to advance the story in the available directions. However, regarding the premise, now it features other characters and a different setting, but since this is one of those games where the less you know the better, I will only say that although we’re only grasping the surface of the whole mystery, and while the tone of the story still keeps a personal scope, at this point it’s clear that those responsible for the plot’s main threat not only have enough power to influence the entire world, but also directly encompass the whole history of mankind…

      • ‘Discover my Body’ is a 10 minute long free body-horror minigame about transhumanism and social alienation

        Although there isn’t much more context, given the title’s incredibly short length, the plot of Discover my Body takes place twenty years in the future, in a dystopian society where a strange medical procedure was developed to enhance human consciousness, which is being used by people to escape their miseries and existential despair. You play as a medical student who will be examining this process on the character that you’ll be interacting with, and for that purpose, you’ll be assigned a scanner to look for and inspect specific instances of the procedure’s evolution on this patient’s body.

        I must confess that I “hated” this guy for all his deviancy. It’s one of those characters that you would like to stab repeatedly, only to find out that it’s futile, because he would be enjoying the torment. And while you might think that I disliked the game because of this fact… on the contrary! It’s the living proof that the developer got it right. Apparently reminiscent of David Cronemberg’s horror filmography, Discover my Body is a title that with incredibly minimal elements manages to feel nihilistic and repulsive, and while you never get to see it, you won’t help but imagine how horrific and miserable that futuristic world must be, with any remnant of human dignity and decency absolutely obliterated.

      • Get ready to fail with bridge-building physics as ‘Poly Bridge 2′ has been announced

        Poly Bridge from back in 2016 turned out to be quite a hit, and it’s coming back for another run with Poly Bridge 2 being recently announced for release this year.

        Featuring new levels, new game mechanics, a special custom deterministic physics engine along with an apparently soothing soundtrack as you attempt to build bridges and inevitably watch them crumble into nothing as they fall under the weight of various vehicles.

      • Spies & Soldiers is an upcoming asynchronous online low-fantasy strategy game needing testers

        Currently in development by Ghostbat Games, with a release date scheduled currently for sometime around October, Spies & Soldiers looks like a fun two-player head-to-head asynchronous online strategy game.

      • Thorium Entertainment dig up some new late-game content for UnderMine out now

        UnderMine, the action-adventure rogue-lite brimming with secrets from developer Thorium Entertainment and publisher Fandom, has opened a mysterious new area called the Othermine in the latest update.

        The game follows peasants on a journey into the world below, as they search for both fortune and freedom. You dig deeper and deeper in search of treasures, while also dealing with lots of pesky creatures and some pretty huge boss encounters. When one character meets their unfortunate end, the pick-axe is passed onto another and the cycle begins again. It’s a fun mixture of rogue-lite mechanics, dungeon crawling and action.

        With the Othermine open, it adds in a ton of late-game content for players who’ve conquered the first few areas. They say this mode brings “genuine roguelike design and endless replayability”. After reaching the end of the fourth zone and providing the Gatekeeper with a Nether, peasants can enter the Othermine. With no gold and only base stats, you must rely on a randomized assortment of upgrades, relics, curses, blessings, and familiars to overcome this brand new challenge.

      • Wreckfest | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Wreckfest running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs great, all online. Using a PS4 Controller.

      • Trailer Trashers is a perfect couch multiplayer twin-stick party game out now

        Trailer Trashers is a twin-stick local multiplayer shooter from Sakari Games that released this week, it’s their first Linux game and it turns out it’s the perfect amount of ridiculous. Note: Key from the developer.

        It’s a fast-paced shooter with a couple different modes, my favourite being Shotgun Soccer because it’s just absurd. Bullets in all modes bounce off the walls but in this one you’re trying to push a ball into the opposing goal using your shotgun bullets. It gets quite intense and pretty hilarious.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Raspberry Pi Smart TV: Plasma Bigscreen Project Offers Open-Source UI

          With many people stuck at home, the desire for an at-home media center is greater than ever. But what if you could add an open-source user interface (UI), or ditch the one built into your TV, with the help of Raspberry Pi? With Plasma Bigscreen, a new AI voice and KDE open-source development released this week, it’s possible to use your Raspberry Pi 4 as a center of your media hub.

          “Plasma Bigscreen powers the interface on a single-board computer and uses the Mycroft AI voice assistant to provide a smart TV platform,” it says on KDE.org. “Plasma Bigscreen will deliver not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.

        • Plasma Bigscreen Is A New Smart TV Experience Powered By Raspberry Pi 4 And KDE

          Smart TVs are becoming more and more complete computers, but unfortunately there the experience tends to be a tight walled garden between proprietary platform, services and privacy-infringing features. Features which are very cool, like voice control, but in order to not pose a threat to the user privacy should be on a free software stack and depending less on proprietary cloud platforms where possible.

          Plasma Bigscreen is just entering Beta, and is currently available to download and install on the Raspberry Pi 4. On paper, it looks incredible promising for a few reasons:

        • Mirrors for kdenlive-20.04-beta1-x86_64.appimage
        • Kdenlive 20.04 Beta Released With Continuing To Improve The Open-Source Video Editor

          Open-source video editors over the years have generally fallen well short of the stability and feature set offered by proprietary video editing solutions but in recent years at least there has been some measurable progress to the likes of Kdenlive and OpenShot. Out this weekend for testing is the Kdenlive 20.04 beta.

          Kdenlive 20.04 is being prepared as part of the “KDE Applications” 20.04 milestone for next month. For those wanting to help in spotting any last minute bugs, the Kdenlive 20.04 beta is available. For easy convenience across distributions, the AppImage is available of this first Kdenlive 20.04 beta.

        • Season of KDE 2020 and GSOC

          The first thing that one has to do before beginning to contribute to an organization is to build the code of the application from the source. And if this is the first time a person is building an app then he/she should be ready to do a lot of googling and praying for the CMake to compile successfully.

          Kdenlive works with the help of a lot of dependencies and libraries. For the CMake to compile properly the system should have all these libraries installed in it.

          First things first, I got the Kdenlive source code from the GitLab instance of KDE, invent.kde.org. It is always best to checkout from the master to a new branch to prevent committing incorrect changes and spoiling your whole branch. Then I created a build file and ran the CMake code. This returned a LOT of errors when the required libraries and dependencies were not found in my system. Most of the errors were solved when the following command was executed:

        • This week in KDE: The calm before the storm (of new features)

          This week we worked really hard on a lot of important backend stuff that’s not so user-visible but will pay dividends down the road, such as launching applications using cgroup slices. We also did a ton of work on the Breeze Evolution project, however most of it is still in heavy development and not ready to be announced. It should trickle in during subsequent weeks, but until then, have a look at what did get landed…

        • KDE Developers Wrap Up March By Working On Back-End Improvements

          This week in KDE land there weren’t too many new features introduced but a lot of low-level work to foster future features.

          Some of what did come about over the past week includes:

          - Easier switching of time zones from the clock applet.

          - Support for launching applications in Cgroup slices.

        • RSIBreak 0.12.12 released!

          All of you that are in using a computer for a long time should use it!

        • KDE in app stores

          If you use KDE software, there is a good chance you’re on a Linux distribution and you download the software from your distribution’s repositories. But the fact is you can get KDE software from a number of sources on different platforms. As project coordinator for KDE e.V. helping with KDE Goals, I was tasked to look at app download statistics. Join me in my quest to understand how popular KDE apps are in various app stores.

        • New Icon theme

          Like everyone else, I am also in quarantine, and during this quarantine I got closer to the program that I love, inkscape. I started to make smartphone mockups again, which I published on my Instagram profile (maybe I will also make posts here). But I started a new icon theme , since I have many free hours a day, I have a lot of time to devote to this project.

        • This month in KDE Web: March 2020

          This month KDE web developers worked on updating more websites and some progress was made in a new identity provider and a lot of other exiting stuff and a lot of background work was also done.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • TIL Wayfire Supports Background Window Blur in GTK Apps

          One longstanding complaint I hear about modern day GTK apps is that they don’t like anywhere near as fancy as their macOS, Windows, iOS and even KDE Plasma counterparts.

          And a big reason for that is the lack of blur effect support in Mutter (and GNOME Shell at large, though yes: this is changing).

          Thing is, next-gen window compositors based on the Wayland stack are already capable of doing more than just ‘showing’ windows on the screen.

        • An introduction to GNOME shell extensions

          GNOME has a sleek interface, designed to support your work while being out of your way when possible. These considerations depend on your preferences. Some people want all the graphics and the icons, some wants to minimize distractions while remembering how to run stuff with keyboard shortcuts. A known issue is that GNOME has taken away the application menu that is common in other systems. you can add an extension to add it yourself. You write extensions for GNOME in JavaScript, though there are times when you can link to other languages. Because you use JavaScript, you can also use CSS packages such as Bootstrap.

          What are the extensions changing?

          This may seem like an irrelevant question but as you start troubleshooting, you need to know this. Any extension is actually adding code to the gnome-shell. Due to this, your desktop will crash due to a bad extension so test carefully before trusting any code. It is a good idea to remember this both when you are installing other people’s extensions and when you are coding yourself.

          You can learn how to make an extension quickly if you know JavaScript and you follow the documentation at the GNOME wiki. You can start by using the standard tools which create the required files for you. There are only two required files, though, so creating them yourself is not a big task.

        • Marcus Lundblad: Maps in GNOME 3.36

          There’s been quite a while since the last blog post. Since then 3.36.0 was released, and also the first update for the stable 3.36 branch, 3.36.1 has been released.

          As I’ve written about before one of the main features in 3.36 is the support for trip planning for public transit using third party services, as shown here from Paris…

    • Distributions

      • A Beginners Guide to Linux

        The Linux operating system offers a rich mix of features and security that make it a great free and (mostly) open-source alternative to macOS and Microsoft Windows. Because it’s different “under the hood,” consider some of the big-picture aspects of Linux and how it compares to the other desktop operating systems, before you take the plunge.

      • [Older] 5 Linux Distributions for Windows 7 Users

        While you may not find the same applications or tools on Linux – the user interface is what will make you feel comfortable using the OS.

        So, in this article, I shall mention only the distributions that resemble the look and feel of Windows (to some extent, at least).

        Once, you’re done choosing what you want – you can simply take a look around for the essential applications available on Linux, installing themes, and a lot of similar resources available in our portal.

      • Reviews

        • Arcolinux – Too much, too little

          Walking the Tux road, one system at a time. A short while back, I thought a departure from the proven mainstream dozen distros would do me some fresh good. So I grabbed Solus OS, I tested Peppermint, and now, I’d like to embark on an Arch adventure.

          Previously known as ArchMerge, Arcolinux is a distro that obeys Monty Python’s rule of three. Three shall be the number of versions, and the number of desktop environments shall be three. Not two, not four. ArcoLinux has the main edition plus D and B builds for tinkerers. I opted for the Xfce-clad 19.12 release. Without further ado, let’s see what gives.

          [...]

          I am struggling to reconcile with the polar brilliance of the Linux desktop. Even now, some 15+ years since I started using it, I haven’t gotten used to it. You get something really cool, and then a bunch of random cosmic events that ruin the experience. And this is because most distros aren’t designed with the end user in mind, and they have no product awareness.

          Arcolinux has some interesting points. But this ain’t new, radical or special. You can pick any distro, and it will do something significantly better than others. Then, it will also fail three or five basic things that ordinary folks expect. And most distros have this problem – they do not address the most mundane activities or needs that one wants in a desktop. Arcolinux was fast, it did all right on the connectivity front, but it’s quite rough around the edges, and if you deviate from the dark-theme unicorn, the session loses all traces of fun. Which is not how it’s meant to be. If you want to test something a bit avant-garde, and Arch-based at this, perhaps you want to look at Arcolinux. For me, this is a classic manifestation of a much wider problem in the Linux space, and once again, sadness rules supreme at the end of the short review.

      • New Releases

        • LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.2 Hotfix

          LibreELEC 9.2.2 (Leia) is a Hotfix release just for the x86_64 Generic (PC, AMD, Intel, NVIDIA …) image.
          It includes a fix for the missing sound at Intel based systems (mainly NUC) due an Linux Kernel bug.
          This is just for the Generic image as the fix only targeting this platform.

        • 4MLinux 33.0 BETA released.

          4MLinux 33.0 BETA is ready for testing. Basically, at this stage of development, 4MLinux BETA has the same features as 4MLinux STABLE, but it provides a huge number of updated packages.

        • Changelog: Nitrux 1.2.7

          Today is the day! — Nitrux 1.2.7 is available to download

          We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.2.7. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements, and ready-to-use hardware support.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Calls the Linux World to Help Fight the New Coronavirus

          The idea of the online event is to bring the Linux world together in order to improve the way Debian can help the health industry fight against the new coronavirus, and Debian says anyone can contribute with bug triage, testing, documentation, CI, translations, packaging, and code contributions.

          “You can also contribute directly to the upstream packages, linked from the Debian Med COVID-19 task page at [covid-19-packages]. Note: many biomedical software packages are quite resource limited, even compared to a typical FOSS project. Please be kind to the upstream author/maintainers and realize that they may have limited resources to review your contribution. Triaging open issues and opening pull requests to fix problems is likely to be more useful than nitpicking their coding style,” the Debian developers explain.

        • Debian announces COVID-19 Biohackathon

          The Debian platform has many ‘Pure Blends’ available, which are distributions specifically designed to serve the requirements of a specific topic. For example, there is Ubuntu Studio, a version of Ubuntu, particularly for content creation. Or Fedora Labs.

          The team of Debian Med (medical-related Debian variation) has announced a ‘COVID-19 Biohackathon’ between 5 April and 11 April to help with the pandemic that has depredated the world.

        • Biohackathon: GNU/Linux Debian Join Hands To Fight COVID-19

          According to Telegraph, one-fifth of the world’s population is under lockdown in the fight against the COVID-19. Consequently, almost all domains of technology have come forward to help. Open-source giants like OpenSUSE have also started various initiatives to offer support for medical devices and tools.

          Along the same lines, yesterday, the open-source Debian Med team announced the launch of the online Biohackathon for students. The Med team also requested Debian developers to participate and contribute to improving biomedical free and open-source software.

        • Sparky 2020.03.1

          New iso images of Sparky 2020.03.1 of the (semi-)rolling line have been generated.

        • Sparky Linux 2020.03.1 ISO Images Now Available for Download

          The developing team working on Sparky Linux has just announced that new ISO images for version 2020.03.1 of the (semi-)rolling line are now available for download.

          And of course, there are no breaking changes in this release, but only a minor update for the live and install media for Sparky Linux.

          There are technically three important improvements that are part of this new release, as it follows.

          First and foremost, all packages are now updated from the Debian testing repos dated March 27, 2020, so you’re also getting tons of fixes as part of this release.

          Then, the update fixes an issue that blocked booting Sparky 2020.03 that was previously copied on an USB flash drive. This was a particularly inconvenient bug affecting those who used USB media to boot Sparky Linux, so after updating to this version, everything should be working just as expected.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Smart cards login on Ubuntu

          Smart cards have proliferated and are now everywhere, from work ID badges to credit cards and passports. For example, the United States Federal Government uses smart cards to control access to federal facilities and information systems because they offer an extra layer of security and respond to strict government guidelines. If used in a company, these will provide identity confirmation, verification that data has not been changed, and confidentiality via encryption.

          This whitepaper will provide information on how to configure Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to operate with a smart card to provide multi-factor authentication when logging into the system both locally and remotely. For the purposes of this whitepaper, a PIVKey smart card is used as an example since they are readily accessible and contain a few basic credentials.

        • The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Ubuntu Linux

          Before you install Ubuntu on top of your current operating system, it’s a good idea to try it out first. There are various ways to try Ubuntu, and the following guides will help: [...]

        • [Old] Try Ubuntu before you install it

          Running Ubuntu directly from either a USB stick or a DVD is a quick and easy way to experience how Ubuntu works for you, and how it works with your hardware. Most importantly, it doesn’t alter your computer’s configuration in any way, and a simple restart without the USB stick or DVD is all that’s needed to restore your machine to its previous state.

          With a live Ubuntu, you can do almost anything you can from an installed Ubuntu:

        • Do Ubuntu’s Bespoke Changes Make a Separate GNOME OS More Likely?

          In the second part of his take on “what’s wrong with the free desktop app ecosystem and how we can fix it”, Tobias spotlight’s Ubuntu’s divergence from the upstream defaults as symptom of hurdles placed in front of developers who want to target the GNOME experience.

          With GNOME desktop designers and developers (upstream) and the Linux distros shipping it (downstream) often pulling in different directions the ‘target’ developers should try to aim for is, well, a little less clear.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ASSIA Joins prpl Foundation to Make a Vendor-Neutral Wi-Fi Management Ecosystem a Reality

        Adaptive Spectrum and Signal Alignment, Inc. (ASSIA®) the market-leading supplier of AI-driven broadband and Wi-Fi optimization software, announced its official involvement in the prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus on enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future. ASSIA makes it possible for service providers’ Wi-Fi management solutions to work with any Wi-Fi router and middleware solution and interoperate, scale, and evolve with technology and standards.

      • Google polishes platinum Cloud Foundry membership badge as foundation takes KubeCF under its wing

        Cloud Foundry, an open-source foundation dedicated to a cloud-oriented application platform, is now incubating the KubeCF project, and has also welcomed Google upgrading its membership to platinum – the highest level.

        Google has been a member of Cloud Foundry since January 2017, but platinum membership represents a higher level of commitment. Google’s Jennifer Phillips, head of Open Source Programs, is to be on the foundation’s board of directors. The other platinum members are Dell EMC, IBM, SAP, SUSE and VMware.

      • The Apache® Software Foundation Celebrates 21 Years of Open Source Leadership

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today its 21st Anniversary.

      • The state of open source contribution through the lens of Hacktoberfest

        In 2019, DigitalOcean and the open source community celebrated the sixth annual Hacktoberfest, an inclusive community event that inspires open source participation and maintenance. It was an exciting year with record-breaking numbers of pull requests, participants, and events around the world. From the start, our goal has always been to encourage all types of people, from seasoned developers to total newcomers, to get more involved with open source, all while promoting DigitalOcean’s longstanding values of simplicity, community, and love.

        We recapped Hacktoberfest 2019 on our blog, but in honor of the 22nd anniversary of open source, we decided to dive into the results of our annual participant survey within the context of our seasonal Currents report on the state of open source. This year, we revamped the Hacktoberfest survey to better understand what it means to the community, as well as their involvement with open source projects, key motivators for participating, and more. So how did the community do? Here are some findings.

      • Open source platforms, flexible airframes for new drones

        Multirotor drones excel at vertical lift and hover, while fixed wing drones are great at both distance and wide-open spaces. In February, Auterion Government Solutions and Quantum-Systems announced a two-pronged approach to the rotor- or fixed-wing drone market, with a pair of drones that use the same sensor packages and fuselage to operate as either the Scorpion Trirotor or the Vector fixed wing craft.

        “As we started to develop our tactical UAS Platform, our plan was only to develop a VTOL fixed wing solution (like our Vector),” said Florian Siebel, managing director of Quantum-Systems. “During the development process we decided to build a Tri-Copter Platform as well, as a result of many discussions with law enforcement agencies and Search and Rescue Units.”
        Adapting the fixed-wing fuselage to the tri-copter attachments means the drone can now operate in narrow spaces and harsh conditions. Scorpion, with the rotors, can fly for about 45 minutes, with a cruising speed of zero to 33 mph. Put the fixed wings back on for Vector, and the flight time is now two hours, with a cruising speed of 33 to 44 mph.

      • IEEE Standards Association Launches a Platform for Open Source Collaboration
      • Greg Smith on the strengths and drawbacks of open source software

        There are a lot of tire models available in the world. Most are closed source (or black box), meaning the program code behind them is not available to end users. This is understandable as the code can easily be licensed and its development paid for. Everyone’s got to make a living! This approach, however, makes it much harder to get the best out of the models – if you can’t see their internal workings, it’s harder to maximize their usefulness.

        Other models, such as Magic Formula, are effectively open source, with the equations published in books and journal papers. This means that anyone (if they invest the time) can build and use their own Magic Formula solvers and, in the process, learn the details of how the model works.

        In April 2015, during a session at the 4th International Tire Colloquium at Surrey University, UK, the general idea of open sourcing was discussed. In attendance were various figures from the commercial tire model development community, representatives from car and tire companies who use the models, and a large group of academics involved in more fundamental research. Issues were raised regarding everything from intellectual property concerns and licensing through to technical advances, development strategies and training. Boiling all this down, most discussions centered on one of two approaches.

      • First open-source AI for driverless agricultural vehicles
      • Huawei announced AI Computing Framework MindSpore as Open Source

        During the Huawei 2020 Developer Conference continues online, bringing the latest progress of The Wei Peng and Yan Teng Ecology. According to the agenda of the meeting, the first day of the developer conference (March 27) will focus on Peng Peng, the next day (March 28) will focus on The Teng.

      • New Chinese open-source AI platform launched

        Megvii Technology Limited has announced the launch of a new open-source artificial intelligence platform for developers, Shanghai Daily learned on Thursday.

        Other firms offering such platforms include tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu.

      • Open-source AI infrastructure to boost innovation in China

        From smart fever-screening at subway stations to scan-reading diagnosis, artificial intelligence (AI) is on the frontline of China’s battle against the novel coronavirus.

        Behind the smart systems are deep-learning frameworks that emulate the way the human brain learns, like recognizing patterns and coping with ambiguity.

      • Megvii makes deep learning AI framework open-source as China moves to reduce reliance on US platforms
      • Noble.AI Contributes to TensorFlow, Google’s Open-Source AI Library and the Most Popular Deep Learning Framework

        Noble.AI, whose artificial intelligence (AI) software is purpose-built for engineers, scientists, and researchers and enables them to innovate and make discoveries faster, today announced that it had completed contributions to TensorFlow, the world’s most popular open-source framework for deep learning created by Google.

      • Google open-sources framework that reduces AI training costs by up to 80%

        Google researchers recently published a paper describing a framework — SEED RL — that scales AI model training to thousands of machines. They say that it could facilitate training at millions of frames per second on a machine while reducing costs by up to 80%, potentially leveling the playing field for startups that couldn’t previously compete with large AI labs.

      • A case study: Improving patient outcomes with Open Source

        South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) provides the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK with 52 inpatient wards, outpatient, and community services. As recognition of their digital accomplishments, SLaM have been awarded GDE (Global Digital Exemplar) status.

        Following a two-year pilot of Open-eObs software, the trust had proven the long-term benefits of an open source approach and needed a supplier to further drive their digital ambition.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w13 – worklog – everything is broken

            Coronavirus had no impact on my working life for now. The same as usual.

            Mozilla is working well in a distributed team.

            [...]

            We had an issue with the new form design. We switched to 100% of our users on March 16, 2020. but indeed all the bugs received didn’t get the label that they were actually reporting with the new form design. Probably only a third got the new form.

            So that was the state when I fell asleep on Monday night. Mike pushed the bits a bit more during my night and opened.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4.3 Release Candidate Version 1 Released Today!

          LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 Released: LibreOffice is one of the best open-source text editors. LibreOffice comes as default application release of Linux OS. LibreOffice is developed by Team Document Foundation. Today they announced that the LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 version has been released. As per their calendar, LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 has been released exactly on today!. This RC1 version has many bugs fixes and tweaks in essential features.

      • Funding

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Unifont 13.0.01 Released

            Unifont 13.0.01 is now available. This is a major release. Significant changes in this version include the addition of these new scripts in Unicode 13.0.0:
            U+10E80..U+10EBF: Yezidi, by Johnnie Weaver
            U+10FB0..U+10FDF: Chorasmian, by Johnnie Weaver
            U+11900..U+1195F: Dives Akuru, by David Corbett
            U+18B00..U+18CFF: Khitan Small Script, by Johnnie Weaver
            U+1FB00..U+1FBFF: Symbols for Legacy Computing, by Rebecca Bettencourt

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Gresecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens’ legal bill in row over GPL

            After three years of legal wrangling, the defamation lawsuit brought by Brad Spengler and his company Open Source Security (OSS) against open-source pioneer Bruce Perens has finally concluded.

            It was clear that the end was nigh last month when California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling against the plaintiffs.

            Spengler and OSS sued Perens for a June 2017 blog post in which Perens ventured the opinion that grsecurity, Open Source Security’s Linux kernel security enhancements, could expose customers to potential liability under the terms of the General Public License (GPL).

            OSS says that customers who exercise their rights to redistribute its software under the GPL will no longer receive software updates – the biz wants to be paid for its work, a problem not really addressed by the GPL. Perens, the creator of the open-source definition, pointed out that section six of the GPLv2 prohibits modifications of the license terms.

          • Elizabeth Warren for President open-sources its 2020 campaign tech
          • Open Source Tools From the Warren for President Tech Team

            In our work, we leaned heavily on open source technology — and want to contribute back to that community. So today we’re taking the important step of open-sourcing some of the most important projects of the Elizabeth Warren campaign for anyone to use.

          • Open Source Fonts Are Love Letters to the Design Community

            Font families can sell for hundreds of dollars. Gotham, a popular typeface used by President Barack Obama’s campaign and many others, costs nearly $1,000 to license a complete set of 66 different styles. But The League of Moveable Type, gives all of its fonts away for free. What’s more, it makes them open source, so that other people can modify the fonts and make their own versions of them.

            And people have. Raleway, designed by Matt McInerney and released in 2010, was expanded from a single weight into a family with nine weights, from “thin” to bold to “black,” each with matching italics, in 2012 by Pablo Impallari, Rodrigo Fuenzalida, and Igino Marini. It’s now one of the most popular font families on Google Fonts, a collection of free fonts hosted by the search giant.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Singapore to open-source national Coronavirus encounter-tracing app and the Bluetooth research behind it

          The app, named TraceTogether and its government is urging citizens to run so that if they encounter a Coronavirus carrier, it’s easier to trace who else may have been exposed to the virus. With that info in hand, health authorities are better-informed about who needs to go into quarantine and can focus their resources on those who most need assistance.

          The app is opt-in and doesn’t track users through space, instead recording who you have encountered. To do so, it requires Bluetooth and location services to be turned on when another phone running the app comes into range exchanges four nuggets of information – a timestamp, Bluetooth signal strength, the phone’s model, and a temporary identifier or device nickname. While location services are required, the app doesn’t track users, instead helping to calculate distances between them.

        • Singapore says it will make its contact tracing tech freely available to developers

          Less than a week after launching an app to track potential exposure to the coronavirus, Singapore is making the technology freely available to developers worldwide.

          The city-state rolled out an app called TraceTogether on March 20 and described it as a supplementary tool for its contact tracing efforts that relied on the recall and memory of infected individuals. Contact tracing is the process of identifying those with close contact with infected patients.

        • Over 600k users installed TraceTogether, app to be made open source

          A mobile application developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) that helps in contact tracing for Covid-19 has been installed by more than 620,000 users since its launch last Friday.

          With a decision to make the technology behind it available to developers around the world, even more people could stand to benefit.

          Developed in collaboration with the Health Ministry (MOH), the TraceTogether mobile app works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones.

        • 620,000 people installed TraceTogether in 3 days, S’pore’s open source contact tracing app

          TraceTogether, a mobile app to support contact tracing efforts developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), was launched on Friday, Mar. 20.

        • The Shield: the open source Israeli Government app which warns of Coronavirus exposure
        • Israel Unveils Open Source App to Warn Users of Coronavirus Cases

          A new Israeli app can instantly tell users if they have crossed paths with someone known to have been infected with the coronavirus.

          On Sunday, the country’s health ministry unveiled the app, called “The Shield”(“HaMagen”, in Hebrew.) The app takes location data from the user’s phone and compares it with the information in Health Ministry servers regarding the location histories of confirmed cases during the 14 days before their diagnosis.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • AidData: Powerful lessons in global development

          As a research lab of the university’s Global Research Institute, AidData facilitates innovative research projects that bring students and faculty together to solve global problems.

        • COVID-19 and Collaborative Projects for Life-Saving

          • Pop-Up Open Source Medical Hardware Projects Won’t Stop Coronavirus, But Might Be Useful Anyway. Here’s why.
          • MIT resuscitates 10-year-old design to create open source respirator

            An MIT design has resulted in the E-Vent respirator-design that can be brought online quickly using available valve bag masks used by EMTs and others in emergency situations to ease breathing problems. The advantage of the design, says the MIT team, is that the masks are approved components. The MIT design automatically squeezes the respirator bag.

          • NYU makes face shield design for healthcare workers that can be built in under a minute available to all

            New York University is among the many academic, private and public institutions doing what it can to address the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) among healthcare workers across the world. The school worked quickly to develop an open-source face-shield design, and is now offering that design freely to any and all in order to help scale manufacturing to meet needs.

            Face shields are a key piece of equipment for front-line healthcare workers operating in close contact with COVID-19 patients. They’re essentially plastic, transparent masks that extend fully to cover a wearer’s face. These are to be used in tandem with N95 and surgical masks, and can protect a healthcare professional from exposure to droplets containing the virus expelled by patients when they cough or sneeze.

          • EPAM Introduces COVID-19 Mask For Medical Professionals Designed By EPAM Continuum
          • ‘It’s one small piece’: Area companies develop open-source design for medical face shields, donate 10,000 to KU Health
          • 3D Printers Being Recruited For Health Care Workers’ PPE

          • In progress: Rapid deployment of open-source, low-cost ventilator design

            One of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the Covid-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators. These machines can keep patients breathing when they no longer can on their own, and they can cost around $30,000 each. Now, a rapidly assembled volunteer team of engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and others, centered at MIT, is working to implement a safe, inexpensive alternative for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.

          • Hundreds of Volunteers Are Working to Create Open-Source Ventilators to Fight Coronavirus

            oronavirus attacks the lungs. In some cases, your throat and chest may rattle from the effort just to breathe. It’s fast become common knowledge that ventilators can be a life-saving intervention — and that there simply aren’t enough of the machines to meet the growing number of patients. As a last resort, some hospitals are deploying the experimental technique of hooking two patients up to one unit.

          • How You Can Help Fight COVID-19 With This Global Open Source Tool

            Folding@Home, a crowdsourced computing project from scientists at Stanford University lets people across world join computing capabilities of their personal computers to form a crowdsourced supercomputer. Folding@Home then carries out research, mostly on diseases like Cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and now COVID-19. With the coronavirus outbreak, Folding@Home comes as a platform that will allow people across the world to play their part. By lending computing powers from their PCs, people can help scientists speed up their research as they have shifted their focus towards coming up with a cure for the deadly pandemic that has sent the whole world in a lockdown.

          • Thanks to KC’s Dimensional Innovations, you can now download designs for an open source face shield

            The simple, all-plastic shield — created by InStore Design Display and in collaboration with DI, The Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas, and The University of Kansas Health System — consists of two interlocking plastic parts cut from PETG, a clear plastic sheet material, that provides significant durability, chemical resistance and excellent formability for manufacturing.

          • The first medically-reviewed open source PPE design is here!
          • This open source ventilator hackathon could help fight the coronavirus

            Infineon engineers developed a 3D printed lung ventilator to help address the shortage of ventilators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

            The German federal government held a hackathon called #WirvsVirus (“We against the virus”) where 42,000 people met to find solutions to challenges from the coronavirus. Infineon engineers, led by Mahmoud Ismail who has a doctorate in lung mechanics, submitted a 3D print design and a design for the electronics and algorithms to develop and open-source lung ventilator.

          • UF researchers design low-cost DIY ventilator
          • UF researchers design low-cost DIY ventilator
          • VU engineers and VUMC doctors team up for open-source ventilator design

            As COVID-19 continues to push unprecedented challenges on medical communities, one of the most pressing threats for hospital staff across the country is a dwindling supply of ventilators.

            Now, an interdisciplinary team of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty is taking on the challenge by way of a fabricated, open-source ventilator design.

            Led on the Vanderbilt side by engineers Kevin Galloway, research assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of making at the Wond’ry, and Robert Webster, Richard A. Schroeder Professor of Mechanical Engineering, the team is currently on “version two” of the ventilator prototype and hopes to soon move into the final prototype phase before manufacturing.

          • UF researchers designing low-cost, ‘open source’ ventilator made from hardware store items

            A professor of anesthesiology at the University of Florida is building an “open source” ventilator out of common items from hardware stores, in an effort to meet the desperately high demand internationally due to the coronavirus pandemic.

            Decades ago, Dr. Samsun Lampotang helped build a minimal-transport ventilator while he was a mechanical engineering student at UF. That ventilator became a commercial success, the university says.

          • Amid a critical shortage, pandemic ventilator inventor makes his design open source

            John Strupat wants to make his design open source so it can be used by ‘anyone from anywhere’

          • DarwinAI wants to help identify coronavirus in X-rays, but radiologists aren’t convinced

            Canadian startup DarwinAI and researchers from the University of Waterloo are open-sourcing COVID-Net, a convolutional neural network that aims to detect COVID-19 in X-ray imagery. In response to the pandemic, a global community of health care and AI researchers have produced a number of AI systems for identifying COVID-19 in CT scans.

            [...]

            “[Though it is by] no means a production-ready solution, the hope is that the open access COVID-Net, along with the description on constructing the open source COVIDx data set, will be leveraged and built upon by both researchers and citizen data scientists alike to accelerate the development of highly accurate yet practical deep learning solutions for detecting COVID-19 cases and accelerate treatment of those who need it the most,” the paper reads.

          • 3D Printing for COVID-19, Part Three: Open Source Ventilators

            Since the initial news flurry about how a network of Italian 3D printing users came to the rescue of a hospital on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Northern Italy, a number of new stories have come out about how additive manufacturing (AM) is or could be used to help medical workers. Here we will break down just some of the news that has made headlines recently.

            Due to the overall inundation faced by medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak, the store of medical supplies doesn’t meet the demand. As most readers will know at this point, the two biggest medical items currently lacking (aside from medications and COVID-19 tests) are ventilators and masks. In part this lack of supply can be attributed to bureaucratic mismanagement, but even in locations that are well prepared for such an outbreak, there just aren’t enough masks and ventilators to go around.

          • Agencies Release Free COVID-19 Open-Source Assets

            Agencies are lending their talents and resources to help make a difference in the COVID-19 pandemic with the release of open source assets.

            MullenLowe is launching a public-facing version of its proprietary conversation-analysis tool, Speedbag, to help industry professionals navigate this new landscape.
            The tool parses the social conversation around COVID-19 as it relates to key sectors (including alcohol, automotive, construction, finance, grocery, health and wellness, healthcare, the US military, QSR, technology and travel). New categories are being added on an ongoing basis.

          • Engineers Made a DIY Face Shield. Now It’s Helping Doctors

            EARLY LAST WEEK, Lennon Rodgers, director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at University of Wisconsin-Madison, got an urgent email from the university’s hospital. Could his lab make 1,000 face shields to protect staff testing and treating Covid-19 patients? The hospital’s usual suppliers were out of stock, due to the spike in demand prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

            After putting his kids to bed, Rodgers went to Home Depot and a local craft store and grabbed supplies, including transparent plastic and a couple of foam mannequin heads. Then he made a hasty prototype at the UW maker space by adapting a construction visor and presented it to his wife, an anesthesiologist. “I was really proud of it, but she put it on and said ‘This is way too heavy,’” Rodgers recalls.

          • Coronavirus outbreak: MIT team working on an open-source, low-cost design of ventilators

            COVID-19: The team, which consists of only volunteers, has been working without any funding and is working anonymously so that people do not call them with inquiries about the project.

          • Coronavirus: University of Florida researchers design ventilator from hardware store items

            Here’s a new project for do-it-yourself lovers. It could save someone’s life.

            A professor of anesthesiology at the University of Florida is building an open-source ventilator out of items consumers can buy from hardware stores as a way to meet the demand for ventilators since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, WCJB reported. The cost? Anywhere from $125 to $150.

          • 10 Covid-busting designs: spraying drones, fever helmets and anti-virus snoods

            Designers, engineers and programmers have heard the klaxon call. The last few weeks have seen a wave of ingenuity unleashed, with both garden-shed tinkerers and high-tech manufacturers scrambling to develop things that will combat the spread of Covid-19.

            Many of their innovations raise as many questions as they answer, though. Could 3D printing now finally come into its own, with access to open-source, downloadable designs for medical parts? If so, will intellectual property infringements be waived, or will altruistic hacktivists still face costly lawsuits? Could mobile phone tracking map the spread of infection like never before, keeping people away from virus hotspots? If so, might governments use the pandemic as an excuse to ramp up surveillance measures post-crisis?

          • Kerala uses open source public utility to fight COVID-19

            The otherwise serene, calm and beautiful southern state of Kerala known for its palm-lined beaches and backwaters, has grabbed the headlines for some not so healthy news off late. The state popularly called God’s own country is the worst hit state by the Novel Coronavirus in India, reporting 95 cases till 24.03.2020 at 08:45 AM (as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). It is estimated that 50% of Kerala’s population (about 16.5 million) may catch the corona virus at some stage.

          • CURA: an open-source design for emergency COVID-19 hospitals

            In the last weeks, hospitals in the countries most affected by COVID-19, from China to Italy, Spain to the USA, have been struggling to increase their ICU capacity to admit a growing number of patients with severe respiratory diseases, in need of ventilators. Whatever the evolution of this pandemic, it is expected that more ICUs will be needed internationally in the next few months. CURA aims to improve the efficiency of existing solutions in the design of field hospitals, tailoring them to the current pandemic.

          • CURA is the open-source project that reuses containers to house medical units

            Guided by Carlo Ratti, an interdisciplinary team of researchers in continuous expansion provide a not-profit alterative to the tents currently used in field hospitals during the medical emergency.

          • Open-source CURA to turn shipping containers into emergency COVID-19 units

            Hospitals overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic could find a much-needed capacity lifeline in retrofitted shipping containers. An international task force, comprised of designers, engineers, medical professionals and military experts, has unveiled designs to convert shipping containers into plug-in Intensive-Care Pods as part of an open-source design dubbed CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments). The first CURA biocontainment pod prototype is currently being built in Milan, Italy.

          • Squint/Opera presents CURA: an open-source design for emergency COVID-19 hospitals

            Squint/Opera, the creative digital studio and consultancy, presents CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments), an open-source design for emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) hospitals.

            [...]

            The idea is to create extra space for hospitals and medical facilities which are under pressure due to the pandemic. The use of shipping containers means that they are fast to mount and safe to use as isolation wards. CURA could be quickly deployed to cities around the world, allowing medical professionals to respond fast to the spread of the virus despite lack of hospital space.

          • Researchers use open-source software to improve COVID-19 screening with AI

            Researchers at the University of Waterloo have partnered with an artificial intelligence (AI) startup on a project that aims to use AI to improve COVID-19 screening.

            The Waterloo research team publicly released AI software that can better detect infections from chest x-rays and is looking to enlist expertise from around the world to aid in the project.

          • Ireland: Researchers Create Open-Source 3D Printer for Neurophysiology

            Researchers Thomas Campbell and James F.X. Jones, both of the School of Medicine, University College Dublin, Ireland, have a created a new 3D printer for the medical field, detailing their work in the recently published ‘Design and implementation of a low cost, modular, adaptable and open-source XYZ positioning system for neurophysiology.’

            [...]

            With the integration of the Raspberry Pi 3, the authors were also able to incorporate the Open Computer Vision Library (OpenCV) stating that feature is what makes the system unique in comparison to other XYZ positioning systems. The open-source machine learning software library is used with automated movement, and the creators expect it to transform the exploration of mechanotransduction, the method for sensory neurons to change a mechanical stimulus to an electrical signal.

          • An open-source respirator for 40 Euros – from a 3D printer

            Ventilaid is an unusual project straight out of Poland and just in time for the COVID crisis19: a team of engineers has developed and made available free of charge on the Internet a breathing apparatus that can be printed with a 3D printer for the modest sum of 40 euros.

            The project uses inexpensive and widely available components – it could save the lives of thousands of people in places where access to such devices is difficult. The beta version of the device is ready to be deployed, while work on a second prototype is almost complete. At this stage, the support of specialists like doctors and engineers is necessary. Those who want to help can apply directly via the project’s website.

          • Hospitals turn to crowdsourcing and 3D printing amid equipment shortages

            Earlier this month, the CEO of an Italian 3D-printing startup learned that a hospital near the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy was running short on a small but crucial component: the valves that connect respirators to oxygen masks.

            The company that makes the valves couldn’t keep up with the demand, and doctors were in search of a solution.

            “When we heard about the shortage, we got in touch with the hospital immediately. We printed some prototypes. The hospital tested them and told us they worked,” the CEO, Cristian Fracassi, told Reuters. “So we printed 100 valves, and I delivered them personally.”

          • MIT Ventilator Designed With Common Manual Resuscitator; Submitted For FDA Testing

            In many parts of the world the COVID-19 pandemic is causing shortages in hospital space, staff, medical supplies, and equipment. Severe cases may require breathing support, but there are only so many ventilators available. With that in mind, MIT is working on FDA approval of an emergency ventilator system (E-Vent). They have submitted the design to the FDA for fast track review. The project is open source, so once they have approval the team will release all the data needed to replicate it.

          • Techie collective to whip together official WHO-backed COVID-19 app within a week to meet ‘urgent, global need’

            The app, aimed at “location-based containment, triage & response”, is described here. People involved include US-based Dr Daniel Kraft, who describes himself as a “physician/scientist and innovator”; Bruno Bowden, ex-Google; and Dean Hachamovitch, formerly general manager for Internet Explorer. Three WHO representatives – Peter Singer (special advisor), Ray Chambers (global ambassador) and Sameer Pujari (digital health and innovation) – are also listed on the team, which calls itself the COVID App Collective.

          • COVID-19 response: North Junior High teacher uses 3D printer to make N95 masks

            When health care workers sounded the alarm about a serious shortage of N95 masks to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, people across the state and country started sewing handmade medical masks.

            A St. Cloud school district teacher has also taken up the initiative but in a more high-tech way: printing face masks on a 3D printer.

            “I have the materials. I have a little bit of knowledge. I thought, can I attempt this?” said Rick Wilson, who teaches engineering and technology at North Junior High. “And (the district was) great about it.”

          • Coronavirus: Turning windscreen wiper motors into emergency ventilators

            A group of Spanish innovators is attempting to alleviate the Covid-19 ventilator crisis by developing an ultra-simple machine that uses a car windscreen-wiper motor to turn a manual resuscitation bag into automated breathing aid.

            The machine can be made in four hours by an untrained person, using simple materials such as wood, acrylic or aluminium. “You don’t need special tools. All you need is a saw,” says Lluís Rovira Leranoz, a Barcelona-based robotics maker at prototyping company Protofy, one of the leads on the OxyGEN project.

          • Anomali Offers Open Source Threat Intelligence to Fight COVID-19-themed Cyber Attacks

            In response to the growing threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19)-themed cyberattacks, Anomali, a leader in intelligence-driven cybersecurity solutions, today publicly released over 6,000 open source Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) that were collected, curated, and validated by Anomali researchers. In addition, Anomali has also released a related Threat Bulletin providing a narrative description of the attacks being seen. This actionable threat intelligence, which identifies COVID-19-related threats and the malicious actors looking to capitalize on the pandemic, is available now for organizations to immediately feed into their cybersecurity technologies to rapidly and proactively block the identified threats.

          • Lynn student facilitates open-source community to combat COVID-19

            As the World Health Organization named COVID-19 a pandemic, the global need for medical equipment and fast, effective supply chain management became apparent.

            That’s when Ja’dan Johnson, Lynn University class of 2021 and Watson Scholar, joined MegaBots Founder Gui Cavalcanti to create Open Source COVID-19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS).

            OSCMS launched as a Facebook group March 12 and grew to a community of over 40,000 in less than two weeks. The group’s mission is to mobilize makers and fabricators around the world to generate open-source plans, build a library of medical supply requirements and designs, and create distributable plans for organizing effective local responses to medical supply chain interruption.

          • A 3D-printed ventilator prototype from an open-source project

            A 3D-printed #ventilator prototype from an open-source project

            https://www.domusweb.it/en/news/2020/03/20/open-source-project-to-build-a-medical-ventilator-autonomously.html

            A research group including the Irish Colin Keogh and Gui Calavanti, CEO and co-founder of Breeze Automation, studied in less than a week the prototype of a ventilator made by 3D parts and other easily available low-cost materials. The project is open-source. The research team is also focusing on other projects for the rapid and cost-effective manufacture of products required for this health emergency, such as masks or other equipment needed by medical personnel.

          • Respirators From 3D Printers: How The Spanish Maker Community Fights Covid-19 From Their Living Rooms

            As hospitals prepare to take in more patients with the coronavirus, they are in acute need of life-saving equipment: ventilators that help patients breathe, face masks and protective gear. The problem is, there aren’t enough of them. And there’s not enough manufacturing capacity to easily hike up production.

            This is where the do-it-yourself (DIY) community in Spain comes in: Under the name Coronavirus Makers, over the last few weeks, thousands of citizens have been connecting online to fight against the shortage of life-saving equipment. From their living rooms and basements, they tinker with ideas and designs, share them, build prototypes and print them out with 3-D printers.

            Ashoka Fellow David Cuartielles and César García, both innovators in the open source space, are helping to curate the Coronavirus Makers Forum that they set up on March 13 as the crisis was getting worse. The Forum takes a bird’s eye view of all the community’s activities, connects members, extracts insights, and builds bridges to health care institutions and experts — to speed up solutions that could save lives.

          • Could a bunch of internet denizens give us more ventilators?
          • COVID-19 Data: Will the Open Source Community Succeed Where the Federal Government Failed?
          • Open Source Face Shield to Help Block COVID-19

            While face masks that block particles from coming into the lungs via the nose and mouth are important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the eyes and the rest of the face can also be a pathway for the disease to find its way into the body.

            There are now a number of projects around the world, big and small, manufacturing breathing masks as fast as they can. A group of designers and engineers in New York City with access to a machine shop has designed a face shield that can be quickly, cheaply, and easily manufactured using simple tools and supplies available in local hardware stores.

            Details are posted online on how to build new masks, including design files, and you can also help the organization by joining their distribution efforts. All at this link…

        • Open Access/Content

      • Programming/Development

        • Introducing micro.sth

          Many developers turn their noses up at PHP, but I have a soft spot for it. For me, it’s the most approachable programming language by far. It feels intuitive in a way no other languages do, and it makes it possible to cobble together a working application with just a handful of lines of code. So whenever I can’t find a tool for a specific job, I try to build one myself.

          The latest project of mine is a case in point. I was looking for a simple application for keeping a photographic diary, and I was sure that I’d be able to find an open-source tool for that. I searched high and low, but I came back empty-handed. Sure, there are plenty of static website generators, but I’d prefer something that doesn’t require me to perform the write-generate-upload dance every time I want to post a quick update. And I need something that I can use not only to maintain a simple diary, but also store notes, manage tasks, and draft articles — all this without getting bogged down by configuring templates, defining categories, and tweaking settings. And because I want most of my content to be private, I should be able to protect access to it with a password.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RProtoBuf 0.4.17: Robustified

          A new release 0.4.17 of RProtoBuf is now on CRAN. RProtoBuf provides R with bindings for the Google Protocol Buffers (“ProtoBuf”) data encoding and serialization library used and released by Google, and deployed very widely in numerous projects as a language and operating-system agnostic protocol.

          This release contains small polishes related to the release 0.4.16 which added JSON support for messages, and switched to ByteSizeLong. This release now makes sure JSON functionality is only tested where available (on version 3 of the Protocol Buffers library), and that ByteSizeLong is only called where available (version 3.6.0 or later). Of course, older versions build as before and remain fully supported.

        • Git 2.26 fetches faster by default

          With the recent release of Git 2.26, the open source distributed version control system uses version 2 of Git’s network fetch protocol by default.

          This protocol, introduced in 2018, addresses a problem with the old protocol, whereby a server would immediately list all of the branches, tags, and other references in the repository before the client could send anything. Use of the old protocol could mean sending megabytes of extra data for some repositories, even when the client only wanted to know about the master branch.

          [...]

          New config options, including the ability to use wildcards when matching credential URLs. Git config options can be set for all connections or only connections to specific URLs.

        • IoT Adoption Survey Reveals Open Source Rules

          The Eclipse Foundation’s IoT Working Group has issued a report that reveals that for commercial organizations the IoT is real and adoption is growing, albeit with a degree of caution. As far as IoT is concerned, the open source model clearly dominates.

          Conducted online between October and December 2019, with 366 respondents, the IoT Commercial Adoption Survey was the first exercise of its kind. Its aim was gain a better understanding of the IoT industry landscape by identifying the requirements, priorities, and challenges faced by organizations that are deploying and using commercial IoT solutions. It can be seen as the counterpart of the IoT Developer Survey, which since 2015 has been an annual exercise reporting on the programming languages, platforms, infrastructure and tools used for building IoT solutions.

        • What happens when the maintainer of a JS library downloaded 26m times a week goes to prison for killing someone with a motorbike? Core-js just found out

          In November 2019, Denis Pushkarev, maintainer of the popular core-js library, lost an appeal to overturn an 18-month prison sentence imposed for driving his motorcycle into two pedestrians, killing one of them.

          As a result, he’s expected to be unavailable to update core-js, a situation that has project contributors and other developers concerned about the fate of his code library.

        • [Old] When to assume neural networks can solve a problem

          The question: “What are the problems we should assume can be solved with machine learning?”, or even narrower and more focused on current developments “What are the problems we should assume a neural network is able to solve?”, is one I haven’t seen addressed much.

          There are theories like PAC learning and AIX which at a glance seem to revolve around this, as it pertains to machine learning in general, but if actually applied in practice won’t yield any meaningful answers.

          However, when someone asks me this question about a specific problem, I can often give a fairly reasonable confidence answer provided I can take a look at the data.

          Thus, I thought it might be helpful to lay down the heuristic that generate such answers. I by no means claim these are precise or evidence based in the scientific sense, but I think they might be helpful, maybe even a good start point for further discussion on the subject.

        • Uber Open Sources Piranha Stale Code Remover

          Uber has released an open source version of Piranha, a tool that scans source code to delete code related to stale, or obsolete, feature flags.

          Piranha is run at Uber in an ongoing pipeline for its Android and iOS codebases and has been used to remove around two thousand stale feature flags and their related code. Uber says it has led to a cleaner, safer, more performant, and more maintainable code base.

        • Piranha Is An Open Source Tool That Automatically Deletes Obsolete Code
        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxi) stackoverflow python report
          • Python: Is And ==

            In Python, == compares the value of two variables and returns True as long as the values are equal.

          • Python File I/O

            Start writing here..In this article, you’ll learn about Python file operations. More specifically, opening a file, reading from it, writing into it, closing it and various file methods you should be aware of.
            What is a file?
            File is a named location on disk to store related information. It is used to permanently store data in a non-volatile memory (e.g. hard disk).

            Since, random access memory (RAM) is volatile which loses its data when computer is turned off, we use files for future use of the data.

          • Python: Pros and Cons of Lambda

            lambda is a keyword in Python, we use it to create an anonymous function. So we also call lambda functions as anonymous functions.

          • Learning pandas by Exploring COVID-19 Data

            The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides daily-updated worldwide COVID-19 data that is easy to download in JSON, CSV or XML formats. In this tutorial, we will use the pandas data analysis tool on the comma-separated values (CSV) data to learn some of the basic pandas commands and explore what is contained within the data set.

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Using a 40‐year Old Markup Language on the Web

        Historically, troff has been a widely used typesetting language that looks back at a long history.[0] Today’s arguably biggest use of troff are man pages. Man pages come actually in two flavors: ‐man and ‐mdoc macros. The ‐man macros are the ones originally used to typeset the first volume of the UNIX manuals back in the 1970s.[1] In the 80s, the ‐mdoc macros were developed on BSD. The major difference between the two is how much semantic input they allow. ‐man is purely presentational. ‐mdoc is highly semantic; for example, .Pa is a macro to indicate a path. GNU and the entire Linux ecosystem seem strangely attached to the ‐man macros. Furthermore, most “anything to man page” converters output ‐man because they cannot possibly infer the ‐mdoc macros from presentational markup; this is e.g. the case with Mark‐ down. Meanwhile, every BSD, illumos and macOS have moved to ‐mdoc. For more details, see: Kristaps Dzonsons, “Fixing on a Standard Language for UNIX Manuals,” ;login: 34(5), pp. 19‐23, USENIX, Berkeley, CA (October 2009).

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • Advice from a home-school veteran: Ditch the schedule and let your kids play

        I feel for all these parents now, thrust into a home-schooling world they didn’t choose for themselves, while trying, in many cases, to work from home at the same time. I hope they learn to ditch those whiteboard schedules and stop trying to replicate school. I hope they take this opportunity to give kids what they could use more of: independence, time for play. If schools are assigning work, I hope families can get through it quickly so there’s time for stories. For games. For art. Time for those kids to pursue whatever sets them gleaming.

        For my children, the strategy of relaxing worked. My oldest, that kid who made ridiculous movies about elves? He’s now a cinematographer in Brooklyn — one of his recent projects was the Netflix documentary “Fyre.” The girl who narrated her own cooking shows now works for a nonprofit as a food educator in — when they’re open — New York City public schools. And my youngest, who binged on comics and atlases, is (presumably) off to college this fall, planning to study international relations — and comedy.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Russian [Attackers] Exploited Windows Flaws in Attacks on European Firms

            Analysis of the infrastructure used by the [attackers] led to the discovery of an executable named comahawk.exe that incorporated two local privilege escalation exploits targeting Windows.

            The vulnerabilities, tracked as CVE-2019-1405 and CVE-2019-1322, were patched by Microsoft in November 2019 and October 2019, respectively. Microsoft’s advisories for both these flaws say “exploitation [is] less likely”

            In mid-November 2019, NCC Group, whose researchers reported the vulnerabilities to Microsoft, published a blog post describing the weaknesses. Shortly after, someone made public an exploit named COMahawk that weaponizes CVE-2019-1405 and CVE-2019-1322.

          • Global insurer Chubb hit by Maze ransomware: claim [iophk: Windows TCO]

            According to its own website, Chubb had more than US$177 billion (A$291 billion) in assets and reported US$40 billion of gross premiums in 2019. The company says it has offices in Zurich, New York, London, Paris and other locations, and has more than 30,000 employees.

            iTWire contacted Chubb’s Australian office for comment. A spokesperson responded: “We are currently investigating a computer security incident that may involve unauthorised access to data held by a third-party service provider.

          • Operation Poisoned News: Hong Kong Users Targeted With Mobile Malware via Local News Links

            A recently discovered watering hole attack has been targeting iOS users in Hong Kong. The campaign uses links posted on multiple forums that supposedly lead to various news stories. While these links lead users to the actual news sites, they also use a hidden iframe to load and execute malicious code. The malicious code contains exploits that target vulnerabilities present in iOS 12.1 and 12.2. Users that click on these links with at-risk devices will download a new iOS malware variant, which we have called lightSpy (detected as IOS_LightSpy.A).

          • Surviving the Frequency of Open Source Vulnerabilities

            One hurdle in any roll-your-own Linux platform development project is getting the necessary tools to build system software, application software, and the Linux kernel for your target embedded device. Many developers use a set of tools based on the GNU Compiler Collection, which requires two other software packages: a C library used by the compiler; and a set of tools required to create executable programs and associated libraries for your target device. The end result is a toolchain.

            [...]

            In preference to working on features or product differentiation, developers often spend valuable time supporting, maintaining, and updating a cross-compilation environment, Linux kernel, and root file system. All of which, requires a significant investment of personnel and wide range of expertise.

          • Netgate® Extends Free pfSense® Support and Lowers pfSense Support Subscription Pricing to Aid in COVID-19 Relief

            Free zero-to-ping support, free VPN configuration and connection support, free direct assistance for first responder | front line healthcare agencies, and reduced pfSense TAC support subscription prices all introduced

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

            • How the hackers are using Open Source Libraries to their advantage [Ed: Conflating hackers with crackers]

              Ben Porter, Chief Product Officer at Instaclustr, writes about how the potential of Open Source Libraries must be balanced with the growing risk of library jacking by hackers.

            • Three Cases Where the Open Source Model Didn’t Work [Ed: Lots of anti-GPL FUD and not taking any account of Microsoft crimes, monopoly abuse, bribes and blackmail]

              So, why didn’t the open source model work in these three cases?

              The main reason is that in all of these cases, data structure specs and the description of algorithms are not the most important piece of the picture.

              The root of the problem is in the variety of real-life situations where bugs and failures may occur and lead to a data-loss situations, which is a total no-go in the real world.

              The open source community is successful, though it has been in create open source programs and platforms, is still no guarantee of industrial-grade software development(3). The core to success in developing a highly reliable solution is a carefully nurtured auto-test environment. This assures a careful track record and in-depth analysis for every failure, as well as effective work-flow, making sure any given bug or failure never repeats. It’s obvious that building such an environment can take years, if not decades, and the main thing here is not to know how something should work according to specs, but to know how and where exactly it fails. In other words, the main problem is not the resources needed to develop the code, the main problem is time needed to build up a reliable test-coverage that will provide a sufficient barrier for data-loss bugs.

              Another problem with open source is that it is usually accompanied by a GPL license. This limits the contribution to such projects almost solely to the open source community itself. One of the major requirements of the GPL license is to disclose changes to source code in case of further distribution, making it pointless for commercial players to participate.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Coronavirus: Under surveillance and confined at home in Taiwan

              I did not expect two police officers to come knocking at my door at 08:15 when I was still asleep in my bed on Sunday morning.

              My phone briefly ran out of battery at 07:30, and in less than an hour, four different local administrative units had called. A patrol was dispatched to check my whereabouts. A text was sent notifying that the government had lost track of me, and warned me of potential arrest if I had broken quarantine.

            • COVID-19 and Social Media Content Moderation

              Content moderation during this pandemic is an exaggerated version of content moderation all the time: Platforms are balancing various interests when they write their rules, and they are making consequential choices about error preference when they enforce them. Platforms’ uncharacteristic (if still too limited) transparency around these choices in the context of the pandemic should be welcomed—but needs to be expanded on in the future. These kinds of choices should not be made in the shadows. Most importantly, platforms should be forced to earn the kudos they are getting for their handling of the pandemic by preserving data about what they are doing and opening it up for research instead of selective disclosure.

              One thing is certain: With enormous numbers of people locked inside, spending more time online and hungry for information, the actions taken by platforms will have significant consequences. They may well emerge from this more powerful than ever. Right now the public is asking tech platforms to step up, but we also need to keep thinking about how to rein them in.

            • Your Bosses Are Trying to Spy on You Now More Than Ever

              Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, more employees are working from their homes, more than ever before. But does that mean managers and business leaders let up with their bizarre, over-reaching workplace surveillance? Not a chance.

              In an office, surveillance tech can be justified a little bit: It’s defensible for an employer to not want workers using company computers for personal business. Surveillance software also be used for cybersecurity. But now? Bloomberg reports that workplace-surveillance software is flying off shelves and being forced on people working in their own homes — a massive breach of trust and privacy.

            • Why cellphone tracking is the wrong way to try and contain COVID-19 at this point

              And even without these issues around implementation, there is no clear evidence that the use of contact tracing or tracking financing information such as purchases through mobile phones is sufficient to enforce physical distancing. Even with its substantial surveillance infrastructure, China had to force people to scan a QR code whenever they left or entered a building, public transit, or street.

            • [Old] EPIC Files Complaint with FTC about Zoom

              According to EPIC, Zoom intentionally designed its web conferencing service to bypass browser security settings and remotely enable a user’s web camera without the knowledge or consent of the user.

            • Video Calling Prompts Privacy Concerns as Pandemic Drives Work, Education Online

              As it stands now, Zoom’s privacy policy says that it may collect personal information, such as payment data and a device’s IP address, from anyone who interacts with its products, while also collecting information about recorded meetings that take place in a video conference. The company also includes a feature, called “attention tracking,” which administrators can turn off as requested, that informs meeting hosts whenever someone has clicked out of the main video call webpage for more than 30 seconds.

              Boyles said she’s concerned about having conversations with students about personal matters, including livelihood and mental health, through online platforms that may not be compliant with the federal standard.

            • Yeah, that Zoom app you’re trusting with work chatter? It lives with ‘vampires feeding on the blood of human data’

              As the global coronavirus pandemic pushes the popularity of videoconferencing app Zoom to new heights, one web veteran has sounded the alarm over its “creepily chummy” relationship with tracking-based advertisers.

              Doc Searls, co-author of the influential internet marketing book The Cluetrain Manifesto last century, today warned [cached] Zoom not only has the right to extract data from its users and their meetings, it can work with Google and other ad networks to turn this personal information into targeted ads that follow them across the web.

              This personal info includes, and is not limited to, names, addresses and any other identifying data, job titles and employers, Facebook profiles, and device specifications. Crucially, it also includes “the content contained in cloud recordings, and instant messages, files, whiteboards … shared while using the service.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump’s Narcoterrorism Indictment of Maduro Already Backfires

        The indictments are another brick in the foundation for a pretext for either a direct U.S. military invasion or a proxy war.

      • Experts: $1 Billion Cut in US Aid to Afghanistan Will Have Serious Implications

        “A $1 billion cut in U.S. aid would be a significant blow to the country. Afghanistan’s GDP is only about $20 billion per year, and much of that comes from international donations,” Johnathan Schroden, an expert on Afghanistan and director of Stability and Development Program at Washington-based think tank Center for Naval Analysis (CAN), told VOA.

      • Death by Drone: America’s Vicious Legacy in Afghanistan

        rdinary Afghans say it has happened to them many times and never—not once—has it made news anywhere outside Afghanistan. Last November, an American Reaper drone targeted a group of villagers in the mountainous area of Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktia and killed seven of them. Paktia has long been home to Taliban militants, but local residents say all the victims were civilians, including three women and one child. They had gone to the remote area to graze their cattle and collect wood. Suddenly, they were dead.

        “Nobody wants to listen to us. I doubt that the murderers will face justice one day. God is our only hope,” said Mohammad Anwar, a resident of Zazai Aryub, a district in Paktia. The perpetrators he is talking about are sitting far away in one of the many U.S. military bases where drone operators are working from.

        According to Anwar, who is related to the victims, some families lost their male breadwinners, as often happens after such attacks. “They are desperate. Their future is very uncertain,” he told Foreign Policy in a phone conversation.

        And now it is more uncertain than ever, even after 18 and a half years of war. The newly signed U.S.-Taliban truce contains secret annexes that reportedly will give the Taliban information allowing the Islamist insurgent group to prevent attacks during the U.S. withdrawal. But the Afghan national government and its officials have been cut out of the deal—though it calls for peace talks between various Afghan factions—and even more so, ordinary Afghans, who have no recourse to justice and don’t know whether the drone strikes will let up.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Google Bans Infowars Android App Over Coronavirus Claims

        Google confirmed to WIRED that it removed the app on Friday. The app had more than 100,000 downloads according to Google Play’s published metrics, and was rated “E10+,” meaning safe for all users 10 and older. The Infowars app sold products like supplements and protein powder, broadcast The Alex Jones Show live, and posted videos and articles from Jones and others.

      • Google has banned the Infowars Android app over false coronavirus claims

        The app was apparently removed because of a video posted by radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that, according to Wired, “disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.” Before it was removed, the app had more than 100,000 downloads, Wired reports.

      • 132 Websites Are Pushing Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories, Says NewsGuard Misinformation Monitor

        NewsGuard’s Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center has found 132 sites — 82% of which NewsGuard had identified as unreliable prior to the coronavirus outbreak — that are publishing false claims about the coronavirus. What’s in it for them? Money.

    • Environment

      • Trump Suspends Enforcement of EPA Laws, Because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to suspend its enforcement of environmental laws indefinitely in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, as The Guardian reports. The move sends a clear signal: pollute with impunity.

        “This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment,” EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote in an announcement.

      • Air pollution drops as Europeans stay at home

        The ESA observations by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show clear declines in pollution. The measurements were taken over 10 days to even out changes in the weather, which affect the concentration of nitrogen dioxide.

        Data from the European Environmental Agency paint a similar picture. The average concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the air in the Italian province of Bergamo, which has been completely paralyzed by the outbreak, were 47% lower last week than during the same week last year, the environmental agency said. The NO2 levels in Rome were 26% to 35% lower than in 2019, the environmental agency said.

        Much of the NO2 pollution comes from car exhausts, which is why the strict controls on citizens movements led to such dramatic declines.

      • Plan to divert Chihuahua’s water to US aborted after protests escalate

        The National Water Commission (Conagua) announced on Thursday that it would not divert additional water from a dam in Chihuahua to settle a 220-million-cubic-meter “water debt” with the United States after protests against the diversion turned violent.

        Conagua said in a Twitter post Thursday afternoon that it had taken the decision to stop the additional water diversion from the La Boquilla dam due to farmers’ rejection of the move, whose aim was to comply with the 1944 bilateral water treaty between Mexico and the United States.

      • Overpopulation

        • Condom Shortage Looms After Coronavirus Lockdown Shuts World’s Top Producer

          A global shortage of condoms is looming, the world’s biggest producer said, after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production.

          Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. It has not produced a single condom from its three Malaysian factories for more than a week due to a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.

    • Finance

      • Trump and His Allies Have Decided to Preserve Capitalism at Any Cost

        Pastor Tony Spell of Baton Rouge knows what you can do with your social distancing. “The virus, we believe, is politically motivated,” said Spell regarding the 1,170 people who attended services at his Life Tabernacle Church on Sunday. They came on 27 buses from five parishes, and will do so again, because “it’s not a concern,” according to Spell.

      • ‘Unacceptable’: Dems Fume After Trump Announces Plan to Refuse Congressional Oversight of Corporate Bailout Funds

        “This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt admininistration with zero accountability.”

      • On Strike Now for Three Years, Spectrum Workers Are Demanding Public Ownership

        Cable technician Troy Walcott, along with 1,800 of his fellow members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3, has been striking for three years, and there’s still no end in sight.

      • ‘Far More to Do,’ Say Progressives After House Approves and Trump Signs Corporate-Friendly Coronavirus Relief Act

        “The clock has already started on a fourth bill and we expect and demand that House Democrats fight to ensure that the needs of all communities are met.”

      • Our Economy Is a Sick Beast: The Corporate Debt Crisis Explained

        This time, any industry bailouts must place corporate investment under public control.

      • Cuomo Puts Private Equity Vulture in Charge of Coronavirus Economic Recovery

        New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference on Monday, March 23 that he was charging his former high-level aides William Mulrow and Steven M. Cohen with rebuilding New York’s economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Cuomo’s former aides have deep ties to Wall Street: Mulrow is a senior advisory director at the private equity giant Blackstone Group and Cohen is chief administrative officer of MacAndrews & Forbes, the conglomerate owned by billionaire Cuomo donor Ronald Perelman.

      • Covid-19: UK Withdrawal from the EU Single Market Must Be Postponed to 2023

        The enormous economic impact of the reaction to Covid-19 is plain for all to see. The effect on economies – which had barely recovered to 2008 levels after the great Banker Theft crisis – is enormous. You cannot just close down businesses and expect them all to restart three months later. Plus the hit to personal finances is going to result in a huge and lasting reduction in consumer demand, exaggerated by what I predict will be a much higher propensity to save against future disaster. Even optimistic economists are expecting a 15% drop in GDP and slow recovery. At recent levels it is going to take some seven years of compound economic growth to recover that.

      • Is Wall Street Killing Grandma?

        As we scramble to locate hospital beds and life-saving equipment during this pandemic, remember that we are fighting two diseases.

      • Shhhhh! The Revolutionary SEC Law That Venture Capitalists and Startups Don’t Use!

        Rule 506(c), to date, is mostly used by real estate funds. Even SEC does not understand why VCs and startups do not use it more. The Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Keith Higgins, said “one wonders why the new Rule 506(c) exemption has not caught on more widely with issuers who have long clamored for the general solicitation ban to be lifted.” There is the additional requirement of validation, with its increased paperwork load on prospective investors, but the effect of this is reduced by using third party validation companies that shield those documents from view, even by the fund that requested validation.

        I first encountered rule 506(c) after I had been a partner at OSS Capital for a year. I had felt constrained by the restrictions on speech that fund has under rule 506(b). When I started to found a separate company, the business incubator or “venture studio” Incubator.Fund, I resolved to use rule 506(c), and not simply for the free speech advantages. I have dedicated most of my life to charity, as one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software, and did not have a personal network, a phone book full of moneybags to raise funds from privately, as rule 506(b) assumes. The ability to advertise, using rule 506(c), allows me to reach far beyond my personal network.

      • FTC Punishes ‘Detox’ Tea Maker Teami, With a Slap on the Wrist for Influencers Including Cardi B

        the FTC, Teami promoted “deceptive health claims” and arranged for “endorsements by well-known social media influencers who did not adequately disclose that they were being paid to promote its products.” While some influencers did provide adequate disclosures, at least 10, including rapper Cardi B and singer Jordin Sparks, did not and have received warning letters from the government regulator.

        This action marks the first time the FTC has brought legal action against an advertiser using Instagram to promote unsubstantiated health claims, the agency said in a press call Friday morning.

      • COVID-19: The Craziest Things About America Highlighted by this Virus

        The corporate cronyism of America’s political system has been highlighted with a massive kleptocratic bailout, writes Caitlin Johnstone in this summary of U.S. haywire responses to the crisis.

      • How to manage a business without a headquarters

        “Weirdly, things haven’t changed much,” says Kyle Mathews as he sprays disinfectant on his hands. At least at work. His startup, Gatsby, helps websites manage content in the cloud. It has no headquarters and its 50-odd employees straddle the world, from Mr Mathews’s home in Berkeley, California, to Siberia.

        Such “fully distributed” firms were on the rise before covid-19. As national lockdowns spread, conventional ones are forced into similar arrangements. Those that have grown up this way offer lessons.

        Distributed organisations are as old as the internet. Its first users 50 years ago realised how much can be done by swapping emails and digital files. These exchanges led to the development of “open source” software, jointly written by groups of strangers often geographically distant.

        Today most distributed startups have open-source roots. Gatsby is one. Nearly all 1,200 employees of another, Automattic, best known for WordPress, software to build websites, work from home. GitHub, which hosts millions of open-source projects (and was acquired by Microsoft in 2018), may be the world’s biggest distributed enterprise. Two-thirds of its 2,000 staff work remotely. Most firms that build blockchains, a type of distributed database, are by their nature dispersed.

      • Open Application Network partners with Bloq for blockchain infrastructure

        In December 2020, blockchain infrastructure provider Nodesmith announced it would be winding down its support for a number of blockchain networks, including the OAN. Bloq is now working with Nodesmith to ensure infrastructure continuity for The Open Application Network (OAN) via the BloqCloud platform.

      • XRP is a ‘Decentralized, Open-Source Digital Asset’, Ripple SVP Marcus Treacher Rebukes Critics

        Ripple has been criticized for being centralized for years now. In fact, many critics have gone as far as calling XRP a fake cryptocurrency because even though XRP does use the blockchain technology, all existing coins were pre-mined at the beginning. The majority of XRP tokens are still in the hands of the Ripple creators and the company itself.

        Back in 2018, David Schwartz, the Chief Technology Officer of Ripple Labs wrote and published an article titled ‘The Inherently Decentralized Nature of XRP Ledger’ explaining why XRP is far more decentralized than other cryptocurrencies.

        Unfortunately, blockchain experts seem to agree that XRP is not really decentralized, in fact, Matt McKibbin, the founder of Decentranet told CCN that the digital asset is wholly centralized.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Donald Trump Meets the Easter Bunny

        The president has amazingly declared that the people in the United States will be able to resume all their normal activities after Easter, thanks to him.

      • Can Coronavirus Be a Catalyst for Thinking Globally?

        In an age of pandemics and climate crisis, countries’ health, environmental, and development policies are globally important.

      • Media Silent as Poll Workers Contract Covid-19 at Primaries That DNC, Biden Campaign Claimed Were Safe
      • Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections

        In advance of the 2020 Presidential election, KILL CHAIN: THE CYBER WAR ON AMERICA’S ELECTIONS, debuting THURSDAY, MARCH 26 (9:00-10:35 p.m. ET/PT), takes a deep dive into the weaknesses of today’s election technology, investigating the startling vulnerabilities in America’s voting systems and the alarming risks they pose to our democracy. From filmmakers Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels and Sarah Teale, the team behind HBO’s 2006 Emmy (R)-nominated documentary “Hacking Democracy,” and producer Michael Hirschorn, KILL CHAIN follows Finnish hacker and cyber security expert Harri Hursti as he travels around the world and across the U.S. to show how our election systems remain dangerously unprotected.

      • The Problem With China’s Victory Lap

        By then, the pandemic was on its way to wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and its citizens’ way of life—not least because of the actions of Xi Jinping’s own government. Yet in February, Trump again praised for Xi on Twitter, writing that “he is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus … Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation.”

      • This Is What an Opposition Party Is Supposed to Sound Like

        Employing a combination of moral outrage and devastating sarcasm, the Vermont senator shamed Republicans in a Wednesday Senate floor speech that ripped into them for prioritizing corporate bailouts while objecting to providing a measure of security for low-wage workers who have lost their jobs as much of the American economy has ground to a near halt.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Barbaric Decisions: Coronavirus, Refusing Bail And Julian Assange

        The ruling angered Doctors for Assange, comprising a list of some 200 physicians scattered across the globe. “Despite our prior unequivocal statement that Mr Assange is at increased risk of serious illness and death were he to contract coronavirus and the evidence of medical experts,” their March 27 statement reads, “Baraitser dismissed the risk, citing UK guidelines for prisons in responding to the global pandemic.” The group cited Baraister’s own solemn words deferring to the wisdom of the UK prison authorities. “I have no reason not to trust this advice as both evidence-based and reliable and appropriate.”

        The medical practitioners took firm issue with the steadfast refusal of the judge to accept the medical side of the equation. Not only was he at “increased risk of contracting and dying from the novel disease coronavirus (COVID-19)”, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, he was also more vulnerable because of the torments of psychological torture and a “history of medical neglect … fragile health, and chronic lung disease.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘Truly a Civil Rights Hero’: Rev. Joseph Lowery Dead at 98

        “We’ve come too far, marched too long, prayed too hard, wept too bitterly, bled too profusely and died too young, to let anybody turn back the clock on our journey to justice,” Lowery said in 2013.

      • Coronavirus makes even finding water to help the needy a struggle in Detroit

        Despite city efforts to restore service to those whose service has been disconnected for non-payment, hundreds — if not thousands — of residents remain in homes without running water, even though hand-washing is vital to slowing the pandemic.

        Detroit has shut off water to more than 141,000 accounts since an aggressive collections campaign began in 2014 in an effort to improve its finances. Last year alone, crews cut service to more than 23,000 homes.

        That’s left many vulnerable to the pandemic, said activists, who spent more than two weeks making phone calls before obtaining pallets of water bottles from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and local merchants.

      • Australian MP Joins Armenian-Assyrian-Greek Initiative for Genocide Recognition

        Member of Parliament and Chair of the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, John Alexander has signed an Affirmation of Support joining the Joint Justice Initiative launched by the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities.

        The Joint Justice Initiative was launched in Canberra last month with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU), Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) and Australian Hellenic Council (AHC), and calls for national recognition of the 1915 Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against its Christian Armenian, Assyrian and Greek populations.

      • Six shot dead over marital dispute

        Reportedly, a woman belonging to the family of the attackers had eloped with a man from Muhammad Ayub Lashari’s family, leading to a dispute between the two families. The former demanded that the woman and Lashari should be handed over to them but the latter refused. The two sides, reportedly, had held several rounds of negotiations before the incident took place.

      • Teen whose death may be linked to coronavirus denied care for not having health insurance, mayor says

        Parris said the teen went to an urgent care March 18.

        “He did not have insurance, so they did not treat him,” Parris said, adding the boy was sent to a hospital.

        En route, he went into cardiac arrest, according to the mayor. When the teen got to the hospital, he was revived and kept alive for six hours. But, it was too late, the mayor said.

      • Lancaster Teen Who Died Of Possible COVID-19 Complications Lacked Insurance, Delaying Treatment

        A 17-year-old boy in Lancaster, whose death was said to be from COVID-19 but is now being investigated by federal health authorities, sought treatment at an urgent care center but was turned away due to lack of insurance, according to the city’s mayor.

      • Bernie Sanders Leads Probe Into How Amazon Treats Workers During Pandemic

        In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Bernie Sanders asked the world’s richest man what he was doing to protect his workers in warehouses across the country, at least ten of which already have confirmed cases of coronavirus:

      • Computing Under Quarantine

        Under the current climate of lock-ins, self-isolation, shelter-in-place policies, and quarantine, it is becoming evident to more people the integral role computers play in our lives. Students are learning entirely online, those who can are working from home, and our personal relationships are being carried largely by technology like video chats, online games, and group messages. When these things have become our only means of socializing with those outside our homes, we begin to realize how important they are and the inequity inherent to many technologies.

        Someone was telling me how a neighbor doesn’t have a printer, so they are printing off school assignments for their neighbor. People I know are sharing internet connections with people in their buildings, when possible, to help save on costs with people losing jobs. I worry now even more about people who have limited access to home devices or poor internet connections.

        As we are forced into our homes and are increasingly limited in the resources we have available, we find ourselves potentially unable to easily fill material needs and desires. In my neighborhood, it’s hard to find flour. A friend cannot find yeast. A coworker couldn’t find eggs. Someone else is without dish soap. Supply chains are not designed to meet with the demand currently being exerted on the system.

      • China’s ‘success’ in stopping pandemic a ‘sheer fabrication,’ says US China expert

        Mosher is a celebrated international scholar who became in 1979 the first American research student to conduct anthropological research in China after the Cultural Revolution. He exposed the forced abortions of women due to the CPC’s “one-child policy” and as a result, was barred from entering China again.

        Mosher was also expelled from the PhD program of Stanford University, which became a controversy in the academic world. Critics said Stanford bowed down to Chinese pressure, but the university denied this and said Mosher was dropped because he violated research ethics and compromised the safety of his sources in China.

        Those sources may have aided Mosher in contesting CPC’s claim of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • If once is a misfortune and twice is careless, three times is…? Genentech loses UK SPC for Lucentis due to costly procedural error

        In the field of patents, an unintentional failure to pay the right fees at the right time can be a very costly mistake. The costs of a mistake are potentially even more significant for Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC). SPCs provide extra years of patent protection (up to 5 years) based on a marketing authorisation for a clinical product. With a bulk of sales happening during the life of SPCs, SPCs can thus be very valuable to a patentee. A recent case before the UK High Court considered the consequences of underpaying the annuity fees for a UK SPC ([2020] EWHC 572 (Pat)). The UK is unique in requiring these fees to be paid as a lump sum at the start of the SPC term (Rule 116, Patents Rules). Unfortunately for the patentee, it seems there is little that can be done to rectify the mistake of underpayment.

      • Patents

        • CARES Act Text – PTO Related Deadlines
        • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the USPTO

          The $2 trillion stimulus and economic rescue bill known as the CARES Act is moving forward in the Senate. Although not generally a key aspect of the legislation, the current proposal on the table includes temporary authority for the USPTO Director to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify, any timing deadline” established by the patent or trademark laws or by prior PTO regulation.

          [...]

          Dir. Iancu has privately indicated a need for the legislation, but has not stated publicly what if he would make any immediate actions or whether he would delegate his authority to the PTAB to make these determinations.

          My reading of the proposal is that it provides authority to the USPTO Director but does not place any requirement on the Director to act. Thus, a particular party who experiences problems with filing or meeting other deadlines will not have a claim under the statute.

          All of the deadlines are easy for the PTO Director to adjust with the one exception being the original filing date. In addition, international obligations may create some problems with adjusting PCT-related dates — although WIPO and the big-five are working through potential arrangements as we sit here today.

        • The President of The Community Plant Variety Office decides on an extension to deadlines due to COVID-19

          Yesterday, the 24th of March, the President of the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) took a “Decision concerning the extension of time limits” that fall in the period 17 March – 3 May included, until 4 May 2020 for parties to proceedings before the Office and the Board of Appeal.

        • Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patent Offices and Federal Courts — March 26 UPDATE

          On March 11, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declared that the COVID-19 outbreak “can be characterized as a pandemic,” cautioning that the WHO has “rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” At the time of the announcement, the WHO noted that there were 118,000 cases reported globally. In the fifteen days since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic, the number of global cases has almost quadrupled, with the WHO reporting in its latest situation report that as of March 26 there have been 462,684 cases. The Director-General also stated that “[t]his is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.” The WHO’s March 11 declaration — and global developments since then — raise the question of how the pandemic is affecting the patent community.

        • Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. v. Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dickinson v. Zurko, patent applicants (and with the advent of inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, patentees) have found it difficult to overcome Patent Office determinations of obviousness, due to the deference to factual issues the Zurko case imposed on the Federal Circuit in reviewing PTO decisions. But one Achilles’ heel to these difficulties arises over how the PTO construes claims, which remains subject to de novo review (because all the evidence before the Patent Office is inherently intrinsic evidence). And when the Office (through the PTAB) makes an error in construing a claim, the Federal Circuit remains ready to pounce, which was the basis for the Court overturning the PTAB’s invalidation on obviousness grounds of Kaken Pharmaceutical’s claims in the recent Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. v. Iancu decision.

          The case arose in an IPR over all the claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,214,506, which are directed to methods for topically treating fungal infections in human nails. The Board initiated the IPR on petition by Acrux Ltd. and Acrux DDS Pty. Ltd. (who are not party to the appeal), and found all claims of the ’506 patent to be unpatentable as obvious.

        • Respect for Judgment: Challenging the Federal Circuit’s Unique Finality Rule

          My Civil Procedure class at Mizzou is now “Online Civil Procedure.” The final topic in the course will be “respect for judgments.” A basic setup of our legal system is to offer substantial justice — giving all parties due process including an opportunity to be heard and judged by an impartial tribunal. Once that process is complete, the result is then seen as final and further challenges regarding the same issues or claims are precluded.

          In patent law, the sense of finality and respect for judgment has been substantially complicated with the rise of AIA trials.

          A case-in-point is Chrimar Systems v. Ale USA (Supreme Court 2020). Chrimar is typical of many contemporary cases because it involves parallel district court and PTAB litigation.

        • Fote v. Iancu: R.36 Decisions and the Reasons for Judgment

          We know that a district court judge deciding an issue on the merits must expressly the legal and factual basis for their decision. The rules of appellate procedure don’t provide the same requirement for appellate decisions. However, the Federal Circuit’s local rules suggest that it will issue no-judgments affirmance only when an “opinion would have no precedential value” and the lower tribunal decision is properly affirmed. Fed. Cir. Rules of Practice R. 36.

        • A Follow-up on CyWee and ZTE v. LG and the Public

          A few weeks ago, I covered a PTAB case that illustrates why the PTO’s proposed rule on who bears the burden on amended claims in IPRs is fatally flawed. In that case, ZTE challenged a CyWee patent and LG joined the ZTE petition. But CyWee filed an amended claim that ZTE wasn’t concerned by. ZTE chose not to oppose this amendment, which makes sense—but it’s also actively refusing to allow LG to step in to oppose the amendment. LG argued that they should be allowed to step in, and that the only reason ZTE was blocking them was because of some type of side arrangement between ZTE and CyWee.

          The PTAB panel in the case decided that LG would not be permitted to oppose, claiming the public benefits when a new claim is proposed at the PTAB and no one is permitted to oppose it. They also refused to inquire (or allow LG to inquire) into whether there was a side agreement of the type LG alleged.

          [...]

          It’s also not unthinkable, given evidence filed alongside the request for rehearing. LG asked ZTE whether it was representing that it had no written or oral agreement with CyWee. In response, ZTE’s lawyer said “I make no representations one way or another.” If there was no such agreement, ZTE’s lawyer could have saved his client time and money by stating that there was no such agreement. A refusal to represent that no such agreement exists suggests that, in fact, there is such an agreement.

          That’s relatively anodyne compared to the words out of Michael Shore’s mouth. Unsolicited, Shore contacted LG’s lawyers after the PTAB’s decision to say, “Get ready for the district court case, buddy.”

          [...]

          All of this leads back to one main problem—the PTO’s proposal to place the burden for amendments on the petitioner, rather than the patent owner. This case is exceptional because there’s a joined petitioner who would step in—in the average case, if the petitioner didn’t care to oppose an amendment, there’d be no active party bearing the burden and amended claims would effectively sail through unopposed.

          That’s why CCIA suggested to the PTO that it should place the burden on the party where ordinary legal principles suggest it should go—on the party requesting relief, the patent owner. The Board should rehear this case and reverse itself, but more importantly, the Director should revisit the PTO’s proposed rule and determine that a rule placing the burden on the petitioner is inappropriate.

        • European Union: EPO, EUIPO And UK IPO Advice In Relation To Coronavirus Outbreak

          The European Patent Office (EPO), European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) have published advice on measures being taken in view of the world-wide coronavirus outbreak.

          [...]

          The disruptions due to COVID-19 in Germany qualify as a “general dislocation” under Rule 134(2) EPC in a country where the EPO is located, and so the EPO has issued a notice stating that “periods” expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020 for all parties and their representatives. In accordance with Article 150(2) EPC, this extension applies also for international applications under the PCT.

        • The Impact of COVID-19 on the European Patent Office

          This is the third part of our three-part series on the impact of the COVID-19 on patent offices around the world (Part 1 was on the USPTO and Part 2 was on the Chinese Patent Office). We focus today on the European Patent Office (EPO), which is the regional patent organization for filing and prosecuting European patent applications. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Europe, the EPO has taken some steps to ease pressure on Applicants and on the Office. The EPO has made a number of announcements regarding coronavirus-related impacts, which are summarized below.

        • Claiming a Super-Augmenting a Persona to Manifest a Pan-Environment Super-Cyborg

          This pro se petition to the Supreme Court has a number of major problems, but does ask one interesting question:

          Whether 35 U.S.C. §112 [the enablement doctrine] is satisfied when the specification of a patent application is enabling to an interdisciplinary team of two or three persons, working in cooperation?

        • Does the requirement for a “technical contribution” in a novel selection survive? (if selecting from convergent lists) (T 1621/16)

          The EPO has famously strict requirements with respect to support for amendments. An important principle in the prosecution of patent applications is that any amendments the applicant makes to the application must have basis or support in the application as filed. The EPO is particularly strict with regards to amendments based on the combination of features from different parts of a patent specification. A recently published decision from the Boards of Appeal (T 1621/16) clarified the criteria for assessing whether a selection from multiple “convergent lists” (i.e. lists with features of increasing preference) is supported.

          The Board of Appeal found that the selection from convergent lists is different in principle from a selection from a normal, non-convergent lists. However, to have basis in the application as filed, the Board reasoned that the selection from multiple convergent lists must not be identified with a previously undisclosed technical feature and must be supported by a pointer elsewhere in the specification. Importantly, basis and novelty are inextricably linked. In particular, the same test for “disclosure” is used. Therefore, if applied by other Boards of Appeal, this decision also has implications for the assessment of novelty of selection inventions from multiple convergent lists.

          [...]

          The principles of basis and novelty are inextricably linked. The test for novelty and added matter apply the same Gold Standard test that a disclosure must be clearly and unambiguously derivable (Case Law of the Board of Appeal, II.E.1.2.1). The recent Board of Appeal decision on the selection from convergent lists therefore has implications for the novelty of inventions in view of prior art disclosing converging lists. Applying the Board of Appeal’s reasoning in T 1621/16, the selection of multiple features from converging lists in the prior art would be novel if the selection was associated with a previously undisclosed technical feature. The question remains whether the identification of a previously undisclosed technical feature of the selection would also be necessary for novelty.

          The novelty requirement that a selection invention must relate to a “technical contribution” has otherwise fallen out of favour with the Boards of Appeal. Such a requirement is now broadly considered to be more properly associated with an assessment of inventive step rather than novelty. There have been recent calls to refer the issue of whether the requirement is necessary to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA). It will therefore be interesting to see whether the reasoning of T 1621/16 is applied by other Boards. If nothing else, the case is a reminder that the Boards of Appeal may not yet have reached a consensus on the appropriate criteria for assessing the novelty of selection inventions.

        • Oral Arguments at the Federal Circuit (via Telephone)

          The Federal Circuit is set to start holding oral arguments again for the week of April 6, 2020. The arguments not be in-person but rather conducted via telephone (audio only). The currently conceived setup won’t allow non-parties to listen-in on the conversation but the court is recording oral arguments and has indicated that it “will continue to release same-day audio for all arguments.” Additionally, a substantial number of scheduled arguments have been cancelled with a notice that:

          The panel of judges that will decide this appeal has determined that oral argument is unnecessary. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2)(C).

        • Software Patents

          • Europe stands several times more to lose than to gain from condoning Nokia’s refusal to license automotive suppliers

            Antitrust enforcement should simply be a question of legal merits. But the industrial-policy argument that some forces within the European Commission make in Nokia’s (and, by extension, Ericsson’s) favor just doesn’t withstand even superficial scrutiny.

            [...]

            Europe’s automotive industry dwarfs Nokia and Ericsson with respect to investment in research and development. According to ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association), “EU automotive investment in R&D has increased by 6.7% to reach €57.4 billion annually.” Macrotrends says “Ericsson research and development expenses for the twelve months ending December 31, 2019 were $4.107B, a 8.3% decline year-over-year.” Statista shows that Nokia’s R&D spend is also in decline, down to €4.41 billion. Here’s a column chart (click on the image to enlarge):

          • Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

            It’s often said that hard cases make bad law. And that is what had happened here: faced with an unreasonable number of potentially asserted claims in litigation, and a Plaintiff not required to identify which of those claims it would actually assert within the filing limit (one-year) between being served with a complaint and filing to initiate an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, Facebook played the novel gambit of trying to join its own IPR to attack the claims actually asserted against it. At the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, it actually worked (with a little assistance from the USPTO Director). But the Federal Circuit held otherwise, finding that joinder was only permitted for other parties who were seeking review of the same issues, not for the same party seeking to change the scope of the review. Thus, it vacated the PTAB’s decision on the late-added claims, despite otherwise affirming the PTAB’s decision on the merits of the claims.

            The dispute between Facebook and Windy City began on June 2, 2015, when Windy City sued Facebook for infringement of four patents in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Those four patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,458,245; 8,694,657; 8,473,552; and 8,407,356, have 58, 671(!), 64, and 37 claims, respectively. The Complaint did not identify which of those 830 claims Facebook allegedly infringed. Facebook was served with the Complaint the day after it was filed, and moved to dismiss it on July 24, 2015, arguing that the Complaint was deficient because it did not identify the allegedly infringed claims. Facebook then filed a motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of California on August 25, 2015.

            [...]

            In addition to the panel opinion, the Federal Circuit included additional views to address the POP’s decision in Proppant, which issued after primary briefing in the appeal, and whether deference would be appropriate. Facebook had earlier suggested the Federal Circuit should defer under Chevron, but the Federal Circuit had never done so with a nonprecedential Board decision (and expressly refused to do so here). But Proppant was precedential, which caused the Federal Circuit to look more closely. Proppant suggested that the Director had discretion to allow same-party joinder, but would only exercise that discretion where fairness requires it and would alleviate unfairness to a party.

            The Federal Circuit again rejected that deference for a number of reasons. First, it found the statute unambiguous, which preempts Chevron deference. Second, although the AIA gave the Director rulemaking authority in relation to the procedures for joinder in IPRs (and therefore deference would be most appropriate), it found that was different from interpreting the statute itself. The panel found that there was no deference indicated for statutory interpretation, just filling in the interstices of the statute. Finally, the Federal Circuit found that there were other ways to alleviate the potential unfairness to parties (including patent local rules, which normally would call for early disclosure of asserted claims) that would cause less disruption to the statutory scheme. Thus, it rejected the Proppant decision.

          • Customer Suit Exception and Stays for Judicial Economy

            Sprouts is a supermarket chain sued by Motion Offense, LLC in W.D.Tex. for infringing its patents, US10013158 & US10021052 (processing and sharing a “data object”). The basic allegation in the case is that Sprouts’ is infringing the patents by using Dropbox. After hearing that its customers were being sued, Dropbox itself brought a declaratory judgment action in D.Del. against Motion Offense seeking a non-infringement declaration.

            [...]

            In patent cases, courts have recognized a customer suit exception to the first to file rule in a situation where there are parallel lawsuits involving (1) the prime manufacturer/originator of an infringing product/service and also (2) customers of the prime manufacturer. Even if the customers were sued first, courts have found it proper and appropriate to stay those cases pending outcome of the big one against the prime manufacturer. Other approaches abound — including synchronizing motion practice and partial joinder. The guiding principles for all of these approaches is “efficiency and judicial economy” Tegic Commc’ns Corp. v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Texas Sys., 458 F.3d 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2006). As stated by Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: The rules “should be construed, administered, and employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”

          • Rakuten joins open access research group to fast track open source network technology

            Japanese mobile network operator, Rakuten, has formally joined the Open Invention Network, in a bid to speed up research and development of open source mobile network technologies.

            The Open Invention Network is committed to facilitating freedom of action for its community members and users of Linux or open source software. The OIN already has 3,100 members from across the global telecoms community.

            [...]

            Rakuten is currently Japan’s smallest mobile network operator, but will look to grow its subscriber base rapidly as it scales up its 5G offering throughout the year.

          • Japanese operator Rakuten joins open source research group to fast track R&D
      • Trademarks

        • China says ‘No’ to the malicious filing of Coronavirus-related trade marks

          Recently, this provision has been used to refuse registration of Coronavirus pandemic-related trade mark applications.

          [...]

          A brief note here: Huoshenshan Hospital (火神山医院, Vulcan Mountain Hospital) and Leishenshan Hospital (雷神山医院, Thor Mountain Hospital) are both urgent makeshift medical facilities in Wuhan, set up specifically to tackle Coronavirus. It took around ten days from the beginning of construction to the admittance of the first patients (BBC report and Telegraph footage). These two field hospitals are quite special to Chinese people, not only because they saved thousands of lives but also because their whole construction processes were livestreamed in real time, round the clock. Tens of millions of people watched the livestreaming (partly because cities were on ‘lockdown’ and people were quarantined at home), and they became so familiar with the construction vehicles at the site that they gave them nicknames, e.g. ‘The Cement King’.

          Dr Li Wenliang (李文亮) is doctor who first warned about the epidemic outbreak. He died, aged 33, in Wuhan after contracting Coronavirus. Needless to say, he will be remembered by many of us. As Professor Dr Jie Qiao said to The Lancet: ‘I deeply mourn for all the medical practitioners passing away in the struggle against this emerging infectious disease, especially Dr Li Wenliang, as one of the whistle-blowers dedicating his young life in the front line. We were encouraged by his dedication to patients and we will continue to fight against the virus to comfort the dead with the final victory.’

        • Are lemmings a threat to the Disney+ brand?

          Ask a Kat reader what comes to his mind when hearing the word “lemming”, and he will probably say: “Aren’t they the rodents [Merpel says, “technically they are voles"] that live in the frozen north and who every so often commit mass suicide by hurtling themselves over a cliff into the wide ocean”. This image of lemmings is now a mainstream metaphor, where accusing a group of “lemming- like behavior” is a way of describing impulsive, herd-like behavior, even mass hysteria, usually ending in a mass disaster.

          The only problem is—it ain’t so. As Alaska state wildlife biologist Thomas McDonough categorically stated in an article published back in 2003 by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, “It’s a complete urban legend” [Merpel says, “Or the wildlife equivalent”], confusing dispersal with migration. If lemmings over-breed, some may, moving as a group, seek an alternative food supply which may, in certain circumstances, lead some of them to venture into the open sea. But acts of intentional mass suicide, vole-style-not a chance.

      • Copyrights

        • Stairway to Heaven: The impact of Zeppelin on Katy Perry’s copyright infringement case – overturned

          The Katy Perry decision for copyright infringement and $2.8M in damages [Katposts here and here] has been overturned. This judgement, made on the 16th March, comes in the wake of the decision on 9th March that Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ did not infringe the copyright of the song ‘Taurus’, [Kat post here].

          [...]

          At trial, the plaintiffs argued that there were “five or six” protectable elements in their ostinato; length (8 notes), rhythm, melodic content, melodic shape, timbre or quality and colour of the sound, and the placement. Although in their opposition papers they extended this to nine elements. The defendants argued that none of these elements were individually protectable and the court agreed. Highlighting that the plaintiff’s evidence from their expert musicologist was that any single one of those elements would not have been enough, but it was the combination of them that supported his conclusion. Therefore, the plaintiff’s burden to prove the protectable elements of their ostinato was not met.

          Furthermore, the evidence of the musicologist [for the plaintiff, apparently] was that several of the elements where unoriginal to such an extent that the choices were tendencies in popular music “the way that the ostinato resolves is not so much original so much as it is necessary.” The court demonstrated that, as a matter of law, the courts have routinely denied copyright protection for such commonplace elements. As such, pursuant to the extrinsic test, the individual elements of the ostinato were deemed not to be protectable by copyright. [In line with Zeppelin, where the court specifically stated that descending chromatic scale, arpeggios, and other common elements are not protected by copyright, which at the time seemed at odds with the KP case].

        • Allen v. Cooper – U.S. States Have Sovereign Immunity from Copyright Damages

          Last month, this Kat posited my observations and predictions regarding a case before the U.S. Supreme Court about state sovereign immunity in copyright, Allen v. Cooper. Today, the Supreme Court issued a disappointing ruling; all 9 justices concurred that Florida Prepaid (a similar Supreme Court case in the patent context) is binding precedent. As a result, the Court unanimously ruled that Congress did not validly abrogate state sovereign immunity through the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) under neither Article 1 of the Constitution nor under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment.

        • Led Zeppelin ruling should ease burden on copyright defendants

          Lawyers say the Ninth Circuit‘s decision to get rid of the inverse ratio rule will affect all copyright-intensive industries and clear up sloppy analysis

        • [Guest post] ‘Upload filters’ and human rights: implementing Article 17 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

          The EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (the CDSM Directive) requires the European Commission, in cooperation with copyright holders, services, user groups and others, to meet up to discuss potential practical solutions for the implementation of Article 17 therein (the provision concerning online content sharing service providers (OCSSPs)’ obligations in relation to the making available of user uploaded content (UUC), also known in jargon as the ‘value gap’ provision).

          Article 17 also requires OCSSPs to enter into licensing agreements with rightholders for the making available of copyright content uploaded by users of their service. If a licence is not concluded, these services must make ‘best efforts’ to prevent the making available of infringing content.

        • Publishers Sign Onto a Coronavirus ‘Education Continuity License’

          Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), based in Danvers, Massachusetts, has released a statement today announcing what it calls an “education continuity license” intended “to enable creative approaches to remote teaching and distance learning made necessary by the pandemic.”

          In its statement, the company says that responsible educators in parts of the United States have asked about their need to use copyrighted content and materials “in innovative new ways to support distance learning.”

          In response, CCC says it’s coordinating with rights holders “to authorize the use of their materials at no cost by educators as required by the pandemic during this time of emergency.”

          Copyright Clearance Center stipulates that it isn’t delivering educational materials or content to educators. Instead, it’s offering a new license that will authorize American school districts, educators, parents, and others to make immediate additional uses of materials that they have previously lawfully acquired (italics ours). CCC also says that it will not collect any fees from this “education continuity license” from any party, nor will it charge for its own services in administering the contract.

        • YouTube Refuses to Process DMCA Counternotice for ‘Creepy Bugs’ Cartoon

          An artist who uploaded a parody cartoon to YouTube and received a strike against his channel following a Warner Bros. complaint has been denied the opportunity to fight his corner. MeatCanyon uploaded a cartoon featuring a creepy ‘Bugs Bunny’ and later appealed using a DMCA counternotice. YouTube, however, refused to pass the notice on and dismissed the claim.

        • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold

          A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to place the cases filed by the RIAA and MPAA on hold for another six months. The lawsuits have been frozen for years now and are not expected to start anytime soon, as there’s no progress in the criminal case against the defunct file-sharing service.

The Fall of the UPC – Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It’s That Hilarious Delusion Again)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The funny thing? Even Team UPC isn’t buying the spiel of António Campinos, deputy clown of wannabe UPC chief.

Reichstag in Berlin

Summary: Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO’s official “news” section

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is definitely and undoubtedly a constant source of fury but also an occasional, part-time source of entertainment and amusement because amid all the scandals there are cover-up attempts and hollow face-saving ambitions that verge on black comedy. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but humour is the best medicine when corruption is neither pretty nor funny.

In the previous part (part 8) we covered Team UPC’s shameless spin. It painted the UPC’s death as “life” and bad news (to them) as “actually good news in disguise” or something along those lines. Psychologists and psychiatrists leverage if not ‘prescribe’ such methods.

“Psychologists and psychiatrists leverage if not ‘prescribe’ such methods.”Over at Bristows, the latest blog post is Gregory Bacon’s spin that says: “Although the complaint regarding the Bundestag majority was held to be admissible, that was only by the narrowest majority of the Senate’s eight Justices, i.e. five votes to three.”

Like athletes who say, “I lost only by two seconds.”

Courts don’t work that way. The decision doesn’t come with a “score”.

“Yeah, Johnny, I lost the case, but some people in the jury liked me… see you when I get out of prison!”

It is definitely worth noting that the EPO (management, President, Vice Presidents) waited silently for whole week and abstained from saying anything at all about this blow in the FCC (Team UPC keeps breaking the law) until some lying politician opened the mouth and was possible to quote selectively. EPO management never looked this desperate.

“It is definitely worth noting that the EPO (management, President, Vice Presidents) waited silently for whole week and abstained from saying anything at all about this blow in the FCC…”For those who missed it (this did not receive much publicity), in the German language Christine Lambrecht wrote this little page and the EPO jumped all over it, tweeting the sheer spin of Campinos (warning: epo.org link) as though it is “news”. To quote:

The European Patent Office (EPO) strongly welcomes the announcement of the German government to continue its support for the introduction of the Unitary Patent system in Europe.

In a statement made yesterday on the country’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht expressed her intention to “carefully evaluate the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court and examine possibilities to remedy the identified lack of form still in the current legislative period.”

The EPO’s official “news” section has increasingly become a platform of propaganda. For a whole week nothing at all was said about the FCC’s decision. And now this from Christine Lambrecht?

They don’t even pretend to be objective. The above is a bunch of nonsense (quotes) from Campinos. He’s ‘pulling a Battistelli’ again. He’s neither honest nor good. He’s a charlatan and a fraud.

Even biased lawyers who run IP Kat (not the old site called IP Kat; it changed) have just reiterated the nature of this decision, saying “this decision will set the UPC back 5 years!”

“They don’t even pretend to be objective.”Magdaleen Jooste wrote: “The German constitutional court upholds complaint against UPC Agreement and implementing act! Read the decision here. It is reported that this decision will set the UPC back 5 years! The main reason for the decision was that the act by which Germany was to ratify the UPC Agreement, was not passed with the required parliamentary majority. Léon Dijkman provided a detailed analysis of the decision by the German constitutional court.”

We probably won’t quote many comments from that blog anymore; IP Kat censors many comments, ‘sanitising’ views it does not agree with because they don’t share the agenda of today’s IP Kat editors.

Anyway, the above “news” from the EPO site makes it rather clear that the “clean” EPO management (Campinos and his mates from EUIPO) is still looking to break the law and violate countless constitutions. It cherry-picks polticians that it selectively cites like a one-party military-turned-state North Korea.

If this does not repulse patent examiners, we wonder what will…

My friend Benjamin Henrion translated Lambrecht as saying: “I will continue to work to ensure that we can provide the European innovative industry with a single European patent with a European patent court.”

You cannot.

“Anyway, Lambrecht may wear something that says “Europe” on her lapel or sleeve. She might also wave a bunch of yellow-blue flags, but clearly Lambrecht misses the point. What Europe needs is a lot more than shallow rhetoric — the type of thing EPO staff has grown tired of.”“Well, Chinese and American industries as well,” Henrion remarked, for “2/3 of patents in Europe are given to them…”

“Most of their “clients” aren’t European. It’s a class (monopoly) thing, not a regional thing,” I told him

Just because the “E” in EPO says “European” doesn’t mean it works for Europe and for Europeans. It employs many, sure, but whose agenda does their work serve? Usually very rich people’s. No, not rich Europeans. Just rich people. Corporations. Multinationals. Monsanto, Exxon, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon…

Huawei untrustworthy? Serving the Chinese military? Danger to Europe? Guess who receives the most European Patents…

Anyway, Lambrecht may wear something that says “Europe” on her lapel or sleeve. She might also wave a bunch of yellow-blue flags, but clearly Lambrecht misses the point. What Europe needs is a lot more than shallow rhetoric — the type of thing EPO staff has grown tired of. Trampling on workers — and on all people — in the name of “unity” won’t make people more united; it might unite them against those who misuse those shiny labels in the service of goals that crush human rights.

Team UPC megaphones absolutely adore Lambrecht for what she said. JUVE is among them. JUVE reinvented itself as lying propaganda and we’ll say a lot more about JUVE’s role in UPC lobbying later in this ongoing series. As Henrion put it: “German Ministry of Justice keeps pushing for the UPC, JUVE interprets it as “Bundestag will vote again” https://www.bmjv.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2020/032620_Patentreform.html … https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/legal-commentary/german-government-announces-intention-to-move-forward-with-upc/ … This is not possible as Rules of Procedure are not made by parliament(s).”

“We’ll have a lot more to say about JUVE’s poor coverage later in this series.”True, it is not possible. If anything, this serves to show that the German Ministry of Justice does not understand the law. Yes, the irony. One might expect this from Donald Trump’s USDOJ, not Germany’s Ministry of Justice.

JUVE’s editor tweeted: “UPC latest: just six days after the judgment of the German Constitutional Court, the German government announces its intention to move forward with the Unified Patent Court.”

Did you fact-check, JUVE?

We’ll have a lot more to say about JUVE’s poor coverage later in this series.

What’s being suggested here is illegal and there would be further complaints against overt corruption. This, we might add, might be expected from Donald Trump. Are his grandfather’s relatives still in Germany and getting involved in such reckless politics based upon will and dogma rather than underlying laws and a constitution? Does the FCC have its authority diminished to mere “advisory”?

It’s not only us pointing this out by the way; “Kluwer Patent blogger” (oftentimes Bristows) published “Despite FCC ruling, Germany wants to push ahead with Unitary Patent system” and tweeted this bunch of nonsense only to be blasted in the comments, as usual. Immediately one person wrote: “And don’t forget the Rules of Procedure made by an administrative committee, which is contrary to the caselaw of the FCC, and caselaw of the ECHR on art6.”

“Even Team UPC boosters don’t quite buy the laughable spiel of Campinos and Christine Lambrecht; nor should they if they choose to become grown-ups and realistic rather than jingoistic self-serving liars.”“Concerned observer” wrote: “From the Ministry that brought you the late night shenanigans that ultimately killed the law approving the UPCA we are now served up a new strategy that has all the makings of another farce.

“Why prolong the agony and uncertainty? Why not state the obvious and acknowledge that, at the very least, the first step that will need to be taken is renegotiation and amendment of the UPCA? What is to be gained by not admitting that it will take more than just another vote in the Bundestag?

“Deeply disappointing.”

A vocal UPC booster in Munich quoted: “So a simple re-run of the previous approval law with the same UPCA text will not work. It would most probably also be contrary to EU law if Germany were to ratify an agreement that transfers sovereign rights (part of its jurisdiction)to an international court that is currently/2 https://twitter.com/kluwerblogger/status/1243477267629641728 [] partly located outside the EU and in a state which has explicitly declared that it is not minded to follow EU law and does not want to be subject to the jurisdiction of the CJEU.“

Even Team UPC boosters don’t quite buy the laughable spiel of Campinos and Christine Lambrecht; nor should they if they choose to become grown-ups and realistic rather than jingoistic self-serving liars. No, UPC isn’t for “SMEs” and it was never designed for them, either. The exact opposite is true.

Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Focus on presidential composure/temper misses the point when about 85% of workers want to go on strike

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Summary: Germany’s eagerness to keep Europe’s central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won’t help Germany’s image in the long run

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) corruption under António Campinos has been documented here since 2018 and as recently as this month. There’s no concrete reason to believe — only shallow PR ploys to swallow — that he’s better than Battistelli. He’s a continuation of Battistelli and further regression along the very same lines. The agenda or the goal is the same; it has nothing whatsoever to do with innovation or competitiveness.

“The agenda or the goal is the same; it has nothing whatsoever to do with innovation or competitiveness.”In our next post we’ll highlight the latest nonsense from Campinos. It’s about the UPC. SUEPO cited only The Register rather than some law firms on this matter. Rightly so! SUEPO has also, as it promised it would, produced these two English translations [PDF] of German Bundestag discussions [PDF]. We’d like to reprint these in HTML form below (the English version; there’s also French and the originals are both in German). From the document with the questions:

German Bundestag
19th Legislative Period

Printing Material 19/17383
02/25/2020

Brief Inquiry

of members of parliament Roman Müller-Böhm, Stephan Thomae, Grigorios Aggelidis, Renata Alt, Nicole Bauer, Jens Beeck, Dr. Jens Brandenburg (Rhein-Neckar), Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht, Dr. Marco Buschmann, Britta Katharina Dassler, Hartmut Ebbing, Dr. Marcus Faber, Daniel Föst, Otto Fricke, Thomas Hacker, Peter Heidt, Katrin Helling-Plahr, Markus Herbrand, Torsten Herbst, Katja Hessel, Manuel Höferlin, Reinhard Houben, Ulla Ihnen, Olaf in der Beek, Dr. Marcel Klinge, Daniela Kluckert, Pascal Kober, Carina Konrad, Konstantin Kuhle, Ulrich Lechte, Dr. Martin Neumann, Dr. Wieland Schinnenburg, Matthias Seestern-Pauly, Frank Sitta, Dr. Hermann Otto Solms, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Katja Suding, Michael Theurer, Dr. Florian Toncar, Gerald Ullrich, Sandra Weeser, Nicole Westig, Katharina Willkomm, and the parliamentary party FDP

Position and Procedure of the European Parliament

[Material omitted which the reply reproduced]

We ask the federal government…

[Questions omitted which the reply below quoted]

Berlin, 30th January 2020

Christian Lindner and parliamentary party

Berlin, 30 th January 2020

Christian Lindner and parliamentary party

____
General Production: H. Heenemann GmbH & Co. KG, Printing and Offset Office, Bessemerstraße 83–91, 12103 Berlin,
www.heenemann-druck.de

Distribution: Bundesanzeiger Verlag GmbH, PO Box 10 05 34, 50445 Cologne, Telephone (02 21) 97 66 83 40, Fax (02 21) 97 66 83 44, www.betrifft-gesetze.de
ISSN 0722-8333

To avoid repetition we’ve cut out the introduction and questions above, leaving them in tact below, instead.

The responses (to the questions listed below) are really quite the extraordinary ‘coverup’ with ridiculous excuses and dismissive revisionism. Here it goes:

German Bundestag
19th Legislative Period

Printing Material 19/17809
03/11/2020

Reply
of the federal government

regarding the brief inquiry of member of parliament Roman Müller-Böhm, Stephan Thomae, Grigorios Aggelidis, other members of parliament, and parliamentary party FDP

– Printing Material 19/17383 –

Position and Procedure of the European Parliament

Preliminary Note of the Inquirer

The European Patent Office (EPO) is the executive body of the European Patent Organization (EPOrg) with headquarters in Munich and has the function to check patent applications and to grant European patents. The EPO was created by international agreement and is a multinational institution with the status of a legal entity (https://www.epo.org/ about-us/foundation_de.html). It was agreed that the EPO will have legal immunity and that only the special rights created by the member countries is legally binding for the EPO (cf. Article 8 of the European Patent Agreement). The competence for legally binding decisions rests with the member countries of the organization in the course of a corresponding conference (https://www.epo.org/about-us/governance_de.html).

In the recent past, the EPO was confronted with widespread criticism. This varied from the announced use of financial means, to the quality standards of patents, to the treatment of employees, and to insufficient independence of the complaint’s offices (https://suepo.org/public/ex18052cdp.pdf, p. 4 and 5). A group of 924 employees criticized that the accelerated procedure during the evaluation of patents would be performed at the expense of quality. In their opinion, this is due to the requirements regarding productivity of the employees of the old management. Correspondingly, the international union within the EPO, the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO), especially criticized that the introduced scoring system would incentivize the examiners to produce masses of patents with low quality (https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Europaeisches-Patentamt-Patentpruefer-rebellieren-gegen-Qualitaetsverluste-3997082.html).

Besides that, the Federal Audit Office last year criticized the decision by the EPO that the assets of the office are supposed to be used in a financially speculative way (https://www.wiwo.de/politik/europa/rechnungshof-scharfe-kritik-an-finanzgebaren-des-europaeischen-patentamts/22722052.html). In the view of the Federal Audit Office, this is not necessary and may entail higher risks. Additionally, it is objected that through the investment transactions of the EPO, a “shadow budget” is managed in an international agency with public funds that is not covered by the international constitutive act of the member countries and violates democratic principles
______

The reply was transmitted on behalf of the federal government by writing through the federal ministry of justice and consumer protection dated 10th of March 2020.
Additionally, the printing material contains – in small font – the question text.


(Petra Sorge, Die unheimliche Wette, WirtschaftsWoche vom 22. Juni 2018, S. 35). This continues in a general criticism regarding the state of labor and the legal controls of the EPO (http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/europaeisches-patentamt-deutsches-arbeitsrecht-gilt-hier.724.de.html/?dram:article_id=347579).

Moreover, employee policy was criticized for some time. Employees of the EPO mostly appeared anonymously towards the press, according to their own statements due to fear of sanctions (Petra Sorge, Die unheimliche Wette, WirtschaftsWoche vom 22. Juni 2018, S. 36). Besides that, the right to strike for employees were limited by internal regulations and sick employees were ordered to stay home. Furthermore, measures against critical employees were introduced, such as key logger. There is also talk about an EPO internal investigation unit for employee matters (Petra Sorge, Wo kein Richter …, Cicero vom 3. Mai 2018). The former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court, Dr. Siegfried Broß, says that there are substantial deficits concerning the employment status of the employees. There are employee representatives, but they do not have any constitutive participation rights. Instead, they could only issue recommendations to which the president is not bound (https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/europaeisches-patentamt-deutsches-arbeitsrecht-gilt-hier.724.de.html?dram:article_id=347579).

The Federal Republic of Germany, as member country of the EPO, has a joint responsibility for the EPOrg. With the changed conditions caused by the change within management as of 1st July 2018 (https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Europaeisches-Patentamt-Chef-Battistelli-tritt-ab-Campinos-tritt-an-3857253.html) and in light of the previous events regarding the EPOrg, according to the inquirer, the question arises, whether and to what extent from the perspective of the federal government, the situation at the EPOrg has changed with the new management.

1. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of a loss in quality during the patent application examination and the granting of patents as compared to the previous management of the EPO, and how does the federal government assess it?

For the federal government, the quality of the patent assessment by the European Patent Office (EPO) is an important issue. Quality management and quality control must be secured sustainably within the workflow of the EPO. The federal government therefore welcomes the goals, the new president of the EPO has set himself in his strategy plan for 2019 to 2023. The achievement of these goals will be evaluated by the federal government on the basis of annual quality reports performed by the president of the EPO.

2. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusations in the press of the “shadow budget” and the financial risk management as compared to the former management of the EPO, and how does the federal government evaluate it?

The cited press reports are known to the federal government. The EPO issues a budget annually, in which also financial investments are considered and explained transparently. A so-called shadow budget does not exist. An appropriate risk management is in place.

Germany had voted against the new investment guideline for the management of cash funds during the 156th meeting of the supervisory board dated 27th/28th of July 2018 on the basis of the statement issued by the Federal Audit Office.


3. According to the federal government, are there deficits in terms of financial management and the treatment of employees at the EPO?

a) If so, what measures would the federal government assume then?
b) If no and from the point of view of the federal government, are the existing rules at the EPO regarding financial management and treatment of employees sufficient?

According to the federal government, there are no deficits as regards financial management at the EPO. The federal government welcomes that the new president of the EPO wants to improve the social climate and treatment of employees, and has introduced initial measures in the course of the strategy plan 2019 to 2023.

4. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of a violation of rights of employees caused by surveillance and curtailing of labor laws as compared to the former management of the EPO, and how does the federal government assess this?

5. According to the federal government, were there any complaints filed with police with respect to the EPO?

6. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of employee surveillance by internal investigation groups of the former EPO management, and how does the federal government assess this?

7. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of a curtailing outsourcing of the complaint’s office under the former EPO management (Petra Sorge, Wo kein Richter …, Cicero vom 3. Mai 2018), and how does the federal government assess this?

Questions 4 to 7 are answered together.

The questions involve confidential disciplinary procedures to which the federal government does not take position. This also applies to the procedures before the internal complaint’s offices.

8. In the view of the federal government, is there a “legal” control that was itself instituted by the EPO, (Petra Sorge, Wo kein Richter …, Cicero vom 3. Mai 2018) which itself ensures an effective legal protection?

9. In the view of the federal government, is the current of the complaint’s offices task as an authority, without being bound to restrictions, sufficiently met?


10. In the view of the federal government, is there a necessity to change the “legal” control system at the EPO?

a) If so, how should it be restructured in the view of the federal government?
b) If no, is it the opinion of the federal government that a legal control at the EPA is sufficient?

Questions 8 to 10 will be answered together.

It is the view of the federal government that an effective legal protection exists against decisions by the EPO. The federal government does not see any need for reform at the moment.

The European Patent Organization (EPOrg) was granted immunity by the national jurisdictions of the member countries as an international organization in the course of its official activity. This corresponds to a normal approach in all international organizations. Consequently, international organizations are not bound to national jurisdictions.

The EPO is a body of the EPOrg (cf. Article 4, Section 2a) of the European Patent Agreement (EPA). The employees of the EPO have the right for an appropriate legal protection before international courts (Administrative court of the International Labor Organization (ILOAT)) (cf. Article 13, Section 1 EPA).

For disputes that affect patent decisions of the EPO, the independent complaint’s offices are responsible. The employees of the complaint’s offices are not bound to instructions during their decision making and are only subjected to the European Patent Agreement (cf. Article 23, Section 3 EPA).

At the 148th meeting of the supervisory body of the European Patent Organization dated 29th/30th of June 2016, the supervisory body approved a comprehensive reform of the complaint’s offices, which further strengthened the autonomy of the complaint’s offices. The reform is effective as of 1st of July 2016.

11. How does the federal government assess the impact of the legal independence of the EPO from national and European law as regards the collaboration of the EPO with the EU member states to solve the criticism towards the EPO?

The immunity granted to the EPA complies with the normal approach at international organizations. It influences the objective collaboration between the EPA and their member states just as little as with other international organizations.

12. Is the federal government in dialogue with the EPO regarding the accusation or several accusations, and if so, how?

a) If so, what results have been achieved so far?
b) If so, what goals does the federal government pursue with a dialogue?

The federal government is in a continuing dialogue with the EPO as regards different issues. Important issues for the federal government are especially patent quality, social climate, and long-term financial stability.


13. In view of the federal government, has the situation as regards the accusation or several accusations improved with the new management?

The federal government especially welcomes the measure that the new EPO president took to improve social climate. This also includes discussions with individual employees as well as regular dialogues with stakeholders. The federal government also supports the intended measures for a further improvement in all other areas as outlined in the strategy plan for 2019 to 2023 by the EPO president.

14. Does the federal government plan to take political as well as legal actions, should the accusations against the EPO continue under the new management, and if so, what?

The federal government has no reason to believe that the accusations against the EPO will continue under the new management.

______

General Production: H. Heenemann GmbH & Co. KG, Printing and Offset Office, Bessemerstraße 83–91, 12103 Berlin, www.heenemann-druck.de

Distribution: Bundesanzeiger Verlag GmbH, PO Box 10 05 34, 50445 Cologne, Telephone (02 21) 97 66 83 40, Fax (02 21) 97 66 83 44, www.betrifft-gesetze.de
ISSN 0722-8333

We don’t plan to — as we lack time for it at this moment — examine each and every fallacy in the reply. There’s a load of whitewashing lies and embellishments. But let’s consider just the past few days’ EPO abuses, highlighting the fact that nothing is really changing and nothing has changed. They want us to believe that a little presidential shuffle — with the previous president’s mate put in power — solved everything.

Let’s focus on technical abuses and deviation from (i.e. violation of) the underlying laws. This is a topic we had covered for a number of years before we started focusing on big EPO scandals (in the middle of 2014). I’ve observed these issues for nearly 20 years, primarily as a coder.

“I’ve observed these issues for nearly 20 years, primarily as a coder.”As recently as days ago the EPO started advertising this thing called “DigitalisationIndex”. Earlier this past they started misusing terms like “digital technologies” quite a lot; we took note of that several times. They’re looking to justify granting illegal software patents (European Patents on algorithms) under the guise of “Digitalisation”.

Their apparently first tweet on this said: “#Digitalisation is triggering patenting growth. What regions do patent applications in this field come from? Check out this analysis of our latest patent statistics to find out: https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … ”

“Hey hi” (AI) and “4IR” are among the latest buzzwords EPO uses to grant illegal patents on abstract ideas (“ICT” and “CII” are considered too old and not sufficiently exciting). The EPO is run by a bunch of people who choose buzzwords over substance, partly because — as their professional background reveals — they’re simply not technical. It corrodes the image of the EU as some of these people come from EU jobs, notably EUIPO, and the EU actively participates in this promotion of patents on algorithms. In other words, EU officials too are increasingly playing a role in the violation of the EPC. German government officials don’t seem to mind as long as that generates activities on German soil. But that’s a problem. Is lawfulness being compromised for raw profits that are temporary and ruinous to one’s credibility? Also, at whose expense does this activity take place? Europe has far more to it than a bunch of patent litigation lawyers. Earlier today I chatted with somebody about the devastating effect of this patent regime on the European automobile industry. That somebody writes many blog posts on this subject and he’s German.

“Is lawfulness being compromised for raw profits that are temporary and ruinous to one’s credibility? Also, at whose expense does this activity take place?”The corresponding new page (warning: epo.org link) is tied to the so-called 'results' and it provides excuses for lowering the bar, notably buzzwords: “As the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) materialises, it’s not just our factories that are getting smarter – it’s our hospitals, homes, appliances, cars, and wearable devices too. In 2019, digital communication became the new leading field of patent applications at the EPO while computer technology was the second fastest growing. These two technical fields are enabling 4IR by providing the tools for turning technical applications in other fields into smart devices. They are also powering further developments in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G.”

Who wrote this? A technical person or a marketing professional? Likely the latter.

Speaking of marketing, check out this truly shallow EPO ‘news’ from Friday (warning: epo.org link), accompanied by a tweet with the hashtag #EarthHour (greenwashing).

“You only do this because COVID-19 shut you down,” I responded. “Quit the greenwashing…”

“A lot of actual EPO news gets lost in a sea of puff pieces.”Maybe this “news” was designed to distract from the other “news” published on the same day. It was a Campinos lie, which we’ll deal with in our next post.

A lot of actual EPO news gets lost in a sea of puff pieces. Even 3 weeks later some sites are still reprinting EPO press releases as though they’re “news” or “reporting”. The EPO posted this new page (warning: epo.org link) on the same day (“Notice concerning the electronic authentication of decisions and other documents relevant to the decision-making process”) and promoted it in Twitter, in effect overwhelming the site with enough distraction and obfuscation — a subject we shall deal with in our next post.

The EPO’s “decision-making process” is notoriously bad and it is the subject of several ongoing complaints in the German constitutional court. Not only is oversight lacking; judges and examiners are moreover being bullied, so they cannot uphold the EPC (which was supposed to strictly govern the Office).

“…the EPO is making it harder to appeal. It’s going to get vastly more expensive.”And speaking of decision-making process deficit, Emma Foster (Marks & Clerk) reminds us that, effective next week, the EPO is making it harder to appeal. It’s going to get vastly more expensive. This is what she published just before the weekend: “The European Patent Office (EPO) usually reviews its fee structure every two years. In line with this, the EPO has announced that fees will increase from 1 April 2020. We have summarised the fee increases for many frequently paid fees in the table below, most of which are in the region of 4%.

“However, the appeal fee has increased substantially from €2255 to €2705, which equates to an increase of around 20%. The EPO will continue to offer a reduced appeal fee to a) small and medium-sized enterprises; (b) natural persons; and (c) non-profit organisations, universities or public research organisations (i.e. appellants as defined in Rule 6(4) and (5) EPC). The appeal fee for these appellants will soon be €1955, which represents around a 4% increase to the current fee.”

“Even if the EPO committed mass murder in broad daylight, the government would likely help the Office come up with excuses for it.”Before Campinos raised the costs Battistelli had done the same, especially when it comes to ‘transactions’ (Battistelli might call them “products”) that challenge the Office and can serve to expose the collapse of patent quality.

Sadly, judging by the replies at the top, this doesn’t concern or bother the ruling politicians in Germany. Even if the EPO committed mass murder in broad daylight, the government would likely help the Office come up with excuses for it. Heck, in this age of Coronavirus they might even send complainants to 'quarantine' in Haar. Messengers of truth are “poison kitchen” to the EPO’s management.

03.28.20

Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

Posted in News Roundup at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • SMLR 321: Stay 127.0.0.1

        Tony Bemus, Tom Lawrence, Phil Porada and Jay LaCroix

      • 2020-03-27 | Linux Headlines

        Ardour and Ubuntu Flavors call for testing of their upcoming major releases, Google aims to ease the burden of developing for ARM on x86, and Blender gains a new Corporate Gold-level sponsor.

    • Kernel Space

      • Some Of The Features To Look Forward To With Linux 5.7

        With the Linux 5.7 cycle kicking off in April with its merge window opening upon the release of Linux 5.6, here is a look at some of the changes and new features that have been on our radar for this next version of the Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Collabora & Microsoft to Bring OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 3.3 to DirectX 12 enabled Windows Devices

          But the company has also been working with Microsoft in order to provide an OpenCL 1.2 & OpenGL 3.3 translation layer for Windows devices compatible with DirectX 12.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 Vulkan Driver Brings Direct Display Improvements

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 is out today as the fourth and last open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver code drop of the quarter.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 simply notes that the immediate and mailbox modes have been enabled for the Vulkan direct display functionality. AMD has supported the VK_EXT_direct_mode_display direct mode display extension back to 2018. Vulkan’s direct display mode is for taking exclusive control of display(s) and geared for VR HMD use-cases. What’s new now is supporting the immediate and mailbox swapchain presentation modes under the direct display functionality.

    • Applications

      • Best Video Editor for Ubuntu

        The recent growth of the Internet has completely revolutionized the world, and to such an extent its influence has increased that it has even crept into our day to day lives. This rapid evolution has led to it becoming one of the key drivers behind the changes taking place in technology and has brought forward the development of so many important tools, that have impacted our daily lives greatly.This, in turn, has led to Mass Media becoming a key figure in modern culture which has become deeply embedded into our lives, changing the way we perceive the world. With the influence of media becoming widespread, it has thus led to an emergence of competitors in the industry.

        To keep on staying relevant and being ahead of others, one thus needs to be aware of the best video editors out there that can significantly improve the quality of the work being done. So, today we’ll be comparing some of the best video editors out there that are available for Ubuntu and how they mainly differentiate from one another.

      • Development update: 6.0-pre1 now ready for testing

        Well folks, we’ve done it. After two and a half years of development that has both excluded a few hoped-for features and also expanded to include many things not originally envisaged, we’re ready for people to start testing version 6.0-pre1. Please note: this is NOT the release of 6.0 – we’re now entering a testing phase that will continue through several “-preN” versions until we’re confident that it’s ready for release.

        The nightly version is now (as ever) available at nightly.ardour.org. If you’re a subscriber (or paid US$45 or more for a pre-built version of 5.x), you can download the fully functional version. Others can get the free/demo version which periodically goes silent. Obviously, since this is a nightly version, it will be updated most days to reflect any new development work and fixes as we move towards the actual release of 6.0.

      • Ardour 6.0 Digital Audio Workstation Sees First Pre-Release

        Following two and a half years of development, the first pre-release of the forthcoming Ardour 6.0 digital audio workstation is now available for testing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.5 Released With Expanded UCRTBase C Runtime Usage, Usual Assortment Of Fixes

        Wine 5.5 is out as the latest bi-weekly Wine development snapshot for running your favorite Windows games and applications on Linux and other platforms.

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.5 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Builtin libraries use the new UCRTBase C runtime.
          - Compatibility mode used when reporting Windows version.
          - Better support for debug information in PE files.
          - Support for linguistic case mappings.
          - More attributes supported in WebServices.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.5.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.5.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.5 development release out with new features and fixes

        As expected on their biweekly development cycle, the Wine hackers released the latest development version with Wine 5.5 out now with new features and fixes.

        Quick reminder: Wine is the software that can help run Windows games and applications on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma BigScreen — A Brand New Free Linux Desktop For Smart TVs

          one are the days when televisions were only used for broadcasting programs by third parties. Now, anyone can turn their normal TV screen into a smart TV, running web applications or streaming videos — thanks to various TV software that ease the task along with voice command support.

          In addition to the same, KDE has launched Plasma Bigscreen — a new free and open-source desktop environment for big TV screens. The Plasma BigScreen is powered by KDE Plasma and Mycroft AI’s voice assistant technology to enhance the user experience on smart TV platforms.

        • Plasma Bigscreen: KDE Announced Plasma for TV

          Plasma Bigscreen is KDE’s interface for big TV screens which is announced based on KDE Neon image. Plasma Bigscreen is suitable for single board computers and large TV screens. KDE says that Plasma Bigscreen will provide media-rich applications suitable for TV and also the traditional KDE Plasma desktop applications.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • It’s Official But Sad: TrueOS Is Over As Once The Best Desktop BSD OS

          It’s been on life support for a while but to much sadness, TrueOS indeed is no longer being maintained as the once very promising downstream of FreeBSD that for a while offered arguably the best out-of-the-box BSD desktop experience.

          TrueOS, formerly known as PC-BSD, is dead. Kris Moore, the VP of Engineering at iXsystems, confirmed earlier this month on their forums that work has ceased on the operating system.

        • OpenBSD -current – Frequent asked questions

          Hello, as there are so many questions about OpenBSD -current on IRC, Mastodon or reddit I’m writing this FAQ in hope it will help people.

          The official FAQ already contains answers about -current like Following -current and using snapshots and Building the system from sources.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Reasons to Give openSUSE a Try

          For some reason, all the light goes these days toward distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, Solus… And the other similar ones. But despite being an excellent Linux distribution in itself, openSUSE rarely receives attention in the Linux press and its userbase doesn’t sound to be comparable to other famous Linux distributions.

          This perhaps could be because people don’t know about the features of openSUSE? Or they fear trying it because of some reason. In any case, we’ll introduce you to the distribution and its features, and why you should give it a try.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • RHEL9 Likely To Drop Older x86_64 CPUs, Fedora Can Better Prepare With “Enterprise Linux Next”

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 will likely see support for older x86_64 CPUs eliminated to focus on more modern x86_64 Intel/AMD families. With that, Red Hat developers working on Fedora have been working on an “Enterprise Linux Next” proposal to not only vet such x86_64 build changes but also to provide a feedback workflow for other changes.

          Brought up last month already was an extra buildroot for testing x86_64 microarchitecture updates on Fedora. Currently, Fedora and RHEL support x86_64 CPUs going back to the original AMD K8 CPUs but with RHEL9 some middle-ground will likely be pursued of aiming to support more recent x86_64 families and newer instruction set extensions by default while still supporting a diverse enough range of hardware to be in production use-cases during RHEL9′s life-cycle.

      • Debian Family

        • Call for testing: 4.5~rc1

          Tails 4.5, scheduled for April 7, will be the first version of Tails to support Secure Boot.

          You can help Tails by testing the release candidate for Tails 4.5 now.

        • Debian To Take On COVID-19 With A Biohackathon

          Debian developers are wanting to do their part to take on the global coronavirus pandemic by hosting a COVID-19 Biohackathon.

          This virtual event organized by Debian developers is taking place from 5 to 11 April. Their hope with this biohackathon is to “improve biomedical FOSS and the tools/libraries that support those projects.”

          Among the work they hope to see realized from this hackathon are addressing various bugs, contributing to upstream biomedical open-source software, and related work.

        • EasyPup 2.2.14 released

          Hot on the heals of EasyOS 2.2.14, EasyPup is released, for those who want a more traditional puppy. The apps and user interface is pretty much the same as EasyOS, but the underlying infrastructure is different.

        • antiX-19.2 (Hannie Schaft) bug-fix/upgrade isos available

          All new isos are bug-fix/upgrades/improvements of antiX-19 sysvinit series.

          BONUS: We now offer versions running the runit init system as well.

          No need to download if using antiX-19(.x).

          antiX-19.2 (Hannie Schaft) is based on Debian Buster and is fully systemd-free.

          As usual we offer the following systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture, running sysvinit or runit.

          antiX-full (c1.1GB) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm plus full libreoffice suite.

          antiX-base (c700MB so fits on a cd) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm.

          antiX-core (c350MB) – no X, cli-installer without UEFI support nor encryption, but should support most wireless.

          antiX-net (c140MB)- no X, cli-installer without UEFI support nor encryption. Just enough to get you connected (wired) and ready to build.

          The 32 bit version uses a non-pae kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu – which is best for you?

          Which is the best Linux distro for you? In this article, we will present to you key differences between the two most popular Linux distros and let you decide. Ubuntu is released and maintained by a company called Canonical, while Linux Mint is community-driven. Which model will sustain? Read on to find more.

          When you come into the Linux world, there are hundreds of options. Although, two names come up for every beginner and in the mind of every experienced person – Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

          The conundrum is that which one among them? The best solution is to try both of them out, and then choose whatever seems to work the best for your needs. But here, we’re giving you some distinctions between the both that might make it easier for you to make a choice.

        • Official Ubuntu Flavors Urges Devs To Join ‘Ubuntu Testing Week’

          A large family of Ubuntu Linux desktops is ready to join Ubuntu testing week starting on April 02, 2020. On this occasion, all seven Ubuntu flavors will release their beta version for public testing before the official final stable release.

          In the wake of this event, Ubuntu flavors has requested the community to participate and help them find any bugs. With all the help, they would be able to fix all possible issues in the upcoming week before the final release.

          [...]

          Ubuntu releases the ISO image every day which you can find from the daily build repository here. Though Ubuntu testing week will officially begin next week, you can start testing and reporting bugs today.

          If you don’t know where to start, join the Ubuntu community and follow the ISO tracker where you can find test cases for all variants.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Contribute to open source healthcare projects for COVID-19

        Many of those that are familiar with the maker movement, including me, believe there is a significant opportunity to apply open source design principles and mass-scale collaborative distributed manufacturing technologies (like open source 3D printing) to at least partially overcome medical supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, an Italian hospital saved COVID-19 patients’ lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices.

        However, those designs were not open source, and hospitals still need to file paperwork to get to the STLs, needlessly wasting time, restricting the number of volunteers that could print the valves, and perhaps leading to unnecessary deaths. Far more beneficial would be a free source of vetted digital designs that anyone with access to equipment could fabricate for their local hospitals. Ideally, these designs would follow good open source design procedures. We are well aware of risks and shortcomings to this approach, and that those used to the standard model may not understand how fast technological development is in the open source community.

      • Open source fights against COVID-19, Google’s new security tool written in Python, and more open source news

        When COVID-19 started its march around the world, open source stepped up to try to help stop it. That includes using open data to create tracking dashboards and apps, designing ventilators, and developing protective gear.

        Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada have teamed with artificial intelligence firm DarwinAI to create an open source tool “to identify signs of Covid-19 in chest x-rays.” Called COVID-Net, it’s neural network “that is particularly good at recognizing images.” The dataset the researchers are using is available on GitHub, which includes a link the software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What If C++ Abandoned Backward Compatibility?

            Some C++ luminaries have submitted an intriguing paper to the C++ standards committee. The paper presents an ambitious vision to evolve C++ in the direction of safety and simplicity. To achieve this, the authors believe it is worthwhile to give up backwards source and binary compatibility, and focus on reducing the cost of migration (e.g. by investing in tool support), while accepting that the cost of each migration will be nonzero. They’re also willing to give up the standard linking model and require whole-toolchain upgrades for each new version of C++.

            I think this paper reveals a split in the C++ community. I think the proposal makes very good sense for organizations like Google with large legacy C++ codebases that they intend to continue investing in heavily for a long period of time. (I would include Mozilla in that set of organizations.) The long-term gains from improving C++ incompatibly will eventually outweigh the ongoing migration costs, especially because they’re already adept at large-scale systematic changes to their code (e.g. thanks to gargantuan monorepo, massive-scale static and dynamic checking, and risk-mitigating deployment systems). Lots of existing C++ software really needs those safety improvements.

          • Kiwi TCMS: Kiwi TCMS is Open Source Seed Award winner

            Kiwi TCMS is the proud winner of a $10,000 award from Mozilla, Indeed, Open Collective, Ford Foundation & Simply Secure. Read below for the full story!

            At the end of January Zahari alerted our team about the Open Source Speed Dating FOSDEM 2020 event and Alex was very swift in filing the application form. Just as we landed in Brussels, ready to host Testing and Automation devroom and the Open Source Test Management stand, we got the news – Kiwi TCMS has been selected as a participant.

            What followed was a very hasty day of preparing a 5 min pitch and rehearsing it as much as possible so we can be ready to present our project. Alex prepared the pitch and made final review and polishing together with Anton. For the record everything was written down on paper, including important facts about the project and schedule – when and where is our slot, how is Alex going to get there, when does he need to leave to be on time, etc. We believe that preparation was key here and that’s why our team always tries to be prepared when we participate at events! It was as good as it can get, no more changes!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • New integration test framework in Collabora Online.

          At Collabora, we invest a lot of hard work to make LibreOffice’s features available in an online environment. Recently we greatly improved the Collabora Online mobile UI, so it’s more smooth to use it from a mobile device. While putting more and more work into the software, trying to support more and more different platforms, we need also to spend time improving the test frameworks we use for automatic testing. These test frameworks make sure that while we enrich the software with new features, the software remains stable during the continuous development process.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 RC5

          The fifth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live!

          WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time!

          You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways:

        • Best Performance WordPress with Google Cloud CDN and Load Balancing

          Best Performance WordPress with Google Cloud CDN and Load Balancing. Learn how to setup your WordPress application to handle high traffic with auto-scaling capabilities on Google Cloud Platform using HTTP(S) Layer 7 Load Balancing.

          In this guide you will install WordPress, configure your website to use Google Cloud Storage for media files, setup instance template, auto-scaling group to manage live traffic. You will also configure Google Cloud CDN for your website.

      • Funding

        • Intel Ramping Up Their Investment In Blender Open-Source 3D Modeling Software

          Intel Software has increased their developer funding provided to Blender, the leading open-source, cross-platform 3D modeling software.

          Intel now joins the likes of Ubisoft, Tangent Labs, and others as being a Corporate Gold sponsor to Blender. The Corporate Gold level means Intel’s software division is now contributing at least €30K per year to fund the Blender open-source development.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Cyber Warranties: Market Fix or Marketing Trick?

            Theoretical work suggests both the breadth of the warranty and the price of a product determine whether the warranty functions as a quality signal. Our analysis has not touched upon the price of these products. It could be that firms with ineffective products pass the cost of the warranty on to buyers via higher prices. Future studies could analyze warranties and price together to probe this issue.

            In conclusion, cyber warranties—particularly cyber-product warranties—do not transfer enough risk to be a market fix as imagined in Woods.5 But this does not mean they are pure marketing tricks either. The most valuable feature of warranties is in preventing vendors from exaggerating what their products can do. Consumers who read the fine print can place greater trust in marketing claims so long as the functionality is covered by a cyber-incident warranty.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Dr. Lucie Guibault on What Scientists Should Know About Open Access

            These actions are not surprising given the urgency of the current situation. In our previous post, “Now Is the Time for Open Access Policies—Here’s Why” we explain that rapid and unrestricted access to scientific research and educational materials is necessary to overcome this crisis. However, while we applaud the recent moves by organizations, publishers, and governments to open access to scientific research related to COVID-19, we believe the same level of sharing should be applied to all scientific research. Not only for the public good but also for the good of science. Science can only function properly if results, data, and insights are made openly available. “Universality is a fundamental principle of science,” explains the open access consortium cOAlition S, “only results that can be discussed, challenged, and, where appropriate, tested and reproduced by others qualify as scientific.”

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenBSD’s ‘spinning’ CPU time category

          Unix systems have long had a basic breakdown of what your CPU (or CPUs) was spending its time doing. The traditional division is user time, system time, idle time, and ‘nice’ time (which is user time for tasks that have their scheduling priority lowered through nice(1) or the equivalent), and then often ‘interrupt’ time, for how much time the system spent in interrupt handling. Some Unixes have added ‘iowait’, which is traditionally defined as ‘the system was idle but one or more processes were waiting for IO to complete’. OpenBSD doesn’t have iowait, but current versions have a new time category, ‘spinning’.

        • FOSDEM 2020 Conference Recap

          For the third year in a row, I attended FOSDEM, an amazing open source conference in Brussels, Belgium. Taking place, February 1-2, the event is a totally volunteer run conference geared towards promoting the widespread use of free and open source software. The Foundation has sponsored and organized a FreeBSD table there for a few years now.

        • POCL 1.5-RC1 Released As The Portable OpenCL Implementation For CPUs + Other Targets

          POCL 1.5 is on the way for release in April as the first feature update to this Portable OpenCL implementation since the previous release last September.

          POCL for those that don’t know about it is a portable OpenCL implementation that can be run on CPUs of various architectures. Beyond that, this OpenCL 1.2~2.0 implementation has also gained support for running OpenCL on NVIDIA GPUs over CUDA, on AMD GPUs via HSA, and other accelerator targets thanks to building off LLVM’s Clang.

        • Python

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Antitrust Regulators Turn Attention to Standards Organizations

        It’s well recognized by courts and regulators in many countries that standard setting among competitors can be procompetitive and good for consumers. As noted by the 5th Circuit Court in 1988, “it has long been recognized that the establishment and monitoring of trade standards is a legitimate and beneficial function of trade associations . . . [and] a trade association is not by its nature a ‘walking conspiracy’, its every denial of some benefit amounting to an unreasonable restraint of trade.”(1)

        But regulatory sands can shift, and especially at a time when broad and dramatic changes (political and otherwise) seem to be the rule rather than the exception, it makes sense for collaborative organizations to keep vigilant, and to review their policies and procedures on a regular basis to help ensure antitrust compliance.

        In my recent blog regarding Antitrust Laws and Open Collaboration, I briefly mentioned recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations into standards organizations. There were two, in particular, both focusing on internal policies and the importance of avoiding rules that might potentially disadvantage consumers or competitors. In this blog entry, we’ll take a deeper look at the specific types of conduct that concerned the regulators, and how the standards organizations under examination were eventually able to address those concerns.

  • Leftovers

    • Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt

      Kelly Reichardt has slowly been building a reputation in American independent cinema as one of the most rigorous and profound working filmmakers in a rapidly receding artistic landscape. Her first film, River of Grass (1994), starring her producer and horror director Larry Fessenden, is a crafty and incisive feminist subversion of the “Lovers on the Run” subgenre. While Grass went fairly unnoticed in the indie glut of the mid-90s, Reichardt’s second film Old Joy (2006), an exploration of masculine anxiety, was a critical hit landing on many year-end “best of” lists. Since then, Reichardt has been working consistently, often collaborating with writer Jonathan Raymond and operating completely free of the studio system. Her films tend to be minimal in dialogue and action, yet these quiet moments contain volumes about what it means to live in the margins of America. Her new film, First Cow, is another collaboration with Raymond from his novel The Half Life and will be released in March, 2020 by A24. When she isn’t directing, Reichardt teaches film at Bard College in New York.

    • Education

      • When the State Shifted to E-learning, This Rural School Superintendent Shifted to the Copy Machine

        The Sunday afternoon before he sent the 850 students in his sprawling rural school district home because of the coronavirus outbreak, Superintendent Larry Lovel shared a picture on Twitter of a decade-old copy machine printing out enough worksheets to help keep them occupied for the expected two-week shutdown.

        But now the state’s school closures are expected to extend much longer, perhaps to the end of the school year, and that creates an ongoing dilemma for Trico District 176 and its families, one that reflects a much larger issue of equity that has been magnified by the coronavirus crisis.

      • Not All Schools Can #KeepLearning

        To encourage learning while schools are shut down, Illinois education officials have gathered online tools for educators and promoted the hashtag #keeplearning.

        Some students in Illinois, however, won’t be able to watch their teacher conduct live science experiments or download a story time video. They don’t have a computer or high-speed internet at home, or a cellphone data plan that would support it.

      • Half of academics leaving UK are EU citizens

        The figures, for the year to December 2018, show that more than 1,000 EU citizens working as academics left a UK university to go abroad, 550 of whom went to work in an institution in another country.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison

        Humans have been getting pissed, pilled or puffed with intoxicants for ages. You could argue that Eve got the ball rolling, and that the forbidden fruit was Dad’s stash, and, hell, if you pushed it, you could see how all of history is her hallucination.  We’ve all had our ‘altar-ed’ moments of holy sees on hooch or hash, all alone or at a ‘college’ bash. No one sums up the venal virtues of imbibing better than Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend: C’mere, he says, and you’d better.

      • The Covid-19 Opportunity

        As I write this we are into the second week of social distancing, in reaction to the pandemic, as is almost everyone I know. We are all worried about family, friends, and community. Where I live, in upstate New York, my local hospital is bracing to accommodate an expected wave of infected patients, and our local businesses are pulling back, when they are not closing. Nothing this disruptive has happened, at least since World War II.

      • The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?

        I haven’t eaten fast food chicken since 2001, or a fast food burger since 1995. Giving these things up was part of an ongoing process of cleaning up my diet in terms of both health and ethics, and I haven’t missed either of them. Yet regularly, when I catch a whiff of KFC or McDonalds, I’ll experience a momentary pang of desire, even though I’m sure I’d get sick if I actually consumed any of that crap at this point. The reason for this is simple: many aromas released by fast food restaurants are scientifically developed in laboratories for the purpose of triggering physiological responses.

      • Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies

        The COVID-19 pandemic is now moving at a speed that the world had not anticipated a few weeks back. It reached its first 100,000 infected in 67 days, then doubled to 200,000 within the next 11 days, and now it has doubled again, reaching 400,000 by March 24. Europe, particularly the core European Union countries—Italy, Spain, France, and Germany—is the new epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic. China, followed by South Korea, managed to contain their outbreaks; the European countries did not.

      • To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans

        During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in the U.S. (and beyond), it behooves Americans to learn from individuals of Mexican origin in el norte about the art of survival in a time of crisis. (For this short essay, I’ll refer to individuals of Mexican origin in the U.S.—citizens, residents, immigrants, etc.—as “Mexicans in el norte.”)

      • Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic

        When people began posting the following note on their Facebook wall, I immediately felt an intense sense of unease.

        [...]

        For the past few weeks we have been inundated with information about the preparedness of health care systems and how they affect mortality rates. Giving South Korea as an example, experts suggest that testing for Covid-19 is essential for saving lives, comparing that country favorably with Italy and Spain. Yet in Gaza, there are currently very few test kits (about 200), and, according to Ghada Majadli of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel, as of March 23, only 99 people have been tested.

      • COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival

        It’s time for us all to understand the Exponential Function.

      • The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom

        Americans are facing “A Spring Unlike Any Before.” So warned a front-page headline in the March 13th New York Times.

      • Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures

        I’m in a small city in Catalonia called Olot, not far from the Pyrenees. I came here because I knew the coronavirus lockdown would be much rougher in Barcelona. Still, people walk around with masks and keep social distances, barely going out. There are three of us in a two-bedroom apartment. We read the news with a sort of automatic horror and try – using social networks and videochats – to keep our social contacts, our work, and even our militancy going. It’s an uphill path, and we are surely slipping. 

      • A second US Dust Bowl would hit world food stocks

        When the US Great Plains are hit again by sustained drought, the world’s food stocks will feel the heat.

      • Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland

        Being a certifiable agoraphobic basket case, you would think someone like me would be almost preternaturally suited for the stone blind isolation of fever fucked pandamania. And you would be completely fucking wrong. I spent six years in self-imposed isolation as a twenty-something shut in. I spent another six desperately clawing my way out of that hole and slowly building what has only just begun to resemble a life, and in less than six days, covid-19 has torn this intricately constructed matrix of groups, volunteer jobs and therapy down to the ground and reduced me to the shambled debris of ground zero. I’m a little bit pissed, but mostly I’m just fucking scared. If I’m going to write about something like this, I’m going to write about it with the naked ferocity that defines my writing. A strange, vaguely haunted cobweb of Gonzo muckraking and navel-gazing confessionals that I’ve come to refer to as Emo-Gonzo. I am the genderfucked bastard bitch of Hunter Thompson and Sylvia Plath, humped together in the dizzy oven of some bored press junket cafeteria, and today, this is my story. George Romero eat your heart out.

      • In the Grip of Disease

        Even more than war, the corona virus pandemic is causing chaos. It is threatening the people of the United Kingdom as well as human beings all over the world. The virus is invisible. It can be everywhere and nowhere.

      • A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?

        The first plans implementing California’s landmark groundwater law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or SGMA, have been submitted to the California Department of Water Resources.  They are for portions of the state where groundwater is “critically over-drafted,” a situation the plans are supposed to reverse. Some of the plans call for diverting flood and seasonally high streamflows to groundwater storage as a means to comply with SGMA while allowing the maximum amount of irrigated and animal agriculture to continue.

      • Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water

        In 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department began what the ACLU called “the largest residential water shutoff in U.S. history,” cutting off more than 20,000 residents it claimed hadn’t paid their bills — although many of them had, according to the ACLU.

        Payment or not, there’s no excuse for shutting off the water. The United Nations declared that Detroit was violating human rights by turning the water off without a care for health needs.

        Now, six years later, Detroiters may finally be getting some relief. Local organizers have been fighting the city’s aggressive shutoff program this entire time, but their demands became even more urgent in the face of coronavirus.

        The People’s Water Board, a coalition of groups in Detroit advocating for the protection, access, and conservation of water, petitioned Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare a moratorium on shutoffs, pointing out that the state had particular reason to fear the pandemic thanks to lack of water access.

        “It should not take an outbreak to realize that lack of water and sanitation poses a danger to the public health of those impacted by shutoffs, and everyone in our state,” they wrote.

        After these appeals, Detroit announced the Coronavirus Water Restart Plan to reconnect thousands of Detroit households without water, or facing a potential shutoff, for $25 a month for the duration of the crisis.

      • Mary Grant on Water & Covid-19, David Cay Johnston on the Last Bailout

        This week on CounterSpin: No directive has been more repeated during the Covid-19 pandemic than “wash your hands”—a simple act, but a powerful intervention to stop the spread of disease. But: What if you can’t? That’s the reality faced by millions of Americans who have their water shut off because they’re not able to pay for it. Along with many other things, Covid-19 has underscored the individual and communal harms of a water affordability crisis in this country that usually remains hidden. We’ll hear about the problem and responses to it from Mary Grant, Public Water for All campaign director at Food & Water Watch.

      • Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?

        Could something good come from the catastrophe of COVID-19? Might the epic insecurity of a plague teach us something about national security?

      • Russian health agency says one in five Russians infected with coronavirus caught it through community spread

        Twenty percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Russia occurred because somebody already in the country passed the novel coronavirus on to somebody else, said Dr. Anna Popova, who leads Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).

      • “I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
      • Life and Death in the Epicenter

        When it comes to warding off COVID-19, I’ve been ahead of the curve. Last October, after a bout with acute bronchitis that lasted most of the month, I resolved never to go through such an ordeal again. I started using hand sanitizer and avoided touching my face. Like my glaucoma, it is a geriatric illness. When I checked the New York Times archives for tips on dealing with bronchitis, I was shocked to discover how many well-known and powerful geezers came down with it: Konrad Adenauer, Boris Yeltsin, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Paul Robeson. None died from bronchitis, but around half were hospitalized, a routine treatment for powerful heads of state (except for Robeson.)

      • The Trump Administration Is Leaving the Nation’s Emergency Backup Hospital System on the Sidelines

        The Trump administration is leaving untapped reinforcements and supplies from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even as many hospitals are struggling with a crush of coronavirus patients.

        The VA serves 9 million veterans through 170 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics, but it’s also legally designated as the country’s backup health system in an emergency. As part of the National Disaster Medical System, the VA has deployed doctors and equipment to disasters and emergencies in recent instances such as Hurricane Maria and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The VA system has 13,000 acute care beds, including 1,800 intensive care unit beds.

      • This VA Hospital Cited “Misleading” Data to Restrict Mask Use for Health Care Workers

        Hospital employees across the country have been blocked from wearing surgical masks in certain situations to protect against infection by the new coronavirus — including those they bring to work themselves.

        Workers at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been told not to wear face masks unless they have lingering respiratory symptoms after an illness, are under surveillance following COVID-19 exposure or are treating patients showing signs of COVID-19.

      • Russia’s Karelia shuts down all public transport as Grozny stops letting in travelers without residency papers

        The government of Karelia, the federal subject that makes up Russia’s northwest corner, has ordered a stop to all public transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Artur Parfenchikov announced the shutdown in a video message to the republic’s population. From March 29 through April 4, only taxis will be available in Karelia, the governor said, emphasizing that this is an unprecedented measure.

      • Lutz Alone

        Most musical instruments can be grabbed and taken along in the retreat into self-isolation—from the kazoo in the pocket to the violin slung over the shoulder. Others are more unwieldy. The tuba hardly counts as hand luggage. But none is more unwieldy than the organ.

      • Russia’s ‘non-business days’ next week to fight coronavirus don’t apply to people who can work from home, says the Kremlin

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday that Russians able to work from home should do so next week, when Vladimir Putin has declared a “non-work week” to curb the spread of coronavirus.

      • Russia’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases passes 1,000

        As of March 27, Russia now has 1,036 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Doctors recorded another 196 cases in the past day, including 157 infections in Moscow, where 703 people have been diagnosed with the disease. For the first time, coronavirus has also spread to the Russian regions of Mordovia and Dagestan.

      • Russians book up Black Sea hotels following Putin’s paid leave announcement, prompting regional governor to forbid checking in

        Krasnodar Krai Governor Veniamin Kondratyev has ordered all hotel room reservations and check-ins to be suspended from March 28 to April 5. The temporary ban also applies to resorts and sanitoriums, according to a document published on the website of the governor’s administration.

      • Prezdemic: Lines written in Quarantine

        My interest in staying home is not you but me
        You are a possible contagion source and an end to me
        But I can also easily see you back at work for the economy
        Covid-19 erased with a sagacious presidential word
        Don’t mind that Fauci behind the screen out of camera range
        He’s of the same scientist fold that clamors about climate change
        And you on bus or subway to work to expand my dividend?
        Remember you took this risk thinking of me and not your end
        What a small price to be paid by The Old beginning that day
        April 12th chosen by our president prophesying it beautiful
        So perfect when the market returns to its patriotic bullish play
        So what if our Leader at center stage repeats absurdities
        Spewing from gut to mouth sure signs of his instabilities
        He polls high as our champion in this pandemic
        A regular old flu he declares causes no more than a slight emetic
        All the missteps, delays, and failures he can again offer Obama to blame

      • 340,000 coronavirus test kits sold to Spain by China defective

        As China seeks to position itself as the savior of the world during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, using verbs such as “supplied” and “delivered” to give the impression that the totalitarian regime donated testing kits and medical supplies, another report has surfaced of a country dealing with defective Chinese products.

        The Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) on its website announced that nose swab kits produced by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology are accurate just 30 percent of the time, in contrast to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standard of 80 percent.

      • ‘God Knows How Many People We Infected’: New Rules Aim to Get Exposed Passengers Home

        Four people died on the Zandaam cruise ship after it was turned away in Chile. The United States is easing protocols to help speed cruise passengers home. But can that be done safely?

      • They Didn’t Have Coronavirus Symptoms Until After They Gave Birth. Then They Tested Positive.

        The 38-year-old mother had experienced a complicated pregnancy, made riskier by Type 2 diabetes and a liver condition that causes bile to build up in the blood. On March 19, in her 37th week, she went to Columbia University Medical Center in New York City to be induced. Neither she nor her husband reported any of the worrisome symptoms that health care providers are watching for to screen for COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. In fact, the woman’s temperature was slightly below normal, at 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Then, while the woman was in labor, her temperature climbed to 101.3. Suspecting that she had developed a potentially dangerous bacterial infection called chorioamnionitis, her care team gave her antibiotics and acetaminophen, which seemed to stabilize her. But labor was progressing slowly, and doctors decided to perform a cesarean section. As they were stitching up their patient, she began to hemorrhage uncontrollably. The team raced to intubate her, but her breathing rapidly worsened. When doctors finally had her condition under control, they decided to evaluate her for COVID-19. She tested positive.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Malicious JavaScript Dropping Payload in the Registry

          When we speak about “fileless” malware, it means that the malware does not use the standard filesystem to store temporary files or payloads. But they need to write data somewhere in the system for persistence or during the infection phase. If the filesystem is not used, the classic way to store data is to use the registry. Here is an example of a malicious JavaScript code that uses a temporary registry key to drop its payload (but it also drops files in a classic way).

          The malware was delivered via a Microsoft Word document [...]

        • Experts see over 600 percent spike in malicious emails during coronavirus crisis

          The researchers saw a 667 percent increase in malicious phishing emails that were using the coronavirus. These types of emails try to lure individuals to click on dangerous links or download attachments that typically include computer viruses.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • How much power and influence do Open Source foundations have?

              “I finally switched over to Linux full time. Yay! How much power and influence do open source foundations have and how much does it affect me as a consumer of open source software?” – Evan First off, welcome to Club Linux, Evan! You’ll find the waters here to be, overall, warm and relaxing. As for the question of how much influence various foundations actually have in the Open Source, Free Software, and Linux world… well… that’s a tricky question that will take us, meandering, through the wilderness.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • The Warren Campaign Is Gone—but Its Tech May Live On [Ed: Warren chose Microsoft as staffers for her campaign, so no wonder all her work is now being outsourced to a proprietary prison of Microsoft (GitHub)]

              BEFORE IT ENDED earlier this month, Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign developed a reputation for two things: detailed plans to solve concrete problems and a robust ground game. Those attributes came together on the campaign’s tech team, which built a grassroots organizing machine on the backend. That wasn’t enough to win Warren the nomination, but veterans from the team are trying to make sure their work wasn’t all for naught. They’re making seven in-house software projects available to everyone for free on GitHub, the most popular destination for open-source software on the web, in the hope that other Democratic campaigns can build on what they developed during the campaign.

              “We believe we’ll be the biggest open-sourcing of political tech that has happened,” said Mike Conlow, who was the campaign’s chief technology strategist. Few political campaigns are big and well-funded enough to develop their own software. Fewer still make that software open source.

              The tools themselves are not exactly revolutionary; they’re more in the vein of filling in gaps in commercially available political tech. In its early days, the campaign relied on off-the-shelf software. But as the tech team grew to nearly 20 people, it was able to take on software projects of its own. “We were focused on choosing projects where we didn’t think there was an adequate vendor tool out there on the market,” Conlow added. Campaign organizers noticed, for example, that the onboarding process for new volunteers could use more of a personal touch than the system they were using provided. When a new volunteer signed up, they would only receive an automated message. So the team built a tool, which they called Switchboard, that made it easy for organizers to personally reach out to volunteers as soon as they signed up.

        • Security

          • The Keyring Concept in Ubuntu: What is It and How to Use it?

            It keeps on popping up several times before disappearing if you keep on clicking cancel. You may wonder why do you keep seeing this keyring message all the time?

            Let me tell you something. It’s not an error. It’s a security feature.

          • This developer is working to improve bitcoin’s build system in a bid to stop ‘rampant’ phishing attacks
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How Much Data Does Clearview Gather On People? The Answer (Sadly) Will Not Surprise You.

              Clearview’s facial recognition app links to a database of 4 billion pictures. And those photos are linked to all the data that got scraped up with them, culled (without permission) from sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn… pretty much anywhere people post photos and personal information.

            • EFF Asks California AG to Close Loopholes, Respect “Do Not Track” With Regulations

              Today, EFF once again joined a coalition of privacy advocates filing comments with the California Attorney General (AG) on the latest proposed regulations for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was passed in June 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2020. Later this year, the AG will finalize regulations that dictate how exactly the law will be enforced.

              While the first set of proposed regulations were (as we wrote at the time) a “good step forward” that could have gone further, the first revision to those regulations—published earlier this year—was largely a step backwards for privacy. Two weeks ago, the AG released a second set of revisions to the draft regulations, available here. [.pdf] With the enforcement deadline approaching, the public is running out of chances to weigh in on the rulemaking process. Some of the worst features of the regulations have been cut, but this round of modifications still falls short of a user-friendly implementation of CCPA. In fact, some new provisions added this round threaten to undermine the intent of the law.

            • EFF, ACLU & CDT Argue Five Months of Warrantless Covert 24/7 Video Surveillance Violates Fourth Amendment

              Should the fact that your neighbors can see the outside of your house mean the police can use a camera to record everything that happens there for more than five months? We don’t think so either. That’s why we joined ACLU, ACLU of Massachusetts, and the Center for Democracy & Technology in filing an amicus brief last week in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court arguing the Fourth Amendment and Massachusetts’s state equivalent protect us from warrantless video surveillance of our homes.

              In Commonwealth v. Mora, Massachusetts State Police secretly installed several cameras high up on utility poles in front of Nelson Mora and Randy Suarez’s homes. These “pole cameras” allowed officers to watch video feeds of the two homes (and by extension everyone going in and out of the homes) in real time, remotely control angle and zoom functions, and zoom in close enough to read license plates. Officers recorded the footage over a period of several months, which allowed them to go back, search through, and review footage at their convenience. They never got a warrant to install the cameras, and the extended surveillance was not subject to any court oversight.  

            • Taiwan is using a phone location “electronic fence” to help police track quarantined individuals

              The government in Taiwan has rolled out an “electronic fence” to keep quarantined individuals in their homes. The “electronic fence” uses mobile phone data to notify police if the cell phones of any people under mandatory quarantine leave their home areas. Travelers returning from abroad are subject to a mandatory quarantine so the electronic fence is being used on both Taiwanese citizens and non-citizens. If caught, quarantine dodgers are subject to a 1,000,000 NTD fine, which equates to around $33,000 USD – such a fine has already been levied at least once. Jyan Hong-wei, the head of Taiwan’s Department of Cyber Security, explained to Reuters:

            • Telecoms across Europe are sharing phone location data with governments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

              A telecommunications lobbying group, the GSMA, has confirmed that several telecom companies in Europe are providing mobile phone location data with the European Union as a way to track the spread of COVID-19. According to Reuters and other media sources, these are the telecommunications companies that are working with the European Union to provide “anonymized” data sets:

            • Detecting Privacy Badger’s Canvas FP detection

              Privacy badger injects fingerprinting.js, along with several other context scripts, as specified in its manifest.json, to all the frames (“all_frames“: true) of all the pages (“matches”: [ “” ]) visited by the user, before any other script in the page has executed (“run_at“: “document_start“).

              Content script have access to their frame DOM, but a separate JavaScript context. Because the goal of the script requires to monitors things that happen in the page JS context (canvas manipulation and serialization), this content script injects another, self removing script into the frame DOM, which executes in its JS context.

              This script hooks into several canvas related APIs, including fillText (manipulation) and toDataURL (serialization). I wrote about JS hooking before, in the context of spoofing viewabiliy measurements. Whenever once of these APIs gets called, Privacy Badger hook is figuring out the caller script URL form within the call stack.

            • Zoom iOS app quietly sending data to Facebook, even if you have no account [Update: Fixed]

              The Zoom iOS app is sharing data with Facebook, without declaring it in the privacy policy. This happens whether or not you have a Facebook account.

              Data shared with Facebook includes your iPhone or iPad model, your time-zone, city, phone carrier and a unique identifier which can be used for ad-targeting …

            • Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don’t Have a Facebook Account

              As people work and socialize from home, video conferencing software Zoom has exploded in popularity. What the company and its privacy policy don’t make clear is that the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account, according to a Motherboard analysis of the app.

              This sort of data transfer is not uncommon, especially for Facebook; plenty of apps use Facebook’s software development kits (SDK) as a means to implement features into their apps more easily, which also has the effect of sending information to Facebook. But Zoom users may not be aware it is happening, nor understand that when they use one product, they may be providing data to another service altogether.

            • Snowden warns: The surveillance states we’re creating now will outlast the coronavirus

              Supporters of the draconian measures argue that normal rules are not enough during a pandemic and that the long-term risks can be addressed once the outbreak is contained. But a brief suspension of civil liberties can quickly be extended.

              Security services will soon find new uses for the tech. And when the crisis passes, governments can impose new laws that make the emergency rules permanent and exploit them to crack down on dissent and political opposition.

            • Business in the time of COVID-19: US Cybersecurity and Privacy Issues for You to Consider

              The CDC is working with Palantir and Google, among others, to model the spread of the virus using data scraped from public social media. A task force has also been developed that is working in conjunction with the government, and includes several companies from the technology sector.

              Data analytics company Palantir is working with the CDC to track COVID-19 through the use of data mapping and integration. The CDC previously worked with Palantir during the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti to monitor communications within the populace and track the spread of the disease. Similarly, the facial-recognition firm Clearview AI may potentially collaborate with state authorities to use facial-recognition technology to track infected individuals. Clearview reportedly developed its facial recognition algorithm using approximately 3 billion images scraped without permission from various websites. The company hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of “contact tracing”, the term given to the practice of identifying individuals that infected individuals may have been in contact with.

              The government is also in active talks with technology companies about using location data gleaned from cell phones to track the proliferation of the virus and to track whether Americans are adhering to social distancing protocols. As currently developed, the plan would involve the technology companies sending collected anonymous and aggregated geolocation and facial recognition data from their apps to the federal government as a means to map the presence of the virus. At this time, Google has indicated that the plan would not involve sharing an individual’s movement or individual location. The data could be used to demonstrate the impact of social distancing and spread of COVID-19, similar to the way Google is able to show store traffic or traffic patterns. The assumption is that the spikes in aggregated geolocation data could help the government track COVID-19, while detecting, disrupting, and discouraging gatherings that could result in a dramatic transmission of the virus between infected and non-infected populations.

            • Court appearing through WhatsApp

              A day later, that is today, the person’s conditional freedom plea was heard by a magistrate of the District Court of Black River (Bambous), through WhatsApp and the decision to allow bail was given through same. While court cases heard through video conferencing is not a new thing in Mauritius, it is definitely a first that a common online messaging tool such as WhatsApp has been used to hear a court plea.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • We Just Barely Averted a Gigantic Pandemic Grift by Big Pharma

        The first reports on Monday of Gilead receiving orphan status were neutral. Politico reported simply that “Gilead’s antiviral gets a rare disease nod ensuring 7 years of market exclusivity,” with no editorialization. The Washington Post said gently that it might “seem inappropriate given the rapidly expanding threat of the outbreak” but then quoted an analyst calling it “pretty standard.”

        A separate article in US News and World Report reveals that the analyst quoted in the Washington Post is a financial analyst at an investment bank and asset management firm called Piper Sandler. In that article, the Wall Street analyst further defended Gilead’s procurement of orphan drug status: “It says nothing about profiting off of the pandemic, but it does provide protection if remdesivir turns into a business in subsequent years.”

        The media coverage of the orphan drug classification was neutral or at most lightly critical — until Lerner and Fang’s article was published on Monday evening in the Intercept. Outrage on social media soon followed. On Tuesday, several more critical news stories followed in the left and mainstream press.

      • Truthdig staff laid off amid work stoppage

        Readers of the progressive news site Truthdig may have seen a cheerless message posted to the homepage this week. “Truthdig is going on a hiatus,” the website states. “Our archives of 15 years of award-winning independent journalism are available for free. Be well, stay safe and look out for each other.”

        What a “hiatus” means is unclear, even to the news site’s former employees. On Wednesday, letters of termination arrived in the inboxes of the site’s small staff amid a work stoppage and global pandemic. [Editor's note: Salon occasionally reprints articles from Truthdig through an informal republishing agreement.]

      • Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers

        On Wednesday night, amid reports that much of the country was going into quarantine indefinitely, Truthdig’s staff received an email with the subject line “Re: Truthdig.” The email was to inform us that Truthdig LLC was being dissolved and that our positions at the publication had been terminated. Chris Hedges, the site’s most widely read columnist, was among those fired, despite the fact that he raised grant money to cover his own salary.

      • Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman

        I want to register my strongest possible disagreement with your unilateral decisions to bar me from the Truthdig site, close the site, and discharge Truthdig’s employees. Each of your actions represents a violation of Truthdig’s Operating Agreement, which requires that you and I agree on actions such as those you have taken on your own. To make myself clear, you have not consulted me, and I disagree.

        Although you claim that your actions have been required by Truthdig’s shaky financial situation, it appears that you have not taken into account funds that have been raised from third parties to support Truthdig. My understanding is that those funds are sufficient to continue Truthdig’s operations, although perhaps at a reduced level. I do not understand how you believe that you can unilaterally determine how those funds should be used going forward. Likewise, I am sure you understand that the Senate agreed today on a financial bailout package that could provide funding to maintain Truthdig’s operations at some level. The combination of potential funding and the need for Truthdig’s voice at this critical time in our nation’s history makes your actions incomprehensible and indefensible.

        Additionally, I am very concerned that you have given Truthdig’s employees powerful ammunition to use against Truthdig. They will be able to argue that you both closed the site and terminated them from employment in retaliation for their protected collective activities in going on strike and for filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and State Labor Commissioner. Your actions have greatly contributed to the potential success of their claims with the NLRB and with the Labor Commissioner.

    • Environment

      • Citing virus, EPA has stopped enforcing environmental laws

        The move was the latest, and one of the broadest, regulation-easing moves by the EPA, which is seeking to roll back dozens of regulations as part of President Donald Trump’s purge of rules that the administration sees as unfriendly to business. Civil and criminal enforcement of polluters under the administration has fallen sharply.

        Former Obama-era EPA chief Gina McCarthy, now president of the Natural Resources Defence Council, called the announcement “an open license to pollute.”

      • Citing Coronavirus, EPA Suspends Environmental Rules Indefinitely

        The Environmental Protection Agency, headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, announced on Thursday a sweeping and indefinite suspension of environmental rules amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a move green groups warned gives the fossil fuel industry a “green light to pollute with impunity.”

      • 2 800 soldiers deployed for coronavirus lockdown

        President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of 2 820 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help contain the COVID-19 coronavirus.

        This is according to a letter sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday, informing Parliament of the deployment of the SANDF, who are assisting the police in enforcing the 21-day lockdown effective midnight Thursday.

      • Coronavirus Spring

        It’s Spring, and nature is blooming. Coronavirus has done (temporarily, at least) what no Paris Agreement, Green New Deal, man, woman or even that scrappy teen, Greta Thunberg (who may have also contracted COVID-19), could do. It has shut down a huge amount of the industrial, transportation and pollution-belching business activity that is destroying life on earth.

      • Energy

        • Yet Another Study Confirms: Electric Cars Reduce Climate Pollution

          The team of European researchers behind the new study build on recent similar findings by the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Each of these studies have taken a worldwide look at the life cycle emissions from EVs that are charged by a variety of forms of electricity generation, from the cleanest to the dirtiest of grids. The new study again dispels the myth that electric cars are more polluting than gas-powered cars because they are charged by coal-fired electricity.

        • Exxon May Crush Bailout Hopes for Suffering Fracking Companies

          But that’s not the same message across the entire oil and gas industry.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits

          A federal court today granted a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to strike down federal permits for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

          The Court found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it affirmed federal permits for the pipeline originally issued in 2016. Specifically, the Court found significant unresolved concerns about the potential impacts of oil spills and the likelihood that one could take place.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Wins a Victory in Dakota Access Pipeline Case

          The ruling by United States District Judge James E. Boasberg found that the pipeline’s “effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly controversial” and that the federal government had not done an adequate job of studying the risks of a major spill or whether the pipeline’s leak detection system was adequate.

          He ordered the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which granted the permits for the pipeline, to conduct a more extensive environmental impact statement.

        • Judge Orders Environmental Review Of Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

          Nearly three years after crude oil started to flow through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review.

          It’s a major victory for the Native American tribes and environmental groups who have been fighting against the project for years.

          U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has not decided whether oil can still flow in the meantime. But his opinion Wednesday requests that the two sides submit briefings next month for and against keeping the oil moving, potentially opening the door for the judge to shut it down.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits

          The Court ordered the Corps to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the pipeline, something that the Tribe has sought from the beginning of this controversy. The Court asked the parties to submit additional briefing on the question of whether to shut down the pipeline in the interim.

          “After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith. “It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”

          “This validates everything the Tribe has been saying all along about the risk of oil spills to the people of Standing Rock,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The Obama administration had it right when it moved to deny the permits in 2016, and this is the second time the Court has ruled that the government ran afoul of environmental laws when it permitted this pipeline. We will continue to see this through until DAPL has finally been shut down.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman

          Last year, we all watched in horror as the Amazon rainforest burned at an unprecedented rate. We cannot afford to lose it, especially amid a climate emergency. It’s vast greenery releases oxygen and stores carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that causes of global warming. The death of the Amazon would mean the end of life on Earth.

      • Overpopulation

        • Hong Kong epidemiologist warns pandemic’s end may not be straightforward

          The number of new cases of the coronavirus has been falling in countries such as China and South Korea that experienced the outbreak early on. Still, epidemiologists are worried about second — and even third — waves of COVID-19.

          Dr. Gabriel Leung is an infectious disease epidemiologist and the dean of medicine at The University of Hong Kong. He’s also the founding director of the WHO’s Collaborating Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about how the pandemic might end.

        • Trumped: pandemic to cost America $5 trillion … or more

          We need the government to act or we could fall into a depression rivalling the 1930s.

          An 18-month crisis is widely expected. The Trump administration plan is for 18 months. That implies $5 trillion based on my calculations.

          The ultimate cost of this novel virus is likely to be north of $7 trillion, assuming this pandemic endures for two years, as German public health officials warn.

        • Africa’s population will double by 2050

          As a result, some doomsayers are dusting off the theories of Thomas Malthus, who argued in 1798 that a growing human population would starve because it would outstrip the supply of food. Among these is Malcolm Potts, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who argued in a paper in 2013 that “the Sahel could become the first part of planet Earth that suffers large-scale starvation and escalating conflict as a growing human population outruns diminishing natural resources.”

          Yet demographic forecasts of coming decades diverge in a way that could be crucial. The UN expects Africa’s population to double again between 2050 and 2100, to 4.3bn people, or 39% of the world’s total and that fertility rates (the average number of children that women will have over their lives) will fall slowly. It reckons that the rate, which has dropped to about 4.4 from 6.7 in 1980, will take another 30 years to fall below three. But that underestimates the impact of a big jump in the number of girls who are now going to school across large parts of the continent, argues Wolfgang Lutz, a demographer at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna. It also highlights the urgency of getting even more of them into school.

        • The disconcerting association between overpopulation and the COVID-19 crisis

          We all have a clear notion of how the present coronavirus epidemic unfolded and its proximate causes. The zoonotic nature of the virus is widely accepted. The social mechanisms of the illness’s rapid transmission also are well understood. But it seems that we have not really apprehended the role that overcrowding and population density play as critical indirect drivers in the pandemic pathology. There are two main factors at play.

          [...]

          The second way growing population density drives the coronavirus pandemic involves the way the virus is transmitted. Epidemiologists have long relied on the reproduction number — or in technical jargon: R0 – (R naught) to design strategies for confronting infectious disease. R0 is defined as the number of cases, on average, an infected person causes during their infectious period. If that number falls below 1, the epidemic wanes. A disease with a high R0 spreads quickly.

          Measles is a particularly contagious illness — with an R0 of 12 to 18. Estimates for the infectiousness of COVID-19 are lower and have been reported to span 1.4 -3.8. It is well to consider the reasons behind these broad ranges.

          Many factors determining R0 are beyond our control. These include the infectiousness of the agent; its incubation period; and mode of transmission. One critical factor, however, is not built-in biologically: population density. When people live in dispersed rural environments, there is less human interaction and lower transmission.

        • Letter to the editor: Covid-19 & overpopulation

          Overpopulation results in polluted water, air pollution, deforestation, rising crime rates, loss of wildlife leading to mass extinctions, widespread food shortages, vanishing fish in the oceans, regional conflicts and war, and proliferation of infectious diseases, super bugs and airborne diseases, along with diminishing capacity to treat them, and overwhelmed hospitals.

    • Finance

      • Instead of COVID-19 Hazard Pay, Spectrum Is Giving Its Repair Techs $25 Gift Cards To Closed Restaurants

        Despite its obvious reputational problems, Comcast has actually been stepping up for its workers during the COVID-19 crisis, paying its employees hazard pay, allowing unnecessary personnel to work at home, and closing at least some of its retail locations.

      • What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19

        On the morning of September 11, 2001, my colleagues and I handed out water on Lower Broadway. We were lawyers who served some of the poorest communities in New York, but quenching the thirst of stunned victims proved to be the best thing we could do at the time.

        [...]

        In the wake of 9/11, millions of generous Americans supported the September 11th Fund, which was administered by the New York Community Trust and the United Way of New York City. Not only did that fund assist families who had lost loved ones, but also individuals who were left in economic ruin that day.

        A similar philanthropic effort, coordinated by charities across the country, will be needed in the current pandemic, and we should get a fundraising initiative underway immediately. Prominent philanthropies like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations could provide critical infrastructure support to local foundations that are closer to the need.

        Third, nonprofits are going to get hammered, twice. They are going to face increased need for their services, while losing support from donors precisely when those services are needed most. Across the country, nonprofits are already having to cancel and postpone fundraising events.

        Emergency relief for frontline non-profit organizations responding to community needs must begin to flow immediately, before it is too late. Anyone making regular gifts to nonprofits should continue for as long as possible. And any philanthropic effort to support the direct victims of the virus should also provide financial support to the non-profits that will serve them.

        Finally, we need to cooperate across sectors. One of the most important successes of the 9/11 response was that the government, non-profit, philanthropic, and private sectors all worked together.

        Survivors were able to go to centers to meet with a wide range of service providers from public and nonprofit entities. Volunteers from private sector businesses provided critical assistance as well, and foundations supported such efforts. This kind of cooperation will again be critical, though such “centers” will have to be virtual.

        The full impacts of the pandemic can’t be known yet — but we’ve been here before in some ways.

      • Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations

        Right now, millions of people throughout North America and Europe are living through an unprecedented situation and making unprecedented demands. Formerly meek white-collar workers content to schlep to and from the office every day are demanding the right to telecommute. Blue-collar workers told they are essential are demanding raises- here in Washington, our grocery workers just secured two dollars an hour through their union. And workers across trades and professions and political persuasions, finding themselves laid off, are demanding the right to a living, whether or not the economy currently requires their services. To say we have arrived at a revolutionary moment is perhaps an understatement.

      • Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout

        Call it the “Boeing bailout.” As the world struggles with the pandemic, Boeing should be seen as the vector for a parallel epidemic. It’s Patient Zero in an epidemic of corporate failure. As we change the way we live our lives, corporations like Boeing should change the way they are run. Corporate mismanagement made this crisis worse and, if it doesn’t change, will make the recovery more difficult.

      • Governments Say “Stay at Home,” But Thousands Don’t Have a Home

        In December, she moved into The Sophia Way, an all-women’s homeless shelter in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle and roughly 6 miles from the suburban nursing home that was the site of the first known COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

      • Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism

        By 26 March 2020, what the world calls “Coronavirus” and the USA calls “Covid-19” had affected 197 countries and territories with almost 20,000 deaths globally. While 20,000 looks like rather an insignificant number given the 7.8 billion people on planet earth, a highly reputable source – worldometer – noted on that day the ranking of deaths as follows: Italy: 7,500; Spain: 3,700; China: 3,300; Iran: 2,100; France 3,00; USA 950; UK 470; the Netherlands: 360; and Germany: 210. Despite being known to have authoritarian personalities, follow their government supposedly based on strict toilet training as infants and a seemingly uncontrollable urge to inspect their own bowl movements, Germans were showing some very common European behaviors during the corona virus crisis. While Bavaria has closed its borders, Germany’s most populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia has started to fine people. Meeting more than two other people in public incurs a fine of € 200.-; having a public BBQ: € 200.- and any gathering of more then ten people: a fine or up to five years imprisonment.

      • COVID-19: Health or Wealth?

        Can the pandemic be separated from the economy? As the pandemic continues in Europe and the United States but seems to be subsiding in Asia, more and more questions are being raised about how to relaunch the economy. The importance of public health is being opposed to opening for business. The battle in the U.S. Senate over how trillions will be spent is indicative of two economic problems: Should businesses function in spite of the virus? How should money be spent to relaunch – from the top down or bottom up?

      • The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change

        The Covid-19 bailout is yet another opportunity at a structural transformation of the American state, economy, and society that will be lost.  Instead, it will be another short-term patch that will fail to alter the trajectory of Neo-liberal capitalism in America, if not across the globe.

      • Trump White House Objects to $1 Billion Price Tag for 80,000 Ventilators

        President Donald Trump is expected as early as the end of this week to sign legislation that would establish a $4.5 trillion bailout fund for large corporations, but the prospect of spending around a billion dollars for the production of tens of thousands of much-needed ventilators amid the coronavirus crisis is apparently a bridge too far for the White House.

      • The End of the Parasite Paradigm

        Politicians like Lindsey Graham have been worried that some individuals might get a few cents extra during this crisis if the relief bills are too “generous”. The concern does not extend to corporations that bloat and have essentially no stipulations put upon them from the trough of taxpayer largess. This is the clearest indication that our present-day system is nothing but a false social construct in place simply to ensure a modern- day feudalism. It’s never been about any kind of fiscal responsibility; it’s about making sure there are those who are desperate and scared –so they will keep offering themselves up to a system that chews them up daily (even before COVID19). This, all to ensure those at the top don’t even have to do one honest day of work. It’s also the societal normalization of a lack of empathy.

      • Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts

        The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 late yesterday on a massive bailout of Wall Street banks versus a short-term survival plan for American workers thrown out of their jobs – and potentially their homes. The text of the final bill was breathtaking in the breadth of new powers it bestowed on the Federal Reserve, including the Fed’s ability to conduct secret meetings with no minutes provided to the American people. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on the bill.

      • Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us

        For the second time in a generation, the President and Congress are creating an economy under the guise of ‘saving the economy.’ Through bailouts for the executives of corporations and institutions whose coffers have been emptied for their own personal enrichment, a corporate kleptocracy is having its class power secured. And through token payments and pandemic profiteering for the masses, the American precariat is being deepened and broadened to solidify its place as desperate and expendable.

      • How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism
      • How the Rich and Powerful Profit From Crises Like Coronavirus

        The “Trump, Inc.” podcast has long explored how people have tried to benefit through their proximity to the Oval Office. Our podcast with WNYC is going to continue digging into that as the Trump administration is tasked with rolling out more than $2 trillion in bailout money.

        We spoke to two people this week to help us understand the stakes. “Some policymakers sitting in the Treasury Department or some other government agency have this awesome power to say, ‘You get the money, you go out of business,’” said Neil Barofsky, who served as the government’s watchdog for the 2008 bank bailout. “One of the most important things we can do is make sure that power is exercised fairly, consistently and, most importantly, consistent with the policy goals that underlie this extraordinary outpouring of taxpayer money.”

      • How Corporate Media ‘Factchecked’ Biden’s Calls for Social Security Cuts Into Oblivion

        Throughout this election cycle, FAIR has documented how corporate media view it as their mission to protect the status quo and corporate profits by lauding centrist and right-wing Democrats like Joe Biden, as well as serving as an anti-Bernie Sanders attack machine. It seems the latest tactic in corporate media’s  crusade to undermine the Sanders campaign—and the progressive movement supporting him—is to bleed them dry with disingenuous “factchecks,” serving as a form of death by a thousand nuances.

      • [Old] Strategy Letter V

        A complement is a product that you usually buy together with another product. Gas and cars are complements. Computer hardware is a classic complement of computer operating systems. And babysitters are a complement of dinner at fine restaurants. In a small town, when the local five star restaurant has a two-for-one Valentine’s day special, the local babysitters double their rates. (Actually, the nine-year-olds get roped into early service.)

        All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease.

        Let me repeat that because you might have dozed off, and it’s important. Demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. For example, if flights to Miami become cheaper, demand for hotel rooms in Miami goes up — because more people are flying to Miami and need a room. When computers become cheaper, more people buy them, and they all need operating systems, so demand for operating systems goes up, which means the price of operating systems can go up.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia

        I write this update to you against the sobering realities of the coronavirus crisis, a profound U.S. leadership crisis and the reality that 2020 is closing down early across our society.

      • DOJ Seeks to Exploit Coronavirus Emergency to Detain People Indefinitely

        Throughout U.S. history, presidents have exploited national emergencies to exceed their constitutional powers. Abraham Lincoln illegally suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt confined people of Japanese descent in internment camps during World War II. And George W. Bush used his post-9/11 “war on terror” to launch two illegal wars, mount a program of torture, conduct extensive unlawful surveillance and illegally detain people.

      • Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President

        Prompted by Donald Trump’s shamefully bombastic behavior and attitude during all his press conferences, and especially during his recent COVID-19 White House press conferences, and their juxtaposition to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s honest, calm, and painfully truthful yet reassuring press conferences, last week I told a former colleague and neighbor “I wish I were old enough to have heard FDR’s ‘fireside chats.’”

      • The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It

        Although no information is circulating about the stock of oxygen cylinders in France, which are very useful in these times of acute health crisis and which Italy cruelly lacks, the only factory capable of producing them in Europe remains closed. The employees of Luxfer’s oxygen cylinder factory in Gerzat (a town located in the northern suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand in France) are calling for the “total and definitive” nationalization of the factory and the immediate restart of production in order to deal with the current health crisis and to be able to alleviate the demands in France and other countries. After years of neoliberal decadence that mistreated the public hospital, resulting in the exhaustion of staff, reduced budgets, a decrease in the number of hospital beds, a decrease in the stock of masks and, ultimately, catastrophic management of the current crisis, will the French government persist in not intervening to regain control of this factory, which is essential for curing patients suffering from covid19?

      • Rep. Omar Blasts Trump’s “American Exceptionalism” as US Leads in COVID-19 Cases

        As much of the United States is under lockdown, the House votes today on a $2 trillion emergency relief package to address the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. It will generate payments to most Americans and includes protections for workers, but it is also a massive bailout for a number of industries and corporations, and the vote comes as a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. We speak with Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the first Somali American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of the first Muslim women in Congress, about the bill, Trump’s response to the pandemic, how she has joined calls for student debt relief and to release immigrants and prisoners facing infection, and the challenges African countries face in responding to the coronavirus.

      • The Pope is Wrong on Argentina

        When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the new Pope after the resignation of his German predecessor, a wave of euphoria shook Argentina. He was not only the first Latin American Pope but also a beloved member of the Argentine Catholic Church. Bergoglio was well-known and respected because of his work as cardinal. At present, however, his indirect participation in Argentina’s politics has tarnished his image to some extent.

      • Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism

        In typical “free market” fashion, Trump told us that he was working with the private sector to solve the problem. While this might be somewhat comprehensible in terms of speedy distribution, given the already existing infrastructure of corporations like Google and Walgreens, it turns out that this is not even true. Meanwhile, many residents act as if the apocalypse is upon us as they ravage grocery stores, hoarding everything from beans to the aforementioned toilet paper. The selfish American is represented by the nation’s president and his supporters, throwing common sense that demands solidarity and helpfulness into the dump.

      • Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead

        Attention all Russia-gaters! Under the cover of pandemic, the US finally dropped charges against those dastardly Russian meme-bombers!

      • We Need Universal Mail-In Ballots for the 2020 Election

        We’re all now party to the most critical election protection debate in U.S. history, one that has entered the proposed Senate coronavirus stimulus package to the tune of $400 million, which may be just a fraction of what’s really needed.

      • Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time

        The prologue of our book, United States of Distraction, begins with that epigraph, and it is quite fitting for our times. Much like we argued then about understanding Donald Trump’s electoral victory, the only proper way to comprehend and address the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic is to look at how we got here—through a spate of neoliberal policies that put profits over people for decades. No doubt, we are sickened by the fear and suffering this current pandemic has wrought. However, where commentators and critics are invested in a short-term blame game, we are more concerned with developing solutions to the current challenges we face, and to build on those systemically, making it less likely we have to confront such a crisis in the future. Part of that requires assessing our historical responsibilities, where we must address the failure of the neoliberal experiment over the past half century that has brought us to where we are today.

      • God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus

        Steven Andrew is pastor of the USA Christian Church in San Jose (CA) who warns, “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.” He goes on, Bible thumping, “Our safety is at stake since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. … God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBT, false gods, abortion and other sins.”

      • Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo

        The Trump presidency is mainly about enriching and glorifying Donald Trump. To that end, and in accord with his attitudes and dispositions, he has set about making America hate again – or, more precisely, a whole lot more than in the recent past. Thus, he has taken to calling the global pandemic caused by the covid-19 virus “the “Chinese flu.”

      • Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media

        Bill Gates created the coronavirus. China secretly developed it in a lab as a biological weapon. A cure exists and the government controls it, but won’t release it to the public. The virus is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Coronavirus is a “fake news” hoax manufactured by the news. You can use hand dryers to kill the virus, vitamin C, or lemon juice. The country is going to be quarantined under martial law, and the government will shut down all grocery stores so that no one can buy food. All of these claims are examples of conspiracies associated with coronavirus that have been perpetrated by social media.

      • What’s going to be open in Moscow next week, at a glance
      • COVID-19 vs. the Constitution Kremlin sources explain how the coronavirus pandemic is throwing off Putin’s political strategy for 2020 and what his team is doing about it

        The coronavirus pandemic has hit the pause button on most political processes in Russia. The presidential administration’s domestic politics team has suspended its campaign to shape the national vote on Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional amendments, switching gears to focus entirely on fighting COVID-19. While Putin’s chances at two more terms hang in the balance as a result, gubernatorial appointments are also up in the air. The Kremlin had been planning to put several regional governors who are up for election to the test by watching their performance in the constitutional referendum. Now that Putin has postponed the plebiscite, which was scheduled for April 22, the Kremlin may have weeks or months to wait before tailoring its regional political strategy. Andrey Pertsev surveyed the effects of the new coronavirus on Russian politics so far.

      • US Government Sites Give Bad Security Advice

        The text I have a beef with is the bit on the right, beneath the “This site is secure” statement. Specifically, it says, “The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website….”

        Here’s the deal: The https:// part of an address (also called “Secure Sockets Layer” or SSL) merely signifies the data being transmitted back and forth between your browser and the site is encrypted and cannot be read by third parties.

        However, the presence of “https://” or a padlock in the browser address bar does not mean the site is legitimate, nor is it any proof the site has been security-hardened against intrusion from hackers.

      • U.N. Security Council Paralyzed as Contagion Rages

        The United Nations Security Council is watching the greatest global health crisis in a century unfold from the sidelines, quarreling over the wisdom of working online, batting down proposals to help organize the response to the pandemic, and largely ignoring the U.N. secretary-general’s appeal for a global cease-fire.

        The paralysis comes at a time when the United States is pressing the 15-nation council to adopt a resolution that would largely blame China for unleashing the pathogen on the world. The initiative—which appears to be part of a broader U.S. strategy to deflect responsibility for its own sluggish response to the spread of the virus—is certain to be blocked by China, which wields veto power.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Someone Convinced Google To Delist Our Entire Right To Be Forgotten Tag In The EU For Searches On Their Name

        We received notification this week that Google has delisted our entire right to be forgotten tag page, based on (of course) a right to be forgotten request under the GDPR in the EU. To be clear, this only applies when someone searches the name in question — which was not shared with us. I am… perplexed about this. I understand that some people may not want us talking about their ongoing efforts to rewrite history and hide their past. However, you would think that if these articles don’t actually talk about their historical scams that are very much a part of the public record, and instead focus on their very current and ongoing abuse of the “right to be forgotten” process, they should be allowed to remain up.

      • Anti-Vaxxer Sues Facebook, In The Middle Of A Pandemic, For ‘In Excess’ Of $5 Billion For Shutting Down His Account

        When I write about this new lawsuit, filed on behalf of “retired MMA fighter” Nick Catone, against Facebook for removing his account over his anti-vaccine posts, you may expect that it was filed pro se. However, somewhat shockingly, there’s an actual lawyer, James Mermigis, who filed this dumpster fire of an awful complaint. Mermigis does not appear to have any experience in internet law, and boy does it show. His various profiles online list his experience in divorce law, real estate law, and personal injury law. His own Twitter feed is basically all just wacky anti-vax nonsense, and, late last year, he was quoted as representing people trying to block a NY law removing a religious exemption for vaccines. We’ve gone over this many times before, but spewing junk science and angry rants that are literally putting tons of people in danger is no way to go through life, and it’s certainly no way to file a lawsuit. Especially not in the midst of a pandemic where a vaccine sure would be nice.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Judge Allows PEN America’s Lawsuit Against Donald Trump Over Retaliation Against The Media To Proceed

        We’ve written a few times about the White House’s unconstitutional retaliation against journalists it did not like, such as Jim Acosta and Brian Karem. PEN America, a key group fighting for free speech rights for journalists and writers, has now been allowed to proceed in its lawsuit against the President over his campaign of retaliation against journalists. PEN America had sued back in 2018, asking for declaratory and injunctive relief (basically the court telling the Trump White House to knock it off) against a variety of forms of retaliation he had done or threatened against the press.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Judge Keeps Assange Jailed As COVID-19 Pandemic Intensifies—Plus, Amazon Workers Speak Out

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights a British magistrate court judge’s decision to deny WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange bail during the coronavirus pandemic.

        Assange’s attorneys applied for bail because they believe he faces “imminent danger.” He suffers from a chronic lung condition, which makes him especially vulnerable to a virus that severely affects anyone with respiratory ailments.

      • Iraqi security forces seize journalist’s belongings for allegedly violating COVID-19 curfew

        “Since Kirkuk was seized by the Iraqi Army in October 2017, it has become very difficult to work here as a Kurdish journalist. We are constantly harassed and, unlike Arabic outlets, we are not invited to cover government events,” Shakur told CPJ.

      • Truth Matters: Why Journalists Need Encryption Now More Than Ever

        In a period that has seen various governments and law enforcement representatives propose laws that would weaken it, the pandemic is an important reminder of the role encryption plays to protect both journalists, their sources, and general news integrity.

        End-to-end (E2E) encryption is a tool that keeps digital communications private by scrambling content so that only the sender and receiver have the keys to unscramble and read it.

        This is crucial for journalists.

      • Kurdish journalists demand release of their colleagues

        Journalist Seyit Evren reminded that almost none of the hostage journalists had any other “crime” than reporting. “The aim of these journalists was to inform the society correctly, to tell the truth and to expose the lies. Although some of them were arrested several times, they did not stop writing or telling the truth. For this reason, they were thrown into prisons even without an indictment being prepared. Despite the danger of the virus outbreak, the government is determined to keep journalists in prisons. In fact, the AKP seems to be using this epidemic as an opportunity to get rid of journalists. Erdogan and AKP are afraid of journalists who are telling the truth. As a journalist, I want my journalist friends to be released immediately. Therefore, I invite the whole society to be sensitive and to demand their freedom.”

        Journalist Vedat Kurşun reminded that Turkey under the AKP has become the biggest prison in the world for journalists. “This shows how frightened the AKP is of journalists. Political prisoners and journalists must be released immediately and unconditionally. We call on people to put pressure on Turkey to ensure the release of journalists.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Shelter in Place” Is Putting Domestic Violence Survivors in a Dire Situation

        As schools shut, public spaces close, and all but essential workers are ordered to stay indoors under shelter-in-place orders across the U.S. and globe, domestic violence services are scrambling to help vulnerable people navigate home lives that they say are increasingly unsafe during the pandemic. What happens when you’re trapped at home with your abuser? “This is really a dire situation for a lot of victims across the country,” says Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.

      • Incarcerated Anti-Fascists Report Targeted Beatings by Guards

        The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is targeting Eric King, an unapologetically vocal anti-fascist, yogi and poet who has been incarcerated since September 2014, for his political beliefs. King was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being charged with attempting to set fire to a government official’s empty office building in support of the Ferguson, Missouri, uprising in 2014.

      • In a 10-Day Span, ICE Flew This Detainee Across the Country — Nine Times

        Less than two weeks ago, the Trump administration urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Major airlines slashed their routes. All the while, Sirous Asgari took nine different flights around the country.

        None of them was by choice.

      • Episode 73: The Biggest Marijuana Dispensary with Vanessa Martinez – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon discuss marijuana from the biggest dispensary in the world. ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • People With Intellectual Disabilities May Be Denied Lifesaving Care Under These Plans as Coronavirus Spreads

        Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.

        Several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.

      • Now More Than Ever, Prisoners Should Have Some Access to Social Media

        COVID-19 has trapped many of us in our homes, isolating us from family and friends and limiting our movements. But there are few people who feel the isolating impacts of COVID-19 more acutely than those who are actually incarcerated in jails and prisons across the country. As Jerry Metcalf, an inmate in Michigan, wrote for the Marshall Project’s “Life on the Inside” series:

        Metcalf’s is an important perspective to have, but, unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to hear from inmates like him. That’s because prison systems are making it harder for the public to hear from incarcerated people through excessive restrictions on the ways prisoners can express themselves over the Internet.

      • “I’m going against my doctor’s orders”: The story behind your coronavirus-era takeaways

        But their working conditions are putting them in a difficult – and potentially dangerous – position. Most are classed as contractors rather than employees, which means they receive fewer rights from the companies they work for.

        “For food delivery, almost universally, these couriers are not classed as employees so that means they’re not entitled to statutory sick pay,” says Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which represents such workers. This union is legally challenging the government to extend statutory sick pay to such workers, and raise its level to full pay.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon Is The Only US Wireless Carrier Charging Extra For 5G

        By now we’ve established that while fifth-generation (5G) wireless will result in faster, more resilient networks, the technology has been over-hyped to an almost comical degree. Yes, faster, lower latency networks are a good thing, but 5G is not as paradigm-rattling as most wireless carriers and hardware vendors have led many in the press to believe. 5G is more of a useful evolution than a revolution, but it has become the equivalent of magic pixie dust in tech policy circles, wherein if you simply say “it will lead to faster deployment of 5G!” you’ll immediately add gravitas to your otherwise underwhelming K Street policy pitch.

      • Members of Congress Once Again Urge ICANN to Save Dot Org

        As the proposed sale of the .ORG domain registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital plays out, we see more and more why this sale was rushed through: the longer we have to look at it, the more questions we all have, and the fewer answers we get. For the second time, some of the people questioning the wisdom of this sale are members of the U.S. Congress.

        On March 18, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, and Representative Anna Eshoo sent a new letter [.pdf]  to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), urging, for the second time, that ICANN reject the “private equity takeover of the .ORG registry.”

      • Can the Internet survive covid-19? Will we start having outages?

        “Can the Internet survive covid-19? Will we start having outages? As fragile as the Internet is, it wouldn’t surprise me.” – Logen This is an outstanding question. Let’s sit back, just for a moment, and consider how the Internet really operates. Starting at our home and working… outward. In my home, I have a computer. Which requires fairly infrequent (but not non-existent) levels of maintencence to keep running.

      • Internet Stability in Times of Corona

        Now, in the last few weeks the world has changed quite a bit: a large part of the world is in social quarantine, works from home or is even in complete lockdown due to the Corona pandemic. We are interested to see effects of this in the data collected by RIS. The specific signal that we looked at shows re-configuration activities such as: IP prefixes announcements, withdrawals or changes in origin. One might think that network operators would make fewer changes to their networks or that they have restricted access to data centers which would reduce the number of networks where we see any re-configuration activities.

        To my surprise there is no such signal visible as of writing of this post. The red line in Figure 1 below shows the number of networks (ASes) for which we see any kind of changes in terms of the IPv4 prefixes they announce. In Figure 2 this signal is split out in networks that have specific types of changes (prefixes added, prefixes removed, and origins changed). In both these graphs there is no visible decrease in the number of networks with these types of changes on the right-end of the graph. These were the weeks where more and more countries took social distancing measures to combat Corona spread.

      • It Isn’t Just You: The Internet Is Actually Super-Slow Lately

        According to a new report by Broadband Now, a consumer advocate website that compares U.S. [Internet] service providers (ISPs), many cities are experiencing [Internet] slowdowns during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

        Out of the country’s 200 most populous cities, 88 “have experienced some degree of network degradation over the past week compared to the 10 weeks prior,” according to the report. Three cities “experienced significant degradations, falling out of their ten-week range by more than 40 percent.” Most cities, however, didn’t find their speeds deviate by more than 20 percent.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Please Don’t Sue LeVar Burton for Reading Soothing Stories to Scared Children

          LeVar Burton, the iconic host of the 80′s PBS show for 23 seasons, is trying to figure out how to start a live-streaming storytime online, for children (and adults) stuck inside during the coronavirus isolation and quarantine. To do that, however, he needs to find stories that he won’t get sued for reading.

          On Wednesday, Burton tweeted that he’s considering doing a live-streamed reading of his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, where he narrates short stories. “I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families,” he wrote.

          But he said he’s running into some difficulty finding works he’s even allowed to read. Copyright law is vague about whether reading works live, online, is allowed or not.

        • Anti-Piracy Campaign Against YouTube-Rippers Has Very Little Effect

          In recent months the RIAA has tried its best to remove YouTube-rippers from Google’s search results. While the search engine has deleted thousands of URLs, these actions have very little effect. The targeted sites remain the top results for the top keywords while traffic to the sites, including that from search engines, remains stable as well.

        • Bad Boys For Life Leads Wave of Early Movie Releases Flooding Pirate Sites

          As cinemas around the globe continue their shutdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of movies are now enjoying early digital releases. Of course, many of these are also hitting pirate sites, with Bad Boys For Life, Bloodshot and The Gentlemen currently proving most popular with downloaders.

        • Copyright Is Broken: COVID-19 Pandemic Revealing Just How Messed Up Our Permission-Based Culture Is

          Like large parts of the world right now, I’m stuck at home these days, and figuring out how to work and be a distance learning proctor to children. A week and a half into this forced educational experiment, my kid’s kindergarten teacher decided to post a (private) video of her reading a children’s book to the students. Why did it take so long before reading time arrived to distance learning? Copyright, of course. She needed to wait for permission from Random House, apparently, and that also meant that in posting the video to the distance learning platform the school is using, she noted in both text, and prior to reading, “with permission from Random House.”

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