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02.22.20

Links 22/2/2020: Polish Government Increases GNU/Linux Use, Samza 1.3.1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • After South Korea, Polish Government Increases Use Of Linux

      In addition to the recent full-scale shift to Linux by South Korea, the Polish state organization has also signed a three-year support contract with Linux Polska for its IT systems.

      Poland’s social insurance company, ZUS (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych), announced the agreement with Linux Polska to obtain 24×7 support for integrated Linux server virtualization.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • DStv Now working on Linux streaming problems

        MyBroadband readers have complained of problems when trying to stream DStv Now on Linux devices.

        Previously, users running Linux operating systems were able to watch DStv Now through a web browser such as Chrome or Firefox.

        However, since the beginning of 2020, these users have been unable to watch shows on the platform, likely due to a change in the Widevine DRM system.

        Similar problems with international streaming platforms have been reported this year, indicating that the issue could be a common DRM issue rather than individual platform changes.

      • A Tale of Four Laptops, or, How Lenovo’s Digital River Customer Support Sucks

        In September, I made a mistake… We needed new laptops for Dmitry and Agata, and after much deliberation, we decided upon Lenovo Yoga C940’s. These are very cool devices, with HDR screens, nice keyboard, built-in pen, two-in-one convertible — everything in short for the discerning Krita hacker.

        I accidentally ordered the S940 instead — two of them. These are very awful devices, without a pen, no touch-screen, don’t fold, don’t have HDR, don’t even have normal USB ports. Overpriced, under-powered — why the heck does Lenovo call these Ideapads yoga’s? I have no idea.

        Well, no problem, I thought. I’ll just return them and ordered the C940 instead. The C940’s arrived in time for our BlenderCon sprintlet, and were all what one expected them to be. And I filled in Lenovo’s web form to return the S940’s.

        [...]

        I’ve bought Yoga’s, Thinkpads and even Ideapads in great numbers in the past twenty years… But I think it’s time to make a change.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Clear Linux | The Fastest Linux Distro?

        Clear Linux | The Fastest Linux Distro? Let’s do a deep dive into Clear Linux and go through the installation, configuration, and overall setup for it on your System.

      • Brunch with Brent: Heather Ellsworth | Jupiter Extras 57

        Brent sits down with Heather Ellsworth, Software Engineer on Canonical’s Ubuntu Desktop Team, a GNOME Foundation Member, and former Purism Librem 5 Documentation Engineer. We discuss her deep history in experimental high energy physics at CERN, the similarities and synergies between the sciences and software engineering, her love of documentation, her newly established maintainership of LibreOffice, and how empathy factors into good bug reporting.

      • Kdenlive: From Beginner to Advanced Video Editing

        This is a different kind of video because it has a bit of Time Travel in it. In June 2019, I presented a talk at the SouthEast LinuxFest entitled “Kdenlive: From Beginner to Advanced Video Editing”. This was an interesting experience and the editing process took an excessive amount of time which I suppose is fitting for a video about video editing. In this video, you will learn some tips and tricks that I use for working in Kdenlive as well as some cool transitions like Matte Transitions. There was also a very useful Questions & Answers section at the end of the talk.

        I actually learned some more things during the process of editing this video so there is always plenty to learn about this kind of software. If you would like more Kdenlive videos from me then please leave a comment below. I would be happy to make some specific tutorial videos, this is more of an overview and I think there’s plenty to show in tutorial form.

      • Hopeful for HAMR | TechSNAP 423

        We explore the potential of heat-assisted magnetic recording and get excited about a possibly persistent L2ARC.

        Plus Jim’s journeys with Clear Linux, and why Ubuntu 18.04.4 is a maintenance release worth talking about.

      • 2020-02-21 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat OpenStack Platform reaches version 16, Google announces the mentors for this year’s Summer of Code, DigitalOcean secures new funding, the Raspberry Pi 4’s USB-C power problems get a fix, and the GTK Project unveils its new website.

      • Talk Python to Me: #252 What scientific computing can learn from CS

        Did you come into Python from a computational science side of things? Were you just looking for something better than Excel or Matlab and got pulled in by all the Python has to offer?

        That’s great! But following that path often means some of the more formal practices from software development weren’t part of the journey.

        On this episode, you’ll meet Martin Héroux, who does data science in the context of academic research. He’s here to share his best practices and lessons for data scientists of all sorts.

      • Matt Layman: Templates and Logic – Building SaaS #45

        In this episode, we added content to a template and talked about the N+1 query bug. I also worked tricky logic involving date handling.

        The first change was to update a course page to include a new icon for any course task that should be graded. After adding this, we hit an N+1 query bug, which is a performance bug that happens when code queries a database in a loop. We talked about why this happens and how to fix it.

        After finishing that issue, we switched gears and worked on a tricky logic bug. I need a daily view to fetch data and factor in the relative time shift between the selected day and today. We wrote an involved test to simulate the right conditions and then fixed the code to handle the date shift properly.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7 DRM Bringing New “TIDSS” Driver

        The first batch of DRM-Misc changes following the recent Linux 5.6 merge window have been merged into DRM-Next in forming the early material that will ultimately come to the Linux 5.7 cycle in April.

        With this first batch of new feature material there are changes like the Arm Mali 400/450 “Lima” driver now supporting heap buffers, various DRM core improvements, DPMS clean-ups of atomic drivers, other maintenance items, and a new Direct Rendering Manager driver.

      • Intel Ethernet E823 Support Coming To The ICE Driver In Linux 5.7

        Intel’s ICE driver for the Ethernet E800 series is seeing a new member of the family come Linux 5.7.

        Queued in net-next thanks to an Intel developer is adding support for Intel Ethernet E823 series devices. This Intel E823 support for the Linux ethernet driver covers E823-L and E823-C adapters.

      • Linux EFI Going Through Spring Cleaning Before RISC-V Support Lands

        The Linux EFI boot code is going through some “spring cleaning” ahead of the RISC-V EFI support landing that still could make it for the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle this spring.

        The EFI kernel code is seeing some cleaning before the RISC-V support is merged since that increases the complexity of the code-base and for testing due to having an extra architecture in there. With this early batch of EFI changes to be staged until the Linux 5.7 merge window in April, the RISC-V support isn’t yet included but it still could get pulled together in the next month for making the 5.7 kernel.

      • Linux NUMA Patches Aim To Reduce Overhead, Avoid Unnecessary Migrations

        A set of patches that continue to be worked on for the Linux kernek is reconciling NUMA balancing decisions with the load balancer. Ultimately this series is about reducing unnecessary task and page migrations and other NUMA balancing overhead.

        The main focus with the patch series is addressing inconsistencies between the kernel’s NUMA balancing code and the load balancer. “The NUMA balancer makes placement decisions on tasks that partially take the load balancer into account and vice versa but there are inconsistencies. This can result in placement decisions that override each other leading to unnecessary migrations — both task placement and page placement. This series reconciles many of the decisions — partially Vincent’s work with some fixes and optimisations on top to merge our two series.”

      • Cloud, Linux vendors cash in on KVM-based virtualization

        Vendors such as Red Hat, IBM, Canonical and Google rely on KVM-based virtualization technology for many of their virtualization products because it enables IT administrators to execute multiple OSes on the same hardware. As a result, it has become a staple in IT admins’ virtual systems.

        KVM was first announced in October 2006 and was added to the mainline Linux kernel in February 2007, which means that if admins are running a Linux machine, they can run KVM out of the box.

        KVM is a Type 1 hypervisor, which means that each individual VM acts similar to a regular Linux process and allocates resources accordingly. Other Type 1 hypervisors include Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VM Server for x86 and VMware ESXi.

      • Unikraft: Building Powerful Unikernels Has Never Been Easier!

        Two years ago, the Xen Project introduced Unikraft (http://unikraft.org) as an incubation project. Over the past two years, the Unikraft project has seen some great momentum. Since the last release, the community has grown about 20% and contributions have diversified a great deal. Contributions from outside the project founders (NEC) now make up 63% of all contributions, up from about 25% this time last year! In addition, a total of 56,739 lines were added since the last release (0.3).

        [...]

        Finally, the Unikraft team’s Simon Kuenzer recently gave a talk at FOSDEM titled “Unikraft: A Unikernel Toolkit”. Simon, a senior systems researcher at NEC Labs and the lead maintainer of Unikraft, spoke all about Unikraft and provided a comprehensive overview of the project, where it’s been and what’s in store.

      • Linux to get iPhone fast charging support

        Before the iPhone 11 Pro was released, all iPhones shipped with slow 5W chargers. However, now that the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max come bundled with 18W fast chargers, it makes sense to have computers support the technology as well.

        To add fast charging support for iPhones, the upcoming Linux Kernel 5.7 will add support for the latest fast charging technology. To be more specific, it’s not only for iPhones but also iPads which use 24W chargers.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa’s RADV Vulkan Driver Adding Compatibility For Use With The AMD Radeon GPU Profiler

          To date the Mesa “RADV” Radeon Vulkan driver hasn’t supported AMD’s GPUOpen Radeon GPU Profiler but that is changing.

          With RADV being developed by the community — principally by the likes of Valve, Red Hat, and Google — this Mesa Vulkan driver hasn’t supported all of the tooling AMD makes available under the GPUOpen umbrella and is tailored for their official AMD Linux/Windows Vulkan drivers. While AMDVLK and the Radeon Software for Linux driver have supported the company’s Radeon GPU Profiler, RADV is now adding compatibility for this profiler.

        • Intel Compute Runtime Adds OCLOC Multi-Device Compilation

          Version 20.07.15711 of the Intel Compute Runtime was released this morning.

          The Intel Compute Runtime 20.07.15711 is what principally provides their modern OpenCL implementation for Broadwell graphics hardware and newer with current at OpenCL 2.1 for all generations from Broadwell through the yet-to-be-released Gen12 Tiger Lake.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking OpenMandriva’s AMD Ryzen Optimized Linux Distribution On The Threadripper 3970X

        While Clear Linux is well known as being the performance-optimized Linux distribution out of Intel and catered towards performing the best on their hardware (though as we continue to show, Clear Linux does also perform incredibly well on AMD hardware too and generally faster than other distributions), when it comes to AMD-optimized distributions the primary example remains OpenMandriva. Since 2018 OpenMandriva has been providing an AMD Zen optimized build where their operating system and entire package archive is built with the “znver1″ compiler optimizations. As it’s been almost a year since last looking at OpenMandriva’s Zen optimized build, here are some fresh benchmarks using the newly-released OpenMandriva 4.1.

    • Applications

      • 8 Essential Free Speech Tools

        Speech synthesizers are text-to-speech systems used with computers. This type of software is programmed to include phonemes and the grammatical rules of a language, so that words are pronounced correctly. This article identifies the finest open source speech synthesizers that are available for the Linux platform. This category of software is particularly useful for increasing the accessibility of the internet, but there are many other applications for speech synthesizers.

        Although this article focuses on open source software, we would take this opportunity to mention the IVONA Text to Speech System, software that is compatible with Linux. IVONA is an incredibly impressive text-to-speech system, generating exceptionally natural sounding voices. Unfortunately, the software is released under a proprietary license. While its open source competitors, eSpeak, Festival, and Praat Speech Analyser, sound somewhat robotic in comparison with the human-sounding IVONA, they do provide clear audio with text documents.

        This article also highlights the best speech recognition software for Linux. Speech recognition is the translation of spoken words into text. This type of software helps users to operate their computer by speaking to it, and is a real blessing for anyone who finds it difficult to type, such as the elderly, or people with physical disabilities. Using speech recognition software, users can easily write emails, surf the net, manage their finances, chat to other users online, and perform many other computer activities.

        To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 of the finest speech tools covering the spectrum of speech synthesizers, speech recognition software, speech recognition engines, and speech analysis. Here’s our recommended tools.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Proton 5.0-3 for Steam Play released, Direct3D 12 support for Metro Exodus

        Another small release in terms of noted changes but still an interested one, with today seeing Proton 5.0-3 for Steam Play being made available.

        For those who really can’t wait for the upcoming Linux release of Metro Exodus, you can now run it in Proton in the Direct3D 12 mode. Nice to see support for that making it in so quickly and it will be interesting to see how it fares against the aforementioned Linux release.

        The rest of this release are bug fixes, with the major fix being a “high polling rate mouse regression” I saw a number of complaints on so Proton 5.0-3 should behave a bit better. On top of that there’s also a fix for crashing launches with both The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners and eFootball PES 2020 plus Automobilista being unable to load some assets also being fixed up.

      • Steam Play’s Proton 5.0-3 Released With Support For Metro Exodus Direct3D 12 Mode

        CodeWeavers working under contract for Valve on their Wine downstream Proton is out with a new update to their Proton 5.0 series.

        Proton 5.0-3 is out as the newest release on their heavily patched Wine 5.0 based software for allowing countless Windows games to run smoothly under Linux. With Proton 5.0-3, Metro Exodus should be running nicely with its Direct3D 12 mode. Metro Exodus was released last February but made an Epic Games Store exclusive until recently. With the game now on Steam, it should be playing nicely on Linux thanks to Proton while 4A Games is said to be working on a native Linux port as well. For now though, Proton / Steam Play allows Metro Exodus to run on Linux.

      • Extreme top-down racing game ‘Bloody Rally Show’ is out now and it’s good

        Bloody Rally Show has been mentioned here a few times, as the developer gave GOL early access to test it and it’s a top-down racer I’ve certainly enjoyed watching grow.

        This is absolutely not your usual 2D racing sim either, it’s set in a dystopian future with a rather unique blending of racing, battling and some rogue-lite mechanics to give you a huge amount of content to play through full of missions and challenges.

      • Furiously intense ball-smashing game ‘Lethal League Blaze’ is now available on Linux

        Today, Team Reptile announced they have officially released a Linux build for their intense sports game Lethal League Blaze.

      • Dungeon-building RTS ‘Dungeons 3′ has another DLC out with a claim of it being final

        I’m not sure I believe it. Kalypso Media and Realmforge Studios just put out a brand new DLC for the delightfully silly dungeon-building RTS Dungeons 3 with a claim that it’s the final one.

      • Some early thoughts and exploration in The Longing, a game that takes 400 days to finish

        The Longing is a game that takes 400 real days to complete, a game that’s pretty much impossible to review but I’ve played quite a number of hours now to get an idea of what to expect from it. Since this is something of a short preview, a few spoilers may be contained.

        It doesn’t release until March 5 and due to the immense length of the game, we’ve been allowed to give it a few thoughts whenever. So here we are, with a short preview.

      • Big games of Stellaris are going to run a lot smoother in the 2.6.0 update

        Along with the major expansion coming to Stellaris with Federations, Paradox Development Studio as expected are working on a huge free patch and it’s sounding good.

        One problem with Stellaris, is that big games end up slowing down—a lot. PDS are aware of this and they’ve been working on it. Using a saved game from the community that had 20,000 “pops” on quite a powerful PC (Intel Core7-7900X @ 3.30Ghz, 10 cores and 20 threads, and AMD R9 Fury) they showed off the difference between 2.5.1 “Shelley” to 2.6 “Verne”.

      • Challenging turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard’ now available for Linux

        True to their word, Ink Stains Games have delivered a Linux version of their open-world turn-based RPG Stoneshard that’s currently in Early Access.

      • There’s going to be more customization in Dota Underlords with the full release next week

        Next week, Valve will push Dota Underlords out the door as it leaves Early Access and with that the first full gameplay Season will begin.

        In a short and sweet announcement on Steam, the team mentioned a few things that will be coming with it although they’re still being coy about the bigger features to come like the City Crawl which is likely some sort of single-player adventure mode.

      • Swipe right for Socialism in Democratic Socialism Simulator now available on Linux

        Using the swipe left or right mechanic found in titles like the Reigns series (which are good fun), Democratic Socialism Simulator is now available.

        “Enact radical reforms, tax the rich, transform the economy, tackle the most pressing issues without alienating voters or bankrupting the government. But beware: the ruling class won’t give up its power easily. Even your closest allies may turn on you.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New GTK Website Design Goes Live to Help Boost Linux App Development

          Many coders looking to get started GTK app development likely make the website their first port of call, meaning the page needs to make a strong, confident first impression.

          And the redesigned GTK website certainly does that. It pairs bold imagery and concise text with an uncluttered layout that puts essential links within easy reach.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Freespire 6.0: A Return to GNOME2′s Simpler Linux Days

          Freespire Linux 6.0 is a solid performer. I have not used the MATE desktop in quite a few years, but checking it out for this review instantly returned me to simpler days of using the Linux OS . I was a dedicated fan of the GNOME 2 desktop years ago and followed along with MATE rather than put up with the unsettling changes in the early releases of GNOME 3.

          I like the simple approach Freespire brings to using Linux, and I’m anticipating the release of the KDE version. Check back in upcoming weeks for an update when the KDE version of Freespire 6.0 is available.

      • BSD

        • Discussing Past, Present and Future of FreeBSD Project

          FreeBSD is one of the most popular BSD distributions. It is used on desktop, servers and embedded devices for more than two decades.

          We talked to Deb Goodkin, executive director, FreeBSD Foundation and discussed the past, present and future of FreeBSD project.

        • Can You Use FreeBSD for a Developer Machine in 2020?

          I’ve been considering moving my blog back to a FreeBSD web server. I’d hosted it that way for years and recently switched it to a Linux machine so I could make Octopress work properly. It uses some old, outdated Ruby gems, and it just seemed easier.

          But with a new redesign coming and a new Hugo back-end, I’ll be bringing my hosting machine back to FreeBSD.

          I recently read FreeBSD is an amazing operating system, which got me thinking:

          Can FreeBSD be a viable desktop operating system for developers in 2020?

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Gentoo Family

        • Gentoo Python Guide

          Gentoo provides one of the best frameworks for providing Python support in packages among operating systems. This includes support for running multiple versions of Python (while most other distributions avoid going beyond simultaneous support for Python 2 and one version of Python 3), alternative implementations of Python, reliable tests, deep QA checks. While we aim to keep things simple, this is not always possible.

          At the same time, the available documentation is limited and not always up-to-date. Both the built-in eclass documentation and Python project wiki page provide bits of documentation but they are mostly in reference form and not very suitable for beginners nor people who do not actively follow the developments within the ecosystem. This results in suboptimal ebuilds, improper dependencies, missing tests.

        • No more PYTHON_TARGETS in single-r1

          Since its inception in 2012, python-single-r1 has been haunting users with two sets of USE flags: PYTHON_TARGETS and PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET. While this initially seemed a necessary part of the grand design, today I know we could have done better. Today this chymera is disappearing for real, and python-single-r1 are going to use PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET flags only.

          I would like to take this opportunity to explain why the eclass has been designed this way in the first place, and what has been done to change that.

          Why PYTHON_SINGLE_TARGET?

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/08

          After a week of hacking on different stuff and being in the background for Tumbleweed while Oliver took on the role of Release Manager, I am back with you. And we have released three snapshots this week (0214, 0218 and 0219). The gap between 0214 and 0218 was the integration of glibc 2.31. But of course, there was more happening this week. So here comes the list:

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Network Automation: Why organizations shouldn’t wait to get started

          For many enterprises, we don’t need to sing the praises of IT automation – they already get it. They understand the value of automation, have invested in a platform and strategy, and have seen first-hand the benefits IT automation can deliver. However, unlike IT automation, according to a new report from Forrester Research 1, network automation is still new territory for many organizations.

          The report, “Jump-Start Your Network Automation,” found that 56% of global infrastructure technology decision makers have implemented/are implementing or are expanding/upgrading their implementation of automation software, while another 19% plan to implement it over the next 12 months. But those same organizations that are embracing IT automation haven’t necessarily been able to take that same initiative when it comes to automating their networks.

          Even if they know it will be beneficial to them, the report found that organizations often struggle with even the most basic questions around automating their networks.

        • Using a story’s theme to inform the filmmaking: Farming for the Future

          The future of farming belongs to us all. At least that’s the message I got from researching Red Hat’s most recent Open Source Stories documentary, Farming for the Future. As a self-proclaimed city boy, I was intrigued by my assignment as director of the short documentary, but also felt like the subject matter was worlds away. If it did, in fact, belong to all of us how would we convey this to a general audience? How could we use the film’s theme to inform how we might approach the filmmaking to enhance the storytelling?

        • Raptor Rolls Out New OpenBMC Firmware With Featureful Web GUI For System Management

          While web-based GUIs for system management on server platforms with BMCs is far from anything new, Raptor Computing Systems with their libre POWER9 systems does now have a full-functioning web-based solution for their OpenBMC-powered systems and still being fully open-source.

          As part of Raptor Computing Systems’ POWER9 desktops and servers being fully open-source down to the firmware/microcode and board designs, Raptor has used OpenBMC for the baseboard management controllers but has lacked a full-featured web-based system management solution on the likes of the Talos II and Blackbird systems up until now.

        • Introduction to open data sets and the importance of metadata

          More data is becoming freely available through initiatives such as institutions and research publications requiring that data sets be freely available along with the publications that refer to them. For example, Nature magazine instituted a policy for authors to declare how the data behind their published research can be accessed by interested readers.

          To make it easier for tools to find out what’s in a data set, authors, researchers, and suppliers of data sets are being encouraged to add metadata to their data sets. There are various forms for metadata that data sets use. For example, the US Government data.gov site uses the standard DCAT-US Schema v1.1 whereas the Google Dataset Search tool relies mostly on schema.org tagging. However, many data sets have no metadata at all. That’s why you won’t find all open data sets through search, and you need to go to known portals and explore if portals exist in the region, city, or topic of your interest. If you are deeply curious about metadata, you can see the alignment between DCAT and schema.org in the DCAT specification dated February 2020. The data sets themselves come in various forms for download, such as CSV, JSON, GeoJSON, and .zip. Sometimes data sets can be accessed through APIs.

          Another way that data sets are becoming available is through government initiatives to make data available. In the US, data.gov has more than 250,000 data sets available for developers to use. A similar initiative in India, data.gov.in, has more than 350,000 resources available.

          Companies like IBM sometimes provide access to data, like weather data, or give tips on how to process freely available data. For example, an introduction to NOAA weather data for JFK Airport is used to train the open source Model Asset eXchange Weather Forecaster (you can see the model artifacts on GitHub).

          When developing a prototype or training a model during a hackathon, it’s great to have access to relevant data to make your solution more convincing. There are many public data sets available to get you started. I’ll go over some of the ways to find them and provide access considerations. Note that some of the data sets might require some pre-processing before they can be used, for example, to handle missing data, but for a hackathon, they are often good enough.

        • Red Hat Helps Omnitracs Redefine Logistics And Transportation Software

          Fleet management technology provider Omnitracs, LLC, has delivered its Omnitracs One platform on the foundation of Red Hat OpenShift.

          Using the enterprise Kubernetes platform along with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Omnitracs One is a cloud-native offering and provides an enhanced user experience with a clear path towards future innovations. With Red Hat’s guidance, Omnitracs said it was able to embrace a shift from on-premises development technologies to cloud-native services, improving overall operations and creating a more collaborative development process culture.

        • Flatseal: Graphical Tool To Manage Flatpak Application Permissions

          Many applications are available to install in Linux desktop via Flatpak packages nowadays. If you’re sticking to flatpak applications, then Flatseal may be useful for you.

          Flatseal is a graphical utility to review and modify basic permissions for all your installed Flatpak applications.

          Simply launch Flatseal, select or search for an application from left pane and modify its permissions. Restart the application after making the changes. If anything goes wrong just press the Reset button.

        • Word Embeddings Simplified

          Recently I have been dwelling with a lot of NLP problems and jargons. The more I read about it the more I find it intriguing and beautiful of how we humans try to transfer this knowledge of a language to machines.

          How much ever we try because of our laid back nature we try to use already existing knowledge or existing materials to be used to make machines understand a given language.

          But machines as we know it can only understand digits or lets be more precise binary(0s and 1s). When I first laid my hands on NLP this was my first question, how does a machine understand that something is a word or sentence or a character.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-08

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

      • Debian Family

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 beta images available now

          Linux Mint Debian Edition, more commonly known as LMDE, has a new beta release out on third-party mirrors even though no official announcement has yet been made about its availability. LMDE 4 was discussed in the last Linux Mint blog post and is expected to come with all the improvements that were shipped with Linux Mint 19.3 such as Cinnamon 4.4, new default software, a boot repair tool, and more.

          Unlike typical Linux Mint versions which use Ubuntu as the base, LMDE uses Debian Stable. The software packages that are included with Debian Stable are thoroughly tested and are considered to be a bit more stable than the ones Ubuntu ships with (Ubuntu is based on Debian Unstable/Debian Testing depending on whether it’s an Ubuntu LTS release). LMDE also acts as an emergency option if, in future, Ubuntu is not a suitable base.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 Beta Is Now Available for Download

          Announced at the end of January, Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 “Debbie” is based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series and will be released before Linux Mint 20 as it’s mostly an updated installation media for those who want to deploy the latest LMDE operating system on new computers without having to download hundreds of updates after the installation.

          The new features in Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 can be spotted right from the boot as this release includes a new boot option that lets users start the live system with out-of-the-box support for Nvidia graphics cards. Yes, that’s right, the proprietary Nvidia graphics drivers are now preloaded in the ISO image.

        • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, January 2020

          January started calm until at the end of the month some LTS contributors met, some for the first time ever, at the Mini-DebCamp preceeding FOSDEM in Brussels. While there were no formal events about LTS at both events, such face2face meetings have proven to be very useful for future collaborations!
          We currently have 59 LTS sponsors sponsoring 219h each month. Still, as always we are welcoming new LTS sponsors!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Coronavirus wreaking havoc in the tech industry, including FOSS

        At FOSS Linux, you may wonder why we are covering the coronavirus and how it relates to Linux and open-source software?

        Aside from the apparent effect of the slowdown in components required for Linux to run on, the coronavirus outbreak directly impacts several products featured in FOSS Linux over the past year.

        Purism – the brains behind the Librem 5 phones powered by PureOS are the most directly affected by the outbreak, suffering production delays.
        Dell – the titanic computer manufacturer, has hinted at a possibility of interruption of supplies, which could affect the availability of the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition preloaded with Ubuntu 18.04.
        System76 – these creators of Pop_OS! 19.10 recently announced their foray into the world of laptop design and manufacturing. The coronavirus could adversely affect this endeavor.
        Pine64 – maker of the Pinebook Pro, the affordable laptop which supports most, if not all, Linux distros featured on FOSS Linux also is under threat of production delays.

      • Announcing the release of Samza 1.3.1

        We have identified some issues with the previous release of Apache Samza 1.3.0.

      • Events

        • Linux Foundation, LF Networking, and LF Edge Announce Keynote Speakers for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, along with co-hosts LF Networking, the umbrella organization fostering collaboration and innovation across the entire open networking stack, and LF Edge, the umbrella organization building an open source framework for the edge, today announced initial keynote speakers for Open Networking & Edge Summit (ONES) North America 2020. The event takes place April 20-21 in Los Angeles, California.

          Open Networking & Edge Summit (formerly Open Networking Summit) is the industry’s premier open networking event now expanded to comprehensively cover Edge Computing, Edge Cloud and IoT. The event enables collaborative development and innovation across enterprises, service providers/telcos and cloud providers to shape the future of networking and edge computing with a deep focus on technical, architectural and business discussions in the areas of Open Networking & AI/ML-enabled use cases for 5G, IoT, Edge and Enterprise deployment, as well as targeted discussions on Edge/IoT frameworks and blueprints across Manufacturing, Retail, Oil and Gas, Transportation and Telco Edge cloud, among other key areas.

        • SUSE welcomes Dublin City University students at SUSECON 2020

          DCU relies on SUSE to support their IT infrastructure. DCU also utilize our academic program for teaching and training Open Source technologies in the classroom, so when the idea came to invite a university to SUSECON, they were a perfect fit.

          Nearly 50 master’s students and a handful of teaching staff from the Faculty of Engineering and Computing are looking forward to attending this year’s SUSECON. MSc and M.Eng students from the School of Computing and the School of Electronic Engineering will be in attendance throughout the week. The event will provide numerous opportunities for the students to learn from and engage with industry experts from companies like SUSE, Microsoft and SAP.

        • Follow-up on the train journey to FOSDEM

          Here’s a recap of my train journey based on the Twitter thread I kept posting as I travelled.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome deploys deep-linking tech in latest browser build despite privacy concerns

            Google has implemented a browser capability in Chrome called ScrollToTextFragment that enables deep links to web documents, but it has done so despite unresolved privacy concerns and lack of support from other browser makers.

            Via Twitter on Tuesday, Peter Snyder, privacy researcher at privacy-focused browser maker Brave Software, observed that ScrollToTextFragment shipped earlier this month in Chrome 80 unflagged, meaning it’s active, despite privacy issues that have been raised.

            “Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a ‘don’t break the web,’ never-cross redline,” he wrote. “This spec does that.”

            The debate over the feature percolated last year on mailing lists and in GitHub issues posts and picked up in October when the team working on Chrome’s Blink engine declared their intent to implement the specification. The feature rollout serves to illustrate that the consensus-based web standards process doesn’t do much to constrain the technology Google deploys.

        • Mozilla/WWW

          • TenFourFox FPR20b1 available

            When using FPR20 you should notice … absolutely nothing. Sites should just appear as they do; the only way you’d know anything changed in this version is if you pressed Command-I and looked at the Security tab to see that you’re connected over TLS 1.3, the latest TLS security standard. In fact, the entirety of the debate was streamed over it, and to the best of my knowledge TenFourFox is the only browser that implements TLS 1.3 on Power Macs running Mac OS X. On regular Firefox your clue would be seeing occasional status messages about handshakes, but I’ve even disabled that for TenFourFox to avoid wholesale invalidating our langpacks which entirely lack those strings. Other than a couple trivial DOM updates I wrote up because they were easy, as before there are essentially no other changes other than the TLS enablement in this FPR to limit the regression range. If you find a site that does not work, verify first it does work in FPR19 or FPR18, because sites change more than we do, and see if setting security.tls.version.max to 3 (instead of 4) fixes it. You may need to restart the browser to make sure. If this does seem to reliably fix the problem, report it in the comments. A good test site is Google or Mozilla itself. The code we are using is largely the same as current Firefox’s.

          • Moving to Markdown

            I’m writing this only for those who follows this blog via RSS feed and probably wonders why they had many notifications on their RSS reader. Sorry, this thing happen when upload a new version of my website. So, what’s new on this new website? Not much, nothing changed visually… But everything changed under the hood!

          • Semantic markup, browsers, and identity in the DOM

            HTML was initially designed as a semantic markup language, with elements having semantics (meaning) describing general roles within a document. These semantic elements have been added to over time. Markup as it is used on the web is often criticized for not following the semantics, but rather being a soup of divs and spans, the most generic sorts of elements. The Web has also evolved over the last 25 years from a web of documents to a web where many of the most visited pages are really applications rather than documents. The HTML markup used on the Web is a representation of a tree structure, and the user interface of these web applications is often based on dynamic changes made through the DOM, which is what we call both the live representation of that tree structure and the API through which that representation is accessed.

            Browsers exist as tools for users to browse the Web; they strike a balance between showing the content as its author intended versus adapting that content to the device it is being displayed on and the preferences or needs of the user.

            Given the unreliable use of semantics on the Web, most of the ways browsers adapt content to the user rarely depend deeply on semantics, although some of them (such as reader mode) do have significant dependencies. However, browser adaptations of content or interventions that browsers make on behalf of the user very frequently depend on the persistent object identity in the DOM. That is, nodes in the DOM tree (such as sections of the page, or paragraphs) have an identity over the lifetime of the page, and many things that browsers do depend on that identity being consistent over time. For example, exposing the page to a screen reader, scroll anchoring, and I think some aspects of ad blocking all depend on the idea that there are elements in the web page that the browser understands the identity of over time.

          • Chris H-C: This Week in Glean: A Distributed Team Echoes Distributed Workflow

            I was recently struck by a realization that the position of our data org’s team members around the globe mimics the path that data flows through the Glean Ecosystem.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Sysadmins: Is LibreOffice a viable office suite choice for your users?

          At some point in our lives, we have all been in a situation that required us to make use of a software suite for productivity. For most of us, that software has been Microsoft Office. Some of my earliest technology encounters (aside from taking typing classes in elementary school) involved sitting down at a desktop computer to type up a homework assignment, or a surprise five-page expose on the universal themes permeating The Grapes of Wrath. (Insert eye roll here.)

          [...]

          Another aspect that sysadmins need to consider is cost. With the trend toward subscription models, making a decision now requires a different calculus. A subscription option allows you to always have the most up to date version, although it only covers one software license unless you are purchasing for a business. You still have one-time purchase options, however, it will never receive updates in the future outside of routine maintenance patches. For small business sysadmins, every dollar counts. If you can save your company money on software licensing and still have a robust productivity suite, you will not struggle to prove your value to the company.

          So, what is a forward-thinking, frugal, open source sysadmin to do? As this is not a trick question, the answer is simple: Use open source software to solve the issue. I want to look at what open source can do for us in the productivity space.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Reposurgeon defeats all monsters!

            On January 12th 2020, reposurgeon performed a successful conversion of its biggest repository ever – the entire history of the GNU Compiler Collection, 280K commits with a history stretching back through 1987. Not only were some parts CVS, the earliest portions predated CVS and had been stored in RCS.

            I waited this long to talk about it to give the dust time to settle on the conversion. But it’s been 5 weeks now and I’ve heard nary a peep from the GCC developers about any problems, so I think we can score this as reposurgeon’s biggest victory yet.

            The Go port really proved itself. Those 280K commits can be handled on the 128GB Great Beast with a load time of about two hours. I have to tell the Go garbage collector to be really aggressive – set GOGC=30 – but that’s exactly what GOGC is for.

      • Programming/Development

        • Designing an event-driven process at scale: Part 2

          In the first article in this series, Designing an event-driven business process at scale: A health management example, Part 1, we began by defining the business use case and data model for a concrete example from the health management industry. We then began implementing the example in jBPM (an open source business automation suite) by creating our trigger process.

        • 9 Reasons You Should Use Golang Language

          Golang is the open-source programming language developed by Google in the year 2007. Several programming languages are present in the market with advantages and disadvantages. We cannot predict which language is better, it would take months to discuss. However, the most sensible thing that helps choose a better language is the one that suits a specific purpose more reliably than the others. Thus, Golang development will be most suitable for those who are willing to combine simplicity, concurrency, and safety of the code.

          Different programming languages are less memory efficient and are unable to communicate with the hardware. Therefore, Golang is one of the most preferred languages for developers that help build software. It is also the open-source and procedural language that is advantageous to deploy simple, effective, and reliable software. Go language aids the environment to adopt different patterns that are similar to dynamic languages.

          Go language has several advantages that are responsible to quicken the development process. Moreover, Golang is the language that makes the process of software development easy and simple for programmers. These days, Golang is gaining popularity amongst the developers as it has a plethora of advantages than the other programming languages. So, the use of Golang has been adopted by mobile app development companies.

        • Perl / Raku

          • My first date with Raku

            Ever since I started the Perl Weekly challenge i.e. 25th March 2019, I have been planning to take part in the weekly challenge. Because of lack of time, I couldn’t take part in the past. In the Week #046, I finally took the plunge and contributed Perl solutions to the Perl Weekly Challenge – 046.

          • Possibly the best k-means clustering … in the world!

            Short post this time because I got nerd-sniped looking at the data. The fun part is that you quickly move from thinking about how to get your results to trying to work out what they mean.

            Forget why I started down this road. Right now, we are seeking the answer to Lewis Carol’s famous question, How is a Porsche 914-2 like a Volvo 142E? (well, that’s what it was in the first draft) A quick summary for those who have just joined us.

          • Demonstrating PERL with Tic-Tac-Toe, Part 1

            PERL is a procedural programming language. A program written in PERL consists of a series of commands that are executed sequentially. With few exceptions, most commands alter the state of the computer’s memory in some way.

            Line 00 in the Tic-Tac-Toe program isn’t technically part of the PERL program and it can be omitted. It is called a shebang (the letter e is pronounced soft as it is in the word shell). The purpose of the shebang line is to tell the operating system what interpreter the remaining text should be processed with if one isn’t specified on the command line.

            Line 02 isn’t strictly necessary for this program either. It makes available an advanced command named state. The state command creates a variable that can retain its value after it has gone out of scope. I’m using it here as a way to avoid declaring a global variable. It is considered good practice in computer programming to avoid using global variables where possible because they allow for action at a distance. If you didn’t follow all of that, don’t worry about it. It’s not important at this point.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 048: Survivor and Palindrome Dates

            I tried two different approaches to the problem.

            The first one uses an array of living people and a variable $sword that stores the index of the person holding the sword. In each iteration of the loop, the next person is removed from the array, and the sword is passed to the next person.

            The “next person” has a special cyclic meaning: at the end of the array, the sword must return to the beginning. This is achieved by using the modulo operator %. Note that we use it twice, once to find the person to kill, and once to find the person to pass the sword to—and each case uses a different array size in the modulo operation, as killing a person changes the size of the array.

        • Python

          • Personalize your python prompt

            The >>> we see when the Python interactive shell starts, is called the Prompt String. Usually, the prompt string suggests that the interactive shell is now ready to take new commands.

          • My Unexpected Dive into Open-Source Python

            I’m very happy to announce that I have joined Quansight as a front-end developer and designer! It was a happy coincidence how I joined- the intersection of my skills and the open source community’s expanded vision.

            I met Ralf Gommers, the director of Quansight Labs, at the PyData Conference in New York City last year after giving a Lightning Talk. However, as cool and confident as this may sound, I sure didn’t start off that way.

            At that point, it’s been a few months since I graduated from a coding bootcamp. I was feeling down in the job-search funk. I hadn’t even done much in Python, since my focus was in Javascript.

          • Automating Everything With Python: Reading Time: 3 Mins

            Python is a general language for beginners to get started with programming. Python is used for automation due to a built-in standard library and other tools within the Python ecosystem.

            Which can be useful for anyone besides just a system administrator to automate certain parts of their process to make work much efficient. From data wrangling to just gathering market research data.

            Due to this ease of picking up and the python ecosystem. Python is used as part of DevOps, Data Science, Marketing.

          • Python 3.7.5 : This python package can work with ArcGIS platform.
          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxvi) stackoverflow python report
        • Rust

          • Anatomy of a generic function in Rust

            It can handle different input types and thus it’s called a generic function. The generic data type is represented by the capital letter T in this example. T is an arbitrary placeholder. It could be have been another letter, X, Y or V, but when using T it can be easier to remeber that it refers to a “type”.

            I don’t usually write code but I do enjoy reading and here the syntax of the function definition can be daunting at first. Let’s have a look at a simpler version.

        • Java and JS

          • Don’t like loops? Try Java Streams

            In this article, I will explain how to not write loops anymore.

            What? Whaddaya mean, no more loops?

            Yep, that’s my 2020 resolution—no more loops in Java. Understand that it’s not that loops have failed me, nor have they led me astray (well, at least, I can argue that point). Really, it is that I, a Java programmer of modest abilities since 1997 or so, must finally learn about all this new Streams stuff, saying “what” I want to do and not “how” I want to do it, maybe being able to parallelize some of my computations, and all that other good stuff.

            I’m guessing that there are other Java programmers out there who also have been programming in Java for a decent amount of time and are in the same boat. Therefore, I’m offering my experiences as a guide to “how to not write loops in Java anymore.”

          • Live video streaming with open source Video.js

            Last year, I wrote about creating a video streaming server with Linux. That project uses the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RMTP), Nginx web server, Open Broadcast Studio (OBS), and VLC media player.

            I used VLC to play our video stream, which may be fine for a small local deployment but isn’t very practical on a large scale. First, your viewers have to use VLC, and RTMP streams can provide inconsistent playback. This is where Video.js comes into play! Video.js is an open source JavaScript framework for creating custom HTML5 video players. Video.js is incredibly powerful, and it’s used by a host of very popular websites—largely due to its open nature and how easy it is to get up and running.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Gopher: When Adversarial Interoperability Burrowed Under the Gatekeepers’ Fortresses

        In the early 1990s, personal computers did not arrive in an “Internet-ready” state. Before students could connect their systems to UMN’s network, they needed to install basic networking software that allowed their computers to communicate over TCP/IP, as well as dial-up software for protocols like PPP or SLIP. Some computers needed network cards or modems, and their associated drivers.

        That was just for starters. Once the students’ systems were ready to connect to the Internet, they still needed the basic tools for accessing distant servers: FTP software, a Usenet reader, a terminal emulator, and an email client, all crammed onto a floppy disk (or two). The task of marshalling, distributing, and supporting these tools fell to the university’s Microcomputer Center.

        For the university, the need to get students these basic tools was a blessing and a curse. It was labor-intensive work, sure, but it also meant that the Microcomputer Center could ensure that the students’ newly Internet-ready computers were also configured to access the campus network and its resources, saving the Microcomputer Center thousands of hours talking students through the configuration process. It also meant that the Microcomputer Center could act like a mini App Store, starting students out on their online journeys with a curated collection of up-to-date, reliable tools.

        That’s where Gopher comes in. While the campus mainframe administrators had plans to selectively connect their systems to the Internet through specialized software, the Microcomputer Center had different ideas. Years before the public had heard of the World Wide Web, the Gopher team sought to fill the same niche, by connecting disparate systems to the Internet and making them available to those with little-to-no technical expertise—with or without the cooperation of the systems they were connecting.

        Gopher used text-based menus to navigate “Gopherspace” (all the world’s public Gopher servers). The Microcomputer Center team created Gopher clients that ran on Macs, DOS, and in Unix-based terminals. The original Gopher servers were a motley assortment of used Macintosh IIci systems running A/UX, Apple’s flavor of Unix. The team also had access to several NeXT workstations.

      • The Things Industries Launches Global Join Server for Secure LoRaWAN

        Co-Founder and CEO of The Things Industries Wienke Giezeman announced the launch of Global Join Server (GJS) which is a secure component of the LoRaWan server.

      • Apple May Soon Let You Set Third-Party Mail, Browser Apps as Default on iOS: Report

        Apple has always had its own apps set as defaults in cases like the music player and the browser, Apple Music and Safari respectively. But, this might change soon. Reportedly, Apple is considering allowing third party apps to be set as defaults on iOS. Apple is also debating whether to allow third-party music apps on the HomePod speaker, something would mean allowing users to stream music via Spotify, which is one of Apple Music’s rivals. No decision has been made by the company as of now.

  • Leftovers

    • The Soviet Century

      Moshe Lewin (1921-2010) was a scholar of Russian and Soviet history. Of Jewish stock, he was born in what is now modern Lithuania. In his youth he worked on a collectivized farm and in a metallurgy factory in the Soviet state, before enlisting in the Red Army during the Second World War.

    • Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans

      Drive across the Alps into Italy and set out southwards and you’re surprised that the capital city on the Mediterranean is still hundreds of kilometers away. That long road ahead makes you conscious of the isolation of the ancient city called Roma. And you are right. Rome is isolated. Far away from the “real” Europe of London and Paris and Berlin, cities of high diplomacy and international accords. Far away not only in kilometers. It is also that isolation that makes Rome and the rest of Mediterranean Italy—packed onto the protrusion sticking out southwards toward Africa—so different from “Europe”. From the rest of the Continent. And therefore its fatal attraction. North Europeans love Italy. Poles have long had a special relationship with Rome—the Polski Dom for Polish pilgrims to the holy city is near my house. Like their writer Gogol, Russians feel a powerful attraction to Rim. The fascination these peoples of the North perceive for Roma is itself a mystery. I find it like the romantic mysteries of, say, Baranquilla or Macao or Alexandria. But one perception that most of them—Germans, Poles, Russians and Englishmen and others—have in common is that Italy is an exotic abroad. So it is no wonder that the mysteriousness of the city of Roma stirs your own imagination. And once there and have seen it you feel you have to get to the bottom of it. For you too might fall victim to it someday.

    • Loss Leaders

      There is a vintage Odd Couple episode in which uber-neatnik Felix Unger, desperately trying to woo back his beloved ex-wife, concocts a scheme to prove his newfound flexibility by emulating Oscar Madison, his slob supreme of a roommate. Felix attempts to generate just the slightest bit of sloppiness. He finds himself utterly incapable of even the most minute gesture in that direction, unable to toss a napkin on the floor, to disturb the pristine order of his apartment—anything, really. He lacks the template to change this aspect of his behavior.

    • Science

      • Meet the Soviet physicist who hosted the USSR’s best-known underground parties and recorded the greatest writers of his era

        Bookshelves lined the entire wall of a narrow room on the ninth floor of a Soviet apartment block. In the dim light of a single desk lamp, you could barely make out a large divan that served as a bed at night, and as a sofa for guests to sit on in the evenings. Up to twenty people could squeeze together on the divan, while others sat perched on rickety benches assembled from wooden boards. The apartment belonged to physicist Alexander Krivomazov. Among the hundreds of people who flocked to his apartment, he went by Sasha.

      • Stop Calling It “Innovation”

        Let me start with the obvious: Innovation is the buzzword. In fact, it has been the buzzword for so long, you could say we’ve developed a cult around it.

        Board of Innovation, a global consulting firm, estimates that there are about 70,000 books on innovation available for purchase right now. If you read at a pace of 20 pages per day, it would take you about 2,500 years to go through them all. Looking for a shortcut? A Google search will yield you nearly 2 billion results. This publication alone offers 4,858 digital articles and 10,192 case studies.

        Innovation’s public profile is matched by its priority on the CEO’s agenda. In 2019, 55% of company leaders participating in PWC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey claimed “We are not able to innovate effectively,” which placed that skill gap on top of the list. The 2020 C-Suite Challenge Report, published by the Conference Board, listed “building an innovative culture” among top-three most pressing internal concerns of 740 CEOs surveyed globally.

        Whether in the classroom, the newsroom, or the boardroom, innovation is our global darling.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis

        In 2017, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, and UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Baskut Tuncak, produced a report that called for a comprehensive new global treaty to regulate and phase out the use of dangerous pesticides in farming and move towards sustainable agricultural practices.

      • ‘Avalanche of Public Pressure’ Forces Trump’s EPA to Regulate PFAS, But Water Safety Experts Warn of More Delays

        “States should not wait for the EPA to act.”

      • Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory

        The case of an animal rights activist who infiltrated an independent German chemical testing laboratory has triggered the discovery of an apparently extensive chemical testing fraud.

      • Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic

        Donald Trump has long presented himself as an advocate for the disadvantaged, and this narrative continues to play into his political strategy as he seeks reelection come November. Nowhere is this clearer than in the president’s claims that he’s committed to combating drug addiction. His administration announced in 2019 $1.8 billion “in funding to states” that focused on “expanding access to [drug] treatment,” with “more than $900 million in new funding for a three-year cooperative agreement with states, territories, and localities to advance the understanding of the opioid overdose epidemic and to scale-up prevention and response activities.” Trump bragged about the administration’s achievements in his latest State of the Union address:

      • L’Ordre des Médecins suspends the French medical license of the president of fake médecine for speaking out against homeopathy

        One of the things I like about having blogged continuously for so many years are times when I’ve written about something that few, if any, other bloggers have and then, years later, learn of an update to the story. It’s particularly great when these sorts of stories occur overseas and hardly punctured the consciousness of the English-speaking world, giving me the opportunity to be the main take on the issue. So it was nearly two years ago that I noticed the #FakeMed hashtag on Twitter and wrote about a public statement by 124 physicians in France calling on the government to stop funding homeopathy and alternative medicine. Nearly everything written about it was in French, with almost no English sources, even though an English version of the physician’s statement was included on the fake médecine website letting me refresh my skills in the French language while reporting on an important development in Europe that wasn’t getting much coverage in the English-speaking world. Basically, these physicians who signed the fake médecine (FakeMed) statement called for the following actions by the French General Medical Council with respect to alternative medicine and homeopathy…

      • Medicare for All Should Be a Reality Today

        “People with low or moderate incomes do not get the same medical attention as those with high incomes. The poor have more sickness, but they get less medical care,” so said the president of the United States in a message to Congress.

      • [Older] China applies for patent on Gilead’s remdesivir to treat coronavirus

        The Wuhan Institute of Virology has said that an application has been filed seeking a new patent on Gilead Sciences’ investigational antiviral drug, remdesivir, believed to have the potential to treat the new coronavirus.

        Remdesivir, originally developed to treat Ebola, is not licensed or approved anywhere.

        However, the drug is being advanced into human clinical trials for coronavirus treatment in China. This comes after the drug showed early signs of effectiveness in coronavirus patients in the US when given with chloroquine, an existing malaria drug.

        Chloroquine is marketed in China and can be obtained via independent supply. Meanwhile, remdesivir has intellectual property barriers in the country and a patent application was submitted on 21 January.

      • Health, environment and climate are not negotiable

        More than 100 civil society organisations demand a stop to trade talks with the US that will further endanger EU rules on health and the environment and aggravate the climate crisis. A change of course is needed.
        We have followed the recent talks between the European Commission and the US authorities on a new trade agreement with disbelief and disappointment. It has become clear that the Commission is prepared to accommodate Trump’s demands for a reduction of EU food safety levels, to the detriment of public health, animal welfare and the environment, and also undermining EU commitments on climate change.

        Fear of threats made by the US President to impose high tariffs on European cars cannot be an excuse for retreating on basic public interest. The apparent paradigm shift within the Commission, emerging after months of negotiating behind closed doors and largely shielded from public scrutiny, is highly alarming. We call on governments and parliamentarians in the EU to push the Commission to alter its course. It must be made clear to the US Administration that our public health and environmental protection levels are not for sale.

        Pressure from US trade negotiators on the EU to lower standards is nothing new. Recent statements made by US Agricultural Secretary Perdue stated that any deal would depend on concessions from the EU to allow meat rinsed with acid or chlorine, or treated with hormones, pesticide residues in food and feed, or the dismantling of protective rules on GMOs.

        What is new is the response from the EU. When a comprehensive free trade agreement (TTIP) was negotiated with the US previously, the Commission claimed it would not lower standards. But recent statements by Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan about the current talks show a different approach. He has spoken of “a long list of regulatory barriers in agriculture” that could be “resolved” in an agreement.

      • Patenting Coronavirus Treatments

        The drug attracting attention is called remdesivir. It is a novel chemical compound designed, tested and patented by the company Gilead Sciences, Inc., with help from various research partners. Remdesivir is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and it has not been demonstrated to a government regulator be safe or effective for any medical use. It was originally developed for treatment of Ebola virus and Marburg virus1. The results from further clinical testing were not strong enough for the company to seek regulatory approval.

        Gilead later ran experiments to show the usefulness of the compound against adenovirus and coronavirus infections, and filed a patent specifically on this new medical use. The MERS virus and SARS virus are two examples of coronavirus virus. It is not uncommon that a drug that fails at one therapeutic use will be repurposed for a new, successful use. For example, development of the HIV drug treatment, AZT, was led by the pharma company, GSK, about a couple of decades after it was first synthesized by university researchers as a failed cancer drug. It was legitimate for GSK to get a patent on that new and inventive use for treating HIV. GSK successfully defended and enforced that new use patent, for example, in Canada, it went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

        [...]

        Regardless of the patent dynamics around the 2019-nCov virus, the main thing to note is that organizations are not engaging in IP battles or standoffs at this time. The primary focus has been on applying the expert knowledge and skills of these organizations to the epidemic. The viability of any potential patent rights specific to 2019-nCov will be reviewed in future by patent offices. There is currently considerable cooperation between governmental organizations and industry in supporting the rapid identification of treatments. For example, Gilead is working with the US government, Chinese government and the World Health Organization to contribute antiviral expertise, resources and permitting experimental use of remdesivir. At times, IP is rightfully a secondary consideration.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft rolls out a new update for Surface Duo SDK Preview

          The new update is available for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu….

        • Microsoft Brings Its Windows 10 Antivirus Arsenal to Linux [Ed: Wow. Softpedia’s “LINUX” section (Popa) is now an arm of Microsoft proprietary software marketing. Sure missing Marius Nester there. Whose arsenal is this? NSA’s?]
        • Microsoft: Linux Defender antivirus now in public preview, iOS and Android are next [Ed: Of course Microsoft’s sponsored propaganda network also promotes Microsoft proprietary software in the “LINUX” section. It does this all the time. The site has also just put “GitHub: We won’t take down any of your content unless we really have to” under the “LINUX” section because proprietary software (GitHub) is somehow “LINUX”?!]
        • Myst (or, The Drawbacks to Success)

          After listening to the cultural dialog — or shouting match! — which has so long surrounded Myst, one’s first encounter with the actual artifact that spurred it all can be more than a little anticlimactic. Seen strictly as a computer game, Myst is… okay. Maybe even pretty good. It strikes this critic at least as far from the best or worst game of its year, much less of its decade, still less of all gaming history. Its imagery is well-composited and occasionally striking, its sound and music design equally apt. The sense of desolate, immersive beauty it all conveys can be strangely affecting, and it’s married to puzzle-design instincts that are reasonable and fair. Myst‘s reputation in some quarters as impossible, illogical, or essentially unplayable is unearned; apart from some pixel hunts and perhaps the one extended maze, there’s little to really complain about on that front. On the contrary: there’s a definite logic to its mechanical puzzles, and figuring out how its machinery works through trial and error and careful note-taking, then putting your deductions into practice, is genuinely rewarding, assuming you enjoy that sort of thing.

          At same time, though, there’s just not a whole lot of there there. Certainly there’s no deeper meaning to be found; Myst never tries to be about more than exploring a striking environment and solving intricate puzzles. “When we started, we wanted to make a [thematic] statement, but the project was so big and took so much effort that we didn’t have the energy or time to put much into that part of it,” admits Robyn Miller. “So, we decided to just make a neat world, a neat adventure, and say important things another time.” And indeed, a “neat world” and “neat adventure” are fine ways of describing Myst.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Google Announces The 200 Open-Source Projects For GSoC 2020

              Google’s Summer of Code initiative for getting students involved with open-source development during the summer months is now into its sixteenth year. This week Google announced the 200 open-source projects participating in GSoC 2020.

              Among the 200 projects catching our eye this year are GraphicsFuzz, Blender, Debian, FFmpeg, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, GNOME, Godot Engine, KDE, Mozilla, Pitivi, The GNU Project, VideoLAN, and X.Org. The complete list of GSoC 2020 organizations can be found here.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Top 10 Most Used Open Source Software: Linux Foundation Report

                Accounting for 80-90 percent of all software, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) ecosystem is booming with high dependency usage by all sector companies.

                Accordingly, The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) in collaboration with Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science has released a census report titled “Vulnerabilities in the Core, a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software.”

              • Mirantis Joins Linux Foundation’s LF Networking Community

                Mirantis, the open cloud company, today announced it has joined the Linux Foundation’s LF Networking (LFN) community, which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects.

                LFN software and projects provide platforms and building blocks for Network Infrastructure and Services across Service Providers, Cloud Providers, Enterprises, Vendors, and System Integrators that enable rapid interoperability, deployment, and adoption. LF Networking supports the largest set of networking projects with the broadest community in the industry that collaborate on this opportunity.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (openjpeg2), Debian (cloud-init, jackson-databind, and python-reportlab), Red Hat (ksh, python-pillow, systemd, and thunderbird), Slackware (proftpd), SUSE (java-1_7_0-ibm, nodejs10, and nodejs12), and Ubuntu (ppp and squid, squid3).

          • Honeypots and Honeynets
          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Windows & Linux Devices at Risk From Unsigned Peripheral Firmware

              Reportedly, researchers from Eclypsium have discovered how a problem in peripheral devices can risk the security of entire systems. Specifically, they found that unsigned firmware in peripheral devices can allow an adversary to attack Windows, Linux systems. They have shared the details of their findings in a blog post.

              As revealed, unsigned firmware in a large number of WiFi adapters, trackpads, USB Hubs, and cameras impact various enterprise devices. Despite being known for years, the researchers state that many vendors paid no heed to this problem. Consequently, this issue makes the systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

            • Up close and personal with Linux malware [Ed: ESET trying to sell its useless proprietary software for a platform that does not need it]

              Chances are that the very word ‘Linux’ conjures up images of near-impenetrable security. However, Linux-based computer systems and applications running on them increasingly end up in the crosshairs of bad actors, and recent years have seen discoveries of a number of malicious campaigns that hit Linux systems, including botnets that were made up of thousands of Linux servers. These mounting threats have challenged the conventional thinking that Linux is more or less spared the problems that affect other operating systems, particularly Windows.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Kentucky Appeals Court Says Cops Need Warrants To Obtain Real-Time Cell Site Location Info

              The Supreme Court’s Carpenter decision added Fourth Amendment protections to historical cell site location information (CSLI). The Court recognized people had a privacy interest in their location info, even if it was collected and stored by third parties. This narrow finding — that historical cell site info is covered by the Fourth Amendment — has created ripples that are rocking the Third Party Doctrine boat, resulting in the Carpenter decision being applied to other records historically believed to be outside the Constitution’s protections.

            • Russia’s War On Encryption Stumbles Forth With Ban Of Tutanota

              The Russian government continues to escalate its war on encrypted services and VPNs. For years now, Putin’s government has slowly but surely taken steps to effectively outlaw secure communications, framing the restrictions as essential for national security, with the real goal of making it harder than ever for Russian citizens to dodge the Putin government’s ever-expanding surveillance ambitions.

            • Freedom of speech, surveillance and privacy in the time of coronavirus

              The situation concerning the Covid-19 coronavirus is serious, although it is not yet clear whether it will develop into a pandemic affecting billions of people worldwide. The story so far touches on most of the central themes of this blog. For example, we know that the Chinese authorities wasted valuable time trying to suppress news about the possible outbreak of a new virus, instead of acting swiftly to limit its spread. Given China’s record of obsessive control, that’s no surprise, but what is unexpected is the reaction of the public there, which has called for greater freedom of speech after the death of the whistleblower doctor who tried to raise the alarm:

            • Sweden is now testing its digital version of cash, the e-krona

              Physical cash is headed toward obsolescence in Sweden. Nearly everyone uses a mobile payment application called Swish, and it’s been estimated that retailers could stop accepting cash by 2023. This concerns the country’s central bankers, for two reasons. First, they fear that if the payment infrastructure is left completely to the private sector, certain groups might be excluded. Second, if people lose the ability to convert what’s in their commercial bank accounts into a form of “cash” backed by the government, it might undermine their faith in the money system.

              That’s why, a few years ago, the Riksbank began investigating the possibility of a state-backed digital currency that might play a similar role to the one physical cash plays today.

            • How to use the Tor Browser’s tools to protect your privacy

              As a result, according to Tor, websites and browsers will identify your connection as coming from the Tor network. While this efficiently protects your identity, it can also become troublesome with sites such as financial institutions or medical services that see your login as not coming from your home computer. It can also slow things down.

            • New Mexico Sues Google Over Collection of Children’s Data

              New Mexico’s attorney general sued Google Thursday over allegations the tech company is illegally collecting personal data generated by children in violation of federal and state laws.

            • ISPs sue Maine; claim their First Amendment right to free speech allows them to sell your internet history

              Internet service providers (ISPs) are taking the state of Maine to court over an internet privacy law that the ISPs do not want to follow. The lawsuit was first reported on by ArsTechnica’s Jon Brodkin. Back in 2017, Maine legislatures on every side of the bench came together to propose a law that forbade ISPs from selling the internet activity and history of its constituents. An iteration of this effort finally came to fruition in 2019, when Maine’s governor signed an internet privacy law that will take effect starting July 1, 2020. Unfortunately for the rest of America, the telecom industry was given the right to further monetize their users by selling information on what you do online to third parties. Maine specifically asked for ISPs to make this behavior opt-in instead of opt-out as it currently is federally. The spirit of the law is clear. The law:

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • White Terrorism Targeting Innocent Muslims in Germany Is Not Termed “Terrorism”

        It is no accident that the shooter idolized Donald J. Trump, one of the world’s most vocal purveyors of hatred toward Muslims.

      • A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.

        ‘Woke’ can be about matters other than social justice. This brief essay is a appraisal of David Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerrilla, Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One [TAG].[1] The U.S. has been in continual warfare since 9/11 in the Middle East and beyond largely fighting anti-American insurgencies. American security elites are woke to the need to win these conflicts. Unsurprisingly, glitterati status is attached both to those good at fighting the wars, and to those good at telling the fighters how to fight. General David Petraeus exemplifies the first category; Lt. Colonel David Kilcullen the second. Contributing to the Colonel’s celebrity status is the fact that he is a prolific author. TAG is perhaps Kilcullen’s finest book. It offers understanding of the wars the Americans are fighting and more importantly, from the perspective of security elites, it tells them how to win them.

      • ‘They Are Afraid of Democracy,’ Says Evo Morales as Bolivian Tribunal Bars Him From Running for Senate

        The former president of Bolivia called the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s decision “illegal and unconstitutional.”

      • One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way

        When anti-war activism plays second-fiddle to “follow the leader” the chosen champion and the opposing villian loom so large that they become the main focus of attention obscuring the empire and dumbing the movement down.

      • We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is

        If the current state of global affairs reminds you of an over-the-top plot by a white-cat-stroking James Bond villain, you’re not far off. When it comes to nuclear policy, we are closer than ever to a real-life movie disaster.

      • Dresden 75

        When the English music historian Charles Burney arrived in Dresden in 1772, he found mostly ruins.  This most beautiful of northern cities had not yet recovered from the ravages of the Seven Years War, concluded nearly a decade before:  “It is difficult for a stranger to imagine himself near the celebrated capital of Saxony, … [since] so few of its once many cloudcapt towers are left standing; only two or three remain intire, of all the stately edifices which formerly embellished this city.”

      • UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
      • Defense intelligence analyst pleads guilty to media leaks of classified materials

        Court filings indicate that Frese and this journalist “lived together at the same residential address from January 2018 to November 2018.” Frese worked for the DIA from February 2018 to October 2019.

        The Justice Department’s press release didn’t state the names of the journalists or who they worked for.

      • U.S., Taliban Agree to Terms for Peace Deal, Troop Withdrawal

        The United States and the Taliban said Friday they have agreed to sign a peace deal next week aimed at ending 18 years of war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home, wrapping up America’s longest-running conflict and fulfilling one of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises.

      • The CIA’s Role in Operation Condor

        The Washington Post reported that top secret documents confirm the role that the CIA played in Operation Condor, the international state-sponsored assassination, kidnapping, torture, and murder ring run by U.S.-supported military dictatorships in South America in the late 1970s. The documents confirm that the CIA’s role in the operation was to provide communications equipment to the ring, which enabled them to coordinate cross-border efforts to kidnap, torture, and kill suspected communists, which, of course, were nothing more than people who believed in socialism or communism.

      • Sudan: Progress on Rights, Justice, Key to Transition

        (Nairobi) – Sudan’s transitional government should accelerate legal and institutional reform and visible progress on domestic justice initiatives, Human Rights Watch said today, following its first official visit to the country in over 14 years. International donors should expedite assistance to support the transitional government’s reform agenda.

        “Sudan’s leaders confirmed to us in our meetings that they are committed to ensuring genuine reforms and bringing to justice those responsible for the most serious violations,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Now is the time to implement these commitments and seize this extraordinary moment of opportunity to secure the democratic, rights-respecting reforms that so many Sudanese took to the streets at great risk to themselves to achieve.” Expand

      • University students hear from those with first-hand experience of knife crime as part of work to help Sheffield schoolchildren

        The final year students, who are studying a social law module, gathered to hear from Dr Bankole Cole, a reader in criminology, and 24-year-old Blair Adderley about their experience with knife crime on Friday, February 21.

        Dr Cole conducted research on knife crime in London that later helped form The Ubuntu Round Tables Project led by Youth Futures and the Tutu Foundation UK charity with joint funding support from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and Sir John Cass’s Foundation to help youth provisions in different areas of the capital.

        What the students learned will help shape work with young people at Sheffield Springs Academy where they will deliver sessions on knife crime, gangs, and safety, as well as dispensing legal advice.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both

        At long last we (i.e., Americans) are forced to make a clear choice—either preserve the freedoms established by the First Amendment in 1791, or toss them aside and obstinately plod on with our exceptionalism. Julian Assange’s extradition hearing will begin on the 24th of February in London, but it is also a trial for Americans. We are being interrogated about how much we value our freedom, if we think we have a “right to know” anymore, and whether we will respect the rights of foreign journalists and international law.

      • Assange’s US Extradition Hearing Opens Monday: Fight for the Free Press Is Now On

        From medical professionals to journalists’ associations, the waves of courage that have emerged this week in defense of Julian Assange, invite all of us to join in, and stand on the right side of history.

      • “Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange

        An odd crew and perhaps the sort Julian Assange would have liked. Australian parliamentarian and government backbencher George Christensen, conservative to the point of parody. Andrew Wilkie, MP from Tasmania, a man fitfully dedicated to fight poker machines and gambling, formerly of the Office of National Assessments. Both united by a distinct liking for the cause of Julian Assange and a dislike for his treatment, showing the astonishing cross appeal of the WikiLeaks publisher, a point missed by his detractors and even his own followers.

      • Drop Charges and Extradition Pursuit of Assange, Says Amnesty International, Denouncing US Govt’s “Full-Scale Assault on the Right to Freedom of Expression”

        “The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who expose official wrongdoing by publishing information disclosed to them by credible sources could have a profound impact on the public’s right to know what their government is up to.”

      • UK minister who approved Trump’s request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be “neutralized”

        Sajid Javid, who was Britain’s Home Secretary from April 2018 to July 2019, attended “starlight chats” and “after-dinner cocktails” in a series of off-the-record conferences involving high-level US military and intelligence figures at a 5-star island resort off the coast of Georgia, USA. Many of those attending have been exposed in WikiLeaks publications and have demanded the organisation be shut down.

        Javid signed the Trump administration’s extradition request for Assange in June 2019. He was Britain’s Chancellor until his resignation 9 days ago. One of the criteria under which a British Home Secretary can block extradition to the US is if “the person could face the death penalty”.

        The month before being appointed Home Secretary in April 2018, Javid visited Georgia for the “world forum” of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—an influential neoconservative US organisation with close ties to the US intelligence community. The AEI has run a campaign against WikiLeaks and Assange since 2010.

        It can now be revealed that Javid spoke at the 2018 meeting, as did Jonah Goldberg, a fellow at the AEI who has called for Assange to be “garroted”. In a column published on the AEI website, Goldberg wrote: “WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicised breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb. So again, I ask: Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago? It’s a serious question.”

      • The Assange Hearing: A Reticent Request

        Julian Assange will stand next week in the armoured dock, accused of the “crime” of publishing. It is worth recalling that Wikileaks has a 100% record of accuracy. Nothing it has published has ever been shown to be inauthentic. Julian stands accused of the crime of telling the truth – more than that, of telling freely to the ordinary people of the world about the crimes which the powerful seek to conceal.

      • REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office

        It can further be revealed that Lady Emma Arbuthnot was appointed Chief Magistrate in Westminster on the advice of a Conservative government minister with whom she had attended a secretive meeting organised by one of these Foreign Office partner organisations two years before.

        Liz Truss, then Justice Secretary, “advised” the Queen to appoint Lady Arbuthnot in October 2016. Two years before, Truss — who is now Trade Secretary — and Lady Arbuthnot both attended an off-the-record two-day meeting in Bilbao, Spain.

        The expenses were covered by an organisation called Tertulias, chaired by Lady Arbuthnot’s husband — Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, a former Conservative defence minister with extensive links to the British military and intelligence community exposed by WikiLeaks.

        Tertulias, an annual forum held for political and corporate leaders in the UK and Spain, is regarded by the UK Foreign Office as one of its “partnerships”. The 2014 event in Bilbao was attended by David Lidington, the Minister for Europe, while the Foreign Office has in the past funded Lord Arbuthnot’s attendance at the forum.

      • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face extradition hearing in U.K.

        The United Kingdom should not extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges in the United States, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

        On February 24, a London court will open the first phase of Assange’s extradition hearing, which is scheduled to last one week and focus on whether the extradition request is politically motivated; the second phase will begin May 18, according to Reuters. The extradition treaty between the U.S. and U.K. does not allow for extradition in the case of “political” offenses.

        “The extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to stand trial for his groundbreaking work with WikiLeaks would deal a body blow to First Amendment rights and press freedom. The U.K. should deny this request,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney in New York. “Using the draconian wartime powers of the Espionage Act against Assange undermines journalists’ rights and sets dangerous precedents that cast journalists and publishers as criminals.”

      • With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do
      • U.K. Shadow Chancellor: Assange’s Case Biggest Political Trial Of Contemporary Era

        According to the U.K.’s Shadow Finance Minister John McDonnell, the prosecution of Julian Assange is the biggest human rights concern of the contemporary era.

        McDonnell visited Assange at the U.K.’s Belmarsh Prison on Thursday and said the WikiLeaks founder must be granted whistleblower protections. The official added that Assange is working on his case and plans to return to journalistic work once his trial is finished.

        “We have a long tradition in this country for standing up for journalistic freedom, and standing up for the protection of whistleblowers and those who expose injustices,” he stated. “If this extradition takes place I think it will damage our reputation — I’m hoping it doesn’t.”

        McDonnell also added that people must have true information in the public domain and make their own judgments about certain reports.

    • Environment

      • Basescu: European Green Deal risks pushing ‘two or three countries’ towards EU exit

        The European Green Deal “will definitely create tensions” inside the EU, and risks pushing “two or three countries” to leave the Union altogether, warns former Romanian President Traian Basescu, saying the real priority in Romania is to build new infrastructure like motorways and exploit natural gas resources from the Black Sea.

        Traian Băsescu served for ten years as President of Romania and represented his country at EU summit meetings during that period (2004-2014). He currently sits in the European Parliament as an MEP for the centre-right European Peoples Party (EPP). He answered in writing to EURACTIV’s questions.

        [...]

        The Green Deal does not concern just one Member State but all 27 and approximately 120 partner countries with which the EU has international cooperation and commercial agreements. In this context, Romania must find the political and diplomatic capacity to put forward a realistic strategy that can help it to obtain as much EU financial support as possible.

        If it recognises the specific characteristics of each EU Member State, the Green Deal will be beneficial and will truly stimulate the economy and social wellbeing. This can be a colossal project, which might indeed change not only our economy but also our way of life if it is properly financed without affecting traditional EU policies, such as the CAP and cohesion policy.

        The European Commission must now put forward feasible proposals for the Green Deal. It is only when we have more clarity and analyse the impact of the Green Deal on our economy that we will see whether the EU will remain united or will lose two or three members.

      • Mulvaney Says GOP Won’t Act on Climate Crisis Because the Party Doesn’t Want Taxes to Go Up

        “Inaction is a choice that will force ‘lifestyle changes,’” said one critic. “The water will come.”

      • Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man

        It’s an open secret in environmental circles that Michael Bloomberg is a climate change con man, and organizations like the Sierra Club that take hundreds of millions in donations from the former New York City mayor to fight coal, are complicit in his fraudulent scheme to coopt the climate change movement for his own profit.

      • Finland must make haste with mining act reform, underlines Mikkonen

        “It has to be considered when setting up a mine if the benefits gained from the mine are more important than the tourism or natural value of the area. This is why the municipality has to be able to decide by zoning whether mines can be set up in its area,” she explained.

        Mikkonen argued that the guarantees associated with mining operations are currently insufficient, often leaving taxpayers to shoulder the cost of a failed operation.

      • Should Taiwan establish Asia’s first Green Deal?

        The Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act is Taiwan’s response to the climate target set by the Paris Agreement. The Act demands that the island nation diminish its GHG emissions to 20 percent of the 2005 levels by 2030 and 50 percent of the 2005 levels by 2050: a challenge requiring collective efforts across sectors.

      • Study Suggests Twitter Bots Have ‘Substantial Impact’ on Spreading Climate Misinformation

        A quarter of climate-related tweets in the studied period—around when Trump announced plans to ditch the Paris agreement—came from bots.

      • Study Suggests Twitter Bots Amplified Climate Denial Messages
      • JP Morgan Economists Warn of ‘Catastrophic Outcomes’ of Human-Caused Climate Crisis

        “Don’t want to hear Greta Thunberg or Extinction Rebellion? Try J.P. Morgan instead.”

      • Greenhouse gases have a puzzling double effect

        Lustier plant growth as greenhouse gases climb should counter global heating and atmospheric carbon build-up. But it’s not quite so simple.

      • 60,000-Strong Fridays for Future Protest in Hamburg, Germany Prompts Question: ‘Where Are You, USA?’

        “What is it going to take for the U.S. to rise up like this?”

      • Energy

        • A New Solar Power Deal From California

          I met Devon Hartman a few years ago in Claremont, California, where I have been living since 2008. He is tall and lean, wearing glasses and a pointed small beard. He grew up in Kansas. And for thirty-five years, he presided over a successful architectural firm, building and renovating expensive houses with little awareness of the carbon footprint of those houses.

        • 42 Nobel Laureates Urge Trudeau to Act With ‘Moral Clarity’ and Stop Climate-Wrecking Teck Frontier Mine

          “Projects that enable fossil fuel growth at this moment in time are an affront to our state of climate emergency, and the mere fact that they warrant debate in Canada should be seen as a disgrace.”

        • Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It

          I live on my family’s farm in Fallon County, Montana near where the Keystone XL pipeline will pass. My neighbors here want the pipeline, believing it will provide a boost to the local economy.

        • Scientists develop open-source software to analyze economics of biofuels, bioproducts

          BioSTEAM is available online through the Python Package Index, at Pypi.org. A life cycle assessment (LCA) add-on to BioSTEAM to quantify the environmental impacts of biorefineries — developed by CABBI Postdoctoral Researcher Rui Shi and the Guest Research Group — is also set to be released in March 2020. To further increase availability of these tools, Guest’s team is also designing a website with a graphical user interface where researchers can plug new parameters for a biorefinery simulation into existing configurations, and download results within minutes.

          BioSTEAM’s creators drew on open-source software developed by other researchers, including a data bank with 20,000 chemicals and their thermodynamic properties.

        • To Many’s Dismay, Permian Produces More Gas and Condensate Instead of Oil and Profits

          Many of those problems can be traced to two issues for the Permian Basin: The quality of its oil and the sheer volume of natural gas coming from its oil wells.

        • Paul Paz y Miño, Saqib Bhatti & Beverly Bell on Environmental Justice & Cross-National Solidarity

          This week on CounterSpin: The protests of the Wet’suwet’en in British Columbia, resisting the construction of a natural gas pipeline on their land, have been met with violent raids by Canadian police, which in turn have sparked solidarity actions around the country. A New York Times account detailed how many rail and road passengers were inconvenienced by blockades, noted the “strong support” for the gas line from the Canadian government, and the pipeline company’s “promise” of millions of dollars of contracts with indigenous businesses, before granting one line of explanation that “a number of chiefs…fear the project will irrevocably alter their land.” The fact that the Wet’suwet’en never signed a treaty, and the country’s Supreme Court confirmed (just three years ago) that they hold “aboriginal title” to the land involved, can be found in paragraph 16 of this 17-paragraph piece.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • ‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole

          Recently there have been commentaries published advocating collaboration to “settle” wilderness designation issues. Collaboration proponents often criticize those who are unwilling to compromise about wildlands protection as “extremists.”

        • Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect

          Imagine dedicating your entire life to protecting a place. Then imagine watching everything you’ve worked to protect be bulldozed by a desperate, self-serving president.

        • We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests

          Using wildfires as their cover, Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines announced that he and California’s Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein are introducing legislation to weaken federal environmental laws and allow more logging and thinning of our national forests.  Private, for-profit timber companies have already over-cut the private forest lands in the West and now Feinstein and Daines want to allow them to “cut and run” on our publicly-owned national forests.

        • 10 Species Climate Change Could Push to Extinction
        • The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
        • A Trillion Trees in Rep. Westerman’s Hands Means a Trillion Stumps

          In an effort to springboard off President Trump’s recent pledge to join the global community in planting a trillion trees to increase the amount of carbon drawn out of the atmosphere and help us to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis, Rep. Bruce Westerman, a pro-logging advocate from Arkansas, along with several Republican colleagues introduced legislation entitled the Trillion Trees Act.  While planting trees, especially in urban areas, can indeed have climate benefits, from absorbing CO2 to providing shade to lower energy use, the real contribution to be made by trees in drawing down atmospheric carbon comes from protecting them as part of existing forests ecosystems here in the U.S. and around the world.  If forest ecosystems are protected from logging and development they can actually contribute between one-third and one-half of our carbon/climate mitigation goals (Griscom et al. 2017, Erb et al. 2018).  Unfortunately, not only does Rep. Westerman’s bill literally miss the forest for the trees, it doesn’t really even acknowledge the trees themselves, only the wood that they contain.

        • A Story for the Anthropocene

          It’s explained that as a kardiya (non-indigenous) person and you go to work in an Australian Aboriginal community you’re either a missionary, mercenary, or misfit. Twice the England-born doctor, Elliot by name, afflicted by nose-bleed, goes into “country,” a misfit. His anxieties and fears are neither assuaged by possessiveness nor reduced by money. They leave him angry and untrusting of his companions, the yapa people or Warlpiri, who can find their way around the desert. Nevertheless, Elliot, this whitefella, is open to “the intangible essence of the land.” Even if he doesn’t know it, it knows him. Mulga, ghost-gum, saltbush, spinifex, dingo, the song of the butcher bird, the meat of the goanna, and – at last! – water from the jila.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
      • On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company

        On Monday night in Fairfax, Virginia, Donald Jeffries, author and talk radio host, asked Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard about a book she was seen carrying, “JFK and the Unspeakable.” Published in 2008, the book is a Catholic philosopher’s meditation about the assassination of liberal president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, one of the great historical crimes of American politics.

      • The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente

        The Young Lords were a somewhat unique political formation. Their primarily Puerto Rican membership focused their organizing on the neighborhoods they lived in. Despite the Marxist foundations of their political philosophy, they were able to gain popular support for their programs among the traditional Catholic Puerto Rican population. As Johanna Fernandez patiently explains in her newly released book The Young Lords: A Radical History, this success could be attributed to several factors. Most importantly were the rootedness of the Young Lord’s members in the communities they organized and the issues they decided to organize around.

      • Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life

        On February 16, 2015, Govind and Uma Pansare went for a morning walk near their home in Pune (Maharashtra, India). Two men on a motorcycle stopped near them and asked for directions, but the Pansares could not help them; one of the men laughed, removed a gun, and shot the two. Uma Pansare was hit but survived the attack. Govind Pansare, age 82, died in a hospital on February 20, 2015.

      • ‘Meant to Hide the Poor’: Trump Gets His Wall—In India—Ahead of Monday Visit

        The newly-erected barrier will allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to offer a carefully-curated view for the U.S. president.

      • More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist

        So the demented fascist oligarch Donald Trump took “the Beast” on a Victory Lap around the Daytona 500 track. Fossil fuels were burned with pride as the Trumpenvolk and NASCAR engines roared deep down in Dixie. Frau Melania looks semi-nauseated and couldn’t wait to get back to New York.

        This was Ferdinand Marcos-type shit. “He’s saluting the base and giving them a story to share with their family and friends,” writes Steve de La Rosa: “He is PT Barnum incarnate stirring the cauldron of White Nationalism.”

        I bet Trump enjoyed the fiery finish of the Daytona 500 (delayed one day by rain). He’s a sadist who likes to see “losers” crash and burn.

      • Pushing for ‘Political Courage,’ Ocasio-Cortez Endorses Slate of Progressive Women Challenging Establishment

        “If we’re going to build an economy…that centers working-class families, things must change. And that starts by electing new progressive leaders who exemplify political courage.”

      • “We’re Staring Into the Abyss”: Unhinged Trump Rally in Colorado Highlights Stakes of 2020 Election, Observers Say

        The president used the event to gin up xenophobia against immigrants, attack journalists, and joke about staying in office for decades.

      • Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity

        On March 3, Democrats in the 15 Super Tuesday states (including Democrats Abroad) will have up to 15 (or more) presidential candidates on the Democratic ballots from which to choose. With so many choices, a voter may ask: “how should I decide?” The most obvious criteria are politics (policy positions), electability and personal integrity. Among those three, integrity should be foremost.

      • Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe

        America is a country that both loves and hates its conspiracy theories. On the one hand, our popular culture is lousy with them, from cinema to the president’s goddamn Twitter account. On the other hand, we host an academic elite which not only views such cultural trends with disdain, but seems to see our history, their history, the “official story”, as some kind of irrefutable biblical fact. Few people make the connection between these parallel trends, the likelihood that the overly presumptuous and at times downright jingoistic orthodoxy of our ivory tower elites is precisely what drives pedestrian America to search for alternatives to their “truth”. That old adage, consider the source. The reality is that history in and of itself is not black and white science. At its most accurate it is a collection of narratives, different perspectives from the ground floor that could easily be described as conspiracy theories. What appears to be a conspiracy theory from Arlington or Manhattan, looks a lot more like bad memories from Hiroshima or Tuskegee. Any true revisionist historian must become a collector of conspiracy theories, viewing all available narratives with a healthy grain of salt.

      • Brazil’s Bolsonaro Says No to Democracy

        “The Big Honcho suppressed all the newspapers that risked timid repairs to his management, and promised that factories would produce better wrapping paper. He then closed most magazines, including those dedicated to beekeeping and winter fabrics. Finally, he got rid of school publications, which, as is known, impress children’s minds. Concluded these tasks, the Big Honcho sent emissaries to international credit agencies to request subsidies that would stop the inexplicable rise in illiteracy.” Thus wrote the Argentinian writer David Lagmanovich (1927-2010) in his book Historias del Mandamás (Big Honcho Stories.)

      • Federal Appeals Court Rules Florida Voting Restrictions Unconstitutional

        In a great win for democracy on Wednesday, a federal appeals court delivered a major blow to the efforts of politicians in Florida to thwart the historic Amendment 4.

      • In Nevada, Culinary Union Members Make Last-Minute Turnout Push

        Democratic presidential candidates had one last chance to woo Nevadans at this week’s Democratic debate before the state’s caucuses take place on Saturday. While much of the debate covered focused on the theatrical takedown of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, members of the state’s Culinary Union were surprised by the attention that their organization got on stage.

      • Grace and Gullibility

        I’ve been overhearing conversations lately about how people of color, women, people who are LGBTQI, and people who have been mistreated and otherwise disrespected by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg should respond to his self-funded campaign to become the 2020 presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

      • Upon Reflection
      • Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies

        + Michael Bloomberg is, of course, the perfect person to lead a party which has been the driving political force behind the neoliberal policies which helped make him the 9th richest person in America. In fact, he may be its apotheosis. Finally, we’ll have some clarity about what the Democratic Party has really been up to for the last 40 years.

      • Is Bloomberg Entitled to Keep His Wealth?

        Individual wealth in the billions of dollars (and arguably, considerably lower levels) creates a threat to social stability and to the continuation of our democracy.

      • Michael Bloomberg Is Spending Nearly $6 Million Per Day on Campaign

        No candidate has ever come close to Bloomberg’s personal spending.

      • Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump

        It seems that having money, plenty of money, must somehow bestow a certain sense of omniscience upon the very wealthiest in society, making some of them feel that they are uniquely qualified to hold political office.

      • Bloomberg Says 3 Women Can Be Released From NDAs

        Mike Bloomberg said Friday he’d free three women from confidentiality agreements that bar them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or discrimination suits filed against him over the last three decades.

      • Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters

        I have to preface this by saying it’s personal for me. I spent years of my early adulthood having ferocious fights about politics with my father. The more animated I became, the cooler he got. He had a lawyer’s knack for flipping an argument on its head. By the end I felt not only defeated but exposed and dirty, as if whatever I believed was just emotion-fueled nonsense. Not until I turned 50 was I able to hold my feelings in check and parry back with equal aplomb. It’s taken me another 12 years to realize that I was being gaslighted.

      • Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?

        Between January 11 and April 14, 2019, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Marianne Williamson, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg had all announced their presidential bids. Sanders after entering the race formally on Feb. 19 was the immediate front runner. Biden entered the race on April 25, immediately replacing Bernie as the new front runner. This was automatic; Biden represented the Democratic establishment, had been Obama’s loyal lackey, had the DNC behind him, and was guaranteed positive coverage on CNN and MSNBC.

      • Sanders Says He ‘Welcomes Hatred of Crooks Who Destroyed Our Economy’ After Blankfein Suggests He May Vote Trump Over Bernie

        “I don’t like that at all,” the billionaire former Goldman Sachs CEO said of Sanders’ wealth tax proposal.

      • Critics Attack Buttigieg for Using ‘Fox News Propaganda’ By Referring to Grassroots Groups Backing Sanders as Dark Money Organizations

        “Disgraceful that Buttigieg continues to smear groups like ours, led by immigrants and people of color—all to boost his own fundraising.”

      • Centrists Use Nevada Debate to Position Themselves Between Bloomberg and Sanders

        If it isn’t clear by now, billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suffered a defeat in Nevada on Wednesday after virtually buying a spot on the Las Vegas stage that other Democratic candidates had to earn through exhausting schedules of rallies, fundraising (and wine caves).

      • Trump Would ‘Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out,’ Bernie Sanders Warns of Bloomberg Following Debate

        “The American people will rebel against this type of oligarchic movement. We are a democracy. One person, one vote. Not a guy worth $60 billion buying an election.”

      • Trump Would “Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out,” Bernie Sanders Warns of Bloomberg

        Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview set to air Sunday that Michael Bloomberg’s performance in the Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night showed that President Donald Trump would make easy work of the former New York City mayor in a general election debate.

      • In South Carolina, Sanders May Get Boost From Billionaire Steyer

        Billionaires are the consistent villains in Bernie Sanders’ campaign narrative. He rails against what he perceives as the undue influence their wealth wields and how that contributes to the yawning inequalities of American life.

      • Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label

        Bernie Sanders is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. He and everyone else knows exactly how the Republicans will attack him if and when he becomes the nominee: old-fashioned redbaiting.

      • Bernie Sanders Best Represents Nurses’ Values

        The Sanders campaign is premised on building a mass movement for transformative change. Nurses are too.

      • Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign

        Sanders told reporters on the campaign trail Friday that he was briefed on Russian interference efforts “about a month ago,” speculating that the news of potential Russian interference efforts came out now because it was on the eve of the Nevada caucuses.

        “It was not clear what role they were going to play. We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are gonna get involved in this campaign,” Sanders said.

        “The ugly thing that they are doing, and I’ve seen some of their tweets and stuff, is they try to divide us up. That’s what they did in 2016,” he added.

      • Russia Doesn’t Want Bernie Sanders. It Wants Chaos

        The Post is slim on details, other than saying that both Sanders and President Trump were briefed on Russia’s efforts. The news follows reports Thursday that intelligence officials recently briefed Congress about Russian interference aimed at helping reelect Donald Trump.

      • The Debate Question That Really Mattered

        The last question asked during the recent Democratic debate was the one that laid reality bare. The question was basically “are you okay with the will of the voters being subverted in order for the DNC establishment to place their own selected candidate as their nominee?” The answers came without hesitation from all but candidate Bernie Sanders. They agreed to this polluted and toxic plan—that of going to a second round of voting at the convention, freeing up delegates to vote for another puppet of the oligarchy, even if that individual did not have the majority of the votes. This will undoubtedly be the beginning of the end of the DNC should this occur. This seems to be the wreckage we are hurtling toward.

      • $40 Million Communications Tech To Be Used During Trump’s India Visit

        According to sources, the US Security Department had earlier this month requested clearances for about Rs 300 crore communication equipment from Indian government agencies.

        Sources also said that the Customs Department, which comes under the Ministry of Finance along with the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), will ensure that all equipment, which are brought to India for Trump”s two-day visit will be taken back after the trip is over.

      • Mike Bloomberg tweeted a doctored debate video. Is it political spin or disinformation?

        Following his lackluster performance in Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg tweeted out a doctored video that made it look like he had a hugely successful moment on the debate stage, even though he didn’t.

      • ‘Church has no reason to fear history’: Vatican to open wartime archives of Pius XII

        Cardinal José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça, the Vatican’s chief librarian, told reporters that all researchers — regardless of nationality, faith and ideology — were welcome to request permission to use the Vatican’s Apostolic Library, which will open the archive on March 2.

        “The church has no reason to fear history,” he told reporters.

      • Trump’s New Spy Chief Used to Work for a Foreign Politician the U.S. Accused of Corruption

        President Donald Trump’s new acting intelligence director, Richard Grenell, used to do consulting work on behalf of an Eastern European oligarch who is now a fugitive and was recently barred from entering the U.S. under anti-corruption sanctions imposed last month by the State Department.

        In 2016, Grenell wrote several articles defending the oligarch, a Moldovan politician named Vladimir Plahotniuc, but did not disclose that he was being paid, according to records and interviews. Grenell also did not register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which generally requires people to disclose work in the U.S. on behalf of foreign politicians.

      • Republican National Committee Obscured How Much It Pays Its Chief of Staff

        Richard Walters began his career at the lowest rungs of the Republican National Committee when he was 23. Now, at 30, he’s the RNC chief of staff, earning far more than any other official there, including his boss, the chairwoman, and the top officials at the Democratic National Committee.

        The rich compensation might have raised eyebrows — but for the fact that the RNC obscured it. Last year, Walters earned a salary of $207,558, but the party paid him an additional $135,000 through a shell company he established in December 2018 called Red Wave Strategies.

      • Candidates Receive Endorsements From Democrats Who Benefited From Their PACs

        Billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s deep pockets and history of political spending seem to have benefited the Democratic presidential candidate as the race tightens — Bloomberg is being endorsed by Democrats who benefitted from his millions in the 2018 midterms.

      • New York Times Catches Culinary Workers Union Leadership Discouraging Members From Supporting Sanders

        A representative from the Culinary Workers Union discouraged a member, who supports Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, from talking to the press. New York Times reporters witnessed the encounter.

        The union member, Amigdia, was counseled by the union representative. When he spoke to the Times, he was enthusiastic about why he planned to vote for Sanders. Later, a Times reporter followed up with him and he no longer sounded as assertive. In fact, he seemed confused about what to say about Sanders.

      • Impunity Guaranteed for Torturers (and Presidents)

        On February 5th, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In other words, Trump’s pre-election boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters” proved something more than high-flown hyperbole. (To be fair, he did lose one Republican “voter” in the Senate — Mitt Romney — but it wasn’t enough to matter.)

      • Let Rome Burn

        Hear ye, hear ye!  I say unto thee that thou shall follow these hallowed and sacred rules of white liberalism as we enter the Holiest of Holy Epochs known as the presidential primaries, and they are thus…

      • Election Officials Are Already Raising Flags About Nevada’s Results

        As early voting began in Nevada’s 2020 Democratic presidential caucus, thousands of people had to wait for two hours or more before voting. The bottleneck was due to a shortage of pre-programmed iPads that the Nevada State Democratic Party gave volunteers to check in voters.

      • Break With Two-Party Capitalist Duopoly!

        Glory hallelujah! If the Lord’s “terrible swift sword” had descended from the heavens to witness the Democratic Party’s congressional delegation’s standing ovation in response to Donald Trump’s State of Union introduction of his despicably appointed Venezuelan presidential pretender Juan Guaidó, the Democrats would be dead in the water. But there is no God in American politics; the only certainty lies in a clear understanding that the election game is rigged from start to finish, that the only serious entrance fee to the current two year long, $8 billion spectacle is a war chest of hundreds of millions—even billions—of dollars, privileged access to the corporate media and a pledge in advance to abide by whichever Democrat or Republican emerges as the candidate. And what is true for the present election charade is magnified a thousand fold with regard to the corporate control of every aspect of the multi-trillion dollar U.S. economy, where every critical decision, every budget item, every penny, more or less, allocated in Trump’s present $4.7 trillion budget proposal is determined in advance by a slew of corporate technocrats in the pay of the billionaire elites who really run the country.

      • The DNC’s Plan to Block Bernie

        Bernie Sanders would make a transformative independent president, but the Democratic Party has already rigged its primary against him and progressives.

      • Some Oracle employees plan to walk off the job to protest Larry Ellison’s Trump fundraiser
      • The Great Google Revolt

        Laurence Berland had just gotten out of the subway in New York, some 3,000 miles from his desk in San Francisco, when he learned that Google had fired him. It was the Monday before Thanksgiving, and the news came to him, bad-breakup-style, via email. “Following a thorough investigation, the company has found that you committed several acts in violation of Google’s policies,” the note said. It did not elaborate on what he had done to violate these policies.

        [...]

        Berland’s terminated colleagues were even more shocked by the turn of events than he was. Rebecca Rivers, a software engineer based in Boulder, Colo., was dismissed over the phone after accessing internal documents. Rivers had only recently come out as transgender and was pursuing a medical transition. “I came out at Google expecting to stay at Google through the entire transition,” she said. “It’s terrifying to think about going to a job interview, because I’m so scared of how other companies treat trans employees.”

        Sophie Waldman and Paul Duke, the two other Googlers fired that day, had not received so much as a warning, much less a suspension. Though they had been questioned by corporate security two months earlier about whether they had circulated documents referring to Customs and Border Protection contracts, they had been allowed to continue their work without incident. Waldman, a software developer in Cambridge, Mass., said she was given a 15-minute notice before she was summoned to the meeting where she was fired; Duke, an engineer in New York, said an invitation appeared on his calendar precisely one minute beforehand. Security officials escorted him out of the building without letting him return to his desk. “I had to describe to them what my jacket, scarf and bag looked like,” he said.

        From its earliest days, Google urged employees to “act like owners” and pipe up in all manner of forums, from mailing lists to its meme generator to open-ended question-and-answer sessions with top executives, known as T.G.I.F. It was part of what it meant to be “Googley,” one of the company’s most common compliments. So well ­entrenched was this ethic of welcoming dissent that the company seemed to abide by it even after the uprising began, taking pains to show it was heeding activists’ concerns.

        Over the past year, however, Google has appeared to clamp down. It has gradually scaled back opportunities for employees to grill their bosses and imposed a set of workplace guidelines that forbid “a raging debate over politics or the latest news story.” It has tried to prevent workers from discussing their labor rights with outsiders at a Google facility and even hired a consulting firm that specializes in blocking unions. Then, in November, came the firing of the four activists. The escalation sent tremors through the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif., and its offices in cities like New York and Seattle, prompting many employees — whether or not they had openly supported the activists — to wonder if the company’s culture of friendly debate was now gone for good.

        (A Google spokeswoman would not confirm the names of the people fired on Nov. 25. “We dismissed four individuals who were engaged in intentional and often repeated violations of our longstanding data-security policies,” the spokeswoman said. “No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities.” Without naming Berland, Google disputed that investigators pressured him.)

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Why Section 230 Matters And How Not To Break The Internet; DOJ 230 Workshop Review, Part I

        Festivus came early this year — or perhaps two months late. The Department of Justice held a workshop Wednesday: Section 230 – Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability? (archived video and agenda). This was perhaps the most official “Airing of Grievances” we’ve had yet about Section 230. It signals that the Trump administration has declared war on the law that made the Internet possible.

      • Section 230 and Criminal Law; DOJ 230 Workshop Review, Part II

        In Part I of this series on the Department of Justice’s February 19 workshop, Section 230 – Nurturing Innovation or Fostering Unaccountability? (archived video and agenda), we covered why Section 230 is important, how it works, and how panelists proposed to amend it.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Tajikistan: Journalist Held on Baseless Charges
      • Like a cornered animal, the Chinese Communist Party is lashing out at everyone

        “The editors used such a racially discriminatory title, triggering indignation and condemnation among the Chinese people and the international community,” squealed a spokesperson for the CCP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs without offering a single shred of evidence that anyone outside his office was ‘indignant’. He also, somewhat bizarrely, claimed the article was racist.

        Indeed, given that the WSJ website is blocked across the country, it is difficult to understand how anyone in China could even be aware of such an article, much less be offended by it.

        This is the first time since 1998 that Western journalists have actually had their permits to work in China revoked. Many have not had them renewed, but to actually revoke them suggests the communist regime in China is in full-blown panic mode.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Cop-Hating Vandals or Pro-Democracy Activists?

        Depends whose police are being protested.

      • Senators Call on Highway Administration to Finalize Car Seat Test Rules

        Citing “an urgent matter of public safety,” two U.S. senators are pressing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to immediately finalize side-impact crash test standards for children’s car seats.

        Responding to a ProPublica investigation, Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, admonished regulators for failing to meet the requirements of two laws.

      • It’s Time for Sundown Towns to Become a More Visible Part of Illinois History. But How?

        I’m heading north on the Amtrak Lincoln Service from Springfield to Chicago. It’s before 9 a.m., and I’ve already encountered more Abraham Lincoln-related memorials and municipal signage than I thought possible.

      • The Politics of Vengeance

        It is a threat no one has contemplated and, therefore, not thought to address.  We can only hope that that will change and that we will now begin to anticipate events that may  confront us in November and begin planning to protect the country.

      • Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’

        The Governor of New Jersey and that state’s two top black elected officials face criticism for their silence on a recent ruling by New Jersey state historic preservation authorities that devalues the early activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

      • Encountering Malcolm X

        Watching the six-part documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” on Netflix stirred up powerful memories of how important he was to my political evolution. While the documentary is focused on exploring the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) role in his murder, it also sheds light on Malcolm’s post-NOI political odyssey. By creating a rival movement to the pseudo-Islamist sect, he risked a fatal encounter with four assassins on this date fifty-five years ago at the Audubon Ballroom in New York.

      • Malcolm X’s Daughter Ilyasah Shabazz on Her Father’s Legacy and New Docuseries

        Fifty-five years ago today, Malcolm X was assassinated. The civil rights leader was shot to death on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City. He was only 39 years old. Details of his assassination remain disputed to this day. Earlier this month, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said he was considering reopening the investigation, just days after a new documentary series about the assassination was released on Netflix called Who Killed Malcolm X? It makes the case that two of the three men who were convicted for Malcolm X’s murder are actually innocent and that his uncaught killers were four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, New Jersey. We are joined by Ilyasah Shabazz, one of six daughters of Malcolm X, who was just 2 years old when her father was assassinated in front of her, her siblings and her mother. We also speak with award-winning author Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, independent scholar, historian, journalist, writer and activist, who is widely regarded as one of the most respected authorities on the life and legacy of Malcolm X and is featured in the new documentary series, and Shayla Harris, a producer for the series and an award-winning filmmaker and journalist.

      • Weinstein Jury Is Split on Most Serious Counts

        Jurors deliberating in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial indicated Friday that they are deadlocked on the most serious charges, but the judge told them to keep trying.

      • No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing

        Ever since fascism first crawled out of the ideological sewer, anarchists and autonomists have been there to confront, antagonize and organize against it. You need not dig deep into past history to find evidence of this. After the mayhem of Charlottesville, Cornell West, reported to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

      • Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion

        As the Democratic presidential primaries move onto Nevada, South Carolina and the many Super Tuesday states, candidates turn their attention to people of color, and particularly African Americans.

      • A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked

        The year was 2008. Hundreds of ICE officers swooped down on Agriprocessors, the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse located in Postville, Iowa, in the largest single-site raid to date in U.S. history. Half of the 800 person workforce was arrested.

      • The CIA’s Complicity in Recent Global Atrocities Revealed

        In another astounding revelation about the extent of United States’ global surveillance operations, The Washington Post recently published a piece about a Swiss company, Crypto AG, that was actually owned by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and West Germany’s intelligence agency. Crypto AG provided encryption services to over a hundred governments worldwide for decades. Unbeknownst to those governments, the CIA had access to the encryption tools and could therefore read high-level internal governmental correspondence from countries including France, Egypt, Venezuela and many others.

      • Chicago’s Lightfoot Administration to Defend Jon Burge’s Torture Henchmen

        Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is poised to embark on defending two of the most notorious of Jon Burge’s midnight crew — former Chicago Police Sergeant John Byrne and Detective Peter Dignan — in a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of 65-year-old Stanley Wrice, whom they are alleged to have tortured and sent to prison for more than three decades.

      • Anti-Immigrant Nationalism Is Poisoning the Streets of London

        The anti-immigrant sentiments stoked by pro-Brexit forces are becoming increasingly palpable on the streets of London. They have led to a documented rise in racist violence throughout the United Kingdom, but they are also showing up in more mundane and subtle ways, such as at the neighborhood grocery store.

      • ProPublica and Bronx Documentary Center Present Talk on Reporting the Realities of Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” Immigration Policy

        ProPublica and the Bronx Documentary Center are co-hosting an intimate talk on ProPublica’s groundbreaking “Zero Tolerance” investigative series on family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border. Reporters Ginger Thompson, Topher Sanders and Adriana Gallardo will give a behind-the-scenes look at how they exposed the realities of the controversial policy and what was happening inside detention facilities that were holding migrant children but were closed to public view. The reporters will also speak about their experiences bearing witness to a major crisis.

        The event is being held in conjunction with the BDC exhibition “Trump Revolution: Immigration,” which explores through photography the impacts of various immigration policies advanced by the Trump administration. Getty Images special correspondent John Moore, whose work is featured in the exhibition — and whose famed image of a Honduran girl crying while her mother is detained by the U.S. Border Patrol won photo of the year at the World Press Photo Awards — will also join the discussion.

      • Warren drafts document for Bloomberg to sign that would release employees from NDAs

        Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., read a document during her Thursday CNN town hall that she drew up for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to sign, saying it would release women who worked for his company from nondisclosure agreements.

        “I used to teach contract law and I thought I would make this easy,” Warren said. “All that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it. I’ll text it. Sign it, and then the women, or men, will be free to speak and tell their own stories.”

        Reports have revealed a history of allegations of sexual harassment, sexism, pregnancy discrimination, and a hostile work environment at Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg LP.

      • Trump Administration Targets Your ‘Warrant-Proof’ Encrypted Messages

        Riana Pfefferkorn, at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, says it’s a safe bet the best practices would include a requirement that law enforcement get access to encrypted content.

        “The bill as it’s drafted does a bizarre and alarming end run around normal legislative or even agency rule-making processes,” Pfefferkorn says, giving the attorney general “the keys for deciding what rules apply on the Internet.”

      • ‘What Does Criminalizing People Get Us, and What Does It Get Them?’
      • Beyond Prisons: Epistemic Violence feat. Michelle Jones

        Beyond Prisons Co-host Kim Wilson interviews Michelle Jones about her work as an artist, activist, and historian.

        Michelle shares the projects that she’s currently working on and she reflects on what it’s like to be a third-year graduate student working on her dissertation proposal. She speaks to Kim about reentry for women in Indiana, having a soft place to land after incarceration, and her fight for sentence modification so that she could attend grad school after having spent 20 years in prison.

      • Thailand: Court Dissolves Opposition Party

        Expand

        Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit arrives for a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, March 25, 2019. 

      • More Evidence of China’s Horrific Abuses in Xinjiang

        “His wife wore veils.” “He has one more child than allowed by the family planning policy.” “He prayed after each meal.”

        These are some of the reasons people in Karakax County in Xinjiang, northwestern China, are being detained in “political education” camps. Nothing done was illegal, but in Chinese authorities’ eyes, living the life of a Turkic Muslim is punishable. Their religious, linguistic, and cultural differences are deemed evidence of disloyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.

      • Freedom for $5.30…and This Time Mexico Really is Paying for It

        Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that Mexico would pay for his proposed border wall. Turns out Mexico wasn’t interested, so Trump eventually resorted to declaring fake emergencies and illegally misappropriating money from the military budget.

      • Turkey: Prominent Civic Leader Rearrested After Acquittal
      • Judge Sentences Roger Stone to 40 Months in Prison

        Stone is expected to be pardoned by President Donald Trump. 

      • Trump Ally Roger Stone Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison

        Trump loyalist and ally Roger Stone was sentenced Thursday to 40 months in federal prison, following an extraordinary move by Attorney General William Barr to back off his Justice Department’s original sentencing recommendation.

      • Trump Goes Global With His Absurd Anti-Abortion Agenda

        In spite of the relentless fearmongering, legislative erosion of women’s rights and powerful political allies to do their bidding, the anti-abortionists remain a minority.

      • Rwanda: Ensure Justice Over Kizito Mihigo Death

        The government of Rwanda should ensure a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation into the death in police custody of Kizito Mihigo, a well-known singer and activist. Rwanda’s international partners should call for accountability for Mihigo’s death before and during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting scheduled to take place in Kigali in June 2020. His death adds to the list of disappearances, murders, and suspicious deaths of perceived critics and opponents of the Rwandan government, and the authorities’ failure to deliver justice in these cases sends a deliberately chilling message.

        The Rwanda National Police announced on February 17, 2020 that Mihigo had been found dead at 5 a.m. in his cell at the Remera Police Station in Kigali, the capital, in an alleged suicide. He had recently told Human Rights Watch that he was being threatened to provide false testimony against political opponents and wanted to flee the country because he feared for his safety. In 2014, Mihigo was held incommunicado for nine days, during which he was beaten and forced to confess to crimes with which he was later charged in court.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Dish Floats DirecTV Merger, Because What’s A Little Mindless Monopolization Among Friends?

        We just got done with AT&T’s $86 billion merger with Time Warner, a deal that immediately drove up costs for consumers and competitors alike. That was followed up with the recent approval of T-Mobile’s $26 billion merger with Sprint, another deal the lion’s share of objective experts say will reduce competition, raise rates, and end with thousands of pink slips as redundant positions are inevitably eliminated.

      • EFF Calls For Disclosure of Secret Financing Details Behind $1.1 Billion .ORG Sale, Asks FTC To Scrutinize Deal

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) Education Fund today called on ICANN and private equity firm Ethos Capital to make public secret details—hidden costs, loan servicing fees, and inducements to insiders—about financing the $1.1 billion sale of the .ORG domain registry.EFF and AFR today also urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to review the leveraged buyout, which will have profound effects on millions of charities, public interest organizations, and nonprofits—and the consumers who rely on them—around the world. The deal would turn the .ORG registry—run for 17 years by the nonprofit Public Interest Registry (PIR) organization—into a for-profit enterprise controlled by a private equity firm that is partially funding the deal with a $360 million term loan.The proposed transaction would increase the likelihood that the new for-profit PIR LLC could unfairly exercise its monopoly power to disadvantage non-profit organization consumers by reducing service levels, imposing onerous terms of service, or otherwise interfering with their operations./

    • Monopolies

      • Diminishing enjoyment as the test for plant variety right infringement?

        New Zealand kiwifruit is exported solely by Zespri Group Limited, which has a statutory monopsony to purchase all kiwifruit from licensed growers and maintain markets around the world both through sales of its variety from New Zealand and from licensing its varieties to growers in other countries in the counter seasons. New Zealand can lay claim to having domesticated kiwifruit from the Chinese gooseberry.

      • It’s Time For The ITC To Recognize Smartphones Impact Public Welfare

        Another day, another patent troll filing an ITC complaint. In this case, Neodron—an Irish NPE—is trying to block the sale of products made by three prominent American tech companies: Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. This isn’t Neodron’s first ITC case, and it remains a travesty that the ITC continues to allow foreign non-practicing entities to use a statute designed to protect American companies from unfair foreign competition.

        But this post isn’t about the absurdity of an Irish company that doesn’t make anything abusing a trade court—one designed to protect American companies—to try to extract a huge payday from those companies. It’s about the ITC’s continued refusal to recognize that the world has changed. It’s about the ITC continuing to believe that smartphones have no significant impacts on public health, safety, and welfare.

        [...]

        That was 2011. Things have changed a bit over the intervening years. In 2011, LTE barely existed. Smartphones were only owned by around 35% of the American population. Barely anyone—2% of adults—relied on a smartphone as their sole internet connection. And Blackberry, Palm, and Windows smartphones were still a significant portion of the market.

        Fast-forward to 2020. More than 80% of adults own a smartphone. Around 1 in 5 adults uses a smartphone as their sole form of Internet access, with poor and rural populations being more likely to rely solely on smartphones for access. That means that 20% of American adults rely on smartphones as their means for accessing basic services, medical information, finding jobs, transportation, everything that goes into modern life. Not to mention the increasing integration of mobile devices and medical data, with initiatives dedicated to enabling American adults to better understand and track their personal health.

        It’s hard to argue that smartphones don’t impact public health and welfare in 2020.

        But maybe this Neodron case is like the HTC case—maybe it’s a case where there are plenty of alternatives available?

        [...]

        It’s especially important for the ITC to address the public interest when the exclusion is on behalf of a foreign company that has never made a thing and is trying to exclude the vast majority of smartphones from the U.S. market.

      • UK attorneys at odds over exams overhaul

        This time last year trainee patent attorneys were handed a slight reprieve.

        In February, the pass mark for part of the mandatory exams was reduced to 47% from 50% in view of previously low pass rates.

      • Patents

        • Changing Business Models: Huawei Makes a Surprising Announcement, or, The Changing Role of Patents in the Global Economy

          On 12 September 2019, Th e Economist published a report of an interview it held with Mr Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei1. The report contained a surprising announcement: Huawei is apparently willing to sell its 5G technology to a Western buyer. “For a one-time fee”, says the report, “a transaction would give the buyer perpetual access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licenses, code, technical blueprints and production know-how”.

          The sale of the 5G patent portfolio – apparently accompanied by an extensive transfer of know-how – would leave the buyer “free to use it outside China and develop the technology as it sees fi t”. In the US, “the buyer would face no competition from Huawei” because the company does not operate there, while “in other countries the two would go head to head”. That’s a very interesting twist in the global strife over 5G dominance which will is analyzed more closely in this short contribution.

        • Jury Awards $32m Against Dentons for Damages Caused by its Disqualification

          The Gap moved to disqualify, arguing that Dentons was a single law firm and so it could not be adverse to its own client. The ITC agreed, and disqualified Dentons.

          The patentee then sued for damages caused by the disqualification. On February 20, and Ohio jury awarded what is reported to be the largest malpractice verdict in Ohio history, over $32 million. Presumably, the damages were in part caused by the rapid pace of an ITC proceeding, but the details I know of are sketchy.

        • This case is an example of a “picture claim” that works to avoid the prior art.

          This case centers on Spin Master’s patented transformable toy. U.S. Patent 7,306,504. Korean toymaker ChoiRock petitioned for IPR, but the PTAB sided with the patentee — holding that the challenged claims had not been proven unpatentable.

        • CVC Files Motion in Opposition to Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 4

          On January 9th, Junior Party the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) filed its motion in opposition to Senior Party the Broad Institute (joined by Harvard University and MIT) Substantive Motion No. 4 asking the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/736,527 to Zhang (termed “Zhang B1″ in the motion), pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 41.121(a)(1)(ii) and § 41.208(a)(3) and Standing Order ¶ 208.4.1.

          [...]

          CVC’s brief argues that any such correction would be “subject to reasonable debate” and would constitute changes that would constitute a departure from the invention originally disclosed.” Under the circumstances before the Board in this instance, CVC argues that the Board should deny the Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 4.

        • French court may hold ETSI FRAND declarations to be binding contracts to the benefit of third parties: cross-jurisdictional ramifications

          Two weeks ago, the Tribunal judiciaire de Paris (TJP), which was known as the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) until the turn of the year, handed down an order in TCL v. Philips & ETSI, a case that has the potential to affect cellular standard-essential patent (SEP) jurisprudence throughout and beyond the rest of Europe. That’s because the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is based in Sophia Antipolis in the south of France, and the FRAND licensing pledges made by participants in cellular standard-setting to ETSI must be interpreted under French law wherever on this planet a party invokes an ETSI FRAND declaration by a patent holder.

          I don’t see a potential impact on how U.S. courts adjudicate cellular SEP licensing disputes as they have consistently recognized third-party beneficiary rights in connection with FRAND licensing pledges. However, on the other end of the spectrum there are those extremely biased German courts that have for many years stopped at pretty much nothing in their quest to favor patent holders over implementers, and as part of that have denied third-party beneficiary rights. Continuing to deny the existence of third-party beneficiary rights in connection with ETSI FRAND pledges will be quite problematic (to say the least) if and when the French court to which all French patent disputes are assigned has provided clarification with respect to a FRAND declaration that indisputably must be interpreted under French law. For implementers of standards it would definitely be a positive to be able to rely not only on antitrust law (abuse of dominant market position) but, additionally, on contract law (as defendants to U.S. SEP cases do all the time).

        • Software Patents

          • Prior art found for Riggs Tech Holdings

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Preeti Dua, who received a cash prize of $750 for two prior art submissions for U.S. Patent 7,299,067. The ’067 patent, generally directed to a system and method for providing and managing training over a network, is owned by Riggs Technology Holdings, LLC, and has been asserted against various tech companies in district court.

            To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

          • U.S. Prosecutors Hit Huawei With New Federal Charges
          • Ford Is Learning Fast From Alphabet & Apple How To Compete With Patents

            Following the lead of Innovation study, in order to understand more about technology adoption in the automotive industry, LexisNexis PatentSight conducted further analyses – comparing Ford’s portfolio to that of Volkswagen, Alphabet and Apple, who are also active in the automotive space. To maintain consistency, the analysis was limited to patents owned by these companies that relate to a combination of classic and digitization technologies to be used in automobiles.

      • Trademarks

        • Brands reveal how they enforce without damaging their reputation

          Harley-Davidson, InterContinental Hotels, Spectrum Brands, Conair and Ziff Davis say tone matters in cease-and-desist letters, but add that it’s not always enough to prevent bad press

        • GM Files To Trademark Hummer In U.S. And Canada

          GM Authority was the first to tell you that General Motors is planning on resurrecting Hummer as a line of electric pickup trucks and SUVs. The Detroit-based automaker officially announced to the world its plans to bring back Hummer’s in a Super Bowl LIV commercial starring NBA legend LeBron James. And now, we’ve discovered that the automaker has filed to trademark the Hummer name in both the United States and in Canada.

      • Copyrights

        • Lawyers cautious over copyright applying to designs

          In-house lawyers say recent clarification that copyright protection can be applied to designs provides new opportunities, but they are unsure how it will work in practice

          In-house counsel say they are paying close attention to court rulings that suggest copyright protection can be applied to designs – an issue that has long been a source of debate.

        • Can states pirate works without paying? The potential grounds for abrogation of state sovereign immunity in copyright [Ed:
          Thomas Key perpetuates the ludicrous idea that copying text is almost like murder (piracy)]

          Of all the matters before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, this Kat is anxiously awaiting an opinion in one pirating case: Allen v. Cooper. The case concerns the validity of the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) (1990), a bill that abrogates state sovereign immunity with respects to copyright infringement. The question before the Court is whether or not Congress has the power – as the federal legislature – to abrogate state sovereign immunity. Here are several of the potential grounds that the Court may consider for valid abrogation:

        • Copyright reform bid sparks contentious battle

          Some copyright owners argue that the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act should be revised to turn online service providers into partners in combating infringement

        • Book review: “Copyright and Collective Authorship: Locating the Authors of Collaborative Works”W

          The copyright dispute over the script of the hit film Florence Foster Jenkins revived interest in the joint-authorship test for copyright in the UK (see, Martin v Kogan (2017) and (2019) here and here). This review brings you “Copyright and Collective Authorship: Locating the Authors of Collaborative Works”, by Dr Daniela Simone from University College London, the book that influenced the Court of Appeal [Merpel adds: Isn’t that the dream of every author?] in overturning the first instance decision (according to Simon Malynicz QC, counsel of Kogan).

          Simone assesses how UK law defines shared authorship and how authorship is then allocated among creative collaborators. The book confirms copyright’s reputation as a legal framework ill-suited for collaborative creative processes, arguing that it prefers single authorship (and ownership). As a result, rights tend to be concentrated in singular, rather than, multiple, hands.

          [...]

          These conclusions come after road-testing the joint-authorship doctrine on three types of collective authorship: Wikipedia entries (Chapter 4), Australian Indigenous Art (Chapter 5) and films (Chapter 6). The use of these three case studies in this way keeps Simone’s critique of the joint authorship doctrine rooted in concrete examples. This is very good news if you are not facile with post-modern critiques on authorship or other esoteric analysis of the kind (and how many of us are?), as this book is not in that vein at all, making it much more accessible to readers.

          This book is a welcome contribution to the scholarship for little has been published in such depth on the topic of collective authorship. The book is written and structured so that each chapter is self-contained and can be read individually. The downside is that the discussion can be repetitive at times when read in one sitting. But this a small price to pay for the luxury of being able to dive in and out of the book.

          I will add one more thing is… footnotes! A good number contain interesting nuggets of commentary (which I would have loved to see addressed in the body of the monograph but I was nonetheless glad to encounter them at the bottom of the page).

        • Movie Company Links ‘Notorious Copyright Thief’ Peter Sunde to MKVCage Lawsuit

          The makers of the movie ‘Hellboy’ have filed an amended complaint against the popular torrent site MKVCage. While the site disappeared after the legal pressure became public, the lawsuit isn’t going away. Instead, the movie company now links MKVCage to Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde, who they describe as a ‘notorious copyright thief.’

        • Activision Subpoenas Reddit to Identify Call of Duty Warzone ‘Leaker’

          In response to the many Call of Duty Warzone leaks appearing online, Activision has been filing aggressive takedowns on copyright grounds. According to documents obtained by TorrentFreak, the gaming giant has also obtained a DMCA subpoena from a US court, which compels Reddit to hand over the personal details of a user who allegedly posted a leaked image to the site.

        • Well Then: Activision Issues DMCA Subpoena To Have Reddit Unmask Whoever Posted That CoD Image Leak

          Well, okay then. We had just been discussing Activision’s silly attempt to DMCA to death a leaked image purporting to be the cover art or marketing material for a new Call of Duty game. The whole thing was idiotic in that once word got around that Activision was trying to bury the leak, it immediately caused everyone to think the image was for a real game, rather than some faked pretend leak, which is a thing that sometimes happens. From there, reporting and reproduction of the image in question went mildly viral. In other words, Activision Streisanded the leak it was attempting to bury. Pretty dumb.

        • Attempt To Put Every Musical Melody Into The Public Domain Demonstrates Craziness Of Modern Copyright

          The fact is that many of the copyright lawsuits we see coming out of the music industry mostly revolve around copyright claims on musical melodies. In many of these cases, artists find themselves on the losing end of judges and juries all while claiming that there was no intention to infringe, with the supposedly offending material instead being developed as essentially an independent creation that happened to be similar to previous works. The Blurred Lines case went that way, as has the Dark Horse case. The problem with this is that music is somewhat akin to mathematics, in that within a given octave or set of octaves, there are a finite number of musical combinations between notes that can be made. Sure, that number of combinations is large — tens of billions, actually — but the finite number of resources exists nonetheless.

02.21.20

Links 21/2/2020: EasyOS 2.2.11 Released, Microsoft’s Control of the Linux Foundation Increases and More Binary Blobs Arrive

Posted in News Roundup at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why You Still Don’t Need Antivirus Software on Linux in 2020

        There’s a division of opinion when it comes to the question; does Linux need antivirus? Well, the short answer is no. Some say viruses for Linux are rare; others say Linux’s security system is secure and much safer than other operating Windows.

        So, is Linux really secure?

        While no single operating system is entirely secure, Linux is known to be much more reliable than Windows or any operating system. The reason behind this is not the security of Linux itself but the minority of viruses and malware that exist for the operating system.

        Viruses and malware are incredibly rare in Linux. They do exist though the likelihood of getting a virus on your Linux OS is very low. Linux based operating systems also have additional security patches that are updated regularly to keep it safer.

        The userbase of Linux is tiny when compared to Windows. While Operating systems like Windows and Mac house all kinds of users, Linux is inclined more towards advanced users. In the end, It all comes down to the caution taken by the user.

        Can you get viruses on Linux?

        Yes, before you assume anything, viruses and malware can affect any operating system.

        No operating system is 100% safe, and it’s a fool errand to look for one. Like Windows and Mac OS, you can get viruses on Linux. However rare they are, they still exist.

        On the official page of Ubuntu, a Linux based OS, it is said that Ubuntu is highly secure. A lot of people installed Ubuntu for the sole purpose of having a dependable OS when it comes to the security of their data and sensitive details.

      • Linux Community: Stop Doing This To Windows 10 And MacOS Users

        Unpopular opinion time: dual-booting Windows and Linux on your PC is actually great. I do it and I encourage it. Now, if you’ve read my articles here for the last 18 months or so, this statement may seem shocking. To some Linux users, it may come off as downright sacrilegious. I get it. “Prominent Forbes tech writer ditches Windows (1, 2), starts covering Linux full-time while touting all the benefits Linux has over Windows 10, produces a Linux podcast and YouTube channel, then says using Windows is fine?”

    • Server

      • 40 Useful Linux Server Commands for Beginners in 2020

        Most of the virtual world is powered by Linux today. Admins and network owners like to take control of their web presence by utilizing Linux to its fullest extent. If you are a starting Linux user looking to hone your system administration skills to the next level, learn these 40 Linux server commands mentioned below. Our team of veteran sysadmins has curated this guide for facilitating your learning experience. Most of these commands are pretty basic, but if used carefully, they will help you manage and monitor your Linux servers much more effectively.

      • Question the Current Dogma: Is Kubernetes Hyper-Scale Necessary for Everyone?

        Kubernetes in 2020 has become synonymous with the term cloud native and is also often used as a vehicle for vendors and IT organizations alike to claim they are transforming or modernizing their workloads. But what are they actually transforming? What is Kubernetes itself actually providing?

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #327: The Weekender XLII

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

      • Bad Voltage 2×65: Email Avengers Assemble

        Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage…

      • 2020-02-20 | Linux Headlines

        A new release for LibreOffice’s stable branch has some welcome improvements, Let’s Encrypt takes a major step to fight man-in-the-middle attacks, the EU unveils big plans to take on the US tech industry, and Microsoft’s endpoint protection software heads to Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • The rest of the 5.6 merge window

        Linus Torvalds released the 5.6-rc1 prepatch and closed the merge window on February 9; at that point, 10,780 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the mainline repository for 5.6. That is substantially less than recent development cycles (14,350 for 5.5, 14,619 for 5.4), but is similar to what was going on at this time last year (10,843 for 5.0-rc1 in January 2019). About 6,000 of those changes were pulled since the first 5.6 merge-window article was written; read on for what was included in those changes.

      • Better tools for kernel developers

        By many accounts, the kernel project uses outdated tooling, far behind the state of the art that Kids Today tend to favor. The kernel’s workflow has worked well (enough) for years, but there are signs that it may not be sustainable indefinitely. As a result, there has been an ongoing conversation about improving the kernel’s workflow, but little has changed so far. The posting of a simple tool called get-lore-mbox is a sign that the rate of change may be about to increase.

        The kernel project’s reliance on email strikes many as quaint and antiquated. It may indeed partly be a natural outcome of the aging nature of the kernel community; many of the developers there, especially in the important maintainer positions, got started well before tools like web-based Git forges existed. Indeed, some of them got started using punch cards and may still be unconvinced of the virtues of, say, text editors. But the truth of the matter is that there are a number of good reasons for the kernel community’s continued reliance on email; there is little else that can handle a community of that size and diversity.

        So, while it seems that the future of email (as opposed to, say, proprietary services like Gmail) is uncertain at best, the path toward a replacement in the kernel community is unclear. Developers will have to be convinced that any new tools will make their lives better, not worse; busy maintainers have little patience for “improvements” that slow things down.

      • Kernel operations structures in BPF

        One of the more eyebrow-raising features to go into the 5.6 kernel is the ability to load TCP congestion-control algorithms as BPF programs; networking developer Toke Høiland-Jørgensen described it as a continuation of the kernel’s “march towards becoming BPF runtime-powered microkernel”. On its face, congestion control is a significant new functionality to hand over to BPF, taking it far beyond its existing capabilities. When one looks closer, though, one’s eyebrow altitude may well increase further; the implementation of this feature breaks new ground in a couple of areas.
        The use case for this feature seems clear enough. There are a number of such algorithms in use, each of which is suited for a different networking environment. There may be good reasons to distribute an updated or improved version of an algorithm and for recipients to be able to make use of it without building a new kernel or even rebooting. Networking developers can certainly benefit from being able to play with congestion-control code on the fly. One could argue that congestion control is not conceptually different from other tasks, such as flow dissection or IR protocol decoding, that can be done with BPF now — but congestion control does involve a rather higher level of complexity.

        A look at the patch set posted by Martin KaFai Lau reveals that what has been merged for 5.6 is not just a mechanism for hooking in TCP congestion-control algorithms; it is far more general than that. To be specific, this new infrastructure can be used to allow a BPF program to replace any “operations structure” — a structure full of function pointers — in the kernel. It is, at this point, only capable of replacing the tcp_congestion_ops structure used for congestion control; experience suggests, though, that other uses will show up sooner rather than later.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Peter Hutterer: A tale of missing touches

          libinput 1.15.1 had a new feature: it matched the expected touch count with the one actually seen as opposed to the one advertised by the kernel. That is good news for ALPS devices whose kernel driver lies about their capabilities because these days who doesn’t. However, in some cases that feature had the side-effect of reducing the touch count to zero – meaning libinput would ignore any touch. This caused a slight UX degradation.

          After a bit of debugging and/or cursing, the issue was identified as a libevdev issue, specifically – the way libevdev replays events after a SYN_DROPPED event. And after several days of fixing things, adding stuff to the CI and adding meson support for libevdev so the CI can actually run a few useful things, it’s time for a blog post to brain-dump and possibly entertain the occasional reader such as you are. Congratulations, I guess.

          The Linux kernel’s evdev protocol is a serial protocol where all events have a type, a code and a value. Events are grouped by EV_SYN.SYN_REPORT events, so the event type is EV_SYN (0), the event code is SYN_REPORT (also 0). The value is usually (but not always), you guessed it, zero. A SYN_REPORT signals that the current event sequence (also called a “frame”) is to be interpreted as one hardware event [0].

        • Mesa drivers 20.0.0 released, NVIDIA also have a small Vulkan driver update out

          Two bits of Linux driver news to share today, one quite big for AMD/Intel and the other on the smaller side for NVIDIA.

          Starting with NVIDIA, following on from the Vukan Beta driver update on the 15th they did a quick-fix and put another up with 440.58.02 yesterday. The only noted fix is “a regression which added syntax errors into the default application profiles configuration file” and that was specific to Linux.

        • Mesa 20.0 Arrives with OpenGL 4.6 on RadeonSI, Vulkan 1.2 on Intel ANV and RADV

          The Mesa 3D Graphics Library open-source graphics stack for Linux-based operating system got a new major series this week, Mesa 20.0, which brings numerous new features and improvements for a better gaming experience.

          Most of the work done during the development cycle of the Mesa 20.0 graphics stack appears to be around the AMD Radeon drivers, both OpenGL (RadeonSI) and Vulkan (RADV). This translates to improved gaming for AMD Radeon users on GNU/Linux.

          Highlights of the Mesa 20.0 release include OpenGL 4.6 support for the RadeonSI driver, Vulkan 1.2 support for both the Intel ANV and Radeon RADV Vulkan drivers, and Wave32 support for AMD GFX10 (Navi) GPUs in the RADV Vulkan driver and its ACO compiler.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Adds Option For Zeroing Out Video Memory

          New to Mesa 20.1-devel is a new option for the Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver to enable zeroing out video memory allocations.

          This isn’t a new concept with other graphics drivers offering similar functionality for zeroing out the vRAM either for security reasons or working around pesky game/app issues. For example, RadeonSI OpenGL zeros out the vRAM for Rocket League to workaround buggy behavior with that game. But zeroing out the video memory normally isn’t done by default for all allocations due to performance reasons.

          With the new flag to zero vRAM allocations for the RADV Vulkan driver it was done by Valve’s Samuel Pitoiset. In this case he mentions it’s in part for “future work.”

        • Intel Gen12/Xe Graphics To Support 12-Bit HEVC/VP9 Decode

          We are learning more about the media engine capabilities with the forthcoming Intel “Gen12″ (Xe) Tiger Lake graphics.

          The documentation for Intel’s open-source media-driver that exposes VA-API capabilities on the Linux desktop was recently updated. That updated Intel VA-API Media Driver points to Intel Gen12 dropping VP8 video capabilities but expanding when it comes to 12-bit codec support.

        • Intel Sends Out Latest Patches For Mitigating Graphics Flaw On Ivybridge/Haswell

          It has been one month and a few days since Intel first made public the need for graphics driver patching of Gen 7/7.5 graphics for older Ivybridge / Haswell hardware to fix a graphics hardware flaw. That vulnerability also affected the common Intel Gen9 graphics but there the mitigation was uneventful and quickly merged without causing any performance hit. But for Ivybridge/Haswell one month later the graphics driver mitigation for CVE-2019-14615 is still being addressed.

          This vulnerability is also known as iGPU Leak by the researchers that discovered it but for the Gen7/Gen7.5 protection the mitigation has been particularly problematic. With the initial Gen7/Gen7.5 patches posted in mid-January there was a huge hit to the graphics performance while Intel worked towards no performance loss.

        • NVIDIA Posts Firmware Needed For Open-Source GeForce 16 Series Acceleration

          As written about last week, in the works for the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring is open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” acceleration for the GeForce 16 series. That code is currently sitting in the Nouveau development tree until landing in DRM-Next for Linux 5.7, but NVIDIA has now posted the necessary firmware binaries needed for enabling the hardware acceleration on these Turing GPUs.

    • Benchmarks

      • FreeBSD vs. Linux Scaling Up To 128 Threads With The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X

        Last week I looked at the Windows vs. Linux scaling performance on the Threadripper 3990X at varying core/thread counts followed by looking at the Windows 10 performance against eight Linux distributions for this $3990 USD processor running within the System76 Thelio Major workstation. Now the tables have turned for our first look at this 64-core / 128-thread processor running on the BSDs, FreeBSD 12.1 in particular. With this article is looking at the FreeBSD 12.1 performance and seeing how the performance scales compared to Ubuntu 20.04 Linux and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 based CentOS Stream.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1.4

        VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software.

      • Rav1e 0.3.1 Is 25~40% Faster At Low Speed Levels For Rust-Based AV1 Encoding

        It was not even two full weeks ago that Rav1e 0.3 was released with speed optimizations and other AV1 encoding enhancements while released on Tuesday was Rav1e 0.3.1 with a change to boost encode speeds at lower levels.

        The principal change with Rav1e 0.3.1 for this Rust-written AV1 video encoder is 25~40% better performance at lower speed levels (two through five). This big speed-up is by disabling fine directional prediction and intra-block transform splitting within inter-frames. The consequence of disabling these features for the double digit percentage speed improvements is approximately 1~2% lower video quality at these levels, which the developers deemed to be an acceptable trade for the faster encode times.

      • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 213

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 213.

      • Tools for SSH key management

        I use SSH constantly. Every day I find myself logged in to multiple servers and Pis (both in the same room as me and over the internet). I have many devices I need access to, and different requirements for gaining access, so in addition to using various SSH/SCP command options, I have to maintain a config file with all the connection details.

      • Daniel Stenberg: The command line options we deserve

        A short while ago curl‘s 230th command line option was added (it was –mail-rcpt-allowfails). Two hundred and thirty command line options!

        A look at curl history shows that on average we’ve added more than ten new command line options per year for very long time. As we don’t see any particular slowdown, I think we can expect the number of options to eventually hit and surpass 300.

        Is this manageable? Can we do something about it? Let’s take a look.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Children are indestructible weapons in ‘Dad Quest’ – Linux Beta out now

        Possibly one of the quirkiest platformers I’ve ever come across, Dad Quest is now officially in Beta for Linux on Steam.

        A story-based platformer, with what developer Sundae Month claim is their own ‘unique brand of comedy’. It’s set in a world where children are indestructible weapons, ready to be hurled towards enemies. As a parent, I will admit it sounds amusing. According to the description you will teach your child new combat skills using ‘a variety of deadly toys’.

      • Hilarious co-op train track building game ‘Unrailed!’ is now officially on Linux

        After a little while being in Beta, Indoor Astronaut have today released the Linux (and macOS) versions of Unrailed! so they’re officially supported.

      • The full SteamWorld series is heading to Google Stadia “soon”

        While they’re seemingly not giving an exact date just yet, Thunderful Publishing and Image & Form announced today that multiple SteamWorld titles are heading to Google Stadia.

      • Dying Light gets a massive update with a ‘Story Mode’ plus a free weekend

        Techland are keeping their baby alive a while longer (especially after delaying Dying Light 2), and it appears they didn’t forget it turned 5 last month with a huge update and celebration.

        Since Dying Light has been out five years they’re kicking off a big celebration. It’s having a Free Weekend on Steam for the first time! A really good opportunity to see what the fuss is all about and I sure do fuss about it a lot. It really is a great game! One of my absolute favourites.

      • How to use community control schemes in Steam for Linux

        Sick of plugging your gaming controller into your Linux PC, only to find that the game does not have any gamepad controls set up? As it turns out, Steam has a solution for that. Did you know that you can add custom controller layouts for your Steam games on Linux? It’s true! Thanks to Steam’s stellar controller support on Linux, anyone can bind custom controls to their gaming controller! Follow along to learn how to do it on your system!

      • SGT Puzzles Collection 0.2.5 Released

        SGT Puzzles Collection, or simply sgt-launcher, is a game launcher and wrapper for Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection, a popular collection of logic games by the developer of PuTTY.

        Joining the Xubuntu package set way back in Xubuntu 17.10 “Artful Aardvark”, SGT Puzzles Collection has quietly provided Xubuntu users with a variety of distracting games for several releases. If you want to learn more about the project, check out my introductory blog post.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • How not to lose the alpha channel

          Working on color imagery for QiTissue recently, I realized we were accidentally losing the alpha channel in multiple places. For efficiency reasons, we keep colors in memory using the QRgb type, and convert that to/from QString for serialization purposes via QColor as needed. Here’s what I discovered about why that doesn’t work, and some ways I fixed it.

          Firstly, be aware there is no QRgba in the Qt API . There is only QRgb, for 8bit color channels. It can hold an alpha value too, despite the lack of a trailing a in the type name. Then there is QRgba64 which uses 16bit per color channel. For our purposes, 8bit per channel is sufficient. So where do we lose the alpha channel, when QRgb can store it in principle?

        • Fosdem and Plasma Mobile Sprint

          From January 31st to February 8th I went on a little tour, first at the two days of Fosdem in Brussels, then to Berlin for a KDE sprint about Plasma Mobile.

          It was the first time i went to Fodem: it’s an awesome experience, even tough big and messy: which is the awesome of it… and the bad of it at the same time

          Even tough there were 800 talks I didn’t attend that many, some about the Elixir language, some about retrocomputing, some about iot stuff. At Fosdem the best thing to do there.. is meeting a lot of interesting people, rather than attending talks, which are very interesting never the less, which you can find videos here.

        • Norbert Preining: Okular update for Debian

          The quest for a good tabbed pdf viewer lead me okular. While Gnome3 has gone they way of “keep it stupid keep it simple” to appeal to less versed users, KDE has gone the opposite direction and provides lots of bells and knobs to configure their application. Not surprisingly, I am tending more and more to KDE apps away from the redux stuff of Gnome apps.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Try the GNOME Nightly VM images with GNOME Boxes

          It was a long time overdue but we now have bootable VM images for GNOME again. These VMs are good for testing and documenting new features before they reach distros.

          To provide the best experience in terms of performance and host-guest integration, we landed in BoxesDevel (Nightly GNOME Boxes) an option to create GNOME VMs with the correct device drivers and configurations assigned to it. You know…the Boxes way™.

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter See Changes For Tracking Software Rendering, VNC To Toggle Animations

          GNOME Shell and Mutter saw a set of patches land today for GNOME 3.36 that have been around for a few months and deal with the tracking of software rendering and VNC usage where GNOME Shell should in turn disable animations to ease the rendering workload.

          The GNOME Settings Daemon has until now been responsible for controlling the animation heuristics when they should be disabled while now Mutter has added support for tracking software rendering situations and in turn GNOME Shell is relying upon that for determining when to disable desktop animations.

    • Distributions

      • SharkLinux – Virtualization and cloud compatible Linux distro

        Today, we are going to take a look at a specialized Linux distro, SharkLinux. It is a cloud compatible and virtualization Linux distro that you can use in the cloud.

        SharkLinux is an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the MATE desktop and is best aimed for sysadmin testing, developers, and virtualization hobbyists. It follows a rolling release model for updates.

      • BSD

        • Supporting an open source operating system: a Q&A with the FreeBSD Foundation

          When discussing alternative operating systems to Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s macOS, Linux often comes to mind. However, while Linux is a recreation of UNIX, FreeBSD is more of a continuation. The free and open source operating system was initially developed by students at the University of California at Berkeley which is why the BSD in its name stands for Berkeley Software Distribution.

          FreeBSD runs on its own kernel and all of the operating system’s key components have been developed to be part of a single whole. This is where it differs the most from Linux because Linux is just the kernel and the other components are supplied by third parties.

          To learn more about FreeBSD and its ongoing development, TechRadar Pro spoke to the executive director of the FreeBSD Foundation, Deb Goodkin.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora VS Ubuntu

          Linux is superior to Windows in a lot of ways. It gives you the freedom to shape your system according to your desire. You can customise almost everything to your taste. Don’t like the way your login screen looks, well change it according to your liking. You can change your Linux UI (User Interface) so that it looks like Windows if you are more comfortable that way. Linux is way less resource-hungry than Windows, meaning it runs a lot smoother. You can even customise how much cache and ram should Linux use. But despite all these good things switching from Windows to Linux can be a lot of hassle as there are a lot of distros or types of Linux to choose from and most people get confused. Different Linux distros are for different people. Here I’ll be comparing the two biggest distro releases, i.e., Ubuntu and Fedora

        • What is backporting, and how does it apply to RHEL and other Red Hat products?

          Version numbers are important, but aren’t always what they seem at first glance. Red Hat, for example, often backports updates to the software we ship in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to maintain the version that we shipped.

          This is a post to follow to Jean-Sébastien Tougne’s post on finding the latest available kernel. Jean-Sébastien’s article was responding to a question on the Red Hat Learning Community, where the poster was seeking the latest version of the kernel for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That prompted me to write an article that went deeper into the nuance and strategy the Red Hat Enterprise Linux team employs for this to be magically delicious for administrators.

        • The edge is open: Why scale-out computing doesn’t exist without open hybrid cloud

          The past year has seen the rise of applications that push enterprise IT to the (literal) edge, from using autonomous vehicles guided by artificial intelligence (AI) to vast sensor networks that rely on 5G for instant connectivity and emergency reaction times. Whether it’s the Internet-of-Things (IoT), fog computing or edge computing, the intent is to bring computing resources like processing power and storage closer to the end user or data source to improve the ability to scale, responsiveness and the overall service experience.

          We can look at the edge as the newest IT footprint, becoming an extension of the data center just like bare-metal, virtual environments, private cloud and public cloud. In a sense, edge computing is a summation of the other four footprints, blending pieces from each to create infrastructure aimed at tackling specific customer demands that traditional IT models cannot address.

        • Enterprise open source software is growing within innovative companies

          Red Hat has been at the forefront of the global open source discussion, fighting for software freedom in the U.S Supreme Court, and offering free tech products for cloud infrastructure, automation, AI, and much more. After conducting research and interviewing IT leaders from around the world, Red Hat released a report examining the state of enterprise open source in 2020.

          950 IT leaders, unaware that Red Hat was the research sponsor, were surveyed about their practices and opinions on enterprise open source software.

        • Multicluster Management and GitOps Workshop

          There’s so much more to come. In the next few weeks, we’ll dive deeper into customer ideas and finish the design thinking process by producing designs, prototyping them, and finally testing their validity.

          We also want you to join us. To help influence the future of OpenShift, sign up to be notified about research participation opportunities or provide feedback on your experience by filling out this brief survey. If you’d like to attend the next workshop, keep an eye on the OpenShift Commons calendar for upcoming events. Feel free to reach out by email if you have any questions.

        • Red Hat Fuels Omnitracs to Deliver Cloud-Native Fleet Management Innovation

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Omnitracs, LLC, the global pioneer of fleet management solutions to transportation and logistics companies, has delivered its Omnitracs One platform, the next-generation of fleet management innovation, on the foundation of Red Hat OpenShift. Using the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform along with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, Omnitracs One is a completely cloud-native offering and provides an enhanced user experience with a clear path towards future innovations.

        • Orange Egypt Builds Horizontal Cloud on Red Hat Technologies, Improving Time-to-Market by up to 10x

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are providing a horizontal cloud platform for Orange Egypt’s virtual network functions (VNFs), helping the service provider to more quickly deliver new services to customers, optimize its network investments and reduce operational expenditure. Building on the foundation of Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage, Orange Egypt is the first Orange affiliate to manage 100% of its live customer traffic over a fully software-based platform spanning several sites across its region.

        • Share-ing the News: the Mainframe is Back!

          What seems like a hundred years ago, I started in the technology business. My first job was as a computer operator for an IBM S/390 mainframe computer for a large networking company. The years zipped by and I now find myself at SUSE as the Product Marketing Manager for system Z and LinuxOne. My how things have come full circle!

          While the mainframes of today have transformed and are not quite the behemoths of yesteryear, the purpose of the mainframe is still the same – providing customers with increased security, fast processing time for large amounts of data, high availability, and rock-solid stability.

          Mainframes today like IBM LinuxOne and system Z provide unprecedented privacy and security for your infrastructure with encryption everywhere and instant recovery. And the best part is you can run your favorite Linux distribution on these systems – SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for system Z and LinuxOne

        • Building a community of practice in 5 steps

          In the first part of this series, we defined community as a fundamental principle in open organizations, where people often define their roles, responsibilities, and affiliations through shared interests and passions, not title, role, or position on an organizational chart. Then, in the second part of the series, we explored the many benefits communities of practice bring to open organizations—including fostering learning, encouraging collaboration, and offering an opportunity for creative problem-solving and innovation.

          Now you know you’d like to start a community of practice, but you may still be unsure where to start. This article will help define your roadmap and build a plan for a successful community of practice—in five simple steps (summarized in Figure 1).

        • Red Hat Combines Continuous Community Innovation with Long-Life Enterprise Support in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16, the latest version of its highly scalable and agile Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution. More than 1,000 enhancements and new features will lay the foundation for enterprise and telco workloads from programmable IaaS for hybrid clouds, developer clouds and production clouds and cloud-native applications like network functions virtualization (NFV), edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

        • Red Hat OpenStack lives on in a new release

          This new OpenStack is built on the foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8. The version adds a refined long-life support lifecycle, comprehensive feature consolidation, and a new commitment to delivering continuous community innovation as enterprise-ready features via stream releases. It combines the best features of the last three OpenStack release Train along with Red Hat’s own special sauce.

          Modular by design, the new Red Hat OpenStack is meant to optimize IT operations for existing traditional applications. But it’s not just the same old IaaS file storage cloud it was 10 years ago. It can now be used as the foundation for cloud-native applications such as network functions virtualization (NFV), edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

        • Fedora Council November 2019 meeting: more miscellaneous stuff

          In addition to the big topic of the Fedora Project Vision, we used the opportunity to cover some other Fedora Council business. Because it’s a lot, we’re breaking the reporting on this into two posts, kind of arbitrarily — here’s the second of those.

        • Return of the son of the panda badger

          Here’s an initial mockup of a new sticker sheet design for Fedora! It features artwork from Fedora Badges. (Actually, now that I think of it, it would be nice to have a licensing notice for the artwork along the bottom or side of the sheet.) The idea behind this is just to be a fun piece of swag to give away at events.

          Before my leave, we produced a Fedora Diversity sticker sheet that has proven to be very popular at events, so it’s time for our panda and badger friends to have their time to shine I think

      • Debian Family

        • Easy Buster version 2.2.11

          EasyOS versions 1.x are the “Pyro” series, the latest is 1.3. Easy Pyro is built with packages compiled from source using ‘oe-qky-src’, a fork of OpenEmbedded. Consequently, the builds are small and streamlined and integrated. The Pyro series may have future releases, but it is considered to be in maintenance status.
          The “Buster” series start from version 2.0, and are intended to be where most of the action is, ongoing. Version 2.0 was really a beta-quality build, to allow the testers to report back. The first official release was 2.1.
          The main feature of Easy Buster is that it is built from Debian 10 Buster DEBs, using WoofQ (a fork of Woof2: Woof-CE is another fork, used to build Puppy Linux).
          The advantage of Buster over Pyro is access to the large Debian package repositories. That is a big plus.

        • EasyOS version 2.2.11 released
        • Enabling the persistent journal in Debian

          It seems unlikely that anyone on any “side” of the systemd war that has raged in Debian over the last few years thought that the results of the recent general resolution (GR) vote ended the matter. The vote showed a clear preference for moving ahead with systemd as the preferred init system, though it was far from any kind of landslide—there were definitely plenty of voters who would have preferred a different outcome. It was a complicated GR, with a wide spectrum of options, but at this point, the project as a whole has spoken. Actually implementing some of the changes that the GR enabled may not have the smooth path that some might have hoped for, however.

          On February 1, Michael Biebl posted a message to the debian-devel mailing list noting that he had fixed a wishlist bug (from 2013) by enabling the systemd persistent journal. Prior to that, journald would log to the non-persistent /run/log/journal directory by default and rsyslog would create the persistent text log files in /var/log. The change to the Debian systemd package would create the /var/log/journal directory where journald will store its persistent binary log files. That way, the journals will still be available after a reboot.

          The message said that new installs and upgrades of the systemd package would create the directory, but it also included instructions on how to revert to the existing behavior; further upgrades to the systemd package will respect that choice. Beyond that, though, running both the persistent journal and rsyslog means that the log files are effectively stored twice on disk, so Biebl may ask the Debian ftp-masters to lower the priority of rsyslog so that it is not installed by default for the upcoming Debian 11 (“bullseye”) release. Those who want to have a different system logger can add it after the initial install, of course.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS Receive New Kernel Live Patch

          The new kernel live patch comes two and a half weeks after the last kernel live patch and just a day after the major kernel security updates released for all supported Ubuntu released on February 18th. It addresses a total of five security flaws affecting Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) systems.

          Among the fixes, there’s the well-known vulnerability affecting systems with Intel Graphics Processing Units (CVE-2019-14615), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information, as well as a race condition (CVE-2020-7053) in the i915 driver that could let a local attacker to crash the system or execute arbitrary code.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Top 7 Anime Based Open-Source Projects

        Anime is no longer limited only to Japan and China; it has gone global. It has attracted many people towards it because of its high-end graphics, vivid imaginations for the future, using highly advanced technologies which only find their place in our imaginations and artificial intelligence (AI) depiction in their storylines. Naturally, it serves as a means of entertainment for any kind of audience that watches it and also it could be fun to do projects related to it. And we all know Elon Musk likes anime too:

      • Events

        • Sustain OSS 2020: quick rewind

          I loved Sustain OSS 2020 because it is a unique collection of people from various backgrounds in the Free/Open Source movement. Both old and new folks, software engineers and designers, open source program office folks and the FOSS lawyers, all together in one room. Perhaps the best part for me is leaving with a sense of empowerment and connection to a bigger movement of people.

        • JupyterCon 2020 is a go!

          Just over a year ago, Project Jupyter announced it was reevaluating its annual community conference. An advisory committee of volunteers recommended a JupyterCon 2020 emphasizing a focus on access and leadership. We are now thrilled to announce a global Jupyter conference…

        • Announcing JupyterCon 2020

          NumFOCUS is excited to be a part of JupyterCon 2020. JupyterCon will be held August 10 – 14 in Berlin, Germany at the Berlin Conference Center.

        • Hot off the presses: a sneak peek at the LibrePlanet 2020 schedule

          LibrePlanet 2020 is organized by the FSF. Hundreds of people from across the globe will converge to explore this year’s theme, “Free the Future.” We’ll be delving into the threats to user freedom that we’ve all been reading about every day in the media, as well as the unique role the free software movement plays in solving these problems.

          In addition to the first keynote we announced last month, Brewster Kahle, LibrePlanet 2020 will feature a panoply of presentations. Our lineup includes some talks we absolutely can’t wait to see, and we think you’ll feel the same way! You can now dive in to the speakers already confirmed and start planning your itinerary.

          [...]

          LibrePlanet 2020 offers lots of opportunities for socializing, too! The annual FSF open house will take place on the evening of Friday, March 13th, at the FSF office. And the LibrePlanet Saturday night party will feature a sparkling new location. As we have in the past, we’ll organize a dinner specifically for women, genderqueer, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming attendees, please mail campaigns@fsf.org if you’re interested in joining. If you are looking to organize your own dinner or meetup, you can do so using the LibrePlanet wiki 2020 conference social and dinner pages as a central place for communication about this.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 73.0.1 fixes crashes, blank web pages and DRM niggles

            Firefox version 73 has only been out for a week but already Mozilla has had to update it to version 73.0.1 to fix a range of browser problems and crashes, including when running on Linux machines.

            The list of issues is surprisingly long for a point release but, in most cases, the issues only happen in specific contexts. Despite this, some of the issues are still said to have affected “numerous” users, prompting the rapid update.

            Many reports noted Firefox would stop or hesitate when visiting websites or trying to open the internal about:config page, particularly when running in Windows 7 compatibility mode.

            Customers of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) found they were ending up with a blank page when logging in while others found the browser would exit when leaving Print Preview mode.

          • Synchronous Messaging: We’re Live.

            After a nine month leadup, chat.mozilla.org, our Matrix-based replacement for IRC, has been up running for about a month now.

            While we’ve made a number of internal and community-facing announcements about progress, access and so forth, we’ve deliberately run this as a quiet, cautious, low-key rollout, letting our communities find their way to chat.m.o and Matrix organically while we sort out the bugs and rough edges of this new experience.

            Last week we turned on federation, the last major step towards opening Mozilla to the wider Matrix ecosystem, and it’s gone really well. Which means that as of last week, Mozilla’s transition from IRC to Matrix is within arm’s reach of done.

            The Matrix team have been fantastic partners throughout this process, open to feedback and responsive to concerns throughout.
            It’s been a great working relationship, and as investments of effort go one that’s already paying off exactly the way want our efforts to pay off, with functional, polish and accessibility improvements that benefit the entire Matrix ecosystem coming from the feedback from the Mozilla community.

      • CMS

        • Pop-Up Livestream on February 22

          This should be a great way to get to hear from some speakers who have yet to share their knowledge on a global stage. WordPress is enriched by a multitude of experiences and perspectives, and I hope you are as excited as I am to hear new voices from a part of the world that is frequently underrepresented in the WordPress open source project.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Trump hesitates on plan for open access mandate

            The Trump administration is backing away from a widely reported plan to bypass publisher paywalls on scientific research resulting from federal investment, making plans instead to study the matter further.

            The chief White House science adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, said that after two years and nearly 100 meetings with publishers, universities, researchers and others, administration officials wanted more consultation.

      • Programming/Development

        • PHP version 7.2.28, 7.3.15 and 7.4.3

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.3 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora ≥ 30 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.3.15 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.2.28 are available in remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Scheme

          Scheme is a general-purpose, functional, programming language descended from Lisp and Algol. It is a statically scoped and properly tail-recursive dialect of Lisp.

          Scheme is a very simple language with a very simple syntax based on s-expressions. Its simplicity is fundamental in making it a popular introductory language. It follows a minimalist design philosophy specifying a small standard core with powerful tools for language extension. This philosophy helps make Scheme a programming language that can be learned over a weekend. Nevertheless, Scheme is a very versatile language being used to write a diverse range of applications such as financial analysis tools, compilers, virtual reality systems, as well as more mundane software.

          Scheme is used in computing education and research as well as a wide range of industrial applications.

        • Don’t like IDEs? Try grepgitvi

          Like most developers, I search and read source code all day long. Personally, I’ve never gotten used to integrated development environments (IDEs), and for years, I mainly used grep and copy/pasted file names to open Vi(m).

          Eventually, I came up with this script, slowly refining it as needed.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 48: Survivor and Palindrome Dates

            These are some answers to the Week 48 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

          • Deprecating or Transferring Mojo::ACME

            While Mojo::ACME was a fun experiment, it has several shortcomings at this point and I’ve officially stopped using it. If someone is interested in maintaining it, and if I’m sufficiently convinced of your credibility since this is a security module after all, I can hand it over. Otherwise I will be marking it as deprecated soon.

            Some background

            Mojo::ACME was mostly an experiment for me in learning the ACME (v1) protocol. It was a port of the acme-tiny script to mojo with one significant difference. When used as a plugin in your application it actually could listen for a local connection over websocket from the certificate issuance command to prepare for the authentication challenges. This allowed for zero-downtime intervention-free certificate issuance for your application. It was pretty neat and I’m still proud that it worked. Meanwhile the letsencrypt client, later to be renamed certbot, was in a very painful infancy.

          • KBOS types

            After introducing KBOS I should write about the most fundamental concept in this Perl syntax extension. In fact it’s so basic, you could use it even without objects.

            Of course this is not a full fledged type system. Use Raku to get that. Variables with KBOS will stay your perly whatever data container. But like in Moose or Zydeco, you want to verify data – if its consistent with your expectation. And you don’t want to write the checking code lines over and over, plus they pollute method logic anyway.

            One of the advantages to have objects in the first place is to be sure, that the attributes obey requirements and you do not have to check them at every function all.

        • Python

          • Introducing our Jinja2 cheat sheet

            Jinja2 is a templating language for Python. While it got its start on the web for use with the Flask framework, it is popular in many other places. Both Flask and Pelican use it to template HTML pages, allowing seperation between style and content. Configuration management frameworks, like Ansible and SaltStack, use it to parametrize their configurations (Ansible playbooks or Salt state files, respectively). This allows the configuration files to take into consideration local machine parameters, for example. The Cookiecutter framework uses it to define its input templates, so that files that need the name of the project or the name of the maintainer can be parametrized.

            Jinja2 is used in many Python projects because it is both web-framework-agnostic and language-agnostic. This means that, for many Python projects in need of a template language, Jinja2′s easy API and accessible template-designer documentation is an easy choice. Additionally, its popularity is its own advantage: for a project that needs a tempate language, using Jinja2 means being able to point to the wealth of documentation on writing templates. This makes Jinja2 a great choice for home-grown, internal project.

          • Forks and Threats

            What is a threat? From a game-theoretical perspective, a threat is an attempt to get a better result by saying: “if you do not give me this result, I will do something that is bad for both of us”. Note that it has to be bad for both sides: if it is good for the threatening side, they would do it anyway. While if it is good for the threatened side, it is not a threat.

            Threats rely on credibility and reputation: the threatening side has to be believed for the threat to be useful. One way to gain that reputation is to follow up on threats, and have that be a matter of public record. This means that the threatening side needs to take into account that they might have to act on the threat, thereby doing something against their own interests. This leads to the concept of a “credible” or “proportionate” threat.

            For most of our analysis, we will use the example of a teacher union striking. Similar analysis can be applied to nuclear war, or other cases. People mostly have positive feelings for teachers, and when teacher unions negotiate, they want to take advantage of those feelings. However, the one thing that leads people to be annoyed with teachers is a strike: this causes large amounts of unplanned scheduling crisis in people’s lives.

            In our example, a teacher union striking over, say, a minor salary raise disagreement is not credible: the potential harm is small, while the strike will significantly harm the teachers’ image.

          • Python 101 2nd Edition Fully Funded + Stretch Goals

            The second edition of my book, Python 101, has been successfully funded on Kickstarter. As is tradition, I have added a couple of stretch goals for adding more content to this already hefty book.

          • List Comprehensions in Python

            List comprehensions are often used in Python to write single line statements that create a new list or dictionary by looping over an iterable object. This article will explain how to use list comprehensions in Python, starting with a basic explanation of how for loops work in Python.

            For Loop in Python

            A for loop statement in Python sequentially iterates over members of any object, list, string etc. Compared with other programming languages, its syntax is much cleaner and doesn’t require manually defining iteration steps and starting iteration. Though there are ways to make its behavior the same as other programming languages (won’t be covered in this article). You can also exercise some control over for loops by using statements like continue, break, pass etc.

          • Getting Started Testing with pytest

            This talk has been through a few iterations. In 2011, I gave a presentation at Boston Python about Getting Started Testing, based on the standard library unittest module. In 2014, I updated it and presented it at PyCon. Now I’ve updated it again, and will be presenting it at Boston Python.

            The latest edition, Getting Started Testing: pytest edition, uses pytest throughout. It’s a little long for one evening of talking, but I really wanted to cover the material in it. I wanted to touch on not just the mechanics of testing, but the philosophy and central challenges as well.

          • Learn To Code By Playing These Games

            Apart from an ambition to become a programmer and have an interesting well-paid job, there are plenty of reasons to learn coding even for those who see themselves in other professions.

            Programming can be helpful in many areas. It develops a structured and creative approach to problem-solving. If you know how to code, you also know how to break a problem down to smaller tasks with specific actions and measurable results.

            Your way of thinking becomes more logical and organized. Coding broadens your mind, so you start to see problems in the light of solutions. And of course, it teaches to be patient. Logic, problem-solving, persistence: sounds like a great set of skills for almost any professional.

          • The Best Android Apps for Learning How to Code

            As a senior software developer, I’m often asked for advice on learning programming. Since I believe that the tech market always benefits from having more high-quality developers, I’m happy to share tips and hacks that helped me become a better software engineer.

            However, as soon as I say: “Read this and that book, check out this reference guide. Taking these courses is a must, and don’t forget to be scanning through community forums all the time,” I see people’s enthusiasm fade away until they hit me with “I don’t have time to do all that.” Then they leave.

            Here’s the thing I’d love to state for the record — learning programming is not about making time. It’s about consistency. Since the market constantly changes and evolves, a developer who devotes 30 minutes a day to education is more flexible and has a better chance of adapting to new trends than a CS graduate who hasn’t learn a new program since getting out of college.

          • Let’s Build A Simple Interpreter. Part 18: Executing Procedure Calls
          • PyCharm 2020.1 EAP 4

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

            We’ve been hard at work making PyCharm easier to use and adding and improving features to get PyCharm 2020.1 ready for release. We have some good ones for you to try in this build. This EAP also includes loads of fixes from the IntelliJ Platform teams.

          • No Python 2 On Upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Version!

            Python 2 will no longer be available on upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version”, said by Matthias Klose. The team canonical had a very long discussion and came to a decision to remove Python 2 from Focal Fossa. The exact words are,
            Sorry for delaying that email. Based on some discussions, we are going forward with the Python2 removal.

          • Lua and Python

            From a high-level perspective, Lua and Python are similar languages; both are “scripting” languages that are compiled into bytecode instructions that run on a virtual machine. But the focus of Lua has generally been toward embedding the language into some larger application or system, rather than as an alternative for, say, Python, Perl, or Ruby as a general-purpose language. That is not to say that Lua is not capable of handling any of the tasks those other languages do, but that it has not really been the target, seemingly. Some recent discussions in the Lua community have explored possible changes in that regard, particularly around the idea of providing a larger, richer standard library.

            In mid-December, Gavin Holt posted a message to the lua-l mailing list noting his overall happiness with the language, but observing that support for the “batteries” was lagging. The “batteries” term presumably comes from Python, which has long had a “batteries included” philosophy—it ships with a large standard library that is meant to cover many of the tasks a user might encounter, without needing to install additional packages. As Lua has progressed through 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 (with 5.4 on the horizon), however, some of the packages have not been updated, so Holt cannot use them with recent releases of the language. Many of the Lua libraries are written in C, which need to be compiled and distributed as binaries for some users.

        • JavaScript

          • Android home screen widgets in HTML and JS

            I like having the news headlines on my phone’s home screen. (Well, on the screen to the right.) It helps me keep up with what’s going on in the world. But it’s hard to find a simple headline home screen widget which isn’t full of ads or extra frippery or images or tracking; I just want headlines, plain text, not unpleasantly formatted, and high-density. I don’t want to see three headlines; I’d rather see ten. I tried a whole bunch of news headline home screen widgets and they’re all terrible; not information-dense enough, or they are but they’re ugly, or they insist on putting pictures in, or they display a ton of other information I don’t want.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Always Use UTF-8 & Always Label Your HTML Saying So

        To avoid having to deal with escapes (other than for <, >, &, and “), to avoid data loss in form submission, to avoid XSS when serving user-provided content, and to comply with the HTML Standard, always encode your HTML as UTF-8.

      • Why Supporting Unlabeled UTF-8 in HTML on the Web Would Be Problematic

        UTF-8 has won. Yet, Web authors have to opt in to having browsers treat HTML as UTF-8 instead of the browsers Just Doing the Right Thing by default. Why?

        I’m writing this down in comprehensive form, because otherwise I will keep rewriting unsatisfactory partial explanations repeatedly as bug comments again and again. For more on how to label, see another writeup.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Larry Tesler, the Inventor of Copy-Paste, Was More Influential Than You Realize

        Larry Tesler perhaps wasn’t the most high-profile figure in tech history, but his impact is most certainly felt in ways big and small to this day.

        By far, his best known contribution is the cut/copy-paste functionality that he is widely credited with inventing.

        Tesler, who died this week at the age of 74, is widely credited with the invention of the basic idea thanks to his role at the famed Xerox PARC, the experimental research center that helped formulate many of the general ideas behind the personal computer. While there, Tesler came up with Gypsy, one of the first WYSIWYG document editors that was reliant on a keyboard-mouse combo, for an Xerox subsidiary, Ginn & Company. While an earlier Xerox PARC tool named Bravo predated Gypsy, Gypsy was “modeless,” meaning that the user interface was always in an editable state, rather than an editor with modes, which requires commands to be typed first before text can be modified. (The modern-day Unix editor Vim is an example of a mode-based editor, which is relatively uncommon in the modern day.)

      • Larry Tesler cut and pasted from this mortal coil: That thing you just did? He probably invented it

        Larry Tesler – self-described “primary inventor of modeless editing and cut, copy, paste” – has died at the age of 74.

        Tesler had a hand in many of the computing concepts taken for granted today. On his website he wrote: “I have been mistakenly identified as ‘the father of the graphical user interface for the Macintosh’. I was not. However, a paternity test might expose me as one of its many grandparents.”

        After a stint at Stanford culminating in AI research in 1973, Tesler became a member of the research staff at Xerox’s famed Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Google Cloud Rolls Out “N2D” VMs Built Atop AMD EPYC 7002 “Rome” CPUs

        We are seeing more cloud providers now offering AMD EPYC 7002 “Rome” series processors with the latest being Google now offering the new N2D VM family in beta for their public cloud.

      • AMD Announces EPYC 7532 + EPYC 7662 As Newest Rome Processors
      • Linux Will Finally Stop Flickering With AMD Stoney Ridge On 4K Displays

        For those still running the AMD “Stoney Ridge” mobile APUs from 2016 that were launched aside Bristol Ridge with Excavator-based CPU cores and GCN 1.2 graphics, the Linux kernel has a fix finally for flickering issues when driving a 4K display off the APU.

      • Microsoft crack habit reports: User claims Surface Laptop 3 screen fractured again after repair

        Screens on Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 have appeared to develop a crack habit, with one of the latest complaints claiming this happened even after repair.

        Reports on Twitter noted whinges sprouting on Reddit and Microsoft’s own support forums last week about the new hardware appearing to suffer from spontaneously cracked screens.

        Users have described hairline cracks on the touchscreens of the Surface Laptop 3, and have insisted that the things weren’t dropped, bashed or otherwise interfered with, other than the usual stroking of the glass.

        A Microsoft agent in the company’s forums told a customer, who had spanked the best part of a years’ savings on a 13.5-inch matte black model only to find the fracture shortly after setting the thing up, that: “Physical damage do[es] not happen if there is no external force.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Reforming Expectations to Save Western Rivers

        Recently, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt proposed an alternative to the highly controversial yet difficult-to-kill Gila River diversion project, which would dam and divert water from the last free-flowing river in New Mexico (“Damming the Gila a vampire proposal,” My View, Feb. 2).

        While the Gila proposal already is on life support because of missed deadlines and waning public and political support, water managers refuse to abandon it because a legal “right” to that water remains.

        While Babbitt’s proposal waves the white flag on the Gila diversion project, he suggests as a path forward stealing the 4.6 billion gallons (14,000 acre-feet) of water from another source in the Colorado River Basin — the San Juan River near Chama.

        The San Juan River, like the Gila, is a spectacular Western river. It is home to a full suite of recreational opportunities, supports communities and Native cultures in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, and it provides refuge to more than a half-dozen native fish, including the endangered Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker. The San Juan River, like almost every remaining Western river, cannot afford to sacrifice one more drop.

      • Trump Admin’s Clean Water Rollback Will Hit Some States Hard
      • Democrats Call on White House to Ensure Any Coronavirus Vaccine Is Not Profit-Making Venture for Big Pharma

        “We cannot allow Big Pharma to price gouge the fruits of Americans investments.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Discord Is Not An Acceptable Choice For Free Software Projects

          Discord’s communication is not end to end (e2e) encrypted. It is encrypted only between the individual user and the servers operated by Discord Inc. Their spying extends to every single message sent and received by anyone, including direct messages betweeen users. The service can and does log every message sent, both in-channel and DMs. It is impossible to have a private conversation on Discord, as there will always be an unencrypted log of it stored by Discord. Discord can, at their option, provide those stored messages to any third party they wish, including cops or government snoops, for any reason, even without a legal order, without any obligation to tell you that they have done so.

        • [Attackers] Were Inside Citrix for Five Months

          Networking software giant Citrix Systems says malicious [attackers] were inside its networks for five months between 2018 and 2019, making off with personal and financial data on company employees, contractors, interns, job candidates and their dependents. The disclosure comes almost a year after Citrix acknowledged that digital intruders had broken in by probing its employee accounts for weak passwords.

        • [Vulnerable] firmware lurks inside Dell, HP and Lenovo computers amid supply chain security efforts

          “Firmware is meant to be invisible to the user, and so it’s not surprising that most people don’t pay attention to it,” said Eclypsium CEO Yuriy Bulgin. “However, these components make up the foundation upon which every device, operating system, and application depends.”

          Researchers used unsigned firmware to show how an attacker could compromise an operating system remotely in order to steal network data. The highlighted flaws could also enable “direct-memory access” attacks which exploit a computer’s core operating system.

        • Aera Launches Cognitive ‘Business Brain’ Operating System [Ed: This is NOT an 'operating system". Terms misused these days.]

          Infor labels one of its core brands Infor OS and quite unashamedly uses the term operating system to explain the function of its industry-specific Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) cloud software. Mountain View headquartered Aera Technology has used a similar naming convention within its branding and called its automation-centric cloud platform the Aera Cognitive Operating System.

        • Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux Now In Public Preview

          Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux is now available in a public preview that allows administrators and security professionals to test the product in six different Linux distributions.

        • Keen to check for ‘abnormal’ user behaviours? Microsoft talks insider risk, AWS imports and compliance at infosec shindig RSA [Ed: “Microsoft talks insider risk”; but Microsoft is the risk]

          As well as widening the preview of Microsoft Threat Protection, a system aimed at a more automated response to threats, the gang has also extended the cross-platform support for Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to include a whole bunch of Linux distributions.

        • Microsoft plans to add Linux support for Chromium-based Edge

          Microsoft fought long and hard to maintain and push its own proprietary browser, even launching Edge, hoping to get away from the stigma against Internet Explorer. However, the dominating market share of Chromium-based browsers finally got to Microsoft, and the company announced it would rebuild Edge with the Chromium source code. Last month, we reported that Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge was out of development and ready for public deployment.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Amazon and commercial open source in the cloud: It’s complicated

              Like many platform operators, Amazon has a love-hate relationship with those hosted on its platform. This is particularly true for open-source software creators, who see their products on offer on Amazon’s cloud on terms they are not happy with.

              It’s a complicated relationship, which touches upon many aspects of technology, law, and social norms. The issue started becoming more pronounced and entering our turf on Big on Data, as Amazon Web Services (AWS) started offering top open-source data management products on its platform.

              Vendors developing those open source products started accusing AWS of strip mining, i.e., reaping the benefits of the products, without contributing back to their development. Google stepped in to show there is another way of doing business with open source in the cloud. The New York Times stepped in and made this talk of the town.

            • Linux Foundation

              • Alluxio Joins Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation to Help Scale and Accelerate Presto Query Engine

                Alluxio, the developer of open source cloud data orchestration software, today announced it has joined Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation. Along with members such as Facebook, Uber, Twitter and Alibaba, together we help scale and accelerate the popular distributed SQL query engine Presto. In addition, Alluxio will be sponsoring and exhibiting at the very first PrestoCon. Presto with Alluxio brings together two open source technologies to provide a unique solution for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments for the modern analytic stack.

              • LF Networking Expands Ecosystem — Adds Members, Leads Initiatives to Automate 5G deployments and accelerate Automation

                LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today announced the addition of nine new members.The project welcomes new Silver members A10 Networks, AMD, Codilime, Mirantis, Robin.io, Solutions by STC, ULAK, and Xilinx, and Associate members University of California San Diego, and University of Surrey.

                “It’s great to kick off 2020 by welcoming a new swath of global members to the LFN community,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “We’re expanding our member ecosystem in tandem with growth across initiatives that harmonize open source an open standards, enable automated testing and deployment, and further Cloud Native Network Functions as open source becomes more mainstream.”

                The newest LFN members will work alongside the 100+ existing member organizations to drive development, testing and implementation of LFN’s networking projects, including FD.io, ONAP, OpenDaylight, OpenSwitch, OPNFV, PNDA, SNAS, and Tungsten Fabric.

              • Xen Project is Participating in May 2020 to August 2020 Outreachy Internships Round [Ed: Microsoft continues to 'buy the agenda' of the 'Linux' Foundation]

                The Xen Project is excited to be participating in the Outreachy internship program which supports diversity in free and open source software. The Xen Project’s participation in this round is being sponsored by Microsoft (1 internship). Interns have to make an initial application which primarily verifies eligibility to the Outreachy program by February 25 at 4pm UTC: for more information see here. Applicants with an approved initial application can start to enquire about projects from March 5th and can then formally apply.

                During the application period, applicants are expected to contribute to the Xen Project while in parallel working on the detailed application. The final application deadline is April 7, 2020 at 4pm UTC. Applicants interested in becoming a Xen Project Intern can see our projects here and here (link not live until March 5th).

              • New Linux Foundation | Harvard Study Reveals Hard Truths, Actionable Steps for Open Source Security [Ed: Linux Foundation now works with Microsoft proxies/allies Snyk and Black Duck to smear FOSS]

                Open source has made its way into almost every server farm, consumer device and service we use, and it’s done so without most people even realizing it. Almost no one knows what is in their phones, apps or business data centers. This is wreaking havoc on the global supply chain, so much so that the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the Linux Foundation inquiring about it. The Linux Foundation did its best to summarize a very complex situation in its response.

                So with the help of Harvard researchers and companies like Snyk and Synopsys, we set out to produce our second Census of open source software but this time, with a focus on what open source software projects show up in production applications. At the heart of this is a desire to understand how we take a preventative care approach to security, rather than a reactionary one.

              • [Repeat] The Linux Foundation reveals the most commonly used open-source software components

                In order to determine the top packages and projects, the foundation worked with software composition analysis and app security companies like Snyk and Synopsys.

              • Linux Foundation study throws the open source sustainability debate into question

                Open source developers, it turns out, tend to be well paid. That’s one possible conclusion to be drawn from a recent Linux Foundation report (PDF), which found that over 75% of the top maintainers for the 200 most active open source projects are paid to work on open source full or part-time. This isn’t a new development (I wrote about it back in 2008), but it bears repeating since we are apparently in the midst of an open source sustainability crisis (again).

                As Luis Villa has suggested, “getting paid” isn’t the same thing as “comfortable work,” which can lead to burnout. But it does suggest we may need to approach the conversation with more data and less hand waving.

              • Census For Open Source Software Security Released

                “The Census II report addresses some of the most important questions facing us as we try to understand the complexity and interdependence among open source software packages and components in the global supply chain,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation.

                “The report begins to give us an inventory of the most important shared software and potential vulnerabilities and is the first step to understand more about these projects so that we can create tools and standards that results in trust and transparency in software,” Zemlin added.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (netty and netty-3.9), Fedora (ceph, dovecot, poppler, and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (inn and rmt-server), Oracle (openjpeg2), Red Hat (rabbitmq-server), Scientific Linux (openjpeg2), SUSE (dnsmasq, rsyslog, and slurm), and Ubuntu (php7.0).

          • 30 The Most Common Hacking Techniques and How to Deal with Them [Ed: Cracking, not hacking. Not the same thing.]
          • A guide to developing a holistic IT security strategy

            In assessing how prevalent cyberattacks are for companies, 18 percent of respondents rated the security risk as very high. Half (50 percent) even stated that their company had suffered financial losses due to security incidents. Opinions differed as to whether the incidents were handled optimally: Almost half (49 percent) say that everything worked well, while the other half (49 percent) believe there is a lot of potential for improvement.

          • The mess behind Microsoft’s yanked UEFI patch KB 4524244 [Ed: Microsoft shoots itself in the foot and even Microsoft boosters like Woody Leonhard are not happy. UEFI ‘in action’…]

            Patch Tuesday’s truly odd Win10 patch KB 4524244 wreaked havoc before it was finally pulled last Friday night. Since then, accusations have flown about Kaspersky, in particular, and Microsoft’s complicity in signing a rootkit. There’s plenty of blame to go around — and much more to the story.

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

            • Linux and malware: Should you worry? [Ed: All those headlines with question marks mean that the answer is "No."]

              Gone are the days when the idea of viruses or other malware hitting Linux was almost universally greeted with quizzical glances, if not outright rejection. Long thought of as the perfect marriage of open-source goodness and strong, Unix-like security, Linux-based operating systems are now increasingly seen as another valuable – and viable – target.

              This shift in thinking is partly the result of a growing realization among both Linux hobbyists and system administrators that a compromised Linux system such as a web server provides attackers an excellent ‘return on investment’. Just as importantly, malware research in recent years has brought better visibility into threats facing Linux systems.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Top EU Judge Says Mass Snooping Is Illegal

              At the end of January, the Advocate General (AG) of Europe’s highest court said that indiscriminate data retention is disproportionate and may breach fundamental rights.

              AG Campos Sánchez-Bordona of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), was examining four cases regarding data retention regimes in France, Belgium and the UK. Specifically, under what conditions the security and intelligence agencies can access mass communications data retained by telecommunications providers.

              Many governments across the continent are keen to reintroduce data retention, despite the EU Data Retention Directive being struck down by the court in 2014 for contravening privacy rights in the EU Charter. A further ruling in 2016 – in the Tele2/Watson case – found that “general and indiscriminate retention” of data was outright illegal.

            • Eyal Weizman barred from U.S. ahead of Forensic Architecture retrospective

              London-based research collective Forensic Architecture, known for its use of architectural, spatial, and technological analysis to uncover state and corporate violence, opens its first major U.S. exhibition today at Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design (MOAD). However, as the collective’s founder, Eyal Weizman was preparing to fly to Miami from his home of London for the opening, he received an email from the U.S. Embassy informing him that his visa had been revoked and he would not be allowed to travel to the United States.

              When Weizman went to apply for another visa, an interviewer at the Embassy told him that an “algorithm” had identified him as a security threat due to people he had interacted with, places he had traveled recently, or an unidentified combination of the two. When given the opportunity to “speed up the process” by giving names he felt might have been the cause for setting off alarms, Weizman refused.

            • Confidentiality

              • Stop Using Encrypted Email

                The least interesting problems with encrypted email have to do with PGP. PGP is a deeply broken system. It was designed in the 1990s, and in the 20 years since it became popular, cryptography has advanced in ways that PGP has not kept up with. So, for example, it recently turned out to be possible for eavesdroppers to decrypt messages without a key, simply by tampering with encrypted messages. Most technologists who work with PGP don’t understand it at a low enough level to see what’s wrong with it. But that’s a whole other argument. Even after we replace PGP, encrypted email will remain unsafe.

                Here’s why.

              • U.S. agency that handles Trump’s secure communication suffered data breach

                The agency provides direct telecommunications and IT support for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, their staff, and the U.S. Secret Service, according to its website.

                It also provides direct support to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior members of the armed forces, and its field offices support U.S. military commanders abroad.

                The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The letter gave few further details. For example, it did not say what part of DISA’s network had been breached, nor identify which individuals may have had their data compromised.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Australia: Don’t Cozy Up to Myanmar’s Army
      • Far-Right German Gunman Calling for Genocide Kills 9 People

        A 43-year-old German man who posted a manifesto calling for the “complete extermination” of many “races or cultures in our midst” shot and killed nine people of foreign background, most of them Turkish, in an attack on a hookah bar and other sites in a Frankfurt suburb, authorities said Thursday.

      • How the Military is Raiding Public Lands and Civilian Spaces Across the Western Front

        Military public land grabs and intrusions into civilian spaces are raging in the West. Wild landscapes are targeted for huge seizures of public land, increases in hideously loud war plane overflight impacts, or development of facilities like threat emitters. The military already has seized vast areas of the American West for use as ground and air ranges. The Nellis Range in Nevada spans 2.9 million acres, but the Air Force now wants to seize 300,000 more acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The Navy finalized a gigantic Fallon Range expansion EIS to lock up over 600,000 more acres of public lands east of Reno. Mountain Home Air Force base’s Owyhee Range airspace covers portions of three states (Idaho, Oregon, Nevada). Now the Air Force is proposing even more intrusive overflights. Washington’s wild coastal lands and waters, and people’s homes on Whidbey Island, are suffering nearly 100,000 Navy Growler flights a year. Navy intrusions on Olympic National Park and other sensitive sites include an area of the Hoh rainforest that had been described as the quietest place in the contiguous US. Meanwhile, civilian spaces in our cities and neighborhoods are increasingly subjected to creeping militarism and war games.

      • Where Have You Gone, Smedley Butler?

        Why no retired generals oppose America’s forever wars.

      • Why Have No Retired Generals Opposed US’s Forever Wars?

        There once lived an odd little man — five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet — who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country’s most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents.

      • Britain’s Secret Saudi Military Support Programme

        The UK’s Ministry of Defence has mistakenly admitted for the first time the cost of a secret multibillion-pound programme it manages for the Saudi Arabian royal family’s de facto protection force, which is also active in the devastating war in Yemen.

        It can also be revealed that this programme, which is embedded in the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) but paid for by the Saudi regime, employs ten times more people than the British government publicly admits, raising questions about ministers misleading the parliament in Westminster.

      • What Happens After You’re Cancelled

        And then my colleagues in American journalism did me dirty. They ran with the crowd, releasing fast articles without any more context than Twitter and Facebook, without talking to me or trying to understand what was happening. Not all, but most. Enough that I knew I wouldn’t get work again, that anyone who googled me would not speak to me again. And yes, they’ll complain I didn’t get back to them. But I was nine hours ahead of the west coast and overwhelmed. I had just been fired, I was preparing for spinal surgery, and I needed to sleep. Or at least, I needed to try to sleep.

    • Environment

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘No Tolerance’: Union Urges DCCC to Cut Off Support to Dems Who Voted Against Pro-Labor Bill

        “They must be denied the support of the Democratic Party for refusing to stand with working Americans.”

      • Shut Down Canada Until It Solves Its War, Oil, and Genocide Problem

        Indigenous people in Canada are giving the world a demonstration of the power of nonviolent action. The justness of their cause — defending the land from those who would destroy it for short term profit and the elimination of a habitable climate on earth — combined with their courage and the absence on their part of cruelty or hatred, has the potential to create a much larger movement, which is of course the key to success.

      • Canada Trapped By Its Own Folly

        Canada walked into a political and diplomatic trap of its own making when it took it upon itself to create a self-appointed busybody lobby called The Group of Lima.

      • AG Bill Barr Pretends The Nation Was Better Off Being Bullied By Cops, Lies About The Success Of ‘Tough On Crime’ Policies

        Bill Barr continues to burn the bridge between him and the public he’s supposed to represent. And why shouldn’t he? It’s not like the administration will rein him in, not when he’s willing to act as flak-catcher for the president we’ve all been forced to serve.

      • Poor Bill Barr

        Attorney General William Barr’s interview the other day in which he said Trump’s constant tweeting had made his job “impossible” has gotten mixed responses in the media. Some think the comment exposed a genuine rift between Barr and Trump, while others saw it as farce. I’m in the latter camp: I think the whole episode has been choreographed with specific aims in mind.

      • The Feud Between Trump and Barr Is a Grand Illusion

        The sad truth is that the two men are as simpatico as ever in pursuit of their jointly held goal of executive supremacy.

      • GOP’s Susan Collins Faces Tough Reelection Fight Following Vote to Acquit Trump

        Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, appears to be facing the toughest election of her career, with her support plummeting in a new poll.

      • Warren and Sanders Eviscerate Bloomberg on Debate Stage

        Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday’s Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

      • Elizabeth Warren Made a Meal of Mike Bloomberg in Las Vegas

        The world will properly say in the aftermath of last night’s Democratic debate/melee in Las Vegas that former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg had his own head handed to him in a small paper sack marked “Property of Warren for President.”

      • Warren Says Democrats Must Oppose Billionaire Who Calls Women ‘Fat Broads’ and ‘Horse-Faced Lesbians’ (She Wasn’t Talking About Trump)

        “We’re not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who silences women with who knows how many non-disclosure agreements.”

      • UltraViolet Calls On DNC to Keep Bloomberg Off Debate Stage Unless the Billionaire Releases Former Employees From NDAs

        “We already have a sexual predator in the White House in Donald Trump. Silencing employees and encouraging a toxic work environment cannot be the new normal.”

      • Bloomberg Serves Oligarchy and Patriarchy Before Any Party

        In its zeal to unseat President Donald Trump without sacrificing one iota of its waning power and influence, the Democratic National Committee is now for a “moderate” savior for the party’s nomination. It appears to matter little to DNC operatives whether this late entry is a Democrat, a Republican, or simply a political opportunist whose loyalties or agendas, whatever they are, must be accepted

      • Bloomberg is the Equal Evil

        An oligarch is trying to buy the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination with cash payments from his own personal fortune. If his takeover attempt succeeds, it will smash the party and assure the reelection of Donald Trump. Given their shared interests, we might wonder whether that is Michael Bloomberg’s true intent. His cynical campaign is based on deceiving people into believing the opposite, that he would be a strong candidate against Trump. Many also believe, falsely, that Bloomberg presents a lesser evil than Trump. The following is presented in refutation of these false premises.

      • Why is Black America Supporting Bloomberg?
      • Some Oracle Employees Stop Work in Protest of Larry Ellison’s Politics

        Now, a symbol of tech’s old guard is facing the stirrings of a worker uprising as well. People left their desks Thursday at Oracle offices around the world to protest Chairman Larry Ellison’s fundraiser a day earlier for President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. The protest, called No Ethics/No Work, involved about 300 employees walking out of their offices or stopping work at remote locations at noon local time and devoting the rest of the day to volunteering or civic engagement, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.

        Ellison drew employee ire that most didn’t know existed at Oracle. News of the fundraiser for Trump’s re-election campaign at Ellison’s home in Rancho Mirage, California, spurred a petition at Change.org from some of the company’s 136,000 employees. The workers argued the chairman’s public support for Trump violated Oracle’s diversity, inclusion and ethics policies, and harmed the image of the world’s second-largest software maker.

      • Reports: Trump Canned Acting Intel Chief Over Warnings About Russia

        U.S. President Donald Trump made the decision to cast out his top intelligence official following a classified briefing to lawmakers about election security, according to reports.

        The Washington Post and The New York Times said Thursday the president was irate after learning of last week’s briefing to members of the House Intelligence Committee, concerned that officials had shared information that could be used against him.

      • Democrats Must Reject Not Just a Billionaire but the Billionaire Class

        The party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt—who in 1936 warned, “We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob”—cannot rent itself out to the billionaire class. That’s not just politically unwise. As Sander explained, in Wednesday night’s most unapologetically class-based appeal, “Mike Bloomberg owns more wealth than the bottom 125 million Americans. That’s wrong. That’s immoral. That should not be the case when we got a half a million people sleeping out on the streets, where we have kids who cannot afford to go to college, when we have 45 million people dealing with student debt. We have enormous problems facing this country and we cannot continue seeing a situation where in the last three years, billionaires in this country saw an $850 billion increase in their wealth. Congratulations, Mr. Bloomberg. But the average American last year saw less than a 1 percent increase in his or her income. That’s wrong.”

      • U.S. intelligence told lawmakers of Russian bid to boost Trump re-election: source

        The briefers warned the committee in the classified briefing that Russia was working to cast doubt on the integrity of the Nov. 3 vote while at the same time boosting Trump’s election to a second four-year term.

        “They (the Russians) are favoring one candidate while they do it,” said the person, adding that the briefers identified that candidate as Trump. The source declined to elaborate.

      • Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump

        Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

        The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing.

      • MSNBC’s Anti-Sanders Bias Was on Display in Nevada, But It Hasn’t Hurt Him

        After months of speculation, billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg finally appeared at a Democratic primary debate last night. In an ominous sign, the first answer he gave to a question was a dishonest attack aimed at scaring voters away from a universal health care system.

      • ‘We Are Proud to Stand By His Side’: High-Profile Muslim Rights Group Emgage Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

        “Senator Sanders has built a historically inclusive and forward-thinking movement: one that represents America as a set of ideas grounded in the belief that all humans are equal and worthy of a dignified life.”

      • Divisions on Health Care Continue to Define 2020 Democratic Race

        Healthcare continues to be a central issue of the Democratic nomination fight, with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren repeating their calls for Medicare for All on the debate stage Wednesday night while their rivals proposed more incremental approaches.

      • The Most Unnerving Moment From the Nevada Democratic Debate

        Sen. Bernie Sanders was the lone voice on Wednesday night’s debate stage in Las Vegas endorsing without reservation the idea that the candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination with the most votes by this summer’s convention in Milwaukee should be the party’s standard bearer.

      • Sanders Says the People — Not the Party Elites — Should Decide the Nomination

        As the primary season heads into the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, we unpack the ninth Democratic presidential debate in a roundtable on the tensions at work on the Las Vegas debate stage. Sen. Bernie Sanders, currently the front-runner in the race, said the candidate with the most delegates should become the nominee; all his rivals on stage suggested they would be open to a brokered convention, with superdelegates and other party insiders potentially deciding the nomination.

      • Mr. Sanders: Would You like Your Coffee Without Cream, or Without Milk?

        My friend and mentor John Helmeke always sees a little more than I see. John made me aware of Mike Bloomberg’s strategy of paying online influencers to make memes of him. John said, and I completely agree: “I’m so weary of the ordinary advertising (especially ordinary election campaign advertising) I will welcome an ironic, self-aware animated Bloomberg character even though I support Bernie for U.S. President.” Indeed, this was the specific request Bloomberg made to meme influencers: an ironic and self-aware Bloomberg who was trying too hard to be cool. If it sounds stupid, then stop and think a second. How else would the billionaire Republican Bloomberg convince the working class he was good for them?

      • Sanders Hits Bloomberg With ‘Grotesque’ Statistic: Billionaire Owns More Wealth Than Bottom 125 Million Americans Combined

        “That’s wrong. That’s immoral. That should not be the case when we got half a million people sleeping out on the street.”

      • Sanders Gets Backing of March for Our Lives Co-Founders for ‘Intersectional’ Approach to Ending Gun Violence

        “He gets that all the issues we fight for are connected, and the gun violence isn’t the cause but the symptom of systematic injustice in this country.”

      • The Wall Street Journal Excluded Elizabeth Warren From a Poll…Because They Wanted To?

        The poll, from NBC and the Wall Street Journal, found Warren was effectively tied for second place nationally, with 14% of the vote. But pollsters excluded her from a series of match-ups between Trump and top candidates. The poll include Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and Mike Bloomberg, who all polled within a point of Warren, and Amy Klobuchar, who trailed significantly behind them. Peter Hart, whose firm conducted the poll, told BuzzFeed News that the poll had “space and time” for just five candidate match-ups.

        In other words, they didn’t include SPW because they didn’t want to. In other words, this poll and its subsequent publication make up a staggering act of deliberate journalistic malpractice, and anyone who continues to cite it needs to be demoted to night rewrite for a spell. And it is interesting to note that neither of the two news organizations behind the poll chose to comment on the BuzzFeed story. Sometimes, my business really sucks pondwater. (Lawrence O’Donnell refused to use the poll on his MSNBC show Tuesday night specifically because of SPW’s exclusion. Fair play to him for that.) Of course, SPW has dedicated her entire public career to fighting against the distortions in our lives and our politics by the people for whom the WSJ serves the same function as The Daily Racing Form,

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Group Promoting ‘Religious Freedom’ Around Vaccines Appears To Want To Stifle Free Expression Of Critics

        As should be evident by the fact that our post from last fall about content moderation dealing with ignorant anti-vaxxers has amassed over 1700 comments (and more keep coming in), the anti-vax community seems to really like to flood the zone with bullshit, and keep talking until people debunking their nonsense are just completely worn out (and, yes, all of their nonsense has been debunked countless times). However, it appears that for all their talk of individual “freedom” sometimes they seek to silence others.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Pardoning Julian Assange: Trump, WikiLeaks and the DNC

        The central pillar to Democratic paranoia and vengefulness regarding the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the link between Russian hacking, the servers of the Democratic National Committee and the release of emails via WikiLeaks. Over time, that account has become a matter of hagiography, an article of faith, with grave conclusions: WikiLeaks and Russia elected Donald Trump.

      • Did Trump try to bribe Julian Assange with a pardon? Well, he won’t be impeached over it

        Surprising no one, we learned this week that Donald Trump apparently offered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a pardon in exchange for aiding in Trump’s cover-up of the Russian military’s hacking and theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

      • Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo jailed since January on defamation charges

        On January 17, judicial police officers in Yaoundé, the capital, arrested Zogo at the offices of Radio Amplitude FM, a privately owned broadcaster where he works as editor-in-chief, Zogo’s lawyer, Joseph Kenmoe, told CPJ in a phone interview.

        Authorities charged him with criminal defamation following a complaint filed by Sylvie Biye Essono, the ex-wife of a government official, which alleged that Zogo had spread false information about her in a January 8 broadcast, Kenmoe said. On January 25, Zogo was transferred to Yaoundé’s Kondengui prison, where he remains in detention, Kenmoe told CPJ.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Chelsea Manning Urges Judge To Free Her (Again)—Plus, What To Expect At Upcoming Assange Hearing

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” we depart from our normal routine and focus solely on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s upcoming extradition hearing, as well as a recent motion to free United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which was filed by her legal team. As United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning yet again affirmed she will not testify before a federal grand jury empaneled against WikiLeaks, her legal team outlined how she will not be coerced by confinement or financial sanctions, and what the federal judge is allowing the government to do is profoundly cruel. Assange’s legal team informed the judge presiding over Assange’s extradition case that President Donald Trump allegedly offered a pardon through an intermediary. The media establishment wildly misreported what the legal team said so Gosztola clarifies what was really asserted.

        Later in the episode, Gosztola offers an overview ahead of next week’s extradition hearing. The first couple days will focus on opening arguments and then shift to the issue of whether the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty covers Assange. There will be much deliberation over “political offenses” and so Gosztola looks back at the reasons why Ecuador granted Assange asylum.

      • Assange’s Lawyer Claims WikiLeaks Founder Was Offered U.S. Pardon If He Denied Russia’s Role

        Fitzgerald told the judge that another Assange lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, recalled that Rohrabacher said he was visiting on instructions from Trump and that the United States would be willing to pardon Assange or offer another means to set him free if he would say that Russia was not involved in the DNC leaks.

      • Trump ‘offered to pardon Assange in exchange for Russia denial’

        At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald, referred to a witness statement by former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher who visited Assange in 2017, saying he had been sent by the president to offer a pardon.

        The pardon would come on the condition that Assange say the Russians were not involved in the email leak that damaged Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 against Trump, Rohrabacher’s statement said.

      • NYC police arrest and charge photojournalist

        In New York City, police arrested photojournalist Amr Alfiky on Tuesday as he filmed an arrest underway on the street. Police held Alfiky in custody for about 3.5 hours and confiscated his press credentials. He was released after being charged with disorderly conduct. An NYPD spokesman told New York Daily News that Alfiky did not identify himself as a journalist until after he was in custody. In a video of the arrest, Alfiky can be heard repeatedly and loudly telling police officers that he is a journalist and offering to show his press credentials.

      • USA must drop charges against Julian Assange

        Authorities in the USA must drop the espionage and all other charges against Julian Assange that relate to his publishing activities as part of his work with Wikileaks. The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression.

        Julian Assange is currently being held at Belmarsh, a high security prison in the UK, on the basis of a US extradition request on charges that stem directly from the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. Amnesty International strongly opposes any possibility of Julian Assange being extradited or sent in any other manner to the USA. There, he faces a real risk of serious human rights violations including possible detention conditions that would amount to torture and other ill-treatment (such as prolonged solitary confinement). The fact that he was the target of a negative public campaign by US officials at the highest levels undermines his right to be presumed innocent and puts him at risk of an unfair trial.

      • ARTICLE 19 urges UK courts not to extradite Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange

        Freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19 is calling for the UK not to extradite Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States.

        Acting Executive Director Quinn McKew said:

        “The extradition of Julian Assange would be a blow to investigative journalism around the world, criminalizing the newsgathering process and having a chilling effect on freedom of expression. It would mean that journalists and whistleblowers who expose human rights abuses by the US and other governments, as well as other powerful entities, are at risk of extradition and prosecution, wherever they are located, on vague “national security” grounds.

        “If extradited, Assange would be tried under the US Espionage Act for publishing information that is both accurate and in the public interest, dealing a serious blow to national security journalism in the US and abroad.

        “The UK authorities should not be complicit in this attack on press freedom. We also urge the US Government to drop the charges and urgently improve the protection of whistleblowers in the US.”

        The US is seeking to extradite Assange to face an indictment with 18 counts that include charges for violation of the Espionage Act and a hacking-related charge.

      • Why supporting Julian Assange means defending freedom of information

        John Shipton, Julian Assange’s indefatigable father, armed with a smile, stood tall at the Palais des Académies in Brussels on 29 January 2020, at a ceremony awarding four Academic Honoris Causa by the Belgian network of academics, Carta Academica. The event was organised in honour of whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and journalists Sarah Harrison and Julian Assange, who “each in their own way, have put their freedom and even their lives at risk to defend press freedom, freedom of expression and our right to information”.

        Speaking before an audience of human rights and freedoms defenders, the Wikileaks founder’s father tirelessly insists that his son is in prison for exposing crimes committed by others. “In my country, Australia, but also in Sweden, the United Kingdom or the United States, it is usually reprehensible to conceal the truth, especially when it is about crimes.”

        And it is, precisely, the United States and the United Kingdom that Shipton has been pointing to since Julian Assange published over 250,000 diplomatic cables and 500,000 confidential documents concerning US military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan for the whole world to see, and especially for major international news outlets.

      • Assange’s extradition to the US would “threaten the work of all journalists”

        At a press conference today in Paris with Julian Assange’s international lawyers – Eric Dupond-Moretti, Antoine Vey, Baltasar Garzon, and with Assange’s father John Shipton, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire firmly opposed Assange’s extradition to the United States, where he is facing the possibility of a 175-year prison sentence for passing information of a public interest nature to journalists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • NY AG Gives Up, Won’t Appeal T-Mobile Merger Ruling

        You only need to look at recent telecom court rulings to recognize that both US antitrust enforcement and regulatory oversight are dangerously and comically broken, at least as it pertains to the US telecom market.

    • Monopolies

      • Trump Ads Will Take Over YouTube’s Homepage on Election Day

        In the immediate run up to the U.S. presidential election and on Election Day, the homepage of YouTube is set to advertise just one candidate: Donald Trump.

        The president’s re-election campaign purchased the coveted advertising space atop the country’s most-visited video website for early November, said two people with knowledge of the transaction. The deal ensures Trump will be featured prominently in the key days when voters across the country prepare to head to the polls Nov. 3.

      • With a $10 Billion Fund, Jeff Bezos Can Control the Planet’s Future

        Ten billion dollars may not seem like a sizable sum for people in the market to buy a couple of football teams, but it’s an almost unfathomable amount of money for climate change research and activism. It dwarfs the $4 billion that 29 philanthropic organizations pledged to fighting climate change in 2018, in what was called the largest investment of its kind at the time. It’s so much money that it will likely be difficult to spend on existing researchers and organizations, as The Atlantic noted. Bezos could fund 2,857 Duke University professors indefinitely, or almost three times the number of tenured professors at Yale, for example.

        “It really will shape the whole nature of the climate movement,” says Robert J. Brulle, a professor emeritus at Drexel University studying politics and the environment. “There’s going to be this mad rush of cash.”

      • Patents

        • Why AI is crucial for patent searching and mining

          Thanks to the millions of documents that need to be analysed, AI can supplement human intelligence to analyse patent and market data. Using AI will involve a shift from keyword-based searches and conventional Boolean operators for patent discovery to AI-enhanced semantic searches using neural networks for high retrieval efficiency and accuracy.

        • Turkey: EPO Provides Grounds For Its Decision To Refuse AI-Invented Patent Applications

          On November 25, 2019, the European Patent Office has rejected two patent applications (EP 18 275 163 and EP 18 275 174) that designated an artificial intelligence named “DABUS” as the sole inventor. The applicant stated that DABUS is “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence” and that they acquired the right to the European patent from DABUS by being its successor in title. But, both applications have been refused for failure to comply with the formal EPC provision regarding the designation of inventor and now, EPO has published its reasons to refuse them.

          According to the EPO, when a machine is designated as inventor, the requirements of Article 81 and Rule 19(1) EPC have not been met, because Rule 19(1) EPC requires designation of inventorship to comprise a family name, given names and full address of the inventor and name of DABUS cannot be equated with names of natural persons. EPO stated: “Names given to natural persons, whether composed of a given name and a family name or mononymous, serve not only the function of identifying them but enable them to exercise their rights and form part of their personality. Things have no rights which a name would allow them to exercise.” In addition, in the EPC, inventors have various rights (Article 62, Article 81 EPC) but AI systems or machines have “at present no rights because they have no legal personality comparable to natural or legal persons.” Thus, since AI inventors do not have rights, they cannot “own its output or any alleged invention” and they cannot be considered to be a successor in title.

        • The Next Risk In Buying An IOT Product Is Having It Bricked By A Patent Dispute

          In the world of the Internet of Broken Things, there is nothing more impressive to me than the fact that these things actually sell as well as they do. The risks associated with internet-connected devices seem insurmountable, save for the fact that we are all cattle being marched along to the slaughterhouse, our faces as serene as could be. Between companies simply deciding that supporting these products isn’t worth it any longer and reducing functionality, firing off firmware updates that simply kill off selling-point features, or leaving security holes wide enough to drive a malicious creepster through, it seems that very little thought goes into the fact that customers are, you know, buying these things. Once that purchase is made, how long that purchase is functional and secure appears to be an afterthought.

        • The US Spent Years Telling China To Take Patents Seriously; Now It’s Freaking Out That China Is Doing So

          By now, I’m sure, you’ve heard the story over and over again about how China “doesn’t respect” things like patents, and how the US has had, time and time again, needed to use diplomatic pressure to try to get China to stop trying to copy American inventions, and to start “respecting” patents. Yet, for many years, we’ve been pointing out how brain dead this logic has been. All the way back in 2009, we warned that China was using this bizarre American obsession with patent monopolies against us. And that has continued over the years. Suddenly, China started flooding foreign patent offices with millions of Chinese patents. Indeed, the country started to “respect” patents so much, that it basically turned into a giant patent troll, shaking down foreign companies for money — and more importantly, using those patents to block competition (remember, patents are a monopoly right).

      • Copyrights

02.20.20

Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

Posted in News Roundup at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Learn the main Linux OS components

      Evolved from Unix, Linux provides users with a low-cost, secure way to manage their data center infrastructure. Due to its open source architecture, Linux can be tricky to learn and requires command-line interface knowledge as well as the expectation of inconsistent documentation.

      In short, Linux is an OS. But Linux has some features and licensing options that set it apart from Microsoft and Apple OSes. To understand what Linux can do, it helps to understand the different Linux OS components and associated lingo.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Reintroducing Telegram: privately funded private chat with open source apps

        I started to write an article about the latest update for Telegram, when I realized I might only be speaking to a select few in-the-know users. Far fewer than I think should be interested, anyway. Telegram is a private chat system with end-to-end encryption support and cross-platform functionality. It’s privately funded by a guy named Pavel Durov, whose only goal seems to be “fast and secure messaging that is also 100% free.”

    • Server

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18

        Today we are releasing SRU 18 for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via ‘pkg update’ from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Ships Solaris 11.4 SRU18 – Finally Mitigates The SWAPGS Vulnerability

        Oracle today has released Solaris 11.4 SRU18 as the newest version of the long-running Solaris 11.4 series.

        There still doesn’t appear to be anything active past Solaris 11.4 but Oracle does continue providing routine maintenance updates for Oracle Solaris customers. Solaris 11.4 has been out for a year and a half and is now to its eighteenth stable release update.

      • Linux And High Availability Go Hand In Hand

        If SAP infrastructures or their components malfunction or stop working altogether, SAP-supported processes are also at risk. A comprehensive Linux package includes a High Availability functionality.

        SAP core infrastructure components like servers (including VMs, storage, databases, and operating systems like Linux) or networks have a high level of technological maturity and take care of SAP-related tasks. It sometimes does happen that the IT department has to step in if business-critical applications like S/4 malfunction or stop working altogether because of faulty SAP infrastructure components.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #164

        Zorin Announces Zorin Grid

        https://zoringroup.com/blog/2020/01/16/introducing-zorin-grid-manage-all-of-your-organizations-computers-as-easily-as-one/

        Xfce 4.16 Getting a Major UI Change

        https://simon.shimmerproject.org/2020/01/14/xfce-4-14-maintenance-and-4-15-updates/

        Mozilla Lays Off About 70 Employees

        https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/15/mozilla-lays-off-70-as-it-waits-for-subscription-products-to-generate-revenue/

        Ubuntu Theme Development for 20.04

        https://ubuntu.com/blog/new-ubuntu-theme-in-development-for-20-04

        Fedora CoreOS Out of Preview

        https://fedoramagazine.org/fedora-coreos-out-of-preview/

        PinePhone Braveheart Edition Ships

        https://www.pine64.org/2020/01/15/pinephones-start-shipping-all-you-want-to-know/

        Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 5.5 rc7

        https://lkml.org/lkml/2020/1/19/237

        GNU Guile 3.0.0 Released

        https://www.gnu.org/software/guile/news/gnu-guile-300-released.html

        Linux Lite 4.8 Released

        https://www.linuxliteos.com/forums/release-announcements/linux-lite-4-8-final-released/

        CentOS 8.1 Released

        https://wiki.centos.org/Manuals/ReleaseNotes/CentOS8.1911

        Mir 1.7 Released

        https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/mir-1-7-0-release/14048

      • 2020-02-19 | Linux Headlines

        The Core Infrastructure Initiative has published its second major report, a DRM-free Linux game store shoots for the stars, and the clock is ticking for the GNU maintainers.

      • mintCast 328.5 – Everything Is a File

        Join us in our Innards section where we talk Linux and hardware guts.

      • Linux Console + Boutique Distros | Choose Linux 29

        A confusing experience in Distrohoppers which raises deeper questions about the value and viability of smaller distros.

      • iocage in Jail | BSD Now 338

        Distrowatch reviews FuryBSD, LLDB on i386 for NetBSD, wpa_supplicant as lower-class citizen, KDE on FreeBSD updates, Travel Grant for BSDCan open, ZFS dataset for testing iocage within a jail, and more.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 845

        service now woes, raspberry pi 4, power strips, and more

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.5

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.5 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

      • Linux 5.4.21
      • Linux 4.19.105
      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.0.0
          Hi list,
          
          I'd like to announce mesa 20.0.0 as available for download immediately. I'm very
          pleased that we could get all of the issues blocking the release nailed down
          quickly and make a release on time for once!
          
          This is a .0 release, and you may want to continue to to track 19.3.x until
          20.0.1 comes out in two weeks. 19.3.5 is planned to be the final 19.3 release
          and is planned for next Wednesday.
          
          Dylan
          
          Shortlog
          ========
          
          Alyssa Rosenzweig (3):
                pan/midgard: Fix missing prefixes
                pan/midgard: Don't crash with constants on unknown ops
                pan/midgard: Use fprintf instead of printf for constants
          
          Danylo Piliaiev (1):
                st/nir: Unify inputs_read/outputs_written before serializing NIR
          
          Dylan Baker (6):
                .pick_status.json: Update to 2a98cf3b2ecea43cea148df7f77d2abadfd1c9db
                .pick_status.json: Update to 946eacbafb47c8b94d47e7c9d2a8b02fff5a22fa
                .pick_status.json: Update to bee5c9b0dc13dbae0ccf124124eaccebf7f2a435
                Docs: Add 20.0.0 release notes
                docs: Empty new_features.txt
                VERSION: bump for 20.0.0 release
          
          Erik Faye-Lund (1):
                Revert "nir: Add a couple trivial abs optimizations"
          
          Francisco Jerez (6):
                intel/fs/cse: Make HALT instruction act as CSE barrier.
                intel/fs/gen7: Fix fs_inst::flags_written() for SHADER_OPCODE_FIND_LIVE_CHANNEL.
                intel/fs: Add virtual instruction to load mask of live channels into flag register.
                intel/fs/gen12: Workaround unwanted SEND execution due to broken NoMask control flow.
                intel/fs/gen12: Fixup/simplify SWSB annotations of SIMD32 scratch writes.
                intel/fs/gen12: Workaround data coherency issues due to broken NoMask control flow.
          
          Krzysztof Raszkowski (1):
                gallium/swr: simplify environmental variabled expansion code
          
          Marek Olšák (1):
                radeonsi: don't wait for shader compilation to finish when destroying a context
          
          Mathias Fröhlich (1):
                egl: Implement getImage/putImage on pbuffer swrast.
          
          Peng Huang (1):
                radeonsi: make si_fence_server_signal flush pipe without work
          
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (1):
                radeonsi/ngg: add VGT_FLUSH when enabling fast launch
          
          Tapani Pälli (2):
                glsl: fix a memory leak with resource_set
                iris: fix aux buf map failure in 32bits app on Android
          
          Thong Thai (1):
                Revert "st/va: Convert interlaced NV12 to progressive"
          
          Timothy Arceri (1):
                glsl: fix gl_nir_set_uniform_initializers() for image arrays
          
          luc (1):
                zink: confused compilation macro usage for zink in target helpers.
          
          
          
          git tag: mesa-20.0.0
          
        • Mesa 20.0 Released With Big Improvements For Intel, AMD Radeon Vulkan/OpenGL

          The Mesa 20.0 release switches to the new Intel OpenGL driver default, Vulkan 1.2 support for both AMD Radeon and Intel drivers, the RadeonSI OpenGL driver now has GL 4.6 compliance as part of switching to NIR, the Valve-backed ACO code-path for RADV is in much better shape, and many other improvements. See our Mesa 20.0 feature overview to learn about this big update.

        • Mesa 20.0 Is Imminent With New Intel OpenGL Default, Intel + RADV Vulkan 1.2, OpenGL 4.6 For RadeonSI

          With the release of Mesa 20.0 being imminent, here is a look at all of the new features for this first quarter update to the Mesa 3D stack for open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers.
          Highlights of the soon-to-be-out Mesa 20.0 are outlined below. Mesa 20.0 will be out as soon as today / this week unless delays happen over lingering bugs.
          - This is the first Mesa release where for those with Broadwell (Gen8) Intel graphics or newer the Intel Gallium3D driver is the new default for OpenGL support. This Intel Gallium3D driver is faster and in better shape than the i965 classic driver. That older OpenGL driver will stick around for supporting Haswell graphics and prior generations.

        • RADV Driver Adds VK_EXT_line_rasterization In Preparing For Eventual Vulkan CAD Apps

          Added to the Vulkan API last summer was VK_EXT_line_rasterization for line rasterization like employed by CAD applications. The open-source Mesa Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver is now supporting this extension.

    • Applications

      • 10 Best Linux Terminal Emulators [2020 Edition]

        Do you prefer terminal emulators over GUI? But there are times when the terminal’s decent styling seems boring. In such cases, you look for more options to customize the terminal just like we do while choosing Linux distros.

        If that’s the case, your wait is over as we bring the list of best terminal emulators for Linux that you can use to refresh your monotonous daily work. Along with the styling, you can also turn the single terminal into a multigrid, observing the activity of each terminal simultaneously.

      • eXtern OS – A NodeJS Based Linux Distribution

        eXternOS is a free, new and exciting Linux operating system based on Nodejs, being developed by a computer engineering and computer science student who goes by name Anesu Chiodze.

        It is a whole different operating system from what we usually have on our computers; it redefines your interaction with your content on a computer, by providing a modern and distinctive user interface and very different user experience, compared to long-established Linux desktop distributions and other operating systems.

        It is powered by NW.js which has full support for Node.js APIs and most if not all third-party modules–bringing about limitless possibilities of app development, without looking elsewhere. It brings a new dimension to building native applications with modern web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, WebGL and more.

      • VirtualBox 6.1.4 Released with Full Support for Linux Kernel 5.5

        Coming approximately one month after the VirtualBox 6.1.2 point release, which introduced Linux host support for the latest Linux 5.5 kernel series (support for Linux guest additions wasn’t available), VirtualBox 6.1.4 is here to add full support for Linux kernel 5.5, for both host and guest.

        Additionally, VirtualBox 6.1.4 improved shared folder support on Linux guests by fixing loopback mounting of images. Other changes include the ability to report EFI support through DMI table and always report non-ATA disks as ready, as well as reduced stack space usage for INT 10h handlers.

      • VirtualBox 6.1.4 Released with Linux 5.5 Guest Support

        Oracle Virtualbox released a new maintenance update for the 6.1 series a day ago.

        The new release features Linux guest with Kernel 5.5 support, and a shared folder fix for loopback mounting of images.

      • have fun with free software – truly Open Source Karaoke „SingStar“ style Performous on GNU Linux

        An open-source karaoke, band and dancing game where one or more players perform a song and the game scores their performances.

        Supports songs in UltraStar, Frets on Fire and StepMania formats.

        Microphones and instruments from SingStar, Guitar Hero and Rock Band as well as some dance pads are autodetected.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Point and click your way through the cyberpunk adventure ‘VirtuaVerse’ this May

        Theta Division have announced today with a very stylish video that VirtuaVerse will be launching with Linux support on May 12.

        In a quite unusual way to announce something, they made their protagonist give a little speech with some awesome pixel-art cyberpunk backdrops that made it really hard to focus on what they were saying because it just looks so good! After that though, it gives a small slice of what to expect.

      • Steam Play Proton is correctly tracking Linux sales, a statement from Valve

        Recently we put up an article highlighting a possible issue with how Valve were counting Steam Play Proton sales, here’s a full correction and more information.

        In the previous article, it referenced a Reddit post and Valve’s quick statement at the time that Steam Play Proton might not have listed Linux as the platform for a game sale. We also added an update to that article today, after speaking to a developer whose Windows-only title was purchased by myself (and others) as they had told us they saw no Linux sales which seemingly confirmed there was an issue.

        As it turns out, the system is working correctly but there was a filtering issue.

      • GamePad: A New Open Source And 100% Linux-Dedicated Game Platform

        Do you also believe that “Linux is not a gaming platform”? Well, it may not be the first priority of gamers. Still, if you look at the recent contribution by Linux community developers, Linux has improved a lot with support for graphics drivers and new games to provide a better gaming experience.

        On that account, GamePad, a new entrant in the open game platform, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for its latest Linux gaming platform.

      • A New Linux-Exclusive Gaming Platform Is Coming: Meet GamePad

        Linux is not a player-friendly platform and is generally not preferred for gaming. Still, Linux community developers do a good job by providing support for graphics drivers and new games to provide a better gaming experience. Better still, a Linux-specific gaming platform is on the way.

        GamePad started Kickstarter campaign as a completely Linux-specific game platform. The platform was inspired by the digital distribution platform GOG (Good Old Games) for video games and movies. GamePad is designed as a free and open source platform. So developers will be able to change the source code to add new features to the platform and customize it to create their own clients for any Linux distribution.

      • Linux Gaming: Play Windows games on Linux with Proton

        That’s why Proton is one of the biggest developments in the history of gaming on Linux. Proton is a tool developed by Valve to allow Steam users to run Windows-exclusive games under Linux. That decades-old PC game you have lying around your Steam library? You can get it up and running on Linux. Want to play more recent, critically acclaimed titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice? No problem – it runs on Linux. If you do most of your gaming through Steam, Proton lets you switch to Linux and still play the vast majority of your library with minimal issues. Who needs developers supporting Linux when you have Valve and Proton?

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven DLC Is Out Now for Linux

        Feral Interactive announced today that the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven Chapter Pack DLC is now available for Linux and macOS systems.

        Officially released on January 16th, 2020, Mandate of Heaven is the biggest and most detailed Chapter Pack DLC (Downloadable Content) ever released for the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS award-winning turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game from developer Creative Assembly and publisher SEGA.

        It introduces a new campaign set in 182 CE, just before the Yellow Turban rebellion. The new campaign will let players adventure through the conflict deep into the Three Kingdoms period. The update also adds a total of six new playable warlords, including three new Yellow Turban warlords, Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao, and Zhang Liang, and three new Han Empire factions, Emperor Liu Hong, Prince Liu Chong, and Lu Zhi.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven DLC out now on macOS and Linux

        Mandate of Heaven, the largest and most detailed Total War: THREE KINGDOMS DLC to date, has launched for macOS and Linux.

        Players will engage in the conflicts of the Yellow Turban Rebellion and Qiang uprising with a host of new warlords including the Zhang brothers and Emperor Liu Hong.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – Mandate of Heaven plus the latest patches arrive for Linux
      • Space is a little more hostile in Space Haven, with Alpha 6 introducing ship to ship combat

        One of my most anticipated releases to come from a crowdfunding campaign, Space Haven continues to get some really fun features and another huge Alpha release recently went up.

        As a little reminder: Space Haven is a colony-building sim with a bit of a difference. Instead of a static colony, you build a fleet of starships tile-by-tile and you can travel around with them. You manage your crew, their needs, make sure they have a comfy bed and deal with all the nastiness of space travel.

      • Physics-based medieval siege engine battler ‘Besiege’ leaves Early Access after 5 years

        Five years might seem like a little long but crafting something special takes time and Besiege is definitely worthy of the time it spent in development.

        Spiderling Studios’ physics-based building game isn’t exactly unique now, there’s plenty more physics-based building games that have come and gone in that time. However, Besiege stands tall above so many for the detail and fun factor. This week, they released the big 1.0 with a finished single-player campaign along with adding in some fun sounding logic and automation blocks.

      • Meet The New PC Gaming Platform Where Linux Support Is Not Optional

        Gaming on Linux is fantastic, but it’s not always straightforward. Valve has gone to great lengths to make thousands of Windows-only games playable on the Steam for Linux client, but hardware variation and frequent updates means things can break at a moment’s notice. Good Ole Games has an easy way to find native Linux games, but the GOG Galaxy client is only available for Mac and Windows. So, enter a new player that wants to bridge the gap by providing an open source Linux gaming client focused on providing nothing but games developed for Linux.

      • Skul: The Hero Slayer has you swap your skull to gain new powers – now in Early Access

        Skul: The Hero Slayer is an action-packed rogue-lite platformer, where you play as the anti-hero Skul who sets off on a quest to single-handedly take on the Imperial Army and rescue his demon King from captivity.

      • 2D strategy and business simulator ‘Plutocracy’ now available on Linux

        Want to have a go at ‘big business’? Plutocracy is a 2D strategy and business sim that will let you attempt to build up your business empire along with all the politics that comes with it.

        Developed by Redwood, who said they were directly inspired by Theodore Dreiser’s the Trilogy of Desire, Plutocracy is currently in Early Access after running an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign our contributor BTRE covered on GOL back in 2018. Looks like it was a success to and as of this week, they delivered a Linux build that’s available now on Steam too

      • Lurking in the Dark is a sweet idea for a game and it’s now open source

        Lurking in the Dark, a clever 2D game about climbing a dark tower that was made during the GMTK Game Jam last year has been made open source.

        Created with Godot Engine, the idea is that you can only see a single tile in front of you so you have to watch out for monsters and traps. The developer mentioned on Twitter that due to a lot of interest and their plans to turn it into a full game were put on hold, the source code is now open for everyone.

      • Vagrus – The Riven Realms hits more milestones on Fig, funding big new features

        The hybrid Early Access/Crowdfunding model ‘Open Access’ on the Fig platform seems to be working really well for Vagrus – The Riven Realms.

        [...]

        Once they hit $60K they will introduce a manual save option, at $75K it will bring in the first part of their planned open-world campaign and more after that with plenty of future goals not yet announced. This mixture of releasing builds after new funding milestones is quite a clever idea, it keeps people interested and personally invested since they get to play while pulling in more people over time too.

      • Repair and manage an ecosystem in ‘Among Ripples: Shallow Waters’ now on Kickstarter

        Acting as a sequel to their free and much smaller game Among Ripples released back in 2015, Among Ripples: Shallow Waters is an eco-tycoon sim that’s looking for your funding.

        With the state the world is in, a game about taking care of at least one small part of it gives me the good feels all over. The team at Eat Create Sleep say they’re actually working with “real ecologists to create a simulation of something that could happen in real life”, so there’s some real science behind it.

      • Game Dev Unlocked, an upcoming blog and video series for aspiring game developers

        Following an interesting half-an-hour talk (that I recommend you to check), David Wehle, the creator of the third person short exploration adventure The First Tree [GOG, itch.io, Steam], recently made a formal announcement about his upcoming project: Game Dev Unlocked, a blog and video series aimed at helping aspiring indie game designers to overcome all the inherent challenges of such an enterprise, including technical aspects, marketing, etc.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Calindori 1.1 is out: reminders, repeating events and more

          A new version of Calindori, the calendar application of Plasma Mobile, is now available. In Calindori 1.1, a set of new features has been added as well as the user interface has been improved, following the KDE human interface guidelines.

          You can now add reminders to calendar events. To manage event reminders, a separate background application, calindac, has been created. Calindac looks for alarms into the Calindori ical files and triggers alarm notifications. The users may dismiss the alarm displayed or suspend it for a configurable amount of time.

        • Plasma 5.18.1 for Kubuntu 19.10 available in Backports PPA

          We are pleased to announce that Plasma 5.18.1, is now available in our backports PPA for Kubuntu 19.10. This is the 1st bugfix release of the 5.18 LTS Plasma series.

          The release announcement detailing the new features and improvements in Plasma 5.18 LTS can be found here.

        • You Can Now Install KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS in Kubuntu 19.10, Here’s How

          Launched in October 2019, the Kubuntu 19.10 release ships with the KDE Plasma 5.16 desktop environment by default. Users have been able to update to the more recent KDE Plasma 5.17 series soon after the release, and now they can install the latest KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS version.

          The Kubuntu team announced today that the recently released KDE Plasma 5.18.1 packages are now available in the Kubuntu Backports PPA repositories, along with newer versions of the KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications software suites. This means that users can finally upgrade their favorite desktop environment to Plasma 5.18 LTS.

        • conf.kde.in 2020 :: Late Report

          So we recently held KDE India Conference 2020 in the college where I’m pursuing my B.Tech (CSE) in New Delhi. The conference was held from 17 January 2020 to 19 January 2020.

          Photographs from the conference are available here: https://share.kde.org/s/tt6YWaDp36ni2si

          Tweets from the conference used #cki2020 tag and are available conveniently through this link: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23cki2020

          Day 1 of the conference talked about Open Source, and some of the cool KDE software that has eased many lives across the globe.

          Day 2 of the conference talked about KDE software in general and bits about QML.

          Day 3 of the conference talked about how specific KDE software and Qt Framework helps developers achieve amazing results with minimal hard-work and maximum smart-work.

        • Season of KDE Final Report

          SoK ended finally on 17th February 2020. I am happy to share that I have completed the project “Add multiple datasets to several activities” and passed the final evaluation!!!
          As I have written a post a few days back to update about my work which you can find over here.

        • Will Stephenson: It is time for a war on tabs

          All this causes additional cognitive load/dissonance when using your computing device.

          I’m not saying Plasma needs to become a tabbed window manager, but we can do better, and it is definitely time to declare war on the mess above.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.34.4 Released With Many Bug Fixes

          While GNOME 3.36 will be released in just a few weeks, GNOME 3.34.4 is out today as the latest stable update in the current series.

          GNOME 3.34.4 comes with a large number of bug fixes, many of which were back-ported from the 3.35 development series leading up to the GNOME 3.36.0 release on 11 March. Some of the GNOME 3.34.4 fixes include…

        • GNOME 3.34.4 Released with Various Improvements and Bug Fixes

          Released on September 2019, the GNOME 3.34 “Thessaloniki” desktop environment is the first to adopt a new release cycle with extended maintenance updates. Previous GNOME releases only received two maintenance updates during their support cycle.

          Therefore, GNOME 3.34.4 is here as a minor bugfix release to GNOME 3.34, addressing various issues, as well as updating translations across several components and applications. Among the changes, there’s a big GTK update with better Wayland support, VP8 encoding for the built-in screen-recorder, and another major Vala update.

        • Cast To TV v12 Chromecast Extension For GNOME Shell Adds Automatic Image Slideshow, Audio Only Transcoding, More

          Cast to TV, a GNOME Shell extension to cast media (with optional transcoding) to Chromecast and other devices over the local network, has been updated to version 12. In this release, the extension has received an option for audio only transcoding, automatic image slideshow, support for casting files from network GVFS mounts, and much more.

          Cast to TV is a very capable and feature-packed GNOME Shell extension for casting videos, music and pictures to Chromecast (and other devices) on the local network. It features on-the-fly transcoding for video or audio files that aren’t directly supported by the Chromecast (with hardware-accelerated encoding using VA-API or NVENC), customizable subtitles, music visualizer, an optional remote control applet (with playlist support) displayed on GNOME Shell’s top bar, and more.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Plasma, NodeJS, pip, Grep update in Tumbleweed

          Three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots arrived this week and the snapshots provided a few major version upgrades and several minor updates with newer features.

          The latest snapshot was 20200218. This snapshot updated a subpackage for btrfsprogs to version 5.4.1 and fixes the docbook5 builds. The Linux Kernel updated to 5.5.4 and had a few changes for KVM on arm64. The update of glibc 2.31 now supports a feature test macro _ISOC2X_SOURCE to enable features from the draft ISO C2X standard. Command line utility grep 3.4 fixed some performance bugs and adds a new –no-ignore-case option that causes grep to observe case distinctions, overriding any previous -i (–ignore-case) option. The DBus-activated daemon controlling mobile devices and connections, ModemManager fixed the handling of hexadecimal 0×00 bytes at the end of GSM encoded strings in version 1.12.6. There were several other packages updated in the snapshot. Among the packages to be updated were flatpak 1.6.2, GNOME’s web browser epiphany 3.34.4, email client mutt 1.13.4, strace 5.5, sudo 1.8.31 and whois 5.5.5. With less than a week to go until a rating is finalized, a rating of 92 was initially released for the snapshot, according to the snapshot reviewer.

        • Get Expert Guided Hands-On Experience at the SUSECON 2020 Pre-Conference Workshops

          Are you ready for SUSECON 2020? It’s coming up fast! Join us in Dublin Ireland from March 23 – 27 for a week packed with learning and networking.

        • Get Certified During SUSECON 2020

          Working in IT is not for the feint of heart; the work is demanding, and change is constant. Right now, your organization is undoubtedly seeking new ways to extend the value of their investment in IT and get more done faster.

      • Slackware Family

        • New ISOs for Slackware Live (liveslak 1.3.5)

          I have uploaded a set of fresh Slackware Live Edition ISO images. They are based on the liveslak scripts version 1.3.5. The ISOs are variants of Slackware-current “Tue Feb 18 05:20:50 UTC 2020” with the 5.4.20 kernel but without PAM.
          The PLASMA5 variant is my february release of ‘ktown‘ aka KDE-5_20.02 .

          Download these ISO files preferably via rsync://slackware.nl/mirrors/slackware-live/ (or its mirror rsync://slackware.uk/people/alien-slacklive/ but allow that 24 to sync up) because that allows easy resume if you cannot download the file in one go.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Critical Sudo Vulnerability Now Patched in CentOS 7 and RHEL 7

          A critical vulnerability (CVE-2019-18634) was discovered earlier this month by Joe Vennix in the Sudo package, a program that lets users run programs in a UNIX system with the security privileges of another user. The flaw could allow an unprivileged user to obtain full root privileges.

          Affected Sudo versions included all releases from v1.7.1 to v1.8.25p1. However, it was discovered that it doesn’t affect systems that did not had the pwfeedback option enabled in the /etc/sudoers file. For more details you can check out our previous report.

        • Designing an event-driven business process at scale: A health management example, Part 1

          The concept of a business process (BP), or workflow (WF), and the discipline and practice of business process management (BPM) have been around since the early 90s. Since then, WF/BPM tools have evolved considerably. More recently, a convergence of different tools has taken place, adding decision management (DM) and case management (CM) to the mix. The ascendance of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in the last few years has further complicated the picture. The mature field of BPM has been subsumed into the hyped pseudo-novelties of digital business automation, digital reinvention, digital everything, etc., with the addition of “low code” and robotic process automation (RPA).

          A common requirement of business applications today is to be event-driven; that is, specific events should trigger a workflow or decision in real-time. This requirement leads to a fundamental problem. In realistic situations, there are many different types of events, each one requiring specific handling. An event-driven business application may have hundreds of qualitatively different workflows or processes. As new types of events arise in today’s ever-changing business conditions, new processes have to be designed and deployed as quickly as possible.

          This situation is different than the common requirement of scalability at runtime. It’s not just a problem of making an architecture scale to a large number of events per second. That problem is in many respects easy to solve. The problem of scalability at design time is what I am concerned about here.

        • Satellite and Ansible Tower Integration part 2: Provisioning callbacks

          Satellite and Ansible Tower are each powerful tools, and many customers utilize both of them. It is possible to integrate these tools and in part 1 of this series we covered how to configure Ansible Tower to pull a dynamic inventory of hosts from Satellite.

          One of Satellite’s features is the ability to provision new hosts, while one of Ansible Tower’s main features is the ability to configure hosts. By integrating these tools, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) hosts provisioned by Satellite can be configured to automatically make a provisioning callback to Ansible Tower. This provisioning callback functionality allows you to run an Ansible playbook on the new RHEL host so it can be configured using the Ansible Tower infrastructure. The end result is the ability to go into Satellite, provision a new host, and automatically obtain a configured host via Ansible Tower. This can save system administrators time and allow them to meet the needs of their organization.

          One of the prerequisites for setting up provisioning callbacks is having Satellite configured as a dynamic inventory source within Ansible Tower so, if you haven’t already, first follow the steps outlined in the previous blog post.

        • Red Hat Volleys New Patches For Exposing More File-System Info + Mount Notifications

          Longtime Linux kernel developer David Howells of Red Hat sent out his latest patch revision exposing new capabilities for exposing more VFS and mount information to user-space along with notification support for any file-system mount topology changes.

          One part of the patch series is the fsinfo() system call for exposing more VFS / file-system information for a particular path/mount point. This system call could expose information like file-system UUIDs, capabilities of the file-system, mount attributes, and other data.

        • Red Hat’s Susan James: How Open Source is Shaping 5G

          Open source has been shaping the way service providers collaborate and work together, especially as globalization and 5G’s huge networks demand interoperability. After 27 years at Ericsson working with enterprise, wireline, network, and cloud organizations, telecom veteran Susan James has stepped into the role of senior director of telecommunications strategy at Red Hat. She shared her thoughts with SDxCentral on how open source is transforming the service provider ecosystem.

        • Modernize your Java apps with open source, cloud-native tools

          It’s no secret that Java developers are thinking about how they’re going to modernize their existing applications to adapt to the new cloud landscape. The schedule for this week’s DevNexus conference is dominated by talks on containers, microservices, Kubernetes, and other cloud-native technologies, telling us that you’re eager to understand the best way to easily, securely move to the cloud with Java.

          In this blog post, we explore what you need to consider for building cloud-native Java applications and how open source technologies are your best bet for moving to microservices, containers, and the cloud.

        • IBM puts Power Systems in SAP’s cloud

          SAP is now hosting IBM’s latest Power Systems servers in its own data centers, as part of its HANA Enterprise Cloud managed offering. The move introduces a new hosting option for enterprises running modern ERP systems with large databases on the Power platform.

          That could interest a lot of CIOs: SAP has offered its software on the Power platform since 2005, and ported HANA to the Power architecture in 2015. IBM estimated last year that between 20 percent and 25 percent of HANA workloads then ran on Power, with the rest on servers based on Intel’s architecture.

        • Fedora at the National Library of Technology

          Where do you turn when you have a fleet of public workstations to manage? If you’re the Czech National Library of Technology (NTK), you turn to Fedora. Located in Prague, the NTK is the Czech Republic’s largest science and technology library. As part of its public service mission, the NTK provides 150 workstations for public use.

          In 2018, the NTK moved these workstations from Microsoft Windows to Fedora. In the press release announcing this change, Director Martin Svoboda said switching to Fedora will “reduce operating system support costs by about two-thirds.” The choice to use Fedora was easy, according to NTK Linux Engineer Miroslav Brabenec. “Our entire Linux infrastructure runs on RHEL or CentOS. So for desktop systems, Fedora was the obvious choice,” he told Fedora Magazine.

        • GNU Linux Distributions – about Fedora -> CentOS -> RedHat

          The focus of the Governing Board is to assist and guide in the progress and development of the various SIGs, as well as to lead and promote CentOS.

          The CentOS Governing Board is the governing body responsible for the overall oversight of the CentOS Project and SIGs, the creation of new SIGs, and the election (and re-election) of new board members. The Board also has the responsibility to ensure the goals, brands, and marks of the CentOS Project and community are protected. The Board serves as the final authority within the CentOS Project.

        • Stories from the amazing world of release-monitoring.org #9

          I woke up to the cold morning in my tower. The sun shone brightly on the sky, but the stone of the tower was cold as it takes some time to make it warm. Everything was already prepared for today’s journey. I sat at my table and started going through some reports from workers. I still had some time til the traveler arrived. So I started reading the reports …

        • Fedora 31 : The Fyne UI toolkit for Go programming language.
        • ABRT team: New releases

          Just prior to branching of Fedora 32, we released new versions of abrt, gnome‑abrt, abrt‑java‑connector, libreport, satyr and retrace‑server.

      • Debian Family

        • Daniel Silverstone: Subplot volunteers? (Acceptance testing tool)

          Subplot is a tool for capturing and automatically verifying the acceptance criteria for a software project or a system, in a way that’s understood by all stakeholders.

          In a software project there are always more than one stakeholder. Even in a project one writes for oneself, there are two stakeholders: oneself, and that malicious cretin oneself-in-the-future. More importantly, though, there are typically stakeholders such as end users, sysadmins, clients, software architects, developers, and testers. They all need to understand what the software should do, and when it’s in an acceptable state to be put into use: in other words, what the acceptance criteria are.

          Crucially, all stakeholders should understand the acceptance criteria the same way, and also how to verify they are met. In an ideal situation, all verification is automated, and happens very frequently.

          There are various tools for this, from generic documentation tooling (word processors, text editors, markup languages, etc) to test automation (Cucumber, Selenium, etc). On the one hand, documenting acceptance criteria in a way that all stakeholders understand is crucial: otherwise the end users are at risk of getting something that’s not useful to help them, and the project is a waste of everyone’s time and money. On the other hand, automating the verification of how acceptance criteria is met is also crucial: otherwise it’s done manually, which is slow, costly, and error prone, which increases the risk of project failure.

          Subplot aims to solve this by an approach that combines documentation tooling with automated verification.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Moves Ahead With Python 2 Removal – But Sticks Around For Derivatives

          With Python 2 having been end-of-life since the start of the year and Ubuntu 20.04 being a long-term support release, Ubuntu developers are working hard to ensure Python 2 isn’t shipped as part of this next Ubuntu LTS release.

          Indeed, the long process of working to remove Python 2 from Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is panning out at least as far as the official ISO is concerned. Among recent action has included removing the python* binary packages (the generic package names not python2-* or python3-*) and addressing packages that depended upon the unversioned python package names, scanning for any lingering Python 2 dependent binary packages, working to add a python-is-python2-but-deprecated package that will symlink /usr/bin/python to python2 for any hold-outs, and related work.

        • Canonical Outs New Major Kernel Update for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

          Available for the Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series, the new Linux kernel security update is here to fix a vulnerability (CVE-2019-14615) affecting systems with Intel Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), which could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

          It also addresses a race condition (CVE-2019-18683) discovered in the Virtual Video Test Driver (VIVID), which could allow an attacker with write access to /dev/video0 to gain administrative privileges, as well as a flaw (CVE-2019-19241) in Linux kernel’s IO uring implementation that could also allow a local attacker to gain administrative privileges.

          Another race condition (CVE-2019-19602) was fixed on x86 platforms, which could let a local attacker to cause a denial of service (memory corruption) or gain administrative privileges. Moreover, issues (CVE-2019-18786 and CVE-2019-19947) discovered in the Renesas Digital Radio Interface (DRIF) and Kvaser CAN/USB drivers could allow local attackers to expose sensitive information (kernel memory).

        • How one company is using Ubuntu Linux to make its IoT platform safer and faster

          Ubuntu manufacturer Canonical has announced a partnership with Bosch Rexroth to put Ubuntu Core in its app-based ctrlX AUTOMATION platform.

          Ubuntu Core, which is designed for embedded environments and IoT devices, will be used alongside snaps (Linux application containers) to produce an open source platform with simple plug-and-play software.

          According to Canonical, the choice of using Ubuntu instead of proprietary software means that industrial machine manufacturers “are freed from being tied to PLC specialists and proprietary systems with the software being decoupled from the hardware.”

        • Bosch Rexroth adopts Ubuntu Core and snaps for app-based ctrlX AUTOMATION platform

          Canonical today announced that Bosch Rexroth has selected Ubuntu Core for their app-based platform ctrlX AUTOMATION. ctrlX AUTOMATION leverages Ubuntu Core, designed for embedded devices, and snaps, the universal Linux application containers, to deliver an open source platform to remove the barriers between machine control, IT and OT. Industrial manufacturing solutions built on ctrlX AUTOMATION with Ubuntu Core and snaps will benefit from an open ecosystem, faster time to production and stronger security across devices’ lifecycle.

          Through the use of an open architecture, industrial machine manufacturers selecting ctrlX AUTOMATION are freed from being tied to PLC specialists and proprietary systems with the software being decoupled from the hardware. With Ubuntu Core and snaps, the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform enables developers to use a modern CI/CD and DevSecOps approach to deliver applications on edge devices in a traditional OT environment.

          “With the support of Ubuntu Core, ctrlX AUTOMATION can combine the worlds of automation and IoT in an open, modular and secure way to build a future proofed and innovative automation platform,” said Dr. Holger Schnabel, Product Owner ctrlX CORE, Bosch Rexroth.

        • Bosch Rexroth Selects Ubuntu Core For ctrlX AUTOMATION platform

          Bosch Rexroth has selected Ubuntu Core for its app-based platform ctrlX AUTOMATION, Canonical announced today. Developers can now create apps, delivered as snaps, in the programming language of their choice, including C, C++, Python, Javascript or Go.

          Traditionally, developers were restricted to specialist programming languages like IEC 61131, or G-Code in an industrial setting. With Ubuntu Core and snaps, developers using the ctrlX AUTOMATION platform have the freedom to use either conventional programming languages or modern alternatives.

        • MAAS doc example: MGH

          Rather than assume that every reader of our MAAS documentation is a network expert looking for a quick fix, we’re planning to expand the available material somewhat. In the past, we’ve used random analogies, screenshots, and examples to keep the text interesting — and it’s worked well enough. Going forward, though, it feels more practical and useful to create a single example thread that carries throughout blog posts and the documentation.

          This doesn’t mean that we’re going to adopt fable-like narratives or “day in the life” scenarios. Far from it. We do, though, want to backstop explanations and feature discussions with a single, coherent model. Our goal is to help the various parts of the doc set fit together a little more neatly.

          To that end, we’re introducing Metaphorical General Hospital (MGH), an example data centre that provides computing support for a 100-bed, suburban hospital that serves a community of around 5,000 residents. The example doesn’t have to be complete or perfectly realistic. It might not represent any actual hospital. It just needs to be sufficiently coherent to (1) tie the doc together, and (2) provide a better reference point for describing MAAS features.

        • GOWIN Semiconductor Adds Ubuntu Support to their GOWIN EDA FPGA Software for Improved Artificial Intelligence and IoT Development Toolchain Integration

          Traditional FPGAs have had a long history of development tool support for Windows and Red Hat, but in many cases lacked universal Linux support for other distributions such as Ubuntu. This has caused development burdens as Ubuntu has matured and become the most commonly supported operating system for Artificial Intelligence solution development. Neural network model development software such as Caffe, Tensorflow and Keras have found Ubuntu as the preferred operating system due to its open source support and scripting capabilities. As a result, having GOWIN’s FPGA EDA in the same operating system allows developers to seamlessly integrate FPGA synthesis, place and route and bitstream generation into their AI design and script work flows.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Antitrust Laws and Open Collaboration

        If you participate in standards development organizations, open source foundations, trade associations, or the like (Organizations), you already know that you’re required to comply with antitrust laws. The risks of noncompliance are not theoretical – violations can result in severe criminal and civil penalties, both for your organization and the individuals involved. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has in fact opened investigations into several standards organizations in recent years.

        Maybe you’ve had a training session at your company, or at least are aware that there’s an antitrust policy you’re supposed to read and comply with. But what if you’re a working group chair, or even an executive director, and therefore responsible for actually making sure nothing happens that’s not supposed to? Beyond paying attention, posting or reviewing an antitrust statement at meetings, and perhaps calling your attorney when member discussions drift into grey zones, what do you actually do to keep antitrust risk in check?

        Well, the good news is that regulators recognize that standards and other collaboration deliverables are good for consumers. The challenge is knowing where the boundaries of appropriate conduct can be found, whether you’re hosting, leading or just participating in activity involving competitors. Once you know the rules, you can forge ahead, expecting to navigate those risks, and knowing the benefits of collaboration can be powerful and procompetitive.

        We don’t often get glimpses into the specific criteria regulators use to evaluate potential antitrust violations, particularly as applicable to collaborative organizations. But when we do, it can help consortia and other collaborative foundations focus their efforts and take concrete steps to ensure compliance.

        In July 2019, the DOJ Antitrust Division (Division) provided a new glimpse, in its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs in Criminal Antitrust Investigations (Guidance). Although the Guidance is specifically intended to assist Division prosecutors evaluating corporate compliance programs when charging and sentencing, it provides valuable insights for building or improving an Organization’s antitrust compliance program (Program).

        At a high level, the Guidance suggests that an effective Program will be one that is well designed, is applied earnestly and in good faith by management, and includes adequate procedures to maximize effectiveness through efficiency, leadership, training, education, information and due diligence. This is important because organizations that detect violations and self-report to the Division’s Corporate Leniency program may receive credit (e.g. lower charges or penalties) for having an effective antitrust compliance program in place.

      • Events

        • The OpenShift Troubleshooting Workshop

          The first workshop in our Customer Empathy Workshop series was held October 28, 2019 during the AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) OpenShift Commons event in San Francisco. We collaborated with 5 Red Hat OpenShift customers for 2 hours on the topic of troubleshooting. We learned about the challenges faced by operations and development teams in the field and together brainstormed ways to reduce blockers and increase efficiency for users.

          The open source spirit was very much alive in this workshop. We came together with customers to work as a team so that we can better understand their unique challenges with troubleshooting. Here are some highlights from the experience.

        • [Kubernetes] Contributor Summit Amsterdam Schedule Announced
      • Web Browsers

        • Meet Ephemeral: The Always-Incognito Web Browser For Linux

          Popping up of the ads based on your browsing data has become a common issue that most people face nowadays. Hence, it’s obvious that people are turning toward the more privacy focussed search engine and web browser.

          Keeping the private browsing in mind, Cassidy James Blaede, co-founder & CXO at elementary, developed an open-source and always-incognito web browser, Ephemeral.

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 73.0.1 Released with Critical Linux Fixes

            With this update, Firefox reaches version 73.0.1, and the most notable improvement concerns Linux devices.

            According to the official release notes (embedded at the end of the article), this new update fixes crashes experienced on some Linux systems when playing encrypted content.

          • The new EU digital strategy: A good start, but more to be done

            In a strategy and two white papers published today, the Commission has laid out its vision for the next five years of EU tech policy: achieving trust by fostering technologies working for people, a fair and competitive digital economy, and a digital and sustainable society. This vision includes big ambitions for content regulation, digital competition, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. Here we give some recommendations on how the Commission should take it forward.

            We welcome this vision the Commission sketches out and are eager to contribute, because the internet today is not what we want it to be. A rising tide of illegal and harmful content, the pervasiveness of the surveillance economy, and increased centralisation of market power have damaged the internet’s original vision of openness. We also believe that innovation and fundamental rights are complementary and should always go hand in hand – a vision we live out in the products we build and the projects we take on. If built on carefully, the strategy can provide a roadmap to address the many challenges we face, in a way that protects citizens’ rights and enhances internet openness.

            However, it’s essential that the EU does not repeat the mistakes of the past, and avoids misguided, heavy handed and/or one-size-fits-all regulations. The Commission should look carefully at the problems we’re trying to solve, consider all actors impacted and think innovatively about smart interventions to open up markets and protect fundamental rights. This is particularly important in the content regulation space, where the last EU mandate saw broad regulatory interventions (e.g. on copyright or terrorist content) that were crafted with only the big online platforms in mind, undermining individuals’ rights and competition. Yet, and despite such interventions, big platforms are not doing enough to tackle the spread of illegal and harmful content. To avoid such problematic outcomes, we encourage the European Commission to come up with a comprehensive framework for ensuring that tech companies really do act responsibly, with a focus on the companies’ practices and processes.

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w07 – worklog – flask blueprint
          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: February Edition
          • What’s happening on the SUMO Platform: Sprint updates

            So what’s going on with the SUMO platform? We’re moving forward in 2020 with new plans, new challenges and a new roadmap.

            We’re continuing this year to track all development work in 2 week sprints. You can see everything that is currently being worked on and our current sprint here (please note: this is only a project tracking board, do not use it to file bugs, bugs should continue to be filed via Bugzilla)

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Top 5 Best MS Office Alternatives for Linux in 2020

          Like it or not, Microsoft Office is the de facto standard in most work environments, educational institutions, and government offices. As such, all MS Office alternatives for Linux are automatically measured against it and evaluated based on their compatibility with the file formats created by Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
          As a Linux user in 2020, you can choose from multiple mature alternatives to MS Office. Most MS Office alternatives for Linux can be downloaded and used free of charge to open, edit, and create documents in a variety of file formats, including .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx.

        • 10 great LibreOffice-only features

          LibreOffice is a successor project to OpenOffice.org (commonly known as OpenOffice), as you can see in this timeline – click to enlarge…

          We release a new major version every six months – so let’s check out some of the great features our community and certified developers have added in recent years!

        • LibreOffice 6.3.5 available for download

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.3.5, the 5th minor release of the LibreOffice 6.3 family, targeted at individuals using the software for production purposes, who are invited to update their current version. The new release provides bug and regression fixes, and improvements to document compatibility.

        • LibreOffice 6.3.5 Is Now Available for Download with 84 Bug Fixes

          LibreOffice 6.3.5 comes more than two months after the LibreOffice 6.3.4 update and it’s here to improve the overall stability, security and compatibility of the open-source and cross-platform office suite.

          A total of 84 bug and regression fixes are included in this maintenance update, which is still recommended to power users and technology enthusiasts, improving LibreOffice’s core components. The full changelogs are available for tech-savvy users here and here.

        • LibreOffice 7 Continues Plumbing Its Vulkan Rendering Support

          Landing last November in the LibreOffice development code was Skia drawing support to replace Cairo and in turn that opens up for Vulkan rendering of this cross-platform, open-source office suite.

          Skia+Vulkan is working out for LibreOffice and in fact the debut version that was going to be LibreOffice 6.5 was renamed to LibreOffice 7.0 as the current version now under development following the recent LibreOffice 6.4 release.

      • FSF

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Matthew Garrett: What usage restrictions can we place in a free software license?

            Growing awareness of the wider social and political impact of software development has led to efforts to write licenses that prevent software being used to engage in acts that are seen as socially harmful, with the Hippocratic License being perhaps the most discussed example (although the JSON license’s requirement that the software be used for good, not evil, is arguably an earlier version of the theme). The problem with these licenses is that they’re pretty much universally considered to fall outside the definition of free software or open source licenses due to their restrictions on use, and there’s a whole bunch of people who have very strong feelings that this is a very important thing. There’s also the more fundamental underlying point that it’s hard to write a license like this where everyone agrees on whether a specific thing is bad or not (eg, while many people working on a project may feel that it’s reasonable to prohibit the software being used to support drone strikes, others may feel that the project shouldn’t have a position on the use of the software to support drone strikes and some may even feel that some people should be the victims of drone strikes). This is, it turns out, all quite complicated.

            But there is something that many (but not all) people in the free software community agree on – certain restrictions are legitimate if they ultimately provide more freedom. Traditionally this was limited to restrictions on distribution (eg, the GPL requires that your recipient be able to obtain corresponding source code, and for GPLv3 must also be able to obtain the necessary signing keys to be able to replace it in covered devices), but more recently there’s been some restrictions that don’t require distribution. The best known is probably the clause in the Affero GPL (or AGPL) that requires that users interacting with covered code over a network be able to download the source code, but the Cryptographic Autonomy License (recently approved as an Open Source license) goes further and requires that users be able to obtain their data in order to self-host an equivalent instance.

      • Programming/Development

        • LLVM Adds MLIR-Vulkan-Runner To Run MLIR On Vulkan-Enabled GPUs

          For those out of the loop, MLIR is a new intermediate representation (IR) in the LLVM ecosystem that has grown immensely in popularity since Google developers announced it last year. MLIR was designed as a machine learning IR for the likes of TensorFlow and has seen significant adoption by the LLVM ecosystem in working out well for heterogeneous hardware among other advantages over the traditional LLVM IR.

          The mlir-vulkan-runner added to the LLVM source tree today is an execution driver for executing MLIR files on Vulkan by translating MLIR modules into SPIR-V for execution on GPUs while the host portion is converted to LLVM IR and JIT’ed on the system. This is similar to the MLIR CUDA runner that has already existed for NVIDIA platforms.

        • LLVM Clang 11 Adds -std=c++20 Support

          With C++20 now being deemed complete from the recent ISO C++ meeting in Prague, the GNU Compiler Collection went ahead and added the -std=c++20 flag where as up until that change this weekend relied upon the -std=c++2a switch. LLVM’s Clang compiler now has similar treatment on its codebase.

          Like GCC, the LLVM Clang C++20 support isn’t yet complete but it’s working towards that milestone. But with C++20 now deemed complete and set to formally be out in the coming months during the 2020 year, the developers are comfortable exposing it now as -std=c++20 as the target. Additionally, LLVM Clang has shifted its C++2A references in their code-base to C++20. The old C++2A switch will still be an accepted argument for compatibility purposes.

        • Daily life with the offline laptop

          I will go fast on this. My set up is an old Apple Powerbook G4 with a 1024×768 screen (I love that 4:3 ratio) running OpenBSD.

          The system firewall pf is configured to prevent any incoming connections, and only allow TCP on the network to port 22, because when I need to copy files, I use ssh / sftp. The /home partition is encrypted using the softraid crypto device, full disk encryption is not supported on powerpc.

          The experience is even more enjoyable with a warm cup of tea on hand.

        • The Computer Scientist Responsible for Cut, Copy, and Paste, Has Passed Away

          Born in 1945 in New York, Tesler went on to study computer science at Stanford University, and after graduation he dabbled in artificial intelligence research (long before it became a deeply concerning tool) and became involved in the anti-war and anti-corporate monopoly movements, with companies like IBM as one of his deserving targets. In 1973 Tesler took a job at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) where he worked until 1980. Xerox PARC is famously known for developing the mouse-driven graphical user interface we now all take for granted, and during his time at the lab Tesler worked with Tim Mott to create a word processor called Gypsy that is best known for coining the terms “cut,” “copy,” and “paste” when it comes to commands for removing, duplicating, or repositioning chunks of text.

        • Python

          • Python Programming

            Python is a powerful multipurpose programming language created by Guido van Rossum.

            It has a simple and easy-to-use syntax, making it a popular first-choice programming language for beginners.

            This is a comprehensive guide that explores the reasons you should consider learning Python and the ways you can get started with Python.

          • Python 3.7.5 : The PyQtChart from python Qt5.

            The PyQtChart is a set of Python bindings for The Qt Company’s Qt Charts library and is implemented as a single module.

          • Null in Python: Understanding Python’s NoneType Object

            If you have experience with other programming languages, like C or Java, then you’ve probably heard of the concept of null. Many languages use this to represent a pointer that doesn’t point to anything, to denote when a variable is empty, or to mark default parameters that you haven’t yet supplied. null is often defined to be 0 in those languages, but null in Python is different.

            Python uses the keyword None to define null objects and variables. While None does serve some of the same purposes as null in other languages, it’s another beast entirely. As the null in Python, None is not defined to be 0 or any other value. In Python, None is an object and a first-class citizen!

          • Python Bytes: #169 Jupyter Notebooks natively on your iPad
          • Test and Code: 101: Application Security – Anthony Shaw

            Anthony Shaw is doing something about it by creating an editor plugin that actually helps you write more secure application code while you are coding.

            On today’s Test & Code, Anthony and I discuss his security plugin, but also application security in general, as well as other security components you need to consider.

            Security is something every team needs to think about, whether you are a single person team, a small startup, or a large corporation.

            Anthony and I also discuss where to start if it’s just a few of you, or even just one of you.

          • Universal app reload with entr

            A useful feature many web frameworks have is auto-reload. Your app is running in the background, you change the code, and the app is restarted with those changes, so you can try them out immediately. What if you wanted that behavior for everything that you’re writing? And without any coding to implement it over and over in every little project?

            Then you can use entr. It’s a nice little UNIXy [1] tool. It really just does one thing – running commands when files change. And it has a simple, usable interface. You just pass it the names of the files it needs to watch, and give it the command to run.

          • Which verison of Python are you running?

            I actually want to ask you which version of Python3 are you running? Yes, it is a question I have to ask myself based on projects I am working on. I am sure there are many more people in the world who are also in the similar situation.

          • Using Python and GNU Octave to plot data

            Data science is a domain of knowledge that spans programming languages. Some are well-known for solving problems in this space, while others are lesser-known. This article will help you become familiar with doing data science with some popular languages.

          • Python while Loop

            Loops are one of the fundamental concepts of programming languages. Loops are handy when you want to repeat a specific block of code a number of times until a given condition is met. There are two basic loop constructs in Python, for and while loops. This tutorial covers the basics of while loops in Python. We’ll also show you how to use the else clause and the break and continue statements.

          • Stop Installing Python Packages Globally — Use Virtual Environments

            Python virtual environments allow you to install Python packages in an isolated location for a particular application, instead of installing them globally.
            Let’s explore what the advantages are and how you can quickly get started.

        • Rust

    • Standards/Consortia

      • How 1500 bytes became the MTU of the internet

        On the face of it 1500 is a weird number, we would normally expect a lot of constants in computing to be based around mathematical constants, like powers of 2. 1500, however fits none of those.

        So where did 1500 come from, and why are we still using it?

      • Is it Possible to Identify DNS over HTTPs Without Decrypting TLS?

        Whenever I talk about DNS over HTTPS (DoH), the question comes up if it is possible to fingerprint DoH traffic without decrypting it. The idea is that something about DoH packets is different enough to identify them.

        [...]

        At this point, I would call the experiment a “proof of concept.” It is not a conclusive experiment. I only collected a few minutes of traffic and went maybe to a dozen different sites. All tests were performed on a Mac using Firefox 71 and Cloudflare as a resolver. I may get around to do more testing during the day and will update this post accordingly.

      • More DNS over HTTPS: Become One With the Packet. Be the Query. See the Query

        Two days ago, I wrote about how to profile traffic to recognize DNS over HTTPS. This is kind of a problem for DNS over HTTPS. If you can see it, you may be able to block it. On Twitter, a few chimed in to provide feedback about recognizing DNS over HTTPS. I checked a couple of other clients, and well, didn’t have a ton of time so this is still very preliminary:

        [..]

        But to come back to the initial observation: The DoH traffic had specific packet sizes it preferred. So I was looking at this since it didn’t seem random, meaning it leaked information.

      • ‘This Is Disastrous’: How the Vinyl Industry Is Responding to the Apollo Masters Fire

        The day that everyone in the vinyl-manufacturing world has been worried about for years finally arrived. Earlier this month, Apollo Masters Corp., one of the two places in the world that produce the lacquer discs needed to assemble master plates for pressing records, burned down. The blaze reportedly took 82 firefighters and three hours to extinguish. No one was harmed, but the fire obliterated the Banning, California, facility responsible for, by most estimates, 70 to 85 percent of the lacquer plates used in vinyl production. There is now just one such factory in the world capable of producing that crucial item, MDC in Japan, leaving the global supply of vinyl in peril.

        “We’ve all been worried about this, we’ve had meetings about it within the industry,” says Cash Carter, chief operating officer at Kindercore Vinyl Pressing in Athens, Georgia. “We’ve gotten together with all the other pressing plants, lacquer cutters, everybody, and been like, ‘What happens if MDC or Apollo goes away? We’re all fucked.’ We were dreading that day, but not thinking it would actually happen — that before anything disastrous happened, someone would come in and fix what needed to be fixed.… Now, is the sky falling? No. But this is disastrous. I think there are going to be pressing plants that close because of this.… We’ve been saying we need to fix this for years. Now, we actually need to fix this.”

  • Leftovers

    • British DJ/Producer Andrew Weatherall Dead at 56

      UK DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall has passed away at age 56.

    • Here’s Hoping

      In her new book—her 17th solo work—Rebecca Solnit recalls a conversation with an unnamed older man she was “seeing” who said to her, “Baby, you’re driven.” She adds that at that time, when she “threw out sharp replies without thinking,” she replied, “And you’re parked.” Solnit goes on to say that she “was driven to redeem my existence, by achievement.” Seventeen books in about thirty years, plus five co-authored books, is a lot of books in a fairly short amount of time.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Should you be working 100 hours a week?

        I’m the first to admit that as an early career researcher I embraced the culture of overwork with both arms. It’s what all my contemporaries were doing. It’s what my mentors and role models expected. And the competition was addictive – stressful as hell but occasionally exhilarating.

        I didn’t work anything like 100 hours a week, but I was definitely doing 60+. You’d cram in 10 hours a day Monday to Friday, plus another 10 over the weekend, and then squeeze a bit more in wherever possible. Of course, I was only paid for about 40 hours, but, like many junior researchers on temporary “soft money”, I treated my salary as paying for borrowed time to invest in future success. When your professional status is a ticking bomb, you sprint.

        When I finally got a permanent academic job, the pressure just got worse. Tenure doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for doing anything else, not least actually thinking, which in some long-forgotten era used to be the primary job of the scholar.

      • The Charter School Movement Is Imploding. What Comes Next May Be Worse

        Trump’s plan for ‘school choice’ will lead to the further privatization of public education.

    • Hardware

      • Hard disk reliability study – 2005-2020

        In other words, practically, if I keep two copies of any which data, the likelihood of data loss is 2.5% over a decade, or 0.06% for three disks. So this kind of confirms my backup strategy from a while back, and also shows that it is important for you to keep multiple copies of important files, if you want them to outlast your hardware.

        Conclusion

        There you go. I hope you find this 15-year-long study valuable. Of course, any techie like me could do it. All techies hoard hardware like mad, and I’m sure most of Dedoimedo readers have a bunch of computers and tons of hard disks strewn about, so it’s just the matter of compiling the right data. And I’m sure every such compilation would be compelling. A compelling compiling, hi hi.

        If you have any comments or suggestions about my findings, I’d love to hear them. Again, I don’t have a massive data center, so I can’t do an accurate comparative study between vendors, disks sizes and alike, so do take my results with a pinch of cardamom. But I believe my numbers are quite indicative for home usage scenarios, so if you’re mulling how to handle your data down the long trouser leg of time, you have some indication of where to start, and how to hedge your odds. Take care.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Passengers Leave Ship Docked Off Japan After Quarantine Ends

        About 500 passengers left the cruise ship Diamond Princess on Wednesday at the end of a much-criticized two-week quarantine aboard the vessel that failed to stop the spread of the new virus among passengers and crew.

      • “Don’t Listen to Them”: Insurance Industry Front Group to Run Ads Attacking Medicare for All During Democratic Debate

        “We are winning, so the industry is attacking Medicare for All to protect their profits and help the politicians defending those profits.”

      • Culinary Workers Union Member Would Trade Union Health Care for Medicare for All

        The third presidential contest of the primary season takes place Saturday in Nevada. One of the state’s most coveted endorsements is from the Culinary Workers Union, which represents some 60,000 workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries in Las Vegas and Reno. Its membership is 54% Latinx. But last week they decided not to endorse any of the candidates. Nevada is a “right to work” state, and the Culinary Workers Union has attracted members by offering them health care. It has said it supports “choices” in health care. The mobilization of service employees could be critical to winning the Nevada caucuses. We speak with In These Times labor reporter Hamilton Nolan and Marcie Wells, an activist, waitress, single parent, and a member of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Nevada for 16 years. Her essay for CommonDreams.org is titled “I Have ‘Some of the Best’ Health Insurance a Union Member Can Get, But I Would Trade It Today for Medicare for All.”

      • ‘Barbaric’: 8 Million Americans Have Been Forced to Start Crowdfunding Campaigns to Cover Medical Costs, Survey Shows

        “No one should have to beg for money to get the healthcare they need in the richest country on Earth.”

      • Healthcare Providers at Iran’s Top Cancer Hospital Say Crippling Trump Sanctions Are Affecting Patients

        “I don’t know really if the target of the sanctions are the politicians or our patients. We are dealing with cancer here and cancer doesn’t stop, so we cannot stop.”

      • Why Won’t Corporate America Support Single Payer Medicare-for-All?

        The only thing that will move most large corporations is a powerful grassroots anti-corporate movement that will hold their feet to the fire.

      • When Your Doctor Is Also a Lobbyist: Inside the War Over Surprise Medical Bills

        When Carol Pak-Teng, an emergency room doctor in New Jersey, hosted a fundraiser in December for Democratic freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski, her guests, mostly doctors, were pleased when she steered the conversation to surprise medical bills.

      • The latest attempt by the antivaccine movement to use religion to oppose school vaccine mandates

        Ever since I’ve been writing about pseudoscience and the antivaccine movement, I’ve encountered antivaxxers trying to use religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Never mind that no major religion actually objects to vaccines. Indeed, I’ve been writing about how antivaxxers have used religion to try to avoid vaccines going back at least to 2006. It’s nothing new. Heck, Joe Mercola was playing the religion card to oppose vaccine mandates nearly ten years ago. Of late, antivaxxers have been really playing the “fetal cells” trope that claims that, because some childhood vaccines are manufactured from virus stock grown in cell lines derived from a fetus over 50 years ago, those vaccines are evil and tainted. Never mind that the most anti-abortion major religion in the world, the Catholic Church, has said that using such vaccines is acceptable given the temporal distance of the “evil” of abortion.

      • ‘Don’t be kidnapped by China’: Taiwan tells WHO in bid for separate virus tally

        Taiwan has reported just 22 cases, versus China’s figure of more than 72,400, but the self-ruled island shares the agency’s classification of China as “very high risk”, since the WHO considers Taiwan as part of China.

        “Taiwan is not ruled by China and certainly should not be labelled as an infected area,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told a news conference.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Kentucky official: Foreign actors, including Russians, North Koreans, target election system

        Previous attacks on election systems by foreign actors in the 2016 election focused on state-level systems, which have since beefed up security, though Dearing told legislators that “we’re now seeing those bad actors target the county level.”

      • Proprietary

        • TurboTax Is Still Tricking Customers With Tax Prep Ads That Misuse the Word “Free”

          On Dec. 30, the IRS announced it was revamping a long-standing agreement with the online tax preparation industry in which companies offer free filing to people with incomes below certain levels, a category that includes 70% of filers. The change in what’s known as the Free File program came in the wake of multiple ProPublica articles that revealed how the companies in the program steered customers eligible for free filing to their paid offerings. Under the updated agreement, the companies are now prohibited from hiding their Free File webpages from Google searches, and the IRS was allowed to create its own online tax-filing system.

          So far, it seems, the companies are abiding by their promise to make their Free File webpages visible in online searches. But the updated agreement appears to have a loophole: It doesn’t apply to advertising. Nothing in it, the agreement states, “limits or changes the rights” of participating companies to advertise “as if they were not participating in the Free File program.”

        • Ransomware Shuts Gas Compressor for 2 Days in Latest Attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          It appears likely that the attacker explored the facility’s network to “identify critical assets” before executing the ransomware attack, according to Nathan Brubaker, a senior manager at the cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. This tactic — which has become increasingly popular among hackers — makes it “possible for the attacker to disable security processes that would normally be enough to detect known ransomware indicators,” he said.

        • Twitter says Olympics, IOC accounts [cracked]

          Twitter (TWTR.N) said on Saturday that an official Twitter account of the Olympics and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) media Twitter account had been [cracked] and temporarily locked.

          The accounts were [cracked] through a third-party platform, a spokesperson for the social media platform said in an emailed statement, without giving further details.

        • Olympics, IOC accounts were [cracked], Twitter says

          The social media company Twitter on Saturday said that the official Twitter accounts for the Olympics as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have both been [cracked] and temporarily locked.

        • Apple warns revenue will be lower than expected because of coronavirus impact

          In a rare investor update on Monday, Apple said the global effects of the coronavirus outbreak are having have a material impact on the company bottom line. The company does not expect to meet its own revenue guidance for the second quarter due to the impact of the virus, and warns that “worldwide iPhone supply will be temporarily constrained.” Store closures and reduced retail traffic in China are also expected to have a significant impact.

          All of Apple’s iPhone manufacturing partner sites have been reopened but are “ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated,” which means that fewer iPhones than expected will be manufactured. As a result, “[t]hese iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide,” says Apple.

        • We decided to leave AWS

          For past adventures, I mostly use third-party email delivery services like Postmark, SendGrid, SES, etc. Unfortunately their pricing models are based on the number of emails, which are not compatible with the unlimited forwards/sends that SimpleLogin offers. In addition, we want SimpleLogin to be easily self-hosted and its components fit on a single server. For these reasons, we decide to run our MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) on EC2 directly.

        • New Workload Automation Platform Available on Linux and Windows Servers
        • War With Netflix and Disney Looms for India’s Top Local Streamer

          As global streaming giants Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. spend millions of dollars to grab viewers in India, a country that could become their biggest overseas market, a homegrown rival is preparing to defend its turf.

          Zee5, the top domestic streaming platform set up by India’s biggest television broadcaster, is betting on local content to fend off big-spending rivals, Chief Executive Officer Tarun Katial said in an interview. The over-the-top, or OTT, service is playing to its advantage by adding more local-language shows and lower-price options to gain market share, he said.

        • DHS’s cyber wing responds to ransomware attack on pipeline operator [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency recently responded to a ransomware attack on a natural gas compression facility that led the organization to shut down its operations for two days, the agency said Tuesday.

          The [attackers] were able to encrypt data on the organization’s IT and “operational technology” network, a broad term for a network that oversees industrial processes. No longer able to read data coming from across its enterprise, the facility shut down its various assets, including its pipelines, for two days.

        • Alert (AA20-049A): Ransomware Impacting Pipeline Operations [iophk: Windows TCO]

          CISA responded to a cyberattack affecting control and communication assets on the operational technology (OT) network of a natural gas compression facility. A cyber threat actor used a Spearphishing Link [T1192] to obtain initial access to the organization’s information technology (IT) network before pivoting to its OT network. The threat actor then deployed commodity ransomware to Encrypt Data for Impact [T1486] on both networks. Specific assets experiencing a Loss of Availability [T826] on the OT network included human machine interfaces (HMIs), data historians, and polling servers. Impacted assets were no longer able to read and aggregate real-time operational data reported from low-level OT devices, resulting in a partial Loss of View [T829] for human operators. The attack did not impact any programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and at no point did the victim lose control of operations. Although the victim’s emergency response plan did not specifically consider cyberattacks, the decision was made to implement a deliberate and controlled shutdown to operations. This lasted approximately two days, resulting in a Loss of Productivity and Revenue [T828], after which normal operations resumed. CISA is providing this Alert to help administrators and network defenders protect their organizations against this and similar ransomware attacks.

        • Chinese-linked [cracking] group using Windows backdoors to go after gambling industry targets

          A nation-state actor that has links with Chinese [attackers] is exploiting two new backdoors to run a cyber-espionage campaign against gambling entities in Southeast Asia, according to Trend Micro research.

          The new activity, which is also reportedly occurring in Europe and the Middle East, was first unearthed last year when cybersecurity consultancy Talent-Jump Technologies found a Microsoft Windows backdoor and contacted Trend Micro while conducting incident response for a company based in the Philippines.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Kali Everywhere!

            There was some recent noise around children and their use of Kali, so Re4son stepped up with a new way to run Kali in locations where it may have been hard to in the past. This allows you to run Kali instances inside other Unix systems, making Kali even more accessible to kids than before. Welcome LXD.

            This is added to our other alternative versions of Kali such as Docker instances, cloud images, WSL, Vagrant, NetHunter, Azure, and so on. We have the goal to make Kali as easily available to you as possible, so you always have access to it whenever you may need it.

          • The Linux Foundation reveals the most commonly open-source software components

            The Linux Foundation is addressing structural and security complexities in today’s modern software supply chains with the release of the ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a preliminary report and census II of open-source software.

            The report was put together by the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH).

          • The Linux Foundation and Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science release census for open-source software security

            The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative and Harvard University’s Lab for Innovation Science have teamed up on a census of the most critical open-source components in today’s production applications.

          • The Trouble with Free and Open Source Software

            Insecure developer accounts, legacy software, and nonstandard naming schemes are major problems, Linux Foundation and Harvard study concludes.
            A wide-ranging study by researchers at the Linux Foundation and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard has yielded vital new information on the most widely used free and open source software (FOSS) within enterprises — and potential security risks related to that use.

            The researchers found that a lack of a standardized naming scheme for FOSS components has made it hard for organizations and other stakeholders to quickly and precisely identify questionable or vulnerable components.

            They also discovered that accounts belonging to developers contributing most actively to some of the most widely deployed open source software need to be secured much better. A third finding was that legacy packages within the open source space are becoming riskier by the day, just like any other older hardware or software technology.

            “FOSS components underpin nearly all other software out there — both open and proprietary — but we know so little about which ones might be the most widely used and most vulnerable,” says Frank Nagle, professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the report. “Given the estimated economic impact of FOSS, far too little attention is paid to systematic efforts to support and maintain this core infrastructure,” he says.

            For the study, the researchers from the Linux Foundation and Harvard analyzed enterprise software usage data provided by, among others, software composition analysis firms and application security companies such as Snyk and the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center. In trying to identify the most widely used open source software, the researchers considered all of the dependencies that might exist between a FOSS package or component and other enterprise applications and systems.

          • Unsigned Firmware Puts Windows, Linux Peripherals at Risk

            Researchers at firmware security company Eclypsium on Tuesday released new research that identifies and confirms unsigned firmware in WiFi adapters, USB hubs, trackpads and cameras used in Windows and Linux computer and server products from Lenovo, Dell, HP and other major manufacturers.

            Eclypsium also demonstrated a successful attack on a server via a network interface card with unsigned firmware used by each of the big three server manufacturers.

            The demonstration shows the exposed attack vector once firmware on any of these components is infected using the issues the report describes. The malware stays undetected by any software security controls.

            Unsigned firmware provides multiple pathways for malicious actors to compromise laptops and servers. That leaves millions of Windows and Linux systems at risk of firmware attacks that can exfiltrate data, disrupt operations and deliver ransomware, warned Eclypsium.

          • Failure to sign firmware updates put Windows and Linux devices at risk
          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, java-1.7.0-openjdk, ksh, and sudo), Debian (php7.0 and python-django), Fedora (cacti, cacti-spine, mbedtls, and thunderbird), openSUSE (chromium, re2), Oracle (firefox, java-1.7.0-openjdk, and sudo), Red Hat (openjpeg2 and sudo), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk and sudo), SUSE (dbus-1, dpdk, enigmail, fontforge, gcc9, ImageMagick, ipmitool, php72, sudo, and wicked), and Ubuntu (clamav, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-aws-5.0, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-oracle-5.0, linux-azure, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and qemu).

          • Certificate validity and a y2k20 bug

            One of the standard fields of an SSL certificate is the validity period. This field includes notBefore and notAfter dates which, according to RFC5280 section 4.1.2.5, indicates the interval “during which the CA warrants that it will maintain information about the status of the certificate”

            This is one of the fields that should be inspected when accepting new or unknown certificates.

            When creating certificates, there are a number of theories on how long to set that period of validity. A short period reduces risk if a private key is compromised. The certificate expires soon after and can no longer be used. On the other hand, if the keys are well protected, then there is a need to regularly renew those short-lived certificates.

          • Free Software is protecting your data – 2014 TEDx Richard Stallman Free Software Windows and the NSA

            Libre booted (BIOS with Linux overwritten) Thinkpad T400s running Trisquel GNU/Linux OS. (src: https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html)

            LibreBooting the BIOS?

            Yes!

            It is possible to overwrite the BIOS of some Lenovo laptops (why only some?) with a minimal version of Linux.

          • NG Firewall 15.0 is here with better protection for SMB assets

            Here comes the release of NG Firewall 15.0 by Untangle with the creators claiming top-notch security for SMB assets. Let’s thoroughly discuss the latest NG Firewall update.

            With that being said, it only makes sense to first introduce this software to the readers who aren’t familiar with it. As the name ‘NG Firewall’ suggests, it is indeed a firewall but a very powerful one. It is a Debian-based and network gateway designed for small to medium-sized enterprises.

            If you want to be up-to-date with the latest firewall technology, your best bet would be to opt for this third-generation firewall. Another factor that distinguishes the NG Firewall from other such products in the market is that it combines network device filtering functions and traditional firewall technology.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Comcast, AT&T Sue Maine Over Privacy Law, Claim It Violates Free Speech

              Back in 2017, the telecom industry successfully lobbied Congress to kill some modest FCC privacy rules before they could even take effect. The rules simply required that ISPs be more transparent about what data they collect and who they sell it to, requiring that consumers opt in to the sale of more sensitive location data (financial, location). From there, the telecom lobby proceeded to convince the FCC to effectively neuter its consumer protection authority almost entirely. Not only that, it successfully lobbied the FCC to try and ban states from stepping in and protecting consumers — though the courts (so far) didn’t look too kindly upon that.

            • EFF to Ninth Circuit: Border Searches of Electronic Devices Require a Warrant

              Although the Ninth Circuit issued a strong opinion last year in favor of digital privacy rights at the border, EFF filed an amicus brief [PDF] in a new case urging the court to go a step further. The Ninth Circuit should finally hold that the Fourth Amendment requires a probable cause warrant for border searches of electronic devices.

              Our brief was filed in a case brought by Haisam Elsharkawi, a U.S. citizen who attempted to board a flight at Los Angeles International Airport to Saudi Arabia to attend a Muslim religious pilgrimage. Border agents removed him from the boarding line and began questioning him. Elsharkawi repeatedly asked for a lawyer and border agents took him to a holding cell and handcuffed him to a bench. They also searched his carry-on bag and person, and he witnessed border agents manually search his two cell phones. He believes that one phone was also forensically searched.

            • The Broadband Industry Is Suing Maine Over a Web Privacy Law

              The broadband industry is suing Maine to stop a web-browsing privacy law similar to the one killed by Congress and President Donald Trump in 2017. Industry groups claim the state law violates First Amendment protections on free speech and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

              The Maine law was signed by Democratic governor Janet Mills in June 2019 and is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020. It requires ISPs to get customers’ opt-in consent before using or sharing sensitive data. As Mills’ announcement in June said, the state law “prohibits a provider of broadband Internet access service from using, disclosing, selling, or permitting access to customer personal information unless the customer expressly consents to that use, disclosure, sale or access. The legislation also prohibits a provider from refusing to serve a customer, charging a customer a penalty or offering a customer a discount if the customer does or does not consent to the use, disclosure, sale or access of their personal information.”

            • The Indian government is reportedly cracking down on VPN usage in Jammu & Kashmir

              The Jammu & Kashmir region of India has seen more internet shutdowns in recent years than most everywhere else on Earth. While there is political turmoil in the region, the Indian government has used this as an excuse to crack down on democratic actions such as demonstrations and especially freedom of expression on the open internet by straight up shutting down the internet at times. The Jammu & Kashmir region has gone months at a time without [Internet], though citizens in the region still find ways to connect and make their voices heard whether through 2G mobile networks or VPNs.

            • Amazon Accused by Activist of Not Providing Basic Email Security

              Emails are routed through Amazon servers that in some cases fail to provide so-called TLS encryption, which is a standard safety practice, according to the complaint, which was filed in the German state of Hesse on behalf of a seller on Amazon Marketplace.

              This failure violates the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which requires companies to implement appropriate security measures to protect the confidentiality of communications, the group said.

            • Driver Stranded After ‘Smart’ Rental Car Can’t Phone Home

              If there’s one recurring theme for the internet-connected era, it’s that smart technology increasingly isn’t all that smart. Your smart locks bleed personal data and can be easily hacked. Your “smart” refrigerator can leak your Gmail credentials. Your “smart” oven can turn on in the middle of the night, potentially putting you at risk. Even your “smart” Barbie doll would be better left in its dumb incarnation given it can be used to spy on toddlers.

            • NYPD Lied About National Security During An Attempt To Obtain A Journalist’s Records From Twitter

              This is a lie. There’s no way around it. I’m sure the NYPD will come up with some excuse for this, but it will probably take a lawsuit to obtain the underlying documents, if not the NYPD’s internal justifications.

            • Private Internet Access refund policy extended to 30 days

              Effective immediately, Private Internet Access subscribers will be covered under our new 30 day money back guarantee. Our subscribers are guaranteed satisfaction with our VPN product, and we wanted to make sure that our users get the VPN service they pay for and have ample time to test out their VPN configuration. What’s more – this isn’t just a special holiday extension on our return policy, this is a new update to our Terms of Service that will stay in effect all year long from here on out.

            • Three VPN use cases you should know about

              Do you want to protect your online identity, stay safe on public wifi or bypass censorship on the internet? Then this article is for you.

              First a little background on how the internet world works: Your public IP address is discoverable by browsers, websites, service providers, and other devices. This opens the door for your privacy to be compromised. It can also mean that sensitive information falls into malicious hands. When using a VPN, instead of your public IP address being displayed, it uses the address of the VPN server that all of your internet activity is routed through. This VPN server could be located anywhere in the world, which makes it impossible for those interested to find out your true location, let alone any personal information.

              Moreover, VPNs have lists of countries, after you select one, you appear to be using the internet not from your actual location, but from the location of the virtual server. VPNs secure and protect your online identity. Most of the trusted VPN service providers use the latest encryption keys to hide your data from anyone trying to spy on your digital lifestyle. If servers are not obfuscated, however, your ISP can see if you are using a VPN, but it cannot decipher the contents of your internet traffic. It means your ISP cannot see anything you do while you are connected.

            • New Senate Bill Would Place Moratorium on Federal Use of Facial Recognition

              Two Democratic senators want to temporarily pause the government’s use of facial recognition technology while a commission develops regulations.

              A pair of Democratic senators have introduced legislation to temporarily pause the federal government’s use and purchase of facial recognition technology until Congress passes regulations.

              Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) announced the move on Wednesday, reflecting a growing movement to regulate and even ban the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement, government agencies like Customs and Border Protection and private corporations.

            • Lindsey Graham’s new bill would end the internet as we know it

              If Sen. Lindsey Graham gets his way, the federal government will launch another attack on online privacy. The South Carolina Republican will ask lawmakers to give Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice unchecked access to all of your messaging, file-sharing, and video-sharing tools. That is bad news for just about everyone and a nightmare for those who value digital privacy.

            • Ring Updates Device Security and Privacy—But Ignores Larger Concerns

              Amazon’s surveillance doorbell company Ring has announced extra layers of security and control for users after a wave of backlash from civil liberties and cyber security organizations like EFF and Mozilla. Organizations raised major concerns over Ring’s lack of effort in protecting the data and security of users, including permitting multiple log-in attempts that allowed bad actors to take control of people’s Ring cameras; not requiring two-factor authentication; and allowing a number of undisclosed third-party trackers to harvest data from the Ring app. 

              Ring’s announcement declared that the company is making two-factor authentication mandatory for users—meaning that when a person logs in to their Ring account, they will have to enter a code emailed or texted to them to verify that they are the person attempting to log in.

            • How Amazon Convinced Millions of People to Welcome “Listening Devices” Into Their Homes

              “Alexa is one more way for Amazon to gather extremely valuable data,” Meredith Whittaker, co-director of the A.I. Now Institute at NYU, tells FRONTLINE in the above excerpt. “And this data collection is extremely important to this business model. It’s extremely hard to do … convincing people to just deploy something like this in their home is— it’s a brilliant trick.”

            • Soros: Zuckerberg, Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook

              Soros targeted the two Facebook officials in a letter to the editor to the Financial Times responding to Zuckerberg’s comments Monday encouraging “more regulation of Big Tech.” He accused the CEO of “obfuscating the facts by piously arguing for government regulation.”

              The Democratic donor alleged Zuckerberg has partnered with President Trump in a “mutual assistance arrangement” to help him get reelected through political advertising, an accusation he has made in the past.

            • Massive Israeli Data Leak Is Treasure Trove for Iran Intel. It Can Jeopardize Mossad and Special Ops

              This app, which enables access to the country’s entire voter registry, is used “to run elections and make contact with voters,” according to the company. It includes voters’ full names, ID numbers, gender, telephone numbers and current addresses. In addition, there is information entered by party campaign staff about whether or not the individual in question supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

            • Pay Up, Or We’ll Make Google Ban Your Ads

              A new email-based extortion scheme apparently is making the rounds, targeting Web site owners serving banner ads through Google’s AdSense program. In this scam, the fraudsters demand bitcoin in exchange for a promise not to flood the publisher’s ads with so much bot and junk traffic that Google’s automated anti-fraud systems suspend the user’s AdSense account for suspicious traffic.

            • Need a New Driver’s License to Fly? Prepare for a Real Wait.

              Motor vehicle offices are a particular sort of urban hell where people spend hour after hour waiting — waiting to take a number, waiting to have a photograph snapped, waiting to take a vision test, waiting to be called to a clerk’s window.

              All to get or renew a driver’s license.

              Now, as many unhappy applicants are finding out, it’s even worse. A new federal security requirement is forcing drivers who want to use their license to board a commercial flight to apply for renewals or new licenses in person at a motor vehicle office.

            • Confidentiality

              • [Old] Kerberos (I): How does Kerberos work? – Theory

                The objective of this series of posts is to clarify how Kerberos works, more than just introduce the attacks. This due to the fact that in many occasions it is not clear why some techniques works or not. Having this knowledge allows to know when to use any of those attacks in a pentest.

                Therefore, after a long journey of diving into the documentation and several posts about the topic, we’ve tried to write in this post all the important details which an auditor should know in order to understand how take advantage of Kerberos protocol.

                In this first post only basic functionality will be discussed. In later posts it will see how perform the attacks and how the more complex aspects works, as delegation.

              • [Old] Kerberos (II): How to attack Kerberos?

                These attacks are sorted by the privileges needed to perform them, in ascending order. Thus, to perform the first attacks only connectivity with the DC (Domain Controller) is required, which is the KDC (Key Distribution Center) for the AD (Active Directory) network. Whereas, the last attack requires a user being a Domain Administrator or having similar privileges.

              • Kerberos (III): How does delegation work?

                In this article, we will focus on understand how the different kinds of delegation work, including some special cases. Additionally, some scenarios where it could be possible to take advantage of these mechanisms in order to leverage privilege escalation or set persistence in the domain will be introduced.

                Before starting with the explanations, I will assume that you already understand Kerberos’ basic concepts. However, if expressions like TGT, TGS, KDC or Golden ticket sound strange to you, you should definitely check the article “How does Kerberos works?” or any related Kerberos’ introduction.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.N.: Thousands Fleeing Syrian Offensive, Kids Dying in the Cold

        Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing a Russian-backed Syrian offensive are being squeezed into ever smaller areas near Turkey’s border “under horrendous conditions” in freezing temperatures that are killing babies and young children, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Wednesday.

      • Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and Israel’s Settlements

        Mikhail Bakunin, in that charming anarchist tradition, regarded the state as an evil to be done away with.  Such collective formations were criminal, oppressive, eviscerating to the individual.  The corporation might be regarded as a similar collective, adopting and aping elements of the state with, in some cases, greater latitude to achieve its object.  At times, they collude with states to advance their interests, which rarely deviate from the profit motive; in other cases, they seek to overthrow state regimes in favour of more compliant ones.

      • Guinea: Fear of Further Crackdown as Constitutional Poll Nears

        Guinea’s government should respect freedom of assembly and ensure security force discipline in advance of the March 1, 2020 constitutional referendum, Human Rights Watch said today. The referendum on a new constitution could clear the way for President Alpha Condé to run for a third presidential term.

        Since widespread demonstrations against the new constitution began in October 2019, security forces have used tear gas, riot gear, and, at times, firearms against protesters, who have thrown stones and other projectiles at police and gendarmes. Social media videos verified by international journalists have shown members of the security forces firing toward demonstrators, beating an elderly man, and using a woman as a shield against stones thrown by protesters. More than 30 people have been killed and dozens injured.

      • An Arms Race That No One Can Win

        We all have a vital interest in ensuring that nuclear weapons are not used. It’s time for the United States to take the lead on nonproliferation and disarmament.

      • Afghan Troops say Taliban are Brothers and War is “Not Really Our Fight.”

        The world is waiting anxiously to see whether the U.S. and Afghan governments and the Taliban will agree to a one-week truce that could set the stage for a “permanent and comprehensive” ceasefire and a withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign occupation forces from Afghanistan. Could the talks be for real this time, or will they turn out to be just another smokescreen for President Trump’s addiction to mass murder and celebrity whack-a-mole?

      • We’re All in This Together

        Listen: we don’t have to agree about everything.

        [...]

        America has been a warring nation—a military empire intent on occupation and conquest—for so long that perhaps we, the citizens of this warring nation, have forgotten what it means to live in peace, with the world and one another.

        We’d better get back to the fundamentals of what it means to be human beings who can get along if we want to have any hope of restoring some semblance of sanity, civility and decency to what is progressively being turned into a foul-mouthed, hot-headed free-for-all bar fight by politicians for whom this is all one big, elaborate game designed to increase their powers and fatten their bank accounts.

      • EU Urges Zimbabwe to Bring Abusive Security Forces to Justice

        The European Union yesterday called on the Zimbabwe government to ensure perpetrators of human rights violations are swiftly brought to justice and immediately implement the recommendations of an inquiry into violence following the 2018 elections.

        The Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry, set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa following the post-election violence of August 1, 2018, found that six people died and 35 others were injured as a result of actions by the state security forces. Some commission recommendations, which have yet to be implemented, include ensuring perpetrators are held accountable and a special committee to compensate those killed and those who lost property is set up.

      • South Sudan: Reform Abusive Security Agency

        South Sudan’s National Assembly should urgently enact reforms of the National Security Service (NSS) to end arbitrary detention and abuse of detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should also ensure that the security agency releases all those arbitrarily detained in Juba, the capital, and elsewhere in the country and hold all those responsible for abuses to account.

        “South Sudan’s national security agency has for years carried out a full-blown assault on critics of the government and political opponents in brazen disregard for basic rights,” said Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “With the formation of a unity government, South Sudan’s leaders should now show they are serious about ending these abuses and holding those responsible to account.”

      • WORTH THE PRICE? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War
      • New Film Shows How Biden Played Leading Role in Push for US to Invade Iraq

        The Democratic presidential candidates face off in Las Vegas Wednesday night ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Nevada could be a decisive state for candidates who performed poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, including former Vice President Joe Biden. As Biden hopes for a comeback, a new short documentary sheds light on his extensive role in the Iraq War — an issue that has been raised repeatedly on the campaign trail. Biden has apologized for supporting the war, but the new film, directed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s Mark Weisbrot, exposes Biden’s central role in pushing for an Iraq invasion. It’s called Worth the Price? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War. The documentary is narrated by Danny Glover.

      • More Than 1,200 IBEW Members Call on Union Leadership to Retract Biden Endorsement

        In organized labor, as in society at large, the 2020 Democratic primary is exposing the deep, latent divide between the left and the establishment.

      • International Security and Estonia 2020 [PDF]

        At present, the influence activities of Russian intelligence services notionally fall into two categories.

        »One is the recruitment of so-called influence agents who, through their authority or position (including through the media), can influence public opinion or political, economic and social processes in the target country.

        »The second has emerged in the digital age and is about influencing public opinion by spreading provoca-tive comments or fake news through internet portals and social media anonymously (i.e. using false iden-tity and concealing the real author), also known as “internet trolling”

      • Over 60 Germans among Islamists in Idlib

        More than 60 Germans are fighting in Idlib, the last stronghold of foreign fighters in northwest Syria, according to reports by the German broadcaster SWR on Sunday.

        SWRreviewed transcripts of instant messages sent by the fighters and determined that the individuals are largely members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group with ties to al-Qaida. At least one person is working with the group Junud al-Sham.

        Using messenger apps such as Telegram, the fighters solicited financial aid from supporters back in Germany by way of text, video and voice messages.

      • UK: London police shoot man in ‘terrorism-related’ incident

        Amman had been released from prison at the end of January, after serving just half of a three-year and four-month prison sentence for the “possession and distribution of extremist material,” according to British media. He had been under active police surveillance at the time of the stabbing.

      • Small Group of Orthodox Muslims Causing Problems in Mosques, Council of Mosques Says

        According to Bouharrou, there are 15 to 20 mosques in the Netherlands that are ultra-orthodox and causing problems. And the silent majority does not make itself heard. But he thinks that by acting more strongly, the Muslim community can solve this problem itself. “The solution is that they enter into the public debate,” Bouharrou said, adding that this also means speaking out against orthodox or extremist preachers on social media.

        Influences from the Gulf states must be tackled, he stressed. “We have to do something to make those influences smaller,” Bouharrou said. It is “by definition” undesirable if people from abroad are involved in the boards of Dutch mosques, he said.

      • Suicide Bomber Kills Eight, Wounds 16 At Radical Sunni Islamist Rally In Pakistan

        Quetta Police Chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema said the February 17 rally was being staged by dozens of Sunni Muslim followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) party.

        The ASWJ is considered the political entity of the Lashkar-e Jhangvi — an extremist faction that has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly attacks against Pakistan’s Shi’a minority.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sorry, New York Times, But America Began in 1776

        If this even needs to be said, beautiful people of colour kept slaves as well. In fact, one of the world’s most significant slave trades, the Barbary Slave Trade, was focused almost entirely around the sale of white European slaves to Moorish and Black purchasers in North Africa. The Barbary Trade operated from the 16th century to the late 18th century, inspired a verse in the U.S. Marine Corps Hymn (“to the shores of Trip-o-li”), and even helped add the word “slave” to English-language dictionaries: The term comes from “Slav,” an ethnic descriptor for the residents of chaotic Eastern European states (today’s Bosnia, etc.) who were frequently sold into slavery to masters of all shades. While some desire on the part of 1619 participants to focus on the evils of our own society is understandable, it is hardly honest to attribute the unique characteristics of American society to slavery, when essentially all societies had slavery historically and only one became the USA. As the 1776 bossman Bob Woodson has noted, lies and omissions are not effective tools with which to fight racism.

        All that said, it is not enough merely to critique an opponent’s worldview: A successful movement must provide a worldview of its own. Three core elements of my view of slavery—and, I think it is fair to say, 1776’s as well—are: (1) recognizing that an anti-slavery movement led by white and Black people of goodwill existed in this country as long as slavery did, and won in the end; (2) recognizing that slavery did not “build the USA,” but rather made the pre-bellum South into something of a backwater, due largely to the proud if subtle resistance of the slaves themselves; and (3) recognizing that America paid a diverse butcher’s bill of hundreds of thousands of lives, during the Civil War, in order to FREE the slaves.

      • The Heartland Lobby

        Donors Trust’s activities are not illegal, but they do bypass the otherwise quite extensive transparency regulations in the US. Both Donors Trust and Donors Capital Trust are tax-exempt foundations that redistribute corporate donations to conservative and market-liberal think tanks. US tax law requires them to disclose to whom the funds are given. However, they are allowed to keep the name of the donor undisclosed on the grounds of anonymous. In practice, this means oil and coal companies can support anti-climate campaigns via Donors Trust or Donors Capital without having to reveal their financial support.

      • The Rohrabacher-Assange meeting

        California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s recent three-hour meeting with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange as reported earlier this week by The Hill may prove interesting in light of the allegations of several former high-ranking U.S. intelligence analysts that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians or anyone else prior to last fall’s presidential election.
        Mr. Rohrabacher said little after the meeting other than that Mr. Assange repeated his denial that the materials he obtained and made public did not come from the Russians, but claimed he had more information about what actually happened that he intended to share with President Trump.
        The “common wisdom” in Washington circles is that the Russians were responsible for illegally hacking into the DNC computers during the campaign and leaked the emails thus obtained through WikiLeaks, but recent revelations suggest that there is at least a possibility that the “common wisdom” is dead flat wrong. If it is wrong and can be proven, the charges of “collusion” so dear to Mr. Trump’s opponents could collapse.

      • The dumbwaiter defense

        EARLIER THIS MONTH, a Brazilian judge stopped the prosecution of Glenn Greenwald under Brazil’s hacking laws. The case against Greenwald, a journalist for The Intercept, was apparently modeled on the indictment of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, under United States hacking laws. Both cases are examples of governments using hacking laws to stifle political speech—and we should expect more of the same.

        The public tends to think of Assange’s case as a massive First Amendment attack under the Espionage Act, for passing on leaks from a whistleblower and former Army intelligence analyst named Chelsea Manning. Assange, however, was also charged with breaking US hacking laws for allegedly agreeing with Manning to crack a password to a government computer network. The case against Assange is flimsy—as is the one against Greenwald. Both cases are based on the same theory, first advanced by Mike Pompeo and the Justice Department, and rooted in a case known as Bartnicki.

    • Environment

      • Trump signs order diverting water to California farmers against state wishes

        The state is expected to fight the order.

        “California won’t allow the Trump Administration to destroy and deplete our natural resources,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a statement after the speech. “We’re prepared to challenge the Trump Administration’s harmful attack on our state’s critical ecosystems and environment.”

      • Bezos’ $10 Billion Climate Pledge Makes No Mention of Amazon’s Climate Impact

        The announcement made no mention of Amazon, even though the company has been criticized by its own employees for business ventures they say contribute to the problem, such as its vast network of delivery trucks; and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing division, which works with oil and gas companies to help them better extract fossil fuels.

        Last month, Amazon workers protested on social media in defiance of company rules. And in September, more than 1,000 Amazon employees organized a walkout as part of a global climate strike. The day before the scheduled walkout, Amazon announced that it was co-founding and participating in a new climate pledge, promising to become carbon neutral by 2040. It was later reported that the company “threatened to fire” several of the employees involved in the walkouts, saying they violated company policy on speaking to the media.

      • Report: Climate Disruption Threatens Health, Future of All Children

        It said dramatic progress had been made in improving children’s lives in the past five decades but economic inequalities meant the benefits were not shared by all.

        And the heating up of the planet and damage to the environment, among other stresses, meant every child faced an uncertain future, it added.

        “Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity, heat stress, emerging infectious diseases, and large-scale population migration,” said the report by more than 40 experts.

      • Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion to fight climate change

        Bezos said that the money will be used to help scientists, activists, NGOs, and “any effort that offers a real possibility” to help preserve the earth from the impact of climate change. A person close to the fund told The Verge that it would not engage in private sector investment, but focus entirely on charitable giving.

        The fund plans to begin issuing grants this summer, but right now, there are few hard details besides what Bezos shared on Instagram, so it’s unclear exactly how or when applications for grants will be accepted.

      • Growing Evidence Says People on Easter Island Were Still Okay When Europeans Landed

        New research suggests these islanders were building platforms for the iconic Moai statues up until at least 1750, well beyond the society’s hypothesised collapse around 1600 and up to and beyond the later arrival of foreign seafarers.

      • Extreme Weather Could Trigger a Recession Unlike We’ve Ever Seen

        New research published Monday warns that extreme weather driven by the climate crisis could bring about an economic recession “the likes of which we’ve never seen before” if markets don’t do a better job assessing climate risks.

        Paul Griffin, an accounting professor at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management, wrote in a paper for Nature Energy that financial markets have not sufficiently accounted for the major economic risks posed by the global climate crisis, even as extreme weather—from destructive hurricanes to prolonged drought—wreaks havoc across the globe.

        “Unpriced risk was the main cause of the Great Recession in 2007-2008,” Griffin wrote. “Right now, energy companies shoulder much of that risk. The market needs to better assess risk, and factor a risk of extreme weather into securities prices… Without better knowledge of this risk, the average energy investor can only hope that the next extreme event will not trigger a sudden correction to the market values of energy firms.”

      • Extreme Weather Could Spark Economic Recession ‘Likes of Which We’ve Never Seen Before,’ Research Warns

        “Unpriced risk was the main cause of the Great Recession in 2007-2008.”

      • Follow The Leaders? The Role Of Universities In A Collapsing Climate

        With the new university semester about to start, Dr Nick Riemer asks what it means to devote years to higher education when the planet is literally burning.

      • Soggy Neighborhoods Under Flash-Flood Warning in Mississippi

        Forecasters expected more heavy rains in parts of the flood-ravaged South on Tuesday, prolonging the misery for worried people who still can’t get back in homes surrounded by water.

      • Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos

        On Monday afternoon of February 10, 2020, I went to the Classics department of Pomona College for a lecture on Herakles. Chiara Sulprizio of Vanderbilt University used cartoons and animation to help us understand the lasting influence and power of classical mythology.

      • Buttigieg and Centrist Dems Want a Military Response to Climate Change. That’s Dangerous.

        The Pentagon sees climate victims as threats.

      • Greenpeace Finds Labels on Plastic Products ‘Mislead the Public and Harm America’s Recycling Systems’

        “Instead of getting serious about moving away from single-use plastic, corporations are hiding behind the pretense that their throwaway packaging is recyclable.”

      • World Shifting to Net Zero Emissions

        More than 30 trillion of the world annual product (GDP) is being generated in nations, regions and cities with an actual or proposed net zero target.

      • Trump Spreads Alarm About Green New Deal: “They Want to Kill Our Cows”

        As the campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to gain (an albeit fragile) viability, along with the equally fragile yet increasingly necessary enactment of a Green New Deal, Donald Trump is inoculating his base.

      • Permafrost Is Already Thawing. Will It Tip the Scales in the Climate Crisis?

        Across vast swaths of the northern hemisphere’s higher reaches, frozen ground holds billions of tonnes of carbon.

      • Damning New Report Says Every Nation Undermining Children’s Hopes for a Livable Planet

        Children’s “collective concerns must now be heard, and effective actions taken to prevent the next generation inheriting an irreversibly damaged planet.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • ‘The World Must Act Boldly’: 23 Former Diplomats Urge Global Leaders to Adopt Paris-Style Agreement to Protect Biodiversity

          “Humanity sits on the precipice of irreversible loss of biodiversity and a climate crisis that imperils the future for our grandchildren and generations to come.”

        • The Trump Administration Is Cutting Back Protections for Migratory Birds

          The Trump administration has proposed a new regulation on protecting migratory birds that is a drastic pullback from policies in force for the past 100 years. The draft rule is open for public comment through March 19.

        • Why We Need (Ethical) Wildlife Photography Now More Than Ever
        • Bald Eagles Are Still Dying From Lead Poisoning

          The Cape Fear Raptor Center, North Carolina’s largest eagle rehab facility, has recently treated seven eagles for lead poisoning, executive director Dr. Joni Shimp told CNN. The center also said that 80 percent of the eagles it has had to euthanize since November were because of lead poisoning.

          Similarly, officials from the Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation in North Carolina said that 70 to 80 percent of the eagles they treat have high levels of lead in their system, and the effects are devastating, according to WTKR in North Carolina and coastal Virginia.

        • Dolphins Stabbed and Shot in Florida, NOAA Enforcement Seeks Tips

          Biologists believe these cases may stem from humans feeding wild dolphins. Dolphins fed by people learn to associate people and boats with food, which can put them in harmful situations. Dolphins may suffer fatal impacts from boat strikes, entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear, and acts of intentional harm like these. You can prevent harm to wild dolphins by not feeding or attempting to feed them.

        • Florida dolphin killings: $20K reward offered after shootings

          “Stay approximately 50 yards away from viewing dolphins in the wild, and that’s your best bet for not impacting them,” Horstman said. If they swim up to a boat, “put the boat engine in neutral. If the dolphin is begging, do not try to engage with that animal in any way.”

          It’s against federal law to feed or harass dolphins, and penalties can include a $100,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Democrats Warn of Potential Chaos in Nevada Weeks After Iowa Tech Issues

        With early voting already under way, Democratic campaigns and volunteers warned of the potential for chaos in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, even though the state party abandoned use of the same faulty mobile application which marred the results of the chaotic Iowa caucus.

      • United We Stan
      • House Rep Overseeing Tax Code Is Number One in Corporate PAC Donations

        The congressman who collected the most corporate campaign money last year is the chairman of the committee that writes the tax code, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.).

      • Scottish Government Decries “Devastating” Effect Post-Brexit Border Policy Will Have on Economy

        First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a call for a Scottish visa, which overseas workers could use to settle in the country and to bypass the Tories’ proposed “points” immigration system.

      • Tonight’s Debate in Nevada Is the Most Consequential Moment of the 2020 Race

        Thanks to the location of tonight’s Democratic debate, we are all doomed to a common fate: the cringeworthy moment of hearing a pundit proclaim, “One thing’s for sure: What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas.” We will inevitably hear about candidates “putting all their chips on the table,” and of candidates “going all in.” For journalists in search of an easy metaphor, this is low-hanging fruit, and it will be inescapable. You have been warned.

      • Young Activists “Have Always Been Seen as Rebellious”: Ocasio-Cortez Defends Progressive Lawmakers’ Aggressive Push for Bold Reforms

        “Our political system is not designed for people like us. They’re not designed for working people to succeed, for young people, for women, for people of color.”

      • A Treatise on Trinities

        Back in the days of Thatcherism I watched a journalist interview a Conservative MP on British television. The MP had the wind in his sails and the journalist was decidedly in the doldrums. That was a scene often to be repeated.

      • McConnell, McCarthy, and Graham Condemned for ‘Pathetic’ Defense of AG Barr as ‘Man of Highest Character’

        “Republican Party leadership continues to endorse Trump and Barr’s unprecedented authoritarian corrosion of the rule of law.”

      • Subverting Trump’s Culture of Cruelty
      • Sanders Alone On Debate Stage to Say Candidate With the Most Votes Should Get Nomination at Convention

        “Out of all the candidates, Bernie is the only one to advocate for the democratic will of the people.”

      • Klobuchar Is in Fourth Place, and Her Policies Are Shockingly Conservative

        Following the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Amy Klobuchar is in fourth place in delegates. She trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg but is ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden. Reporting showed that at least some voters were moved by her New Hampshire debate performance where she confronted Buttigieg for criticizing those doing the work in Washington. But Klobuchar will likely have a difficult time rallying support from voters concerned with progressive policy, given the centrism and — at times — shocking conservatism of her policy proposals in the realms of education, health care, disability rights, opioid treatment, immigration, climate policy, housing policy and more. Especially when taken in comparison to the bolder policy proposals of Senators Warren and Sanders, Klobuchar’s policies are largely an embrace of the status quo.

      • Sanders Calls Trump’s Clemency for Corrupt Officials Proof of a Broken System

        Sen. Bernie Sanders said late Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s decision to grant clemency to several prominent white-collar criminals — including the former governor of Illinois and a financier known as the “junk bond king” — was a demonstration of how the U.S. criminal justice system favors the powerful while punishing the vulnerable.

      • Paul Krugman on This Bernie Sanders and Socialism Thing

        What Sanders actually calls himself is a “democratic socialist”—a term that never appears in Krugman’s article—because he doesn’t believe that billionaires shouldn’t be running the show and the working people of the country should.

      • Bernie Sanders and the Revenge of the Superdelegates

        Unless Bernie Sanders wins enough delegates to capture the Democratic Party nomination on the first ballot, he is not going to be the nominee. The reason will be that the superdelegates–those same people who were his wrath in 2016–will come back to deny him the nomination.

      • Trump Approval Rating Lowest Among Sanders Supporters Compared With Backers of Any Other 2020 Democrat: Poll

        “I think you all better reevaluate all these takes about Bernie Bros supporting Trump.”

      • ‘So Refreshing to Hear This’: Progressives Praise Sanders for Answer on Israel-Palestine Conflict at CNN Town Hall

        “I have never heard a major U.S. presidential candidate talk like this in my life.”

      • Calling Nominating Bloomberg a ‘Huge Risk,’ Warren and Sanders Eviscerate Billionaire on Debate Stage

        “Swinging at Bloomberg right out of the gate.”

      • ‘Cruel, Inexcusable’: Bloomberg 2019 Comments on Trans Rights Come Under Fire

        “Update your understanding. No one gets left out of human rights.”

      • Rhodes Scholars on Bernie, Buttigieg, and Meritocracy

        From our privileged position, we believe that the only candidate who is committed to transforming inequality and creating universal access to education is Bernie Sanders.

      • Pardoning the Swamp
      • Trump Goes Global With His Absurd Anti-Abortion Agenda

        Rolanda Hollis, a state representative from Alabama, has introduced a bill in her state’s legislature that has gotten a lot of attention. After Alabama banned nearly all abortions last year, Hollis introduced a bill that would require all men over the age of 50, or those who have fathered three children — whichever comes first — to undergo a mandatory vasectomy. She made it clear the bill was meant to “send a message that men should not be legislating what women do with their bodies.” Replying to a question on Twitter, she explained, “The Vasectomy bill is to help with the reproductive system. This is to neutralize the abortion ban bill.

      • The Rule of Law Under Trump

        William Galston, a Brookings Institution senior fellow, said that “we are a government of men and not law.” It has no force until people enforce it. That is the underlying theme of Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig’s A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America. The test is how far can one person, in this case a self-declared stable genius who is the president of the world’s longest running democracy, repeatedly stretch or ignore the legal norms of a democratic government before a breaking point is reached? The current Republican controlled Senate Trial of President Donald J. Trump will answer that question.

      • Imprisoned for leaking secrets, woman seeks Trump clemency

        Authorities never identified the news organization. But the Justice Department announced Winner’s June 2017 arrest the same day The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document. It detailed Russian government efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner had leaked.

      • Neil Young Calls Trump ‘a Disgrace,’ Says Sanders Will ‘Make America Great Again’

        Young says his beef is not with Trump voters, saying that “although they have been lied to, and in many cases believed the lies, they are true Americans. I have their back.”

      • Neil Young Pens Open Letter to Donald Trump: ‘You Are a Disgrace to My Country’

        “Every time ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ or one of my songs is played at your rallies,” he continues, “I hope you hear my voice. Remember it is the voice of a tax-paying U.S. citizen who does not support you. Me.”

      • Reality Winner seeks clemency for leaking NSA report on Russian [cracking] attempts

        “Our country was attacked by a hostile foreign power,” Winner’s attorney, Alison Grinter, said Monday. “Our national healing process cannot begin until we forgive our truth tellers and begin the job of rebuilding what was taken from us: election security, accountability for those who endeavor to undermine our democracy, and safeguarding the American right to government by and for the people. None of this can begin in earnest while we are still punishing those who tell us the truth.”

      • Pete Buttigieg attacks a straw-man version of Bernie Sanders, and media plays along

        It seems to me that a good measure of politicians’ fundamental character is how honestly they portray the views of their opponents.

        Do they describe those views accurately, and then make good-faith arguments against them? Or do they engage in hyperbole and knock down straw men? I think that’s a lot more telling than, say, fact-checks of minutiae. Advertisement:

        Pete Buttigieg is increasingly attacking a straw-man version of Bernie Sanders — indeed, making that a central pitch of his campaign.

      • The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee

        Rational people cannot gloss over the arbitrary exercise of authority in Kashmir, nor can they legitimize the lack of accountability in the union territory.

      • Minority Abuse: A Slice of Life in Modi’s India

        It is not uncommon for colonial governments to enact sedition laws with the purpose of stifling dissent; it is, following independence, for democratic governments to be enforcing them to quell critics.  It is also exactly what the Modi government and party encourages in India.

      • Netanyahu Trial Clouds Last Days of Israel Election Campaign

        The criminal trial for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will begin March 17, court officials announced Tuesday, shaking up the final stretch of a contentious election campaign and hurting the longtime Israeli leader’s hopes of forming a new government after the vote.

      • Religion is a Repeating Chapter in the History of Politics

        In 1949 the German philosopher Karl Jaspers coined the term ‘the axial age’ in his book, ‘The Origin and Goal of History.’ He defined the Axial Age as the pivotal period in human moral and spiritual development that has conferred upon the world the political, cultural and philosophical shape it has today. It occurred, according to Jaspers, between 2 and 3 thousand years ago in various places around the world. This pivot point in history comes after the emergence of the State and civilization in these areas, which current anthropological and archaeological thinking sets at about 5 to 6 thousand years ago.

      • Irish Elections and Unification

        The victory by Ireland’s leftwing Sinn Fein Party in the Republic’s recent election has not only overturned some 90 years of domination by the island’s two center-right parties, it suddenly puts the issue of Irish reunification on the agenda. While the campaign was fought over bread and butter issues like housing, the collapsing health care system, and homelessness, a united Ireland has long been Sinn Fein’s raison d’être. In the aftermath, Party leaders called for a border referendum on the subject.

      • We Shouldn’t Have to Beg Mark Zuckerberg to Respect Democracy

        Last month George Soros had a New York Times column arguing that Mark Zuckerberg should not be running Facebook. (Does the NYT reserve space on its opinion page for billionaires?) The gist of Soros’ piece is that Zuckerberg has made a deal with Trump. He will allow all manner of outrageous lies to be spread on Facebook to benefit Trump’s re-election campaign. In exchange, Trump will defend Zuckerberg from efforts to regulate Facebook.

      • Bernie Sanders Gains Endorsement From Latinx Group as Nevada Caucus Nears

        Progressive Latinx group Mijente on Tuesday announced its first ever presidential endorsement, for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, just days before Nevadans caucus in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary on Saturday.

      • Nevada Is a Big Test for Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All Plan

        Medicare for All faces a big test in Nevada’s Democratic caucus, where front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are pitching competing health care plans in a last-minute effort to curry favor among voters as early voting comes to a close today.

      • Bloomberg Won’t, As They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then, Neither Should Trump

        The reality is that Bloomberg and the President are little more than two peas in a pod.

      • Cornel West: Mike Bloomberg Is a ‘Neoliberal Gangster’
      • Truly Remaking Social Security is the Key to Having a Livable Society in the US

        Social Security is back in the news, as both Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, two emblematic one-percenter oligarchs, raise the issue of its future as part of their campaign strategy.

      • Bloomberg on Bloomberg: The Selected Sayings of the Much-Awaited Establishment Messiah

        “If you want to know if somebody’s a good salesman, give them the job of going to the Midwest, and picking a town, and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter. If you can sell that, you can sell anything. They just look at you, and they say, What on earth are you talking about? And you say, Well, this person identifies his or her gender as different than what’s on their birth certificate. And they say, What do you mean? You’re either born this, or you’re born that. In our prison system in New York City, we have the policy, when you walk in, drop your trousers, you go this way, and you go that way, that’s it, because you can’t sit there and mix things in jail, that’s a practical case of where you have to make a decision.” (Against transgender bathrooms, 2016)

      • Bloomberg Gains in Primaries, But His History With Unions May Be a Roadblock

        We continue our conversation with Marcie Wells, activist and waitress who is a member of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Nevada, and Hamilton Nolan, labor reporter with In These Times. Nolan says 2020 had been “the most promising election year for organized labor in a long time,” with Democratic candidates releasing platforms with strong labor protections. But Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the race threatens to upend the Democratic Party’s pro-worker shift. The billionaire former mayor of New York has a long track record of hostility toward organized labor, particularly teachers’ unions, whom he has compared to the National Rifle Association. “He is not a great friend of unions,” Nolan says of Bloomberg.

      • ‘Corporate Media Are Not Observers of the Electoral Process; They Are Participants’
      • Progressives Will Stay Home for Michael Bloomberg

        Michael Bloomberg is not afraid to use his $60 billion fortune to get a leg up in the presidential race. He pays entry level organizers $72,000 annually. In addition to the salary, he lures them with perks like free iPhones. As The Intercept reported last week, the perks are working so well that Bloomberg is enticing staff away from state and local campaigns. He has poured $400 million of his own money into campaign advertisements featuring platitudes about why his mayoral tenure and his experience building a corporate empire make him the best candidate to beat Donald Trump. Other ads tout his record on climate change and gun control.

      • Bloomberg the Satyr
      • Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign

        Interfering, corrupting and altering the views of electors is apparently frowned upon. But it all depends on who that manipulating source is. The Russians might be condemned for being meddlers of minds in the US electorate, but an American billionaire who hires battalions of influencing agents to get his word across on social media platforms is not much better. At least the Russian representatives were decent enough to light fires on both sides of the political divide, providing an odd equilibrium of chaos.

      • Democracy, Dictatorship and Bloomberg

        The 2020 presidential race didn’t get decided this week, but the choice before us did: more democracy or less of it. That’s the decision we are facing, and if the Democrats manage to foul this up, they may not get another chance.

      • Bloomberg Makes Debate Stage, Facing Democratic Rivals for 1st Time

        Billionaire Mike Bloomberg has qualified for the upcoming Democratic presidential debate, marking the first time he’ll stand alongside the rivals he has so far avoided by bypassing the early voting states and using his personal fortune to define himself through television ads.

      • How Democrats Clean Up the Messes Left By Republicans

        In addition to solving the climate crisis that’s become worse under Trump, passing universal health care that’s become more urgent under Trump, and tackling myriad other problems that have grown larger under Trump, Democrats will once again have to clean up the economic mess left by their Republican predecessor in order to preserve and expand programs that help average Americans survive. Republicans accuse Democrats of being fiscally irresponsible. But time and again, it’s the Republicans who have created economic messes that Democrats have to clean up.

      • “You Tell Me You Can’t Vote for Him?”: Eddie Glaude Calls Out GOP Strategist for Never Bernie Hypocrisy

        “If Donald Trump is the emergency that you say he is, and the Democratic Party puts forward Bernie Sanders, and you tell me you can’t vote for him, then it seems to me that Donald Trump isn’t the emergency that you say he is.”

      • Latinx Group Mijente’s First-Ever Presidential Endorsement: Bernie Sanders

        “Sen. Bernie Sanders has a long history of progressive stances and consistently remains on the side of working people.”

      • ‘You Are Not Going to Buy This Election,’ Sanders Tells Bloomberg at Rally of 17,000 in Washington

        “You’re not going to win an election when you oppose raising the minimum wage. You’re not going to win an election when you call for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

      • Factchecking NPR’s Attempted Takedown of Bernie Sanders

        The Iowa caucuses officially began the Democratic primary, and even in this ongoing, extended battle for the White House, Iowa remains an important marker for candidates and the media. A close look at a piece by two of NPR’s leading political reporters, which aired just before the caucuses, provides a view of how journalists speak with authority on issues they seem to know very little about. The conversation between Mary Louise Kelly and her partner Mara Liasson, headlined “Where Iowa Falls in the Big Picture of the 2020 Election” (All Things Considered, 2/3/20), began with Kelly introducing the importance of Iowa for Democrats, but, she observed, it’s been on the “backburner,” after days of constant impeachment coverage.

      • “Amazon Empire” is PBS’ frightening look at Jeff Bezos’ relentless capitalist success story

        Amazon has figured out how to win the hearts and minds of the American consumer, a buyer so hooked on convenience that he or she generally doesn’t think too deeply about the hidden moral toll of that convenience – or how much personal information they willingly give away in exchange for one-click shopping and easy access to information by way of voice command.

      • Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos

        As politicians and regulators around the world start to consider the global impact of Amazon — and how to rein in Bezos’ power — FRONTLINE investigates how he executed a plan to build one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world.

      • Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign’s big hedge on Facebook

        One of Facebook’s biggest headaches leading up to 2020 isn’t election interference or fake news — it’s worrying about what a Democrat in the White House could mean for the business.

      • Qanon Deploys ‘Information Warfare’ to Influence the 2020 Election

        When the notorious online forum 8chan was forced off the internet in August, after being linked to acts of violence including the Christchurch shooting, it looked like a blow to the Qanon conspiracy movement, which had made 8chan its virtual home. Rather than fade away, though, 8chan’s Qanon posters migrated to other platforms, where they’re still trying to use social media to influence elections.

        The two most popular new homes for Qanon followers are Endchan and 8chan’s successor 8kun. In late 2019, Qanon followers on Endchan used Twitter to influence governors’ races in Kentucky and Louisiana, posting tweets and memes in favor of Republican candidates and attacking their opponents. They analyzed social media conversations, including popular hashtags, to decide where and how to weigh in. Both Republicans lost in close elections. Now, Qanon adherents are employing the same tactics on the 2020 presidential race.

      • Rural America Doesn’t Have to Starve to Death

        Such remarks reflect two popular narratives about agriculture. The first is that the (not always coastal) big money centers like New York and Chicago and the billionaires who work there are the real wealth creators, showering jobs and handouts on grasping Midwestern farmers. The second holds that the decline of many small farming communities is a result of the inevitable march of progress—tractors and machines replacing farm labor and other long-term trends. To save dying rural communities, this story goes, we’d need to return to a bucolic past of pitchforks and plow horses. “What we see, obviously, is economies of scale having happened in America,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said approvingly last October. “Big get bigger, and small go out.”

        Yet both the narrative that subsidies flow from “coastal elites” to farmers and the fatalism about rural economic decline indicate a profound misunderstanding of what’s actually going on. Farmers have as much reason to be angry, if not more, because of the larger, less visible financial flows heading in the other direction, sucked out of their pockets and funneled to the big money centers, often into offshore tax havens. This is part of a broader phenomenon affecting the entire economy, which I call the finance curse. The good news is that this can be decisively reversed without turning the clock back on progress—and with transformative economic and political results.

      • What College Students Need to Know About the 2020 Census

        This will likely be the first year that many young college students, who were too young to participate of their own accord in the last decennial census, take part in the tradition. Experts are worried that a lack of awareness of what the census does — plus the specter of the Trump administration’s unsuccessful push to add a citizenship question to the official 2020 census — could deter students from taking part in this year’s count before the deadline by which the Census Bureau must report apportionment counts to Congress and the president.

        At risk are myriad federal obligations and billions of dollars that depend, directly or indirectly, on census data that is supposed to accurately reflect the student population. In fiscal year 2016, federal direct student loans totaling over $93 billion represented the second largest federal program guided by 2010 census data, according to the Tax Policy Center, while federal Pell Grants were the sixth largest, with a price tag of nearly $26 billion. Experts told Teen Vogue that federal expenditures like the Pell Grant program rely on a census-derived figure — the Consumer Price Index — and depend on accurate reporting every 10 years.

      • Mark Rutte: Europe’s liberal torchbearer runs into trade winds

        Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s reputation as Europe’s liberal champion risks being torn to shreds in an unexpected quarter: trade.

        Against all expectations, Rutte is struggling to win support in parliament for a vote on Tuesday to ratify an EU trade pact with Canada, a supposedly unthreatening ally.

        If the Dutch parliament fails to ratify the deal, it would not only be the first EU country to do so, but the Dutch could even be responsible for killing off the Ottawa-Brussels trade accord, known as CETA, just as the EU wants to promote free trade in the teeth of rising protectionism and state capitalism.

        Even if Rutte convinces his coalition partner to support approval in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday, the Dutch Senate will prove even harder to win round in the coming months, as his government doesn’t hold a majority there.

        In a sign EU officials are already starting to worry about a big setback in the Netherlands, EU trade chief Phil Hogan last week wrote to Dutch Trade Minister Sigrid Kaag to push for parliamentary approval.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Devin Nunes’ Lawyer Continues To Use Unrelated Case To Try To Unearth Satirical Internet Cow Account

        A few weeks back, we wrote about a bizarre situation in which Rep. Devin Nunes’ lawyer, Steven Biss, appeared to be using his subpoena power to seek out info about Twitter accounts related to some of Devin Nunes’ lawsuits — but in an unrelated case. The whole story was crazy. As you’ve likely heard, Nunes has been suing (among other things) an account holder of the satirical @DevinCow Twitter account. While that case continues to plod on, Biss tried to subpoena Twitter for the account holder’s identity (along with information on political consultant Adam Parkhomenko) in a totally unrelated case, involving breach of contract claims following a settlement of an earlier defamation lawsuit involving a well-known civil liberties lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, and a PR guy, Trevor FitzGibbon.

      • Social Media: The New Grapevine Telegraph

        I was attending the 30th annual PEN Oakland awards at the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library. The date was December 7th. It was about a half hour before the ceremonies would begin. I decided to walk across the street to the Hudson Bay Café to buy a double espresso. As soon as I entered the café, the young black woman who was managing the cash register became alert to my presence. Her eyes showed a tinge of fear. I stood in line. She and I were the only black people in the café. The white woman who was preparing the coffee called on someone in the kitchen. He emerged and stood at the entrance of the kitchen. He began to glare at me. When it came my turn to make an order, and I showed that I was able to pay for the coffee and wasn’t there to take hostages, they relaxed. But at least Hudson Bay sent a white man to stand his ground, were taking hostages my intention.

      • Doctor Suing A Patient Over A Negative Review Has His Case Dismissed Under Tennessee’s New Anti-SLAPP Law

        For the second time in less than a month, I’m reporting on Tennessee attorney Dan Horwitz’s anti-SLAPP powers. The state — once home to a bunch of really stupid defamation lawsuits targeting protected speech — is no longer as welcoming to this particularly vexatious form of litigation thanks to its new anti-SLAPP law.

      • Ron Wyden: Modifying Section 230 Will Give More Censorship Power To Trump; And Lock In Facebook’s Dominance

        We’ve already pointed out that Facebook’s latest moves to say it’s okay to strip away Section 230′s protections are all about giving Facebook more power and harming competitors — and now the author of Section 230, Senator Ron Wyden, has put out quite an op-ed in the Washington Post explaining just how much damage would be done in chipping away at Section 230. In particular, he highlights two key reasons why we shouldn’t do it: (1) It would lock in the most powerful companies like Facebook and Google (even as misguided critics seem to think taking away Section 230 protections will harm them), and (2) It will enable the Trump administration to increase online censorship of marginalized voices.

      • Five lessons from the Justice Department’s big debate over Section 230

        Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is widely criticized, widely praised, and widely misunderstood. The policy allows basically every major website — from YouTube to Wikipedia — to exist in its current form. Depending on who you ask, this is either a wonderful development or a complete disaster. That’s made Section 230 a fixture of recent internet policy debates, particularly at the US Department of Justice, where there is a growing interest in changing the law.

        The Justice Department publicly kicked off that process today, assembling three panels of experts to lay out reasons for changing or preserving Section 230. Attorney General Bill Barr emphasized that this wasn’t a policy-making workshop, but the panels still hinted at which arguments the US government finds most compelling. And while this might sound like a low bar, they were actually arguments about the law — not the weird fantasy rules that dominate similar debates in Congress and mainstream press. That made it an unusually vivid window into the way prosecutors and lawmakers think about the 230 and how to change it.

        Here are the five points that stood out the most.

      • Mark Zuckerberg Suggests Getting Rid Of Section 230; Maybe People Should Stop Pretending It’s A Gift To Facebook

        Well, we can add Mark Zuckerberg to the list of folks willing to toss Section 230 liability protections out the window — contrary to the claims of many that Facebook is the leading supporter of that law. He’s now making it clear that he’s open to a big modification of the law.

      • What A Shame: Legacy Newspapers Want To Take Away Free Speech On The Internet

        This one is just shameful. The News Media Alliance (the organization formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America) represents a bunch of old school newspapers. Like other legacy companies which failed to adapt to the internet, it’s now advocating for the removal of Section 230 protections from internet services.

      • Virginia Anti-SLAPP Bill is Good for Free Speech But Can Still Be Made Stronger

        The Virginia legislature is on the verge of a big step forward for free expression. In the coming days, legislators will have the opportunity to pass a bill that would push back against harassing lawsuits called SLAPPs, or Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

        SLAPPs are lawsuits that are filed to bully or bankrupt activists, protesters, journalists, bloggers, or even online reviewers. The point of a SLAPP isn’t to resolve a legitimate legal dispute—instead, it seeks to leverage the financial and psychological pain of litigation against someone who has spoken out, and silence or diminish that person’s speech. Unfortunately, SLAPPs have been on the rise. And states without strong anti-SLAPP laws—like Virginia—are becoming a magnet for these types of lawsuits.

      • Azher Jirjees: Writing an Iraqi Postman in Norway

        Reception of the book led to an assassination attempt, and Azher Jerjis fled Iraq. He went to Norway — via Syria and Morocco — and published two satiric short-story collections, Above the Country of Blackness (2015) and The Sweetmaker (2017).

        His first novel, Sleeping in the Cherry Field, came out last year, and it tells the story of an Iraqi postman working in Oslo who writes satiric short stories, but who is crushed by the death of his beloved Tuna Janssen. An urgent letter recalls him from his grief-stricken isolation to Baghdad, where he is kidnapped by an armed militia.

      • Pakistan government secretly passes strict social media regulations

        A copy of the regulations, which was leaked online, shows that the rules empower the government to fine or ban social media platforms over their users’ content. The regulations provide for a National Coordinator to be appointed within the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications responsible for enforcing the rules.

        In the text of the regulations, the government claims the rules were approved under the authority of the 2016 Pakistan Electronic Communications Act.

      • Cabinet greenlights law requiring social media platforms to open offices in Pakistan, get registered

        Shoaib Siddiqui, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology, confirmed to Geo News that the cabinet approved the legal document that required social media companies and platforms like Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Dailymotion, Twitter and others to open offices in Pakistan and register in the country.

        The rules and regulations have been included in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and that senior officials in the Ministry of Information Technology confirmed that the cabinet has given the green light to the legal document. Hence, the rules and regulations do not require to be presented in parliament for approval.

        According to the law, all global social media platforms and companies will have to register in Pakistan within three months and open offices in Islamabad within three the same timeframe.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Assange Was Offered U.S. Pardon if He Cleared Russia, His Lawyer Says

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to claim during an extradition hearing that the Trump administration offered him a pardon if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, a lawyer for Assange said Wednesday.

      • Dana Rohrabacher denies offering Assange a pardon from Trump

        Assange’s lawyer said Dana Rohrabacher claimed to be acting “on instructions” from Mr Trump in offering clemency.

        In return, the president was said to have wanted Assange to say Russia was not involved in leaking emails during the 2016 US election.

      • Joshua Schulte’s attorneys are trying to call Mike Pompeo in the Vault 7 trial

        Joshua Schulte, 31, is on trial in the U.S. Southern District of New York for allegedly abusing his access in 2016 as a CIA employee to steal the agency’s [attacking] tools and eventually leak them to WikiLeaks.

        While the prosecution has argued that Schulte endangered the security of the U.S. by stealing the so-called Vault 7 files, the defense has argued that so many CIA employees had access to the classified documents that it would be impossible for investigators to know who was behind the leak. The defense argues that Pompeo, who was CIA director when WikiLeaks began posting the stolen material, “took an active role in the investigation and appears to have first-hand, non-hearsay information that is relevant to the charges.”

      • China expels three WSJ reporters over opinion piece

        China has revoked the press credentials of three journalists of the Wall Street Journal after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column that called China the “real sick man of Asia”, Reuters reports.

        Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, was quoted as saying at a daily briefing that Beijing made several representations to the Journal over the column, which China criticized as racist and denigrating its efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

        The newspaper, however, failed to apologize or investigate those responsible, prompting the action from the government, according to the spokesman.

      • Chelsea Manning’s Lawyers Demand Her Release, Decry ‘Punitive’ Incarceration

        “No matter how much you punish me, I will remain confident in my decision,” said the whistleblower.

      • Hardships Chelsea Manning Has Endured Are Unlike Any Other Case Of Grand Jury Resistance

        As United States Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning yet again affirmed she will not testify before a federal grand jury empaneled against WikiLeaks, her legal team filed a motion to force her release from jail. “Manning has now been incarcerated for eleven of the maximum eighteen months. There is no reason to believe she will experience a change of heart. There are a plethora of indications that she will not,” the motion asserts [PDF].It additionally argues, “The state of the law with respect to civil confinement is clear: the sole lawful purpose of civil confinement is to exert a coercive effect upon a recalcitrant [uncooperative] witness. In the absence of a reasonable expectation of coercing testimony, coercive enforcement has exceeded its lawful scope and must be terminated.” “Counsel has been unable to find a case involving any other witnesses who have endured the kind of hardships Ms. Manning has endured, let alone for the length of time she has endured them, prior to release. Having now endured eleven months of confinement that she could have ostensibly ended at any time, there can no longer remain any serious doubt regarding the ruthlessness with which she will hew to her convictions,” Manning’s legal team concludes.Manning has been confined at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, for 343 days and owes $234,000 in fines. There is no evidence that Manning’s resistance has prevented the Justice Department from indicting anyone. In fact, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was indicted on 17 counts of allegedly violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime.“My refusal to testify continues, predicated on my long standing belief that grand juries, as they function in the contemporary era, are often used by federal prosecutors to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists through secrecy, coercion, and jailing without trial,” Manning declared in a released statement.She indicated her confinement “reinforces” her belief that grand juries are abused in practice and mentioned her mother Susan Fox, who lived in Wales, died during her time in jail.“I cannot agree to participate in such a process. No matter how much you punish me, I will remain confident in my decision. I have been separated from my loved ones, deprived of sunlight, and could not even attend my mother’s funeral,” Manning shared. “It is easier to endure these hardships now than to cooperate to win back some comfort, and live the rest of my life knowing that I acted out of self interest and not principle.”

        Dr. Sara Boyd conducted a personality assessment and concluded Manning is “being harmed via her adaptation to the incarceration setting, and the more she adapts, the more she is harmed.” That form involves “institutionalization,” and it manifests as “anxiety about returning to the community.”“Manning exhibits long standing personality features that relate to her scrupulousness, her persistence, and dedication, and her willingness to endure social disapproval as well as formal punishments,” Boyd determined. “She also has a tendency to see issues in black and white terms with regard to ethical and values-based judgment. These personality features are not likely to be modified by any intervention.” According to the motion, if Manning can “show by a preponderance of the evidence that there is no reasonable possibility that she will testify, then continued confinement transforms from a coercive sanction to a punishment,” which becomes evidence for her immediate release.“Manning has well-founded reasons to doubt the propriety of this particular subpoena and believes that she does in fact have just cause for her refusal to testify,” her legal team maintains.

      • NYPD subpoenaed journalist’s Twitter data, citing anti-terrorism law

        On December 9, 2019, the NYPD issued a subpoena to Twitter requesting private data connected to the account of Tina Moore, the bureau chief of police coverage for the New York Post, a local daily, according to a report published yesterday by paper. The police department withdrew the subpoena on February 12 after being contacted by the newspaper’s lawyers, according to that report.

        According to a copy of the subpoena posted on the New York Post’s website, the department requested the data under the authority of the USA Patriot Act, a post-9/11 anti-terrorism law.

      • Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed
      • Seeing Through the Lies – US Edition

        The Guardian newspaper has taken the art of obfuscation, false implication and the subtler forms of journalistic lying to new heights in its very extensive coverage of the Roger Stone sentencing saga. It has now devoted fourteen articles in the last fortnight to this rather obscure episode of American political history. Yet in not one of those articles – nor in more than a dozen articles about the Stone case that preceded it over the last few months – has the Guardian informed its readers what Stone was actually convicted of doing.

      • ‘Our Institutions Are Sounding Alarms’: Federal Judges Call Emergency Meeting Over Trump Interference With DOJ

        “This is mind-blowing. I’ve never heard of anything like it. We are in full on crisis mode.”

      • Trump Wants to Control the Judicial System, But Judges Are Fighting Back

        Donald Trump is feeling frisky these days. Now that his willing accomplices in the Senate have acquitted him of the deadly serious charges that were levied against him, Trump has unleashed a vengeance tour that widens in scope by the day. Over the last few days, however, the targets of his ire came together to push back against this rogue, untethered administration.

      • US ‘breached due process’ in spying operation against Assange’s lawyers

        The US breached Julian Assange’s right to defence by recording confidential meetings with his solicitors and lawyers in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was claimed today.

        Jennifer Robinson, legal counsel for Assange, said a surveillance operation against Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy was in breach of legal privilege and an abuse of process.

        A company hired to provide security at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London is accused of recording Assange’s meetings – including legally privileged meetings and meetings with doctors – which were reported back to the US.

        The surveillance operation, allegedly carried out by Spanish security company UC Global, is under investigation in Spain.

        It is expected to be raised in a hearing at Woolwich Crown Court next week, when the US presents its case for extraditing Assange to the US to face up to 170 years in jail.

        The US has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime.

      • Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment

        I have been following with great attention the developments concerning Julian Assange’s case, in particular the charges against him and the extradition request submitted by the United States government to the United Kingdom. In addition to my own monitoring and analysis, I have received information from medical professionals, civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists’ associations and others on this case.

        Julian Assange’s potential extradition has human rights implications that reach far beyond his individual case. The indictment raises important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest, including those that expose human rights violations. The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Julian Assange, and of the offences listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond. Consequently, allowing Julian Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Mental Health Unfairly Raised After A Child Murder in Mexico

        On February 11, 7-year-old Fátima Cecilia went missing after school in Mexico City. Five days later, on February 15, authorities found her body which bore signs of torture. Fatima had been kidnapped, raped, and murdered.

        Yet in the aftermath of this brutal crime, Mexico City’s General Prosecutor chose to reveal during a radio interview that Fátima’s mother has a “mental illness.” He raised the issue after Fatima’s mother told police the name of the man she believed to be behind her daughter’s death and the General Prosecutor said the accused man has in fact been dead for some time.

      • College Student Gets Thrown On The Ground And A Gun Pointed At His Head For Committing The Crime Of ‘Taking A Selfie While Black’

        The latest crime to result in civil litigation is “taking a selfie while black.” Doing so in Illinois gets your face pushed in the snow, a knee in your back, and a gun held to your head. (via Simple Justice)

      • Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion

        The report became famous for its stark warning: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” It was the last attempt to address honestly the structural inequalities that plague African Americans.

      • Yemeni Activist Wins Prestigious Human Rights Award

        Yemeni human rights lawyer and activist Huda al-Sarari is in Geneva today to receive the Martin Ennals Award, given by 10 of the world’s leading human rights organizations to human rights defenders who have distinguished themselves by their strong commitment and courage, often at the risk of their own lives.

        Her award is well-deserved. I still remember the moment I saw Al-Sarari bravely give a video interview to the Associated Press (AP) in July 2017 on the secret prisons run by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in southern Yemen, about which Human Rights Watch and AP have published extensive reports. Later, I learned that Al-Sarari was critical to documenting those abuses, and I was struck by the courage of this young woman. It is this courage that is now rightly being recognized by a much larger audience.

      • Organizers Work to Guide Deportees Toward Resources in Their Home Countries

        What happens to people after they are deported from the United States? And if they no longer have family in their countries of origin, how do they make their way in an unfamiliar place?

      • GAO Says TSA Has No Idea If Its Screeners Are Up To Date On Their Training

        Here comes more evidence explaining why the TSA sucks at prevention and blows at cures. Presented to voters as a proactive defense against sophisticated terrorism threats, the TSA has become an agency that belatedly reacts to each observed threats — threats normally defused by passengers who don’t work for the government and haven’t received extensive training on anti-terrorism protocols.

      • Kyrgyzstan: Free Ailing Rights Defender

        Kyrgyzstan authorities should release the ailing human rights defender Azimjon Askarov and quash his conviction after an unfair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The country’s Supreme Court will hear an appeal of his case on February 25, 2020.

        The 68-year-old Askarov, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged role in the inter-ethnic violence that rocked southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010, suffers from deteriorating health and inadequate medical attention in prison. The Supreme Court hearing may be Askarov’s final opportunity to appeal his case, his lawyers say. The Kyrgyz government should accept a 2016 United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee finding that called for Askarov’s release and quash his case.

      • Modi’s India

        I am in New Delhi, attending a conference.

      • Philippines: Free Senator; End Attacks on Rights Defenders

        Philippine authorities should immediately release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for three years, and drop the politically motivated charges against her, Amnesty International, FORUM-ASIA, and Human Rights Watch said today. The mistreatment of de Lima reflects broader attacks by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte against human rights defenders, particularly women.

        De Lima, who has been detained at the headquarters of the Philippine National Police since her arrest on February 24, 2017, has been one of the staunchest critics of the government’s abusive “war on drugs.” The authorities arrested her after she sought to investigate extrajudicial executions committed in the context of the anti-drug campaign.

      • Burning Man Is Officially Suing the U.S. Government

        Burning Man first filed legal paperwork against the U.S. Government in December of last year.  Now, its lawsuit has officially been set in motion.

      • Which Side Are You On?

        My best friend from high school was in and out of the prison system the last two decades of his life. He was a drug addict. This was before the opioid epidemic; his poison was crack cocaine. His father had been a raging, violent alcoholic and his mother was a broken woman with chronic illnesses. My friend spent most of his adult life trying to take care of her.

      • Kenya: No Letup in Killings by Nairobi Police

        Since December 25, 2019, police in Kenya have shot dead at least eight people in Nairobi’s Mathare, Kasarani, and Majengo settlements, Human Rights Watch said today. The police continue to kill crime suspects and protesters in cold blood despite persistent calls to end the killings and the use of excessive force.

        The killings are the latest in a longstanding pattern of excessive force and unlawful killings in Nairobi’s low-income neighborhoods. Kenyan authorities should urgently investigate all alleged killings, many of which have been documented by Kenyan and international organizations, and ensure that all those responsible are held to account.

      • To expose sexism at Uber, Susan Fowler blew up her life

        It is two weeks before her memoir, Whistleblower, will go on sale. In addition to her regular jitters, Fowler now has pre-publication jitters. Though you wouldn’t know it to look at her. She sits very still, with excellent posture, in a black leather jacket, a gray boatneck top, and jeans. She doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup; her hair looks like it’s air-dried. She looks, in other words, like an ordinary upper-middle-class woman in her late 20s who happens to be on her lunch break. She is, in fact, on her lunch break.

        You know who this ordinary woman is because she did something extraordinary. In February 2017, Fowler wrote a 2,900-word blog post about the sexism she encountered while working at Uber. When she published it to her personal site, she wasn’t expecting the headlines it generated half an hour later. She never expected that it would lead to Travis Kalanick, the company’s brash CEO and founder, being forced out of his job.

      • Harvard students sue school for divestment from companies profiting off prison industry

        “Instead of helping to dismantle the entanglement of profiteering, government interests, and the system of human caging, Harvard makes profit off of it,” the lawsuit, filed in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, states. “That money funds the opulent lifestyles of Harvard’s top administrators who are prison profiteers.”

      • Harvard students file lawsuit demanding school pull investments from prisons

        While Harvard has previously agreed to pull investments from companies that profit from the tobacco industry, apartheid South Africa and the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan, students who support divestment from the fossil fuel and prison industries say they are puzzled by the current inaction.

        But pressure has been building on campus for divestment, particularly related to fossil fuel companies. Faculty members in the arts and sciences department this month voted overwhelmingly in favor of fossil fuel divestment, and Bacow said he would bring the resolution to the school’s endowment committee for consideration.

      • “They Came to Kill Him”: The Persecution of Christians – November 2019

        While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

      • EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Bloomberg Campaign NDA Protects Abusive Bosses

        A nondisclosure agreement utilized by the campaign of Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire CEO of Bloomberg LP and former New York mayor now running for president, contains language that could prevent staffers from reporting workplace abuse.

        The NDA totals nine pages and forbids employees from discussing “any and all non-public information” and “activities” by the campaign.

      • Democrats Have Found Their Own Autocrat

        Since Donald Trump captured the Republican nomination four years ago, mainstream media across the political spectrum have warned us about the rise of “populism.” The standard narrative goes something like this: those on the political extremes — especially the far-right but also the far-left—are rapidly gaining ground and subverting liberal democracy across the globe, ushering in a new age of authoritarianism.

      • Saline High School Students Are Demanding Racial Justice After a Racist Incident on Snapchat

        Backlash to the incident prompted a community meeting. But that didn’t resolve the concerns about racism in the community because, at that gathering, an attendee asked a parent, “Why didn’t you stay in Mexico?” after the parent detailed the racist name-calling his child had endured while attending school in the district. Video of the meeting has drawn national attention about racial tensions within the Michigan school district.

      • Women From Every Corner Occupy Brasilia: the Marcha das Margaridas

        One of the largest women’s mobilizations in Latin America, the Marcha das Margaridas, is led by rural trade unions, together with agrarian and feminist movements.

      • “Huge Win” for Tech Workers’ Rights as Kickstarter Employees Vote to Unionize

        “To all tech and creative workers looking to fight for your rights, this is only just the beginning!”

      • Homeland Security Waives Contracting Laws for Border Wall

        The Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

      • The Conscience of a Conservative

        There are many good people from other cultures, with quite different faiths, who live moral and productive lives. Judeo-Christian principles are not the only path to morality. Hinduism and Buddhism teach similar principals and have equally interesting mythical histories. The very fact that similar sets of principles were developed simultaneously by different cultures implies that rather than being handed down from the gods, they evolved along with their respective cultures.

      • The Slave Trade Used to Be Legal. Let’s Not Glorify the Law.

        Throughout the history of Black America, progress has often required breaking the law. For this reason, it’s worth questioning why, in sanitized mainstream narratives (for example, those shared in schools and government functions during Black History Month), the story of Black struggle is often divorced from incendiary, illegal acts. Most Black people in the United States are descended from enslaved Africans, and being Black in this country has never been wholly separated from that history. In fact, it still haunts us daily as we navigate its afterlife. This is a legacy that was demarcated by restrictions that continually pierced the everyday experience of living. For many Black people during the time of slavery, to be free was illegal itself — and in many ways, that reality has extended into every era following “emancipation.” Since then, the necessity of extralegal acts has continued for a people still constantly being ensnared by a society stacked against them.

      • EU Turns Its Back on Migrants in Distress

        It is a craven, indefensible choice. Yesterday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to launch a mission in the Mediterranean Sea to enforce the United Nations-mandated Libyan arms embargo on the condition that it not focus on saving lives.

        Bowing to pressure from Austria and Hungary, two landlocked countries whose leaders define themselves by their hostile migration policies, the ministers agreed to a plan to deploy warships with the explicit goal of avoiding areas of the Mediterranean where they might have to respond to boats carrying migrants in distress. EU naval assets will reportedly patrol no closer than 100 kilometers (60 miles) off the eastern coast of Libya, about as far away as you can get from where women, men, and children trying to flee Libya depart on overcrowded, unseaworthy boats.

      • Striking LA Teachers’ Win Against Random Frisking Is Becoming District Policy

        One year ago, Los Angeles teachers on strike were demanding an end to random searches where students were yanked out of class to be frisked. By the time they walked back into work, they had won a partial victory.

      • Unique Chance to Curb Global Labor Abuses

        Fires in Indian factories, accidents in Zimbabwe gold mines, infertility from chemical exposure the Democratic Republic of Congo – workers around the world face risks, sometimes lethal, in the workplace.

        Next week, there’s a unique opportunity to improve the lives of millions of workers as trade unions, governments, and employers try to agree on standards for work conditions in global supply chains.

      • China: Free Prominent Legal Advocate

        Chinese authorities should immediately and unconditionally release a well-known anti-corruption activist who had eluded arrest after a new government crackdown on rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 15, 2020, authorities in Guangzhou apprehended Xu Zhiyong at a friend’s home where he had gone after authorities in December detained participants of a gathering on human rights in Fujian province.

        Xu, 46, is one of China’s most prominent activists and human rights advocates. He was a co-founder of the now-banned legal aid center Open Constitution Initiative and the New Citizens’ Movement, a nongovernmental group advocating for civil rights.

      • Iran: Environmentalists’ Unjust Sentences Upheld

        An Iranian revolutionary court has upheld the unjust sentences against eight environmental experts already detained for over two years, Human Rights Watch said today. Iranian authorities have failed to produce any evidence to support their charges against members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation and should free them immediately.

        On February 18, 2020, Gholamhossein Esmaili, Iran’s judiciary spokesman, confirmed at a news conference that a court of appeal had upheld sentences ranging from 6 to 10 years in prison against seven of the group’s members for “cooperating with the hostile state of the US.” Esmaili said the court also upheld a 4-year prison sentence for Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, another member of the group, for “assembly and collusion to act against national security.”

      • Russia: Quash Conviction of Peaceful Protester

        Russian authorities should withdraw all charges and immediately free a civic activist imprisoned for involvement in peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. Russia’s parliament should repeal the 2014 law mandating criminal sanctions for repeated involvement in unsanctioned protests.

        The activist, Kostantin Kotov, a 34-year-old software engineer, has been behind bars for over 6 months in connection with peaceful political protests in Moscow in the summer of 2019 over the exclusion of opposition candidates from the city council elections. An appeals court hearing on Kotov’s case is scheduled for March 2, 2020.

      • Harvey Weinstein’s Defense Team Is Waging a War Against the #MeToo Movement

        A jury of seven men and five women meet today in New York Supreme Court to begin deliberations on whether to find disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein guilty of sexual assault. The case has drawn international attention amid the #MeToo movement. If the jurors find Weinstein guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 100 women but in this case faces five charges based on evidence relating to two main accusers. One woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, alleges she was raped by Weinstein in a New York hotel, for which he has been charged with rape in the first and third degrees. The second main accuser is former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam Haley, who alleges Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006. For this, Weinstein faces a count of criminal sex act. If the jury finds Weinstein guilty of the charges relating to either or both of the main accusers, then it can consider two counts of predatory sexual assault against him. We speak with Irin Carmon, a senior correspondent for New York magazine who has followed the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. She spoke with 21 of his accusers in her article “100 Women vs. Harvey Weinstein” and wrote about a 57-page PowerPoint Harvey Weinstein’s team sent to reporters that smeared his alleged victims. Her new piece is headlined “The Woman Who Taped Harvey Weinstein.”

      • Trump Commutes Blagojevich Sentence, Pardons Others

        President Donald Trump has gone on a clemency blitz, commuting the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik, among a long list of others.

      • Sanders Says Trump Clemency for ‘Wall Street Crooks’ and ‘Corrupt’ Officials Lays Bare Broken Justice System

        “Meanwhile thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions. This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like.”

      • After Granting Blagojevich and Others Clemency, Trump Calls Himself the ‘Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Country’

        “NARRATOR: He is not the chief law enforcement officer in the country.”

      • Impunity Guaranteed for Torturers (and Presidents)

        “The right to do whatever I want as president.”

      • Welcome to the United States of Impunity

        On February 5th, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In other words, Trump’s pre-election boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters” proved something more than high-flown hyperbole. (To be fair, he did lose one Republican “voter” in the Senate — Mitt Romney — but it wasn’t enough to matter.)

      • Impunity for Torturers Made Trump’s Invulnerability Possible

        On February 5th, the Senate voted to acquit President Donald J. Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In other words, Trump’s pre-election boast that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters” proved something more than high-flown hyperbole. (To be fair, he did lose one Republican “voter” in the Senate — Mitt Romney — but it wasn’t enough to matter.)

      • Just Two Kings Talking

        Donald Trump sat with Recep “Cepi” Erdoğan At a nez à nez cafe in the Golden Horn, Fog over the Straits, fishmongers singing the blues, Their little secret summit all over the news. They gazed, they preened, with their fincan pinkies high, Just two kings talking — evil eye to evil eye. DJ flashed his grand, bizarre smile and sneered, “The Press Is all over me and the country is a mess. I fear some Lefty might impeach me with a gun And I’ll find myself leaping in front of my son.” Cepi laughed at that, and said, “Well, listen to this: When they did Khashoggi — Oh, I watched with such bliss. I jail journos, make them watch Midnight Express for fun.” “Enemas of the State,” they harmonized, “Undone.” They laughed about Idlib, and al-Baghdadi’s face When he realized there was no escape cave in place. Trump said, “He died like a dog and blew up the kids — I lied,” he smirked, “Abbottabads Abbottobids.” Cepi howled, “Badda bing bang boom — politics! Nothing wrong with you a good hamamin’ can’t fix.” The garcon brought the tab and DJ made a lunge — He didn’t want Cepi to think he was a sponge. But Cepi was quick and snatched the bill and snickered, “Your money’s no good here,” said Cepi; they bickered. “CNN’s the most phoney fakes of news,” Trump said. “What about the Kurds?” he mimicked the talking head. At that, Cepi gave the garson a second glance, Took back his tip, and made the poor waiter’s eyes dance. The two good buds arose, Cepi winked and they strolled. DJ said, “Mohammad got back to me to scold. He said sweetly, ‘Donald, that wasn’t very nice’ To treat my discombobulations as a vice. What if I’d made fun of your curtsy and laughed To your face?’” Cepi cracked up, thinking DJ gaffed. “There goes that Trump tower in Riyadh,” howled Cepi, And slapped DJ on the back, dancing, two-steppy. DJ morosely followed his Turkish delight. They strode through the twists and turns of the Taksim nigh Down cobblestone streets, Cepi, like Virgil, leading — Well, maybe if Virgil had had no real breeding — And on the buds strode, ignoring the blood-kurdling screams, Cepi saying, “Journos” (wink) “at work in their dreams.” DJ pictured Maddow, with new bounce in his bones — In fact, all the press! — and their screams became his koans. After their purgatorial conversation, They came to the Red Light D and knew their station. They passed pervs, punks, pimps and glassed-in storefront cages With dancing mannequin-like Beatrices of all ages. Cepi said to DJ, “Go have a pussy grab.” Trump groaned, “No can do, Cepi, my hand’s in rehab. Until after November.” They left Paradise, With the promise of pleasure still twinkling their eyes, They giggled and goosed all the way to Taksim Square — Pigeons out of control, broken heads strewn everywhere, Tumbleweed tabloids, Atatürk’s pic on the ground, Tarzan-like prayer calls, cab honks, and no other sound. “DJ, you gotta break a few eggheads” (puffing) “If you wanna make an Om.” But Trump’s mind was muffing Back in the Red Light D. Cepi said, “Listen to this, If you want to kill the king, you’d better not miss.”

      • Abuse Survivors Face Time Limit to Come Forward as Boy Scouts of America Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

        “When you fight transparency, protect reputations that don’t deserve protection, and create practices that protect abusers, you put your entire organization at risk.”

      • California Takes a First Step Toward Improving Its Failing County Jails

        California’s county jails would face greater scrutiny and potentially tougher consequences for poor conditions inside their cells under a series of proposed changes unveiled by a state oversight agency last week.

        Specifically, the Board of State and Community Corrections plans to publicize details about uncorrected violations in jails and summon elected county sheriffs who delay reforms or rebuff the oversight agency.

      • Illinois Adopts Stricter Rules Against Secluding and Physically Restraining Students in Schools

        The Illinois State Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt rules that prohibit the use of locked seclusion rooms and stop schools from using prone restraint, making Illinois’ permanent regulations more restrictive than they’ve ever been.

        But under pressure from a group of special-education schools, the board stopped short of enacting a ban on involuntary, solitary seclusion in the state’s schools as it had planned after a Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois investigation in November revealed widespread misuse of isolated timeout and restraint in schools.

      • Political Graffiti Behind Bogus Jailing in Azerbaijan

        The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has just ruled that the arrest and prosecution on drugs charges of two prominent youth activists in Azerbaijan was politically motivated. The court held that the real purpose for Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov’s arbitrary arrest, detention, and prosecution was that they “had painted political graffiti on the statue of a former president.”

        Police had detained Mammadov and Ibrahimov in May 2016 after they sprayed graffiti on the statue of Azerbaijan’s late president Heydar Aliyev, the father of current President Ilham Aliyev. The graffiti said: “Happy Slave Day” in Azeri, a play on words for “Happy Flower Day.” Both young men were students and members of NIDA, Azeri for exclamation mark, a youth opposition movement active on social media that is highly critical of the government.

      • Japan: Stand Firm on Rights in North Korea
      • Indonesia’s Aceh enlists an all-female flogging squad to enforce Shariah law

        Shariah police in Banda Aceh, the province’s largest city, patrol the streets to monitor offenses. Aech follows Shariah under a 2005 autonomy deal with the central government. Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, but the majority of the country is secular.

        The job of carrying out the punishment has always been done by men, but as more women are charged with morality crimes, Islamic law calls for women to whip female offenders.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Hey Tom Wheeler: Stick To Net Neutrality, Because Your Understanding Of Section 230 Is… Not Right

        Remember back when former FCC chair Tom Wheeler surprised us all and turned out not to be a dingo. That was cool. But now that he’s out of government and working at the Brookings Institution, he’s perhaps not a dingo, but he does seem very, very confused.

      • Google Fiber Ditches Cable TV While Broadband Effort Remains Stuck In Neutral

        When Google Fiber first dropped in 2010, the project was lauded as a game changer for the broadband industry. Google Fiber would, the company insisted, revolutionize everything by taking Silicon Valley money and using it to disrupt the viciously uncompetitive and anti-competitive telecom sector. Initially things worked out well; cities tripped over themselves offering all manner of perks to the company in the hopes of breaking free from the broadband duopoly logjam. And in some areas where Google Fiber was deployed, prices certainly dropped thanks to Google Fiber market pressure.

      • California’s Broadband Fund Ignores Fiber and Favors Slow DSL

        The California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), a program launched in 2008 to connect all Californians to high-speed Internet, was an early success. It helped build middle mile open access fiber to hard-to-serve communities and delivered high-speed access to areas that never had Internet. It funded fiber-to-the-home to public housing, ensuring low income users had the same high-speed access that wealthy neighborhoods had. And it was rapidly closing the digital divide that low income urban and rural Californians faced, due to years of neglect from incumbent Internet Service Providers (ISPs). But CASF’s success inevitably led to its undoing—by drawing attention from lobbyists for AT&T, Frontier, and Comcast, who pushed through laws that effectively shut the program down. 

        After all, if the government has evidence that it can effectively tackle the lack of access to high-speed Internet as an infrastructure problem and make progress, then people won’t be waiting on incumbent ISPs like AT&T, Frontier, and Comcast. Fearing competition and substitution, these ISPs have regularly gone to Sacramento to pass laws under the false promise that less government involvement will help expand broadband access. Yet the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that the Sacramento ISP lobby has actually done nothing more than ensure most Californians have only one choice of provider, and ensured that the state has no broadband plan while our international competitors march aggressively towards a gigabit fiber future. But there have been recent victories to reverse this trend, including: restoring the California Public Utilities Commission’s regulatory authority over broadband companies, the state’s passage of the strongest net neutrality law in the land (that is still facing litigation from the ISPs), and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Call for a Broadband For All Plan. 

    • Monopolies

      • Hundreds of staff injured at Amazon UK warehouses, GMB claims

        GMB union numbers show 240 reports of serious injury or near misses were sent to the Health and Safety Executive last year, and 622 over three years.

      • No, China Is Not “Stealing Our I.P.”

        Pete invited Stephan Kinsella to return to the show. Stephan is an American intellectual property/patent attorney, author, and anarcho-capitalist.

        Pete asked Stephan to come on and share his opinion that China is in fact, NOT “stealing our I.P.” Stephan gives a primer as to why intellectual property laws are immoral and devious and explains in detail the issue with I.P. and China.

      • Patents

        • Proof that the Infringer was Notified of the Infringement

          In this case, Arctic Cat had stopped manufacturing its patented thrust steering systems by the time the patent had issued — so no marking possible there. However, Arctic Cat had licensed several of its patents to Honda, including the patents at issue here. A couple of details regarding the license are important here: (1) The license was agreed-to prior to the issuance of the patents at issue and so did not expressly name them by patent number. However, the license expressly includes later-patents covering Thrust Steering. (2) The license expressly states that Honda has no marking requirements.

          [...]

          In an interesting article, Michael McKeon argues that the Federal Circuit’s approach of requiring “an affirmative act” is actually based upon “a specific misquote of a critical word (act instead of fact).” Michael J. McKeon, The Patent Marking and Notice Statute: A Question of “Fact” or “Act”?, 9 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 429, 431 (1996). McKeon argues that Dunlap and Coupe were both about placing a burden of proof on the patentee — the patentee must affirmatively prove the fact that notice occurred — and that the Federal Circuit mistakenly read the cases as requiring an affirmative act of providing notice. McKeon cites to several pre-Federal Circuit cases that find actual notice is sufficient even without affirmative notice from the patentee. See, for instance, Warner v. Tennessee Products Corp., 57 F.2d 642 (6th Cir. 1932) (“Actual notice of the issue and contents of the patent, and of the claims that a practice infringes, is sufficient regardless of the source of such notice.”); Abington Textile Mach. Works v. Carding Specialists (Canada) Ltd., 249 F. Supp. 823, 849 (D.D.C 1965) (defendant’s actual/constructive notice was sufficient even though prior to formal notice from the patentee).

        • Admissibility of late inventive step attacks at the EPO

          This case relates to a process for preparing a beverage from tea leaves. The prior art has the claimed process features, but refers specifically to coffee rather than tea.

          The Board of Appeal disagreed with the first instance decision of lack of novelty, and so the opponent switched to arguing lack of inventive step. The proprietor argued that this was an inadmissible fresh ground of opposition.

          As noted in the decision, it was held in G7/95 that novelty and inventive step are different grounds of opposition, and held in G10/91 that fresh grounds for opposition may in principle not be introduced at the appeal stage, unless agreed by the patentee. On the other hand, it was noted in G1/95 that subject-matter found to lack novelty would inevitably be unallowable on the ground of inventive step, and in T 131/01 that substantiation of lack of inventive step is not generally possible after substantiating lack of novelty.

          For the present case, the Board noted that the inventive step argument was based on the same factual and evidentiary framework (same cited passages and teachings) as for the previous novelty arguments, and that an opponent cannot discuss both novelty and inventive step based on the same facts, without self-contradiction.

          In this limited circumstance, the Board decided that the inventive step argument was not a fresh ground of opposition, and could be admitted without consulting the patentee.

          As a minor further point, the Board decided that the formal absence of a tick for inventive step on the opposition form is not decisive.

        • COVID-19: IP updates

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has said it is “monitoring the situation” and is prepared to postpone oral hearings if parties are affected by the epidemic.

          “We are in close contact with our user community and will provide information whenever this becomes necessary. Such steps could also involve postponement of oral proceedings if a party is adversely affected by the outbreak,” said EPO spokesperson Luis Berenguer.

          The office said that under the rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC), parties affected by the coronavirus have options to extend time limits “on request”.

          The EPC also provides for possibilities to remedy a loss of rights, said Berenguer.

          The EPO will try and limit any negative consequences for parties and “ensure that [parties’] rights are safeguarded to the extent possible”, he added.

        • Software Patents

          • Submission of Knowledge Ecology International on WIPO’s draft issues paper on Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence

            On Friday, 14 February 2020, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) submitted the following comments on a Draft Issues Paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Secretariat published this draft issues paper on IP Policy and AI on 13 December 2019; the full list of submissions by Member States and organizations can be found here.

            KEI’s submission can be found below.

            RE: KEI Comments on Paper on Intellectual Property Policy and Artificial Intelligence

            As requested in DRAFT ISSUES PAPER ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POLICY AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE prepared by the WIPO Secretariat WIPO/IP/AI/2/GE/20/1 dated December 13, 2019, please find KEI Comments regarding identification of issues related to AI and IPR.

      • Trademarks

        • Jägermeister logo is not religiously offensive, court rules

          Judges at the Federal Administrative Court in St Gallen rejected on Monday a case seeking to restrict Jägermeister’s use of the logo solely to alcohol bottles and items of clothing. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property [sic] had demanded the restriction on the grounds that the image was offensive to the religious leanings of some consumers.

        • Does ‘Delta’ really denote distinctiveness? The General Court gives its judgment in Case T-387/18

          The case concerned an application to register a figurative trade mark in relation to Classes 9, 10, 18, 20, 25 and 28 of goods as identified in the Nice Agreement. Delta Enterprise Corp. filed a notice of opposition on 23 April 2016 on the basis of its own trade mark in respect of goods in Classes 9, 18, 20, 25 and 28.

          [...]

          In rejecting the applicant’s third head of appeal – which had sought the Court to take ‘any other measures that it may consider appropriate – the Court emphasised that the clarity and precision of each head of claim are of utmost importance. It is not open to applicants to seek un-enumerated heads of claim as an insurance option, in order to safeguard ‘legal certainty and a sound administration of justice. In respect of the intervener’s second head of claim, seeking a confirmatory judgment, the Court again stated that its role in this area is to conduct judicial review of decisions of the Boards of Appeal.

          [...]

          The Court stated that the mark applied for fell within the excessively simple category because it is made up of simple colours and geometric shapes. It would therefore not be understood as a trade mark by consumers unless it had acquired distinctiveness through use (which is not at issue here).

          Therefore, ‘delta’ was assessed as having an average degree of distinctiveness and ‘sport’ as having a weak or average degree of distinctiveness (depending on the class of goods). In addition, ‘delta’ is the part of the mark to which consumers would pay more attention because it is placed at the start. The earlier marks were assessed as having a normal inherent distinctive character.

          An average degree of phonetic similarity between the earlier EU mark and the mark applied for was found, and a weak degree between the earlier Spanish mark and the mark applied for due to the qualification added by the words ‘colchon’ and ‘sport’ respectively. The Court also supported the Board of Appeal’s finding that there was an average conceptual similarity between the marks.

          The Court therefore affirmed the likelihood of confusion or association in the imperfect memory of the relevant consumers assessed by the Board of Appeal, with the action being dismissed in its entirety.

        • ‘Big Horn’ signs infringe Red Bull’s EU trade marks, says England and Wales High Court

          In August 2016, the second defendant in the case, Voltino (a Bulgarian company, judgment against which was obtained in October 2019) filed an application for an EU trade mark bearing the double ram and golden sun device shown, together with the words “Big Horn” to be used for goods including energy drinks and various types of water. Red Bull became aware of the application in September 2016 and filed an opposition in November 2016.

          In the process of these opposition proceedings, Big Horn drinks appeared in the UK and Bulgaria. Red Bull’s test purchases found that Big Horn’s drinks were sold in cans of an identical shape and size to classic Red Bull cans, and in addition to the mark for which trade mark registration was sought, they also featured a geometric blue and silver design.

          The proceedings emphasised the lack of clarity as to how Mr Enchev came to set up Big Horn UK Limited, but it was apparent that Mr Enchev had started negotiations with Voltino in April 2017 to incorporate a company to distribute Voltino’s ‘Big Horn’ energy drinks within the UK. Mr Enchev entered into a contract with Voltino in May 2017 (though the contents of the contract were not disclosed to the court) and was found to be the controlling mind of Big Horn UK Limited, also in charge of Big Horn UK’s social media accounts.

      • Copyrights

        • Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

          That was in 2007. Today, Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited site in the world. The English-language version recently surpassed 6 million articles and 3.5 billion words; edits materialize at a rate of 1.8 per second. But perhaps more remarkable than Wikipedia’s success is how little its reputation has changed. It was criticized as it rose, and now makes its final ascent to … muted criticism. To confess that you’ve just repeated a fact you learned on Wikipedia is still to admit something mildly shameful. It’s as though all those questions that used to pepper think pieces in the mid-2000s—Will it work? Can it be trusted? Is it better than Encyclopedia Britannica?—are still rhetorical, when they have already been answered, time and again, in the affirmative.

        • ISP Questions Rightscorp’s Credibility and Objectivity Ahead of Piracy Trial

          Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications wants to address the business practices and financial situation of anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp at its upcoming piracy liability trial. The music companies that sued the ISP for failing to terminate accounts of repeat infringers asked the court to exclude this information. However, Grande says that it is essential to assess the credibility of key witnesses.

        • Zero Online Pirates Criminally Charged in 2019, Lowest Since 2010, Swedish Authorities Say

          For the first time in almost a decade, not a single person was charged with a file-sharing or streaming related crime in Sweden during 2019. The news comes from the Prosecutor’s Office, which reveals that just 23 offenses were reported during the year, the lowest number since 2010.

        • The Top Ten Highlights of China Copyright in 2019

          In 2019, cinema piracies attracted public attention by ‘upgrading’ to high definition (HD). Mr Wu, CEO of Firstbrave Information Technologies, a company that provides technical support to the NCAC (relevant Katpost in 2017), summarised three characteristics of the 2019 CNYF piracy. First, within 36 hours of the film’s release, over a thousand HD pirated resources appeared online. This scale of HD piracy had never been seen before. Second, there was a flood of infringements in instant messaging tools, browsers and third-party small and medium websites. Third, 70% of the servers of these infringing websites were located abroad.

          The NCAC took proactive steps to combat cinema piracies, cooperating with the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Film Bureau and telecommunications operators. The Cinema Movie Copyright Protection Alliance was established, which, collaborating with the Ministry of Public Security, closed down 361 pirated movie websites and 57 pirated apps. Moreover, 14,000 pieces of equipment used to produce HD pirated movies were seized, including seven projection servers. The total amount involved was CNY 230 million.

          [...]

          Visual China Group (VCG) is the largest stock image and media footage provider in China and the third largest in the world.

          In April 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project team captured the first image of a black hole. VCG promptly put its own logo on the image and added it to its pay-to-use library without attribution to the EHT team, attracting criticism.

          VCG apologised and swiftly took down the picture along with many other non-compliant images, which included the national emblem and flag. The storm may have temporarily subsided but it has left several problems that are yet to be fully solved. Issues include the responsibility of platforms like VCG to review the copyrights of works submitted by contributors and to follow correct procedures to ascertain the rightful copyright owner.

        • Facebook Sued Over Failure to Respond to DMCA Takedown Notices

          Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli is suing Facebook for copyright infringement. According to the complaint, the social media platform failed to remove a series of links to copyrighted photos. The takedown notices in question were sent around the same time a TorrentFreak-linked Boffoli-meme was taken down by Facebook.

        • Court Orders Cloudflare to Prevent Access to Pirated Music or Face Fines or Prison

          This week visitors to pirate music site DDL-Music were greeted with a rare ‘Error 451′ message from Cloudflare, indicating that the site had been rendered unavailable due to legal reasons. It now transpires that following legal action by Universal Music, Cloudflare was served with a court injunction , which threatened fines and potential prison time for non-compliance.

        • Game Developer Decides Best Way To Get Back At Pirates Is To Pirate Them Back

          There are lots of ways a video game developer can choose to react to finding its game being pirated on the internet. The game maker can elect to get understandably angry and go the legal route for retribution. The company can instead see piracy as not that big a deal and ignore it. Or they can try to add more value than pirated versions of their games. The developer can choose to connect with the pirates and try to turn them into paying customers.

        • Creative Commons: Welcome Our Newest Staff Members!

          Learn more about our newest staff members below!

        • No, Disney Probably Didn’t Infringe A Unicorn Van Artist’s Copyright, But It Would Have Sued If The Roles Were Reversed

          If there is ever a Copyright Protectionist Hall of Fame built, it should probably be constructed on the grounds of one Disney theme park or another. As regular readers here will already know, Disney is notoriously aggressive in its enforcement of intellectual property generally, and in copyright specifically. Hell, the 1998 CTEA, which extended the terms of copyright, is more commonly referred to as “The Mickey Mouse Protection Act.” Our pages are absolutely littered with stories of Disney bullying others over copyrights, often times to ridiculous lengths.

02.18.20

Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • A $99 Chromebook is so much better with Gallium Linux installed

        Chromebooks have been around for a while now. For the most part, they’ve been relegated to schools who need cheap laptop computers that can open a web browser and connect to the internet. For a long time, that’s really the only thing Chromebooks were good for. Luckily, web-based apps have evolved a lot over the past 25 years and we’ve got some really great functionality that can be accessed all via just a web browser.

        Today, some of the more-expensive Chromebooks have added support for running Android apps as well as some Linux programs via a virtualized Crostini container. Chrome OS is, after all, based on a Linux kernel, but usually greatly dumbed-down from all of the other powerful capabilities of Linux. Those Chromebooks are in the $500+ price range though (here’s a list), which seems kind of ridiculous for something who’s main function is to open a web browser and load web pages. Why not just get a Windows or macOS powered computer at that point?

        I recently bought a $99 refurbished HP Chromebook 11 with the intention of taking it apart and converting it to a Gallium OS Linux laptop. My teenage god daughter accidentally spilled water on her really nice HP convertible Windows 10 tablet/laptop PC and of course the warranty doesn’t cover that. So she also needed something for school. She refers to Chromebooks as “Jitterbug laptops” which is a reference to those overly basic mobile phones that only have 3 buttons so that you can only call 3 people. The Chromebooks she’s used at school are similarly limited in her mind, and I’d say she would be correct. The majority of Chromebooks can basically only run Google’s Chrome web browser. Gallium Linux, on the other hand, not only gives you the power of a real computer, but also provides some heightened capabilities for technological freedom.

      • [Older] Linux-Based Windows 12 Lite Is Three Times Faster Than Windows 10

        Since its advent in 2015, Windows 10 has been affected by countless problems and bugs. Sadly, the updates meant to fix the flaws in this operating system work the other way round. If you’ve had enough of Windows 10 and wish to switch to a different operating system, then the Linux-based Windows 12 Lite might impress you.

        A Redditor recently discovered Windows 12 Lite discs being sold at a local computer fair. It is worth noting that Microsoft didn’t officially launch Windows 12 Lite. In fact, Microsoft in no way is associated with this newly discovered operating system.

    • Server

      • Surviving a security audit with enterprise Linux

        As a system administrator, you may have already experienced the joy(?) of having your systems audited by a security or risk management professional. Security tools used by auditors generally scan systems and produce a report for the auditor highlighting vulnerabilities found on the scanned system, which the auditor then presents to the team that manages the systems. The expectation is that the administration and management team will resolve the reported vulnerabilities. However, for enterprise Linux distributions, the auditor’s recommended remediations may not be the best choice for the organization to apply.

      • [Red Hat] My sysadmin career story

        Some of you might be curious about how sysadmins start their careers. Well, I cannot speak for all of us but at least I can share my career story with you.

        Born in the late 1980s, long before I started my career, I’ve had a serious interest in technology and personal computers. My first personal computer was the famous Commodore C64 and I got it at the age of eight. I loved playing games on it, loaded from Datasette. And as the years passed, I collected a lot of other peripheral devices like the floppy 1541 disk drive, two of the advanced model 1541-II, and a bubble inkjet printer. And, I started to learn my first programming language, BASIC, to write calendar applications and an inventory for my VHS collection. But, enough about the good old days.

        My professional career started not so long ago, in 2003. It was an in-firm training in a small system house that lasted three years. In this time, I learned all the things needed to become a “Fachinformatiker Systemintegration,” which is kind of a qualified IT specialist. I learned how to choose the right hardware parts to build a desktop or server system, to install operating systems, and to configure the hardware and software accordingly. Also, I learned how to manage my first small projects for our customers.

      • Building (Small) Oracle Linux Images For The Cloud

        Oracle Linux Image Tools is a sample project to build small or customized Oracle Linux Cloud images in a repeatable way.

        It provides a bash modular framework which uses HashiCorp Packer to build images in Oracle VM VirtualBox. Images are then converted to an appropriate format depending on the Cloud provider.

        This article shows you how to build the sample images from this repository and how to use the framework to build custom images.

        The framework is based around two concepts: Distribution and Cloud modules.

        A Distribution module is responsible for the installation and configuration of Oracle Linux as well as the packages needed for your project. The sample ol7-slim distribution provides an Oracle Linux 7 image with a minimalist set of packages (about 250 packages – smaller than an Oracle Linux 7 Minimal Install).

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #326: Ni Hao, Moto

        Hello and welcome to the 326th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short-topic format show, the hosts discuss a major win for Motorola, the FCC and 5.9GHz, operating practices in Australia, iText, FreshRSS, GridTracker and much more. Thank you for listening and please, if you can, donate to our Hamvention 2020 Fund.

      • Ask Lunduke – Feb 17, 2020 – Slackware and Pre-Internet Podcasts

        Ask Lunduke is a weekly podcast where the community can ask any question they like… and I (attempt to) answer them. This episode is available via Podcast RSS feed, LBRY, Patreon, and YouTube. Links on the left. Topics on Ask Lunduke this week: Why does closed source software exist? How can we fix WHOIS? Would a Star Trek Land be more popular than Disney’s Star Wars Land?

      • Another Look at My Homelab (More Detail)

        You asked for more detail on my Homelab, so here it is. In this video, I go over a bit more detail on how my Homelab is organized, so you can get an idea on how everything is connected together.

      • Long Term Rolling | LINUX Unplugged 341

        We question the very nature of Linux development, and debate if a new approach is needed.

        Plus an easy way to snapshot any workstation, some great feedback, and an extra nerdy command-line pick.

      • 2020-02-18 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat moves up Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, Mozilla releases significant changes to its WebThings Gateway, and O’Reilly publishes analytics for its online learning platform.

      • Podcast.__init__: APIs, Sustainable Open Source and The Async Web With Tom Christie

        Tom Christie is probably best known as the creator of Django REST Framework, but his contributions to the state the web in Python extend well beyond that. In this episode he shares his story of getting involved in web development, his work on various projects to power the asynchronous web in Python, and his efforts to make his open source contributions sustainable. This was an excellent conversation about the state of asynchronous frameworks for Python and the challenges of making a career out of open source.

    • Kernel Space

      • Why Not WireGuard

        The latest thing that is getting a lot of attention is WireGuard – the new shooting star in terms of VPN. But is it as great as it sounds? I would like to discuss some thoughts, have a look at the implementation and tell you why WireGuard is not a solution that will replace IPsec or OpenVPN.

        In this article I would like to debunk the myths. It is a long read. If you are in need of a tea of coffee, now is the time to make it. Thanks to Peter for proof-reading my chaotic thoughts.

        I do not want to discredit the developers of WireGuard for their efforts or for their ideas. It is a working piece of technology, but I personally think that it is being presented as something entirely different – as a replacement for IPsec and OpenVPN which it simply is not.

        As a side-note, I think that the media is responsible for this and not the WireGuard project itself.

        There has not been much positive news around the Linux kernel recently. They have reported of crushing processor vulnerabilities that have been mitigated in software, Linus Torvalds using too harsh language and just boring developer things. The scheduler or a zero-copy network stack are not very approachable topics for a glossy magazine. WireGuard is.

      • Intel ConnMan 1.38 Released With WireGuard Support

        Intel’s open-source ConnMan software for managing Internet connections on Linux particularly for embedded systems has seen a new release.

        ConnMan 1.38 is the new release that was issued on Friday and is the first release of this Linux connection manager in nearly one year.

        One of the big additions with ConnMan 1.38 is now supporting WireGuard, which is good news with mainline WireGuard kernel support on the way with Linux 5.6.

      • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.4

        Linux kernel v5.4 was released in late November. The holidays got the best of me, but better late than never!

      • Cook: security things in Linux v5.4

        A bit belatedly, Kees Cook looks at some security-relevant changes in Linux 5.4 in a blog post.

      • Linux 5.7 Picking Up Support For A High-End USB-C Audio Interface

        More high-end audio gear is finally transitioning from Firewire to USB-C and one of these new high-end audio interfaces will be supported by the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring.

        The PreSonus Studio 1810c a ~$400 USD USB-C audio interface for connecting professional audio gear should be working with Linux 5.7.

      • D-Bus Broker 22 Released With Option To Use Newer Kernel Features

        With BUS1 not looking like it will come to fruition anytime soon as an in-kernel IPC mechanism and the kernel module for it not being touched since last March, the same developers continue pushing ahead with Dbus-Broker as the user-space implementation focused on D-Bus compatibility while being higher performing and more reliable than D-Bus itself.

        Out today is Dbus-Broker 22 and in fact their first release since last May. David Rheinsberg of Red Hat released this new version of the Linux D-Bus Message Broker with several prominent changes.

      • Intel Continues Optimizing Linux Memory Placement For Optane DC Persistent Memory

        With a new patch series for the Linux kernel, memory access performance by one measurement can improve by 116% on a dual socket Intel server with Optane DC Persistent Memory.

        Intel open-source developer Huang Ying is seeking feedback on a patch series that allows optimized memory placement in memory-tiered systems, principally those with Optane DC Persistent Memory. Due to persistent memory characteristics being different from conventional DRAM, the patch series works to ensure that hot pages are placed on a DRAM node and migrating hot pages that may get placed in a persistent memory node over to DRAM via NUMA migration. Similarly, cold pages can be migrated to the persistent memory and off the DRAM with related patches published by Intel. The patches do automatically determine the threshold for hot pages.

      • Linux Looking To Sunset The Calxeda ARM Server Support

        It’s already been six years since the collapse of Calxeda as the first promising ARM server company. With that, the Linux kernel upstream developers are looking at dropping the Calxeda platform support.

        Calxeda ARM servers never reached widespread deployment for these 32-bit ARM servers but mostly were used by various Linux distributions for building ARMv7 packages at the time and other software companies. Seeing any Calxeda server still in production in 2020 is quite rare and if so is probably running an older software stack, so kernel developers are looking at dropping this support to avoid the maintenance burden moving forward.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD says Windows 10 Pro and Linux are just fine for Threadripper 3990X

        AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 3990X is a beast. It’s one of the most powerful CPUs ever created and it can achieve feats no other CPU before it could, like the ability to run Crysis without a dedicated GPU. Up until now, however, logic dictated that Windows 10 Pro simply wasn’t sufficient for AMD’s powerhouse CPU, and Linux was off the cards if you wanted to get the most out of AMD’s monster CPU.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 M3 Released With More Improvements For Benchmark Result Analysis

        The third and likely last test release of Phoronix Test Suite 9.4-Vestby is now available for your cross-platform, open-source benchmarking needs.

        Earlier in the Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 cycle there was improved error reporting on cases of unmet dependencies/libraries, new drive temperature reporting support with Linux 5.6+ kernels, and a number of result viewer enhancements. The result viewer work includes the ability to individually annotate individual benchmark result graphs with your own commentary, support for deleting individual benchmark results from within the result viewer, editing of result file meta-data from the modern result viewer, and other enhancements.

    • Applications

      • Getting started with OpenTaxSolver

        OpenTaxSolver is an open source application for US taxpayers to calculate their state and federal income tax returns. Before I get into the software, I want to share some of the information I learned when researching this article. I spent about five hours a day for a week looking into open source options for doing your taxes, and I learned about a lot more than just tax software.

        The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Use of federal tax information (FTI) in open source software webpage offers a large amount of information, and it’s especially relevant to anyone who may want to start their own open source tax software project.

      • Rclone Browser (Fork) 1.8.0 Gets Proxy Support, Option To Create Public Link

        Rclone Browser (fork), a Qt5 GUI for Rclone, was updated to version 1.8.0, getting proxy support, an option to display the complete directory tree for a remote, and the ability to create a public link to easily share files, among others.

        Rclone Browser is a cross-platform (Windows, macOS and Linux) Qt5 GUI for Rclone, a command line tool to synchronize (and mount) files from remote cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive, Nextcloud, Dropbox, Amazon Drive and S3, Mega, and others.

        This GUI can be used to simplify operations like copying a file from one cloud storage to another or to the local drive, mount cloud storages on your system with a click, and browsing the contents of various cloud storage remotes in a tabbed interface.

      • 10 Grafana features you need to know for effective monitoring

        The Grafana project started in 2013 when Torkel Ödegaard decided to fork Kibana and turn it into a time-series and graph-focused dashboarding tool. His guiding vision: to make everything look more clean and elegant, with fewer things distracting you from the data.

        More than 500,000 active installations later, Grafana dashboards are ubiquitous and instantly recognizable. (Even during a SpaceX launch!)

        Whether you’re a recent adopter or an experienced power user, you may not be familiar with all of the features that Grafana Labs—the company formed to accelerate the adoption of the Grafana project and to build a sustainable business around it—and the Grafana community at large have developed over the past 6+ years.

      • Komikku is a GTK Manga App for Linux

        If you read a lot of manga and you use the Ubuntu desktop check out Komikku, a relatively new Manga reader app for Linux written in Python and GTK.

        Now, usually when I highlight a GTK app on this blog you’d assume that I’m talking about a desktop app. But with GTK apps now running on mobile (like the Librem 5, for instance) a new breed of Linux software is emerging, built with mobile first use cases in mind.

        And Komikku is one such app.

        Alex, aka BabyWogue, aka the Linux YouTube guy who uses a robot voice and anime wallpaper in every video, recently shared a concise video overview of Komikku (it’s how I heard about it in the first place) and how it runs on …a desktop…

      • BingWall is —Yes, a Bing Wallpaper App for Ubuntu

        A lot of folks love using Bing’s image of the day as their desktop wallpaper — a task that the app featured below makes very easy on Ubuntu.

        Now, this idea isn’t new; I think it’s written about every Bing wallpaper app ever created at one time or another, from cron job to scripts to GNOME Shelll extensions and more.

        And on paper BingWall looks no different: once installed it lets you download Bing’s featured photo and set it as the desktop background on your Linux desktop.

        So far, so same-y.

      • MyPaint 2.0 released featuring Linear Compositing and Layers

        Over the weekend, the MyPaint developers quietly released version 2.0 of their popular free and open-source raster graphics editor. For those new to MyPaint, let me quickly introduce in brief.

        MyPaint originally released in March 2005 and is comparable in functionality and quality to other popular graphics editors such as Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Krita, Paint.NET, Microsoft Paint, and others.

        It is a popular choice for digital artists since the FOSS application focuses more on painting than it does with post-processing or image manipulation, as many others do. These artists are also partial to MyPaint because of its support for unconventional and conventional brush types, full screen “distraction-free” mode, and compatibility with Wacom graphics tablets and other similar devices.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle 2 is out with Slay the Spire, Armello and more

        In need of a few new games? The Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle 2 just launched today with a pretty damn good selection of Linux games on offer.

      • With deck-building and real-time action ‘One Step From Eden’ launches on March 26

        Announced today, One Step From Eden from developer Thomas Moon Kang is going to be releasing on March 26 and they’ve managed to pull in Humble Bundle as their publisher.

        It’s going to join a long list of crowdfunded games available on Linux and I’m personally excited about this. Blending multiple genres together with inspiration coming from Mega Man Battle Network, One Step from Eden is a roguelike deck-builder fused with a super-fast action game as you and enemies throw abilities across the screen. Check out their brand new trailer:

      • Mad Experiments: Escape Room – an upcoming co-op escape room puzzler has a demo out

        PlayTogether Studio have announced their multiplayer escape room puzzle game, Mad Experiments: Escape Room, is going to releasing in April and you can try an early build now.

        You can try it solo and online with up to 6 people total, however there’s no matchmaking you need the name of a hosted room so gather a few friends if you wish to try the co-op. The developer said that “The rooms are filled with riddles, clues, and mysteries to uncover. Almost every items can be interacted with and examined in details, explore!”.

      • Cyberpunk RPG dungeon crawler ‘Conglomerate 451′ looks like it may come to Linux

        RuneHeads and 1C Entertainment may soon launch a new Linux game, with the cyberpunk RPG dungeon crawler Conglomerate 451.

        Currently in Early Access and due to fully launch in a few days, on the official Steam forum they developer mentioned in a reply posted in a Linux request topic that they’re “99.9% yes” and they “need to fix a couple of issues”. So not only are they planning it, they’ve actually been working on it.

      • Cyber Knights: Flashpoint from Trese Brothers is becoming a big Kickstarter success

        Trese Brothers Games (Star Traders: Frontiers) have a bit of a hit on their hands here, as Cyber Knights: Flashpoint is smashing through goals on Kickstarter.

        With an original goal of $50,000 they managed to get funded in less than 12 hours. That’s pretty incredible and good for Linux gaming fans too, since Trese Brothers continue to support Linux with Cyber Knights just like they did with Star Traders: Frontiers and Templar Battleforce.

      • Open-world turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard’ coming to Linux in ‘the near future’

        While the free Stoneshard: Prologue is already available on Linux, the Early Access build of the proper game Stoneshard is currently not.

        It was supposed to launch at the same time as Windows on Steam, however they’ve been encountering some issues blocking the Linux version. They have mentioned this a few times on their Steam forum so thankfully they’ve been keeping people informed. I

      • Try out the Alpha testing build of the obstacle course racer Turbo Boom! – coming to Steam

        Race around tracks, avoid obstacles and attempt to get the best time in the racing game Turbo Boom! that’s coming to Steam.

        Turbo Boom! reminds me of some classic racers, giving you a simple setup that has you drive as fast and accurately as you can. You will be avoiding all sorts of obstacles like spikes, boxes and things that quite literally make you go—boom. It’s a high-score chaser as you fight for positions on a leaderboard against friends and the world.

      • Twin-stick multiplayer party game ‘Trailer Trashers’ looks absolutely mad

        Releasing on Steam on March 10, Trailer Trashers has up to four people in local multiplayer go crazy as you bounce bullets around various cramped arenas.

        There’s going to be five game modes like last person standing, team death-match, shotgun soccer and more. They made a little joke about an ‘imaginary friend mode’ so possibly some AI in there if you don’t manage to get someone to play with. However, with Steam Remote Play local-only games aren’t such a problem they once were.

      • Shotgun Farmers has a ‘Very Berry’ update with a new ‘Strawbowry’ weapon

        Continuing to be possibly the most unique first-person shooter on Steam in terms of weaponry, Shotgun Farmers has a pretty fun new update out.

        In Shotgun Farmers, all the weapons are inspired by fruit and vegetables. Not just inspired in the name and style, if your bullets miss your enemy and hit the ground they grow a new weapon right there. It’s amusing! A very sweet game that continues getting better, it really deserves more attention.

      • First-person adventure-exploration ‘Almost Epic Adventures: Neverlooted Dungeon’ coming to Linux

        That’s quite a mouthful isn’t it, Almost Epic Adventures: Neverlooted Dungeon is a first-person adventure and exploration game from Wild Mage Games and the first trailer is up.

        Wild Mage Games were originally working on Almost Epic Adventures: The Goblin’s Week, however that’s currently on pause due to a lack of current resources so instead of cutting it up they decided to go with an intermediate project focusing on ‘trapped dungeon exploration’ with Neverlooted Dungeon.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Gpg4KDE & GPG4win Approved for Transmission & Processing of National Classified Information

          Something that may have slipped you by: Back in November, the German Federal Office for Information Security approved Gpg4KDE and Gpg4win for the transmission and processing of national classified information.

          Gpg4KDE is the encryption system that you use each time you encrypt and sign messages in KMail. Gpg4win, used for encrypting and signing emails on Windows, is built upon KDE’s certificate manager Kleopatra. The German Government has now ranked both secure enough to be used when transmitting messages with VS-ONLY FOR SERVICE USE (VS-NfD), EU RESTRICTED and NATO RESTRICTED levels of confidentiality.

          In view of the recent Rubicon/Crypto AG/CIA scandal, this is further evidence that FLOSS encryption technology is the only reliable encryption technology.

        • Season of KDE Final Report

          SoK has finally ended yesterday and it’s been a great learning experience for me. In these last 40 days, it really made me lot more comfortable and confident as an open source contributor :).

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Gets First Point Release, Update Now

          The latest KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series already got its first point release today as the KDE Plasma 5.18.1 packages have started appearing on the official mirrors.

          KDE Plasma 5.18.1 is here just one week after the release of the KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series, which the KDE Project will support for the next two years. This is aa maintenance update bringing many bug fixes for better stability, security and reliability.

          Highlights of this first point release include support for accessing the new global edit mode to those who upgraded from KDE Plasma 5.17 or a previous release and had their widgets locked. It’s also now possible to save the changes made to the default font configuration in the System Settings Fonts page.

          Support for Electron (menubar colors issue) and Chromium (missing cursors issue) based apps using the Breeze GTK3 theme has been improved as well, and KDE Plasma is now capable of detecting more AMD GPUs with GFX9 (Vega) chips.

        • Plasma 5.18.1
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.35.91 released!
          Hi,
          
          GNOME 3.35.91 is now available! This is the second beta release of GNOME 3.36.
          
          Please note: we are now in string freeze, so be kind to translators and stop changing strings.
          
          The corresponding flatpak runtimes have been published to Flathub. If you'd like to target the GNOME 3.36 platform, you can test your application against the 3.36beta branch of the Flathub Beta repository.
          
          You can also try the experimental VM image, available here for a limited time only:
          
          https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-build-meta/-/jobs/598561/artifacts/file/image/disk.qcow2
          
          It needs a UEFI bios and a VirtIO GPU to run.
          
          If you want to compile GNOME 3.35.91 yourself, you can use the
          official BuildStream project snapshot:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.35.91/gnome-3.35.91.tar.xz
          
          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.91/NEWS
          
          The source packages are available here:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.91/sources/
          
          WARNING!
          --------
          This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is
          buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking
          purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development
          status.
          
          For more information about 3.36, the full schedule, the official module
          lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.35 wiki page:
          
          https://www.gnome.org/start/unstable
          
          Happy Tuesday,
          
          Michael
          
        • GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 Released With Initial Setup Parental Controls, Lock-Screen USB Disable

          GNOME 3.35.91 is out today as the second beta ahead of next month’s GNOME 3.36 desktop release.

          The 3.35.91 release is the last stop before the GNOME 3.36 release candidate at month’s end and then GNOME 3.36.0 should be debuting on 11 March. While past the UI and feature freeze since the 3.35.90 beta earlier this month, there are still some prominent changes to note with today’s second beta:

        • GNOME 3.36 Desktop Gets Second Beta Release Ahead of March 11 Launch

          GNOME Project’s Michael Catanzaro just announced a few moments ago the availability of the second beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.36 desktop environment.

          With only three weeks left until the final release on March 11th, the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment received today a new beta version, GNOME 3.35.91, which can be downloaded and installed on various GNU/Linux distributions using the official Flatpak runtimes from Flathub, the official BuildStream project snapshot, the experimental VM image, or the source packages.

          The development cycle of GNOME 3.36 is almost over and String Freeze stage is now in effect. There will be one more milestone published before the final release next month, GNOME 3.35.92 a.k.a. GNOME 3.36 Release Candidate (RC), which is expected at the end of the month on February 29th.

        • Login and unlock in GNOME Shell 3.36

          The upcoming GNOME 3.36 release includes a major update to the system login and unlock experience. The new design has been anticipated for a long time, and we’re excited that it has finally arrived!

          GNOME’s existing login and unlock design has been largely unaltered since it was first introduced in GNOME 3.6, back in September 2012. That’s seven and a half years ago! It’s therefore no surprise that we’ve wanted to update the design for some time.

          The initial round of design work for the new lock screen took place in 2017, at the GNOME UX hackfest in London. There, the GNOME design team, along with GNOME Shell developers, reviewed the goals and requirements, as well as the issues with the existing design, including the main areas of feedback that we’ve had.

        • First Look: What to Expect in GNOME 3.36, Including New Lock Screen

          Well, in this post I round up the multitude of improvements, changes and features that GNOME 3.36 plans to ship with to distil them in to an easily scannable list — so be aware that spoilers follow!

          Do keep in mind that GNOME 3.36 is still in development at the time of writing. Some features highlighted below may change subtly (or substantially) prior to release, or maybe even miss the release entirely.

        • GNOME Shares Sneak Peek at Login and Lock Screens in GNOME 3.36

          GNOME 3.36 is shaping up to be a great update for the open source desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distribution by default, including Ubuntu and Fedora. One of the new features in the upcoming release is revamped lock and login screens.

          GNOME’s Allan Day shared today a sneak peek at the new design of the login and lock screen in GNOME 3.36, which have not seen a major update since the release of GNOME 3.6 in September 2012.

          The new login and lock screens, which you can see in action below, aim to reduce friction and make the login and unlock experience less frustrating for users.

        • MATE 1.24 landed in Debian unstable

          Last week, Martin Wimpress (from Ubuntu MATE) and I did a 2.5-day packaging sprint and after that I bundle-uploaded all MATE 1.24 related components to Debian unstable. Thus, MATE 1.24 landed in Debian unstable only four days after the upstream release. I think this was the fastest version bump of MATE in Debian ever.

          Packages should have been built by now for most of the 22 architectures supported by Debian. The current/latest build status can be viewed on the DDPO page of the Debian+Ubuntu MATE Packaging Team [1].

          Please also refer to the MATE 1.24 upstream release notes for details on what’s new and what’s changed [2].

        • Change in Light Levels

          It’s the small things that make a smartphone feel nice to use. With the constant flow of updates, improvements to usability keep finding their way into PureOS. One of the recent improvements is how the screen adjusts brightness. This improvement will help tune screen brightness to more convenient levels.

        • Evince chosen as the Librem 5 Document Viewer

          The default Librem 5 applications define the out of the box experience. Our team has been hard at work adding essential apps that people expect from a smartphone. The latest is the popular FOSS document viewer Evince which we adapted using our powerful convergence library libhandy.

          We have put a lot of design and development into the idea of convergence – the ability to run applications on desktop and mobile without maintaining separate code basess or many additional views. libhandy has already been successfully used to adpat or build all the current Librem 5 apps including GNOME Settings, Epiphany, Calls, Chats and more. What makes libhandy so powerful for designers and developers is its simplicity. Just swap out your widget inheritance to use libhandy and add breakpoint logic.

        • Easy Librem 5 App Development: Scale the Screen

          The Librem 5 phone has a 720×1440 screen, but that is a relatively high concentration of pixels when applied to a 5.7″ screen running traditional desktop applications and would not only leave you squinting at a lot of the text, it would make it difficult to press buttons and select items in menus. As we document in our design contraints page, we scale the desktop 2x to a resolution of 360×720 and once you take the top and bottom navigation bars into account you end up with a portrait resolution of 360×648 or a landscape resolution of 720×288.

          While our native applications take these constraints into account, and we continue to adapt new applications to work well on a phone screen, there are still plenty of applications that run on the Librem 5, they just don’t yet fit. For instance, here’s Wireshark looking great on the Librem 5 in landscape mode when scaled to 1.25x:

    • Distributions

      • 10 top reasons to switch to Manjaro Linux

        Most new Linux users are exposed to big names like Ubuntu, Arch, Debian, and Mint. There are a lot of other distros that are good in their way. Manjaro is one of those distributions that we’re going to discuss today. It’s an open-source, Arch Linux-based operating system.

        Arch Linux is known to be fast, powerful, and lightweight, providing users with the latest cutting-edge application and tools. Manjaro surpasses this reputation and offers even more benefits, especially an intuitive user interface.

        If you’re a Linux user wondering whether to switch to Manjaro or stick to your current distribution, there are ten main reasons why you should switch to Manjaro Linux.

      • Living Lively with LiveCD

        LiveCD is the ability to run full operating system without installing it to computer beforehand. You can run GNU/Linux LiveCD with CD, DVD, or USB Flash, or even external Hard Disk Drive. To make it easier to understand for everybody, Windows is not LiveCD, but GNU/Linux is. I live with LiveCD everyday, many of UbuntuBuzz’s articles I actually wrote in LiveCD mode, and many reviews I could made by using it. LiveCD is a feature known and popular from GNU/Linux. The first distro to introduce it was KNOPPIX. And Ubuntu made it very popular thanks to Canonical’s ShipIt program that sent Ubuntu CDs to people in this world (including me) so many people benefited from Ubuntu LiveCDs. To you I share my story with LiveCD and things I learned from my story. I wish this writing benefits you as well. Enjoy!

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Open Build Service: More Responsive Than Ever Before!

          We want to change this. And with the new UI technology we introduced last year, we have the chance to do so! :clap: So in the last couple of weeks, we have focused on improving the user experience following a mobile-first approach (start the design of the page on a small screen, which has more restrictions, then expand the page features to create a tablet or desktop version).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat finds enterprise users are adopting open-source software at a rapid pace

          Enterprise customers believe open-source software is great. In a just-released Red Hat 2020 enterprise user report, the Linux and cloud folks from Raleigh found 95% of almost 1,000 enterprise IT leaders thought open-source is “strategically important to their organization’s overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy. Of course they do. As Red Monk analyst Stephen O’Grady said in 2005, “So you took over the enterprise: What now?”, open-source software and development approaches had already reached a tipping point. There’s nothing surprising that an overwhelming majority of CIOs, CTOs, and other high-level IT managers in 2020 see an open-source future. ”

        • Metrics and traces correlation in Kiali

          Metrics, traces, and logs might be the Three Pillars of Observability, as you’ve certainly already heard. This mantra helps us focus our mindset around observability, but it is not a religion. “There is so much more data that can help us have insight into our running systems,” said Frederic Branczyk at KubeCon last year.

          These three kind of signals do have their specificities, but they also have common denominators that we can generalize. They could all appear on a virtual timeline and they all originate from a workload, so they are timed and sourced, which is a good start for enabling correlation. If there’s anything as important as knowing the signals that a system can emit, it’s knowing the relationships between those signals and being able to correlate one with another, even when they’re not strictly of the same nature. Ultimately, we can postulate that any sort of signal that is timed and sourced is a good candidate for correlation as well, even if we don’t have hard links between them.

          This fact is, of course, not something new. Correlation has always been possible, but the true stake is to make it easier, and hence cheaper. What makes correlation easier today? I can see at least one pattern that helps, and that we see more and more in monitoring systems: An automatic and consistent sourcing of incoming signals.

          When you use Prometheus in Kubernetes, the Kubernetes service discovery might be enabled and configured for label mapping. As the name suggests, this mechanism maps pods’ existing labels to Prometheus labels, or in other words, it forwards source context into metrics (hence, allowing filters and aggregations based on that information). This setup participates in automatic and consistent sourcing. Loki, for instance, has the same for logs. If you can define a context for metrics search and reuse that same context for logs search, then guess what you have? Easier correlation.

        • Fedora’s 32-bit ARM Xfce Image Demoted While Fedora Workstation AArch64 Gets Promoted

          Issues with Fedora’s 32-bit ARM Xfce desktop spin will no longer be treated as a release blocker for the Linux distribution but instead the Fedora Workstation for 64-bit ARM (AArch64) will be considered a blocking issue.

          At Monday’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee meeting, the FESCo members agreed that Fedora Workstation on 64-bit ARM will basically take the place of the 32-bit ARM Fedora Xfce image in terms of release priority. That Fedora 32-bit ARM Xfce spin can stick around, but it’s no longer going to hold up Fedora releases should there be any significant bugs specific to it. Promoting the Fedora Workstation AArch64 image is a win as well acknowledging the good support today for ARMv8 hardware by the distribution.

        • Red Hat tips its Fedora at CoreOS Container Linux stans: Hop onto something else, folks, cos this one’s on a boat to Valhalla

          Red Hat is set to fling a flaming arrow at Red Hat CoreOS Container Linux*, the software firm said as it laid out the details of the end of life timeline for the distro it acquired in January 2018.

          CoreOS Container Linux is designed as a lightweight operating system optimised for hosting containers. It supports various cluster architectures, and features an automated update system. The container runtime can be either Docker or rkt (Rocket), an alternative which was developed by the CoreOS team.

          When Red Hat acquired CoreOS, it said that Container Linux was “complementary to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and Red Hat’s integrated container runtime and platform management capabilities.” The company also said it would integrate Tectonic, the CoreOS Kubernetes project, and Quay, the CoreOS container registry, with its own OpenShift Kubernetes suite.

        • OpenShift 4.3: Console Customization: YAML Samples

          Out of the box, OpenShift 4 provides a few examples for users. With this new extension mechanism users can now add their own YAML sample for all users on the Cluster. Let us look at how we can manually add a YAML example to the cluster. First we need to navigate to the Custom Resource Definition navigation item and search for YAML…

        • Red Hat Satellite Ask Me Anything Q&A from January 15, 2020

          This post covers the questions and answers during the January 2020 Satellite Ask Me Anything (AMA) calls.

          For anyone not familiar, the Satellite AMAs are an “ask me anything” (AMA) style event where we invite Red Hat customers to bring all of their questions about Red Hat Satellite, drop them in the chat, and members of the Satellite product team answers as many of them live as we can during the AMA and we then follow up with a blog post detailing the questions and answers.

        • Red Hat named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2nd year in a row

          If you ask Red Hatters why they love working for Red Hat, you’ll hear a common theme. The culture and the people. I frequently hear from new Red Hatters that it just feels different to work here. It’s clear our associates are passionate about being apart of something bigger than themselves, a movement. As a result, Red Hat has been ranked No. 48 on Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For! This is our second consecutive year making the list and it’s most gratifying that in a year full of exciting change, one thing has remained constant. Red Hat is still Red Hat and it is a great place to work!

          Thinking back on this year and all that we’ve experienced, I’m grateful that we have put a great deal of attention and focus on continuing Red Hat’s culture because of the value it brings to our associates, customers, partners and the industry as a whole. We are all committed to preserving our way of working and this latest recognition is a testament to this effort. As we move forward, we are laser focused on maintaining what we do and how we do it—the open source way.

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue Editions Are Out Now

          Released last week on February 10th, SparkyLinux 2020.02 brought updated components from the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” software repositories. It shipped with Xfce, MATE, LXQt, Openbox (MinimalGUI), and MinimalCLI (text-mode) editions.

          Now, the SparkyLinux 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue special editions are available for download as well. They’re also based on the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” repos, but include special software components.

          While the GameOver edition comes preloaded with numerous games, the Multimedia edition contains a collections of utilities for audio, graphics, and video creation, and the Rescue edition brings useful tools for system maintenance and repair.

        • The Debian-based MX Linux 19.1 is Out – Download Link

          MX Linux is a midweight operating system by Linux. It’s based on Debian stable and it uses core antiX components, but it also has some additional software created by the MX community. While it made plenty of users happy and with their lives improved, MX Linux is now at its 19.1 version and ready to be downloaded.

          MX Linux 19.1 has become available for download since yesterday, February 16. And it’s worth giving it a try since the Debian-based distro uses the Xfce desktop environment and it’s pre-loaded with great software: LibreOffice, a video and music player, Firefox, and more.

        • 4 Ways to Kill Unresponsive Applications in Debian 10

          It is often annoying when a program stops working and you cannot even close it. Rebooting the system is not always the appropriate way and we search for ways to get rid of unresponsive programs, easily and quickly. In this article, we will learn about those ways including both GUI and the command line to kill the unresponsive applications in a Debian system.

          We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 system. Some of the methods described here have been run on the command line Terminal application. To open the Terminal in Debian OS, go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type the keyword terminal. When the search result appears, click on the Terminal icon.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Makes It Easier to Download Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi

          Canonical’s Design and Web team have recently updated the official Ubuntu website to make it easier for users to find the right Ubuntu image for their tiny Raspberry Pi computers.

          In December 2019, Canonical published a support roadmap for the latest Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer on their Ubuntu Server operating system and pledged to fully support Ubuntu on all Raspberry Pi boards.

          With the release of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS earlier this month, Canonical has also refreshed the Raspberry Pi page on the ubuntu.com website to help users find the right Ubuntu version for their Raspberry Pi boards.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Design and Web team summary – 14 February 2020

          The Web and Design team at Canonical looks after most of our main websites, the brand, our Vanilla CSS framework and several of our products with web front-ends. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work over our last two-week iteration.

        • OpenStack Charms 20.02 – CephFS backend for Manila and more

          The OpenStack Charms 20.02 release introduces support for Ceph File System (CephFS) to be used as storage backed for Manila. CephFS is a POSIX-compliant file system providing a file storage layer on top of Ceph. Manila is an OpenStack project providing shared filesystem services for tenants.

          Previous releases of OpenStack Charms included manila charm with a generic plugin that could be used to configure the NFS-based backend for Manila. Although this solution was suitable for testing and development, it was not intended for production environments.

          The CephFS backend for Manila brings the OpenStack shared filesystem service to the enterprise level. This comes through enabling tenants to benefit from all the best features provided by Ceph, such as high availability, fault tolerance, scalability and security.

          In order to deploy or extend Charmed OpenStack with CephFS backed for Manila, users have to use additional charms (ceph-fs, manila and manila-ganesha). These have been introduced and stabilised in this release. Please refer to the official documentation for information on how to integrate new charms with the existing deployment.

        • Canonical Releases OpenStack Charms 20.02 with CephFS Support, More

          OpenStack Charms 20.02 is available now with CephFS backend for Manila, Policy Overrides for more charms, updated OVN and MySQL 8 previews, and much more.

        • Ceph storage on Ubuntu: An overview

          Ceph is a compelling open-source alternative to proprietary software defined storage solutions from traditional vendors, with a vibrant community collaborating on the technology. Ubuntu was an early supporter of Ceph and its community. That support continues today as Canonical maintains premier member status and serves on the governing board of the Ceph Foundation.

          With many global enterprises and telco operators running Ceph on Ubuntu, organisations are able to combine block and object storage at scale while tapping into the economic and upstream benefits of open source.

          Why use Ceph?

          Ceph is unique because it makes data available in multiple ways: as a POSIX compliant filesystem through CephFS, as block storage volumes via the RBD driver and for object store, compatible with both S3 and Swift protocols, using the RADOS gateway.

          A common use case for Ceph is to provide block and object store to OpenStack clouds via Cinder and as a Swift replacement. Kubernetes has similarly adopted Ceph as a popular way for physical volumes (PV) as a Container Storage Interface (CSI) plugin.

          Even as a stand-alone, Ceph is a compelling open-source storage alternative to closed-source, proprietary solutions as it reduces OpEx costs organisations commonly accrue with storage from licensing, upgrades and potential vendor lock-in fees.

        • MAAS 2.7 released

          Following on from MAAS 2.6.2, we are happy to announce that MAAS 2.7 is now available. This release features some critical bug fixes, along with some exciting new features.

          For some time, our users have been asking for the capability to deploy CentOS 8 images in MAAS. With the advent of MAAS 2.7, that is now possible. The Images page in the MAAS 2.8 UI offers the option to select and download CentOS 8. It is important to note that users of previous versions may see CentOS 8 as an available option, but cannot download or deploy it.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 73.0.1 Released With Fixes for Linux, Windows Crashes

            Mozilla has released Firefox 73.0.1 today, February 18th, 2020, to the Stable desktop channel for Windows, macOS, and Linux with crash fixes for users of Windows and Linux devices.

            This release also fixes a loss of browser functionality in certain circumstances and RBC Royal Bank website connectivity problems.

            Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop users can upgrade to Firefox 73.0.1 by going to Options -> Help -> About Firefox and the browser will automatically check for the new update and install it when available.

          • Firefox 73.0.1 Fixes Linux Crashes When Playing Encrypted Content

            Firefox 73.0.1 arrives a week after the launch of Firefox 73.0 to address a few issues reported by users. These include fixes for a bug that made Firefox to crash on some Linux users when playing encrypted content and an issue which forced Firefox to close unexpectedly when the user exits the Print Preview mode.

            Some users also reported intermittent blank page issues when attempting to log in to the RBC Royal Bank website, so this is now fixed as well in the Firefox 73.0.1 release. Also addressed are a couple of issues reported by users on Windows systems, which shouldn’t affect Linux users.

          • Mozilla GFX: Challenge: Snitch on the glitch! Help the Graphics team track down an interesting WebRender bug…

            For the past little while, we have been tracking some interesting WebRender bugs that people are reporting in release. Despite best efforts, we have been unable to determine clear steps to reproduce these issues and have been unable to find a fix for them. Today we are announcing a special challenge to the community – help us track down steps to reproduce (a.k.a STR) for this bug and you will win some special, limited edition Firefox Graphics team swag! Read on for more details if you are interested in participating.

          • Mike Hoye: Dexterity In Depth

            I’m exactly one microphone and one ridiculous haircut away from turning into Management Shingy when I get rolling on stuff like this, because it’s just so clear to me how much this stuff matters and how little sense I might be making at the same time. Is your issue tracker automatically flagging your structural blind spots? Do your QA and UX team run your next reorg? Why not?

            This all started life as a rant on Mastodon, so bear with me here. There are two empirically-established facts that organizations making software need to internalize.

            The first is that by wide margin the most significant predictive indicator that there will be a future bug in a piece of software is the relative orgchart distance of the people working on it. People who are working on a shared codebase in the same room but report to different VPs are wildly more likely to introduce errors into a codebase than two people who are on opposite sides of the planet and speak different first languages but report to the same manager.

            The second is that the number one predictor that a bug will be resolved is if it is triaged correctly – filed in the right issue tracker, against the right component, assigned to the right people – on the first try.

            It’s fascinating that neither of the strongest predictive indicators of the most important parts of a bug’s lifecycle – birth and death – actually take place on the developers’ desk, but it’s true. In terms of predictive power, nothing else in the software lifecycle comes close.

          • WebThings Gateway Goes Global

            Today, we’re releasing version 0.11 of the WebThings Gateway. For those of you running a previous version of our Raspberry Pi build, you should have already received the update. You can check in your UI by navigating to Settings ➡ Add-ons.

          • Thank You, Ronaldo Lemos

            Ronaldo Lemos joined the Mozilla Foundation board almost six years ago. Today he is stepping down in order to turn his attention to the growing Agora! social movement in Brazil.

            Over the past six years, Ronaldo has helped Mozilla and our allies advance the cause of a healthy internet in countless ways. Ronaldo played a particularly important role on policy issues including the approval of the Marco Civil in Brazil and shaping debates around net neutrality and data protection. More broadly, he brought his experience as an academic, lawyer and active commentator in the fields of intellectual property, technology and culture to Mozilla at a time when we needed to step up on these topics in an opinionated way.

            As a board member, Ronaldo also played a critical role in the development of Mozilla Foundation’s movement building strategy. As the Foundation evolved it’s programs over the past few years, he brought to bear extensive experience with social movements in general — and with the open internet movement in particular. This was an invaluable contribution.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

          WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 is now available!

          This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

      • FSF

        • Charity Navigator awards the FSF coveted four-star rating for the seventh time in a row

          Recently, we got some terrific news: Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of US-based nonprofit charities, awarded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) a four-star rating, the highest available. According to the confirmation letter from Charity Navigator president Michael Thatcher, this rating demonstrates the FSF’s “strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.” A four-star charity, according to their ratings, “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause.”

          This is our seventh time in a row receiving the coveted four-star rating! Only 7% of the charities that Charity Navigator evaluates have gotten this many in a row, and they assess over 9,000 charities a year. As Thatcher’s letter says, “This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets the Free Software Foundation apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.” Even better: our overall score went from 96.66 out of 100% last year, up to 98.55 this cycle.

        • Licensing / Legal

      • Programming/Development

        • Slightly Better Iterative Spline Decomposition

          My colleague Bart Massey (who is a CS professor at Portland State University) reviewed my iterative spline algorithm article and had an insightful comment — we don’t just want any spline decomposition which is flat enough, what we really want is a decomposition for which every line segment is barely within the specified flatness value.

          My initial approach was to keep halving the length of the spline segment until it was flat enough. This definitely generates a decomposition which is flat enough everywhere, but some of the segments will be shorter than they need to be, by as much as a factor of two.

        • LLVM’s Go Front-End Was Finally Dropped From The Official Source Tree

          Most probably didn’t even realize LLVM had a Go language front-end, but this past week it was dropped from the official source mono repository.

          This LLVM Go front-end “LLGO” hasn’t been maintained in several years and never really took off… Most probably aren’t even aware of this Go compiler support for LLVM. So the code has been suffering, it was stuck at Go version 1.5 well behind the latest upstream, it likely has build errors, and there are other nuisances with the code like having an entire copy of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” novel. For those wondering why an entire novel was part of the source tree, it amounted to serving as a compression test case.

        • [llvm-dev] [10.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 2 is here
          Hello everyone,
          
          Release Candidate 2 was tagged earlier today as llvmorg-10.0.0-rc2. It
          includes 98 commits since the previous release candidate.
          
          Source code and docs are available at
          https://prereleases.llvm.org/10.0.0/#rc2 and
          
          https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project/releases/tag/llvmorg-10.0.0-rc2
          
          Pre-built binaries will be added as they become available.
          
          Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of
          
          https://llvm.org/pr44555
          
          Release testers: please run the test script, share your results, and
          upload binaries.
          
          I'm hoping we can now start tying up the loose ends, fixing the
          blocking bugs, and getting the branch ready for shipping as a stable
          release soon.
          
          Thanks,
          Hans
          
        • LLVM 10.0′s Release Is Very Close With RC2 Available

          The release of LLVM 10.0 is now upon us with the second and last planned release candidate issued at the end of last week.

          Ongoing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg tagged LLVM 10.0 RC2 on Thursday with just under one hundred commits since the original release candidate. Since LLVM 10.0 RC1 in January has been a lot of bug fixing and things appear to be settling down for seeing LLVM 10.0 on time or thereabouts with its scheduled release date of 26 February.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Haskell

          Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose, polymorphically statically typed, lazy, purely functional language, very different from many programming languages. It enables developers to produce software that’s clear, concise, and correct.

          This is a mature programming language with the first version defined in 1990. It has a strong, static type system based on Hindley–Milner type inference. The main implementation of Haskell is the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC), an open source native code compiler. Recent innovations include static polymorphic typing, higher-order functions, user-definable algebraic data types, a module system, and more. It has built-in concurrency and parallelism, debuggers, profilers, rich libraries and an active community, with thousands of open source libraries and tools.

          Haskell offers many advantages to programmers. It helps rapid application development with shorter, clearer code, and higher reliability. It’s suitable for a variety of applications, and often used in academia and industry.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 2020.07 Irky Reblessing

            Arne Sommer has blogged about a recent breaking change with regards to reblessing objects: Raku and the (Re)blessed Child and Exploring Rebless with Raku. In it, they express frustration with working code suddenly not working anymore. As always, there are two sides to the story, and Arne shows them both.

        • Python

          • PyCon India 2019 :: Late Report

            Personally, I think the venue choice this year was great again, as we were able to accommodate 20+ sponsor stalls while still not overloading the halls and having ample space to conduct multiple tracks of the conference scheduled for the attendees.

            [...]

            Apart from these, there also are some monetary benefits to volunteering at a conference- registration fee for volunteers is generally waived off at paid-ticket based conferences and some quite generous conferences also have accommodation options for volunteers during the conference days, free of cost.
            Also, organizers usually have free goodies to give away to the volunteers at the end of the conference.

            The volunteers met at the convention centre a day before the conference to prepare the goodies bags for the attendees. These bags simply consisted of a schedule page, a pen, a notebook and a couple of PyCon India stickers- one for you, and one for sharing with your pal.

          • Python 3.8.2rc2 is now available for testing

            Python 3.8.2rc2 is the second release candidate of the second maintenance release of Python 3.8. Go get it here:

          • Productivity Mondays – 5 tips that will boost your performance

            The following things are relatively easy to do, but also easy not to do. Do them consistently and they can change your career and life.

          • Roberto Alsina: Learning Serverless in GCP

            Usually, when I want to learn how to use a tool, the thing that works best for me is to try to build something using it. Watching someone build something instead is the second best thing.

            So, join me while I build a little thing using “serverless” Google Cloud Platform, Python and some other bits and pieces.

          • Uniquely Managing Test Execution Resources using WebSockets

            Executing tests for simple applications is complicated. You have to think about the users, how they interact with it, how those interactions propagate through different components, as well as how to handle error situations gracefully. But things get even more complicated when you start looking at more extensive systems, like those with multiple external dependencies.

            Dependencies come in various forms, including third-party modules, cloud services, compute resources, networks, and others.

          • Python Tools for Record Linking and Fuzzy Matching

            Record linking and fuzzy matching are terms used to describe the process of joining two data sets together that do not have a common unique identifier. Examples include trying to join files based on people’s names or merging data that only have organization’s name and address.

            This problem is a common business challenge and difficult to solve in a systematic way – especially when the data sets are large. A naive approach using Excel and vlookup statements can work but requires a lot of human intervention. Fortunately, python provides two libraries that are useful for these types of problems and can support complex matching algorithms with a relatively simple API.

            The first one is called fuzzymatcher and provides a simple interface to link two pandas DataFrames together using probabilistic record linkage. The second option is the appropriately named Python Record Linkage Toolkit which provides a robust set of tools to automate record linkage and perform data deduplication.

            This article will discuss how to use these two tools to match two different data sets based on name and address information. In addition, the techniques used to do matching can be applied to data deduplication and will be briefly discussed.

          • Integrating MongoDB with Python Using PyMongo

            In this post, we will dive into MongoDB as a data store from a Python perspective. To that end, we’ll write a simple script to showcase what we can achieve and any benefits we can reap from it.

            Web applications, like many other software applications, are powered by data. The organization and storage of this data are important as they dictate how we interact with the various applications at our disposal. The kind of data handled can also have an influence on how we undertake this process.

            Databases allow us to organize and store this data, while also controlling how we store, access, and secure the information.

          • EuroPython 2020: Presenting our conference logo for Dublin

            The logo is inspired by the colors and symbols often associated with Ireland: the shamrock and the Celtic harp. It was again created by our designer Jessica Peña Moro from Simétriko, who had already helped us in previous years with the conference design.

          • Finding the Perfect Python Code Editor

            Find your perfect Python development setup with this review of Python IDEs and code editors. Writing Python using IDLE or the Python REPL is great for simple things, but not ideal for larger programming projects. With this course you’ll get an overview of the most common Python coding environments to help you make an informed decision.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #408 (Feb. 18, 2020)
          • Airflow By Example (II)
          • PyCon: The Hatchery Returns with Nine Events!

            Since its start in 2018, the PyCon US Hatchery Program has become a fundamental part of how PyCon as a conference adapts to best serve the Python community as it grows and changes with time. In keeping with that focus on innovation, the Hatchery Program itself has continued to evolve.

            Initially we wanted to gauge community interest for this type of program, and in 2018 we launched our first trial program to learn more about what kind of events the community might propose. At the end of that inaugural program, we accepted the PyCon Charlas as our first Hatchery event and it has grown into a permanent track offered at PyCon US.

          • Using “python -m” in Wing 7.2

            Wing version 7.2 has been released, and the next couple Wing Tips look at some of its new features. We’ve already looked at reformatting with Black and YAPF and Wing 7.2′s expanded support for virtualenv.

            Now let’s look at how to set up debugging modules that need to be launched with python -m. This command line option for Python allows searching the Python Path for the name of a module or package, and then loading and executing it. This capability was introduced way back in Python 2.4, and then extended in Python 2.5 through PEP 338 . However, it only came into widespread use relatively recently, for example to launch venv, black, or other command line tools that are shipped as Python packages.

          • New Python Programmer? Learn These Concepts First.

            As a novice Python developer, the world is your oyster with regards to the type of applications that you can create. Despite its age (30 years—an eternity in tech-world terms), Python remains a dominant programming language, with companies using it for all kinds of services, platforms, and applications.

            For example, Python lets you create web applications via Django or other frameworks such as Flask. Perhaps you want to create games instead? For that, learn Pygame for 2D games (or Panda3D for 3D). Or maybe you’re more enterprise-minded, and want to create useful utilities (such as automatically cataloguing e-books); in that case, Python works well with frameworks and software such as Calibre.

        • Terminal

          • Changing TTY prompt, font and colors

            Changing colors and font in a virtual terminal isn’t easy (see below). Changing colors and font in a terminal emulator, on the other hand, is just a matter of adjusting preferences in a GUI dialog. Last year, for example, I changed the color scheme in my terminal emulator.

  • Leftovers

    • Stephen Michael Kellat: Trying A Minimum Working Example

      When you make assertions in a channel like the Ubuntu Podcast’s Telegram chatter channel they sometimes have to be backed up. Recently I made reference to how you could utilize Markdown within a LaTeX document. I should take a moment to discuss a way to use LuaLaTeX to make your Markdown documents look nice. We’re going to build a “Minimum Working Example” to illustrate things.

      First, I will refer to a package on the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network simply named markdown. That handles processing Markdown input. In its documentation you find that you can actually input a separate Markdown-formatted file into the macros provided which will convert them into appropriate LaTeX code and add that programmatically into your document. LaTeX is a Turing-complete programming language after all.

    • Stuart Langridge: On the Birmingham tech scene

      You see, it doesn’t appear that the Tech Week team did much in the way of actually trying to find out whether there was a tech scene before declaring that there probably wasn’t one. If they had then they’d have probably discovered the Birmingham.io calendar which contains all the stuff that’s going on, and can be subscribed to via Google. They’d probably have spoken to the existing language-specific meetups in the city before possibly doing their own instead of rather than in conjunction with. They’d have probably discovered the Brum tech Slack which has 800-odd people in it, or2 CovHack or HackTheMidlands or FusionMeetup or devopsdays or CodeYourFuture_ or yougotthisconf or Tech Wednesday or Django Girls or OWASP or Open Code or any one of a ton of other things that are going on every week.

      Birmingham, as anyone who’s decided to be here knows, is a bit special. A person involved in tech in Birmingham is pretty likely to be able to get a similar job in London, and yet they haven’t done so. Why is that? Because Brum’s different. Things are less frantic, here, is why. We’re all in this together. London may have kings and queens: we’re the city of a thousand different trades, all on the same level, all working hand in hand. All collaborating. It’s a grass roots thing, you see. Nobody’s in charge. The calendar mentioned above is open source exactly so that there’s not one person in charge of it and anyone else can pick it up and run with it if we disappear, so the work that’s already gone into it isn’t wasted.

      [...]

      And so there’s a certain amount of resistance, on my side of the fence, to kingmakers. To people who look at the scene, all working together happily, and then say: you people need organising for your own good, because there needs to be someone in charge here. There needs to be hierarchy, otherwise how will journalists know who to ask for opinions? It’s difficult to understand an organisation which doesn’t have any organisation. W. L. Gore and Patagonia and Valve are companies that work a similar way, without direct hierarchy, in a way that the management theorist Frédéric Laloux calls a “teal organisation” and others call “open allocation”, and they baffle people the world over too; half the managers and consultants in the world look at them and say, but that can’t work, if you don’t have bosses, nobody will do anything. But it works for them. And it seems to me to be a peculiarly Brum approach to things. If we were in this for the fame and the glory we’d have gone down to London where everyone’s terribly serious and in a rush all the time. Everyone works with everyone else; BrumPHP talks about BrumJS, Fusion talks about School of Code; one meetup directs people to others that they’ll find interesting; if the devopsdays team want a speaker about JavaScript they’ll ping BrumJS to ask about who’d be good. That’s collaboration. Everyone does their bit, and tries to elevate everyone else at the same time.

    • Education

      • Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant

        On February 10th, the White House released its budget for the fiscal year 2021. It broadly showcases the values promoted by Donald Trump and the vision he has for the future of the United States of America. Budgets are the practical extension of genuine commitments. Politicians, as a group, are famous for making promises that they do not deliver on. Empty promises are often rhetorical flourishes meant to generate votes.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • [Attackers] are demanding nude photos to unlock files in a new ransomware scheme targeting women

          The malware doesn’t appear to be the first to demand explicit images: In 2017, security firm Kaspersky reported another type of ransomware that demanded nude photos in exchange for unlocking access to infected computers. In other cases, scammers on dating apps have requested nude photos from would-be suitors, then held them for ransom by threatening to leak the photos.

        • ScreenRec – The Fastest Growing Free Screen Recorder For Business Announces New Version For Linux

          ScreenRec has been widely recognized as one of the best free screen recording software available. Previously, only Windows users could benefit from its cloud storage, private link sharing, and upscale security features. Now, however, ScreenRec has joined the ranks of free Linux screen recorders.

          When the team over at StreamingVideoProvider first released ScreenRec in 2018, there was stiff competition in the face of giants like Windows Game Recorder, OBS, and even Camtasia. Yet, its creator, the CEO of StreamingVideoProvider Deyan Shkodrov, knew he had something worthwhile because ScreenRec had drastically improved the efficiency of collaboration between him and his team.

        • ScreenRec – The Fastest Growing Free Screen Recorder For Business Announces New Version For Linux
        • Veeam Availability Suite v10 Enhances NAS Backup, DR and Security
        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (systemd and thunderbird), Debian (clamav, libgd2, php7.3, spamassassin, and webkit2gtk), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and sway), Mageia (firefox, kernel-linus, mutt, python-pillow, sphinx, thunderbird, and webkit2), openSUSE (firefox, nextcloud, and thunderbird), Oracle (firefox and ksh), Red Hat (curl, java-1.7.0-openjdk, kernel, and ruby), Scientific Linux (firefox and ksh), SUSE (sudo and xen), and Ubuntu (clamav, php5, php7.0, php7.2, php7.3, postgresql-10, postgresql-11, and webkit2gtk).

          • The Linux Foundation and Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science Release Census for Open Source Software Security

            The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a project that helps support best practices and the security of critical open source software projects, and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH), today announced the release of ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software.`

            This Census II analysis and report represent important steps towards understanding and addressing structural and security complexities in the modern day supply chain where open source is pervasive, but not always understood. Census II identifies the most commonly used free and open source software (FOSS) components in production applications and begins to examine them for potential vulnerabilities, which can inform actions to sustain the long-term security and health of FOSS. Census I (2015) identified which software packages in the Debian Linux distribution were the most critical to the kernel’s operation and security.

            “The Census II report addresses some of the most important questions facing us as we try to understand the complexity and interdependence among open source software packages and components in the global supply chain,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “The report begins to give us an inventory of the most important shared software and potential vulnerabilities and is the first step to understand more about these projects so that we can create tools and standards that results in trust and transparency in software.”

          • The Linux Foundation identifies most important open-source software components and their problems

            Red Hat recently reported open-source software now dominates the enterprise. Actually, it does more than that. Another older study found open-source software makes up 80% to 90% of all software. You may not know that, because many of these programs are built on deeply buried open-source components. Now, The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have revealed — in “Vulnerabilities in the Core, a preliminary report and Census II of open-source software” — the most frequently used components and the vulnerabilities they share.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Anwesha Das: The scary digital world

              Some years ago, my husband and I were looking for houses to rent. We both were in different cities and were having a telephone conversation. We had three or four phone calls to discuss this. After that, I opened my laptop and turned on my then browser, Google. Advertisements started popping up. Showing the adds of houses for rent at the very same location, the same budget I was looking for. A chill went down my bone. How did this particular website knows that we are looking for a house?

              [...]

              Why would someone want to track me? I have nothing to hide.

              This is the general response we get when we initiate the discussion of and about privacy. To which Glen Greenworld has a great reply, ‘if you do not have to hide anything, please write down all your email ids, not just the work ones, the respectable ones but all, along with the passwords to me.’ Though people have nothing to hide no one has ever got back to him :)

              Everyone needs privacy. We flourish our being and can be true to ourselves when we do not have the fear and knowledge of being watched by someone. Everyone cares about privacy. If they did not have, there would be no password on their accounts, no locker, no keys.

            • Facebook works as it is supposed to work: The real scandal behind all the privacy scandals.

              Facebook was never known for its great protection of privacy. But since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there has been one scandal after the other. However, the real scandal behind all these scandals: Facebook simply is not designed to protect your privacy – and it never will be.

            • Alarming ‘Hidden’ Cyber Attack Leaves Millions Of Windows And Linux Systems Vulnerable [Ed: Misleading headline from decades-long Microsoft booster. This isn't an OS level issue.]

              Vulnerabilities that can be hidden away out of sight are amongst the most-coveted by cyber-criminals and spooks alike. That’s why zero-day vulnerabilities are deemed so valuable, and cause so much high-level concern when they are exposed. It’s also why the CIA secretly purchased an encryption equipment provider to be able to hide backdoors in the products and spy upon more than 100 governments.

              While we are almost accustomed to reading government warnings about vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system, Linux cybersecurity threat warnings are less common. Which is partly why this report on the hidden exploit threat within both Linux and Windows systems caught my eye. The Eclypsium researchers concentrated on unsigned firmware as this is a known attack vector, which can have devastating implications, yet one in which vendors have appeared to be slow taking seriously enough. The unsigned firmware in question was found in peripherals used in computers from Dell, Lenovo and HP as well as other major manufacturers. They also demonstrated a successful attack using a network interface card with, you guessed it, unsigned firmware that is used by the big three server manufacturers. “Despite previous in-the-wild attacks,” the report said, “peripheral manufacturers have been slow to adopt the practice of signing firmware, leaving millions of Windows and Linux systems at risk of firmware attacks that can exfiltrate data, disrupt operations and deliver ransomware.”

              The truth is that, as far as cybersecurity is concerned, much of the defensive effort is focused on the operating system and applications. Hardly surprising, given these are the most visible attack surfaces. By not adding firmware into the threat prevention model, however, organizations are leaving a gaping hole just waiting to be filled by threat actors. “This could lead to implanted backdoors, network traffic sniffing, data exfiltration, and more,” says Katie Teitler, a senior analyst at TAG Cyber. “Unfortunately, though, firmware vulnerabilities can be harder to detect and more difficult to patch,” she says, “best practice is to deploy automated scanning for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations at the component level, and continuously monitor for new issues or exploits.”

            • The Week in Internet News: CIA Had Encryption Backdoor for Decades

              The U.S. CIA secretly had an ownership stake in Swiss encryption company Crypto AG for decades and was able to read encrypted messages sent using the company’s technology, the Washington Post reports. West German intelligence agencies worked with the CIA. Forbes columnist Jody Westby called for a congressional investigation.

            • Insights from Avast/Jumpshot data: Pitfalls of data anonymization

              There has been a surprising development after my previous article on the topic, Avast having announced that they will terminate Jumpshot and stop selling users’ data. That’s not the end of the story however, with the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection starting an investigation into Avast’s practices. I’m very curious to see whether this investigation will confirm Avast’s claims that they were always fully compliant with the GDPR requirements. For my part, I now got a glimpse of what the Jumpshot data actually looks like. And I learned that I massively overestimated Avast’s success when anonymizing this data.

              [...]

              The data I saw was an example that Jumpshot provided to potential customers: an excerpt of real data for one week of 2019. Each record included an exact timestamp (milliseconds precision), a persistent user identifier, the platform used (desktop or mobile, which browser), the approximate geographic location (country, city and ZIP code derived from the user’s IP address), a guess for user’s gender and age group.

              What it didn’t contain was “every click, on every site.” This data sample didn’t belong to the “All Clicks Feed” which has received much media attention. Instead, it was the “Limited Insights Pro Feed” which is supposed to merely cover user’s shopping behavior: which products they looked at, what they added to the cart and whether they completed the order. All of that limited to shopping sites and grouped by country (Germany, UK and USA) as well as product category such as Shoes or Men’s Clothing.

              This doesn’t sound like there would be all too much personal data? But there is, thanks to a “referrer” field being there. This one is supposed to indicate how the user came to the shopping site, e.g. from a Google search page or by clicking an ad on another website. Given the detailed information collected by Avast, determining this referrer website should have been easy – yet Avast somehow failed this task. And so the supposed referrer is typically a completely unrelated random web page that this user visited, and sometimes not even a page but an image or JSON data.

              If you extract a list of these referrers (which I did), you see news that people read, their web mail sessions, search queries completely unrelated to shopping, and of course porn. You get a glimpse into what porn sites are most popular, what people watch there and even what they search for. For each user, the “limited insights” actually contain a tiny slice of their entire browsing behavior. Over the course of a week this exposed way too much information on some users however, and Jumpshot customers watching users over longer periods of time could learn a lot about each user even without the “All Clicks Feed.”

            • Byos Cautions RSA Conference 2020 Attendees, Travelers and General Public to “Dirty Half-Dozen” Public Wi-Fi Risks

              Byos, Inc., an endpoint security company focused on concept of Endpoint Microsegmentation through Hardware-Enforced Isolation, recommends caution for attendees of major conferences and events such as the RSA Conference 2020, a leading cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, February 24-28, and travelers in general risks of Free Wi-Fi. Many attendees will access the Internet via multiple free Wi-Fi connection points from Hotels, Airports, Coffee Shops and the Conference itself, and every free Wi-Fi access presents security risks for users that Byos calls “The Dirty Half-Dozen.”

              [...]

              The Dirty Half-Dozen risks are:

              Scanning, enumerating, and fingerprinting
              Eavesdropping
              Evil-Twin Wi-Fi
              Exploits
              Lateral network infections
              DNS hijacking

    • Defence/Aggression

      • We Talk About One U.S.-Backed Coup. Hondurans Talk About Three.

        Tracing U.S. complicity in the ongoing human rights crisis in Honduras.

      • How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members

        Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a dramatic condemnation of the U.S.-drafted Middle East peace plan. No country, except Israel, has approved of the proposals at any public forum.

      • Bloomberg Defied a Flight Ban to Show Support for Israel, Defended the Country Shelling a School and Killing Sleeping Children

        Bloomberg: “Unfortunately, if there are innocents getting killed at the same time it’s not Israel’s fault.”

      • UN Condemns ‘Shocking’ and ‘Terrible’ US-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombing That Killed 31 Yemeni Civilians

        “Those who continue to sell arms to the warring parties must realize that by supplying weapons for this war, they contribute to making atrocities like today’s all too common.”

      • US-Backed Saudi Airstrike Kills 31 Civilians in Yemen

        In Yemen, 31 people were killed in U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes over the weekend, including women and children. The strikes in the northern al-Jawf province came just hours after the Houthis said they had shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the same area. The United Nations called the drone strike “shocking.” The deadly strike follows a recent uptick in violence in northern Yemen and comes as the war there hits a five-year mark. More than 100,000 have died, and far more have been displaced, since the conflict began in 2015. On Sunday, the United Nations said the Houthis and U.S.-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition had agreed to a major prisoner swap, the first of its kind in the long-running war. We speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.

      • Assad Predicts Victory After Gains in Northern Syria

        Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated his forces Monday for recent gains in northwestern Syria that led to his troops consolidating control over Aleppo province, pledging to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory “sooner or later.”

      • Virginia Lawmakers Reject Assault Weapon Ban

        RICHMOND, Va.  — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed on Monday after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal.

      • Saudi Arabia urges Germany to lift arms export ban

        The Saudi foreign minister has told a German news agency that the current export ban went against “the good relations” between the countries. Yet he also warned that Saudi Arabia is far from dependent on German arms.

      • Niger says 25 soldiers killed in latest attack blamed on jihadist militants

        The region has been in crisis since 2012 when ethnic Tuareg rebels and loosely-aligned jihadists seized the northern two-thirds of Mali, forcing France to intervene the following year to beat them back. The jihadists have since regrouped and expanded their range of influence.

      • Islamist Militant Krekar to Be Extradited From Norway to Italy

        Krekar failed to avert extradition in the Norwegian courts, and the Justice Ministry on Wednesday gave its approval.

        An appeal to the full cabinet is possible, but on past evidence is unlikely to succeed.

        Krekar has been arrested several times during his years in Norway, once for threats against Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

        Though deemed a threat to Norway’s national security, Krekar was not deported back to Iraq because authorities there could not vouch for his safety.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Asks Trump To Commute Her Prison Sentence

        NSA whistleblower Reality Winner submitted a petition for a commutation of her prison sentence. “The continued imprisonment of Reality Leigh Winner serves no social or preventative purpose,” the petition declares. “Her continued incarceration is costly, unnecessary to protect the public, burdensome to her health and well-being, and not commensurate with the severity of her offense.” Billie Winner-Davis, her mother, said, “I am so very happy about the filing today. For me, this means we are finally able to officially ask for Reality’s immediate release from prison.” She emphasized, “Keeping Reality in prison serves no purpose. She is not a threat or a danger and has already served so much time behind bars. She has accepted responsibility and has paid a very high price. It’s time to bring her home.”  Winner pled guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act when she disclosed an NSA report to The Intercept.

    • Environment

      • Climate research struggles to find funding

        Climate research is the poor relation of the academic world. Since 1990 it’s won less than 5% of the research funds available.

      • “This Thing Isn’t Over Yet”: Officials Warn Flooding in Mississippi and Tennessee to Continue

        More rain is expected through Tuesday, leading officials to sound the alarm. 

      • ‘Done Playing by the Rules,’ 20 Sunrise Activists Arrested at Capitol Protest Demanding Lawmakers Back Green New Deal

        Over 150 middle- and high-schoolers gathered to demand senators “stand up or step aside” on the climate crisis.

      • A False Solution: Why Carbon Markets Don’t Work for Agriculture

        “Carbon markets will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All they will do is create another way for polluters to profit from their lack of environmental concern.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Exploring the Secrets of Marsh Happiness

          NOAA research reserve scientists and partners recently published a study that examines the secret to marsh happiness. The team learned that “happy” marshes shared similar characteristics, whereas “unhappy” marshes deteriorate in diverse ways. By understanding how marshes can deteriorate so differently, coastal managers can make wiser conservation decisions.

          Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study ground-truthed previous resilience findings from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and U.S. Geological Survey. Many partners contributed, and the authors included scientists from the Elkhorn Slough and Narragansett Bay Research Reserves.

          According to the study, “happy,” or persistent, marshes all shared common traits. What healthy marshes shared most of all was vegetation distributed on the higher end across low-to-high landscape elevations. The single most important measurement in assessing a “happy” tidal marsh is whether a sizeable proportion of its vegetation is at a high elevation in relation to current water levels. Another feature of “happy” marshes is a low percentage of unvegetated versus vegetated area in the marsh landscape.

          Characterizing an “unhappy,” deteriorating tidal marsh is more complex because marshes can fall apart in many different ways. One finding contradicted a previous assumption: namely, that gains in marsh elevation and sediment indicate greater resilience. The authors say marshes with these characteristics performed inconsistently and often signaled the muddy mess that degrading marshes can become, not marsh health.

    • Finance

      • “Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!

        Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism.

      • Trump’s Budget Would Slash Support for Low-Income Students

        As the presidential election campaign picks up, almost every top candidate has released a plan for higher education that addresses college affordability and student debt issues. But there’s only one candidate who’s already in the White House — Donald Trump — and last week he released his plan in the form of a proposed education budget for fiscal year 2021.

      • Buttigieg Is a Wall Street Democrat Beholden to Corporate Interests

        Given his history, it is no surprise that Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, health insurers, real estate developers and private equity have decided to invest millions of dollars into Buttigieg’s campaign.

      • EU budget to introduce rule-of-law condition

        EU states, such as Hungary or Poland, who backslide on the rule of law could lose funds in future according to a compromise text agreed on Monday and seen by the Reuters news agency. “A general regime of conditionality will be introduced to tackle manifest generalised deficiencies in the good governance of Member State authorities as regards respect for the rule of law,” the draft said.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite

        “People wanted to kick the government and Sinn Fein provided the shoe to do the kicking,” says Christy Parker, a journalist from the beautiful but de-industrialised town of Youghal in county Cork. He speaks of the “chasm” between the elite benefiting from Ireland’s impressive economic progress and the large part of the population that has been left behind.

      • The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters

        The mainstream media imposes some serious certainties on the 2020 presidential election that drive me into a furious despair…

      • The Democrats’ New Chapter

        Now that the impeachment of President Donald Trump hasn’t reached the Democrats’ expected goal, it is time for them to change gears facing the coming presidential elections. Until now, the Democrats have let the Republicans take the initiative, using techniques not always politically correct, or right, and in the process losing elections that they should never have lost.

      • Iran Says US Must Fix Its Own ‘Nontransparent’ and Undemocratic Elections Before Lecturing Others

        The U.S. election system “ignores the vote of the majority of people,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

      • Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope

        Now that polls show Bernie Sanders the clear front-runner in this race, leading the pack by 8 points and ready to win New Hampshire, it’s time to clear up one of the main Corporate Media myths about him: that “he can’t beat Trump.”

      • The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders

        In American politics, hell hath no fury like corporate power scorned.

      • Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020

        As part of my last two essays on how Democrats can beat President Donald J. Trump, click here and here, I’ve added another five lessons. As an independent, as noted in my last essay, I’ve consistently been critical (to the present) of Democrats and Republicans in the areas of race, class, place, immigration, etc., as documented in my most recent book on defending Latina/o immigrants. Also, since I’m offering these perils of wisdom to the Democrats on a pro bono basis, don’t blow it!

      • ‘When the 99% Stand Together, We Can Transform Society’: More Than 11,000 Rally for Sanders in Colorado

        “This is a campaign by the working class, of the working class, and for the working class,” Sanders told the crowd in Denver.

      • NEPA is Our National Defense System

        The current attack on our land didn’t originate in Russia or China; it began in Washington D.C., in January, when President Trump proposed dismantling NEPA

      • You Tube’s Trump Predicament

        It must have been a bit of a downer for the trump.  It came just three days before his acquittal of charges of misconduct that had been brought in the House and were being tried in the Senate where his acquittal by  jellyfish-like  Republicans in the United States Senate was assured.  It came just the day before he was to make his  “trumpfant” State of the Union speech in which he would brag about his accomplishments and non-accomplishments with equal ease.  It came just 2 months after YouTube made it clear that it would not ban the trump’s misleading ads on YouTube about Joe Biden.

      • After Trump Impeachment Acquittal, Dems to Largely End Investigations of President

        “House Dems did literally the narrowest possible impeachment they could. The overwhelming majority of Trump’s corruption remains uninvestigated.”

      • Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs

        President Donald Trump pulled out a handgun at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning and shot Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, fatally wounding him. A day earlier, Romney had become the first senator in history to vote to convict a president of his own party in an impeachment trial.

      • Bloomberg Fought Efforts to Protect Black Homeowners From Predatory Lenders

        Soon after Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002, 40 of the 51 members of the New York City Council sponsored legislation aimed at curbing the growth of predatory lending practices by banks. According to the Daily News, “thousands of homeowners” had been taking on “subprime mortgages that have hidden charges, fees and conditions that are essentially designed to force homeowners into foreclosure.”

      • After ‘Former GOP Oligarch’ Bloomberg Airs Ad Criticizing Online Vulgarity, Progressives Point to Former Mayor’s Long Record of Bigotry

        “Speaking for myself, I’d rather be insulted on Twitter by random, anonymous users (something that has happened often from non-Sanders-supporters) than subjected to stop-and-frisk, workplace harassment, indiscriminate Israeli bombing, mass surveillance, and other Bloomberg policies.”

      • Michael Bloomberg’s Racism Goes Well Beyond Stop-and-Frisk

        Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using his billions to pay for his presidential campaign ads, blanketing television, radio and social media feeds across the country. As pundits, including CNN’s Brian Stelter, suggest, this national visibility blitz may have boosted Bloomberg’s standing in national polls; it rose to 15% in a Quinnipiac survey last week. With that polling boost however, comes an increase in media and voter scrutiny — of his mayoral policy record, his business decisions as head of Bloomberg LP and his long history of speeches and media appearances.

      • More Than 1,100 Former Justice Department Officials Want William Barr to Resign

        More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.

      • Why Trump Justice is an Oxymoron

        Unlike Nixon, Trump won’t resign. He has too many enablers — not just a shameful attorney general but also shameless congressional Republicans — who place a lower priority on justice than on satisfying the most vindictive and paranoid occupant of the White House since Richard Milhous Nixon.

      • Trump and His Predecessors
      • Nearly 90% of Tory adverts misleading, compared to none for Labour

        A global organisation that tackles disinformation online analysed every ad promoted by the three main political parties on Facebook in the first four days of December.

        It found 5,592 adverts ran by the Tories (88%) featured claims which had already been flagged up by independent fact-checking organisations as being either not correct or not fully correct.

        At the same time, the group found Labour didn’t run a single advert that had a misleading claim.

        The Liberal Democrats had run hundreds of potentially misleading ads – namely to do with unlabelled graphs or failing to indicate source data for quoted statistics.

        By holding back on advertising during the beginning of the election campaign, and then flooding social media with thousands of highly personalised and misleading adverts, the Tories seem to be adopting a similar tactic in this election campaign to the one ran by Vote Leave in the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom

        Americans’ free-speech and other rights are being violated by state laws aimed at stifling the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement against Israel’s illegal rule of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both conquered over half a century ago. Twenty-eight states have enacted anti-BDS laws or executive orders that prohibit state agencies and state-financed entities, such as colleges, from doing business with any person or firm that hasn’t pledged never to boycott Israeli goods.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed: John Pilger

        The roll call of those who have not only failed Julian Assange, but actively worked to silence him, is a long one, and a very ‘Australian’ one. John Pilger explains.

      • Extradition of Assange Would Set a Dangerous Precedent

        The Trump administration is seeking extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial on charges carrying 175 years in prison. On February 24, a court in the U.K. will hold a hearing to determine whether to grant Trump’s request. The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a “political offense.” Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.

      • On The Eve Of Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing, Doctors Renew Calls For His Freedom

        More than 100 doctors and psychologists from 18 different nations have renewed calls for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison in the UK.

      • Police pepper-spray anti-virus clinic protesters

        Police repeatedly deployed pepper spray against protesters in Kowloon Bay on Sunday night during a demonstration against the government’s decision to set up a coronavirus clinic in the area.

        Several reporters, including two RTHK video journalists, were struck by pepper spray even as they were complying with police demands to retreat.

      • Governments of the world just ramped up spying on reporters

        ONE DAY LAST SUMMER, I noticed that one of our Middle East correspondents was visiting the Financial Times newsroom. I’m head of cyber security at the paper, and I have found that foreign correspondents are often at the tip of the spear for strange and interesting threats. So I stopped to chat.

        The correspondent, who I will not name for reasons that will soon become clear, mentioned that in recent weeks they had been receiving mysterious WhatsApp calls. The numbers were unrecognized. Afterward, their phone battery had drained quickly. And they were sometimes unable to end other calls, because the screen seemed to freeze.

        They had been working on an investigation into surveillance on journalists and human rights activists in a particular Middle Eastern nation, and had been in contact with sources the government was hostile to. We decided the reporter was safer with a separate device for this story.

        The next morning, as I took a similar turn around the newsroom, four other correspondents reported that they, too, had had the same issue. All were either on the same desk or helping out on the same story. It is vastly unlikely that five phones would face such a specific issue at the same time by chance. This was no ordinary bug.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama

        The chance of there being “just mercy” for Nathaniel Woods—facing lethal injection on March 5 for the killing of three Birmingham police officers—is as good as the chance Alabama will ever reform its dismal, no-justice-to-be-found-anywhere legal system; it ain’t gonna happen.

      • Trump Wants to Inflict Severe Pain on Disabled Community Just Because He Can

        The “need” to strip benefits from poor and working people to help maintain the lifestyles of the Mar-a-Lago set is one of the fundamental principles of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The rich always “need” more tax cuts, so when budget deficits get in the way, those at the middle and bottom are just going to have to sacrifice.

      • Lessons From Ministering on the Border

        I recently spent three weeks at the border between El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico. The experience strengthened my resolve, as a person of faith and Sister of Mercy, to share more about how the situation there concerns all of us in the United States.

      • EU: Press Vietnam on Human Rights Reforms
      • Rick James Accused of Rape — 15 Years After His Death

        A woman who claims to have been raped by Rick James in 1979 is suing his estate for damages.

      • UK Government Has Our Human Rights In Its Sights

        Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newly-announced Cabinet “reshuffle” provides fresh evidence that his government has the courts – and our human rights – firmly in its sights.

        The government’s new Attorney General Suella Braverman, its top legal adviser, is on record recently arguing that the courts’ ability to hold the government to account should be restrained, and expressing her criticism of human rights.

      • Aww Look: Nazis Getting Married
      • Should We All Be in the Streets? Let’s Talk About Protest.

        Kelly Hayes talks with L.A. Kauffman, a longtime grassroots organizer and author of the book Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism, about the history of protest movements and what the current political moment demands of us.

      • Burkina Faso: Church attack kills dozens

        Attacks targeting Christians and churches have become more frequent in Burkina Faso’s northern provinces. The West African nation is one of the poorest countries in the world and is one of several countries in the Sahel region dealing with extremist violence.

        Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina Faso and around 600,000 have fled their homes.

      • Outcry over reports of mass assault at New Delhi women’s college

        “Men stood in gangs and ogled at women, groped them, tried to feel them up, pushed them, and touched them throughout the concert,” the statement read.

        “People formed human chains to move from one area to another. After the concert was over, the men followed women, catcalled them, and forced them to reveal their names and Instagram IDs.”

      • Books helped me get through a life sentence. Exploitative fees rob others of benefit.

        Last year, West Virginia contracted with a company, Global Tel Link (GTL), to provide free tablets to prisoners. These kinds of initiatives are rapidly becoming more popular, as states grapple with the legacy of four decades of tough-on-crime policies and renewed public calls for more rehabilitative prisons.

        And it sounds great. Until inmates realize the company charges users every time they use the tablets, including 25 cents a page for emails and 3 cents a minute to read e-books. By that calculation, most inmates would end up paying about $15 for each novel or autobiography they attempt to read. To people who have little to no money, that’s not a benefit. That’s exploitation. The only beneficiary, aside from Global Tel Link, is West Virginia, which receives 5% of the profits.

        GTL isn’t alone in profiting off of prisoners. Exploitation of prisoners for profit is cropping up more and more across the criminal justice landscape.

      • I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

        Housework is hard, though, without running water — and Akins owns one of the roughly 9,500 homes in Detroit that city records indicate remain without water after the city disconnected them for nonpayment last year.

        So every day since April, the 56-year-old with lung disease said she fills up jugs from a neighbor’s home to bathe, cook and drink, while praying regularly for relief.

        “I can’t keep living like this,” Akins told Bridge Magazine last week from the living room of her house on the city’s west side. “I hate to complain, but nobody should live without water for this long. I’ve been lugging water for so long, my arms are ready to fall off.”

      • Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan faces two new rape charges in France

        On Thursday, as Ramadan appeared before investigating magistrates in Paris, more charges were added relating to two other women who were identified by investigators from photos found on his computer.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T is blocking Tutanota. This shows why we must fight for net neutrality.

        Starting on January 25th 2020, we have had constant complaints from AT&T mobile users who were unable to access their encrypted Tutanota mailbox. While AT&T seemed willing to fix this when we reached out to them, the issue is still not solved and reports from users keep coming in.

        [...]

        A similar outage happened in March 2018 when Comcast temporarily blocked access to Tutanota due to a technical issue. Back then a Comcast employee connected with us via Twitter and was able to fix the issue within one day.

        The AT&T outage of Tutanota in some US regions is now ongoing for weeks.

      • Arista Networks Acquires SDN Pioneer Big Switch Networks

        Financial terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed. As part of the acquisition, Arista is bringing in approximately 75 Big Switch employees, most of whom are from the company’s engineering division. Big Switch was founded in 2010 by by Guido Appenzeller and Kyle Forster and had raised approximately $119.5 million in venture funding.

        In a 2012 video interview with EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet Forster explained the genesis of the company and its mission, which at the time revolved around the open source OpenFlow protocol for SDN. The company expanded its focus and offerings over the years and now has two core offerings with the Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric.

        Big Switch has also grown thanks in no small part to its strategic partnerships, including one with Dell Technologies.

    • Monopolies

      • [Guest post] New empirical research on Intellectual Property Litigation and Platform Regulation

        Litigation is the theme for the first part of the event, with the presentation of quantitative studies on intellectual property litigation in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, High Court of England and Wales, and Court of Justice of the European Union. Dr Sheona Burrow and Dr Elena Cooper (University of Glasgow) negotiated exclusive access to all Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Small Claims Track Court (IPEC STC) files for its first three years of operation (1 October 2012 to 31 December 2015). They explore the types of remedies commonly granted by the Court, the sums awarded and the most pertinent arguments when assembling a case. An underpinning paper was published in the journal Legal Studies: Photographic Copyright and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in Historical Perspective.

        Dr Georg von Graevenitz (Queen Mary, University of London) and Dr Luke McDonagh (City University) developed a dataset containing details of all court cases on copyright heard at the High Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court during 2009-2015. With the support of judges at the Chancery Division – including the High Court and IPEC – the researchers used a method (capturing information on judges, parties, claims, defences, and outcomes including appeals) that had already delivered detailed data on patent cases. See Christian Helmers, Yassine Lefouili & Luke McDonagh, Evaluation of the Reforms of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court 2010-2013 (UKIPO 2015). The new research shows that copyright is the most litigated right in the High Court (with an average of around 300 claims per annum, ahead of trade marks, patents or designs). The majority of copyright cases are taken by collecting societies PPL/PRS and FA Premier League and are settled quickly, before a court hearing.

      • EUIPO extends deadlines for Chinese parties over COVID-19 “exceptional occurrence”

        In the decision, Archambeau cited EU Regulation 2017/1001 on EU trademarks, which allows for extensions in the event of an “exceptional occurrence”.

        Archambeau said the COVID-19 epidemic, designated by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency, had disrupted “proper communication between the parties and the EUIPO”.

        The move comes as the European Patent Office (EPO) reportedly mulls postponing some oral hearings amid the coronavirus outbreak.

        “We are in close contact with our user community and will provide information whenever this becomes necessary. Such steps could also involve postponement of oral proceedings if a party is adversely affected by the outbreak,” said EPO spokesperson Luis Berenguer.

        The EPO said it would have such powers under the rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC).

      • Patents

        • European patent upheld for foundational CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property
        • Pre-Possessory Interests in Patent Law

          A newly canonical case in property law texts is Popov v. Hayashi, 2002 WL 31833731 (Cal. Super. Dec. 18, 2002). The case involves a Barry Bonds record-setting home run baseball. Alex Popov almost caught the ball, but as it entered his glove he was immediately engulfed by the crowd of fans who were deemed an “out of control mob, engaged in violent, illegal behavior.” The ball came-out and Patrick Hayeshi (who was also knocked to the ground) picked up the ball and took possession. There was no credible evidence that Hayeshi took part in any of the violent or illegal behavior. Because of the oddity of fandom, the $6 ball was boosted to an expected value $1.5 million based upon its record-setting experience. (It was eventually sold at auction for ~$500k because of Bonds’ drop from fame).

          [...]

          Id. In the end, the two co-owners sold the ball. The case would have come out differently if Hayashi was seen as a wrongdoer (Popov would get full ownership) or if Popov had dropped the ball without being wrongfully jostled (Hayashi would get full ownership). The halfsies outcome is somewhat unusual in property law but was made easier because both parties announced they wanted to sell the ball — it was much easier to split the money rather than share possession of the ball itself.

        • Patent case: Tomra Sorting Ltd. vs. Kiremko B.V., Netherlands

          The provisions judge determined that there was a serious chance that the patent of Tomra on a self-sealing pressure release apparatus was invalid and thus did not grant a preliminary injunction to prevent marketing by Kiremko of their Strata Invicta system.

        • Valencia Court of Appeal applies the “doctrine of equivalents” in jamonero dispute

          In Odiorne v. Winkley (1814), Harvard professor Joseph Story, then sitting as a Judge at a Circuit Court of the District of Massacusetts, upon being called to decide whether a machine infringed a patent wrote, in the context of that case, that “The material question, therefore, is not whether the same elements of motion, or the same component parts are used, but whether the given effect is produced substantially by the same mode of operation, and the same combinations of powers, in both machines. Mere colorable differences, or slight improvements, cannot shake the right of the original inventor.” The latter sentence laid down one of the seeds of what would become later known as the “doctrine of equivalents”, a doctrine with which courts around the world have been struggling since then.

          On of the latest contributions to this debate from the Spanish Courts has come from the Valencia Court of Appeal, which in a judgment of 2 July 2019 applied the “doctrine of equivalents” to a case dealing with jamoneros. Readers who do not speak Spanish might be wondering what a jamonero is. It is a device used to hold a pig’s leg to safely cut the ham (“jamón“), that wonder of the Iberian Peninsula that has arrived to this day thanks to the formidable efforts of an agricultural engineer called Miguel Odriozola Pietas, who saved a bunch of Iberian pigs from a sure death in a country where people were starving during the Spanish Civil War.

        • Nokia’s first suit against Daimler dismissed

          Mannheim Regional Court has issued the first verdict in the connected cars dispute between Nokia and Daimler. The court yesterday dismissed Nokia’s suit against the car manufacturer. Nine other lawsuits are still pending. The next hearing is on 17 March in Mannheim.

          [...]

          Daimler works with Quinn Emanuel partner Marcus Grosch, having also retained the US firm’s frontman for the Broadcom case. Quinn Emanuel usually handles such lawsuits without the assistance of patent attorneys.

          Düsseldorf IP boutique Arnold Ruess is representing Nokia in the main trial against Daimler. Once again, the boutique is cooperating closely with in-house IP head, Clemens-August Heusch.

          Arnold Ruess has worked for Nokia for some time, for example in the dispute with Blackberry, settled at the end of 2018. In addition, Nokia retains Bird & Bird for infringement suits in Germany, while Hoyng ROKH Monegier has also been active for the company.

          For the lawsuits against Daimler, Nokia has retained three patent attorney firms. Samson & Partner and Cohausz & Florack regularly advise the Finnish company, but David Molnia from Munich patent attorney firm df-mp appeared publicly alongside Nokia for the first time.

          A Freshfields’ Düsseldorf team around Frank-Erich Hufnagel is advising Continental.

        • Eli Lilly claims another victory in Taltz patent battle

          The English High Court has invalidated key claims of a patent owned by Roche subsidiary Genentech, following a lawsuit filed by US rival Eli Lilly.

          Genentech had argued that Eli Lilly’s autoimmune drug Taltz (ixekizumab) infringed the patent.

          The decision was issued by deputy High Court judge Roger Wyand last Friday, February 14.

          The patent at issue in the case was European Patent (UK) No. 2784084 B, a divisional of another Genentech patent (1641822), which had already been invalidated by both the English court and the European Patent Office (EPO).

          Justice Richard Arnold of the English High Court had previously invalidated the parent ‘822 patent in March 2019, as part of a separate action brought by Eli Lilly.

          In that judgment, Arnold remarked that the case had been “one

        • Software Patents

          • KCG Technologies LLC patent determined to be likely invalid

            On February 14, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against US Patent 9,671,955, ntegrity/Availability by KCG Technologies LLC, an NPE. The ‘955 patent, generally directed to a virtual smart phones used in in-vehicle systems, has been asserted against CarMax in district court.

          • De-Coding Indian Intellectual Property Law

            Patents for Computer Related Inventions (CRIs) or “Software Patents” have, unfortunately, been an evergreen issue in India, with much confusion, lobbying, changes, misunderstandings, and anything else one could imagine, playing its role at some point or the other. As Shamnad had once written – its indeed confusingly confounding! Readers may recall a recent post which discussed the Ferid Allani order. As Sandeep Rathod helpfully pointed out in the comments on that post – that patent application has once again been rejected by the Patent Office. I had intended on writing a follow up post, but in the course of researching on that, I was diverted when I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a single source that I could find, outlining the rickety road that CRIs have taken in India. So, here is my attempt at outlining the major pit-stops and potholes that CRIs have had the misfortune of bumbling along, in India. Wherever possible, I’ve tried providing a copy of the relevant documents as well. Comments and corrections, if any, are welcome. (At almost 3000 words, this is double the length of our usual posts. However splitting it into two parts didn’t seem to make sense, given that this is an attempt to put all this information in one place)

            [...]

            The 2004 Patents (Amendment) Ordinance and its repeal – Rejecting the dilution of S.3(k) exclusion

            Dec 27, 2004 saw the promulgation of an ordinance (PDF here) to amend the Patent Act. The ordinance proposed splitting 3(k) into two sub-sections, which would’ve effectively diluted the exclusion:

            “(k) a computer programme per se other than its technical application to industry or a combination with hardware;
            (ka) a mathematical method or a business method or algorithms;”

            The same day, the then Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, issued what seems to be an official statement (PDF here) saying, “In IT, the trend is to have software in combination with or embedded in hardware – such as in computers or cell phones or a variety of other gadgets. Software as such has no patent protection (the protection available is by way of copyright); but the changing technological environment has made it necessary to provide for patents when software has technical applications in industry in combination with hardware. This has been a demand of NASSCOM.” ….(and later)… “We have introduced a provision for patenting of software that is embedded in hardware”

            A plain reading of the ordinance, along with the explanatory statement by the Minister, seems to indicate that there is already a split in understanding the proposed provision. On one hand, the language of the proposed amendment essentially says, there are to be no patents for computer programes as such, but patents can be granted if the subject matter is a computer programme’s technical application to industry, or a combination of software and hardware. Whereas the Minister’s statement indicates that patents can only be provided when there is technical application in combination with hardware. The minister also indicates that NASSCOM had asked for this.

            The phrases ‘in combination with hardware‘ and ‘embedded in hardware‘ seem straightforward – i.e., software alone is not patentable, but software in combination with hardware, or software embedded in hardware would be patentable (subject to the usual novelty, non-obviousness and utility standards). Certainly the drawing of specific boundaries may be a bit more difficult, but conceptually the idea seems clear. However, the meaning of the phrase ‘technical application to industry‘ seems unclear. Personally, I would imagine that any computer programme is capable of being described as having technical application. Or to phrase it in the negative: are there any computer programmes that can be posited to have absolutely no technical application to industry? I guess it would be possible if one were to narrowly construe the words ‘technical’, ‘application’, and ‘industry’.

            In any case – this ordinance was repealed a few months later, on 4th April, 2005, by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005. Therefore the language of S.3(k) went back to “a mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms;”. Further, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha debate records show that the discussions were held on the topic of disapproval of the 2004 Ordinance, in combination with the discussions on the Amendment Act 2005. This, along with a return to the previous language, would indicate a clear intention of the Parliament to prevent this type of dilution of the Section 3(k) exclusion. Interestingly, in his Press note on the Patent Amendment Bill (just before it was passed as an Act), Mr Kamal Nath stated, “It is proposed to omit the clarification relating to patenting of software related inventions introduced by the Ordinance as Section 3(k) and 3 (ka). The clarification was objected to on the ground that this may give rise to monopoly of multinationals.”

          • Around the IP Blogs

            Spicy IP has published a thorough summary of the Indian position regarding patents for computer-related inventions here, including a number of useful reference documents.

          • Processing Checks and Patent Eligibility

            In the underlying litigation, the district court denied the defendant’s summary judgment motion on eligibility. Similarly, the USPTO PTAB had refused to institute a covered-business-method review on eligibility — explaining that the method of processing paper checks includes nothing “that would indicate that it is directed to an abstract idea at all.” On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed — holding that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of crediting a merchant’s account as early as possible while electronically processing a check.

          • A Step-by-Step Approach to Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Reform [Ed: The patent zealots who profit from litigation are still trying to magically legalise fake patents such as algorithm patents in spite of SCOTUS determinations]

            There is a belief in some quarters that the most significant barrier to patent subject matter eligibility reform is an implacable opposition by companies in the high tech sector because those companies are convinced that the recent Supreme Court precedent (Bilski/Mayo/Alice) as interpreted by the Federal Circuit has resulted in a diminution in lawsuits by so-called “patent trolls,” non-practicing entities who accumulate patents to be asserted against these companies. Sitting in yet another patent conference, surrounded by some of the most erudite members of the patent community (judges and former judges, PTO officials current and past, distinguished patent lawyers and company IP counsel), discussing the current (parlous) state of affairs regarding patent subject matter eligibility and the inability (Federal Circuit, Congress) or unwillingness (Supreme Court) to find a solution, it is impossible not to think that the way the issue has been addressed is, at best, insufficient. If indeed the issue cannot be resolved politically between the high tech and biotech/pharma shareholders, then it seems evident that this issue — the attachment to the status quo by the high tech community because it serves their interests — must be resolved before any solution to the problem for all other technologies becomes possible.

            [...]

            ill was, as eloquently expressed by Senator Frist, because “innovations in surgical and medical procedures do not require the midwifery of patent law.” As enacted, the bill reflects a carefully crafted (“narrowly tailored”) balance between the concerns of the medical community and the patent community at large, particularly the biotechnology community. For example, “biotechnology patents” are expressly excluded from the exemption; such patents are defined (under 35 U.S.C. § 103(b)) as “a process of genetically altering of inducing a single or multi-celled organism” or “cell fusion procedures yielding a cell line that expresses a specific protein” or “methods of using a product produced” by the above processes. Also not exempt are individuals involved in the commercialization of “a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” related to a medical activity.

      • Trademarks

        • Turkish Appeal Court rules in cow trade mark case

          In a case concerning trade mark and copyright law, the Turkish Court of Appeal has ruled that the use of a figure intensively cannot prevent the use of similar figures, as long as they are not identical.

        • Precedential No. 4: TTAB Affirms 2(a) False Association and 2(c) Consent Refusals of TRUMP-IT Logo for Utility Knives

          The Board affirmed two refusals to register each of the word+design marks shown below, for “utility knives,” finding that the marks create a false association with President Trump under Section 2(a), and further finding that because President Trump did not consent to use of his name, the marks also violated Section 2(c). The Board pointed out that it has no authority to rule on the constitutionality of the Trademark Act, but it considered and rejected applicant’s claim that Sections 2(a) and 2(c) are unconstitutional. In re ADCO Industries – Technologies, L.P., Serial Nos. 87545258 and 87545533 (February 12, 2020) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).

      • Copyrights

        • China IP Forum: Pitfalls to monitor as Chinese tech firms expand globally

          In-house counsel at China Literature, SenseTime and iQiyi say copyright infringement and export control rules are keeping them awake at night

        • A copyright Snafu in the making?

          Are A&R scouts in the music industry next in the growing list of humans whose jobs are shortly to be appropriated by machine learning? Snafu Records seems to think so.

          Snafu, which is backed by various music industry bigwigs, claims to have developed an algorithm that finds new music which is off the beaten track, and which will sell.

          Sounds great. How does it work?

          As would be expected in the case of a proprietary algorithm, public details are scant. We are told that Snafu’s search software scours the far corners of the Internet (on YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.) for around 150,000 tracks per week (i.e. far more than a team of humans could). The tracks are ranked by an algorithm according to listener engagement (taking into account factors such as user comments and listener growth) and the quality of the music itself (to which we will return). A weekly shortlist of 15 to 20 songs is then reviewed by (human) record executives, and Snafu then aims to sign the best artists to contracts. The fledgling artists who are contracted receive marketing support in exchange for a share of their streaming revenues.

        • Cloudflare Blocks Access to Pirate Site For “Legal Reasons”, Displays Rare 451 Error

          CDN company Cloudflare is displaying an extremely rare ‘Error 451′ to German visitors who attempt to access a music piracy site. The message currently affecting DDL-Music.to states that the site has been rendered “Unavailable for Legal Reasons’. Contrary to Cloudflare’s own error code guide, no explanatory legal demand specifics have been published.

        • U.S. Copyright Groups Want South Africa to Ensure that 5G Doesn’t Boost Piracy

          The IIPA, which represents the MPA, RIAA, and other entertainment industry groups, sees South Africa as a major threat to its members. The group now recommends putting the country on the US Trade Representative’s Priority Watch List. Among other things, it is worried that the implementation of 4G and 5G in the country could increase piracy.

        • Time for a DMCA Overhaul? Congressional Hearings Commence

          Congress may be turning its attention to a DMCA overhaul as part of a bipartisan effort to reign in the influence and reach of leading tech companies and social media platforms. 

Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • South Korea’s Government Aims to Drop Windows in Favor of Linux

      It is interesting to see different governments handle their computer-based needs. In South Korea, Microsoft Windows will be removed from government computers fairly soon. Instead, the operating system will be Linux, albeit it is unclear which distribution will be used.

      A total of 3.3. million devices will be upgraded by year’s end.

      The main objective of this switch is to handle the lack of support for Windows 7.

      Rather than paying a hefty fee for licenses to upgrade, switching to Linux makes a lot more sense.

    • OnMSFT.com – What we use [Ed: "On Microsoft" is actually... not on Microsoft. It's on GNU/Linux.]

      OnMSFT runs Ubuntu 18.04 and Nginx…

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microsoft Warning Issued For Millions Of Windows 10 Users

        Proactive users can also download the Windows Update troubleshooter, which will allow you to hide problematic updates and prevent them from reinstalling. As things stand, it is fast becoming essential software for all Windows 10 users.

        This week Microsoft demonstrated the future of Windows updates. The advances target a new generation of dual-screen devices and are not meant for the millions of existing Windows 10 PCs and laptops. Meanwhile, long-overdue Windows 10 update improvements were suddenly shelved.

        Microsoft, it is time to prioritize the present.

      • This $200 Laptop Is Like a Chromebook You Can Hack

        For some reason, despite the fact that our devices can seemingly do anything with an impressive level of polish, there are folks who want to learn from the tech they use.

        They want a challenge—and an adventure. I think I’ve learned over the last year or two that I’m one of those people. I primarily like using Hackintoshes despite the fact that the machines are intended for Windows, and I will mess with old pieces of computing history just to see if they uncover new ways of thinking about things.

        So when I heard about the Pinebook Pro, I was in. Here was a laptop built on the same ARM architecture primarily used for smartphones and internet-of-things devices, and designed to run Linux. Is it for everyone?

        Maybe not. But, if you love an adventure, you should be excited about what it represents.

      • Thanks to Linux, I just installed a pro-level video editor on my Chromebook

        We’re constantly looking around for new tricks to make our Chromebooks even more capable than they’ve already become over the past couple of years. Every day, there are fewer use-cases where a Windows or Mac device is a necessity and we truly believe that Chrome OS will eventually offer comparable alternatives to that narrowing space. If there is one product, in particular, that Chrome OS will need to figure out, it’s video editing. Sure, there are great online products like WeVideo for lightweight projects and you can even find some pretty good video editing platforms in the Google Play Store but what we’re talking about is serious, high-octane editing that’s worthy of a Hollywood studio. (Well, a low-budget studio maybe.)

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 145

        The week was packed with major project releases, we go through each of them and tell you what stands out.

        Plus an update from Essential, and NetBSD’s first big ask in ten years.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 183 – The great working from home experiment

        Josh and Kurt talk about a huge working from home experiment because of the the Coronavirus. We also discuss some of the advice going on around the outbreak, as well as how humans are incredibly good at ignoring good advice, often to their own peril. Also an airplane wheel falls off.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 83

        Joe has been playing with a PinePhone for a week and gives an honest appraisal. Plus Will’s simple solution to his Mac woes, switching to Linux and a community crowdfunder in the news, and a packed KDE Korner.

      • 2020-02-17 | Linux Headlines

        Two separate VPN companies have recently open-sourced client software, and updates to some beloved projects.

      • Change Desktop Environments on Linux

        Let’s go over what it takes to switch your desktop on Linux change it from KDE, GNOME, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, LXQt, etc.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc2
        More than halt the rc2 patch is actually Documentaiton updates,
        because the kvm docs got turned into RST.
        
        Another notable chunk is just tooling updates, which is about 50/50
        perf updates (much of it due to header file syncing) and - again - kvm
        updates.
        
        But if you ignore those parts, and look at only the actual kernel code
        updates, things look a bit calmer. The bulk ends up being network
        driver updates (intel "ice" driver - E800 series - stands out) with
        GPU updates a close second (i915, amd, panfrost). There's a few other
        driver updates in there too, but they are mostly hidden in the noise
        compared to the network and gpu subsystems: rdma, sound, acpi, block,
        gpio etc.
        
        Outside of drivers, there's the usual smattering of changes all over.
        Filesystems (nfs, ext4, ceph, cifs, btrfs), architecture updates (x86,
        arm), and some core code (scheduling, tracing, networking, io_uring).
        
        The shortlog is appended, you can get a feel for the details by scanning it.
        
        Go forth and test,
        
                       Linus
        
      • Linux 5.6-rc2 Released – Led By Documentation + Tooling Updates
      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc2

        The 5.6-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

      • Fwupd 1.3.8 Brings More Improvements For Firmware Updating On Linux Systems

        Red Hat’s Richard Hughes has released Fwupd 1.3.8 as the latest version of this Linux utility for performing firmware updates of various system components.

        With the meteoric rise of Fwupd and LVFS, more Fwupd releases are having to deal with quirks and other peculiarities of different hardware components seeing Fwupd support and v1.3.8 is no different. Fwupd 1.3.8 adds a plug-in to support updating the power delivery controllers by Fresco Logic, a fix for Synaptics multi-stream transport devices, various EFI fixes/improvements, more parent devices are detected for different Lenovo USB hubs, support for GNUEFI file locations, and other fixes.

      • Linux 5.7 Staging Will Be ~28.7k Lines Of Code Lighter Thanks To Nuking WUSB + UWB

        With the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle in two months there is some “spring cleaning” within the staging area that is leading to almost twenty-nine thousand lines of code being removed thanks to removing a deprecated feature.

        Last year we reported on Linux deprecating Wireless USB and Ultra Wideband subsystems. That WUSB and UWB code was demoted after being orphaned without a code maintainer for years with Wireless USB really not being popular in an era of Bluetooth and WiFi advancements. With no one having expressed concern or stepping up to maintain the code since deprecating WUSB and UWB, the code is now set to be removed with Linux 5.7.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nouveau Gallium3D Finally Seeing Mesa Shader Disk Cache For Faster Game Load Times

          While the open-source Intel and Radeon OpenGL drivers within Mesa have long employed an on-disk shader cache to help with game load times by being able to load previously compiled shaders from disk, the Nouveau “NVC0″ Gallium3D driver is on the heels of finally seeing similar support.

          Nouveau saw a TGSI shader cache a few years ago while now it’s finally seeing support for caching the compiled shaders.

        • LavaLauncher 1.6 Released As A Simple Dock/Launcher For Wayland

          If you have been looking for a simple dock/launcher that natively supports Wayland, LavaLauncher 1.6 is available as one such solution.

          LavaLauncher is a simple Wayland-only launcher that allows placing the dynamically sized bar against any screen edge. Unlike most launchers, LavaLauncher doesn’t rely upon .desktop files but allows specifying a path to an arbitrary image and the associated shell command to run, allowing for it to be quite extensible than just showing .desktop files for launch applications.

        • Lima Gallium3D Driver Picks Up Multi-Submit Optimization In Mesa 20.1

          Lima in Mesa 20.1-devel now can handle multi-submit support for greater efficiency in handling of multiple OpenGL frame-buffer objects (FBOs). This should allow for greater efficiency/performance in the likes of the X.Org Server or Wayland compositors and avoiding flush-reload costs when switching between FBOs. No hard numbers, however, were provided for the multi-submit benefits to expect.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Makes A Few More Improvements For GCN 1.0/1.1 Hardware

          Valve open-source driver developer Samuel Pitoiset has contributed some improvements to Mesa 20.1′s Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver benefiting GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards.

          These original GCN graphics cards are compatible with the RADV driver but require first switching the kernel driver from the default Radeon DRM driver over to the AMDGPU driver, normally via the radeon.si_support=0 radeon.cik_support=0 amdgpu.si_support=1 amdgpu.cik_support=1 kernel flags. After doing so, RADV has tended to work well with these aging GCN graphics cards — especially more recently with the RADV ACO back-end now working back to GCN 1.0 for offering better performance.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Eight Linux Distributions On The Threadripper 3970X

        When taking the geometric mean of all these benchmark results, the Windows 10 Professional performance was the same as Windows 10 Enterprise for this Threadripper 3970X testing, unlike the Enterprise advantage we’ve seen on the larger Threadripper 3990X. The slowest of the eight Linux distributions tested was the Ubuntu 20.04 development snapshot, but that still came out to be 9.5% faster than Windows 10. The fastest Linux distribution was Clear Linux on the Threadripper 3970X with a 19% over Windows in these cross-platform benchmarks. Following Clear Linux with a strong showing was the new rolling-release CentOS Stream.

      • AMD Says Reviews Are Wrong – Windows 10 Pro (and Linux) Is Good Enough for Threadripper 3990X

        As a result, higher editions of Windows 10 like Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows 10 for Enterprise seemed to be the answer along with Linux.

    • Applications

      • Linux Candy: xcowsay – displays a cow on your desktop with message

        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’re only featuring open-source software in this series.

        If you spend all day embroiled in data science, learning a new programming language, sit in countless meetings wishing you were anywhere else, you’ll need some light relief at the end of the day. And what better way by making your desktop environment a bit more fun.

        You might have heard of cowsay, software that generates ASCII pictures of a cow with a message. cowsay isn’t limited to cow depictions, it also shows other animals, including Tux the Penguin.

        For this article, we’re looking at a different take on cowsay. It goes by the name xcowsay. This program displays a cute graphical cow and speech bubble. The program was first started over 12 years ago, but it’s still under active development, with a new release published only last week.

      • Release Roundup: MyPaint 2.0.0, Blender 2.82, cheat 3.6.0, Gammy 0.9.56 and Drawing 0.4.11

        3 years after the previous stable release, MyPaint 2.0.0 was released over the weekend with a new layer mode and a different composition method by default. Also, the application was ported to Python3, although it still works with Python2 too.

        MyPaint is a free, open source drawing and painting program available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The application features infinite canvas, configurable brushes, graphics tablet support, and a distraction-free fullscreen mode, on top of a simple GTK+ 3 interface. It uses Open Raster as its default file format, but it also supports saving images to PNG or JPEG.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released with New Layer Mode, Linear Compositing

        MyPaint 2.0, free open-source raster graphics editor for digital painters, was finally released after more than a year of development.

        MyPaint 2.0 is a new major release that features a new layer mode and uses linear compositing by default.

      • Best Wallpaper Slideshow Apps for Linux

        Many Linux users love to customize and personalize their desktop environment. Linux offers plenty of choices to customize almost every part of the desktop including automatic switching of desktop background at periodic intervals. This article will list some wallpaper slideshow apps that can find and apply desktop backgrounds automatically based on your interests.

      • Second Shortwave Beta

        Today I can finally announce the second Shortwave Beta release! I planned to release it earlier, but unfortunately the last few weeks were a bit busy for me.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 5.2 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        - More compatible codepage mapping tables.
        - Support for using the null display driver as a real driver.
        - Better UTF-8 support in the Resource and Message Compilers.
        - Fixes for using ucrtbase as C runtime.
        - Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations…

      • Wine 5.2 With Better Handling For The Null Display Driver, UTF-8 Support
      • The Wine 5.2 development release is out
      • Wine 5.2 Released with Better Support for Multiple Steam Games

        The Wine 5.2 development release is here with another set of bug fixes towards the next major release of the open-source compatibility layer for running Windows apps on Linux and UNIX systems.

        The bi-weekly development cycle continues after Wine 5.1, and Wine 5.2 fixes more crashes and other issues that may block users from using certain Windows apps and games on their GNU/Linux distributions. However, you should keep in mind that this is an unstable release that may not work as expected.

        [...]

        Also improved is support for multiple Steam games that failed to install the DirectX runtime prerequisite, which resulted in an install loop on startup. Wine 5.2 also implements GPU information for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB graphics card.

        Furthermore, Wine 5.2 improves support for several Windows apps, including Affinity Photo 1.7.2 (Trial), Arturia MIDI Control Center, Cadence Allegro Professional 16.6, Free PDF to Word Doc Converter, Lotus Approach, Mozilla Firefox 72.0.*, OllyDbg 2.x, PDF-XChange Viewer 2.5.213, SumatraPDF 3.1.2, and Verbum 8.

    • Games

      • Do a little quiet ocean exploration in the new ‘Aquamarine’ demo

        Now fully funded on Kickstarter with 8 days to go, Aquamarine has a demo out so you can have a go at this quiet survival adventure about perception and discovery in an alien ocean.

        A small-scale, story-driven game inspired largely by the psychedelic sci-fi of the ’70s and ’80s, Aquamarine combines old-school roguelikes and the survival genre with the exploration and puzzle solving of classic point-and-click adventures.

      • Humble Store has a big sale going on some top indie games

        Another week, another sale begins. Humble Store are running a third edition of their Indie Hits Sale with some really popular titles with big discounts.

      • Paradox have updated their handy launcher – should help Linux gamers too

        Paradox have released a new version of their game launcher, the screen that appears when you load most of their modern games to give a few little handy features.

        Not to be confused with the standalone Paradox Launcher you can download from their store (Paradox need a better naming scheme…), this is the application you see when you load up Stellaris, Cities: Skylines, Prison Architect and so on. Today “2020.2 – The Palindromic Version” was released.

      • The latest update and brand new trailer for ‘Vintage Story’ look fantastic

        With a survival experience that’s so crammed full of features you’re likely to get lost for weeks, Vintage Story has always looked pretty good. Recently though? They turned it up a notch or two.

        Version 1.12 went out this month as a major update focused on adding more visual flair including new animations, more reflective surfaces, a new personal-damage overlay effect, a rework of clouds (and they sure do look pretty), cold regions will see an aurora borealis effect, armour stands, performance improvements and various other tweaks to really make it something quite special.

      • If you think you were done with RimWorld think again – the 1.1 update is in Beta

        Adding in a ton of new content, adjustments and fixed – RimWorld 1.1 is now available in Beta to suck you back into building a colony. While RimWorld was done and released in full back in 2018, they’re clearly not done with it.

        One big improvement will be for players that have high resolution monitors, as the UI should now look good even at 4K. There’s a new Quests tab to give you info on available, active and previous quests as well to help you not get lost. Modding sees improvements too with “a new data-driven quests generation and management system” so apparently modders can add or change quests “without programming” and there’s also improvements done to clean up the mod management interface.

      • Open source modern Caesar III game engine ‘Julius’ has a fresh release up

        Get ready to build a city with the classic Caesar III, as the developer behind the open source game engine Julius tagged a big new release.

        Some nice new features were added this time with a new full-city screenshot feature set to Ctrl+F12, it will be a big file of course but it’s such a fun feature. A good way to show off all that time you spent. You can also now enable a monthly auto-save, to ensure no lost progress.

      • Unique deck-builder ‘Faeria’ has a huge patch out with gamepad support

        A few bits of interesting news to talk about for Faeria, a deck-builder with a unique board-building mechanic as it just got a huge update.

        One of the major new systems introduced is a player reporting mechanic, so you can report naughty people. You will find this as an option in-game in the friends list, as recent players appear there. There’s also new music, a dynamic music system was added so during battles music will change depending on what’s happening too which is quite cool and spices it up a little. There’s also in-game leaderboards, new special PvP maps, in-game DLC display and controller support.

      • Bee-themed management sim ‘Hive Time’ has a new amusing trailer

        Released back in December, Hive Time is the rather sweet Bee hive building and management sim from our contributor Cheeseness and it has a new trailer out.

        Telling a short tale of a busy hive while introducing a worker Bee named Penelope, it’s actually quite an amusing little trailer that would have sold me on the game if I wasn’t already enjoying it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • SD Times news digest: Visual Studio Code CMake Tools extension, Snowflakes’ $479 million funding, and KDevelop 5.5

          KDevelop 5.5

          KDevelop 5.5 has been released with improved C++, PHP, and Python language support.

          It also brings together improvements in stability, performance, and future maintainability.

          The full list of additions and changes in the new release is available here.

          KDE Frameworks 5.67.0

          The new release includes over 70 addon libraries to Qt, which provide commonly-needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms.

          The new version also allows users to port away from many Qt 5.15 deprecated methods, migrate config from KConfig to KConfigXt to allow KCM to use it. It also allows users to create Breeze style Kate icons that are based on a new design by Tyson Tan.

        • Cutelyst 2.10.0 and SimpleMail v2 released!

          Cutelyst the C++/Qt Web framework and SimpleMailQt just got new releases.

          Cutelyst received many important bugfixes and if you are compiling it with View::Email it also requires SimpleMail 2, the latter got an Async API which is on production for a few months, allowing for a non-blocking send mail experience.

        • Okular is an open source universal document viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS

          Wouldn’t it be nice if you had one program to view them all? That’s exactly what Okular does. It’s an open source universal document viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program is made by KDE, a name Linux users should be familiar with, among other creations they are the ones behind the popular Kubuntu (Ubuntu + KDE Software) distro.

          Let’s begin touring the interface. The sidepanel on the left can be used to jump to the Contents, Thumbnails, Reviews and Bookmarks sections. Select one of the options and the list of corresponding items are displayed in the panel to the right of the sidebar.

          The Contents option lists each section/chapter in a document, along with the sub-items, page numbers, etc. The Thumbnail mode pane displays a preview of each page in the document, you can scroll through it and click to go to the selected page. The Reviews pane contain the annotations that have been made on the document. If you don’t have any, you can add some by hitting the F6 key or from the Tools menu > Review. Bookmarks are custom links that you have added, i.e., if you bookmark a page it will be displayed in the side-panel for future reference. Hit Ctrl + B to bookmark a page.

        • FOSDEM & Plasma Mobile Sprint

          Last week I decided to take KDE Itinerary for a test tour. Between the train rides there was also time for some KDE stuff.

          FOSDEM

          After writing an exam on Friday afternoon I took a train to Frankfurt. I did so not to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area around Frankfurt central station at night but to be able to catch an early train towards Bruxelles for my first time at FOSDEM.

          It has been a great experience to meet so many people interested in what KDE does at the KDE booth. It also was awesome to meet all the folks that are working hard on making Linux on the phone become a thing.

        • Plasma 5.18 LTS review – The good, the bad … and yeah

          Here we go. The KDE team has released the latest version of Plasma, numbered 5.18. This also happens to be a Long Term Support (LTS) release, which in Plasma parlance means two years of support. Since I’m an avid user, and even have Plasma deployed in my production setup via Kubuntu 18.04 running on a Slimbook Pro2, it’s time to set scopes on the future, and see what gives.

          I did my testing on Lenovo G50, which happens to be my hardware scapegoat de jour. Also, I have KDE neon installed there, Developer Edition (Stable), so I get to see all the little changes and fixes and whatnot almost as soon as they are introduced. This means I had a chance to sample Plasma 5.18 since the earliest build, and now that we have the official release, I must share me experience. Avanti.

        • GCompris an educational suite for the youngest in the family

          GCompris is an educational suite that offers more than 100 activities for children from 2 to 10 years old. Some activities are game-oriented, but still educational. Here is a list of activity categories with some examples:

          Discovering the computer: keyboard, mouse, touch screen…
          Reading: letters, words, reading practice, typing text…

        • Season of KDE

          Since my last blog, I got really busy with my college and got less time to work on the website. I took some screenshots whenever I got the time and planned the work to be done.

          After 40 about days of coding, taking screenshots, writing documentation, the caligra website is ready, Well almost ready. The only thing that remains is the component selector in the navbar. The task of adding the selector is not that difficult, the difficult part was to add it to the KDE Jekyll theme so that it could be used by all websites old and new.

          I have managed to complete the task and submitted a merge request on the jekyll theme repository. My mentor will check it and hopefully it gets merged soon.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Revival of Getting Things GNOME: survey results and first status update

          Ever since my previous blogging frenzy where I laid bare the secret to my productivity, formulated my typology of workers, and published a survey to evaluate the revival potential for Getting Things GNOME, I’m sure y’all have been dying to know what were the outcomes of that survey, and how the GTG project is doing.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Calculate Linux 20

          Calculate Linux released version 20 at the end of 2019 with major updates and is based off Gentoo. Calculate Linux Desktop (CLD) includes a wizard to configure a connection to Calculate Directory Server. According to their download page, “Calculate Linux Desktop is listed in the Russian Software Register.” To sum that up, CLD is a distro from Russia, based off Gentoo, and designed to connect to a Calculate Directory Server. What is a Calculate Directory Server? Well according to their website, “Calculate Directory Server (CDS) is an advanced, LDAP-based authentication server designed to be a domain controller for business networks.”

        • Linux distro review: Intel’s own Clear Linux OS

          Intel’s Clear Linux distribution has been getting a lot of attention lately, due to its incongruously high benchmark performance. Although the distribution was created and is managed by Intel, even AMD recommends running benchmarks of its new CPUs under Clear Linux in order to get the highest scores.

          Recently at Phoronix, Michael Larabel tested a Threadripper 3990X system using nine different Linux distros, one of which was Clear Linux—and Intel’s distribution got three times as many first-place results as any other distro tested. When attempting to conglomerate all test results into a single geometric mean, Larabel found that the distribution’s results were, on average, 14% faster than the slowest distributions tested (CentOS 8 and Ubuntu 18.04.3).

          There’s not much question that Clear Linux is your best bet if you want to turn in the best possible benchmark numbers. The question not addressed here is, what’s it like to run Clear Linux as a daily driver? We were curious, so we took it for a spin.

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 19.1 released with bugfixes and updated apps

          Popular Linux distro MX Linux received a point update 19.1 over the weekend with a plethora of application updates and bugfixes. This is the first update to the MX Linux 19 “Patito Feo” series. The release is the first with the antiX repository disabled.

        • Q4OS 4.0 “Gemini” Enters Development Based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye”

          For a long time, Q4OS has tried to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop environment series alive by shipping with the awesome Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) by default. But the current stable series, Q4OS 3.x “Centaurus”, also includes the more modern KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment alongside TDE to give users more options for tailoring their PCs to their needs.

          Based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series, Q4OS 4.0 “Gemini” is now in development and uses the KDE Plasma 5.14.5 desktop environment by default. Therefore, it is using software packages from the Debian Testing repositories.

      • BSD

        • NetBSD 9.0 released

          Significant new features include Arm64 support, better virtualization support, kernel address-space layout randomization, and more; see the release notes for details.

        • OpenSSH Now Supports FIDO/U2F Security Keys

          OpenSSH is, by far, the single most popular tool for logging into remote servers and desktops. SSH logins are generally considered fairly safe, but not 100%. If you’re not satisfied with the out the box security offered by OpenSSH, you can always opt to go with SSH key authentication. If that’s not enough, there’s always 2 Factor Authentication, which would then require you to enter a PIN generated by an application such as OTPClient or Authy.

          As of OpenSSH 8.2, there’s a newly supported option, FIDO/U2F security keys. What this means is that you can now use 2FA hardware keys (such as the Yubi Key) to authenticate your SSH login attempt.

          2FA is often considered the easiest method of adding an additional layer of security to SSH logins. However, for many, Hardware Keys are considered the single most secure means of preventing hackers from brute-forcing your SSH passwords. To make things easy, the OpenSSH developers have made it possible to generate a FIDO token-backed key using the ssh-keygen command. So anyone used to creating SSH keys shouldn’t have any problem getting up to speed with integrating hardware keys into SSH.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Arch Family

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Want to be an innovative company? Adopt enterprise open source

          Nearly all IT professionals (95%) agree that enterprise open source is important, with 75% of professionals citing it as “extremely important,” a Red Hat report found. Enterprise open source isn’t just a trend, but a growing movement, as 77% of respondents expect their organizations to increase open source use in the next 12 months.

          “Historically, open source was seen [mainly] in web infrastructure,” said Gordon Haff, Red Hat technology evangelist. “What you’re seeing today is how open source is becoming a space where companies and individuals come together to collaborate in new areas of technology.”

        • Fedora 32 Gnome 3.36 Test Day 2020-02-20

          Thursday, 2020-02-20 is the Fedora 32 Gnome Test Day! As part of changes Gnome 3.36 in Fedora 32, we need your help to test if everything runs smoothly!

        • The State of Enterprise Open Source 2020: Enterprise open source use rises, proprietary software declines

          Last year we set out to determine how IT leaders think about open source, why they choose it and what they intend to do with it in the future. The result was The 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report, and the findings were clear and confirmed what we see happening in the industry. Enterprise open source has become a default choice of IT departments around the world and organizations are using open source in categories that have historically been more associated with proprietary technology.

          Headed into the second year of the survey, we had a new directive in mind. We wanted to dive deeper into how IT leaders’ intentions and usage have changed. We surveyed 950 IT leaders in four regions. Respondents had to have some familiarity with enterprise open source and have at least 1% Linux installed at their organization. Respondents were not necessarily Red Hat customers and were unaware that Red Hat was the sponsor of this survey. This allowed us to get a more honest and broad view of the true state of enterprise open source.

        • Manage application programming interfaces to drive new revenue for service providers

          Telecommunications service providers have valuable assets that can be exposed, secured, and monetized via API-centric agile integration. They can derive additional value from new assets, developed internally or through partners and third parties and integrated in a similar way with OSS and BSS systems.

          Service providers can open new revenue paths if they enhance the value they deliver to customers and to their partner- and developer-ecosystems. APIs can help them accomplish this goal. Services that providers can potentially offer with APIs include direct carrier billing, mobile health services, augmented reality, geofencing, IoT applications, and more. Mobile connectivity, for example, is key to powering IoT applications and devices, giving service providers an inside track to provide APIs to access network information for IoT services. In mobile health, APIs can serve as the link between the customer and healthcare partners through the user’s smartphone.

          Embracing this API-centric approach, service providers can realize increased agility by treating OSS/BSS building blocks as components that can be reused again and again. They may also innovate faster by giving partners controlled access to data and services, expand their ecosystem by improving partner and third-party collaboration, and generate more revenue through new direct and indirect channels.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

          Special editions of Sparky 2020.02 “Po Tolo” of the (semi-)rolling line: GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue have been released. It is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye”.

          GameOver Edition features a very large number of preinstalled games, useful tools and scripts. It’s targeted to gamers.

          Multimedia Edition features a large set of tools for creating and editing graphics, audio, video and HTML pages.

          The live system of Rescue Edition contains a large set of tools for scanning and fixing files, partitions and operating systems installed on hard drives.

        • SnowCamp 2020

          This is just a late reminder that there are still some seats available for SnowCamp, taking place at the end of this week and during the whole weekend somewhere in the Italian mountains.

          I believe it will be a really nice opportunity to hack on Debian things and thus I’d hope that there won’t be empty seats, though atm this is the case.

        • Ben Armstrong: Introducing Dronefly, a Discord bot for naturalists

          In the past few years, since first leaving Debian as a free software developer in 2016, I’ve taken up some new hobbies, or more accurately, renewed my interest in some old ones.

          During that hiatus, I also quietly un-retired from Debian, anticipating there would be some way to contribute to the project in these new areas of interest. That’s still an idea looking for the right opportunity to present itself, not to mention the available time to get involved again.

          With age comes an increasing clamor of complaints from your body when you have a sedentary job in front of a screen, and hobbies that rarely take you away from it. You can’t just plunk down in front of a screen and do computer stuff non-stop & just bounce back again at the start of each new day. So in the past several years, getting outside more started to improve my well-being and address those complaints. That revived an old interest in me: nature photography. That, in turn, landed me at iNaturalist, re-ignited my childhood love of learning about the natural world, & hooked me on a regular habit of making observations & uploading them to iNat ever since.

          Second, back in the late nineties, I wrote a little library loans renewal reminder project in Python. Python was a pleasure to work with, but that project never took off and soon was forgotten. Now once again, decades later, Python is a delight to be writing in, with its focus on writing readable code & backed by a strong culture of education.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Private Internet Access Open Sources its Android VPN App

        Private Internet Access (PIA) has announced its decision to open-source its Android VPN app, including the dependencies of the software. As they point out, this was made in the context of proving their commitment to privacy and transparency, so they are releasing the code for the FOSS community to review. The repositories containing the source code to the app will be rolled out gradually over the next couple of weeks, starting with the Android OpenVPN repository today. This is in line with the company’s 2018 plan to open source all of its VPN clients, and follows a similar action that they took for the desktop client (both PC and Apple), and also for the Chrome and Firefox extensions.

        Three weeks ago, ProtonVPN made a similar move by open-sourcing its software and calling the Free Software community to look deeper into their code. This definitely builds a trust relationship with the users, and also helps the vendor’s spot any privacy or security vulnerabilities that may have slipped through the cracks. Sure, appointing firms to conduct audits is a way to find and iron out any issues, but the FOSS community is large, and the benefits of having hundreds or even thousands look deeply into your code are undeniable.

      • Open Source DevOps Vendor Chef Launches Its First Channel Program
      • Intel Compute Runtime 20.06.15619 Enables E2E Compression

        Version 20.06.15619 of the open-source Intel Compute Runtime was released on Friday as powering the company’s modern Linux graphics hardware compute stack.

        Notable with this latest Intel Compute Runtime snapshot is E2E compression being enabled for Linux, or engine-to-engine compression. The E2E compression provides a means of lossless compression between hardware engines/blocks for helping to save bandwidth and supplementary to the other compression means for graphics/compute. This Intel compute E2E support is enabled with this release for Tigerlake Gen12/Xe graphics hardware.

      • OPNFV Taps CNTT to Power Its Evolution

        The most recent OPNFV platform release could be the last that adheres to the organization’s legacy mindset with future releases more tied into work around the burgeoning Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT).

        Heather Kirksey, VP of community and ecosystem development at the Linux Foundation, explained in a phone interview with SDxCentral that a lot of the updates in the OPNFV Iruya release were targeted at CNTT. She added that targeting will spill into upcoming releases from both CNTT and OPNFV.

        Kirksey cited a recent LF Networking (LFN) forum in Prague, Czech Republic, that tied together developers from the OPNFV, CNTT, and the ONAP community. That forum resulted in OPNFV taking feedback from CNTT.

      • Adoption of Open Source Technologies is Increasing in Financial Data Management – But what are the Challenges?

        Moreover, adopting open source typically means deploying cloud native apps and migrating workloads to public or private cloud built on open source infrastructure. Open source often provides foundational technology, including languages, libraries and database technologies that can provide a rich foundation to quickly develop applications. That, coupled with an increase in the uptake of managed services options, is making open source still more attractive to financial services businesses – and is further driving innovation within these organizations.

      • NearForm launches Open Source Software R&D hub in Tramore

        NearForm, the premier software development and world-leading Open Source Technology company, headquartered in Tramore Ireland, has officially launched its R&D hub, NearForm Research, to further build on its existing commitment and contributions to the growth in Open Source Software. The move follows the company’s long-standing active involvement in the creation of advanced Open Source software and its importance to the global enterprise market and associated economic growth.

      • NearForm launches software R&D hub in Tramore

        “We are thrilled to be able to make this an official program within NearForm. We can now combine our experience in developing software solutions for some of the world’s leading brands with our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the languages and tools,” said head of NearForm Research, James Snell.

      • How Open-Source is the LoRaWAN IoT Community?

        One of the more positive movements in society has been the growth of organizations serving their industry of interest by creating an open-source development environment. From sports to science, grass-roots groups, clubs, and societies have sprung up to serve their target application spaces. In the embedded electronic design industry, one of those areas of interest is the LoRaWAN community, presented as an open-source development environment serving an unlicensed band of the RF spectrum.

        Members of this community range from hobbyists to tier-one manufacturers. Members of the group share LoRaWAN network technologies and protocols to advance development while ensuring security, interoperability, and compatibility. The LoRaWAN community and its flagship organizations like the LoRa Alliance are helping make LoRaWAN one of the core infrastructures in the next generation of the Internet of Things (IoT).

      • The Open Source for All Initiative: Investing in Underrepresented Minorities in Tech

        This Dot Labs, a development consultancy known for its work in providing opportunities to underrepresented minorities in tech, and StackBlitz is an online IDE used by millions of developers every month & adopted by open source projects such as Angular (Google), RxJS (Microsoft), and many others, have teamed up this February in the Open Source for All Initiative to provide $20,000 of opportunities to those who need their first foot in the door.

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What’s in the latest Firefox update? Firefox 73 adds to usability and accessibility options

            Mozilla this week released Firefox 73, a minor upgrade whose most notable addition was a new default setting for page zooming.

            Software engineers working on the open-source browser also patched six vulnerabilities, half of them labeled “High,” Mozilla’s second-most-serious threat rating. As usual, some of the flaws might be used by criminals.

            “We presume that with enough effort some of these could have been exploited to run arbitrary code,” the firm wrote of two of the bugs.

            Firefox 73 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla’s site. Because Firefox updates in the background, most users need only relaunch the browser to get the latest version. To manually update on Windows, pull up the menu under the three horizontal bars at the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose “About Firefox.” (On macOS, “About Firefox” can be found under the “Firefox” menu.) The resulting page shows that the browser is either up to date or describes the refresh process.

            Mozilla last upgraded the browser on Jan. 7, or five weeks ago.

          • Mozilla Reps in 2020 Berlin All Hands

            14 Reps were invited to participate in this year’s All Hands in Berlin.

            At the All-Hands Reps learned some easy German words (Innovationsprozess-swischenstands-schreihungsskizze), did some art (see here X artistic endeavor during a group activity), and learned about cultural differences in communication.

          • Waterfox: Firefox Fork With Legacy Add-ons Options

            In this week’s open source software highlight, we take a look at a Firefox-based browser that supports legacy extensions that Firefox no longer supports while potentially providing fast user experience.

            When it comes to web browsers, Google Chrome leads the market share. Mozilla Firefox is there still providing hopes for a mainstream web browser that respects your privacy.

            Firefox has improved a lot lately and one of the side-effects of the improvements is removal of add-ons. If your favorite add-on disappeared in last few months/years, you have a good new in the form of Witerfox.

      • Web

        • Open-source URL shortener ‘YOURLS’ gets updated with Bitly-like random keyword plugin

          YOURLS, which is short for Your Own URL Shortener, is open-source software that allows anyone to host their own URL shortener. It’s similar to Bitly, except you control everything. It works with any hosting provider that supports PHP and MySQL, and is easy to set up and use. For example, Coywolf uses YOURLS on a cheap shared hosting plan at Pair Networks and uses the domain coywolf.io.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Education

        • Transforming the traditional classroom with Open Education

          The Tamarind Tree school in Dahanu, India, encourages self-learning through open educational resources and open technology

          At Tamarind Tree, the traditional classroom and traditional teacher role do not exist. Using open source software and open educational resources, the school has developed an entire digital ecosystem, with their LMS built on Moodle “My Big Campus” in the centre.

          Each day, students access the learning content and go through activities independently, nurturing their curiosity and self-assurance. In this setting, the role of the teacher is not as someone who delivers content, but more like a facilitator who mentors the children during their learning journey. As well as guiding the children through what they’re learning, when a teacher detects that a student is having difficulties with a topic or concept, or requires help, they will schedule one-on-one meetings where they both research and learn together.

      • FSF

        • Open-Source Group Sends Microsoft Blank Hard Drive to Copy Windows 7 Source Code

          The Free Software Foundation publicly requested Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 shortly after the 2009 operating system reached the end of support on January 14, and now the group is ready for the next move.

          Last week, the FSF mailed Microsoft a blank hard drive which the company should use for copying Windows 7 source code and then sending it back to the organization.

        • Open Source Group Wants Windows 7 Source Code In A Blank Hard drive

          Just when Microsoft ended the support for Windows 7, Free Software Foundation filed a petition demanding Windows 7 to be open source. Now, the open-source community went a little further by making another bold move.

          Reportedly, the FSF mailed a blank upcycled hard drive to Microsoft. The foundation wants Microsoft to send back the hard drive, but after copying Windows 7 source code in it, along with license notice.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Social Contract version 1.0

            just a public heads-up on progress on the GNU Social Contract. Following our initially announced timeline, we had put online the first draft at the end of January. The goal of the document is to formulate a common core set of values for the GNU Project, on which we can jointly build to form a stronger community. It is both an agreement among us, GNU contributors, and a pledge to the broader free software community. Additionally, we think it can be a first step towards formalising a transparent and collective governance of the GNU Project.

          • GCC 8.4 Status Report (2020-02-17)
            Status
            ======
            
            It has been almost a year since GCC 8.3 has been released and GCC 8.4
            release should have been released already, so we should concentrate on
            getting it out soon.  Unfortunately we have two P1s, one of them is
            waiting for reporter's input, so we might as well just ignore it unless
            the input is provided, but the other, C++ FE one, looks something that
            should be fixed.  If we get rid of the P1s, I'd like to create
            8.4-rc1 on Wednesday, Feb 26th and release 8.4 the week afterwards.
            If you have any queued backports, please commit them to 8 branch
            (and 9 branch too, we'd like to release 9.3 soon too).
            
            
            Quality Data
            ============
            
            Priority          #   Change from last report
            --------        ---   -----------------------
            P1                2   +   2
            P2              284   +  75
            P3               38   +   4
            P4              151   -  11
            P5               22   -   2
            --------        ---   -----------------------
            Total P1-P3     324   +  81
            Total           497   +  68
            
            
            Previous Report
            ===============
            
            https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2019-02/msg00122.html
            
            
          • GCC 8.4 + GCC 9.3 Compilers Coming Soon

            GCC 8.4 is already past due for release while Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek is trying to get its release organized in the coming weeks along with GCC 9.3. It’s been nearly one year since GCC 8.3 and thus many fixes in tow for GCC 8.4. But two “P1″ regressions of the highest priority are left to be addressed or demoted before the 8.4 release can happen. Jakub is hoping to create a release candidate of GCC 8.4 on 26 February and to then officially release the GCC 8.4 stable compiler the first week of March. A similar GCC 9.3 release is also expected soon for those on this current GCC 9 stable series.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • What Does Open Mean to You?
        • Open source approach needed in climate change innovation; technology and finance critical to achieving SDGs: Prakash Javadekar
        • US unveils 15MW ‘open source’ wind turbine after global project

          The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) after collaboration with global researchers has released a reference offshore wind turbine design with a 15MW nameplate capacity for both fixed-bottom and floating applications.

          The reference wind turbine (RWT) – a complete open-source turbine system with supporting models for simulation and design – makes it possible to evaluate the performance and cost of modifications before prototype development, said the partners.

        • Open-source 15MW digital turbine launched
        • Open Data

          • Roboflow: Popular autonomous vehicle data set contains critical flaws

            A machine learning model’s performance is only as good as the quality of the data set on which it’s trained, and in the domain of self-driving vehicles, it’s critical this performance isn’t adversely impacted by errors. A troubling report from computer vision startup Roboflow alleges that exactly this scenario occurred — according to founder Brad Dwyer, crucial bits of data were omitted from a corpus used to train self-driving car models.

            Dwyer writes that Udacity Dataset 2, which contains 15,000 images captured while driving in Mountain View and neighboring cities during daylight, has omissions. Thousands of unlabeled vehicles, hundreds of unlabeled pedestrians, and dozens of unlabeled cyclists are present in roughly 5,000 of the samples, or 33% (217 lack any annotations at all but actually contain cars, trucks, street lights, or pedestrians). Worse are the instances of phantom annotations and duplicated bounding boxes (where “bounding box” refers to objects of interest), in addition to “drastically” oversized bounding boxes.

          • The Open Wearables Initiative expands founding team; begins soliciting algorithms and datasets for wearable and connected health technologies

            Shimmer Research, a global leader in wearable technology for research applications, today announced that the Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is now actively soliciting open source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies at http://www.owear.org. OWEAR is a collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing and benchmarking of algorithms and datasets. OWEAR has also expanded its Working Group to include executives from four major global pharmaceutical companies, a major clinical research organization (CRO), Sage Bionetworks and the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe).

        • Open Access/Content

          • Beaufort County Community College saves students over $50,000 on new textbooks

            New textbooks, called Open-Source Textbooks, are saving students more than $50,000 per semester at Beaufort County Community College (BCCC).

            Open-Source Textbooks are licensed under an open copyright license and made available online to be freely used by students and teachers.

            Some professors at BCCC are using Open-Source Textbooks to decrease the cost of student’s education and help them stretch financial aid or scholarships.

            Professors seek out Open-Source Textbooks from a curated online library developed by academics from all over the country, then add additional material.

          • Plan S does the wrong things to the wrong people

            UK researchers may worry about the effects of leaving the European Union on their research, but a bigger peril may be the united front that the UK continues to present with other EU countries over open access.

            The aim of the dozen or so mostly European funding agencies that have signed up to Plan S is to turbocharge the transition to full open access. UK Research and Innovation is very much on board with this and, last week, launched a consultation on its own open access policy that, it says, “aligns with the ambition of Plan S”.

            In its original formulation, Plan S would have required work funded by any of its signatories to be made immediately open access from this year.

          • Humanities scholars warn over UKRI’s plan for open-access books

            Proposals that would require academic monographs to be made freely available within 12 months of publication could harm the careers of UK arts and humanities scholars by stopping them from publishing, critics have warned.

            Under proposals published on 13 February, UK Research and Innovation will require all scholarly monographs, book chapters and edited collections by authors who are supported by its funds to be made open access from January 2024, unless a contract has been signed before this date that prevents adherence to the policy.

            The proposed change is most likely to affect those working in the arts and humanities, where the longer-form publishing format is more common; in the 2014 research excellence framework (REF), books and book chapters accounted for 53 per cent of submissions in history and two-thirds in Classics, according to a British Academy position paper published in May 2018.

      • Programming/Development

        • Gitea 1.11.0: Open source self-hosting Git solution gets a new update

          Gitea helps you set up your own self-hosted Git service with the use of lightweight Go code. The latest version, 1.11.0, includes a long list of updates, bug fixes, and improvements, including changing the markdown rendering to goldmark, and a new contrib command. Is self-hosting the right solution for you? See how Gitea compares to other Git hosting solutions.

        • NBD: A popular HTTP-fetching npm code library used by 48,000 other modules retires, no more updates coming

          After eleven months of planning, the npm-distributed request module has been deprecated, meaning the popular JavaScript code library for making HTTP requests is no longer supported and won’t receive further updates.

          The almost 48,000 other npm modules that include request as a dependency won’t see any immediate effect, other than a deprecation warning from the npm command line client. But the maintainers of those modules should consider revising their code so it uses an alternative library for handling HTTP interactions.

          Request, now at version 2.88.2 and still downloaded almost 17m times a week, was created in 2009 by Mikeal Rogers, who presently handles community operations at open source biz Protocol Labs.

        • Still Increasing the Power of Hybrid IT Through Open Source

          Broadcom (perhaps still better known as CA) used this year’s Arcati Mainframe Yearbook to highlight the mainframe development revolution and the growth in open source tools.

          They said that tools, like the green screens of ISPF and the Eclipse desktop IDE, enhanced with proprietary plugins have served mainframe application developers well over the years. However, there are changes in the larger world of development that are creating the conditions for a revolution in mainframe tooling.

        • Tangle EE project joins Eclipse Foundation to bring distributed ledger apps to enterprise

          As the number of IoT devices proliferate, and machines conduct transactions with machines without humans involved, it becomes increasingly necessary to have a permissionless system that facilitates this kind of communication in a secure way.

          Enter the IOTA Foundation, a Berlin-based open-source distributed ledger technology (DLT) project, which has hooked up with the Eclipse Foundation to bring IOTA DLT to the enterprise via the Tangle EE project. For starters, this involves forming a working group.

        • Eclipse Partners with IOTA on Open Source Distributed Ledger Tech
        • What to know about software development security — why it’s still so hard and how to tackle it

          The right software security practices can prevent many future security problems, and there is an increasingly realisation that software development security needs a cradle-to-grave approach, not just focusing on solving problems once they become apparent.

          There is still a long way to go and no-one can claim this is easy to address: the increasing complexity of modern software development environments, not to mention the sheer volume of code and other digital assets being created, often in continuous, fast-paced environments, exacerbates the challenge.

          [...]

          Coding standards are particularly relevant for some of the more complex programming languages — C++ in particular — which while introducing unprecedented scope for innovation and flexibility, also allow for more interpretation, which can lead even the most skilled developer to inadvertently introduce an error. Again, automation is key, especially for huge codebases and complicated embedded software projects, so static code analysis is increasingly introduced to reduce manual effort and associated risks.

        • Electron 8 – First Release As OpenJS Foundation Incubator

          At the end of last year Electron joined the OpenJS Foundation as an incubator project. The release of Electron 8, less than two months later, is an indication that it is thriving in its new home.

          Initially developed for GitHub’s Atom editor, Electron is a cross-platform desktop application development tool based on Node.js and Chromium enabling apps to be packaged for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Both Atom and Electron were open sourced in 2014.

          News that Electron was joining the OpenJS Foundation was announced in December 2019 at the Node+JS Interactive conference held in Montreal.

        • Modularity for Maintenance

          One of the best things about maintaining open source in the modern era is that there are so many wonderful, free tools to let machines take care of the busy-work associated with collaboration, code-hosting, continuous integration, code quality maintenance, and so on.

          [...]

          But… let’s say you1 maintain a few dozen Python projects. Being a good maintainer, you’ve started splitting up your big monolithic packages into smaller ones, so your utility modules can be commonly shared as widely as possible rather than re-implemented once for each big frameworks. This is great!

          However, every one of those numbered list items above is now a task per project that you have to repeat from scratch. So imagine a matrix with all of those down one side and dozens of projects across the top – the full Cartesian product of these little administrative tasks is a tedious and exhausting pile of work.

          If you’re lucky enough to start every project close to perfect already, you can skip some of this work, but that partially just front-loads the tedium; plus, projects tend to start quite simple, then gradually escalate in complexity, so it’s helpful to be able to apply these incremental improvements one at a time, as your project gets bigger.

        • Goodbye Joyent

          But as any software veteran knows, projects often don’t survive the whims of management. No one is fired for picking Linux (these days), but they might be for picking something else. I already experienced this once before, as a core developer of the Riak database. We were rigorous, paying homage to the theoretics of distributed systems, but with a focus on bringing that theory to the masses. So much so that our last CEO said we had to stop doing so much “computer science”. He meant it as an insult, but we wore it as a badge of honor. But hey, MongoDB had a sweet API and BJSON, who cares if it lost your data occasionally [1]. I understand that people like to stick with what is popular. I respect that decision — it is theirs to make. But I’ll never be a part of that crowd. I want to use software that speaks to me, software that solves the problems I have, software guided by similar values to my own. For me, no project does this more than SmartOS and the illumos kernel. It is my Shawshank Redemption in a sea of MCU.

        • Continuous integration with GDB Buildbot

          Continuous integration is a hot topic these days, and the GNU Project Debugger is keeping up with the trend. Who better to serve as a role model for tracking and exterminating bugs than a debugger?

          The GDB Buildbot started as a pet project back in 2014 but is now an integral part of the development process. It provides an infrastructure to test new commits pushed to the official repository, as well as a service (which we call try builds) for developers to submit their proposed changes. In this article, I share the story of our Buildbot instance, where we are right now in terms of functionality, and the plans (and challenges) for the future.

          [...]

          Back in 2014, the GDB project did not have a continuous integration tool. Developers kindly provided testsuite results and reported regressions in the code, often using their own machines. However, these developers had limited resources and could not test various architectures simultaneously. Compilation failures were often not caught in systems that are not widely used. Ultimately, this issue caused delays and annoyances during the release process (or in the worst cases) after GDB was released.

          In an attempt to mitigate this problem, the GDB Buildbot was set up. Only GNU/Linux running on Intel/AMD 32 and 64-bit was supported at the beginning, but the community quickly started to contribute toward support other machines and architectures. The initial setup compiled and tested the code using common configure flags, but developers still needed to consult the web page in order to know the results.

          Over time, the instance has been improved and new features were added, including email notifications whenever a commit introduced a compilation failure, and email notifications to the gdb-testers mailing list containing the results of each testsuite run.

          Perhaps one of the most useful features was the try build system.

        • Automating unit tests in test-driven development

          DevOps is a software engineering discipline focused on minimizing the lead time to achieve a desired business impact. While business stakeholders and sponsors have ideas on how to optimize business operations, those ideas need to be validated in the field. This means business automation (i.e., software products) must be placed in front of end users and paying customers. Only then will the business confirm whether the initial idea for improvement was fruitful or not.

          Software engineering is a budding discipline, and it can get difficult to ship products that are defect-free. For that reason, DevOps resorts to maximizing automation. Any repeatable chore, such as testing implemented changes to the source code, should be automated by DevOps engineers.

          This article looks at how to automate unit tests. These tests are focused on what I like to call “programming in the small.” Much more important test automation (the so-called “programming in the large”) must use a different discipline—integration testing. But that’s a topic for another article.

        • Create web user interfaces with Qt WebAssembly instead of JavaScript

          When I first heard about WebAssembly and the possibility of creating web user interfaces with Qt, just like I would in ordinary C++, I decided to take a deeper look at the technology.

          My open source project Pythonic is completely Python-based (PyQt), and I use C++ at work; therefore, this minimal, straightforward WebAssembly tutorial uses Python on the backend and C++ Qt WebAssembly for the frontend. It is aimed at programmers who, like me, are not familiar with web development.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 47: Roman Calculator and Gapful Numbers

            These are some answers to the Week 47 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (February 9, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

            I have really very little time to complete this blog post in time for the deadline. My explanations will be minimal, sorry about that.

        • Python

          • A review of Processing books

            Processing is the free and open Java development environment that targets artists who are intrigued by generative code. In essence it is the Java language with a friendly development interface and built-in libraries to get you started.

            There are plenty of ways to learn Processing, including the tutorials on the organisation’s website, and the built-in examples that come with the distribution. But if you prefer a printed book, keep reading. This article will review nine available publications, so you can make an informed purchase decision.

            For the sake of completeness I will also append information on two books I haven’t had a chance to read.

          • The Digital Cat: Dissecting a Web stack

            Having recently worked with young web developers who were exposed for the first time to proper production infrastructure, I received many questions about the various components that one can find in the architecture of a “Web service”. These questions clearly expressed the confusion (and sometimes the frustration) of developers who understand how to create endpoints in a high-level language such as Node.js or Python, but were never introduced to the complexity of what happens between the user’s browser and their framework of choice. Most of the times they don’t know why the framework itself is there in the first place.

            The challenge is clear if we just list (in random order), some of the words we use when we discuss (Python) Web development: HTTP, cookies, web server, Websockets, FTP, multi-threaded, reverse proxy, Django, nginx, static files, POST, certificates, framework, Flask, SSL, GET, WSGI, session management, TLS, load balancing, Apache.

            In this post, I want to review all the words mentioned above (and a couple more) trying to build a production-ready web service from the ground up. I hope this might help young developers to get the whole picture and to make sense of these “obscure” names that senior developers like me tend to drop in everyday conversations (sometimes arguably out of turn).

          • Restoring intuition over multi-dimensional space

            We would not be human if we did not curse things. As beings that are confined in a three-dimensional world, we tend to blame space whenever we have a problem to visualize data that extend to more than three dimensions. From scientific books and journal papers to simple blog articles and comments the term: “curse of dimensionality” is being repeated like a mantra, almost convincing us that any object, whose nature extends to something more than just “3D” is out of reach to our brains.

            This article is going to discuss neither data visualization nor seek to conform to the common opinion that highly-dimensional space is incomprehensible.

            Quite opposite: the highly-dimensional space is not incomprehensible. It is just weird and less intuitive. Fortunately, take advantage of some mathematical tools and use them as a “free ticket” to gain more intuition. More precisely, we will present three “routes” we can use to get a better feeling on how things play out in “ND space.”

            [...]

            In this article, we have looked into three aspects of the multidimensionality of space. As we couldn’t visualize it (we didn’t even try…), we took advantage of some mathematical mechanisms to gain a bit more insight into the strange behavior of this world. Although not backed with any ultimate proofs, we hope that the mathematical reasoning just presented can spark some inspiration, intuition, and imagination, which is something that is often needed when having to cope with N-dimensions.

          • Airflow By Example

            Apache Airflow is a very interesting, popular and free tool to create, manage and monitor workflows, for example if you want to do ETL (Extract / Transform / Load) on data.

            This sort of enterprise software often may seem complicated or overly unrelated to our everyday experience as developers but … is it, really? How about if I just want to watch some TV shows? And experiment with some enterprise-level software at the same time?

            Let’s do that by learning how to use Airflow to watch TV.

          • The Spyder Development Community and Quansight Labs Announce the Release of Spyder 4

            The Spyder Project and Quansight Labs announced the release of Spyder 4, the latest version of the most popular open source Scientific Python development environment. Spyder 4 boasts new features that users have been eagerly awaiting.

            Spyder 4 provides users an enhanced coding experience like general purpose editors and IDEs, while strengthening its specialized focus on scientific programming in Python.

          • Refactoring and asking for forgiveness

            Recently, I had a great interaction with one of my coworkers that I think is worth sharing, with the hope you may learn a bit about refactoring and python.

            My colleague came to me to help him think through a problem that surfaced with a change to a project. The code in question sends a file to a remote storage service.

          • A Guide to the Newer Python String Format Techniques

            In the previous tutorial in this introductory series, you learned how to format string data using the string modulo operator. The string modulo operator is useful, and it’s good for you to be familiar with it because you’re likely to encounter it in older Python code. However, there are two newer ways that you can use Python to format strings that are arguably more preferable.

          • Python 101 2nd Edition Kickstarter is Live!

            I am excited to announce that my newest book, Python 101, 2nd Edition is launching on Kickstarter today!

          • February PyLadies Pune workshop

            It was the time for “learning Python with harware” in February, 2020 with PyLadies in Pune. Coding in Python becomes fun when one can see the changes it makes in the hardware.

            Selecting a place for work is always a difficult task as any organizer. College Of Engineering Pune (COEP) has always been supportive of PyLadies Pune. When I approached Abhijit for the venue he readily agreed. My sincere gratitude to him, Women Engineers Group and the FOSSMeet Pune team enough for that.

            Once I reached the venue it was already a full house and still people were coming in. We had more than 55 students of 1st to 3rd year, attending the workshop. The first year students already knew Python. Around 12-14 people were writing Python for the first time.

            The workshop started with the very basics of the language on the terminal.

            [...]

            We started with blinking the first LED of the board. When the students lit their first LED the smile and light in their eyes were precious :). Following that we spend some time with the simple codes. We tried our hands on different modules of Circuit Python. We took the help from the tutorial provided in Adafruit website. The students were enjoying and indulged into creativity. So I decided to give them problem statements instead of showing them code. I was happy to see how fast they were solving it and experimenting with different patterns, colours.

          • PyDev of the Week: Martin Fitzpatrick

            This week we welcome Martin Fitzpatrick (@mfitzp) as our PyDev of the Week! Martin is the author of “Create Simple GUI Applications with Python and Qt 5” and the creator of the LearnPyQt website. You can also check out his personal site or see what he’s up to by visiting his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Martin better!

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Vulkan 1.2.133 Released With VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info

        It’s been nearly one month since the release of Vulkan 1.2.132 and that came shortly after the big Vulkan 1.2 milestone, but out today is now Vulkan 1.2.133.

        Vulkan 1.2.133 has various clarifications to the documentation, adds a vendor ID for Codeplay, VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_vote / VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_ballot are deprecated, and other clarifications/corrections to the text.

      • Work on IoT Device Communication Standardization Begins

        Most people working with industrial automation equipment are familiar with OPC UA for machine and device communications. More recently, industry has been getting up to speed with MQTT and its complimentary role for industrial device communications.

        While OPC UA has long been an industry standard, work is now beginning on a broad standardization of MQTT communications via Sparkplug, the open source software specification that enables applications, sensors, devices or gateways to integrate data within an MQTT communications infrastructure. Sparkplug defines MQTT topics namespace, payload, and session state management.

        [...]

        This work will address the issue of MQTT ‘s undefined topics structure and data types—a key differentiator from OPC UA which “provides a framework for standard and custom datatypes, a defined (hierarchical) namespace and a definition for request/response style communication patterns,” as noted by Jen Reiman in ctron’s blog post about OPC UA implementation with the Eclipse Foundation’s Milo (an open source communication stack for developing OPC UA clients and servers).

        Founding members of the Sparkplug Working Group include Chevron, Canary Labs, Cirrus Link Solutions, HiveMQ, Inductive Automation, and ORing.

  • Leftovers

    • Trump Effort to Keep U.S. Tech Out of China Alarms American Firms

      The administration wants to protect national security by restricting the flow of technology to China. But technology companies worry it could undermine them instead.

    • Science

      • Vats and Propagators: towards a global brain

        We have been living the last couple of decades with networks that are capable of communicating ideas. However, by and large it is left to the humans to reason about these ideas that are propagated. Most machines that operate on the network merely execute the will of humans that have carefully constructed them. Recently neural network based machine learning has gotten much better, but merely resembles intuition, not reasoning. (The human brain succeeds by combining both, and a successful system likely will too.) Could we ever achieve a network that itself reasons? And can it be secure enough not to tear itself apart?

        [...]

        However (and, granted, I haven’t completed it) I think there is one thing that is inaccurately described in Radul’s thesis and Sussman’s explanations, but which I think actually is no problem at all if we apply the vat model of computation (as in E, Agoric, Goblins): how distributed can these cells and propagators be? Section 2.1 of Radul’s thesis explains propagators as asynchronous and completely autonomous, as if cells and their propagators could live anywhere on the computer network with no change in effectiveness. I think this is only partially true. The reference implementation actually does not fully explore this because it uses a single-threaded event loop that processes events until there are no more to process, during which it may encounter a contradiction and raise it. However I believe that the ability to “stop the presses” as it were is one of the nicest features of propagators and actually should not be lost… if we introduced asynchronous events coming in, there may be multiple events that come in at the same time and which try making changes to the propagator network in parallel. Thankfully a nice answer comes in form of a the vat model: it should be possible to have a propagator network within a single vat. Spritely Goblins’ implementation of the vat model is transactional, so this means that if we try to introduce a contradiction, we could roll back immediately. This is the right behavior. As it turns out, this is very close to the propagator system in the way it’s implemented in the reference implementation… I think the reference implementation did something more or less right while trying to do the simplest thing. Combined with a proper ocap vat model this should work great.

        Thus, I believe that a propagator system (here I mean a propagator network, meaning a network of propagator-connected cells) should actually be vat-local. But wait, we talked about network (as in internet) based reasoning, and here I am advocating locality! What gives?

        The right answer seems to me that propagator networks should be able to be hooked together, but a change to a vat-contained propagator system can trigger message passing to another vat-contained propagator system, which can even happen over a computer network such as the internet. We will have to treat propagator systems and changes to them as vat-local, but they can still communicate with other propagator systems. (This is a good idea anyway; if you communicate an idea with me and it’s inconsistent with my worldview, it should be important for me to be able to realize that and use that as an opportunity to correct our misunderstandings between each other.)

      • The Scientific Paper Is Outdated

        For the sake of research, their careers, and their mental health, scientists should spend more time developing software.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Nintendo Is Likely to Suffer Global Switch Shortages From Virus

        Limited component supply coming out of China is affecting output at a Nintendo assembly partner’s factory in Vietnam, which the gaming giant primarily uses to build consoles for the U.S., said the people, asking not to be named because the details are private. A shortage of components this month would affect Switch units scheduled for arrival in April, after existing inventory and current shipments of the console have sold through.

    • Health/Nutrition