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04.05.20

Links 5/4/2020: MindSpore, Covid-19 Projects and More

Posted in News Roundup at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How I turned an old Chromebook Pixel into a native Linux laptop running Ubuntu


        If you’ve visited the Chrome OS subReddit, you’ve surely seen posts by Mr. Chromebox there. For several years, he’s been the go-to authority for doing major operating system and firmware changes to dozens of Chromebook models so you can natively install Windows or Linux on your device.

        I haven’t delved into this type of esoteric but useful project in a while but a CompSci classmate is thinking about switching from Windows 10 to Linux. So I dug around the closet where good Chromebooks go to collect dust and found the 2013 Chromebook Pixel I bought new seven years ago.

        This is a perfect candidate for a Linux installation because the last software update pushed to it was Chrome OS 69. So it’s not the most secure device for browsing at the moment.

      • Hack the planet in style with the new Linux Terminal in Chrome OS 83

        Google has been ramping up the Linux environment on Chrome OS lately, with features like microphone support and USB connections. For those of you who spend a lot of time in the command-line Terminal, Chrome OS 83 (currently in the Dev channel) has updated the app with new themes and customization options.

        The Terminal app on Chrome OS has changed very little since the Linux container was originally released — it’s a single window with text. However, the new version shipping in Chrome OS 83 offers tabs, pre-made themes, customizable colors and fonts for text, and even cursor options.

    • Kernel Space

      • The New Microsoft exFAT File-System Driver Has Landed In Linux 5.7 [Ed: Microsoft puts inside Linux a patent Trojan horse it has already used for blackmail, as part of the push to make billions by extorting OEMs]

        As we have been expecting the new Samsung-developed file-system driver for Microsoft’s exFAT has successfully landed into the Linux 5.7 kernel to replace the existing exFAT driver added in Linux 5.4 last year after Microsoft published the file-system specifications and gave their blessing to have the support mainlined in the Linux kernel.

        This new exFAT driver from Samsung is a much newer version of the driver compared to the original exFAT driver that for the past several cycles has been part of the staging area. That existing driver is on a much older (years older) implementation compared to the current Samsung driver now part of the proper file-system area. This is the same driver that Samsung is shipping by the millions across their Android product portfolio and Samsung will continue to upstream their improvements to the Linux kernel.

      • Linux 5.7 Adds Support For The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, Mainline PinePhone Support

        Some exciting ARM SoCs and devices are supported by the mainline Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Excitingly on the device front is mainline kernel support for the Pinebook Pro $199 ARM laptop as well as the PineTab tablet and PinePhone mobile phone. There is also Snapdragon 865 support as the current high-end smart-phone SoC from Qualcomm. There is also various other additions…

      • What’s New in Linux 5.6? WireGuard VPN and USB4

        Linus’s post also notes that for the next release’s timing they’ll “play it by ear… It’s not like the merge window is more important than your health, or the health of people around you.” But he says he hasn’t seen signs that the pandemic could affect its development (other than the possibility of distraction by the news).

        “I suspect a lot of us work from home even normally, and my daughter laughed at me and called me a ‘social distancing champ’ the other day…”

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon Open Compute 3.3 Released But Still Without Official Navi Support

          This week marked the release of ROCm 3.3 as the newest version of the Radeon Open Compute stack.

          Radeon Open Compute 3.3 brings support for multi-version installations so multiple versions of ROCm can be installed on the same system albeit the same kernel driver will be at play. This allows for different versions of the ROCm user-space libraries like HCC, ROCm Math Libraries, MIOpen, and others to all be on the same platform as long as the Kernel Fusion Driver is compatible with all.

    • Applications

      • Top 10 Circuit design tools for Linux

        So, you are planning a new electronics project and wonder what tools are the best? You may also be learning to design your own circuits and your favourite platform is Linux. Where are the Linux specific, or cross-platform tools, and which one suits my needs the best? Today, you will learn what you need to get started with your new project. This list goes through the tools available and discusses the pros and cons of each. You will also hear about how they specialise.

        Before you start, you may want to consider what your current goals are. Are you learning to create hobby projects or are you already bringing your game to a higher level? You may also want to consider if your favourite electronics supplier already supports the tool you are going to make. Many of these tools import catalogues to the application so you can browse while designing, making it very convenient to order boards or components.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Open-Source Unvanquished Game Aiming For A New Release Soon

        One of the most promising open-source game projects of the 2010s when it comes to gameplay and visual quality is the Unvanquished project but sadly in recent years has been fairly quiet although new code continues to be contributed to their repository. It looks like in the weeks ahead could finally be a new release.

        Unvanquished had been known for quite some time for carrying out monthly alpha releases and made it through more than 48 alphas before going quiet.

      • Analgesic Productions have opened up the source for their Zelda-lite ‘Anodyne’

        Anodyne, a Zelda-lite action adventure from Analgesic Productions from back in 2013 has today had the code opened up.

        Looking over the project, it’s not open source as they have their own custom licensing with a number of restrictions on it. So by the definition of open source, it is not, it’s more like “source open” but it’s still a very nice gesture. It’s similar in spirit to what Terry Cavanagh did with VVVVVV, in fact the licensing is actually an adaption of theirs. Hopefully with this move, someone can port it over to something more modern rather than Flash/Air—that certainly would be nice to see. Especially if the developer then pulled that back in to update it for everyone.

      • Looks like there’s going to be a ‘Streets of Rogue 2′ and I’m definitely happy with that

        Streets of Rogue released in 2019 and it’s one of my absolute favourites from last year (still is this year to be honest with you, it’s just that good). The developer, Matt Dabrowski, recently outlined their future plans which will include a sequel.

        The 2019 release was after over six years of development, and at least half of that it was available in some form to the public. First as a free taster and later a full game. In an announcement on Steam about the latest update, Dabrowski mentioned how they would like to “take Streets of Rogue in some big new directions” and so they’ve “decided to begin work on a sequel”.

      • Vendetta Online goes free to play until June 1 giving anyone full access

        Vendetta Online, something of a classic MMO space game is now free to play for everyone until June 1. Everyone will be treated as if they’re a paying player during this time.

        Why are they doing this for so long? They said they wanted to offer a bit of sanctuary to players, somewhere “they can virtually go and be (politely) social, interact with others, and perhaps get a little respite from the chaos”. They are of course referring to the Coronavirus situation. Read more on that here.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Manjaro 19 Kyria Gnome – Fairly well put together

          Manjaro 19 Kyria is a solid, rounded distro – at least, the Gnome version is. But I presume results are quite similar across the board. Surprised, I am, as I was expecting something less polished. I do have to say that Kyria has some nice points, it’s colorful, stable and rather friendly, and the package management is a tad better than in the past.

          However, it does suffer from oddities. The application collection is too wild and undefined, some software has been added without any consideration to the espirit-de-distro, smartphone support can be better, and more battery time would be nice, too. Maybe this is Manjaro transforming from a leetbox to the Average Joe consumer thingie, or maybe this is a neverending part of the cosmic randomness called Linux desktop. We shall see. For now, testing, you ought. Grade? 5/7, I’d say. On a serious note, 8/10. I shall be keeping an eye on them other flavors. Take care.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • HPE, Intel, Red Hat Team On 5G Open Source Initiative
        • IBM awards its second $50,000 Open Source Community Grant to internship and mentorship program Outreachy

          Last October, the open source community at IBM awarded a first-of-its-kind quarterly grant to promote nonprofits that are dedicated to education, inclusiveness, and skill-building for women, underrepresented minorities, and underserved communities in the open source world. Our Open Source Community Grant identifies and rewards future developers and open source leaders and creates new tech opportunities for underrepresented communities.

        • IBM selects Outreachy for second $50K open source community grant

          The award will help the organization provide paid remote work to underrepresented groups hit especially hard during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

        • Ankur Sinha “FranciscoD”: 20200404: What I did this week

          The research group does a lot of experimental work, but it is also where the Open Source Brain project is based. Given my computing background, and experience with FOSS in Fedora, a large component of my role is to work on the development of the Open Source Brain platform, and liaise with MetaCell who do most of the core development. Along with that, I get to work on modelling and other research projects. I was looking to work in a group that included experimentalists. I think that it is important for me to develop as an independent researcher in neuroscience.

          [...]

          We’re nearing the Fedora 32 release, so I worked on the bits remaining for the new CompNeuroFedora lab image. Based on the discussion at the NeuroFedora meeting, I passed all the information needed to set up a page for the lab to the Websites team.

          The general package updates continue. I just updated Brian2 to the new version this morning and pushed an update with a test case. The test case takes one through the tutorial, so if one is looking to learn how to use Brian2, this is a good way of doing it while contributing to NeuroFedora. Another few bugs were fixed and updates pushed too. I’ve got to work on packaging a few new tools that are on the list.

          On the Fedora-Join front, we’ve had a few more folks join the community to help out. It was lovely chatting with new folks and discussing where and how they’d like to work with the community. Needless to say, lots of cookie giving has occurred in the IRC channel.

          I’ve also been thinking about the lack of a process for Community Changes in Fedora. Why isn’t there something similar to the Change process that we use for dev changes? I finally filed a ticket with the Council. It’s being discussed on the council-discuss mailing list. I’ve also asked Mindshare and CommOps to weigh in this morning. Please feel free to jump in and discuss how we should go about this. A change process that focusses on community is important, in my book.

          The Git forge discussion continues on the -devel mailing list, so I’ve been keeping up with that. I would prefer Pagure myself, and I do understand the CPE team’s view even if I don’t necessarily agree with it.

        • Deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux for telco edge computing use cases

          Amongst the common reasons why service providers are deploying mobile edge computing are to improve network security, increase scalability, lower costs and increase revenue with new services. Digital Service Providers and the associated telco partner ecosystem rely on Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a foundation for responding to customer requirements and seizing new opportunities, particularly as they deploy 5G and edge services.

          As Stefanie Chiras explains, the vendor sees its Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the innovation engine for edge, providing consistency from the data center all the way to the edge with tools like Image Builder. 5G is changing the world, and edge is changing 5G. It believes that RHEL is the intelligent OS service providers and telco ecosystem can count on to provide that consistent, scalable foundation for innovation where customers can develop once, deploy and deliver anywhere.

        • Linux Beat IBM, Will Open-Source Software Beat Waymo And Tesla? [Ed: "Linux Beat IBM"? Huh? I don't think they know what "Linux" is and what "IBM" does? Forbes is absolutely hilarious.]

          Open Source has disrupted many markets. Is the Autonomous Vehicle Market next ?

        • Will A Small Open-Source Effort From Japan Disrupt The Autonomous Space ? [Ed: Forbes... the Breitbart of tech. Very poor and shallow, weak and wrong on many facts]

          A small team in Finland built linux and changed the landscape of corporate computing. Will a small team in Japan do the same for the autonomous vehicle space ?

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 5.11 Released with Latest Debian Buster Updates

          SparkyLinux 5.11 arrives almost two months after SparkyLinux 5.10.1 to bring all the latest updates and security fixes from the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series.

          Among some of the updated components included in this release, there’s the Mozilla Firefox 68.6.0 ESR web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird 68.6.0 email and news client, as well as the LibreOffice 6.1.5 office suite.

          Under the hood, SparkyLinux 5.11 is using the Linux 4.19.98 LTS kernel for 32-bit and 64-bit systems, and Linux kernel 4.19.97 LTS for ARMhf architectures.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSimdJson 0.0.4: Even Faster Upstream!

          A new (upstream) simdjson release was announced by Daniel Lemire earlier this week, and my Twitter mentions have been running red-hot ever since as he was kind enough to tag me. Do look at that blog post, there is some impressive work in there. We wrapped up the (still very simple) rcppsimdjson around it last night and shipped it this morning.

          RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic and genuinely impressive simdjson library by Daniel Lemire. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in parsing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. For illustration, I highly recommend the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk). The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed.

        • Jonathan Dowland: Opinionated IkiWiki

          For various personal projects and things, past and present (including my personal site) I use IkiWiki, which (by modern standards) is a bit of a pain to set up and maintain. For that reason I find it hard to recommend to people. It would be nice to fire up a snapshot of an existing IkiWiki instance to test what the outcome of some changes might be. That’s cumbersome enough at the moment that I haven’t bothered to do it more than once. Separately, some months ago I did a routine upgrade of Debian for the web server running this site, and my IkiWiki installation broke for the first time in ten years. I’ve never had issues like this before.

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in March 2020

          This month I accepted 156 packages and rejected 26. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 203.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • InTrain: University of Bologna Launches Open Source RSI Training Platform

        Long before the current coronavirus situation made remote work and education the new normal, Gabriele Carioli and Nicoletta Spinolo launched InTrain, a free, open-source, online training platform for remote simultaneous interpreters.

      • Add Authentication to Jitsi Meet

        By default Jitsi Meet is open for everyone. So everyone can just put in a name for a conference room and start a conference. As my Jitsi Meet instance is not running on a dedicated server but shares the server with other important functions like DNS, mail etc., I do not want that everyone is using Jitsi without my permission.

        So I needed to add some kind of authentication to Jitsi which means, that only certain authenticated users can start a conference. Once started everyone then can join the conference without further authentication just like before.

        The steps to provide that, are documented in this article under the subject “Secure domain”.

        I just followed the steps 1 to 4 and it worked fine afterwards.

      • Videoconferencing Options in the Age of Pandemic

        At first the IT dept. at university said no. But he protested. They looked at the code, (it is open source), and after a few hours of bit wrangling, decided it was ok.

        They walled off a server, locked it down, and installed “Jitsi”. The IT guys were impressed. It takes a small amount of resources. But is fairly light weight for a big university system.

      • MindSpore

        • MindSpore Goes Open Source, Empowering Global Developers with an All-Scenario AI Computing Framework

          Huawei made a series of important announcements at the Huawei Developer Conference 2020 (Cloud) – HDC.Cloud, on March 28, notably that MindSpore, the all-scenario AI computing framework, goes open source on Gitee, and that ModelArts Pro, the first-ever AI app development suite for enterprises, goes live on HUAWEI CLOUD. Huawei also showcased some of the significant applications for Huawei’s Atlas AI computing platform, on the cloud, edge, and devices. In doing so, Huawei has delivered the full-stack, all-scenario AI solutions for developers that it had first unveiled at HUAWEI CONNECT 2018.

        • Huawei open sources MindSpore: claims to provide ‘all-scenario AI computing framework’

          Huawei made a series of important announcements at the Huawei Developer Conference 2020 (Cloud) – HDC.Cloud, on March 28, notably that MindSpore, the all-scenario AI computing framework, goes open source on Gitee, and that ModelArts Pro, the first-ever AI app development suite for enterprises, goes live on HUAWEI CLOUD. Huawei also showcased some of the significant applications for Huawei’s Atlas AI computing platform, on the cloud, edge, and devices. In doing so, Huawei has delivered the full-stack, all-scenario AI solutions for developers that it had first unveiled at HUAWEI CONNECT 2018.

        • Huawei open-sources AI framework MindSpore to rival Google’s TensorFlow

          China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. today said it has open-sourced a framework for artificial intelligence-based application development called MindSpore.

          First revealed last year, MindSpore is an alternative to well known AI frameworks such as Google LLC’s TensorFlow and Facebook Inc.’s PyTorch. It can scale across devices, cloud and edge environments, Huawei said in a statement. The code is now available to download on GitHub and Gitee.

        • Huawei open-sources TensorFlow competitor MindSpore
        • Huawei Makes TensorFlow Competitor MindSpore Open Source

          Huawei has made its MindSpore AI framework open source. The Chinese tech giant is competing with the well-known AI frameworks from Google and Facebook, with a large number of advantages that ‘Ai algorithms as-a-code’ can provide.

          In a statement, the Chinese tech giant states that its MindSpore AI framework is suitable for developing AI applications. The AI ​​framework – co-developed with universities in Beijing and the United Kingdom and with a Turkish start-up – can easily be rolled out in various environments, such as on devices, within (multi) cloud and edge environments.

          Huawei launched the new AI framework last year in conjunction with the Ascend 910 processor. The AI ​​chip provides 256 teraflops of computing power on FP16, and that at a power consumption of 350 watts. With MindSpore and the Ascend 910 in addition to that new chip, the company has the most important components in the hands of a full AI stack.

      • Covid-19

        • Worcester Polytechnic Institute working on open-source ventilator designs

          Researchers at Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are touting a design for turning inexpensive bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitators into automated ventilators to aid the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

          The WPI team is designing the ventilators from readily available, manual BVM resuscitators so that they can fill the gap between the number of ventilators available and the number needed when COVID-19 is expected to peak, according to a news release.

          Anyone with a 3D printer and a background in electronics and mechanical engineering may be able to produce the ventilators for a local hospital, as the researchers intend to make designs of multiple devices and components publicly available. The researchers also believe a manufacturing company can use the designs to make the ventilators quickly and at scale.

        • Will EEs Be the Heroes of the Global Ventilator Shortage?

          As the coronavirus continues to spread, hospitals around the world face a severe shortage of ventilators that alleviate respiratory distress. New York could be short by about 15,000 ventilators to treat the most severe cases, according to The New York Times. In these uncertain times, even carmakers are starting to make ventilators and face masks to help out during the crisis.

          A quick search of ventilators shows that there are many makers around the world who try to build a basic ventilator using readily available materials or 3D-printed parts. Some of these projects are open source to solicit help from experts and enthusiasts all over the world.

          In this article, we’ll briefly look at some of these open-source projects. Some of the projects we assessed in this article include OpenLung BVM Ventilator, the Low-Cost Open Source Ventilator or PAPR, the Rice OEDK Design (or ApolloBVM), and OxyGEN, among others.

          We’ll also take a look at the general challenges that a low-budget open-source ventilator project might face.

        • UF researchers develop low-cost, open-source ventilator

          As the need for ventilators grows as hundreds of thousands of patients are expected to need treatment for COVID-19, a University of Florida professor is working to help meet the demand.

          UF Professor of Anesthesiology Dr. Samsun Lampotang and a team of UF researchers have developed a ventilator that can be made using items from the hardware store.

          As a UF mechanical engineering student decades ago, Lampotang helped respiratory therapist colleagues build a minimal-transport ventilator that became a commercial success. So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and he heard the desperate international plea for thousands of more ventilators, he set out to build a prototype using plentiful, cheap components that could be copied from an online diagram and a software repository.

        • Triple Eight develops open-source ventilator prototype

          After nearly two weeks of around-the-clock development, Triple Eight Race Engineering has revealed a low-cost ventilator prototype in an effort to help fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

          Following the ill-fated Australian Grand Prix, the Brisbane-based racing team led by Roland Dane suspended its racing operations after government guidelines on social distancing were introduced.

          With the Supercars season on hold, Dane challenged a group of six engineers to conceptualise and develop a ‘worst-case scenario’ ventilator in the event of the virus worsening.

          It took the group of engineers just four days to design and produce the first proof of concept, slowed only by a lack of readily available electrical componentry.

        • Council on Foreign Relations: Time to Open-Source Ventilators
        • Rice University’s open-source emergency ventilator design plans freely available

          The plans for Rice University’s ApolloBVM, an open-source emergency ventilator design that could help patients in treatment for COVID-19, are now online and freely available to everyone in the world.

          The project first developed by students as a senior design project in 2019 has been brought up to medical grade by Rice engineers and one student, with the help of Texas Medical Center doctors. The device costs less than $300 in parts and can squeeze a common bag valve mask for hours on end.

        • WPI Researchers Developing Open-Source Designs to Speed Creation of Low-Cost Ventilators

          A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is creating designs to turn inexpensive and readily available manual, hand-held, bag valve mask (BVM) resuscitators into automated ventilators that could be used to fill the deep gap between the number of life-saving ventilators available and the much larger number that will be needed when COVID-19 is expected to peak.

          The WPI researchers are going to make designs of multiple devices and their components publicly available so anyone with a 3D printer and a background in electronics and mechanical engineering could use them to produce ventilators for their local hospitals. A manufacturing company also could use the designs to produce ventilators quickly and at scale.

          “I just wanted to do something to help,” said Gregory Fischer, professor of robotics engineering and mechanical engineering, and director of the PracticePoint Medical Cyber-Physcial Systems R&D Center, who spearheaded the idea. “A lot of people are trying to contribute, and this is an area where we can make an impact. We’re taking things that are used every day in emergency medicine and finding a way to turn them into safe, reliable, and readily replicable ventilators that can save patients’ lives. And we’re sharing those designs with the world.”

        • For Open-Source Ventilators, Making Them Is the Easy Part

          Last week, when Eric Humphreys heard about the impending need for ventilators to treat the huge influx of Covid-19 patients, he sprang to action. Humphreys used to be an EMT, and he remembered the bag valve mask resuscitators used in ambulances—called by the trademarked name of the leading provider, “Ambu bag”—and thought maybe he could create something like it. He didn’t have much else to do during the shutdown.

          Humpreys is a lifelong maker, working as the director of creative design technology at a production company called Standard Transmission. The company is best known for concocting the intricate Christmas window displays at Macy’s. Working in the now depopulated 20,000-square-foot headquarters in Red Hook, Brooklyn, he began building a DIY breathing machine. “I literally used Christmas parts,” he says.

          The point of a ventilator is to pump air into the lungs of patients who can’t breathe for themselves. The Ambu bag requires an EMT to manually press down on the plastic bladder, forcing the air into the patient. Humpreys rigged a machine to do the pumping. It took him only a couple of days to produce something that mimicked the action of an EMT on an Ambu bag.

        • Globally Scalable Open Source Ventilator Initiative
        • Indian engineers at MIT to develop open-source, low-cost ventilator for US

          One of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the COVID-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators. These machines can keep patients breathing when they no longer can on their own, and they can cost around $30,000 each. Now, a rapidly assembled volunteer team of engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and others, centered at MIT, is working to implement a safe, inexpensive alternative for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.

        • Hyderabadi in global open source ventilator project

          Amateur radio operators are once again playing a crucial role in times of despair, with some of them, including Hyderabad’s Ashhar Farhan, now in the process of developing an electronic control system for an open-source low-cost ventilator.

          The device was designed by researcher Sem Lampotang and his team at University of Florida using components like PVC pipes and lawn-sprinkler valves. The idea is to create a bare-bones ventilator that could serve in the event of a ventilator shortage anywhere in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

        • Medtronic Makes Plans for a Ventilator Open-Source – Nasdaq [Ed: openwashing lies]
        • Professional Ventilator Design Open Sourced Today By Medtronic [Ed: This is a lie and Bob Baddeley helps Medtronic spread false claims from its openwashing press release (above)]
        • Runaway Soldering Irons, Open Source Ventilators, 3D Printed Solder Stencils, And Radar Motion | Hackaday

          Hackaday editors Mike Szczys and Elliot Williams sort through the hardware hacking gems of the week. There was a kerfuffle about whether a ventilator data dump from Medtronics was open source or not, and cool hacks from machine-learning soldering iron controllers to 3D-printing your own solder paste stencils. A motion light teardown shows it’s not being done with passive-infrared, we ask what’s the deal with Tim Berners-Lee’s decentralized internet, and we geek out about keyboards that aren’t QWERTY.

        • Nonprofit releases open source tool for making 3D print reusable protective masks

          A nonprofit initiative aims to put an end to the protective mask shortage that both healthcare workers and the public are facing during the coronavirus pandemic by providing them with tools to make the gear at home.

          Mask Maker released the first medically-approved design for 3D printed protective masks in an open source program that is available online.

          The masks can be created using commonly available materials and hobbyist grade 3D printers for a cost of about $2.00 to $3.00 per unit for materials – and they can be manufactured in just a few hours.

          The finished product is reusable and is equivalent of 300 disposable masks over a two month period.

        • American architects mobilise to make coronavirus face shields for hospital workers
        • How Coronavirus can make open-source movements flourish and fix our healthcare systems

          Birds can be heard chirping loud, as Mark Turrell (CEO at Orcasci, Founder of unDavos) talks to the Data Natives online community from his garden. A squirrel might even jump on his head at any moment, he warns. In this idyllic scene from his home quarantine it might not seem so at first sight, but the entrepreneur, author and contagion expert is worried. And that says a lot, coming from a man who also used to be a spy in Libya and Syria. “We are living in a very unusual time”, he says.

          Turrell was in Davos this year when the coronavirus crisis broke loose in Wuhan. He became alarmed when he learned that the Chinese government had closed Wuhan. “A city of 16 million people, to just shut it down, that is weird”, he tells. “And then I saw, this virus has properties that will make it extremely hard to suppress and extremely hard to defeat.”

        • bjarke ingels group and more architects 3D print face shields for coronavirus medical staff

          showing the power of collaboration, a number of well-known architects have come together to help produce protective visors for hospital workers on the frontline of coronavirus (COVID-19). what began as an initiative by cornell university, led by jenny sabin, has now reached architecture studios across the US in a matter of days. the likes of BIG and KPF are now utilizing their firm’s 3D printers to mass-produce face shields and combat the shortage faced by medical staff.

        • Why isn’t the government publishing more data about coronavirus deaths?

          Studying the past is futile in an unprecedented crisis. Science is the answer – and open-source information is paramount

        • [Repeat] Lesson of the Day: ‘D.I.Y. Coronavirus Solutions Are Gaining Steam’

          As the number of cases of Covid-19 grow across the globe, health care workers are facing a serious shortage of critical equipment and supplies needed to treat the coronavirus — from exam gloves to ventilators.

          From Ireland to Seattle, makers and engineers are creating open-source versions of much-needed medical equipment.

          In this lesson, you will learn about do-it-yourself makers who are collaborating to fight the gravest public-health threat of our time. In a Going Further activity, you will consider how you might contribute to the D.I.Y. movement.

        • Three state prison staff test positive; KU partners on open-source plastic mask design
        • Bangladesh’s Daffodil University using open-source AI for COVID-19 test with x-ray images

          Researchers at Daffodil International University in Bangladesh are using an open-source Artificial Intelligence technology that can diagnose COVID-19 by using chest x-ray images.

          The university’s Department of Public Health, AI Unit, and Daffodil Group’s Cardio-Care Specialized and General Hospital have jointly launched the system with a 96 percent success rate, according to the researchers.

          The Directorate General of Health Services has cautiously welcomed the initiative saying that more analysis is needed before the technology can be put to use.

          The researchers started working on the technology two and a half months ago after the novel coronavirus emerged in China and a lack of testing kits began straining the public heathcare system the world over, Assistant Professor Sheikh Muhammad Allayar, head of the university’s Department of Multimedia and Creative Technology, told bdnews24.com.

        • Color is launching a high-capacity COVID-19 testing lab and will open-source its design and protocols

          Genomics health technology startup Color is doing its part to address the global COVID-19 pandemic, and has detailed the steps it’s taking to support expansion of testing efforts in a new blog post and letter from CEO Othman Laraki on Tuesday. The efforts include development of a high-throughput lab that can process as many as 10,000 tests per day, with a turnaround time of within 24 hours for reporting results to physicians. In order to provide the most benefit possible from the effort of standing this lab up, Color will also make the design, protocols and specifics of this lab available open-source to anyone else looking to establish high-capacity lab testing.

          [...]

          Color has also made efforts to address COVID-19 response in two other key areas: testing for front-line and essential workers, and post-test follow-up and processing. To address the need for testing for those workers who continue to operate in public-facing roles despite the risks, Color has redirected its enterprise employee base to providing, in tandem with governments and employers, onsite clinical test administration, lab transportation and results reporting with patient physicians.

        • Color to launch COVID-19 testing lab, open-source infrastructure to bolster national response to pandemic

          Color today announced it is launching a high-throughput CLIA-certified COVID-19 testing laboratory integrated with public health tools. The testing facility, based in Burlingame, CA, will begin processing clinical samples to support public health efforts over the coming week, with a near-term goal of performing 10,000 tests per day and a lab turnaround time of 24 hours.

          Color’s lab is operating at cost as a public good. The lab’s initial testing is backed by philanthropic support from industry leaders and private donors. In addition to increasing capacity for patients, Color is also supporting access to testing for public sector essential personnel and healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis.

        • COVID-19: Creatives Join Forces to Make Open-source Garments to Fight Disease

          Creatives in the fields of design, fashion and communication of Antwerp have formed a collaboration to fight against the coronavirus. They’re tackling the urgent demand from healthcare workers for protective isolation gowns and coveralls. Are you interested in producing protective garments with these patterns? Are you a virologist or medical protective wear specialist and willing to help them refine requirements?
          Belgium—Creatives tegen Corona, CtC for short, a temporary collaboration between various Antwerp-based creatives, have united their skills and network in support of the healthcare workers in the battle against the worldwide COVID-19 epidemic.
          The collaboration began after members began hearing about the urgent demand from healthcare workers in their own circles. They got together to test and prototype various models of protective isolation gowns and overalls.

        • Don Bosco Tech engineers developing open-source ventilators to help COVID-19 patients
        • Mozilla will fund open source COVID-19-related technology projects

          Have you come up with hardware or software that can help solve a problem that arose from COVID-19 and its worldwide spread? Mozilla is offering up to $50,000 to open source technology projects that are responding to the pandemic in some way.

        • Open-source program to assess and map COVID-19 hazard risk

          Most of the COVID-19 maps that I see are usually into choropleth maps at the country scale, which means that they assume a uniform distribution in each geographical unit. There are some other maps using a point symbology. However, the problem is that usually those points overlap each other. The approach adopted on the other hand, increases the spatial resolution and granularity of information that is conveyed to the people.

          Most of the other COVID-19 maps/applications usually focus purely on confirmed cases/ deaths, while not paying much attention to the quantification of potential risks. For example, if you look at some of the most current maps, you will see that populous countries like India and Nigeria do not yet have a big problem, while their large populations alone increase their risk.

        • Tencent Open-sources Another AI-powered Tool to Help Conduct Preliminary Self-evaluation Regarding COVID-19 Infection

          Tencent Holdings Limited (“Tencent”, 00700.HK), announced today to deepen collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of the agreement, Tencent will provide technology support to combat the pandemic and open-sources another AI-powered tool today to assist the global fight against the coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 self-triage assistant, which is now available on Github for developers around the world, enables preliminary self-evaluation regarding infection of the disease and provides tips on its prevention. Prior to this tool, Tencent open-sourced a COVID-19 live updates module last Friday that has answered six billion pandemic-related queries in China over the past two months.

        • The open source response to Covid-19

          The coronavirus pandemic has exposed shortcomings and fragility in many of our largest and most important institutions. Some leaders have been slow to grasp the nature and severity of the threat, citizens in many countries feel that some aspects of their government’s response or preparedness have been lacking. Faced with untracked spread in the population, generalized lockdowns aiming to suppress the spread of the virus are exacting heavy economic tolls. Companies in many sectors are warning of imminent bankruptcy, seeking bailouts, and many have already embarked on large scale layoffs, resulting in a rise in unemployment unprecedented in its sharpness. Central banks are warming up the printing presses, stepping in with all manner of bailouts, designed to avert specific outcomes that they see as being particularly damaging and therefore worth the cost of avoiding.

      • Programming/Development

        • “Crunch”: Video Game Development’s Dirty Secret

          James Wood reported for Game Revolution that game director Masahiro Sakurai, who created Super Smash Bros Ultimate,  went “to work with an IV drip instead of taking a day off.” As Wood noted, Sakurai’s admission “have raised eyebrows, even in an industry where he is known as “notoriously hard-working.”

        • Open Source AVs: The Story Of AV Development In Estonia

          TalTech is a leading polytechnic university in Estonia. In the world of technology, the area is best known for providing some of the key founders of Skype. Like many AV design teams, TalTech’s journey towards building an AV started with robotics competitions such as Robotex. In June 2017, an ambitious self-driving vehicle project was started with the goal to develop a low speed AV Shuttle for the university anniversary in September 2018.

        • The JavaScript Framework That Puts Web Pages on a Diet
        • Language Design: Stop Using <> for Generics

          TL;DR: Use [] instead of <> for generics. It will save you a lot of avoidable trouble down the road.

        • Pixar pioneers behind Toy Story animation win “Nobel Prize” of computing

          “The electronic revolution we have witnessed in all varieties of films, tv, video games – in all probability no a person made a lot more of the change to that then Ed and Pat,” claims David Value, creator of the ebook The Pixar Contact.

          To make Toy Story and other laptop-animated movies feasible, Dr Catmull, Dr Hanrahan and their teams experienced to build ways to get computers to visualize 3-dimensional objects.

          Throughout his postdoctoral reports, Dr Catmull produced a way to make a personal computer to realize a curved floor. As soon as builders experienced a mathematically defined curve area they could begin to add far more features to it – like texture and depth.

          “Step by stage you figure out what form of lights should really be applied. Then you get started to place in the physics of it due to the fact plastic demonstrates gentle one way and steel displays it in a extremely various way,” Dr Catmull describes.

        • Intel MKL-DNN / DNNL 1.3 Released With Cooper Lake Optimizations

          Intel on Thursday released version 1.3 of their Deep Neural Network Library (DNNL) formerly known as MKL-DNN in offering a open-source performance library for deep learning applications.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 54: k-th Permutation Sequence and the Collatz Conjecture

            These are some answers to the Week 54 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (April 5, 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.

        • Python

          • Python 2.7.8 : Using python scripts with Revit Dynamo.

            Dynamo is a visual programming tool that extends the power of the Revit by providing access to Revit API (Application Programming Interface.
            Dynamo works with node, each node have inputs and outputs and performs a specific task.
            This is a short tutorial about how you can use your python skills with Revit and Dynamo software.

          • Getting started with Django middleware

            Django comes with a lot of useful features. One of them is middleware. In this post I’ll give a short explanation how middleware works and how to start writing your own.

          • Talk Python to Me: #258 Thriving in a remote developer environment

            If you are listening to this episode when it came out, April 4th, 2020, there’s a good chance you are listening at home, or on a walk. But it’s probably not while commuting to an office as much of the world is practicing social distancing and working from home. Maybe this is a new experience, brought upon quickly by the global lockdowns, or maybe it’s something you’ve been doing for awhile.

            Either way, being effective while working remotely, away from the office, is an increasingly valuable skill that most of us in the tech industry have to quickly embrace.

            On this episode, I’ll exchange stories about working from home with Jayson Phillips. He’s been writing code and managing a team from his home office for years and has brought a ton of great tips to share with us all.

          • How TO GET STARTED WITH Machine Learning
          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxii) stackoverflow python report
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Skaffolder Has Published an Open-Source Tool to the Developer

        The specs-driven code age instrument includes an instinctive interface and simple to-utilize formats that help to set aside to 40% of improvement time. Additionally, combined with an open-source segment, Skaffolder permits designers to make web or versatile applications from the order line. Alongside the order line apparatus, the imaginative web application instrument offers a VSCode augmentation that empowers designers to utilize the order line device’s highlights from the VSCode interface. Consequently, designers can associate with Skaffolder without leaving their coordinated improvement condition, additionally, furnishing them with a visual interface locally to characterize APIs and databases.

      • Why Having A Full Post RSS Feed Is A Good Idea

        If you didn’t know already, I think everyone should have an RSS feed on their site. But it really frustrates me when I subscribe to a new feed, only to find that the owner has the post excerpt syndicated, and not a full post RSS feed.

        Now, having the excerpt is better than nothing, but having a full post feed is so much better for a number of reasons.

  • Leftovers

    • Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider

      Tonight I opened up a treasure: a bottle of cider made by a friend in Santa Fe.

    • Efficiency vs. Resilience

      Many years ago, bestselling author Michael Pollan explained there’s a trade-off between efficiency and resilience.

    • Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
    • Beset by Bach

      Back in December of 2011 while I was living in Berlin for a year, I filed one of my Friday morning CounterPunch columns as I packed for a trip to France for Christmas with friends. The piece was a shortened version of a review of a new edition of J. S. Bach’s Clavierübung III, one of the greatest volumes of organ music. I’d recently written it for a journal called Keyboard Perspectives, and thought I would just slip it into to my column for that week.

    • British 5G towers are being set on fire amid coronavirus conspiracy theories

      Rumors and conspiracy theories over a link between the roll out of 5G and the spread of coronavirus have been spread primarily through social media networks. A variety of groups exist on Facebook and Nextdoor, where thousands of members repeat false and misleading claims that 5G is supposedly harmful.

    • My virtual social life is exhausting: Turns out Zoom cocktail hours can burn you out, too

      But then I remembered a conversation I had recently with my friend Celeste Headlee, author of “Do Nothing: How to Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing, and Under Living.” Celeste was talking about the office hamster wheel, but she noted, “You’ll get a 20 minute break at work, and you’ll head over to the break room, and you’ll scan through your Facebook or your social media, or you’ll pull up Zappos and scan through shoes. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between that and sitting down at your computer and working.”

      Your brain doesn’t know the difference. If, after a full day of staring at my screen full of little squares of other humans talking to me, I choose to spend my recreational time staring at my screen full of little squares of other humans talking to me, does my brain assume it’s still on business time? I called Celeste — on the phone — to ask her more about what’s going on here.

    • Ted Chiang Explains the Disaster Novel We All Suddenly Live In

      The question of what will change applies to everything from the mundanity of everyday to the very shape of history. Will we ever elect a careless an incompetent leader again, knowing what is at stake? Will we continue to systematically disadvantage the most vulnerable among us, and to degrade facts and science and statistics? And as for the positive changes being made or discussed—bipartisanship, direct governmental aid, paid sick leave—what will stick, and what will be forgotten?

      To answer these questions, I turned, as I often do, to books and the people who write them. And since I’m speculating, this time I turned to a master of speculative fiction, Ted Chiang. I’ve heard Ted Chiang speak exactly twice, and both times I’ve quoted him, or maybe misquoted him, for subsequent years. He generously agreed to correspond with me over email.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Patriots plane full of 1 million N95 masks from China arrived Thursday. Here’s how the plan came together

        Yet the story is as alarming as it is heartwarming, underscoring a harsh reality as the coronavirus pandemic spreads ever faster around the United States. Governor Charlie Baker and his counterparts throughout the country are forced to go to extraordinary lengths to secure life-saving medical equipment in the absence of a coordinated federal response.

        “This is not how it is supposed to work,” said Representative Katherine Clark of Melrose, a member of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team. She described herself as “very grateful” for the Kraft family’s generosity and help getting the critical gear, but said “what we need is a coordinated federal system.”

      • Tablighi Jamaat patients making vulgar signs, roaming nude inside hospital: Ghaziabad CMO tells police

        The CMO also claimed that these patients were asking for cigarettes from the housekeeping staff and making vulgar signs at nurses. “In such circumstances, it is difficult to treat these patients,” the senior medical official said.

      • ASHA worker on COVID-19 surveillance assaulted in Bengaluru

        ASHA worker Krishnaveni and along with other staffers had been to Sadiq Nagar for field surveillance after a domestic maid in the area had tested positive for COVID-19. The workers were checking if any of the residents had symptoms like fever, cough or cold by visiting every household. The workers were also checking if anyone from the locality visited the Tablighi Jamat congregation at Hazrat Nizamuddin in New Delhi.

        According to Krishnaveni, a group of 40 to 50 persons belonging to a minority community surrounded her and took objections to her work in the locality. In her statement to media persons, Krishnaveni said that she was wrongfully restrained by a huge crowd of minority community members. “They manhandled me and told me that I should not inquire anyone about the COVID-19 symptoms. They even shouted that they will die of COVID-19 and I should not be worried. They do not want anybody to come to them or locality,” she told media persons in a video statement.

      • Sanders Calls for Boldest Legislation in Modern History to Halt COVID-19 Crisis

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday released his demands for six key priorities that he said must be included in the next round of federal economic relief for suffering Americans as the coronavirus pandemic cripples the country’s healthcare system and eviscerates the economy.

      • Disparity Ideology, Coronavirus, and the Danger of the Return of Racial Medicine

        Why “race” is less useful—both empirically and politically—than ever as a proxy for the social conditions of poverty, lack of healthcare, and mass inequality.

      • From Free CovidCare to Medicare For All: The Time is Now to Provide Health Care as a Public Good for All

        “As the virus ravages our communities, our only hope is to force the health system to respond to our needs.”

      • Corporate Media Ignore International Cooperation as Shortcut to Coronavirus Vaccine

        “We have people around the world working as fast as they can to try to develop an effective vaccine against this dangerous disease. That is great—except these people are working in competition, not in collaboration.”

      • Trump Endangers Lives by Feuding With Governors and Withholding Health Insurance

        As U.S. COVID-19 deaths start to spike, at least 11 of the 13 states with their own health insurance exchanges have reopened enrollment, so as to allow residents to access affordable health care. “We’re not going to be able to control the virus unless we get everyone covered and able to get tested and access the treatment they need,” Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access California, told me this week.

      • Coronavirus Failures Show Trump Is Clear and Present Danger to the United States

        Seven “pro-contagion activities” by Trump increased the coronavirus death toll in the United States.

      • To Survive Systemic Failure Induced by COVID-19, We Need Mutual Aid

        If one thing has become clear over the last few weeks, it’s that our current state-sponsored capitalist system is manifestly incapable of dealing with a crisis on the scale of the global coronavirus pandemic. Not only are municipal, state and federal authorities failing to address the many unique challenges posed by the novel coronavirus, but as we continue to watch the economy freefall, it’s apparent that the market system is not up to the task either.

      • The Man Is A Hero
      • Episode 74 – The COVID-19 Response And Interviews From The Quarantine – Along The Line Podcast

        https://www.projectcensored.org/podcast-player/22602/episode-74-the-covid-19-response-and-interviews-from-the-quarantine.mp3

      • “New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier

        If there is one thing that Saussure’s revolution in linguistic thinking taught us it is that all semantic meaning is relational, that is, that words or terms seldom have a fixed meaning. Rather, they gather their meaning in any given moment through their relationship with the other words or terms with which they are deployed. Even- Zohar, among others, has taken these  insights into the broader field of culture and taught us  to observe the perpetual  dynamics of symbolic repertoires  in a similar way.

      • ‘Drop the Medicare Eligibility Age to 0 Right Now’: Study Warns 35 Million Could Lose Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

        “The national health insurance system is crumbling more with every day that passes.”

      • Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?

        The best COVID 19 response that I’ve heard to date came from Jessica. Asked if she was prepared for the chaos, she said her cupboards contained a reasonable amount of food, but most importantly, she still had greens in her garden. Food was growing, in the ground, at the home where she lived.

      • Technological Solution to Food Crisis?

        Some propose making “food out of air,” according to “Food without Fields?” The article, published in the autumn 2019 issue of Earth Island Journal, presumes the best way to protect ecosystems is to take farming out of them — and put food production in the lab. That’s a big presumption, and its implication is that there’s no cost-effective and ecologically sound way to keep the farm in the field. But evidence is showing that agriculture—when aligned with ecological principles—is key to solving our environmental crises, not exacerbating them, the article continues.

      • Carcinogens

        I have less potential than an aborted fetus.

      • Why ‘Waging War’ on Coronavirus Is a Dangerous Metaphor

        Wars are used as excuses for dismissing concerns for justice or human rights, claiming that these concerns are distractions from the “real” mission. 

      • “I Don’t Have an Option”: Facing Critical Ventilator Shortage, Cuomo Orders Seizure of Excess Equipment From Private Companies and Hospitals

        “It’s not that we’re going to leave any health care facility without adequate equipment, but they don’t need excess equipment.”

      • We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC

        “COVID-19 is a White man’s disease. It doesn’t seem to infect Black people,” posited Jane, a community leader in New Haven, Connecticut, who had come to the U.S. as a refugee from Africa many years ago.

      • U.S. reportedly violated its own anti-Russian sanctions by purchasing coronavirus medical aid

        Some of the medical equipment delivered from Russia to the United States to aid in the COVID-19 pandemic was produced by a company subject to strict American sanctions, RBC reported.

      • Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms

        On March 22, the Steward hospital chain sent a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, saying it would close Easton Hospital, in the state’s Lehigh Valley, on March 27 unless it received a government bailout to keep it operating.

      • COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza

        I have to admit that when I heard there was a new virus spreading through China a few months ago, I didn’t pay much attention. After all, China is far away. It’s a country with advanced medical and technological capabilities. Surely, it would overcome the virus.

      • News Coverage of Opioid Abuse in Saskatchewan Masks More Widespread Prairie Drug Crisis

        However, the coverage goes beyond which drug is more widely used, by looking into the lack of action on social support. Mental health and addictions treatment received the lowest funding in Saskatchewan compared to any other province in Canada.

      • Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage

        This winter, a series of news reports highlighted the plight of bighorn sheep across the West dying from pneumonia harbored and transmitted by domestic sheep. Estimates are that over 2 million bighorn sheep once inhabited North America. Today only a small fraction of that number survive, many in Canada. The West’s wild bighorn populations are confined to bits and pieces of their historic range. Whole herds are periodically wiped out by disease. Infected herds may be killed off by Game agencies who then turn around and transplant uninfected bighorns back into a mountain range to live a precarious always-in-isolation existence. After a die-off (or kill-off), the sad situation replays itself, giddy optimism followed by more death. A couple dozen “clean” bighorns are captured in a helicopter rodeo in a distant site, then moved into the empty habitat. Sometimes, the agency gives up, as happened with the Cottonwood herd in the South Hills near Twin Falls, where the last sheep were “put down”. A recent article on an infected herd near Baker City Oregon shows the Game agency investigating a pneumonia strain mystery to determine a herd’s fate.

      • One Reason Caregivers Are Wearing Trash Bags: A U.S. Firm Had to Recall 9 Million Surgical Gowns

        There’s an overlooked reason why hospitals treating COVID-19 patients are so short of protective gear. In January, just before the pandemic hit the United States, a key distributor recalled more than 9 million gowns produced by a Chinese supplier because they had not been properly sterilized.

        “At this time, we cannot provide sterility assurances with respect to the gowns or the packs containing the gowns because of the potential for cross-contamination,” Cardinal Health wrote to customers on Jan. 15. It added, “We recognize the criticality of our gowns and procedure packs to performing surgeries, and we apologize for the challenges this supply disruption will cause.”

      • The Highly Contagious Idea

        The COVID-19 pandemic has laid waste to the notions of American Exceptionalism (other than perhaps an exceptional level of infection) and the unsustainable practice from the last couple of decades that reality is essentially what you force it to be. It’s the magical thinking that if you manufacture enough consent, eventually that square peg will fit in a round hole.

      • As Global COVID-19 Cases Top One Million, UN Adopts Resolution Urging ‘Intensified International Cooperation’

        The resolution passed as the U.N. chief declared that “now is the time to redouble our efforts to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.”

      • How US Can Keep Death Toll Far Below the 100,000 Projection

        During the coming weeks we must build up the public health systems across the nation. 

      • The Mosaic of Coronavirus Vaccine Development: Systemic Failures in Vaccine Innovation

        Scientists are racing to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. While some vaccine candidates may enter the market in record time, the current vaccine innovation ecosystem exposes governance lacunas at both the international and domestic levels.

      • Covid-19: The race to build coronavirus ventilators

        There are not enough ventilators available in hospitals right now for all of the potential patients who will be struck by the virus. An influential report from Imperial College London estimates that 30% of Covid-19 hospitalised patients are likely to require mechanical ventilation. The only way to avoid overwhelming intensive care units, it says, is with a mandatory lockdown that reduces social contact by 75%.

      • Coronavirus: Two Pentonville Prison staff members die

        Two staff members at Pentonville Prison in north London have died after showing symptoms of coronavirus, the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) has said.
        The men, Bovil Peter and Patrick Beckford, worked as support staff.
        Both are thought to have been in their 60s but it is not known if they had any underlying health conditions, the POA said.
        Chairman Mark Fairhurst said: “My thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved with these tragic deaths.”
        He added: “Two at the same prison is very concerning.”
        Mr Peter was described as “an experienced member of staff” working at operational support grade at the prison, who “died earlier this week due to Covid-19 symptoms”.
        Mr Fairhurst said of Mr Peter’s death: “I just want to highlight the fact that this [coronavirus] puts us all at risk.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • How to accelerate development with well-maintained and secure open-source components

            To shift catching these problems left, Fischer said you can’t just rely on code-scanning tools. He advised creating a master catalog of open-source projects that developers can choose from at the outset of their work, and make sure they’re maintained. Tidelift, Fischer added, lets you start with a catalog of thousands of open-source projects that you can count on being good today and good tomorrow, based on hygiene and quality.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Security and Privacy Implications of Zoom

              In general, Zoom’s problems fall into three broad buckets: (1) bad privacy practices, (2) bad security practices, and (3) bad user configurations.

              Privacy first: Zoom spies on its users for personal profit. It seems to have cleaned this up somewhat since everyone started paying attention, but it still does it.

              The company collects a laundry list of data about you, including user name, physical address, email address, phone number, job information, Facebook profile information, computer or phone specs, IP address, and any other information you create or upload. And it uses all of this surveillance data for profit, against your interests.

            • Facebook wanted to purchase NSO Group spyware to surveil users, court documents allege

              Two Facebook representatives approached NSO Group in 2017 asking to purchase rights to use its surveillance software to monitor its users, according to court documents filed this week by the Israeli-owned surveillance software company in an ongoing lawsuit with Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

              The Facebook representatives specifically told NSO Group they wanted to monitor users on Apple devices, NSO Group CEO Shalev Hulio said, according to court documents obtained by CyberScoop.

              NSO Group and WhatsApp are currently battling it out in court after Facebook sued NSO Group for allegedly targeting thousands of WhatsApp users with its spyware.

            • Military-Grade Drones to Operate over San Diego in 2020

              The SkyGuardian drone, also known as the Predator B, has a 79-foot wingspan and can surveil the ground from more than 2,000 feet in the sky. It is considered a more advanced version of the Predator military drone, which was conducted operations overseas in the US war on terror. However, the Predator B has been designed to be compliant with US airspace regulations, allowing it to be flown over American soil.

            • Controversial Spyware Vendor NSO Group Is Helping The Israeli Government Spy On Its Own Citizens

              Israel’s leading malware purveyor is pitching in to help with the pandemic. NSO Group — which has pitched its spy tools to a number of questionable governments — is trying to help track the spread of the virus with its proprietary surveillance tool.

            • ZOOM’S ENCRYPTION IS “NOT SUITED FOR SECRETS” AND HAS SURPRISING LINKS TO CHINA, RESEARCHERS DISCOVER

              MEETINGS ON ZOOM, the increasingly popular video conferencing service, are encrypted using an algorithm with serious, well-known weaknesses, and sometimes using keys issued by servers in China, even when meeting participants are all in North America, according to researchers at the University of Toronto.

              [...]

              Earlier this week, The Intercept reported that Zoom was misleading users in its claim to support end-to-end encryption, in which no one but participants can decrypt a conversation. Zoom’s Chief Product Officer Oded Gal later wrote a blog post in which he apologized on behalf of the company “for the confusion we have caused by incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of using end-to-end encryption.” The post went on to detail what encryption the company does use.

            • Test and trace with Apple and Google

              But what does “tracing” look like exactly? In Singapore, they use a “TraceTogether” app, which uses Bluetooth to track nearby phones (without location tracking), keeps local logs of those contacts, and only uploads them to the Ministry of Health when the user chooses/consents, presumably after a diagnosis, so those contacts can be alerted. Singapore plans to open-source the app.

            • Don’t believe Zoom: Its video calls are not encrypted end-to-end
            • Zoom Alternatives: 5 Options For People Who Care About Security And Privacy [Ed: Forbes wants you to think Apple and Microsoft respect privacy unlike Zoom. These liars from Forbes pretend not to know about NA and PRISM etc.]

              Already beloved of the security community, Signal is a highly private and secure app. Think of it as a WhatsApp alternative, and like WhatsApp, Signal offers video functionality. As with Apple’s FaceTime, Signal is protected by end-to-end encryption, powered by the open source Signal Protocol.

              But as is often the case with highly secure apps such as Signal, it does lack some functionality. Unlike Zoom, Signal doesn’t support group chats, so it is really for use when you are having a one to one–perhaps with your therapist.

            • The best alternatives to Zoom for videoconferencing [Ed: Same as above]
            • Confidentiality

              • Exploring an Encrypted Penguin with AES-ECB

                Quick Warning: don’t roll your own crypto, and don’t use ECB mode unless you really know what you’re doing. The example below illustrates some interesting properties of AES in ECB mode, but shouldn’t be taken to minimize the risk of using a mode like ECB.

              • Don’t believe Zoom: Its video calls are not encrypted end-to-end

                It’s a brand new day with a brand new privacy issue for popular video calling app Zoom. Last night, The Intercept published a report highlighting that Zoom‘s claim of having end-to-end encryption for its meetings is not true.

                The video conferencing company boasts about end-to-end encryption on its website, and in a separate security-related white paper. However, The Intercept’s report found that the service uses transport encryption instead.

                [...]

                Currently, it is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings. Zoom video meetings use a combination of TCP and UDP. TCP connections are made using TLS and UDP connections are encrypted with AES using a key negotiated over a TLS connection.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump is preparing the ground for a totalitarian dictatorship — but we can stop him

        Trump’s motives at this point are, for want of a better word, sinister. He appears to be using the playbook of Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orban, readying the ground for an election that will have two candidates but only one possible outcome. What we are seeing in Trump’s nightly lies and obfuscations and denunciations of Democrats and the media is the beginnings of a Trumpian totalitarianism.

        He has seized control of the political debate using his nightly virus press conferences, which are more frequent and last longer than his political rallies. He is gaining control over the media in his choices of whose questions he accepts, taking questions from friendly outlets and belittling outfits like NBC, CNN and PBS. (The New York Times and the Washington Post have stopped sending reporters to the briefings, covering them from outside the press room.) He has gone against rules agreed to by the White House Correspondents’ Association by allowing the alleged “reporter” from the OANN network to attend every briefing while representatives of other news organizations have to cycle in and out on a schedule set by rules according to social distancing needs.

      • America won the cold war. What went wrong?

        The United States, Andrew Bacevich writes near the start of his account of post-cold-war America, is like the man who won the Mega Millions lottery: his unimagined windfall holds the potential for disaster. Things are not quite that bad. But almost three decades after America watched the Soviet Union fall apart, victory feels like a disappointment.

        The end of the cold war established America as the most powerful country in history. Its armed forces were unmatched and its governing philosophy seemingly had no rival. Yet it has struggled either to prevail against illiterate tribesmen and tinpot dictators or to get to grips with a newly assertive Russia and a rising China. In a pandemic its allies might have expected America to co-ordinate a planet-wide response. Instead, it has turned inward. Just as startlingly, America itself fell prey to bitterness and division, culminating in the presidency of a man who won office by rejecting many of the values which had helped bring about that original victory.

      • In state’s intense chase for protective equipment, coronavirus isn’t the only rival — the feds are, too

        “No one would imagine sending firefighters into a blazing fire without proper clothing and equipment,” reads a petition more than 1,000 physicians signed urging Baker to take additional measures. “But our physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are being asked to treat COVID-19 patients without protective gear.”

      • 3 million masks ordered by Massachusetts were confiscated in Port of New York, leading to creative alternative

        “Around the time that we had our 3 million masks that we had ordered through BJs confiscated in the port of New York, at that point it became pretty clear to us that using what I would describe as sort of a ‘traditional approach to this’ wasn’t going to work,” Baker said Thursday.

      • Competition among state, local governments creates bidding war for medical equipment

        “A system that’s based on state and local governments looking out for themselves and competing with other state and local governments across the nation isn’t sustainable,” said John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and former acting Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, “and if left to continue, we’ll certainly exacerbate the public health crisis we’re facing.”

        “There’s a very real possibility,” he added, “that those state and local governments that have the most critical need won’t get the equipment they need.”

      • Sheikh Zoubir Bouchikhi, Former Houston Imam Deported in 2011 for Immigration-Related Charges: Disbelievers Are the Worst of Allah’s Creations – Worse than Animals; We Should Completely Ignore Muslims Who Are Not Properly Observant

        Malaysia-based Algerian Islamic scholar Sheikh Zoubir Bouchikhi, who had been the imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston until he was deported from the United States in 2011 for immigration-related charges, taught a women’s class at Riyad Al-Jannah, the mosque in Malaysia where he is currently the imam. The video was uploaded to Riyad Al-Jannah’s YouTube channel on March 20, 2020.

      • That Omar Sheikh is let off by Pakistan court should worry the world

        This means that a pathologically violent man is, once again, free to carry on his jihad against imagined enemies. When Omar got the death sentence for helping al Qaeda’s Khalid Sheikh Muhammad behead Pearl, he criticised the judgment as “given under pressure from the Americans”. Public reaction was mixed, and Omar continued his defiance, threatening “those who want to kill me” with death, and calling his trial “a struggle between Islam and kufr”.

        Why has the High Court let him off? Commentators point to some “flaws”. A Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist came up with additional confessional evidence during the trial, which was not taken cognisance of. Neither the discovery of the beheaded corpse of Pearl, nor its DNA test result, was allowed to feature in the trial. These were points of law that the appellate court was to adjudicate on.

      • B.C. Imam Calls for Elimination of Atheists, Victory for Jihad

        Kathrada has a long history of hateful remarks. Virtually identical supplications appear in videos of his sermons uploaded on March 15 and March 21, respectively. In October of 2019, Kathrada advised his congregants not to vote in the Canadian federal election, arguing that all Jewish and Christian candidates were “filthy” and “evil.” In January of that year, Kathrada suggested that wishing Christians a Merry Christmas is a sin worse than murder.

        In 2004, B’nai Brith Canada complained to police after Kathrada called Jews “brothers of monkeys and swine.” B’nai Brith has reached out to the B.C. Hate Crimes Unit about his more recent outbursts.

      • Knife-Wielding Man in Southern France Kills 2 in Attack on Passersby

        There have been a number of knife attacks in France in recent months. In January, French police shot and injured a man in Metz who was waving a knife and shouting “Allahu akbar.”

      • Pentagon Removes Carrier From Middle East Amid Pandemic-Induced Resource Fight

        The ship will now leave on its scheduled rotation, contrary to an earlier plan to leave the nuclear-powered carrier in the region that had been announced by Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the top U.S. military officer in the Middle East, on March 13. Politico first reported the news of the move.

        Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. military’s top officer, would have the final say on any decision to pivot assets to compensate for the Roosevelt, which will offload more than half of its 4,800 crew in Guam after the ship’s commanding officer pleaded for no more than 10 percent of sailors to stay on board. A Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson said they could not comment on future operations or locations for aircraft carriers. “The Pacific Fleet remains ready to meet all operational commitments,” said Lt. j.g. Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the command.

      • It’s Hardly Shocking the Navy Fired a Commander for Warning of Coronavirus Threat. It’s Part of a Pattern.

        Capt. Brett Crozier, fired this week from command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, joins a growing list of Navy officers who attempted to raise concerns about the safety of their ships and crew, only to pay with their jobs.

        Crozier wrote a letter dated March 30 warning that an outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was a threat to his crew of some 4,000 sailors unless they disembarked and quarantined.

      • ‘He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else’: An Anti-Nuclear Activist Behind Bars

        Trident nuclear disarmament activist Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest, begins his third year imprisoned in a county jail as he and his companions await sentencing.

      • The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times

        Another perilous pandemic is sweeping the country in the midst of the coronavirus one, and it has been lurking in the shadows for years just itching for a fear-ridden moment like this to break out forcefully. Right-wing repressive forces are using this unprecedented crisis to impose unconstitutional denials of abortion rights; to drastically lower voter participation rates; to grant sweeping new powers of indefinite incarceration without trial to the Department of Justice; to relax or even abolish regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency; and to criminalize fossil fuel protests should they ever recur in the wake of the March 31 decision to proceed at full speed with the controversial Keystone Pipeline project. In these dark times, American democracy itself has fallen victim to COVID-19 and is now on life support.

      • The War on Yemen, 100,000 Deaths, A Crisis Ignored by Mainstream Media Due to Coronavirus Coverage

        In March, a fleet of 450 American soldiers landed in Yemen, in addition to an uncertain number of troops from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. According to information from al-Mashhad, this was the first stage of a project to send 3,000 American and British troops to Yemen, which will land in the regions of Aden, Lahai, Saqtari, Shabweh and al-Mohreh, thus completing a true siege of the country in all geographical directions. In addition, two American warships docked at Balhaf, Yemen’s main natural gas export port. American movements would be motivated in the region to supposedly “fight terrorism”, but several military analysts have already made it clear that the United States intends to intervene in the Yemeni government and install fixed bases in the region, “stabilizing” the situation in the country.

        The crisis in Yemen is a real humanitarian catastrophe, with dimensions similar to those of the Civil War in Syria. However, the attention given to the poorest country in the Middle East is minimal, especially in times of the pandemic. Once again, COVID-19 is being used as a “smokescreen” to distract worldwide attention while illegal and aggressive movements are taking place in specific regions of the planet, as has recently become clear with the Israeli advance in the West Bank and the arrival of thousands of American troops to Yemen.

        Yet, another factor that is absolutely ignored, being even more serious than military aggression, is the public health crisis and food insecurity generated by Saudi aggression. Yemeni Health Minister Saif al-Haidri recently warned of the neglect with which international society has dealt with the situation, which he called a “disastrous in the shadow of war”.

      • COVID-19 cases on U.S. aircraft carrier Roosevelt rise to 155: report

        Forty-four percent of the roughly 5,000 crew have been tested, and 1,548 service members have been transferred onto Guam, where the ship is currently docking.

        WASHINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) — The number of positive tests for COVID-19 on board aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt rose to 155, up 13 percent from the previous day, Reuters reported Saturday, citing the U.S. Navy.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Trump calls fired watchdog in impeachment probe a ‘disgrace’

        Trump informed Congress late Friday night that he was firing Michael Atkinson, saying in letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees that he had lost confidence in Atkinson. Atkinson’s removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has always viewed intelligence professionals with skepticism.

        Trump’s criticism Saturday came after Atkinson’s peers had rushed to his defense. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general at the Justice Department, said Atkinson was known for his “integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight.” He said that includes Atkinson’s actions in handling the Ukraine whistleblower complaint.

      • Impeachment Revenge Is Back as Trump Fires Intelligence Community’s Chief Watchdog

        While you slept late Friday night or decided to escape the hellscape of social media platforms and cable news networks that are deluged with depressing coronavirus reports by binge-watching Tiger King again, the president did something that has now become routine — fire someone who dared speak truth to power under his administration.

        Trump told Congress in a letter that he is removing the Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who will be relinquished from his position in 30 days. Trump did not name a permanent successor.

    • Environment

      • The Covid-19 Crisis Is Exposing Trump’s Criminality

        The Signal: In the middle of a pandemic that is particularly lethal to those with impaired lung function, the Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. The move will trigger a long legal fight, led by California, and signed onto by many other states; but if it ultimately stands, environmentalists estimate that it will lead to a billion metric tons of additional carbon dioxide emissions, and the burning of an addition 80 billion gallons of gasoline.

        In short, while Trump touts this move as an economic boon and counts it as a success in his battle against regulations, it’s guaranteed to further wreck the planet’s fragile climate and further pollute its already polluted air.

        A reasonable administration would have pressed the pause button during a respiratory virus pandemic. This administration saw the chaos and fear created by a wave of illness and death as a useful distraction to push through an unpopular regulatory change while attention was diverted.

      • Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?

        As the coronavirus sweeps across the planet, leaving death and mayhem in its wake, many theories are being expounded to explain its ferocity. One, widely circulated within right-wing conspiracy circles, is that it originated as a biological weapon developed at a secret Chinese military lab in the city of Wuhan that somehow (perhaps intentionally?) escaped into the civilian population. Although that “theory” has been thoroughly debunked, President Trump and his acolytes continue to call Covid-19 the China Virus, the Wuhan Virus, or even the “Kung Flu,” claiming its global spread was the result of an inept and secretive Chinese government response. Scientists, by and large, believe the virus originated in bats and was transmitted to humans by wildlife sold at a Wuhan seafood market. But perhaps there’s another far more ominous possibility to consider: that this is one of Mother Nature’s ways of resisting humanity’s assault on her essential life systems.

      • Russia reportedly cuts off all international air travel, including evacuations into and out of the country

        At the end of the day on April 3, Russia will stop allowing all remaining international flights, including those bringing Russian citizens into the country and those bringing foreign citizens out, anonymous sources told Interfax and RBC.

      • Energy

      • Overpopulation

        • Statement: Gov. Stitt should approve 283 commutations to decrease prison overcrowding and reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak

          Amid the state’s growing COVID-19 public health crisis, eight organizations are urging Governor Stitt to grant more than 200 unsigned commutations to reduce the risk of an outbreak in Oklahoma prisons — Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, ACLU of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Still She Rises, Oklahoma Conference of Churches and Blockbuilderz. Oklahoma’s prisons are at 108 percent capacity, and a virus like COVID-19 can easily overwhelm the state’s overcrowded prisons where incarcerated people have less access to basic hygiene items, cannot social distance, and many areas are communal.

          Rural hospitals stand to suffer the most from these conditions. Fifty Oklahoma counties, largely in rural areas, have no ICU beds. Many of our state’s overcrowded prisons are also located in these rural areas, putting area hospitals at severe risk of being unable to handle a prison outbreak of COVID-19.

    • Finance

      • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Is Trying to Destroy Airline Workers’ Job Protections

        America’s aviation workers won a huge victory in the CARES Act. In the bill, Congress created a grants program that funds paychecks and benefits for two million hourly workers who were going to lose their jobs while planes are grounded. This isn’t a no-strings-attached corporate bailout for airlines. The money goes directly to flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, cleaners, caterers, and wheelchair attendants, so that we can stay on the job, on our healthcare, and out of the unemployment line. It should be a model for how we help all workers impacted by coronavirus.

      • With Sports on Hold, Restless Gamblers Turn to Videogames

        Over the past four years, online betting sites have been slowly welcoming fans of the volatile but growing industry of livestreamed competitive gaming into their pools and brackets. As two teams of pro gamers go head to head in a League of Legends match live on Twitch, risk-loving viewers tab onto websites like DraftKings, Betway, and Loot.bet hoping to earn a bit of cash from their savvy projections. Now, these sites are describing an exponential surge in betting spurred by the dearth of traditional sports content—despite some of the risks involved with the Wild West esports industry.

        In less than a month, the volume of dollars Groes has seen bet on esports has gone up by a factor of 10. EveryMatrix offers software facilitating esports betting on everything from Fortnite and FIFA to dozens of online betting sites, from Germany’s Mybet to Russia’s 1xBet. Before Covid-19 hit, esports bets constituted just 1 percent of bets he saw. Now, it’s 35 percent. The typical bet, he says, remains $25 between sports and esports betters.

      • COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class

        We hear a lot these days about providing benefits and income for the tens of millions of workers who are being laid off, required to ‘stay in place’ by government orders, or out of necessity have to stay home with young children now that schools have shut down. The recent passed CARES ACT provides some minimal and basic income and unemployment benefits for those without work.

      • Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

        Did Congress just nationalize the Fed? No. But the door to that result has been cracked open.

      • The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting

        The media have been engaged big time in the numbers without context game, throwing out really big numbers faster than anyone can catch them. (For the biggest, the overall size of the stimulus, given the time frame, we are looking at a stimulus that is about five times as large as the Obama stimulus.) While there are many great comparisons to be made on who got what, for tonight I just want to focus on one, the handout to Boeing compared with the money provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

      • Public-Private Partnerships Leave Wake of Debt on the Canadian Prairie

        In the first example, Birrell states that the “public-private partnerships in the school system, benefits conservative cuts to education, like ballooning classroom sizes, but adds the bonus of costing around four times more for maintenance.” She points to an article in the Regina Leader-Post for evidence that the Saskatchewan government was paying more in maintenance in 18 P3 schools than in 621 other public schools, combined.

      • Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed

        Popular uprisings are rarely as spontaneous as the mainstream press often makes them out to be. Instead, from the Paris Commune to the Arab Spring and beyond, they are more often the result of extended grassroots organizing, previous actions and strikes, and even legislative campaigns. The rates of participation are almost always linked to the amount of organizing that took place weeks, months and even years before the event takes place. Of course, the immediate cause of these popular, radical and even revolutionary events is usually an action taken by the powerful that serves as a catalyst for the reaction of the people in the streets. In the May 1970s national strike against the US war on the people of Southeast Asia, the catalyst was the deadly military assault on college students protesting the US invasion of Cambodia. The national rebellion following the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 was part of a decades-long movement against the racism of the US government and economic system. The catalyst for the uprisings known as the Arab Spring was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, but the organizing for the protests that followed in Tunisia and throughout the Middle East had been taking place for years.

      • Oregon Leads Way by Enacting Rent Control Law to Address Homelessness

        Wafai’s story recounts the experience of a Portland, Oregon, couple, Andy Mangels and Don Hood, whose landlord raised their rent by 113 percent, after new management took over ownership of the building they’d been living in for more than three decades. The extreme increase in their rent was unaffordable and forced Mangels and Hood to look for another home.

      • Moscow Mayor, a leader in Russia’s COVID-19 pandemic, comes out against government payments to citizens

        Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has given an interview to Russia’s Channel One in which he argues against giving Russian citizens cash payments to curb the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. RIA Novosti reported on the interview, which is due to air on the evening of April 3.

      • How Tea Party Budget Battles Left the National Emergency Medical Stockpile Unprepared for Coronavirus

        Dire shortages of vital medical equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile that are now hampering the coronavirus response trace back to the budget wars of the Obama years, when congressional Republicans elected on the Tea Party wave forced the White House to accept sweeping cuts to federal spending.

        Among the victims of those partisan fights was the effort to keep adequate supplies of masks, ventilators, pharmaceuticals and other medical equipment on hand to respond to a public health crisis. Lawmakers in both parties raised the specter of shortchanging future disaster response even as they voted to approve the cuts.

      • Jared Kushner, With No Government Background, Scolds States for Requesting Supplies From National Equipment Stockpile

        “Dilettantism raised to the level of sociopathy.”

      • “There’s Going to Be Scandal Involved in This Bailout. It Is Unquestionable’

        Here We Go Again! A discussion between Bill Moyers and Neil Barofksy, former chief inspector general of the TARP program, on big corporate bailouts.

      • Trump’s Big Bailout Is a Recipe for Fraud and Scandal

        There’s going to be scandal involved in this bailout. It is unquestionable. There is going to be fraud — that is going to be committed in this bailout. There are going to be individuals who are unjustly rewarded, and others who should have been saved and rescued, who will be left on the side to rot. —Neil Barofsky

      • Right-Wing Austerity Set New Orleans Up to Be a Coronavirus Disaster Zone

        New Orleans — Back in 1997, when Steve Scalise was a Louisiana state representative, he joined other right-wing lawmakers in co-authoring and passing a “state preemption” law that prevents city governments from raising the minimum wage for their residents. Today, Rep. Scalise is one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, and Louisiana is one of only five states where the wage floor is frozen at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. More than one in four children live in poverty in Louisiana, which remains one of the poorest states in the nation despite modest gains in recent years.

      • Trump Admin Says Millions May Have to Wait 5 Months for $1,200 Relief Check

        More than 10 million Americans lost their jobs last month and are in desperate need of immediate financial assistance amid the coronavirus crisis, but the Trump administration said in a draft plan circulated internally Thursday that people who do not have direct deposit information on file with the IRS — a group that is disproportionately low-income — may have to wait until September to receive the one-time $1,200 payment authorized under the latest stimulus.

      • Coronavirus Hits March Employment Numbers Hard — 701,000 Jobs Lost

        The impact of the coronavirus shutdowns showed up very clearly in the March data as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a loss of 701,000 jobs, a decline almost as high as the peaks hit in the housing crash. The unemployment rate jumped 0.9 percentage points to 4.4 percent, while the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) fell by 1.1 percentage points to 60.0 percent.

      • What happened to the “long tail” theory of commerce on the Internet?

        More than 15 years ago, with Amazon.com already on the ascendant, all talk was about how the Internet promised to liberate commerce for both sellers and purchasers. There was no more prominent expression of that optimism than Chris Anderson’s notion of the long tail (“The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More”, 2006, here). However, if you are a Kat reader under the age of 35, you may not even recognize the term.

        Since the euphoria of that time, the attitude towards “the long tail” has become more measured, bordering on skeptical. As one observer has stated, we are actually in an era of the “short head” rather than the “long tail”. What is all this talk about anatomy about? Read on.

        Consider the following graph. Lots of occurrences regarding a small number of items are likely to happen within the bounds of the head on the left, far fewer occurrences regarding a greater number of items at the tail sloping rightward.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Danny Dorling: ‘slowdown’ brings end to ‘rampant capitalism’

        At the time of earlier pandemics, Professor Dorling noted, societies – and universities – often knew far less about the situation and tended to “just keep calm and carry on”: “In 1919, there are records in the university gazette of students dying in their rooms in Magdalen College, unable to go to take their exams, but the University of Oxford changed nothing.”

        Today’s crisis, by contrast, has only confirmed for him, at a far more immediate level, something he has “spent 20 or 30 years of my life writing about – and feeling intellectually was correct – that the people who really matter are the people who care for you, deliver food and so on,” he said.

        Other developments amid all the suffering had also assured Professor Dorling that the end of the unprecedented disruption might bring about a kinder and more sustainable form of politics. The crisis, he said, has revealed that “people were living quite well-off lives that were actually precarious”.

      • ‘Pure Retaliation, Retribution, and Reprisal’: Trump Fires Inspector General Who Sounded Alarm About Ukraine Whistleblower Complaint

        “While the world is rightly distracted by COVID-19, we see leaders around the world with authoritarian tendencies subverting democracy. U.S. is no different.”

      • Trump Is Preparing the Ground for a Totalitarian Dictatorship

        We’re all going to know someone who has died of the coronavirus when this is over. The tragic news is all over Facebook and Twitter already. My friend Patricia Bosworth, the actress and biographer, died on Friday of the virus. Everyone has friends and acquaintances who have the virus, family members who have died, favorite musicians or actors and friends of friends who are sick and dying. The virus has taken them from us, but so has Donald Trump with his inaction and lying and childish finger-pointing and failure to take responsibility.

      • ‘A Mockery of Independence’: Trump to Nominate White House Lawyer to Oversee $4.5 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill

        “People need to be paying attention to the anti-democratic steps the president is taking while people are appropriately preoccupied with the current pandemic.”

      • WATCH: Bernie Sanders to Host Livestream Detailing Priorities for Worker-Focused Coronavirus Relief Bill

        Sanders has called on Congress to pass a new package including Medicare for All, salary guarantees for Americans put out of work by the pandemic, and direct monthly payments.

      • The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus

        Things often look the way they do because someone claiming authority tells us they look that way. If that sounds too cynical, pause for a moment and reflect on what seemed most important to you just a year ago, or even a few weeks ago.

      • Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?

        With there being no campaign left to trail, I reached out with my questions to someone on the inside, and got the following email:

      • Democracy Dies in Blah Blah Blah

        The president of the country has declared himself an opponent of one person, one vote democracy. We already knew that, but he said it out loud, on the record. 

      • Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.

        There was a time, just a few weeks ago, when hardly anyone thought it literally true that, as he boasted, Donald Trump could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and become more popular for having done so.

      • Rural Counties Consider an Alternative Type of Social Distancing — Kicking Chicago Out of Illinois

        As she sat Wednesday on the covered deck at the 4-Way Saloon in Sidell, overlooking the town grain elevator, Leslie Powell made her way down the list of tasks she had scribbled on her yellow notepad. Asking the utility company for a payment plan was first.

        Powell’s husband, Mark, became owner of this busy little bar and grill in east-central Illinois just nine days before Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered residents across the state to shelter in place in an attempt to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

      • Shadow Network of Conservative Outlets Emerges to Exploit Faith in Local News

        The problem? Many of these websites, which number in the hundreds, likely belong to a larger network of conservative organizations looking to capitalize on the void created as independent local news outlets have been shuttering their doors over the past several years. As Priyanjana Bengani wrote, these websites and networks can “aid campaigns to manipulate public opinion by exploiting faith in local media.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Family of Murdered US Journalist Calls Pakistani Court Decision ‘Travesty of Justice’

        Pearl, 38, was a Wall Street Journal reporter covering Pakistani extremists when he was kidnapped in Karachi in January 2002 and was killed weeks later. Three men accused of involvement in the murder subsequently were convicted and handed sentences of life imprisonment, while the fourth one, British national Sheikh, was convicted and sentenced to death.

      • Pakistan court overturns convictions in killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl

        The high profile abduction drew international attention, amid growing concern over the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism. Assailants later filmed his beheading and sent it to US officials. It was among the first propaganda videos targeting hostages created by extremists, and helped to inspire other terror groups to film horrific and egregious acts of violence.

        Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003, at one point claimed to have personally killed Pearl, but the admission was made while he was being tortured and he was never charged with the crime. Federal agents backed up Mohammed’s confession by comparing photos of the veins in his hands and the vein patterns of an assailant in the video of Pearl’s killing, according to a report by Georgetown University students and faculty and the Center for Public Integrity.

      • Iranian dissident in Turkey killed like Khashoggi: report

        A special report by the Sabah newspaper published on Tuesday sheds light on the 2019 murder of Masoud Molavi Vardanjani in Istanbul last year and details how he fell victim to a plot linked to Iranian intelligence. Like the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Vardanjani was shot dead on the street in the city’s Şişli district. Both names stood out due to their criticism of the regimes of their countries.

      • Passage of New California Law Hurts Freelance Journalists

        While the passage of this bill may seem like a huge win for the employees of these companies, it had the unintended consequence of making things worse for freelance journalists and many others who work as independent contractors. It affected journalists because AB5 specifies that freelance journalists must be considered employees once they exceeded the limit of 35 submissions per client per year, which many journalists exceed in just weeks. Musicians, theater staff and other workers who routinely do temporary, project-based work have also been affected. Although one reason the bill was created was to help provide people with job security, just months after it was passed many who had steady employment before the bill are now struggling for work.

      • ‘The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad New Boss’: Editorial changes at ‘Vedomosti’ jeopardize one of Russia’s best-respected business newspapers

        The crisis follows the decision by Vedomosti’s new owners to install a new editor-in-chief named Andrey Shmarov, who promptly alienated the staff in a bawdy introduction where he touted his ignorance about Vedomosti’s own code of ethics, professed not to read the newspaper itself, and then defended Harvey Weinstein and expressed skepticism about the very concept of sexual harassment.

      • Hannity Threatens to Sue Media Outlets for Criticizing Fox’s COVID-19 Coverage

        Fox News host Sean Hannity threatened to sue a purported “media mob” during a Wednesday night segment, in which he addressed criticisms who rebuked the right-wing network’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as dangerous.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Here’s What a General Strike Would Take

        “We are living through the most opportune environment for massive, radical labor actions in many decades.”

      • Leaked Amazon Memo Details Plan to Smear Fired Warehouse Organizer: ‘He’s Not Smart or Articulate’

        Leaked notes from an internal meeting of Amazon leadership obtained by VICE News reveal company executives discussed a plan to smear fired warehouse employee Christian Smalls, calling him “not smart or articulate” as part of a PR strategy to make him “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”

      • A governor ordered the state police and National Guard to hunt for New Yorkers because of coronavirus fears. It’s a frightening sign of what’s to come during the pandemic.

        But Rhode Island went even further, disturbingly so. On Saturday, military police of the National Guard — armed, camouflaged, and clad in flak jackets — began knocking on the doors of homes where cars with New York plates, or no plates at all, were parked.

        Pandemic or no pandemic, the Fourth Amendment has something to say about that.

        [...]

        Americans typically treasure the good stuff in the Bill of Rights that forbids the government from unwarranted search and seizures, but Americans also have a long history of willfully allowing — sometimes even demanding — their civil liberties to be curbed in crisis.

        After 9/11, Congress rushed the Patriot Act through in a matter of weeks, ostensibly to make it easier for law enforcement to coordinate on tracking and stopping terrorists. Nearly two decades later, the law has been far more likely to be used to track drug dealers and ordinary Americans, and continues to be regularly reauthorized.

        But it’s in times of crisis that civil liberties are the most vital.

      • Let’s Come Together in These Physically Distancing Times

        “As bad as things are, and could get, compassion and wisdom will ensure that good emerges from this.”

      • It’s Impossible to “Distance” in ICE Detention. Doctors Say Free All Detainees.

        René Escobedo González has a cough. He’s got a fever and trouble breathing. Eight of the 24 other people in his cell do as well. Locked in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention in the Jefferson County Jail in Texas, the men have asked for medical evaluation — but instead of a COVID-19 test, Escobedo González says they’ve been given a “pill for pain and sleep.” On a call with Truthout, he said the people inside are terrified, and completely unprepared to weather a deadly global pandemic.

      • Despite Threats From Management, Amazon Warehouse Workers in Chicago Strike to Demand Better Coronavirus Precautions

        “We’re going to continue to fight. This is just the beginning of our struggle here.” 

      • Strike for Your Life!

        There have been more than a dozen strikes in the past two weeks by workers striking to protect themselves against infection by the coronavirus. They have already won increased protection. What do they portend for the future?

      • Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy

        Tunisia is the Middle East’s greatest success story, according to the findings of the V-Dem Annual Democracy Report 2019.

      • In the New Dystopia

        It is difficult to neatly encapsulate the shift that has occurred in our collective perception and experience over the last several weeks. That all semblance of ‘certainty’ and ‘normalcy’ has disappeared seems no longer the main feature—what stands out is the psychological shift underway, proceeding on the collective and individual levels. What will this mean, how will it continue to evolve? Every conversation I have now touches on the coronavirus or those things that surround it. Everything I read online is related to it. ‘Social distancing’, ‘flattening the curve’—these phrases have become ubiquitous, standardized.

      • ‘This Is Despicable’: Not Even COVID-19 Pandemic Can Halt Trump’s Right-Wing Takeover of Federal Courts

        Critics warn the president’s latest nominees for lifetime appellate court positions are both committed to the “deadly agenda” of overturning the entire Affordable Care Act.

      • Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic

        “Go corona! Corona go!” Ramdas Athawale, a minister in the state government of India, chanted this phrase again and again at a prayer meeting at the Gateway of India. Among those invited to participate were Buddhist monks and the Chinese Consul General in Mumbai. The rap-like cadence soon inspired memes and a pop version.

      • Corona and What Then?

        Berlin, like many of your hometowns, is a ghost city. Except for those offering groceries, medicines or medical care, everything is shut tight. Luckily, no-one here has to stay inside, we can stroll around outside but, aside from families, we may not “assemble” in groups of more than two (if any cops are around).

      • Indigenous Men, Suicides, Racism, and Health Care. Who is Watching?

        These issues were brought to light in an  article published by the New Statesman, which addressed the “public health emergency” involving high suicides rates among Indigenous people in the US by reporting in detail on the “painful losses” of one family in Alaska. As other reports documented, suicides have also devastated First Nations communities in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation declared a state of emergency after a rash of suicides, one including a young father. Ochapowace First Nation also lost four Indigenous men to suicide.

      • Mainstream Canadian LGBTQ Organizations Fail to Address Poverty, Homelessness

        For example, Egale is Canada’s only nation-wide LGBTQ charity. Although the organization holds an annual event highlighting homophobia and transphobia as contributors to high homeless rates, the charity is not politically active on the issue. The article states Egale does not deal directly with homelessness, substance abuse, sex work, and other elements of LGBTQ life, nor does Egale actively push for services such as a national housing strategy, overdose prevention sites, and information on how to find apartments and youth shelters.

      • Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP

        Imagine a country where health care workers lack the equipment necessary to prevent coronavirus infection while treating people suffering from this terrible new disease.

      • Mauritius Leaks Expose Exploitation of African Nations

        While international corporations and the local business class prosper, many African nations that are already struggling against stalled economic development suffer from lost revenues. The report noted Uganda as an example, where over forty percent of people live on under two dollars a day. In January 2019, Mauritius updated some laws at the behest of global organizations such as the OECD or the European Union, but is continuing negotiations with 16 countries to bring sixty percent of the continent’s nations under the tax treaties.

      • Memphis Journalist Targeted by ICE for His Work

        As James Goodman recounts in his March 22, 2019 Progressive story about Duran Ortega’s case, in April of 2018, Memphis Noticias posted a video of a woman who was arrested by local police and then later was detained by ICE. In the video he posted of the woman being arrested, Duran Ortega observed that “there has been three confirmed cases that the Memphis police are involved with immigration and that this is obviously a collaboration.” The journalist was soon contacted by the police department about taking the video down, but he refused.

      • A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice

        The second highest office-holder of the great state of Texas, Republican Lieutenant General Dan Patrick, recently proclaimed on Fox News that lots of senior citizens would be willing — or should be, anyway — to sacrifice their lives to coronavirus in order to save the economy for their grandchildren.

      • NYC Subways Lack Accommodations for Accessibility

        Just 25 percent of subway stations in New York City are accessible by elevators or ramps. By comparison, 71 percent of Boston stations and 69 percent of Chicago stations have such accommodations. Los Angeles and Washington, DC, each have hundred percent accessibility. Further, many New York stations lack bumpy strips on the ground that warn those with impaired vision when there are hazards such as stairs or edges and platforms. Three hundred and fifty  stations have these strips yet a staggering 122 lack them. Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, told City Limits  there have been cases where people with disabilities have fallen on the subway tracks because of the missing platform edge strips.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has acknowledged the problem, but not yet fixed it.

      • Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic

        A silent pandemic is sweeping the nation and across the globe, the panic of the ever-expanding authoritarian state. The coronavirus medical emergency is legitimizing the ever-increasing power of a vigorous state apparatus operating at the federal, state and local levels. The great challenge is what will happen to these powers when the current Covid-19 epidemic is contained?

      • The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.

        The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a vital means to save the country from unending civil war. These had raged with increasing intensity since 1960, and in 1994 the forces of oppression were militarily intact. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, soon to be chair of the Commission observed in 1995, “Nuremberg trials” were not for South Africa. The TRC should include “ordinary people”, who had themselves been victims: “We shouldn’t just be…objective in a cold cerebral kind of way.” Importantly, “we can’t just say ‘let bygones be bygones’…because they will return to haunt us forever”, he said in late 1995. The country’s new Justice Minister allowed that the country’s then interim constitution was really a peace treaty. Amnesty (for full disclosure of political crimes) was ‘the price of securing peace and cooperation in the negotiated collapse of white rule.’ The country’s situation was complex, and the TRC’s aims were ‘not so much for justice as for national unity and reconciliation.’ Some 2,700 persons had then said that they wanted to confess their crimes: but the family of Steve Biko, the Black Consciousness leader slaughtered in 1977, wanted instead to see his killers tried and sentenced in court. Truth and justice were possibly incompatible.

      • TikTok Users In China Temporarily Banned For Speaking Their Own Cantonese Language Instead Of Using The Official Mandarin

        Most people know about TikTok, from the company Bytedance, but not many know that it is the international version of the similar, but separate, Douyin app. The What’s on Weibo site has a good explanation of why the two versions came about, and how they differ:

      • Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19

        Recently I sat in on a livestreamed town hall sponsored by the school of public health at a large university in my state. The town hall’s purpose was to answer viewers’ questions about Covid-19: how to understand the pandemic, what to expect, how to stay healthy and safe. At the end, the moderator, the dean of the school, asked his fellow participants (epidemiologists, biostatisticians, infectious disease specialists) what they wanted viewers to take away from the program, and two or three referred to Covid-19 as a “wake-up call,” an alarm bell calling attention to the long-term defunding of public health systems in America, and the profound lack of preparedness for a catastrophic public health emergency of this kind.

      • Texas Court Says City, PD Must Answer Questions About Botched Drug Raid Led By A Crooked Cop

        The Houston Police Department’s botched drug raid that resulted in the killing of the home’s two occupants continues to cause problems for the PD and the city of Houston. The raid was predicated on a phone call from an unbalanced, vengeful neighbor with a history of calling in bogus crime reports. Probable cause was bolstered (if that’s even the word) by dirty cop Gerald Goines, who fabricated a confidential informant and provided evidence for drug trafficking allegations by pulling heroin from the console of his cop car.

      • NYC Nurses Demand Protective Gear as COVID-19 Death Toll Skyrockets
      • We Need a Coronavirus Truce

        During World War I, soldiers all along the Western front held a series of informal truces in December 1914 to commemorate Christmas.

      • Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race

        It is dangerous rhetoric indeed when President Donald J. Trump calls the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the “Chinese Virus”. Even if the intent was political and meant to communicate to Beijing that the United States military was not responsible for the spread of the disease within China, contrary to a conspiracy theory there.

      • Leaked Memo Reveals Amazon Execs Plotted to Paint Fired ‘Not Smart’ Worker as ‘Face of Entire Union/Organizing Movement’

        “In the middle of this crisis they’re not thinking about people dying, hurting, or how their own fate is tied to these workers. Nope. They’re thinking they’ve got to hold off the union organizing.”

      • Abortion providers sue Texas over virus outbreak order
    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The T-Mobile Merger Closes, Highlighting Vast U.S. Media, Legal, And Policy Failures

        T-Mobile and Sprint finally closed their controversial $26 billion wireless mega merger this week, opening the door to a new era in U.S. wireless with notably less overall competition and, inevitably, higher prices. The government, courts, much of the press, and many “top policy thinkers” of the era happily ignored 40 years of very clear global data showing that such consolidation in telecom reduces competition, raises overall prices, and inevitably results in a steady parade of layoffs. And most of them did so for all the usual reasons: either rigid partisan ideology, or the prioritization of profit above reason, empathy, or common sense.

    • Monopolies

      • Canada signs agreement with Amazon Canada to distribute medical equipment

        Canada has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada AMZN.O to ensure medical equipment is delivered where it is most needed in the country’s fight against the cornonavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

        The Canadian government has been working with manufacturers in recent weeks to increase production of high-demand medical items like face shields, masks, gloves, ventilators, gowns and test kits to assist healthcare workers on the frontlines.

      • Canada signs agreement with Amazon Canada to manage distribution of medical equipment

        “Our government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to manage the distribution of this equipment to the provinces and territories,” Trudeau told reporters during a daily news briefing outside his Ottawa home.

        Trudeau did not provide details on the value of the contract, but a government news release issued later on Friday said Amazon was providing the service to Canadians at cost, without profit.

      • Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

        The petition alleges that Amazon, which employs tens of thousands of people in Canada and has fulfilment centres in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, is refusing to give workers paid leave.

        “(The government) made a deal with the Amazon, and they never commented on the compensation of the workers,” she said. “I am not happy about that..They actually are keeping a blind eye on it.”

        The petition also says Amazon is not telling staff what their plans are if facilities are contaminated or suspected of being contaminated.

      • Canada partners with Amazon Canada to distribute essential equipment

        Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement today during a daily news briefing. No details on the value of the contract were revealed.

      • [Guest post] Covid-19 Treatments: The Issue of Orphan Drug Status and Patents

        The covid-19 pandemic gives grave cause for concern. It has claimed the lives of over 48,500 people and counting. No vaccines are (as of now) available. No new or pre-existing medicines are approved to treat this type of corona virus. Nevertheless, several existing pharmaceuticals are entering the clinical trial phase. Indeed, some of these drugs have been around for some time, developed previously to treat other viruses such as HIV and Ebola. One of these drugs, ‘Remdesivir’, is reportedly showing great promise for treating covid-19 patients who currently rely on intensive care and ventilators. If this drug proved even partially effective, it could be a major breakthrough in treatment methods, save lives and pave the way for businesses to resume trading.

        Gilead, the IP rightsholder for Remdesivir, applied and received an orphan drug designation (explained below) for this medication by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the 23rd of March 2020. It should be acknowledged that, following a huge public backlash, Gilead applied just two days later, on the 25th of March, to rescind Remdesivir’s orphan status. Yet the status currently remains in place, as does the patent for the drug. The fact that the FDA will rescind the status does not alter the fact that it should not have been granted in the first place. Nor does it negate the risk that another equally, or even more, effective drug may also be accorded orphan status in the coming weeks. This post outlines what orphan drug designations and patents may mean for covid-19 treatments, and briefly proposes two ways which may be used to ensure their accessibility in Europe, and beyond.

      • Covid 19 – an open letter from the UK IP Minister

        Well, perhaps. This article suggests that the UK’s Intellectual Property Minister, Amanda Solloway MP, should write an open letter on the subject of infringement of IP, in relation to developing and making urgently-needed products to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic. Draft text of a letter, written by IP Draughts for her consideration, appears below.

        [...]

        The government would like to remind IP owners that it has statutory powers known as Crown user provisions, that enable the government to use, and authorise others to use, IP in the national interest. The government will not hesitate to implement those powers where appropriate.

        However, the government hopes that it will not be necessary to devote time and national resources to implementing such laws. It trusts that IP owners will voluntarily cooperate to ensure that urgent needs are met (e.g. by voluntarily supplying designs and blue prints of their products where required), and refrain from asserting IP rights against those who are trying to meet those needs.

      • Buyer Beware: Counterfeit Markets Flourish During Global Health Crises

        Rapid acceleration of coronavirus-related infections and fatalities in countries like Italy, Spain and the United States has led to widespread bans on communal activities, global restrictions on travel and an increasing reliance on virtual interactions. The push to keep people indoors has led to a substantial increase in e-commerce spending. People are becoming increasingly reliant upon these services to provide life’s basic necessities – and counterfeiters are primed to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

        Counterfeiters have long preyed upon consumer vulnerability in order to make a quick profit. The current coronavirus crisis will likely be no different. However, what is unique about the current crisis is the extent to which consumers are relying upon e-commerce platforms.

      • Patents

        • European Patent Office Informally Announces Intended Extension

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has informally announced that it intends to extend all time limits to 17 April 2020 and that this date may be further extended. At this stage, it appears likely that this extension will apply to periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020. However, due to the informal nature of the announcement, we cannot confirm this date. The extension would apply to time limits for both European applications and to international applications (i.e., applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that are the subject of proceedings before the EPO.

        • Buchalter Client Alert COVID-19: Covid-19 and Intellectual Property Law

          Europe – The European Patent Office (EPO) has extended all deadlines that fall on or after March 15th to April 17th. The EPO has excluded the deadline for filing a divisional and other procedural acts from this exemption however.

        • Changes to Examining Division Oral Proceedings

          Effective immediately, Oral Proceedings before the Examining Divisions will be held by videoconference (see here). Oral Proceedings in person will now only take place in exceptional circumstances. So far, this announcement only relates to Oral Proceedings held by the Examining Divisions. It remains to be seen if the Boards of Appeal follow suit for examination matters.

          While this will allow the work of the Examining Divisions and representatives to continue during the lockdown, the EPO recognizes that there may be technical difficulties when attending and hosting virtual Oral Proceedings. Consequently, the EPO announcement notes that if such technical difficulties cannot be overcome, a new Summons will issue with a new hearing date. However, in the case of non-attendance for non-technical reasons, the Oral Proceedings will continue in the absence of the Applicant as before.

        • Chinese Companies Set Pace In Europe Patent Filings

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

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

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

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

        • (Some) EPO Deadlines Extended

          In these unprecedented times, patent deadlines are understandably a much lower priority than they were a couple of months ago. Even those trying to meet their deadlines may find themselves unable to do so with the various limitations imposed by home working and staff shortages. In recognition of this, the EPO has extended time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 to 17 April 2020 (see), and it seems likely that further extensions will be announced shortly. However, the extension only applies to “time periods” as defined by the EPO rules and is not universally applicable to all EPO deadlines.

          “Periods” are generally set by EPO Communications or the EPC itself. Typical examples include the deadlines for filing responses to Examination Reports or for providing claims translations in response to the issuance of a proposed text for grant. There are, however, a number of significant EPO deadlines that are not “periods”. For example, we often talk colloquially about the deadline for filing a divisional application. More correctly, a divisional application can only be filed while the parent is pending. Once the parent has granted, the right to file a divisional application is lost. This is not a “period” as defined by the Rules and therefore the extension of time announced by the EPO does not apply.

          EPO Oral Proceedings at the Board of Appeal are canceled until 17 April, but Oral Proceedings scheduled at the Examining and Opposition Divisions may still go ahead if videoconference facilities are available. The “final deadline” to file written submissions in Examination and Opposition proceedings has an unusual status.

        • Artificial Intelligence – Our March 2020 report

          According to the European Patent Office, for the first time in more than a decade, digital technologies have taken the lead in patent applications filed. Among the top technical fields digital communication (+19.6%) and computer technology (+10.2%) saw the steepest growth. The report, published on the 12th March 2020, notes that one driving factor for growth was the increase in patent applications related to artificial intelligence (AI), especially in the areas of machine learning and pattern recognition, image data processing and generation, and data retrieval.

        • 2019 EPO Patent Report: The Most Innovative Sectors and Companies

          2019 was a record year in patents. In fact, the European Patent Office (EPO) recorded substantial growth in some areas, such as digital communications and computer technology. As the fourth industrial devolution (4IR) materialises, companies such as Huawei, Samsung and L.G. continue to be particularly active in the field of research.

        • Video conferencing in oral proceedings at the EPO

          Although oral proceedings before the examining division by video conference have been permitted by the European Patent Office (EPO) since 1998, until recently there have been very few requests from applicants to proceed in this manner. Partly as a consequence of the number of oral proceeding requests increasing and also partly as a response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, the EPO has made steps to make video conference oral proceedings the default – with the issuing of a consultation paper and a decision from the President.

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

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

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

        • Important IP Updates Covid-19 | 02.04.2020

          All time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are thus extended until 17 April 2020. Oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings scheduled until 17 April 2020 will be postpone, unless there is confirmation of the meeting by videoconference.

        • Global patent law update

          Artificial Intelligence: The EPO refused two European patent applications, EP 18 275 163 and EP 18 275 174, in which an AI system was designated as the inventor. Refusal was on the grounds that they do not meet the legal requirement of the European Patent Convention that an inventor designated in the application has to be a human being.

          In both applications a machine called “DABUS”, which is described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”, is named as the inventor. The applicant stated that he had acquired the right to the European patent from the inventor by being its successor in title, arguing that as the machine’s owner, he was assigned any intellectual property rights created by this machine.

          In its decisions, the EPO considered that the interpretation of the legal framework of the European patent system leads to the conclusion that the inventor designated in a European patent must be a natural person. The EPO further noted that the understanding of the term inventor as referring to a natural person appears to be an internationally applicable standard, and that various national courts have issued decisions to this effect.

          The designation of an inventor is mandatory as it bears a series of legal consequences, notably to ensure that the designated inventor is the legitimate one and that he or she can benefit from rights linked to this status. To exercise these rights, the inventor must have a legal personality that AI systems or machines do not enjoy.

          Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal: On 1 January 2020 new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal came into force. The scope of the appeal is now limited to a judicial review of the contested decision and amendments will be increasingly difficult throughout the appeal. The onus is on parties to provide justification and reasons for the amendment, with absolute discretion to admit the amendments lying with the Board.

          COVID-19 extended deadlines: In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Patent Office has extended all time limits until 17 April 2020.

          Fee increases: It has been announced that many of its official fees will increase with effect from 1 April 2020. A range of official fees will be affected on average by 4%. This is the first general fee increase since 2016.

        • DE – “LEITERKLEMME” – REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REASONS FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN PATENT LITIGATION

          Higher Regional Court of Munich on the requirements for the reasons for a preliminary injunction in patent litigation – change of previous case law (judgment of December 12, 2019 – Case 2 U 4009/19*) – “Leiterklemme”

          In patent litigation, the reasons for an injunction necessary for the issuance of a preliminary injunction generally require that the validity of the patent-in-suit may clearly be assessed in favor of the applicant.

          The question whether the validity of a patent-in-suit is sufficiently certain needs to be assessed based on the standard of a high probability.

        • Hopes dwindle for peaceful settlement between Nokia and Daimler

          Yesterday, several parties confirmed to JUVE Patent mediation has ended between Nokia and Daimler, as well as the latter’s suppliers. The suppliers include Robert Bosch, Bury Technologies, Continental, Harman Becker, TomTom and Valeo subsidiary Peiker. Last year, Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition and Digital Affairs, requested a concrete result. However this is not the case.

          The mediation is part of the major dispute between Nokia and Daimler concerning the use of mobile phone standards in the telematics units of Daimler cars. The fight over connected cars patents broke out in March 2019, following Nokia’s refusal to grant a licence to Daimler’s suppliers. The refusal was claimed by Daimler to constitute an abuse of a dominant position regarding patents for the mobile phone standards 3G and LTE. As a result, the company filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission. Daimler wants the commission to clarify whether the patents are essential for connected cars at all.

        • Tesla Challenge to Door Patent Shot Down by Appeals Board

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board declined to review Nikola Corp.’s truck seat door patent that Tesla Inc. argued was obvious and therefore invalid.

          Tesla in September asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tribunal to review Nikola’s U.S. patent no. 10,077,084, that covers a semi-truck vehicle door that provides access to the cabin interior from a seat’s backside. The electric car maker, controlled by billionaire Elon Musk, argued that previous patents and publications show the same door position.

        • The Secret World of Design Patents

          High-profile design patent litigation between Apple and Samsung has made headlines in
          the last few years. Not surprisingly, thereafter, design patents and related litigation have risen
          exponentially, and have become more important to the economy. Design patents provide legal
          protection for aesthetic and ornamental aspects of a manufactured product. While there is a rich
          and longstanding empirical literature and a crucial understanding about many facets of utility
          patent litigation, almost nothing is known about the design patent litigation world. This article fills
          that void. By building a novel and comprehensive database of all lawsuits alleging design patent
          infringement from 2000 to 2016, this article reports the results of a broad empirical exploration
          of design patent litigation, while giving an overview of the design patent litigation process.

          The study reveals that while utility and design patent litigation look similar at first glance,
          they are actually very different in several important respects. First, we find that unlike utility
          litigation, which almost always often involves a large company, almost half of design patent
          litigation involves small or medium-sized companies as both plaintiffs and defendants. Second, the
          amount of design patent litigation has continuously increased over the last decade, whereas utility
          patent infringement lawsuits sharply increased and then dipped over the same period. Third,
          design patent plaintiffs tend to file cases in different districts than utility patent plaintiffs. Namely,
          we find that design patent asserters did not participate in the flood of litigation in the Eastern
          District of Texas. Finally, design patent plaintiffs are almost all practicing entities who
          manufacture products rather than non-practicing entities (so-called “trolls”). These empirical
          findings have important implications for the law of design patents. While the courts treat utility
          and design patent litigation as similar for many purposes, including understanding the doctrine
          and managing the docket, the actual litigation on the ground is starkly different.

        • Patent Troll Sues to Pull Covid-19 Tests Off Market Over Alleged Infringement
        • Israel Approves Generic HIV Drug to Treat COVID-19 Despite Doubts
        • En Banc Denial. [Ed: To patent maximalists the idea of "a better system" is one that works for lawyers, not science]

          The question I’m posing in civil procedure: What are other ways that we can streamline our legal process to still provide equal protection and substantial justice while avoiding the current difficulties created by COVID-19? Can we use this as an inflection point to build a better system?

        • Those Ex-Theranos Patents Look Really Bad; Contest Opened To Find Prior Art To Get Them Invalidated

          A few weeks back we wrote about how Fortress Investment Group — a massive patent trolling operation funded by Softbank — was using old Theranos patents to shake down BioFire, a company that actually makes medical diagnostics tests, including one for COVID-19. Fortress had scooped up the patents as collateral after it issued a loan to Theranos, which Theranos (a complete scam company, whose founders are still facing fraud charges…) could not repay. Fortress then set up a shell company, Labrador Diagnostics, which did not exist until days before it sued BioFire. After it (and the law firm Irell & Manella) got a ton of bad press for suing BioFire over these patents — including the COVID-19 test — Fortress rushed out a press release promising that it would issue royalty-free licenses for COVID-19 tests. However, it has still refused to reveal the terms of that offer, nor has it shared the letter it sent to BioFire with that offer.

        • Software Patents

          • Does Alice Target Patent Trolls?

            The Supreme Court upended the patent world in the past decade with a series of decisions restricting the scope of patent-eligible subject matter. The culmination of those cases – Alice v. CLS Bank — has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy in the five years since it was decided. AAs we show in this paper, it has also been the basis of nearly a thousand court decisions.

            We evaluate how Alice and similar Supreme Court decisions on patentable subject matter have been used in the courts five years in. Using a comprehensive dataset we hand-coded of every district court decision and subsequent appeals to the Federal Circuit involving patentable subject matter, we explore not only how patent owners fare in patentable subject matter cases but how a variety of factors, including industry, the nature of the patent owner, and the judicial venue may influence those results. While we confirm some conventional wisdom, we upend other assumptions common in the legal and policy debates over patent eligible subject matter. In particular, we find that once in court, biotech/life science innovations are more likely to survive patentable subject matter challenges than software/IT innovations. Most surprisingly we find that the entities most likely to lose their patents at this stage are not patent trolls but individual inventors and inventor-started companies. Our findings have important implications for current legislative and judicial disputes over patent reform. As biotech worries about deterrence of new innovation and software worries about patent trolls dominate the debates, we may be ignoring some of the most important effects of Alice.

          • Rakuten Joins Linux Patent Consortium ‘Open Invention Network’

            OIN’s mission is to enable freedom of action for its community members and users of Linux/open source software-based technology through its patent non-aggression cross-license in the Linux System. OIN has over 3,100 members from around the world, and by becoming a member of OIN, patents related to the Linux System held by Rakuten Group will become available for cross-licensing.

      • Trademarks

        • Roundtable Meeting on Post-Grant Patent Opposition Before the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office

          FICPI-Turkey held the ninth of its traditional roundtable meetings at Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“Türk Patent”) on 13 December 2019. The meeting was moderated by Selin Sinem Erciyas, who is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of FICPI-Turkey and Serkan Özkan, who is an Intellectual Property Expert at Türk Patent. The post-grant patent opposition procedures were discussed at the meeting.

          Dr. Elif Betül Akın, who is the President of the Re-Examination and Evaluation Board (“REEB”) of Türk Patent and Salih Bektaş, who is the President of Patent Department of Türk Patent, were also present at the meeting.

          The meeting commenced with Dr. Elif Betül Akın’s speech, and she stated that they have not yet examined a post-grant patent opposition, the process has come into force with the Industrial Property Code no. 6769 (“IP Code ”), and that the procedure was stipulated under Article 99 of the IP Code. She noted that the main purpose of this opposition process is to increase the quality of patents, to facilitate the registration processes, and to comply with the EPC. She added that the post-grant patent oppositions will be examined by the REEB, third parties will be able to file oppositions upon grant of the patent, and the decision will be made by REEB consisting of experts who did not participate in the first decision.

        • India’s First Covid-19 IP Dispute? Dettol Handwash Ad Claimed to Disparage Lifebuoy Soap Trademark

          The case came to the court after the HUL (‘Plaintiff’) came across RB’s (Defendant) advertisement promoting its Dettol handwash, which portrayed that bar/solid soaps aren’t as effective as the liquid soap for washing hands, which is particularly important for tackling COVID-19. The contention put forth by HUL was two-fold. First, that the Dettol handwash ad disparaged Lifebuoy soaps by showing a soap with the same shape, configuration and color as HUL’s registered red Lifebuoy soap; and second, by copying HUL’s advertisement which was published earlier. In its plaint, HUL claimed that while it was trying to promote awareness about COVID-19 by encouraging the habit of regularly washing hands, using not just Lifebuoy soaps, but rather any soap, the Defendant was aiming to disparage and denigrate HUL’s product.

          HUL made a claim that in light of the World Health Organization’s guidelines to use soap and water for regular hand washing, the Dettol ad allegedly creates a scare and falsely propagates that soaps are ineffective. The plaint said –

        • [Guest Post] Appeals to the Appointed Person in the UK – the unappealing truth

          The odds are not good. In the first two months of 2020 there have been 21 published decisions from the Appointed Person in the UK – that compares with just over 40 in the whole of 2019. However of those 21 appeals only three were successful and only one actually resulted in a material change to the first instance outcome.

          Decisions made by the UK IPO can be appealed to the Appointed Person or to the court. Appointed Persons are senior lawyers who are expert in IP law and this appeal route is an attractive option in many cases as it offers a high quality at low cost compared with the court, but it should be noted that the decision of the Appointed Person is final – there is no further appeal from a decision of the Appointed Person – in contrast a decision from the court can be appealed further.

          There are two main reasons why so many appeals are unsuccessful. First, the quality of decision making by the UK IPO at first instance is very high and, second, many appellants appear to misunderstand the standard of the appeal process.

        • USE OF A TRADEMARK ON THE INTERNET WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF UKRAINE

          Ukrainian legislation does not contain specific provisions that allow to distinguish which manners of use of a trademark on the Internet constitute the use in the territory of Ukraine, especially when use of a trademark in the virtual environment is concerned.

          The criteria of such use can be inferred, to a greater or lesser extent, from judicial practice and from the “Joint Recommendation Concerning Provisions on the Protection of Marks, and Other Industrial Property Rights in Signs, on the Internet” adopted by the WIPO in 2001.

          Here you will find explanations on how to determine if a trademark is being used in Ukraine through its use on the Internet and explanations on certain existing in Ukraine exceptions to trademark rights.

        • The Makers of “Endless Summer” Are Taking on Nike, Champs in Trademark Infringement Fight

          This past summer in an attempt to sell a collection of orange and blue accented Nike sneakers – from the Beaverton, Oregon-based brand’s React Presto to its Air Max styles – in more than 500 stores across the U.S., Champs looked to “the most important and influential” surfing films of all time for inspiration. What was born was a campaign called “Endless Summer,” complete with posters and social media promotions that featured Nike’s name alongside a graphic of a “stylized blue wave with a large orange sun.”
          In both name and design, the campaign was a clear take on the seminal 1966 film, The Endless Summer. The problem with that, according to Bruce Brown Films, LLC, the company founded by The Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown, and tasked with merchandising and licensing the intellectual property of the Endless Summer film and its iconic posters? Neither Nike nor Champs licensed the trademark-protected “Endless Summer” name or the trade dress-protected graphics – namely, “a series of stylized blue waves with a large orange sun” – associated with it before they launched their nation-wide campaign.
          With that in mind, Bruce Brown Films filed suit against Nike, Champs, and Champs’ parent company Footlocker in a federal court in California this week, accusing the sportswear entities of “knowingly” and “impermissibly trad[ing] on the fame and goodwill associated with [the Endless Summer] intellectual property in [their] unauthorized use” of Bruce Brown Films’ trademarks.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright anti-circumvention bill faces pleas for reform

          Sources from the Motion Picture Association, the North Dakota Farmers Union and the National Federation of the Blind reveal the effects of Section 1201 on their stakeholders

        • Now Available: Platform Regulation Project Resource Page

          The first phase of the Platform Regulation project provides an empirical mapping of the UK regulatory landscape. With the emergence of platforms as a distinct new regulatory object, what are the UK’s options in this rapidly evolving landscape? In the context of international developments – such as the anticipated EU Digital Services Act, this project maps the statutory basis and duties of key UK regulators and looks ahead to potential new responsibilities. The research team are – Prof. Martin Kretschmer, Prof. Philip Schlesinger and Dr Ula Furgal (from research centres CREATe and CCPR). The project is funded within the research programme of the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC).

        • BREAKING: CJEU rules that hiring out of motor vehicles equipped with radio receivers does not constitute a communication to the public

          Can a car leasing company – by leasing cars equipped with radio receivers – be considered a ‘user’ that performs a communication to the public?

          This, in a nutshell, was at the heart of the referral from the Swedish Supreme Court to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Stim and Sami, C-753/18.

          EU law, as interpreted by the CJEU, provides that a communication to the public may take place – in the manner envisaged by Article 3(1) of Directive 2001/29 (InfoSoc Directive) – when transmissions are made by means of technical equipment to a nearby public (e.g. in a hotel, café, rehabilitation centre, or a spa). Hotel operators carry out a “communication to the public” in light of Article 8(2) of Directive 2006/115 (Rental Rights Directive), when hotel rooms are equipped with phonograms available in digital or physical form and which can be played or intercepted (Phonographic Performance Ireland, C-162/10). Nonetheless, the CJEU also came to the contrary conclusion regarding transmission of phonograms in a dentist’s waiting room (Società Consortile Fonografici, C-135/10).

          [...]

          In view of the CJEU, there was therefore no need to examine whether such making available must be regarded as a communication to a ‘public’.

        • Covid fashion While under coronavirus quarantine in St. Petersburg, a Russian designer demonstrates Photoshop’s salubriousness

          Designer Artyom Ivanov and several of his friends recently found themselves quarantined at St. Petersburg’s Botkin Hospital, after coming into contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-10. The group ultimately tested negative for the disease and was discharged, but not before Ivanov got the idea to “create” a fashion magazine devoted to style in the age of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the faux magazine Botkina Covid Fashion was born.

        • EU Says That, No, Rental Car Companies Don’t Need To Pay A License To Rent Cars With Radios That Might Play Music

          Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), sometimes known as “Collection Societies,” have a long history of demanding licensing for just about every damn thing. That’s why there was just some confusion about whether or not those with musical talents would even be allowed to perform from their balconies while in COVID-19 lockdown. And if you thought that it was crazy that anyone would even worry about things like that, it’s because you haven’t spent years following the crazy demands made by PROs, including demanding a license for a woman in a grocery store singing while stocking the shelves, a public performance license for having the radio on in a horse stable (for the horses), or claiming that your ringtone needs a separate “public performance” license, or saying that hotels that have radios in their rooms should pay a public performance license.

        • Accused Pirate Walks Free After Bank Statements Show he Was Not at Home

          The Copenhagen City Court has dismissed a copyright infringement claim against a man who stood accused of movie piracy. Proving one’s innocence can be tricky in file-sharing lawsuits. In this case, however, bank records were particularly helpful as these revealed that the man wasn’t anywhere near his home at the time of the offense.

        • Russia Pirate Sites Dump 1XBET in Favor of Identical Yet Legal 1XStavka

          A study published in 2019 revealed that controversial gambling company 1XBET, known for placing adverts on pirate sites, had become the third most active online advertiser in Russia. Now, however, 1XBET has dropped to a lowly 20th position, but with a twist. Jumping straight into sixth place just behind Google and Danone is 1XStavka, a legal gambling site that’s identical to 1XBET.

        • Effort to publicly release every melody could face legal hurdles

          Attempts to put every possible melody into the public domain algorithmically – to counteract frivolous lawsuits – could have a limited effect, according to some copyright lawyers

04.04.20

Links 4/4/2020: Sparky 5.11, Firefox 74.0.1, POCL 1.5

Posted in News Roundup at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Announcing Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager 4.3

        Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager, release 4.3. This server virtualization management platform can be easily deployed to configure, monitor, and manage an Oracle Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) environment with enterprise-grade performance and support from Oracle. This release is based on the 4.3.6 release of the open source oVirt project.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Storage Stories | TechSNAP 426

        We take a look at Cloudflare’s impressive Linux disk encryption speed-ups, and explore how zoned storage tools like dm-zoned and zonefs might help mitigate the downsides of Shingled Magnetic Recording.

        Plus we celebrate WireGuard’s inclusion in the Linux 5.6 kernel, and fight some exFAT FUD.

      • Brunch with Brent: Daniel Foré | Jupiter Extras 68

        Brent sits down with Daniel Foré, founder of elementary OS and co-host of User Error. We explore his early years in design and software, formative aspects of Ubuntu and Gentoo, the philosophies and history of elementary OS, and more.

      • 2020-04-03 | Linux Headlines

        Outreachy receives the second Open Source Community Grant from IBM, the LLVM project adds mitigations for Load Value Injection attacks, more bad news for the Linux-based Atari VCS console, and the Python Software Foundation seeks recurring sponsorships to support its software repository.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 189 – Video game hackers – speedrunning

        Josh and Kurt talk about video games and hacking. Specifically how speed runners are really just video game hackers.

      • LHS Episode #336: The Weekender XLV

        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.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds Questions The Not So Glorious Driver For That Funky Looking RGB Mouse

        Last month I noted a new Linux driver for a buggy and funky looking mouse. A special driver was created by a community developer due to not all the mice button working otherwise due to not abiding by HID specifications. Now that the driver was merged for Linux 5.7, Linus Torvalds had words to share on this open-source driver.

        The hid-glorious driver is a basic HID Linux driver needed for PC Gaming Race’s Glorious mice of at least some different models. Their HID behavior is not following spec resulting in some mouse buttons not working. This isn’t some knock-off super cheap mouse either but the Glorious Model O for instance retails for $50 USD.

      • PCI Changes For Linux 5.7 Bring Error Disconnect Recover, P2P DMA For Skylake-E

        The PCI subsystem changes were sent out today for the ongoing Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

        The PCI highlights for the Linux 5.7 kernel include:

        - Error Disconnect Recover (EDR) support for ACPI so firmware can report devices disconnected and try to recover when hitting an error.

      • Linux 5.7′s Char/Misc Brings MHI Bus, Habana Labs AI Accelerator Code Additions

        Greg Kroah-Hartman on Friday sent in his “char/misc” updates for the Linux 5.7 kernel several days later than normal.

        Greg was delayed in his char/misc pull request due to last minute reverts but now all is well for this random smattering of extra kernel bits. Some of the Linux 5.7 char/misc changes include:

        - The new MHI bus developed by Qualcomm for the Modem Host Interface as a communication protocol between their processors and wireless modems.

      • Graphics Stack

        • High Resolution Wheel Scrolling Back To Being Finished Up For The Linux Desktop

          Added over a year ago to the mainline Linux kernel was the high resolution mouse wheel scrolling support. While the support landed on kernel-side for to provide “buttery smooth” wheel scrolling, the work has yet to be wrapped up on the user-space side for making this a reality on the Linux desktop.

          Nearly a year ago to the day we reported the Wayland support for high resolution scroll wheel being worked on by longtime Linux input expert Peter Hutterer. Since then all has been quiet on this functionality for Linux.

        • Peter Hutterer: High resolution wheel scrolling in the desktop stack

          This is a follow up from the kernel support for high-resolution wheel scrolling which you totally forgot about because it’s already more then a year in the past and seriously, who has the attention span these days to remember this. Anyway, I finally found time and motivation to pick this up again and I started lining up the pieces like cans, for it only to be shot down by the commentary of strangers on the internet. The Wayland merge request lists the various pieces (libinput, wayland, weston, mutter, gtk and Xwayland) but for the impatient there’s also an Fedora 32 COPR. For all you weirdos inexplicably not running the latest Fedora, well, you’ll have to compile this yourself, just like I did.

          Let’s recap: in v5.0 the kernel added new axes REL_WHEEL_HI_RES and REL_HWHEEL_HI_RES for all devices. On devices that actually support high-resolution wheel scrolling (Logitech and Microsoft mice, primarily) you’ll get multiple hires events before the now-legacy REL_WHEEL events. On all other devices those two are in sync.

        • AMD ACO Backend Implements 8-bit / 16-bit Storage Capabilities – Needed For DOOM Eternal

          It’s been another busy week for Mesa’s RADV Vulkan driver with the Valve-backed ACO compiler back-end alternative to AMDGPU LLVM.

          ACO, which has been wildly popular with Radeon Linux gamers for offering quicker load times and often better overall performance, continues working quite well though isn’t the default yet and has been missing some features in comparison to AMDGPU LLVM.

        • NIR Vectorization Lands In Mesa 20.1 For Big Intel Graphics Performance Boost

          The recently covered NIR vectorization pass ported from AMD’s ACO back-end for improving the open-source Intel Linux graphics performance has landed now in Mesa 20.1.

          This vectorization pass for NIR came about last month and based on the AMD ACO optimization while with the Intel implementation benefits both OpenGL and Vulkan with this pass being at the NIR intermediate representation level.

    • Benchmarks

      • Dell XPS Ice Lake Taking A Wallop On Ubuntu 20.04

        With our early benchmarking of Ubuntu 20.04 in its current nearing the end of development state, we’ve been seeing Ubuntu 20.04 boosting Intel Xeon Scalable performance, running well with AMD EPYC Rome, and good AMD Ryzen performance, among other tests. Strangely though the one platform where I’ve found Ubuntu 20.04 hard regressing so far is with the Dell XPS 7390 Ice Lake.

    • Applications

      • Cockpit 216

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 216.

      • Excellent Console-Based YouTube Tools

        YouTube is a video-sharing website, created in February 2005, and purchased by Google in November 2006. The web service lets billions of people find, watch, and share originally-created videos. This service lets you watch a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. It also offers a forum for people to communicate with others around the world, and acts as a distribution platform. Mainstream media corporations such as CBS, Vevo, Hulu and the BBC publish some of their catalog via YouTube, as part of the YouTube partnership program.

        Although some parents might disagree, YouTube is one of the shining lights of the internet. According to a survey of 1,500 American teenagers commissioned by Variety, the top five most influential celebrities are YouTube stars, with mainstream celebs eclipsed. Moreover, there are many thousands of “YouTube celebs” who have spun a full-time career of creating videos. This new wave of young ‘YouTubers’ threaten mainstream entertainment with their direct video blogs and interaction with their millions of mostly teenage devotees.

      • Sparky Upgrade text tool

        There is a tool available for Sparkers, which lets you make full system upgrade in a text mode via just one command: Sparky Upgrade.

      • FSFE Supporters write about Free Software for remote working

        Due to the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak many employees – voluntarily or mandatory – are working remotely now. Many organisations who have not been used to remote working so far now face a number of difficulties adapting to the situation. To avoid potential lock-ins, some FSFE supporters collectively wrote about the good reasons to use Free Software for remote working and collected a detailed list of practical solutions in our wiki.

        Because of the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak many organisations who never previously directed any strategic thought towards the available solutions for remote working in their business now opt for a quick solution and choose to follow the – in the beginning often free of charge – offerings from big tech companies and their proprietary solutions. However, such proprietary solutions lock-in these organisations in the future.

        Choosing a Free Software solution instead means to opt for a solution that has a future, where your organization no longer depends on a particular vendor or file format or whichever other means those vendors choose to lock you in. Free Software puts you in control.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Side-scrolling open world RPG ‘Regions Of Ruin’ is FREE this weekend

        In the mood to play something new? How about a game that blends the side-scrolling of Kingdom and adds in some open-world RPG elements too? Regions Of Ruin is FREE until April 7.

        When I say free, I mean it too. This is not a free weekend, if you add it to your Steam account you’ve got it forever. The developer said they’ve done this to just help people who are bored and at home due to COVID-19 lockdown. What a wonderful gesture.

      • Sparklite has some gorgeous art, intense action and it’s coming to Linux

        Sparklite from Red Blue Games, an action-adventure set in a whimsical and ever-changing land, released on Steam last year and it’s on the way to Linux. When speaking to the team over email, they confirmed that it’s coming to Linux. Not only that, they’re “actually working on it now”.

        Inspired by the likes of Rogue Legacy and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past it’s a top-down action-adventure with tons of gadgets, guns and gear to collect. Set in a procedurally generated world for a fresh experience each team, you need to take down titans of the mining industry, and harness the power Sparklite. Check

      • Steam and CS:GO just keep knocking down records as Steam hits over 24 million concurrent users

        There seems to be no stopping Steam right now, Valve are on a roll with repeatedly breaking their own user records.

        Sound familiar? Yeah, at this point it’s not even a surprise. With masses more people staying home, it’s going to happen and likely again a few more times still. Yesterday, for the first time, Steam hit over 24 million concurrent users online at the same time with just over 7 million of those actually in a game.

        We missed something else too, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has repeatedly smashed through milestones too since last writing about it only a week or so ago. At each peak time of around 6-7PM UTC, CS:GO regularly smashed records over the last week to a new high of 1,226,724 set on April 1st.

      • Steam Survey Points To Tiny Uptick In Linux Percentage For March

        With the Steam Survey numbers out this week, the March 2020 statistics point to the Linux gaming marketshare ticking up by 0.04% to 0.87%. But in reality that is almost a rounding error and sticks to what we have largely been seeing in recent months of 0.8~0.9% for Linux gaming on Steam. Though even with the record number of users on Steam in March, it’s good to see the Linux percentage didn’t actually diminish — at least according to the survey numbers.

      • The Atari VCS is in trouble again as Rob Wyatt sues Atari for lack of payment

        Rob Wyatt, the architect behind the original Xbox and someone Atari hired to work on the Atari VCS system is now suing Atari over their failure to actually pay up.

        This is something we mentioned last year, when it was announced that Wyatt left Atari on poor terms, mentiong how they hadn’t actually payed for over six months and they were left with no choice but to leave the project. Since then, we’ve not heard much. Atari continued putting out their development blog posts, showing off pictures of units in production in China and delaying the release. Spotted by VentureBeat and confirmed here, Tin Giant (Rob Wyatt’s company), are now suing Atari over a “Breach of Contract”. According to the suit, Atari owes something around $261,720 which is no small sum.

      • Hypnotic puzzle-adventure ‘Path to Mnemosyne’ looks wild and it’s now on Linux

        Path to Mnemosyne from DevilishGames originally released back in 2018, going on to receive some quite positive reviews about the setting and visuals and now it’s on Linux. It does look incredibly trippy, and they say the “infinite zoom” feature makes it quite unique.

      • Humble Choice has a new bundle up for April with a bonus game if you subscribe

        Humble Choice, the monthly game bundle subscription has a fresh selection ready for April and they’re giving out a bonus game to people who subscribe. This is the tiered subscription that gives you the ability to pick a certain amount of games based on whatever level you sub at.

      • FROGSONG is a sweet looking frog adventure where it’s okay to be small

        Ready for an adventure of a different sort? FROGSONG looks really quite sweet, an action adventure where you’re an actual frog hopping around in a world ‘where it’s okay to be small’.

      • Valve and CodeWeavers now offering test builds of Proton before release with Proton 5.0-6 RC1 up

        Looks like Valve and CodeWeavers are switching up how Proton is released, with a series of test builds now being provided before a new stable release in the hopes of seeing less issues.

        Looking to get started with Steam Play on Linux? Have no idea what it is? Be sure to check our previous beginners guide for some tips and explanations. We’ll be keeping that up to date with any major changes.

        Today, Wine hacker and CodeWeavers developer Andrew Eikum announced the release of Proton 5.0-6 RC1 on the Proton GitHub page. Keep in mind these new builds haven’t had the usual quality assurance as the main Proton releases, however it’s a good chance for more people to test before they go live for everyone on Steam.

      • Proton 5.0-6 To Allow Out-Of-The-Box DOOM Eternal On Linux

        Valve is finishing up work on Proton 5.0-6 as the next version of their Wine downstream that powers Steam Play. With Proton 5.0-6 are some promising improvements.

        Most notably, Proton 5.0-6 will allow DOOM Eternal to run out-of-the-box under Steam Play on Linux. This Windows game was recently released and has been seeing improvements for its Wine-based Linux support. There have also been driver optimizations already by NVIDIA’s Vulkan driver as well as RADV improvements too for some hardware with this latest game in the DOOM franchise. Now with Proton 5.0-6 should be a pleasant out-of-the-box experience after fixing some DRM failures. The latest Vulkan drivers are still a must.

      • More Switch games

        Sonic Mania is a really lovely homage to the classic 90s Sonic the Hedgehog platform games. Featuring more or less the classic gameplay, and expanded versions of the original levels, with lots of secrets, surprises and easter eggs for fans of the original. On my recommendation a friend of mine bought it for her daughter’s birthday recently but her daughter will now have to prise her mum off it! Currently on sale at 30% off (£11.19). The one complaint I have about it is the lack of females in the roster of 5 playable characters.

      • Why Nullpomino is the only acceptable open-source Tetris

        Note: acceptable from the perspective of a Tetris fanatic who regularly uses jargon like SRS, lock delay, DAS, ARR, etc. For the casual player, these games are perfectly fine. Albeit, I would recommend Quadrapassel over KBlocks to casuals because of the better rotation.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Developing KWin Wayland

          On the last few weeks I’ve been looking at KWin more closely than in the past. It’s definitely a special beast within KDE and I figured it could be useful to give some hints on how to develop and test it.

          When developing something, first step is always to compile and get the code installed and usable. It’s especially delicate because when we mess up our system becomes quite unusable so it needs to be done with care. To prevent major damage, we can probably try installing it into a separate prefix (See this blog post, change kate for kwin).
          Second step is to make sure that modifying the code will modify the behaviour you perceive. This is what we’ll focus on in this piece.

          Bear in mind most of the things I’m saying here are possibly obvious and not news, but it’s still good to have it written in case you feel like building on this (not fun to come up with) experience.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The 15 Best Cinnamon Themes for Linux System in 2020

          Linux Mint is an excellent community-driven Linux distro based on Ubuntu. It is very popular among beginners because Linux Mint is very easy to use. Though it has Debian in its core, the user interface is quite modern and beautiful. It is mostly because of its default desktop environment Cinnamon. This open-source desktop environment can be used on other Linux distributions. Cinnamon is almost similar to Xfce and GNOME 2 because of its conservative design model. But since its release in 2011, it has got huge coverage because of its ease-of-use. The active developer community of Cinnamon is relentlessly developing amazing Cinnamon themes for the mass users. These Linux Mint themes can change your desktop and create such a gorgeous look.

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: This Month in Mutter & GNOME Shell | March 2020

          During March, GNOME Shell and Mutter saw their 3.36.0 and 3.36.1 releases, and the beginning of the 3.38 development cycle. We’ve focused most of the development efforts on fixing bugs before starting the new development cycle.

          From the development perspective, the 3.36.0 release was fantastic, and the number of regressions relative to the massive amount of changes that happened during the last cycle was remarkably small.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • LMDE4: How Much Does Debian Matter?

          LMDE4 works as intended. It is a more polished release overall than last year’s version 3. It proves the developer’s experimental intent. Linux Mint certainly can carry on with relatively minor changes should there ever be a parting of ways over the continued use of the Ubuntu Linux base.

          What could make LMDE a better proposition going forward? Adding more diversification with a choice of MATE and Xfce desktops.

          That would put the Debian-based Linux Mint variant on a more equal footing. In turn, the additional options could create interest in a Debian Linux-based alternative for potential new Linux Mint users who do not want the Cinnamon desktop.

      • New Releases

        • ExTiX LXQt ‘Mini’, featuring Linux 5.6.2 released

          With ExTiX 20.4 running live, users can take a snapshot using the pre-installed Refracta tool to create their own installable Ubuntu 20.04. While I can’t verify that doing so is ‘so easy that a ten-year-old child can do it’ as developer Exton claims, it is quite easy and intuitive.

          Another keen feature of ExTiX 20.4 is that the distro utilizes the latest Linux kernel, version 5.6.2-exton, surprisingly released on the same day as ExTiX 20.4, itself.

          ExTiX 20.4 also uses LXQt as its desktop environment.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Mesa, Nano, Redis, Git Update in openSUSE Tumbleweed

          Another four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released this week.

          A notable package updated this week is a new major version of (gucharmap)[https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Gucharmap]. Plus several python package updates, nano, mesa, git and Xfce packages also had new minor updates.

          The most recent snapshot, 202000331 is trending well with a stable rating of 99 on the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer. The GNOME Character Map, gucharmap, updated to version 13.0.0, but no changelog was provided. An update for glib2 2.62.6 is expected to be the final release of the stable 2.62.x series; maintenance efforts will be shifted to the newer 2.64.x series. The updated glib2 package fixed SOCKS5 username/password authentication. The 2.34 binutils package added and removed a few patches. GTK3 3.24.16 fixed problems with clipboard handling and fixed a crash in the Wayland input method. The package for creating business diagrams, kdiagram 2.6.2 fixed printing issue. The Linux Kernel updated to 5.5.13. A handful of Advanced Linux Sound Architecture changes were made in the kernel update. The 5.6.x kernel is expected to be released in a Tumbleweed snapshot soon. The libstorage-ng 4.2.71 package simplified combining disks with different block sizes into RAID. The programming language vala 0.46.7 made verious improvements and bug fixes and properly set CodeNode.error when reporting an error. Several xfce4 packages were updated and xfce4-pulseaudio-plugin 0.4.3 fixed various memory leaks and warnings and xterm 353 was updated. The yast2-firewall 4.2.4 packaged was updated and forces a reset of the firewalld API instance after modifying the service state and yast2-storage-ng 4.2.104 extended and improved the Application Programming Interface to get udev names for a block device

          The package to improve audio and video under Linux pipewire 0.3.1 switched the license to MIT and added fdupes BuildRequires and pass fdupes macro while removing duplicate files, which came in snapshot 20200326. The 1.1.9 spec-cleaner package drop travis and tox and now uses github actions. Several python arrived in this snapshot. Python-packaging 20.3 fixed a bug that caused a 32-bit OS that runs on a 64-bit ARM CPU (e.g. ARM-v8, aarch64), to report the wrong bitness and python-SQLAlchemy 1.3.15 fixed regression in 1.3.14. The Xfce file manager package, thunar 1.8.14 updated translations and reverted a bug that introduced a regression. The snapshot recorded a stable rating of 99.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/14

          The week started with problems inside the openSUSE Tumbleweed distribution (caught by QA, so no worries) and ended even worse: we have some trouble on openQA since Thursday and many tests are failing. The failures seem more to be related to openQA’s infrastructure though, and not to openSUSE Tumbleweed. Nevertheless, we will not publish new snapshots until QA is stable again. During this week we have thus only released two snapshots: 0326 and 0331 (promised, no joke).

        • Kubic with Kubernetes 1.18.0 released

          The Kubic Project is proud to announce that Snapshot 20200331 has been released containing Kubernetes 1.18.0.

          Release Notes are avaialble HERE.

        • Containers and SUSE® Manager 4

          Linux container technology dials up efficiency and keeps costs to a minimum, but only if you have the tools you need to keep control of audits, updates, configuration and other lifecycle tasks. And with the ever-changing technology landscape, it has become critical that such management technology can work with containers. Fortunately, SUSE® Manager 4 includes such a solution, with tools for easily managing your container-based Linux resources.

        • Fast Track Your Digital Transformation Today

          As the world faces travel restrictions, school closures and work from home advisories that aim to limit the spread of COVID-19, businesses are confronted by a new imperative: fast track their digital transformation, or be outpaced by the competition.

          At SUSE, we believe you can achieve digital transformation, drive innovation AND focus on value even during tough times. There’s no need to trade one for the other. And our open source solutions are here to help.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Council January 2020 in-person meeting

          The Fedora Council stuck around Brno the day after DevConf.CZ to have a day-long working session. This is part of our newly-adopted regular cadence of in-person meetings. We mostly used this day to follow up on some items from the November meeting, including the vision statement.

        • Fedora Join SIG 2019 retrospective

          There are five active members animating the SIG. One new contributor asked to join the SIG in 2019. And other people not formally part of the SIG but that welcome new people and hang around in the Telegram group, proposing new ideas and giving feedback on various topics.

          We get in touch with new people practically every day.

          The majority of newcomers get in touch via Telegram, someone via IRC and the fewer in the mailing list.

        • What’s new in the Fedora Security Lab?

          Unlike other security distributions is the Fedora Security Lab, speaking about the live media here, not standing alone. The Fedora Security Lab is a package set inside the Fedora Package Collection and a part of that package set is available as live media.

          Everything, I mean everything, that is present in this package set can be used on a regular Fedora installation (some parts are also available for EPEL). You don’t have to switch to a different distribution to perform a security test, an assessment or doing forensics, simple use your day-by-day system.

        • Making a git forge decision

          After evaluating over 300 user stories from multiple stakeholders, the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team have aligned on a decision for the git forge that CPE will operate for the coming years. We are opting for GitLab for our dist git and project hosting and will continue to run pagure.io with community assistance.

          A lot of comments and concerns were raised about the suitability of GitHub as a forge of choice. The preference from all stakeholders (Fedora, CentOS, RHEL, CPE) is that GitHub is not a contender and not a preference. With that in mind, we have decided to not analyse it as an option and respect the wider wishes of our stakeholders. Therefore the rest of this analysis focuses on Pagure versus GitLab as our choice.

          Looking at the user story list, we have a picture of a standard set of practices that users expect to have from a git forge. The basics of storing code, accessing it, merging, forking and the traditional git workflow are satisfied by both gorges under investigation.

        • PHP version 7.3.17RC1 and 7.4.5RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

        • editorconfig-geany available for Fedora via Copr
      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 5.11

          A quarterly update point release of live/install media of Sparky 5.11 “Nibiru” of the stable line is out. This is a release based on Debian 10 “Buster”.

          Changes:
          – the base system upgraded from Debian stable repos as of March 1, 2020
          – Linux kernel 4.19.98 LTS (PC)
          – Linux kernel 4.19.97 LTS (ARMHF)
          – added 9 new nature wallpapers captured by Aneta, Pavbaranov and me
          – Sparky repository changed to the named “nibiru” (“stable” works as before); no need to manually change the repo; see also: https://sparkylinux.org/sparky-named-repos/
          – Firefox 68.6.0 ESR
          – Thunderbird 68.6.0
          – LibreOffice 6.1.5

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical releases LXD 4.0 LTS machine container hypervisor

          Canonical, the company behind the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, has announced the availability of LXD 4.0 LTS, its machine container hypervisor. This is the third long-term support release of LXD and will receive updates for five years until June 2025. This update includes improved networking, storage, and security features.

          One of the new features in this update is support for adding virtual machines. The firm said that VM images are available for most common Linux distributions but that more will be added in the future. Until now, LXD focused on containers, with the introduction of VM support, Canonical says it wants to give users a similar experience whether they choose to use a container or a virtual machine.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Flavours Hit Beta, But What’s New?

          Rather than push out a post for each of them I figured I’d offer a concise roundup of their major new features, alongside links to download the relevant beta snapshot for your own testing and/or enjoyment!

          Remember: if you install Ubuntu 20.04 beta (any flavour) and you want to upgrade to the final stable release on April 23, you can: just install ALL updates issued between now and then to do so.

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS ‘Focal Fossa’ Beta now available for download

          Today is Friday, meaning later this afternoon, we will officially be starting the weekend! Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many of us will be spending our weekend downtime indoors once again. Sigh. The weekend is far less exciting when you’ve been self-quarantining for weeks due to a pandemic.

          Thankfully, we can all still have plenty of fun while indoors thanks to the internet. Not only can we stream video and music, but we can play online video games too. If you are a computer nerd, however, I have a much better suggestion — install the Ubuntu Beta! That’s right, Linux fans, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” Beta is now available for download. This doesn’t just include the “vanilla” GNOME version either, but other variants like Kubuntu and Xubuntu as well.

        • Kubuntu Focal Fossa (20.04 LTS) Beta Released

          The beta of Focal Fossa (to become 20.04 LTS) has now been released, and is available for download.

          User of Kubuntu, Ubuntu, and other flavours are invited to take part in #UbuntuTestingWeek.

          This milestone features images for Kubuntu and other Ubuntu flavours.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” Beta Released

          Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” heads toward its final release later this month with the Beta release. Ubuntu 20.04 Beta version is available to download with a number of changes & new features in the base system.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta is Available. Download Now.

          The beta release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is here and it is available for download immediately. The final release is planned on Apr 23, 2020, and this beta release gives early adopters, testers a quick preview on what to expect on the final product.

          Before you read on the various changes in Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa”, note that Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” is supported for five years till July 2025 as per standard LTS policy. Hence it is a significant release considering desktop and servers which is running the current stable Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 has hit Beta (as have all the extra flavours) – help make it a release to remember

          Ah Ubuntu, it’s like a warm cuddly blanket or a favourite jumper. There’s others in your wardrobe but nothing is quite like the comfy and safe feel of it. A major new version is approaching with Ubuntu 20.04 which is a “Long Term Support” release.

          Ubuntu 20.04 and all the flavours like Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Budgie and so on have all hit the Beta stage so they’re ready for some wider testing and reporting. It’s also now Ubuntu Testing Week which runs until April 8, which all the effort now focused on ISO testing, bug reporting, and of course fixing bugs.

        • The State of Robotics – March 2020

          Damn it March. 2020 was doing so well. The biggest news last month was the dramatic escalation of COVID-19. We won’t go into any detail, I’m sure you’re seeing enough of that. But due to the outbreak, the state of robotics this March has been, heartwarming. We have seen a surge in online learning platforms, companies, startups and communities rising to the challenge. Members of open-source communities across the world are doing great things, with and without robotics, to support whoever they can. In this blog, we first want to highlight at a few responses to COVID-19 using robotics. And then it’s back to usual programming, highlighting robotics work and projects we have seen or done in March. If we have missed something in particular, please reach out to robotics.community@canonical.com and let us know.

        • Edge AI in a 5G world – part 3: Why ‘smart cell towers’ matter to AI

          In part 1 we talked about the industrial applications and benefits that 5G and fast compute at the edge will bring to AI products. In part 2 we went deeper into how you can benefit from this new opportunity. In this part we will focus on the key technical barriers that 5G and Edge compute remove for AI applications.

        • Edge AI in a 5G world – part 4: How your business can benefit from ‘smart cell towers’

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

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Andy Wingo: multi-value webassembly in firefox: from 1 to n

            Greetings, hackers! Today I’d like to write about something I worked on recently: implementation of the multi-value future feature of WebAssembly in Firefox, as sponsored by Bloomberg.

            In the “minimum viable product” version of WebAssembly published in 2018, there were a few artificial restrictions placed on the language. Functions could only return a single value; if a function would naturally return two values, it would have to return at least one of them by writing to memory. Loops couldn’t take parameters; any loop state variables had to be stored to and loaded from indexed local variables at each iteration. Similarly, any block that would naturally return more than one result would also have to do so via locals.

            This restruction is lifted with the multi-value proposal. Function types now map from result type to result type, where a result type is a sequence of value types. That is to say, just as functions can take multiple arguments, they can return multiple results. Similarly, with the multi-value proposal, block types are now the same as function types: loops and blocks can take arguments and return any number of results. This change improves the expressiveness of WebAssembly as a compilation target; a C++ program compiled to multi-value WebAssembly can be encoded in fewer bytes than before. Multi-value also establishes a base for other language extensions. For example, the exception handling proposal builds on multi-value to pass multiple values to catch blocks.

          • 74.0.1 Firefox Release

            Version 74.0.1, first offered to Release channel users on April 3, 2020

          • Firefox 74.0.1

            Firefox 74.0.1 has been released with two security fixes. CVE-2020-6819 is a use-after-free when running the nsDocShell destructor and CVE-2020-6820 is a use-after-free when handling a ReadableStream. In both cases there have been targeted attacks in the wild abusing these flaws. These issues have also been fixed in Firefox ESR 68.6.1.

          • Creating VR Worlds and Teaching Class with Mozilla Hubs

            With so many people stuck at home, self-isolating, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people in every walk of life, including educators, are looking for novel ways to reach out to their audience. For teachers, that means students in classes that are now empty. How best to create and present content to students scattered in their various homes? Virtual reality (VR) presents an interesting way to scratch every itch, from the social, to the visual, to the need for ‘being there’. It’s also a great way to explore new and interesting ways to share information with students. #teachers #virtualreality #covid19

          • Twitter Direct Message Caching and Firefox

            Twitter is telling its users that their personal direct messages might be stored in Firefox’s web cache.

            This problem affects anyone who uses Twitter on Firefox from a shared computer account. Those users should clear their cache.

            This post explains how this problem occurred, what the implications are for those people who might be affected, and how problems of this nature might be avoided in future. To get there, we need to dig a little into how web caching works.

          • Twitter Data Cache on Mozilla Firefox

            We recently learned that the way Mozilla Firefox stores cached data may have resulted in non-public information being inadvertently stored in the browser’s cache. This means that if you accessed Twitter from a shared or public computer via Mozilla Firefox and took actions like downloading your Twitter data archive or sending or receiving media via Direct Message, this information may have been stored in the browser’s cache even after you logged out of Twitter. The Mozilla Firefox browser’s cache retention period is set to 7 days and after that time the information should have automatically been removed from the cache. This issue did not impact people using other browsers like Safari or Chrome.

          • What you need to know about Twitter on Firefox

            Yesterday Twitter announced that for Firefox users data such as direct messages (DMs) might be left sitting on their computers even if they logged out. In this post I’ll try to help sort out what’s going on here.

            First, it’s important to understand the risk: what we’re talking about is “cached” data. All web browsers store local copies of data they get from servers so that they can avoid downloading the same data over the internet repeatedly. This makes a huge performance difference because websites are full of large files that change infrequently. Ordinarily this is what you want, but if you share a computer with other people, then they might be able to see that cached data, even if you have logged out of Twitter. It’s important to know that this data is just stored locally, so if you don’t share a computer this isn’t a problem for you. If you do share a computer, you can make sure all of your Twitter data is deleted by following the instructions here. If you do nothing, the data will be automatically deleted after 7 days the next time you run Firefox.

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS 8.2

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 8.2!

        • Contact Form 7 Datepicker Taken down from WordPress Plugin Repository

          With great power comes great responsibility. Recently a WordPress plugin with as many as 100,000 installations was taken down from WordPress plugin repository due to a severe vulnerability.

          The Wordfence team found a severe vulnerability in Contact Form 7 Datepicker, a WordPress plugin allows to show datepicker in forms created with a very popular plugin Contact Form 7. Though the vulnerability does not affect Contact Form 7 but anyone with Contact Form 7 Datepicker on site, should immediately deactivate and uninstall the plugin from the site.

        • The Month in WordPress: March 2020

          The month of March was both a tough and exciting time for the WordPress open-source project. With COVID-19 declared a pandemic, in-person events have had to adapt quickly – a challenge for any community. March culminated with the release of WordPress 5.4, an exhilarating milestone only made possible by dedicated contributors. For all the latest, read on.

      • Education

        • David Humphrey: On Teaching Online, Week 2

          I learned how to “emote” online using irc with Mozilla. A lot of people are using online chat systems like Slack and Microsoft Teams as a place to ask and answer questions. But what about all the in-between time when you don’t yet understand the question you need to ask? Using chat as an ambient thought bubble can be a useful way to share your presence, for people to avoid feeling alone, and for you to work out ideas as you’re having them. I can remember being in channels with developers like bz, who would narrate his investigation into some bug, ask questions (of no one, and everyone), and share the results of his debugging. It was a text adventure where you got to pretend to be a better developer than you were, and watch bz battle monsters in deeper and darker sections of the code base. It’s not unlike what streamers do on Twitch, and it’s such a useful way to build a shared sense of time and place.

          [...]

          However, even the best students are having a hard time. It’s been difficult because everyone is burned out or struggling in some way. I’ve noticed other faculty overcompensating for their distrust of the move online by piling on more and more work, asking too much of students, and therefore eating into the time and energy reserves that students might spend on my courses. I keep reminding myself that we’re not “teaching online,” but rather making the most of a pivot to online: this isn’t anyone’s best effort, nor can it be.

          I’m also starting to hear some of my best students tell me of companies pulling out of previous co-op offers for the summer. It’s really upsetting, because these are such important opportunities for them to get out into industry. If you’re reading this and you still need interns, get in touch. I’d be happy to connect you with some good people.

      • Funding

        • Daniel Stenberg: Google Open Source Peer Bonus award 2020

          I’m honored to – once again – be a recipient of this award Google hands out to open source contributors, annually. I was previously awarded this in 2011.

          [...]

          This time, the reward comes with a 250 USD “payout” (that’s the gift mentioned in the mail above), as a real money transfer that can be spent on other things than just Google merchandise!

          I’ve decided to accept the reward and the money and I intend to spend it on beer and curl stickers for my friends and fans.

      • FSF

        • Better than Zoom: Try these free software tools for staying in touch

          In times like these it becomes all the more important to remember that tools like Zoom, Slack, and Facebook Messenger are not benign public services, and while the sentiment they’ve expressed to the global community in responding to the crisis may be sincere, it hasn’t addressed the fundamental ethical issues with any piece of proprietary software.

          After taking the LibrePlanet 2020 conference online, we received a number of requests asking us to document our streaming setup. As the pandemic grew worse, this gave way to more curiosity about how the Free Software Foundation (FSF) uses free tools and free communication platforms to conduct our everyday business. And while the stereotype of hackers hunched over a white on black terminal session applies to us in some ways, many of the tools we use are available in any environment, even for people who do not have a lot of technical experience. We’ve started documenting ethical solutions on the LibrePlanet wiki, in addition to starting a remote communication mailing list to help each other advocate for their use.

          In the suggestions that follow, a few of the tools we will recommend depend upon some “self-reliance,” that is, steering clear of proprietary network services by hosting free software solutions yourself, or asking a technical friend to do it for you. It’s a difficult step, and the benefits may not be immediately obvious, but it’s a key part of preserving your autonomy in an age of ubiquitous digital control.

          To those who have the technical expertise and available infrastructure, we urge you to consider hosting instances of free communication platforms for your friends, family, and your community at large. For example, with a modest server and some GNU/Linux knowledge, you could help local students learn in freedom by volunteering to administer an instance of one of the programs we’ll be recommending below.

          The need to self-host can be an uncomfortable reminder of our dependence on the “cloud” — the network of someone else’s computers — but acknowledging our current reliance on these providers is the first step in making new, dependable systems for ourselves. During dangerous and stressful times, it’s tempting to sideline our ethical commitments for easier or more convenient ways to get things done, and software freedom is no exception. We hope these suggestions will inspire you to inform others about the importance of their freedom, privacy, and security.

        • The cataloging of free software

          The Free Software Directory is a collaborative catalog of software aimed to be the primary source for representing all free software. Each free program has its own page in the Directory from which it is possible to study the evolution it has undergone in both technological and legal terms through a chronological system similar to that of Wikipedia. Each catalogued program is distinguished by one or more aliases, and accompanied by a huge amount of information, which goes beyond the pure needs of the end user. Snapshots of the graphic interface, detailed descriptions, change logs, links to social pages, and lists of licenses and dependencies are examples of all the useful information which can be carefully attached by users to each page.

          Everyone can freely subscribe to the Directory and create new pages, but only the pages reviewed and approved by administrators become visible and indexable. Administrative approvals are always made according to strict rules aimed at preventing the spread of proprietary content. As on Wikipedia, each user can have a self-approved personal page, where they can define their identity and discuss with other users. Users can also include sub-pages on which to publish their thematic articles, and any tools useful for the daily life of the Directory. User access rights are assigned to active users, and all those who demonstrate that they have the necessary technical skills and wish to devote themselves daily to the care of the pages have a chance to be welcomed onto the staff. This serene and flexible organization, based on bonds of trust built on facts and adherence to well-defined common ideals, guarantees that the technological and social development produced by the project is gradual but unstoppable. Thus, any investment of time by volunteers is amply repaid.

          The project has proved to be a clear success, so much that over the years it has received funding from UNESCO, and is still supported by the Free Software Foundation. The portal boasts the participation of more than 3,000 users from all over the world. Since its creation, it has accumulated more than 80,000 verified and recorded revisions for posterity in the chronology of the MediaWiki pages, all of which are dedicated to facilitating the essential freedoms in more than 16,000 free programs.

          The portal’s ability to adapt and survive was possible not only because of the technical creativity of the staff, but also by the solid ideal at its base. By guaranteeing maximum visibility to free software, it has thus rewarded developers who freely employ their knowledge for the good of humanity. The transition to free licenses is indeed a moral duty of every developer, and the Free Software Directory is deployed at the forefront to facilitate it with great benefit to the world’s cultural heritage.

      • Programming/Development

        • pocl v1.5 released

          A more detailed changelog here.

          Please note that there’s an official pocl maintenance policy in place. This text describes the policy and how you can get your favourite project that uses OpenCL to remain regression free in the future pocl releases.

        • POCL 1.5 Released With Performance Improvements, Fixes For OpenCL On CPUs

          POCL 1.5 has been released as the “Portable CL” implementation for running OpenCL on CPUs and other devices with LLVM back-ends.

          The POCL project lets OpenCL 1.2~2.0 run over CPU back-ends as well as for running OpenCL on NVIDIA GPUs over CUDA, on AMD GPUs via HSA, and other accelerator targets that have LLVM back-end coverage.

        • How to work from home like a pro

          Across the globe, businesses are transitioning to remote work. While remote work or “working from home” has been an overall growing trend, the recent push to transition has been driven by the COVID-19 response; organizations are asking staff to work from home to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus.

          If you are like many of your peers, you may quite suddenly find yourself working from home. How can you remain productive at home when you’re used to going into an office?

          A year ago, I launched my own business as a consultant. When I’m not working with a client, I’m working from my home, and during that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to be most effective. I’d like to share a few of those tips here.

        • LLVM Lands Performance-Hitting Mitigation For Intel LVI Vulnerability

          Made public in March was the Load Value Injection (LVI) attack affecting Intel CPUs with SGX capabilities. LVI combines Spectre-style code gadgets with Meltdown-type illegal data flows to bypass existing defenses and allow injecting data into a victim’s transient execution. While mitigations on the GNU side quickly landed, the LLVM compiler mitigations were just merged today.

          Intel quickly provided LVI mitigations for the GNU Assembler as new opt-in flags. These assembler mitigations end up introducing many more load fences (LFENCE) to mitigate and cause quite some performance hits but is not enabled by default.

          Intel and other developers in the LLVM community have been working on their respective mitigations for LVI. In fact, a Google engineer proposed a new “SESES” technique for helping address LVI and speculative execution in general. But with Google’s own benchmark that only left 7% the original performance (as in down 93%) for the company’s BoringSSL workload as their internal fork of OpenSSL.

        • Ada++ Wants To Make The Ada Programming Language More Accessible

          Ada is a beautiful programming language when it comes to code safety with it continuing to be used by aircraft and other safety critical systems. There is now Ada++ as an unofficial fork of the language focused on making the language more accessible and friendlier in an era of the likes of Rust and Golang attracting much interest.

          Ada++ allows for curly braces in place of begin/end keywords, new types like Int_32 / Int_64 / Char_8 / Bool, allow pragmas to be set with a leading # or :, supporting the ++ operator, a raise when construct, and other changes in discussion.

          Ada++ is currently implemented as a forked version of GCC with its Ada front-end being modified but there is talk of a possible LLVM front-end in the future.

        • [Old] Who Made America? Innovators: Gary Kildall

          A technology industry urban legend claims that Kildall went flying rather than meet with IBM, thus causing IBM to market Microsoft’s inferior operating system, changing the course of computer history. The story is untrue.

        • [Old] Gary Kildall Special

          A profile on computer pioneer Gary Kildall and the important contributions he made to the PC industry including the true story on how IBM ended up using MS-DOS rather than CP/M. Kildall developed CP/M, the first personal computer operating system. He was also a co-host on the early Computer Chronicles series. Includes comments by Gordon Eubanks, Symantec; Tom Rolander, DRI; Tim Bajarin, Creative Strategies; Lee Lorenzen, DRI; Jacqui Morby, TA Associates; Alan Cooper, CP/M applications developer. Originally broadcast in 1995. Copyright 1995 Stewart Cheifet Productions.

        • My home DSL link really is fast enough to make remote X acceptable

          Of course, running X remotely over a DSL link that’s only medium fast doesn’t measure up to running it over a 1G Ethernet network, much less the local machine. I can certainly feel the difference (mostly in latency and responsiveness). But it’s much more usable than I might have expected, and I’ve had to change my work habits less than I feared.

        • How to SSH Properly

          The methods above give practical examples of several ways in which you can improve the security of your SSH infrastructure, all while giving users the flexibility to keep using the tools they’re familiar with.

        • Killed by Apple: Dark Sky isn’t alone in Cupertino’s Android app graveyard

          Unfortunately, Android users are no stranger to the effects of Apple’s spending spree. Over the years, Apple has bought some of the best and most beloved apps and left Android users twisting in the wind with no alternative other than to switch to an iPhone.

          And sadly, this won’t be the last time it happens. Apple has a history of buying and killing (or crippling) Android apps and services over the years with a smile, and with a ton of money, lots of clout, and a billion-plus customers, there isn’t much Google can do to stop it.

        • How to exploit parser differentials

          The move to microservices-based architecture creates more attack surface for nefarious actors, so when our security researchers discovered a file upload vulnerability within GitLab, we patched it right up in our GitLab 12.7.4 security release. We dive deeper into the problems that lead to this vulnerability and use it to illustrate the underlying concept of parser differentials.

        • Perl/Raku

          • CY’s take on PWC#054

            This is a part of Perl Weekly Challenge(PWC) #054 and the followings are related to my solution. If you want to challenge yourself on Perl, go to https://perlweeklychallenge.org, code the latest challenges, submit codes on-time (by GitHub or email) if possible, before reading my blog post.

        • Python

          • Python 2.7.8 : Using python scripts with Revit Dynamo.

            Dynamo is a visual programming tool that extends the power of the Revit by providing access to Revit API (Application Programming Interface.

          • Analysis of the progress of COVID-19 in the world with Data Science.

            All the data in this article was made with Data Scientis tools.

            Given the circumstances the planet is experiencing at the moment, we show below a series of results after implementing Data Science techniques to monitor the virus.
            For the following analyzes, the data from the Johns repositories were taken Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE).
            As it is public knowledge, the advance of the pandemic is a worldwidede concer, that is why I consider interesting to be able to make an analysis of certain countries.

            Therefore we can see in the following graph how the curve of confirmed infected persons in countries such as USA, Italy, France and Argentina advances from the beginning to today.

          • Introduction to the Python HTTP header

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

          • Announcing a new Sponsorship Program for Python Packaging

            The Packaging Working Group of the Python Software Foundation is launching an all-new sponsorship program to sustain and improve Python’s packaging ecosystem. Funds raised through this program will go directly towards improving the tools that your company uses every day and sustaining the continued operation of the Python Package Index.

          • Python String Concatenation

            String concatenation means creating a new string by combining two or more string values. Many built-in methods and ‘+’ operator are used to combine string values in many programming languages. ‘+’ operator is also used in python to combine string values but it works differently than other scripting languages. In JavaScript, when a string value combines with the number value then the number value will convert automatically into the string and combines with the other string value. But if you do the same task in Python then it will generate an error because Python can’t convert the number into string automatically. Many other ways exist in Python to combine string values. This article shows how you can do string concatenation in Python in different ways. Here, spyder3 editor is used for writing and executing the scripts of this article.

          • Python String Replacement using Pattern

            Any string data can be replaced with another string in Python by using the replace() method. But if you want to replace any part of the string by matching a specific pattern then you have to use a regular expression. It is used to search a specific pattern in a particular string value and the string will be replaced with another string if any match found. Python uses ‘re’ module to use regular expression pattern in the script for searching or matching or replacing. Using regular expression patterns for string replacement is a little bit slower than normal replace() method but many complicated searches and replace can be done easily by using the pattern. You can replace a string in various ways using the pattern in Python. Some common uses of pattern to replace string are shown in this tutorial. Spyder3 editor is used here to write and run the script.

          • Python String startswith and endswith

            Sometimes we need to check the starting or the ending part of any string for the programming purpose. There are two built-in methods in Python to do the task. These are startswith() and endswith() methods. If any string starts with a given prefix then startswith() method will return true otherwise returns false and if any string ending with a given suffix then endswith() method will return true otherwise returns false. How these methods work and use in Python are shown in this tutorial. Spyder3 editor is used here to write and run the python script.

          • Examples are Awesome

            There are two things I look for whenever I check out an Opensource project or library that I want to use.

            1. Screenshots (A picture is worth a thousand words).

            2. Examples (Don’t tell me what to do, show me how to do it).

            Having a fully working example (or many examples) helps me shape my thought process.

          • App Assisted Contact Tracing

            I don’t know how I thought the world would look like 10 years ago, but a pandemic that prevents us from going outside was not what I was picturing. It’s about three weeks now that I and my family are spending at home in Austria instead of going to work or having the kids at daycare, two of those weeks were under mandatory social distancing because of SARS-CoV-2.

            And as cute as social distancing and “flattening the curve” sounds at first, the consequences to our daily lives are beyond anything I could have imagined would happen in my lifetime.

            What is still conveniently forgotten is that the curve really only stays flat if we’re doing this for a very, very long time. And quite frankly, I’m not sure for how long our society will be able to do this. Even just closing restaurants is costing tens of thousands of jobs and closing schools is going to set back the lives of many children growing up. Many people are currently separated from their loved ones with no easy way to get to them because international travel grinded to a halt.

  • Leftovers

    • Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day

      + Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award?

    • ‘Azure appears to be full’: UK punters complain of capacity issues on Microsoft’s cloud

      Customers of Microsoft’s Azure cloud are reporting capacity issues such as the inability to create resources and associated reliability issues.

      [...]

      Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), a handy solution for remote workers, is one example. One user complained on Twitter that “Azure seems to be full” when trying to allocate a VM for WVD, though it appears to be a test deployment (if the name WVD-TEST-0 is anything to go by). The error reads “Allocation failed. We do not have sufficient capacity for the requested VM size in this region.” The region is UK South.

    • Introducing Windows CSI support alpha for Kubernetes

      The alpha version of CSI Proxy for Windows is being released with Kubernetes 1.18. CSI proxy enables CSI Drivers on Windows by allowing containers in Windows to perform privileged storage operations.

    • Science

      • Drs. Vladimir Zelenko and Stephen Smith: Abandoning evidence-based medicine to promote unproven drugs for COVID-19

        If there’s one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed, it’s just how weak physicians’ dedication to science- and evidence-based medicine truly is. Facing COVID-19, doctors have embraced protocols to treat the virus based in the thinnest of evidence, or even no evidence. I discussed this phenomenon yesterday, using as my example the rapid, near universal embrace of the anti-malaria drugs (which are also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and some other autoimmune diseases) chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, even though the evidence base for them is anecdotal and the existing clinical evidence is either negative or very, very weak. It’s worse than that, though. Now we have doctors like Dr. Vladimir Zelenko and Dr. Stephen Smith promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, even though the evidence for this drug combination comes entirely from a truly awful study by French “brave maverick scientist” Didier Raoult. Worse still than even that, these two physicians are actively feeding the right-wing quackery promotion machine touting all manner of “miracle cures” for COVID-19. Before I discuss these doctors, here’s a bit of background.

      • The SIR Model of Epidemics

        Now, I’m not an epidemiologist. I don’t study infectious diseases. But I do know a little about how mathematical models work, so I wanted to explain how one of the common, simple epidemiological models works. This model isn’t anywhere near good enough to make concrete predictions about what’s going to happen. But it can give some basic intuition about how epidemics progress, and provide some context for what the experts are saying.

    • Education

      • My New Print Bookstore

        No, I’m not shipping books myself. I outsourced procurement and delivery to Aerio.

      • US war on science ‘undermining war on coronavirus’

        The US administration’s war on expertise is imperilling the country’s people and jeopardising the global fight against Covid-19, according to former Australian chief scientist Penny Sackett.

        Professor Sackett, a Nebraska-born astronomer, said the “shocking” politicisation of science under Donald Trump was increasingly affecting the rest of the world.

      • Online Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus

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

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

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

        As public health officials watched cases rise in March, too many in the community shrugged off warnings. Rumors and conspiracy theories proliferated on social media, pushing the bogus idea that black people are somehow immune to the disease. And much of the initial focus was on international travel, so those who knew no one returning from Asia or Europe were quick to dismiss the risk.

      • Russia confirms another 601 coronavirus infections, bringing official total to 4,149 cases

        As of the morning of April 3, Russia recorded 601 new coronavirus cases across 32 different regions in the past day, bringing the national total of confirmed infections to 4,149. Once again, the numbers rose mostly in Moscow (+448), followed by the Moscow region (+34), the Krasnodar Territory (+17), the Penza region (+11), the Leningrad region (+10), and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (+10).

      • The Message—and Meaning—of COVID-19

        Coronavirus is neoliberalism’s Chernobyl.

      • Medicare for Each of Us in the Age of the Coronavirus

        The U.S. public—and increasingly the business community—are becoming acutely aware of the rising costs and inadequacies of our current for-profit system, particularly as the current epidemic unfolds. There is no other choice but Medicare for All.

      • Infographic: Russia’s escalating COVID-19 curve
      • Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa

        It’s hard to imagine a more worrying place to watch Covid-19 hit a society than Johannesburg, South Africa.

      • Russian doctors’ union leader arrested twice and beaten by police for delivering masks to medical staff fighting COVID-19

        Anastasia Vasilyeva, the head of the medical workers’ union Alyans Vrachei (Doctors’ Alliance), has been arrested twice in the Novgorod region city of Okulovka, where she was attempting to deliver personal protection equipment (PPE) to local medical personnel.

      • When doctors become vectors As Russian medical staff catch and spread COVID-19, entire hospitals and treatment wings are going on lockdown

        On March 31, Denis Protsenko tested positive for COVID-19. Protsenko, by now a well-known figure, is the lead doctor for Moscow’s City Hospital No. 40 — more commonly known by its location, the Kommunarka neighborhood. In early March, the Moscow government set aside the Kommunarka hospital for patients who had either tested positive for the novel coronavirus or who had potentially been exposed to it. Vladimir Putin visited the facility a week before Protsenko got back his positive test. When asked to comment on the news that Putin had shaken hands with a now-confirmed patient, the president’s press secretary said Putin is regularly tested for the virus. “Everything’s okay,” he assured journalists. The press secretary for Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who was also present during the visit, likewise said her employer was keeping a watchful eye on his health.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Dumping Nuclear Waste, COVID-19 Risks From Food

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights how President Donald Trump’s administration is apparently moving to massively deregulate nuclear waste disposal while everyone is focused on the coronavirus outbreak.

        Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a group known for its work representing environmental whistleblowers in government agencies, says the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) plans to allow “every reactor in the country to dump virtually all its radioactive waste except spent fuel in local regular garbage dumps, which are designed for household trash not for plutonium.” “Both the National Academy of Sciences and EPA calculate that the risk of such doses would be every 500th person exposed getting a cancer from the radiation,” according to PEER.

      • How Do People Living in a Food Desert Feed Themselves Amid a Pandemic?

        In Mississippian Richard Wright’s ferocious short story Hunger, an overworked, time-pressed mother sends her young son to the grocery story with a list, a basket and a few dollars. When he returns with no groceries, having been relieved of his money by a gaggle of neighborhood boys, she sends him out again, this time with a stick as a weapon, which he’s forced to use — busting heads, drawing blood and winning the streets. “I flayed with tears in my eyes, teeth clenched, stark fear making me throw every ounce of my strength behind each blow. I hit again and again….”

      • Fauci and Most Americans Want Federal “Stay Home” Order, But Trump Refuses

        President Donald Trump has so far resisted calls for issuing a national “stay-at-home” order for all Americans (with exceptions for essential travels, such as forgetting food or medicine) in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

      • Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19

        At a time when everyone was celebrating the arrival of a new decade, a rare once-in-a-100-year event took the world by surprise: a major global pandemic named COVID-19. Governments around the world struggled to fight the virus, taking extreme measures to contain it with nearly one billion people now living in confinement. At first, Palestinians followed up on the pandemic with sighs of relief thinking that the virus will never reach them, especially in Gaza, where two million people have been living under a suffocating siege for more than a decade. Alas, their worst fears have been realized: the discovery of dozens of Coronavirus cases in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

      • Just breathing or talking may be enough to spread COVID-19 after all

        Large droplets are still a means of infection, but researchers now say that tiny airborne particles may also carry infectious virus. “Currently available research supports the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 could be spread via bioaerosols generated directly by patients’ exhalation,” researchers from the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine wrote in an April 1 report to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

        If the coronavirus is airborne, that could help explain why it is so contagious, and can spread before people have symptoms (SN: 3/13/20).

      • Trump empowered conspiracy theorists: Now they’re a major threat to public health and safety

        r. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been a stabilizing presence during the crisis, quietly and calmly doing everything he can to correct the firehose of lies Donald Trump has been drenching the country with on a daily basis.

        For his service, Fauci now requires a security detail, due in no small part to fanatical Trump fans who have embraced conspiracy theories that paint Fauci as part of a “deep state” conspiracy to unseat Trump by faking the threat of COVID-19.

      • Doctors Say Hospitals Are Stopping Them From Wearing Masks

        When she asked hospital administrators why, the reasons kept changing. First Buckalew said she was told it was against hospital policy for health care workers to bring their own gear. Then, she said, administrators told her if she wore her own N95 mask, others would want to wear the masks as well and the hospital didn’t have enough. Finally, Buckalew said, it was that CDC guidelines don’t require the mask at all times.

        “I said if I can’t wear it, then we have a problem,” she said.

        Refusing to take off her mask, she said, got her terminated. Then, she said after complaining she was reinstated and then terminated again — all within three days.

        “I’m raising a huge big stink because it’s wrong. It’s unsafe. We’ll never flatten the curve if hospital systems keep acting this way,” she said, adding that she’s speaking now because she’s already lost her assignment and wanted to speak on behalf of those who can’t. “A lot of people can’t speak out because they’re afraid, or they know that they’ll be fired.”

      • FDA calls for heartburn drug Zantac to be pulled from market immediately

        The FDA noted that an ongoing investigation has determined that levels of a contaminant in the heartburn medications increase over time and when stored at higher-than-normal temperatures, pose a risk to public health.

        The contaminant, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, is a probable human carcinogen and the FDA has been investigating levels of it in ranitidine since the summer of 2019.

      • Young People Are Getting Sick From Coronavirus Too

        In the short term, though, it looks like COVID-19 may be more dire for young people’s health than previously thought. Although older people and those with underlying conditions are more likely to be killed by the virus, the New York Times reported on March 18 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s early data found that 29 percent of Americans hospitalized for COVID-19 were between the ages of 20 to 44. The Times also reported that according to the CDC, as of March 20, about 1 or 2 in 1,000 of these “younger” cases will be fatal. Advertisement

        Experts speculate that the rates of youth illness and fatality could be exacerbated by the intensity and timing of the curve’s peak, when hospitals are expected to become too inundated to provide all patients with adequate care. The number of staffed hospital beds in America is woefully insufficient for the number of people whom medical experts believe will require hospitalization for the virus in the days and weeks ahead. That’s why “flattening the curve,” or slowing the spread of the virus, is so critical in the effort to save lives. Many hospitals are already operating at maximum capacity.

      • Video shows Chinese worker rubbing shoes on masks for export

        While China continues its propaganda campaign to paint itself as the savior of the world during the pandemic, a number of reports have surfaced alleging that the test kits, face masks, and other medical supplies it is donating and selling to countries in need are defective. At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is seeking to shift blame for its bungled handling of the disaster by fostering conspiracy theories such as the U.S. military being behind the outbreak, leading to a spike anti-foreigner sentiment in China.

        In the latest incident, a video posted on Twitter appears to show a Chinese factory worker soiling face masks meant for foreign clients. The man, who is not properly wearing his own mask, can be seen laughing with glee as he grabs surgical masks by the handful and rubs them on his shoes.

      • Coronavirus: Netherlands recalls ‘defective’ masks bought from China

        Several hospitals in the Netherlands had already rejected some of the shipment even before the Health Ministry issued the recall.

        “When they were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected those masks,” a hospital source told Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

        China is sending millions of masks and medical supplies to countries across the world to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Countries that are receiving China’s supplies include Serbia, Liberia, France, the Philippines and the Czech Republic.

      • How an Iranian Airline Tied to Terrorism Likely Spread the Virus (and Lied About It)

        What has made the suspicions worse are contradictory statements and misinformation coming from officials and airline executives. On Jan. 31, the Iranian government announced the suspension of all flights to and from China. But arrival and departure information furnished by Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport, as well as by Chinese airports, showed that flights by Mahan Air between both countries continued for another full week—including one direct evacuation flight from Wuhan, ground zero for the virus. Other data showed flights continuing into March.

        The airline, while privately owned, has links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force, an intelligence and special operations unit that has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and other governments. Mahan Air has been sanctioned by Washington for helping the IRGC ferry arms and personnel in support of Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria’s brutal civil war. In a tweet on Feb. 2, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, noted that Mahan Air CEO Hamid Arabnejad said he wished to continue cooperating with China. Two days later, the semiofficial Iranian Students’ News Agency criticized these ongoing flights and not for the first time. In a press release, Mahan Air claimed it ended all emergency repatriation flights from Wuhan and elsewhere by Feb. 5.

      • Fighting for a Just COVID-19 Response

        The coronavirus gives us the opportunity to declare in our political and medical decisions that we will not drape the cloak of invisibility over historically neglected victims of disaster.

      • Update on Patent-Related Measures in Germany in View of Corona Pandemic

        On March 24, 2020 we reported that the German government planned amendments to the Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Humans (Gesetz zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Infektionskrankheiten beim Menschen – Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSG), which could also have an impact on patents (see here). In the meantime these amendments have been enacted by the Act on the Protection of the Population in Case of an Epidemic Situation of National Significance (Gesetz zum Schutz der Bevölkerung bei einer epidemischen Lage von nationaler Tragweite) of March 27, 2020 which entered into force on March 28, 2020 (see for the legislative process here and for the IfSG in amended form here).

        Now the IfSG lays down that in case the German Federal Diet (Bundestag), i.e. the lower chamber of parliament, finds that there is an epidemic situation of national significance, the amended IfSG confers upon the Federal Ministry of Health additional powers to control the epidemic situation, including the competence to order limitations on patents. The relevant subsections of the new s. 5 IfSG, which pursuant to Article 3 and Article 7(4) of the Act of March 27, 2020 will expire on March 31, 2021, read as follows….

        [...]

        One expression of the principle of proportionality is that under s. 13(3) Patent Act the patentee can claim an ‘equitable remuneration’ from the Federal Republic of Germany. Some scholars suggest that such remuneration should be based on a reasonable royalty.

        An order under s. 13 Patent Act as such could be challenged before the administrative courts. Due to s. 5(4) IfSG an action for annulment before the administrative courts would have no suspensory effect. The civil courts would be competent to hear disputes regarding the amount of the ‘equitable remuneration’.

        The provision of s. 13 Patent Act has not been used for decades and can be regarded as unchartered territory. It remains to be seen whether the Federal Ministry of Health will issue orders under s. 13 Patent Act and s. 5(2) n. 5 IfSG in the course of the Corona pandemic. Such orders require in any event a fair balancing of all interests involved.

      • A call to honesty in pandemic modeling

        Recently there has been a proliferation of modeling work which has been used to make the point that if we can stay inside, practice extreme social distancing, and generally lock-down nonessential parts of society for several months, then many deaths from COVID-19 can be prevented.

        For example, a new study by Christopher J.L. Murray at the University of Washington models hospital and ICU utilization and deaths over a 4 month period of mitigations, and estimates that “Total deaths” can be kept under 100,000.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Archival Cloud Storage Pricing

        Unfortunately, the lower the commitment the higher the risk to long-term preservation. Since it doesn’t deliver immediate returns, it is likely to be first on the chopping block. Thus both reducing storage cost and increasing its predictability are important for sustainable digital preservation. Below the fold I revisit this issue.

        For more than 6 years I’ve been pointing out that Amazon’s margins on its S3 storage service are extortionate, using first local storage and later Backblaze as example competitors. Another issue I raised in Cloud For Preservation was the effect of the lock-in period. The cost and time involved in getting the data out make the customer vulnerable to price hikes. Since cloud storage pricing is normally on a month-by-month basis these can happen with a month’s notice.

      • Proprietary

        • Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Warn Against Teleconferencing [Cracking] During Coronavirus Pandemic

          Western District of Michigan U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge advised video conference users: “Whether you run a business, a law enforcement meeting, a classroom or you just want to video chat with family, you need to be aware that your video conference may not be secure and information you share may be compromised. Be careful. If you do get [attacked], call us.”

        • Zoom CEO says company reached 200 million daily users in March

          In order to address the company’s problems, Yuan detailed steps taken including removing Facebook’s software development kit to stop the collection of unnecessary user data, updating Zoom’s privacy policy to be more transparent, giving tips to users to prevent Zoom bombings and offering more specific programs for classes on Zoom.

        • Update: Zoom issues fix for UNC vulnerability that lets [attackers] steal Windows credentials via chat

          All an attacker needs to do is to send a link to another user and convince them to click it, for the attack to commence. Though the Windows password is still encrypted, the hack claims it can be easily decrypted by third-party tools if the password is a weak one.

        • Thousands of Zoom recordings exposed because of the way Zoom names recordings

          Thousands of Zoom cloud recordings have been exposed on the web because of the way Zoom names its recordings, according to a report by The Washington Post. The recordings are apparently named in “an identical way” and many have been posted onto unprotected Amazon Web Services (AWS) buckets, making it possible to find them through an online search.

          One search engine that can look through cloud storage space turned up more than 15,000 Zoom recordings, according to The Washington Post. “Thousands” of clips have apparently also been uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo. The Washington Post said it was able to view recordings of therapy sessions, orientations, business meetings, elementary school classes, and more.

        • Move Fast & Roll Your Own Crypto

          Zoom documentation claims that the app uses “AES-256” encryption for meetings where possible. However, we find that in each Zoom meeting, a single AES-128 key is used in ECB mode by all participants to encrypt and decrypt audio and video. The use of ECB mode is not recommended because patterns present in the plaintext are preserved during encryption.

          The AES-128 keys, which we verified are sufficient to decrypt Zoom packets intercepted in Internet traffic, appear to be generated by Zoom servers, and in some cases, are delivered to participants in a Zoom meeting through servers in China, even when all meeting participants, and the Zoom subscriber’s company, are outside of China.

          Zoom, a Silicon Valley-based company, appears to own three companies in China through which at least 700 employees are paid to develop Zoom’s software. This arrangement is ostensibly an effort at labor arbitrage: Zoom can avoid paying US wages while selling to US customers, thus increasing their profit margin. However, this arrangement may make Zoom responsive to pressure from Chinese authorities.

        • ‘Zoombombing’ is a federal offense that could result in imprisonment, prosecutors warn

          Federal prosecutors are now warning pranksters and [attackers] of the potential legal implications of “Zoombombing,” wherein someone successfully invades a public or sometimes even private meeting over the videoconferencing platform to broadcast shock videos, pornography, or other disruptive content.

          The warning was posted as a press released to the Department of Justice’s website under the US Attorney’s office for the state’s Eastern district with support from the state attorney general and the FBI.

        • [Attackers] are targeting your kids to infect Android and Chromebook devices with malware

          Hide your kids; hide your wives. Security investigators from Check Point Research discovered 56 malware-infected Google Play apps. Before Google had a chance to pull them down, users already downloaded the apps one million times; 24 of those apps, Check Point Research discovered, targeted children.

          The study — spearheaded by Israel Wernik, Danil Golubenko , Aviran Hazum — found that the Google Play Store-based apps were poisoned with Tekya, which is a form of adware. The goal of Tekya, Hazum told Laptop Mag, is to commit mobile-ad fraud.

        • Apparently Microsoft’s Claim of 775 Percent Surge in Cloud Services Wasn’t Really Accurate

          The company has now made a correction, saying that the 775 percent increase was experienced by Microsoft Teams, not all of the cloud offerings, which isn’t as surprising since the video calling app generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes daily in a one-week period alone.

          As it turns out the figure also only came from Microsoft Teams’ users in Italy, where millions of people were put under lockdown. The corrected statement now reads: [...]

        • Zoom isn’t actually end-to-end encrypted

          Zoom does use TLS encryption, the same standard that web browsers use to secure HTTPS websites. In practice, that means that data is encrypted between you and Zoom’s servers, similar to Gmail or Facebook content. But the term end-to-end encryption typically refers to protecting content between the users entirely with no company access at all, similar to Signal or WhatsApp. Zoom does not offer that level of encryption, making the use of “end-to-end” highly misleading.

        • Zoom Calls Are Not End-to-End Encrypted Contrary to Claims

          What this means it that Zoom can access the video feed of your meetings. The company did confirm that it does not “directly access, mine, or sell user data.”

          Zoom offers an option where a meeting can only be hosted with mandatory encryption for third-party endpoints. However, when contacted, the company clarified that it is currently not possible to hold E2E video meetings using Zoom.

        • Zoom’s sudden spike in popularity is revealing its privacy (and porn) problems

          With its vaguely worded privacy policies and misleading marketing materials, Zoom’s real overarching issue seems to be a lack of transparency. Combine that with an apparent lack of forethought about how video meetings with insufficient privacy protections — both on the back and the front end — could be exploited by [attackers] or trolls. This entire scenario becomes especially problematic considering the growing number of students that Zoom eagerly recruits for the platform. It all seems like a bad publicity time bomb that went off as soon as Zoom became an essential piece of pandemic software and people started really looking more closely at how the service worked.

        • Dark Sky Has a New Home

          Android and Wear OS App

          The app will no longer be available for download. Service to existing users and subscribers will continue until July 1, 2020, at which point the app will be shut down. Subscribers who are still active at that time will receive a refund.

          Website

          Weather forecasts, maps, and embeds will continue until July 1, 2020. The website will remain active beyond that time in support of API and iOS App customers.

        • Microsoft’s Skype struggles have created a Zoom moment

          The transition lasted years, and resulted in calls, messages, and notifications repeating on multiple devices. Skype became unreliable, at a time when rivals were continuing to offer solid alternatives that incorporated messaging functionality that actually worked and synced across devices. Instead of quickly fixing the underlying issues, Microsoft spent years trying to redesign Skype. This led to a lethal combination of an unreliable product with a user experience that changed on a monthly basis.

        • ‘War Dialing’ Tool Exposes Zoom’s Password Problems

          Lo said a single instance of zWarDial can find approximately 100 meetings per hour, but that multiple instances of the tool running in parallel could probably discover most of the open Zoom meetings on any given day. Each instance, he said, has a success rate of approximately 14 percent, meaning for each random meeting number it tries, the program has a 14 percent chance of finding an open meeting.

          Only meetings that are protected by a password are undetectable by zWarDial, Lo said.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Open Source Moves From Rebel to Mainstream

              That shift has its critics. “The degree in which corporations knowingly and openly use open source has grown,” says Karl Fogel, a developer and open-source advocate. Still, some open-source developers feel that although these businesses build a lot of value on top of their work, they’re not seeing “enough of it flowing back to them,” Fogel says.

              But the narrative of a noncommercial open source being colonized by the corporate world also has its flaws, cautions Fogel. Open source has always been commercial to a certain degree. Even in the more radical currents of the movement, where the term “free software” is preferred over open source, making money isn’t necessarily shunned. Richard Stallman, one of the movement’s pioneers, famously said that the “free” in “free software” should be taken as “free speech, not free beer.” All the talk about freedom and digital self-ownership doesn’t preclude making money.

            • HPE announces new open source programme to simplify 5G rollout

              Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today announced the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management initiative, a new open source programme that will simplify the management of large-scale geographically distributed physical infrastructure deployments. In addition, HPE will introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator that is aligned with the initiative.

              Open Distributed Infrastructure Management helps resolve the complexity that telcos face in rolling out 5G networks across thousands of sites equipped with IT infrastructure from multiple vendors and different generations of technology. This new initiative underlines HPE’s continued leadership in open 5G technologies and commitment to accelerating industry alignment through open source innovation.

        • Security

          • Browser makers cite coronavirus, restore support for obsolete TLS 1.0 and 1.1 encryption

            By common agreement, Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and Edge, and Mozilla’s Firefox were to disable support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 early in 2020. They, along with Apple – which produces Safari – announced the move a year and a half ago, noting then that the protocols had been made obsolete by TLS 1.2 and 1.3.

            Apple, Google and Mozilla had committed to dropping support in March 2020, while Microsoft had only promised to purge TLS 1.0 and 1.1 sometime during the first half of this year.

            But it was Microsoft that was most detailed about the TLS turnabout. “In light of current global circumstances, we will be postponing this planned change – originally scheduled for the first half of 2020,” Karl Pflug, of the Edge developer experience team, wrote in a post to a company blog.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (mediawiki and qbittorrent), Gentoo (gnutls), Mageia (bluez, kernel, python-yaml, varnish, and weechat), Oracle (haproxy and nodejs:12), SUSE (exiv2, haproxy, libpng12, mgetty, and python3), and Ubuntu (libgd2).

          • Google Squashes High-Severity Flaws in Chrome Browser

            Do you use Google Chrome as your web browser? Google has patched high-security vulnerabilities in its Chrome browser, and is rolling out the newest Chrome browser version in the coming days.

            [...]

            As is typical for Chrome updates, Google is initially scant in details of the bugs “until a majority of users are updated with a fix.” It did outline three of the vulnerabilities that were discovered by external researchers, however.

            These included two high-severity vulnerabilities the WebAudio component of Chrome (CVE-2020-6450 and CVE-2020-6451). The WebAudio component is used for processing and synthesizing audio in web applications.

            The flaws tied to CVE-2020-6450 and CVE-2020-6451 are both use-after-free flaws. Use after free is a memory corruption flaw where an attempt is made to access memory after it has been freed. This can cause an array of malicious impacts, from causing a program to crash, to potentially leading to execution of arbitrary code.

          • How YubiKey Bio could make remote security concerns a thing of the past

            The bottom line is, your office brings a level of built-in security that’s not as readily available at home. Even if your Wi-Fi is WPA2-encrypted with a strong password, the security on your PC and personal accounts likely pales in comparison to the firewalls and intranets inside your office. “This is the perfect scenario for an attacker to thrive in and opens opportunities for social engineering and phishing attacks––making it imperative for businesses to develop a contingency plan that includes securing remote workers,” said Appenzeller. “Enabling multi-factor authentication wherever possible is one of the best ways to protect a remote team and should be a top requirement for a work-from-home policy.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How EFF Evaluates Government Demands for New Surveillance Powers

              The COVID-19 public health crisis has no precedent in living memory. But government demands for new high-tech surveillance powers are all too familiar. This includes well-meaning proposals to use various forms of data about disease transmission among people. Even in the midst of a crisis, the public must carefully evaluate such government demands, because surveillance invades privacy, deters free speech, and unfairly burdens vulnerable groups. It also metastasizes behind closed doors. And new surveillance powers tend to stick around. For example, nearly two decades after the 9/11 attacks, the NSA is still conducting dragnet Internet surveillance.

              Thus, when governments demand new surveillance powers—especially now, in the midst of a crisis like the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak—EFF has three questions:

            • Al Jazeera Live interview on corporate and government mass surveillance in the time of COVID-19

              I was on Al Jazeera Live today and spoke about how we must remain vigilant in the face of surveillance capitalists and governments that want to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to widen their dragnets.

            • Rights Groups Around The World Unite To Press Governments On Coronavirus Surveillance

              More than 100 human rights organizations, civil liberties campaigners and consumer groups from around the world have issued a joint statement on Covid-19 and digital surveillance.

              The groups are urging governments to use tracking technologies only if they’re carried out strictly in line with human rights principles.

            • Joint civil society statement: States use of digital surveillance technologies to fight pandemic must respect human rights

              The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency that requires a coordinated and large-scale response by governments worldwide. However, States’ efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to usher in a new era of greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance.

              We, the undersigned organizations, urge governments to show leadership in tackling the pandemic in a way that ensures that the use of digital technologies to track and monitor individuals and populations is carried out strictly in line with human rights.

              Technology can and should play an important role during this effort to save lives, such as to spread public health messages and increase access to health care. However, an increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in ways that could violate rights and degrade trust in public authorities – undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Such measures also pose a risk of discrimination and may disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.

              These are extraordinary times, but human rights law still applies. Indeed, the human rights framework is designed to ensure that different rights can be carefully balanced to protect individuals and wider societies. States cannot simply disregard rights such as privacy and freedom of expression in the name of tackling a public health crisis. On the contrary, protecting human rights also promotes public health. Now more than ever, governments must rigorously ensure that any restrictions to these rights is in line with long-established human rights safeguards

            • White House urges agencies to implement new authentication methods amid telework

              A March 22 memo from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget encouraged agencies to consider alternative methods of authentication in case of an extended telework period caused by the new coronavirus.

            • Internet Censorship During COVID-19 Is Threat To Cryptocurrencies And Liberty

              Beyond just the blunt question of on/off censorship however, cryptocurrencies and their relationship to the Internet at large pose interesting dilemmas. As central banks look more and more at digitizing their currencies and the legal attitude towards digital privacy is being redefined by COVID-19, broad changes may threaten

              Centralized digital currencies will have access to lots of metadata associated per each account, including possible location data, that can be tracked and compiled.

            • Pandemic dilemma: Emergency surveillance won’t be easy to unplug

              Technology – including surveillance drones, facial recognition algorithms, and smartphone geolocation trackers – has emerged as a powerful weapon in the battle against COVID-19. But its rapid deployment raises important ethical questions reminiscent of those raised by the war on terror. Governments are turning to telecommunications companies, social media platforms, and app developers for help monitoring individuals who contracted the virus and identifying at-risk clusters – with and without consent.

              “There are interests and obviously appetites for governments to take advantage of this opportunity to test out tracking and privacy-breaking technologies,” says Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation.

              Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, a United Nations special rapporteur for human rights, says emergency powers, once enacted, are rarely rolled back. “Even if they are created on the basis of being temporary aberrations, they essentially become permanent additions to the legal architecture of the state,” she warns.

            • World risks permanent surveillance with coronavirus controls

              “Dictatorships and authoritarian societies often start in the face of a threat,” UN Special Rapporteur Joseph Cannataci said. “That is why it is important to be vigilant today and not give away all our freedoms.”

              “We must not sleepwalk into a permanent expanded surveillance state now,” cautioned Rasha Abdul Rahim, deputy director of Amnesty International’s tech division.

            • Google to publish user location data to help governments tackle virus

              Google will publish location data from its users around the world from Friday to allow governments to gauge the effectiveness of social distancing measures put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the tech giant said.

              The reports on users’ movements in 131 countries will be made available on a special website and will “chart movement trends over time by geography,” according to a post on one of the company’s blogs.

              Trends will be display “a percentage point increase or decrease in visits” to locations like parks, shops, homes and places of work, not “the absolute number of visits,” said the post, signed by Jen Fitzpatrick, who leads Google Maps, and the company’s chief health officer Karen DeSalvo.

            • Data protection poorly understood in Mauritius

              Mauritius counted 186 positive COVID-19 cases including 7 deaths as at 3 April.

              With the rise of cases I notice a lot of people calling the authorities to release personal information of patients having tested positive for the novel coronavirus. People think the release of such personal information will make contact tracing a much quicker exercise.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Developing a Vaccine Against War

        What if the vaccine that’s eventually developed is so large in scope it includes the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Pope Francis?

      • Yale psychiatrist: Trump endangers lives by waging war on reality, not the coronavirus

        Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee is leading a group of mental health professionals calling for President Donald Trump’s ouster from office or the “complete removal” of his decision-making powers on the coronavirus response.

        Dr. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at Yale School of Medicine and editor of the bestseller “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” recently convened a panel on the coronavirus in her role as president of the World Mental Health Coalition. The panel discussed Trump’s bungled response to the crisis and his attempts to downplay the threat posed by the pandemic.

        The panel issued a “prescription for survival” arguing that Trump must be removed from office, whether through the 25th Amendment, a second congressional impeachment or his resignation. Alternatively, the panel recommended an intervention by mental health professionals or an act of Congress to establish a Coronavirus Crisis Department headed by the Centers for Disease Control to ensure the safety of the public.

      • Our Dunning-Kruger president: Trump’s arrogance and ignorance are killing people

        The Dunning-Kruger effect manifests in the form of the drunk at the bar who weighs in on every conversation with unwanted advice, the online troll who monopolizes comment sections, or the person who reads one book (or perhaps the introduction) and then acts like an authority on the subject.

        Visionary science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov signaled to the Dunning-Kruger effect with his famous observation in 1980: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

      • Daniel Pearl: Pakistan overturns convicted man’s death sentence

        A group of US journalists, including former colleagues of Pearl, said in 2011 that they believed Sheikh had not carried out the beheading. The Pearl Project alleged the killer was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held in Guantanamo Bay, accused of being behind the 9/11 attacks.

      • Murder conviction in Daniel Pearl’s death overturned

        A Pakistani court on Thursday overturned the conviction of the man found guilty in the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

      • Pakistan court overturns conviction in death of Daniel Pearl

        The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement expressing disappointment at the court decision and supporting an appeal.

        “The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disappointed to see justice in the murder case of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl denied by a Pakistani court today,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

        U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, asked for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ response, said: “We stand against the use of the death penalty. We do, however, strongly believe that there needs to be accountability for people who take the lives of others, especially in this case of a journalist.”

      • Message from the Chairman: We Will Take Action to Prevent the Loss of Our Land

        Regardless of the answer, we the People of the First Light have lived here since before there was a Secretary of the Interior, since before there was a State of Massachusetts, since before the Pilgrims arrived 400 years ago. We have survived, we will continue to survive. These are our lands, these are the lands of our ancestors, and these will be the lands of our grandchildren. This Administration has come and it will go. But we will be here, always. And we will not rest until we are treated equally with other federally recognized tribes and the status of our reservation is confirmed.

      • Secretary Of Interior Orders Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation ‘Disestablished,’ Tribe Says

        “Today’s action was cruel and it was unnecessary. The Secretary is under no court order to take our land out of trust. He is fully aware that litigation to uphold our status as a tribe eligible for the benefits of the Indian Reorganization Act is ongoing,” Cromwell wrote. “It begs the question, what is driving our federal trustee’s crusade against our reservation?”

        Having land “held in trust” by the federal government effectively affords a tribe special legal status and autonomy to decide how to tax, develop and manage a plot of land. The decision to take land into trust is typically made by the Department of the Interior, which had OK’d the trust status for the Mashpee land in 2015.

        But in February, the tribe suffered a legal defeat when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston upheld a lower court decision declaring the federal government had not been authorized to take the land into trust. That ruling marked another major development in what has been a lengthy legal battle over the land.

      • Exiled Pakistani journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch goes missing in Sweden

        The journalist’s brother told CPJ that the family did not know who might be behind the disappearance. “We don’t know whom we are fighting,” he said, adding that Swedish police had given no word to the family on the status of the investigation.

        CPJ called the Swedish police, and was patched through to an officer overseeing the case, who did not answer the call.

      • Fears grow for Pakistani journalist missing in Sweden

        Fears are growing for a Pakistani journalist who, having escaped the South Asian country for safety reasons in 2012, has gone missing in Sweden where he was living in self-imposed exile.

        Rights groups are concerned the disappearance of Sajid Hussain, 39, could be related to his reporting.

      • Chief editor Sajid Hussain went missing in Sweden

        The editorial board of the Balochistan Times has decided to share the deeply concerning news about the disappearance of our Chief Editor, Sajid Hussain. He has been missing from Uppsala, Sweden, since March 2, 2020. A formal case was filed with the Swedish police on March 3, 2020.

      • HRW: Ankara Denying Water to Syrian Kurds as Coronavirus Escalates

        The key Allouk water-pumping station is at the center of the controversy. HRW says that through March, the station worked only intermittently and now is closed again.

        Syrian forces backed by Ankara operate the water station that serves territory held by the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, which is designated as terrorists by Ankara.

        In October, Syrian rebels backed by Turkish forces launched an offensive against the YPG, taking control of a large swathe of territory. Ankara claims the Kurdish militia is affiliated with the PKK, which is fighting a decade’s long insurgency inside Turkey for greater minority rights.

      • Send the Marines

        The ten-year “force design”, first described by the Wall Street Journal and released last week, offers it. It is at once a return to the marines’ naval roots, and a drastic revamp. It aims to cut the corps down from about 186,000 personnel today to 170,000 while slashing artillery and aircraft, with the number of F-35 jets falling by over a third. Most drastically, the marines will get rid of all their tanks. In their place comes a commando-like infantry force, equipped with nimbler weapons: drone squadrons will double in number and rocket batteries will triple.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Some Local Agencies Are No Longer Responding to Public Records Requests

        Fifty-seven out of 83 agencies responded to VOSD’s March 20 request saying the virus would delay their response. Most indicated the request would not be processed until the emergency orders from the governor were lifted or normal business resumes at some unknown date in the future. Another 10 agencies didn’t respond after two weeks, other than a couple that sent autoreplies.

    • Environment

      • Why Old-Growth Trees Are Crucial to Fighting Climate Change

        It was a visionary act, but even Munger—for whom the reserve is named—saw no inherent value in its quiet, needle-dusted acres of firs and hemlocks and cedars and alder, beyond their use in research. According to the orthodoxy of the day, old trees were worthless and wasteful: effete, slow-growing, and decaying relics that ought to be ripped out and replaced with young and vigorous plantations. “There is little satisfaction in working with a decadent old forest that is past redemption,” Munger told a conference of loggers in 1924. (He had a particular hatred for standing dead trees, known as snags, which are a common feature in mature forests. He once wrote an entire essay about snags, in which he argued that they deserve “outlawry”: “They stand, fringing the skyline like the teeth of a broken comb, in mute defiance of wind and decay, the dregs of the former forest, useless to civilization and a menace to life.”) This general contempt for old growth defined the field of forestry for decades. “We grew up thinking of old forests as biological deserts or cellulose cemeteries,” says Jerry Franklin, a forest ecologist now renowned as the father of a very different school of thought. “We climbed over huge piles of downed logs and woody debris, and we didn’t think about anything other than how to get rid of it, how to liquidate it.”

      • The northern-hemisphere winter of 2019-20 was the warmest ever on land

        The northern-hemisphere winter that ended on March 20th was the second-warmest since records began, and the warmest ever on land. The anomaly was biggest in Europe and Asia, where average temperatures from December to February were 3.2°C (5.8°F) and 3.1°C above the average from 1951-80, and 0.8°C and 0.7°C above those continents’ previous record highs. After a normal autumn, temperatures stayed close to their November levels for months. In Boston, where daily lows in January tend to hover around -6°C, the average minimum this January was 0°C; for Tokyo the figures were 0°C and 5°C. By local standards, the balmiest winter of all was in Russia. Moscow’s average daily low in January was -2°C, far from the customary -13°C.

      • ‘No Time for Requirements’: Aviation Industry Lobbying Against Green Strings in Coronavirus Bailouts

        Across the world, the industry is now asking for huge sums of government money to help it get through. IATA says $200 billion is needed globally. Many consider bailouts of some kind are essential to support those working in the airline industry and avoid throwing them into economic insecurity. 

      • Unions Disregard Call for Large Scale Climate Action Strikes

        Union workers have the power to send a strong message to governments and big industry when they choose to strike. This would bring a halt to production because, in the words of the Briarpatch report, “the strike is the working class’s most powerful weapon.”

      • Energy

        • The Oil War in the Permian May Not Have Any Winners

          In an unusual move this week, the CEOs of the shale oil companies Pioneer and Parsley sent a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission, asking the state oil and gas regulator to take an active role in limiting Texas oil production — a move Commissioner Ryan Sitton recently has endorsed.

        • Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Some Pipeline Projects Push Forward While Others Falter Nationwide

          Iowa’s approval landed just two days after a federal judge in North Dakota found that the project must undergo a full environmental review in a March 25 order, throwing the pipeline’s legal status into question. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg, who issued that order, also asked attorneys involved in that dispute to submit briefs on whether DAPL should be shut down while the pipeline undergoes its environmental review.

        • Under Cover of Pandemic, Fossil Fuel Interests Unleash Lobbying Frenzy

          A new briefing by UK-based think tank InfluenceMap summarizes this fossil fuel lobbying during the time of the pandemic, pointing to specific examples of how fossil fuel interests around the world are using the cover of the coronavirus crisis to advance their agenda.

        • Saudi Arabia to raise oil exports to record high

          “The kingdom plans to raise its petroleum exports by 600,000 barrels per day from May,” a Saudi energy ministry official the told state-run SPA news agency, bringing its total daily exports to 10.6 million. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter and has already made a sharp increase in exports during April.

          Overall, Saudi Arabia will add an extra 3.6 million barrels per day to the global supply — as oil prices continue to sink.

        • Trump Admin Set to Announce Bullshit Plan to Build Dirtier Cars That Cost More to Drive

          Donald Trump’s administration is set to gut Barack Obama-era fuel efficiency standards on Tuesday, the New York Times reported, in a huge middle finger to anyone who cares about the environment and likely the White House’s biggest backtrack in federal climate policy.

          The new rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation is estimated to add almost a billion tons more carbon dioxide over the lifetime of U.S. vehicles than if the rules remained untouched, per the Times. According to the L.A. Times, the White House scaled back an initial effort to freeze fuel efficiency standards at this year’s levels that was furiously opposed by states, as well as major auto makers—who were concerned that such a drastic rollback could cause major problems in their market.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Coronaviruses and the Human Meat Market
        • The Control of Nature

          I started the day (Sunday, March 29, 2020) in relatively good spirits. The Sun was bathing nature in light and pleasant warmth. Spring and flowers were everywhere. My wife and I were walking in our beautiful neighborhood in Claremont, California.

        • Poles attract marine life avoiding rising heat

          In a warming ocean, some species will swim, others sink. But all agree: the poles attract marine life without exception.

        • [Old] Listen to Every Pitch Change in a Pacific Wren Call

          What we hear as a blur of sound, the Pacific Wren hears as a precise sequence of sounds. That birds can hear so acutely the fine structure of song allows them to convey much information in a short sound. “This is probably why,” naturalist Rosemary Jellis writes, “even the most extensive bird songs seem so brief to us.

          Let’s listen again, but this time with the song slowed down to one-quarter speed.

        • Public Comment Period on Gutting of 100-Year-Old Bird Protection Law Ends

          The MBTA is a 100-year-old law that protects more than 1,000 bird species. The proposed change ends the prohibition on the killing or “taking” of migratory birds from industrial activities, such as birds flying into uncovered oil pits or other predictable and avoidable killing – also known as “incidental take”. That policy change first appeared in a 2017 Department of the Interior legal opinion (M-37050), but with this rulemaking it would be cemented as an official regulation.

          Despite requests from a number of conservation organizations, including the National Audubon Society, to extend the comment deadline for proposed changes to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the Trump Administration allowed the public comment period to close today amidst an escalating national emergency in response to COVID-19.

        • Coronavirus: Thai elephants face starvation as tourism collapses

          An almost total absence of visitors means that many caretakers are struggling to afford food for Thailand’s 4,000 captive elephants.

          The animals can eat up to 200kg (440lb) of food a day.

      • Overpopulation

        • Top personal actions you can take to stop climate change

          Annual CO2 Savings in Tons for a Person Living in a Developed Country.

        • This is exactly the time to be talking about climate change

          I rarely get exasperated from reading environmental business media, but a quote last week in a Bloomberg article about sustainability and the U.S. economic crisis got me headed in that direction.

          The quote came from Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a research group whose founders, self-described environmentalists, have made a career out of being gadflies — for example, arguing in favor of nuclear power and natural gas, arguing against putting a price on carbon emissions and claiming that there’s no real limit to the earth’s carrying capacity, or that energy efficiency doesn’t work because of something called the “rebound effect.”

        • For most of the world, social distancing is an unimaginable luxury

          Calls for social distancing and isolation have become the coronavirus battle-cry, and lockdowns are halting cities and towns all over the world (except in Sweden). Schools are closed, and so are non-essential businesses. All gatherings are off. Remote working is the new working, and time spent outside the home is down to a bare minimum.

          That is, of course, when you have a home. In rich western cities, the homeless are at higher risk of contracting the disease, and cities with large homeless populations—that is, cities with more inequality—will have a harder time flattening the proverbial curve.

          Still, in wealthy countries social distancing is a choice most people can make. In much of the rest of the world, the concept is an unimaginable luxury.

    • Finance

      • In This Remote Town, Spring Means Salmon — and Thousands of Fishermen From Coronavirus Hot Spots

        Later this spring, Alaska’s Bristol Bay will blossom into one of the largest annual salmon fisheries in the world.

        The regional population of about 6,600 will triple in size with the arrival of fishermen, crews and seasonal workers on jets but also private planes and small boats, many traveling from out of state.

      • Capitalism Drains America’s Blood Banks as Exports Bring in $1.4 billion

        This situation, which resulted in a loss of 130,000 donations, is unprecedented, according to Dr. Claudia Cohn, AABB’s chief medical officer and director of the blood bank at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

      • March’s Huge Job Losses Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg of What’s to Come

        EPI estimates that nearly 20 million jobs could be lost by July.

      • Capitalism is the Virus!

        The U.S. Senate’s March 25, $2 trillion 97-0, COVID-19 corporate bailout vote gifted the ruling rich an amount never exceeded in world history. The overwhelming portion went directly to the coffers of the billionaire elite for whom the lives of literally millions of Americans are subordinate to their horror at seeing their casino capitalism stock market and associated paper fortunes evaporate to the tune of 30 percent in a matter of days. That some qualifying two-person working class households are to receive one-time payments of $2,400 along with promised temporary waivers of debt payments owed to the federal government and other short term measures aimed at modest and temporary relief for working people was subordinate to guaranteeing unprecedented multi-trillion dollar sums to the one percent. Not a single Senator thought to divide the 880-page package into distinct components that would embarrassingly expose exactly who got what. One lying Democrat did note that in the panic rush to approval no one challenged a provision that banned funding and/or forgivable grants to abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood.

      • Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?

        Let me start this essay with an important caveat: I, for one, wish this question would not be raised. I find it morally reprehensible to even entertain the idea that sacrificing the lives of the elderly and vulnerable is necessary for the perseverance of any economic system.

      • Capitalism vs. Humanity

        From today’s perspective of Covid-19 mass death, the virtues of left-wing policies like Medicare for All are abundantly clear. Especially at the capitalist core, where, in the U.S., a stripped down, for profit, privatized, price-gouging, neoliberal health-care system has been proven wholly inadequate and been quickly swamped. Tens of millions cannot afford health insurance. They fall sick with Covid-19 and have a choice: suffer and spread the disease or go to a hospital, get treated and go bankrupt. M4A would correct that. In fact, every other plank of the Sanders campaign would correct similar abuses. In a sane world, that would lead to a leftish government to implement M4A, student loan forgiveness, progressive taxation and more. But this is not a sane world. And not all recent leftist governments have covered themselves with glory.

      • Under Cover of Pandemic, Trump’s NLRB Moves to Make Unionizing ‘Nearly Impossible for Workers’

        “The Trump NLRB takes this moment to publish a rule that will make it harder both for workers to unionize and to keep unions they have. Shameful does not even begin to describe this.”

      • COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper

        On March 25th, N.Y. Times op-ed columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote about “How the World’s Richest Country Ran Out of a 75-Cent Face Mask.” The subtitle certainly went against the grain of what you’d read from a page dominated by Thomas Friedman: “A very American story about capitalism consuming our national preparedness and resiliency.”

      • Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis

        The COVID-19 crisis is confronting U.S.-Americans with yet more undeniable evidence of the complete craziness and cruelty of American capitalism and class rule more broadly. The demented viciousness of the possessing class’s parasitic profits regime and many elite professionals’ privileged status are being exposed in graphic ways.

      • Women’s Wage Gap Widened by Expected Beauty Standards

        A 2016 study from the University of Chicago and the University of California showed that women who were well-groomed, regardless of natural attractiveness, earned more than poorly groomed women.

      • Overwhelmed Hospitals Face a New Crisis: Staffing Firms Are Cutting Their Doctors’ Hours and Pay

        The country’s top employers of emergency room doctors are cutting their hours — leaving clinicians with lower earnings and hospitals with less staff in the middle of a pandemic.

        TeamHealth, a major medical staffing company owned by the private-equity giant Blackstone, is reducing hours for ER staff in some places and asking for voluntary furloughs from anesthesiologists, the company confirmed to ProPublica. Multiple ER providers working for a main competitor, KKR-owned Envision Healthcare, said their hours also are being cut.

      • Work, Crisis and Pandemic

        As the depth of the crises resulting from the coronavirus pandemic sink in, millions of the most vulnerable citizens will be facing eviction, hunger and the ravages of illness. America has always been a brutal place for workers and the socially marginalized. Recently enacted economic stimulus and corporate bailouts will demonstrate both the bluntness of the government’s tools and the differentiated class interests they serve. The difference between who they help and who they don’t will be spilling forth as people facing sudden homelessness and hunger aren’t going to just fade away.

      • Bama Athreya on Gig Economy & Covid-19

        This week on CounterSpin: The Wall Street Journal called frontline workers like grocery store employees and food deliverers “unexpected heroes” of the Covid-19 pandemic, which should prompt the question: Unexpected to whom? The truth is the US has always relied on low-paid, unprotected workers for all kinds of services, only now it’s called a “gig economy” and celebrated by some as some radical way forward, offering workers “flexibility” and a chance to “be your own boss.” Strikes going on around the country right now are an indication of how workers themselves are reacting to this moment, in which it’s being made painfully clear that they are deemed both essential and expendable at once.

      • ‘These Devices Making the Super-Wealthy Super-Wealthier Will Have to Come Apart’
      • Hungary to keep details of Beijing-funded rail link secret

        Hungary plans to classify information concerning its largest ever infrastructure project, a €2.3bn Chinese-backed rail modernisation, a move critics said shows that Prime Minister Viktor Orban is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to push his own agenda.

        Details of the 350km Beijing-funded high-speed rail link between Budapest and the Serbian capital Belgrade will be classified for 10 years, according to draft legislation submitted to the Hungarian parliament on Thursday.

      • Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic

        The poet Langston Hughes once wrote, “I wish the rent was heaven sent.” With 10 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Hughes’ words resonate now more than ever. As we hurtle toward a public health and economic catastrophe, we must reckon with the sobering fact that our federal government is helmed by landlords, real estate developers, and financiers whose fortunes have been made – and whose worldview has been shaped – by years of predatory and extractive business practices. These practices prefigured the federal response to the pandemic and overdetermine the nature of the state-led economic rescue that is already underway.

      • We need to talk about valuation in ISDS

        Over the last few years, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) has received an increasing amount of critical attention. Where previously only specialists were aware of the existence of this field of international adjudication, now even the general press discusses its shortcomings and lack of legitimacy. Criticism can be divided into two broad categories. The first focuses on the competence of the arbitral tribunals to adjudicate investor-State disputes involving public interest considerations. People for instance question whether private arbitrators, rather than courts or public authorities, are in a position to decide whether a certain country ought to be able to regulate economic activity in a certain way. The second concerns the extent of the protection offered to foreign investors. Thus, many do not accept that foreign investors should be treated more favourably than domestic actors.

        Beyond the questions of arbitral jurisdiction and investor rights (or State duties), there is a key third pillar of ISDS that has largely escaped attention. Once an arbitral tribunal has decided that it is competent to adjudicate the investor’s claim against the State and found the latter in breach of its obligations, it will proceed to consider the appropriate remedy. Such a remedy will practically always consist in damages. That is, States will be ordered to pay a sum of money to compensate the investor for the breach. The sums are often gigantic, particularly in cases involving natural resources. For example, last summer Pakistan was held liable for $5,84 billion, which amounts to around 2% of the country’s GDP, for refusing to grant a mining licence. Other recent examples of so-called ‘mega-awards’, amounting to similar fractions of the domestic GDP, include Occidental v Ecuador ($2,3 billion, for the termination of an oil concession), Yukos v Russia ($50 billion, for the expropriation of the oil company), or ConocoPhillips v Venezuela ($8,7 billion, for the nationalisation of the oil giant’s Venezuelan subsidiary).

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • “It’s Not Like We Have a Massive Recession or Worse,” Says Trump After 10 Million Lost Their Jobs in Two Weeks

        “It’s artificial because we turned it off,” Trump said of the economic crisis, a distinction that makes no difference to the millions who have lost their jobs and their health insurance.

      • ‘This Is Unacceptable’: Trump Administration Says Millions May Have to Wait 5 Months to Receive $1,200 Relief Check

        “That’s not even remotely fast enough for the millions of working people who have seen their hours slashed, their expenses rise, and their government refuse to take sufficient action.”

      • Could COVID-19 Reshape Global Leadership?
      • With the Feds Missing In Action, Depending On the Kindness Of (RV-Owning) Strangers
      • Bernie Sanders Calls for ‘Boldest Legislation in History’ to Halt Spiraling Covid-19 Catastrophe

        “In this unprecedented moment in modern American history, it is imperative that we respond in an unprecedented way.”

      • “I Have a Plan So That We Can Remain Anonymous But Have Maximum Effect”

        These were the words, shown in court, in a text of Ms H to a co-conspirator as they launched their infamous effort to destroy Alex Salmond. The plan was to make false sexual allegations against Salmond, which would ensure the conspirators lifelong anonymity as “victims” and thus protect them against any backlash should the plan fail. They were all very powerful women, so insuring themselves was paramount. The “plan” turns out to have the added advantage that the collapse of their efforts in court in no way diminished their ability to continue their anonymous campaign to destroy Salmond.

      • Wisconsin Governor Finally Moves to Postpone State’s Primary Elections, Shift to Vote-by-Mail

        Fifteen states in recent weeks have delayed their primary elections in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but Wisconsin has yet to do so.

      • Democracy Dies in Blah Blah Blah

        In a live appearance on the Fox News network (3/30/20), Donald Trump said it was good that Democratic proposals for increased voting protections and ballot access—including vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting, as well equipment and staffing to make voting safe during the pandemic—were not included in the coronavirus relief package.

      • The WHO Ignores Taiwan. The World Pays the Price.

        By the time Taiwan confirmed its first case of Covid-19 on January 21, the country was arguably more prepared than any other place in the world. It mobilized its Central Epidemic Command Center—a rapid-response agency formed in the wake of the 2003 SARS outbreak—to implement quarantines and conduct drills at hospitals. Citizens were asked to stay calm and assured that they would all be able to buy surgical masks, as production of the masks ramped up into millions per day. Soon after, Taiwanese masks were temporarily banned from export.

        By contrast, Hubei did not begin its own emergency measures until the day after, when the Chinese health authority was already reporting 440 cases and nine deaths across mainland China.

        In spite of its decisive response, Taiwan was shut out of the WHO’s emergency meeting on January 22, where representatives from 16 countries—including the PRC, Japan, South Korea, and the United States—opted to delay declaring the coronavirus a global health emergency.

      • Jared Kushner makes coronavirus briefing appearance, draws backlash for ‘our stockpile’ comment

        White House senior advisor Jared Kushner made a rare appearance during Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing, an appearance that drew backlash when he referred to the national stockpile of medical supplies as “our stockpile” and not one belonging to states.

      • Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

        Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.

        “Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image,” said Ruth Schubert, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association. “It is outrageous.”

      • Kushner Puts Himself in Middle of White House’s Chaotic Coronavirus Response

        The culture clash between public and private sectors has been jarring. The senior official described the Kushner team as a “frat party” that descended from a U.F.O. and invaded the federal government. To government officials, the outsiders demonstrated a lax attitude to policy discussions, at one point using the website FreeConferenceCall.com to arrange high-level meetings. Others have used personal email accounts in delicate policy exchanges.

      • Trump’s War on Whistleblowers Continues as Navy Fires Captain Who Spoke Up About Coronavirus Outbreak on Aircraft Carrier

        The captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Brett Crozier, was dismissed by Navy higher-ups on Thursday — a move that was precipitated by Crozier sending a letter earlier this week to military leaders pleading for help with the outbreak of coronavirus cases onboard Crozier’s aircraft carrier.

        In the letter that was later leaked, Crozier wrote that “decisive action” was needed for the ship which was forced to dock in Guam. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” he said.

        Crozier continued, “If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

      • Navy Removes Captain of Aircraft Carrier Stricken by Coronavirus

        In a letter that leaked to news organizations on Tuesday, Capt. Brett E. Crozier laid out the dire situation unfolding on the warship, with almost 5,000 crew members, and described what he said were the Navy’s failures to provide the proper resources to combat the virus by moving sailors off the vessel and disinfecting areas on board.

        About 114 sailors have been infected so far, a number that is expected to rise by hundreds as the vessel remains docked at Guam.

        Senior Defense Department officials were angry that the letter found its way first to The San Francisco Chronicle, and then to other news outlets, where it was widely reported.

      • Navy fires captain who sought help for virus-stricken ship

        He complained that Crozier sent the memo to people outside his chain of command and in a non-secure, unclassified email. And, he said he concluded that the captain’s ability to react professionally was overwhelmed by the virus challenge, “when acting professionally was what was needed most. We do, and we should, expect more from the commanding officers of our aircraft carriers.”

      • Let the Killing Stop

        On October 23, 1969—one week after the historic Moratorium March on Washington to end the Vietnam War—46-year-old Kurt Vonnegut took the stage in his small Cape Cod hometown of Barnstable, Massachusetts, to bring the news of the fight against the war home to his neighbors and their children. His breakout novel, Slaughterhouse Five, had come out in March of that year to near-instant, near-universal acclaim. As someone who had witnessed the firebombing of Dresden as a captured soldier, he could speak to the perils of war with authority and humanity, and it seemed like the entire population of Barnstable came out to hear him—800 people filled the high school gymnasium that night. “Let the Killing Stop” is Vonnegut’s earliest recorded speech, and is reprinted for the first time here and in the paperback edition of Vonnegut’s If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? The Graduation Speeches and Other Words to Live By, selected and introduced by Dan Wakefield, released today by Seven Stories Press. “We are here because our leaders have made mistakes which have had ghastly consequences,” he told the audience. And, “Let the killing stop.”

      • Over 70% favor removing ‘China’ from Taiwan passport

        On Sunday (March 29), the NPP announced that 74.3 percent of survey respondents supported removing the “Republic of China” from the English name on the country’s passport and replacing it with “Taiwan” to avoid being confused with communist China. According to the survey, 51.2 percent strongly supported the suggestion, 23.1 percent were supportive, 10.8 percent disagreed, and 6.4 percent strongly disagreed, while 8.5 percent expressed no clear opinion.

      • Mitch McConnell blames delayed coronavirus response by President Trump on impeachment

        But journalist David Corn pointed out that the impeachment trial did not distract Trump from playing golf eight times between mid-January and early March.

        McConnell overlooked Trump’s repeated false claims that the virus was “very much under control” through February and early March.

        “This is both a pathetic excuse and damning admission by McConnell,” CNN legal analyst Susan Hennessey tweeted. “Trump administration had warning and time to act and didn’t because they only focus on the president’s political fortunes and not the health and safety of nation. People are dying because Trump didn’t do his job.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Social Media Bill: Kill it, NUJ, CSOs, NCC, Amnesty Int’l tell Senate

        A bill that will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria yesterday suffered a major setback as stakeholders, including Amnesty International, Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, asked the Senate to kill it without delay.

        The position of the stakeholders in the bill set the Senate on the path of confusion at the public hearing it organised by the Senator Opeyemi Bamidele-led Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to seek the buy-in of Nigerians.

      • [Older] 95 coalitions warn Senate against passage of social media bill

        Calling on the ninth Assembly to prove it’s not a rubberstamp for the presidency as alleged and urging them to take a cue from the leadership style of the eighth assembly, the group said, “We urge this Senate to take historical note of how previous sessions of the National Assembly sided with the people and resisted executive overbearing and repression, thereby safeguarding the civic space and ensuring respect for Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”

      • EXCLUSIVE: Facebook admits error in marking videos of Hong Kong police storming MTR station as ‘false,’ reverses decision

        Facebook has acknowledged it was a mistake to mark Instagram videos of Hong Kong police storming Prince Edward MTR station last year as false information.

        Last Saturday, multiple users of the social media app shared footage of the incident to mark seven months since the attack. Third-party fact-checkers subsequently applied a warning display, marking the clips as “false information.” Users were only allowed to view the content of the posts after tapping through the notice.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Unidentified attackers shoot at office of Lebanese journalist Shuaib Zakaria

        Zakaria posted a video and pictures on his Facebook account showing bullet holes in the door, windows, and wall of his office, shattered glass on the floor and the stairs, and a bullet hole in a printer.

        Zakaria covers local news in Akkar; on the day of the attack, he covered a protest by fishermen demanding government compensation for lost revenue over the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. He also recently covered local fundraising efforts and community meetings in Akkar in response to the virus.

      • Top Algerian journalist arrested

        Drareni was covering protests which shook Algeria for most of last year, forcing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April 2019, before they were suspended over the coronavirus.

        The justice ministry has not released a statement.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Along the Border, the Population Is High Risk for Coronavirus, but Testing Is In Short Supply

        On Monday afternoon, paramedic Theresa Fitzpatrick inched her Dodge Dart through a brand new drive-in testing center for COVID-19 in the small South Texas border city of Edinburg, a dozen miles from the Rio Grande. She had been wracked for a week with a dry, hacking cough ever since picking up a patient who had just crossed the international bridge with similar symptoms.

        But she hadn’t been able to get a test since seeing her doctor last week, until a local university opened up drive-thru testing sites in her home county on Monday.

      • The Virus That May Bring us Together

        A country paralyzed. A booming economy about to crash. Citizens afraid of an enemy they can’t see, hear or smell. The coronavirus has captured the world. Life as we have known it has stopped abruptly.

      • Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran

        There’s panic on the streets of Bellefonte, panic on the streets of Lancaster, I wonder to myself, could life ever be sane again? Barely two weeks into Pennsylvania’s largely mandatory shutdown and I’m already paraphrasing lyrics from vintage Smiths songs. I can’t deny to anyone, much less myself, that I’m not handling this shit particularly well. Quite frankly, I’m losing my proverbial shit. Flipping out on fucking trashcans and stalking the halls like Jack Torrance in lipstick, dragging an ax called ‘Nervous Breakdown’ behind me. I’d say I’m just a few loose screws away from chopping my family up into three neat stacks and hammering out “All business and no play make Nicky a dull girl” for volume three of this fucking thing. I’m an agoraphobic for shit’s sake. How the Christ did I do this for six years straight without committing a single homicide? I had sixty minutes with my shrink over the goddamn phone this week and she stopped my yammering no more than three times to ask me if I was suicidal. So, yeah, dearest motherfuckers, I’m not exactly doing well. At least I’m not alone.

      • Historic Injustices Against Native People Put Them at Greater Risk of COVID-19

        As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the U.S., Indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to this virus. On March 24, Indian Country Today reported there were 40 confirmed cases, 29 of which were on the Navajo Nation reservation. The first person to die of the virus in Oklahoma was a Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma citizen. On April 1, the number of cases in Indian Health Services (IHS) had risen to 276 with 14 confirmed deaths; 214 of these cases are on the Navajo Nation reservation.

      • Duterte Threatens to Kill Citizens Who Disobey COVID-19 Lockdown in Philippines

        In the Philippines, authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he’s ordered soldiers to shoot to kill residents if they resist a strict lockdown on the island of Luzon. His order came after residents of Manila’s Quezon City shanty town staged a protest, saying they’ve gone hungry without food promised when the lockdown began more than two weeks ago. The Philippines death toll is 136 with more than 3,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. As those numbers grow, nurses and doctors report a drastic lack of personal protective equipment. While the Philippines has seen a surge in cases, Indonesia is now reporting the second most fatalities in Asia after China with 181 dead. Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have also had success in containing the virus. For more on how countries in the region are responding to coronavirus, we speak with Natashya Gutierrez, editor-in-chief of VICE Asia.

      • Nearly 60% in US Believe System Made Solely to Serve Rich

        The poll, which had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, was conducted online among 1,002 registered voters between March 22 and 23.

        This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on the U.S. with over 216,000 cases reported Wednesday and over 5,000 death. The health emergency has also resulted in an economic recession with over three million filings for unemployment last week.

      • Grocery Workers Keep America Fed, While Fearing For Their Own Safety

        “It sounds crazy now that people ever doubted that these workers who are really keeping society functioning to a large extent were ever not worth $15 an hour or should ever have been denied paid sick leave,” he says.

        But he notes that companies’ policy changes are temporary, just for the duration of this crisis. It’s an open question whether all this new appreciation will last.

        And the protections are piecemeal — different stores have different approaches, and different levels of commitment to worker safety.

      • Covid-19: Can France’s ethical support units help doctors make challenging decisions?

        Doctors will have to make far more decisions than usual on whether to treat patients or withdraw treatment from those who are too ill to benefit. But in addition, because of shortages of beds or ventilators, doctors will increasingly have to choose one patient over another when both could benefit from treatment.

        Each of France’s 13 regions will now have an “ethical support unit”—made up of experts in emergency medicine, geriatrics, palliative care, medical ethics, philosophy, ethics, and law, as well as representatives of patient groups and civil society—to support hospital staff, GPs, and the public as these decisions are made.

        The units will also provide psychological support to medical professionals and will support the public and the state as they grapple with all sorts of ethical issues arising from the covid-19 epidemic. Two psychological support units, contactable by telephone, are also being set up in each region to support all medical workers as they work in crisis conditions that are widely being compared to wartime.

      • Discrimination amid pandemic, Pakistan refuses to give food to Hindus as coronavirus rages

        Hindus in Liyari, Sachal Ghoth and other parts of Karachi as well as all over Sindh are being denied a share in government food and rations if they happen to be Hindus.

        Amjad Ayub Mirza, a political activist has warned that the minorities are now faced with a serious food crisis and asked the Indian government to send supplies via Rajasthan to Sindh.

      • ‘Our Lives Are Worth More Than Packages’

        On Monday night, at least 30 workers—around half the size of the shift due to go in—gathered outside the facility’s entrances for a socially distanced speak-out and urged coworkers not to clock in and risk their health for Amazon’s packages.

        “Our warehouse is a petri dish for spreading this,” says Ted Miin, one of the workers who spoke. “We know that as things get worse, our walkouts and our picket lines and our actions will only grow.”

        Anger has been building inside Amazon facilities nationwide as the company tries to keep running flat-out to meet demand. Earlier in March, a Queens warehouse shut down when workers walked out after learning of a positive case. On Monday, March 30, workers at a Staten Island facility where as many as 10 employees are infected walked out mid-shift; one of the main organizers of the action was fired.

      • Keeping poor safe in lockdown is state responsibility, not an act of charity

        Clearly, the distress of the most vulnerable sections of the society is not just financial. The lockdown has been implemented in such a way that it has already resulted in their disempowerment. The quantity of additional food that needs to be distributed under the PDS has been underestimated in many states — Kerala is an exception and a model for other states.

        Keeping the poor and vulnerable safe is a matter of responsibility for the state and the private sector, not an act of charity. Leaving migrant workers to fend for themselves and forcing them to return to their villages will only enable the spread of coronavirus. In this regard, a clear distinction in the provision of aid for the urban and the rural poor must be made so that resources are better allocated amongst the poor.

      • CBS Studios Says It Is Not Retroactively Cutting Assistant Pay (EXCLUSIVE)

        The assistant who spoke with Variety is skeptical, however, that the original two emails sent by CBS Studios were a mistake.

        “I’ve known Mo and Suki to be very thorough and careful with what they send, they wouldn’t have blasted this out to assistants without careful vetting with people above them,” this person said, referring to the senders of the pay-cut emails. “It also seems weird that it could be chalked up to a mistake since it was two separate emails, sent almost half an hour apart. So, I don’t know that I believe that it was a mistake, no.”

      • Union-Busting in the Name of God

        The rise in corporate religious rights has coincided with an erosion in legal protections for workers overall. Forced to turn to a higher power than the law, workers at Catholic institutions have invoked the long history of support for unions in Catholic teaching. These workers have mounted campaigns accusing their institutions of taking advantage of the Trump administration’s evisceration of union rights while abandoning their Catholic values. “The efforts by these universities come at a time when a conservative judicial majority right now in the Supreme Court—and a growing sentiment on the federal court benches in general—favors using constitutional principles like the First Amendment as a battering ram against workers’ ability to bargain collectively,” said Joseph McCartin, a professor of history at Georgetown University. “What you’re seeing is institutions that are hiding behind the law but ignoring their own social teaching.”

      • UK’s leading prison charities warn of unprecedented deaths in jails if low-risk inmates are not released early

        Two of Britain’s leading prison charities have demanded the early release of prisoners due to the coronavirus outbreak and warn failure to act could lead to loss of life on an “unprecedented scale.”

        The Howard League for Penal Reform and Prison Reform Trust have written to Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, calling for the early release of prisoners who were either medically vulnerable or presented a low risk of harm to the public.

        Alongside their letter, they also published a report by a leading professor from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, which warned risk of exposure to the virus to prisoners and staff is “far, far greater” than that in the community.

        The research by Professor Richard Coker, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, warns social distancing and personal infection control measures are “almost impossible” in prisons. It recommends that authorities “should consider alternative options to incarceration where feasible”.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • China’s “New IP” proposal to replace TCP/IP has a built in “shut up command” for censorship

        The Chinese government and the Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei under its control are proposing a “New IP” addressing system for the internet to replace TCP/IP. The New IP system includes top-down checks and balances and such features as a “shut up command” that would allow a central controller to stop packets from being received or sent by a target “New IP address.” The China led proposal was first unveiled at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) meeting in September 2019. The associated power point presentation and formal proposal have been made available by Financial Times.

      • What COVID-19 Means for Network Security

        Recent reports suggest that this has already begun. Statistics from VPN provider NordVPN show the US has experienced a 65.93% growth in the use of business VPNs since 11 March, with the biggest gain being in desktop users.

        This is both good and bad news for network security. It’s great, of course, that users are now encrypting sensitive commercial and personal data. On the other hand, some network engineers are struggling to manage users on systems that make use of IP addresses for authentication.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon Workers Protest Near Detroit, Following NYC Walkout

        They demand that Amazon shut down the Romulus, Michigan fulfillment center for additional cleaning and cover all medical bills for associates and their family members who contracted the virus from the site, according to a Facebook live stream of the demonstration.

        That followed confirmation that a worker from that location had tested positive for the virus, Amazon said.

      • “Amazon Is a Breeding Ground”

        Christian Smalls, from Newark, New Jersey, is a thirty-one-year-old assistant manager at the Staten Island Amazon warehouse. The facility, called JFK8, employs nearly five thousand people — and more with each passing week, as mass layoffs send workers onto the job market and Amazon puts them to work delivering packages to those staying home during the economic shutdown.

        But Smalls doesn’t think Amazon deserves the praise for benevolent job creation that it’s been receiving. He says that he knows of seven confirmed COVID-19 cases at JFK8, and he believes it to be the “epicenter of the next coronavirus wave” if it’s not shut down.

        Tomorrow, Smalls and his coworkers are walking off the job, hoping to bring operations to a halt and grab Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attention. They’re demanding that JFK8 be shut down for a minimum of two weeks and professionally sanitized. Workers, he says, should be paid during this quarantine, which should be long enough for the virus to induce symptoms in whoever’s currently infected.

      • Patents

        • CARES Act – Patent Deadline Extensions for COVID-19 Related Delays

          The CARES Act (March 27, 2020) provides the USPTO Director with authority to extend deadlines to account for our current national emergency regarding the COVID-19. Dir. Iancu today announced a set of extensions noting that “we are working to provide as much relief as possible to our stakeholders, consistent with our ability to maintain the USPTO’s fee-funded operations. We are especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors, and have provided additional relief for these groups. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can hit the ground running once it passes.”

          The basic rule is that most PTO prosecution deadlines March 27 to April 30 are eligible for a 30-day extension if filed with a statement that the delay “is due to the COVID-19 outbreak” and some party involved with the prosecution “was personally affected.” Here, the personal impact can apply to applicants, patent owners, 3rd party requesters, inventors, practitioners, etc. This list presumably includes non-human corporate owners. The “personally affected” clause is quite broad and includes office closures, cash flow interruptions, inaccessibility of files, travel delays, family illnesses, or other non listed reasons.

        • Comcast v. ITC and Rovi: Supreme Court petition.

          The USITC sided with Rovi against Comcast and barred importation of the set top boxes that Comcast uses for its X1 cable service. Comcast has now petitioned its case to the U.S. Supreme Court with three questions:

          Should the case be vacated as moot since the patents are now expired?United States v. Munsingwear, Inc., 340 U.S. 36 (1950).
          The statute focuses on “articles that . . . infringe.” Here, the accused set-top boxes themselves don’t infringe and are not infringing when imported. The infringement only occurs when used by customers. What gives?
          The ITC found that Comcast did not actually import the set top boxes, but should still be liable for “importation” of the boxes. What gives?

        • COVID-19’s Impacts on the USPTO’s Budget

          The USPTO is required by law to set its fees to no more than what is necessary to cover its costs. But the Office has chosen not to set the fees associated with a given activity—filing, examination, etc.—at the level required to conduct that activity. Instead, examination fees are set at less than half of the cost to the Office of conducting examination. That shortfall is only covered when an applicant pays issue and renewal fees. In fact, for a patent issued to a large company, the USPTO doesn’t fully recover its costs until the 8-year fee is paid—8 years after the patent is issued. If the patent never issues, or if it’s abandoned before the 8-year fee is paid, the Office loses money on the examination.

          This already creates issues—for example, when the Patent Office is faced with continuously increasing patent applications, it runs the risk of the income from maintenance fees on previously granted patents being insufficient to cover the cost of examining the significantly greater number of applications for the current year. The same is true if patent owners abandon or fail to renew patents at a higher rate than previously predicted. These situations can place budget pressure on the Office that has been empirically shown to correlate to increased grant rates for patents, suggesting patents that would not have been found patentable in times of budgetary sufficiency will be found patentable in times of budgetary stress.

          In other words, budget shortfalls can lead to the issuance of patents of marginal quality.

        • Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The specification expressly defined the immediate-release component of the pharmaceutical composition as “a dosage form that is intended to release substantially all of the active ingredient on administration with no enhanced, delayed or extended release effect.” In contrast, the delayed release component was not strictly defined.

          Relevant to the issues on appeal was Amneal’s inter partes review proceeding against the ’740 and ’405 patents, and the arguments the patent owner made regarding claim construction. Specifically, the patent owner argued that the DR portion of the pharmaceutical composition “requires no substantial release from the [DR] portion until some time other than promptly after administration – and in particular, until after the DR portion passes through the acidic stomach and sections of the GI tract below pH 4.5″ (emphases in opinion). The patent owner also argued that prior art “secondary loading” portion was “intentionally designed to be ‘leaky’ in the stomach,” but that “the Chang ’740 patent expressly stated that for the ‘DR portion’ described and claimed therein, ‘there is no substantial release of doxycycline in the acidic stomach environment of approximately below pH 4.5.’” Thus the distinction the patent owner attempted to draw between its claimed invention and the prior art was that the ’740 patent had essentially no release of the delayed release component in stomach, while the prior art had some stomach release (characterized as being “leaky”).

          The Board disagreed; applying the broadest reasonable interpretation standard, the Board construed the claims to mean that the DR component of the claimed pharmaceutical composition “is not limited to formulations requiring that there be no substantial release in the stomach” and “[t]he portion of the ’740 patent specification upon which [Patent Owner] relies to support its narrower construction addresses properties of ‘enteric coated pellets,’ not a delayed-release component” and hence did not provide a basis for distinguishing the claims. The Board based its construction on the rubric that it would have be improper to read limitations reciting a narrow embodiment in construing a claim term that is read more broadly elsewhere in the specification. As set forth in the Federal Circuit’s opinion, “the Board construed ‘delayed release’ to mean ‘release of a drug at a time other than immediately following oral administration’” and that the cited art did not disclose a delayed release formulation as the term was construed.

          [...]

          Because the panel found that this determination was based on record evidence, there was no reason to overturn the District Court and thus the Federal Circuit affirmed.

        • Sarnoff on After-Arising Technologies and the Doctrine of Equivalents

          DePaul Professor Joshua Sarnoff has a new article addressing a recently reinvigorated subject: the doctrine of equivalents. In Correcting Misunderstandings of Literal Infringement Scope Regarding After-Arising Technologies Protected By the Doctrine of Equivalents, forthcoming in the Akron Law Review, Professor Sarnoff argues that while it is conventional wisdom that, for purposes of ‘literal’ infringement, interpreted claim meaning and the application of such meaning can expand over time to encompass after-arising, equivalent technologies, this conventional wisdom is wrong: “current case law regarding literal infringement does not authorize claims to literally encompass or apply to after-arising technologies.” Id. at 6.

          The term “after-arising technologies” refers to the idea that there are technologies that are developed after an application is filed or a claim is written. Due to the centrality of time to patent law, a central question in patent law is whether a patent’s claims can (and should) encompass technologies that were unknown–and indeed may have been unforseeable–at the time the claim was drafted. Excellent examples of this problem can be found in Kevin E. Collins, The Reach of Literal Claim Scope into After-Arising Technology: On Thing Construction and the Meaning of Meaning, 41 Conn. L. Rev. 493 (2008) and Robert P. Merges & John F. Duffy, Patent Law and Policy: Cases and Materials, 7th ed. (2017), at 273-277 (discussing the “temporal paradox” mostly in the context of enablement).

        • Genentech, Inc. v. Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) claim construction (and inter partes review (IPR) decision invalidating claims for obviousness) in it recent Genentech, Inc. v. Iancu decision, and also had the occasion to review and affirm the Board’s procedure-based denial of patent owner Genentech’s motion to amend when Petitioner requested the Board to enter adverse judgment on one ground of IPR institution.

        • NL – Sisvel v. Xiaomi – PI based on SEP denied

          On 17 March 2020,The Hague Court of Appeal dismissed a preliminary injunction (PI) based on alleged infringement of a Standard Essential Patent (SEP) held by a Non-Practicing Entity (NPE) based on a balancing of interests – without assessment of validity and infringement of the patent in suit, and without assessment of FRAND-related obligations.

          In case of a non-practicing SEP holder, the damage addressed by a PI is not loss of market exclusivity, but rather delayed payment of easily calculable license fees. The SEP holder’s interest in a PI therefore does not outweigh the implementer’s interest to prevent an injunction, in view of, inter alia, the irreparable harm associated with the injunction.

        • Mexichem v Honeywell [2020] EWCA Civ 473: Arrow Declarations – How broad can they be?

          On 1 April 2020, the Court of Appeal, led by Floyd LJ, handed down judgment concerning the strike out of an Arrow declaration in litigation between Mexichem and Honeywell.

          Honeywell owns six patents that focus on the use of two refrigerants (‘ze’ and ‘yf’) in mobile air-conditioning systems (“MACs”), often used in cars, with a further four divisionals undergoing examination at the EPO.

          Mexichem launched revocation proceedings in the UK, and to counter the divisionals, sought an Arrow declaration. By the earliest priority date of the patents a Japanese patent application (“Inagaki”) that disclosed ze and yf had been made available to the public. Accordingly, the Arrow declaration sought was that by the priority date it was obvious, in light of Inagaki, to use ze or yf in the manufacture of a product for use as a refrigerant in a MAC.

          Honeywell applied to strike out the Arrow declaration, arguing that there was no real prospect of success, as the declaration was not sought in relation to a specific product or process, and that it was so broad that it would lack utility. This application was refused by HHJ Hacon at first instance judgment ([2019] EWHC 3377 (Pat)). He found that general declarations could still serve a useful purpose as they would provide “a finding of obviousness which can serve as an unchallenged foundation for argument on the inventive step of inventions claimed in patents which may be granted to the defendant in the future”.

        • UK IP courts go virtual, as COVID-19 shutters courtrooms across the globe

          The legal profession is lucky. Our jobs can be performed anywhere. All we need is a laptop and a phone. However, when it comes to litigation we still prefer our analogue world. We like the tactile nature of hard copy paper bundles that we mark-up and flag. We like walking into a courtroom where we can we see the whites of our opponent’s eyes, assess whether the judge is interested or annoyed at a line of argument and observe whether a witness is fidgeting in the box or making nervous glances at the lawyers. But in this new reality, we need to do what is in the best interests of everyone. That may mean that, as far as possible, litigation has to go full virtual. And who better than intellectual property lawyers to embrace and lead the change?

        • USPTO Announces Extension of Certain Patent Deadlines

          In a USPTO Alert distributed earlier today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced the availability of extensions to the time allowed to file certain patent-related documents and to pay certain required fees. The extensions are a result of the temporary authority provided to the USPTO by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed by President Trump on March 27, 2020. Declaring that “[i]nventors and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy, and we recognize that many of them are having difficulty as a result of COVID-19,” USPTO Director Andrei Iancu noted that the Office was working to provide as much relief as possible to its stakeholders. Director Iancu recognized that the Office was “especially mindful of the outsized impact on small businesses and independent inventors, and we have provided additional relief for these groups,” adding that the Office’s ultimate goal was “to ensure not only that inventors and entrepreneurs can weather the storm, but that they can also hit the ground running once it passes.”

        • What is all due care in stressful situations? (T 0600/18)

          Many patent attorneys will be working from home during this time. A recent decision from the Board of Appeal (dating back to 2018), considers the criteria for all due care in stressful situations, in which were employees are sick or working from home.

          Imagine for a moment that you are a patent attorney in charge of a case for which there is an appeal deadline falling due tomorrow, and the appeal fee needs paying. In the office, there are only 3 computers on which the EPO online filing software is installed. The support staff who normally use these computers (and who normally do all the online filing) are not at work today. On top of this, a fierce storm is brewing. There is pressure to allow all patent attorneys and support staff to leave work early so that they can get home safely before the storm. Everyone is also planning on working from home the following day. You need to pay the appeal fee today. How stressed would you be?

          This was the situation considered in T 0600/18. The Board of Appeal assessed whether a procedural error made by a patent attorney in just such a situation was an isolated mistake made despite all due care, and therefore satisfied the requirements for re-establishment of rights (Article 122 EPC). The case related to an appeal of the decision of the Opposition Division to maintain BAE systems European patent EP 2490936 in amended form. An attempt was made to pay the appeal fee the day before the deadline. However, the patent attorney responsible for the case attempted to pay the fee by paper debit order, a method of payment that was no longer accepted by the EPO (following supplementary publication 5, OJ EPO 2017, published the previous year). The patent owner and would-be appellant, BAE, therefore failed to pay the appeal fee in time. BAE requested re-establishment of the right to file the appeal.

        • Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patent Offices and Federal Courts — March 29 UPDATE
        • Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patent Offices and Federal Courts – April 2 UPDATE

          On March 11, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declared that the COVID-19 outbreak “can be characterized as a pandemic,” cautioning that the WHO has “rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” At the time of the announcement, the WHO noted that there were 118,000 cases reported globally; in its situation report for April 2, the WHO indicates that there have been 896,450 cases globally. The WHO’s declaration earlier this month — and global developments since then — raise the question of how the pandemic has been affecting the patent community.

        • Component-level patent licensing and pricing has always served the PC industry well–only trolls and other SEP abusers deviate from the norm

          So cellular SEPs are part of W. That W component can be found in a cheap phone (“dumbphone”), in a high-end smartphone, or in a car. A car is not even the limit: it could be an airplane or it could be installed in a building. W always does the same; should there be a difference in terms of what features of a standard are actually used, then there might be price differentiation, but no one has provided a real-world example and cars certainly don’t use any features of those standards that a smartphone wouldn’t use as well.

          Now let’s assume we have the SEP holders in the W area demand an extra $20 not because of an increase in the value of the W part in its own right, but because of everything else around it.

          On that same basis, anyone holding SEPs on memory standards, display standards, the standards implemented by an operating system (such as video codecs), or standards closely related to the CPU (such as data bus standards) could also demand more money just based on all the other components, including but not limited to the wireless part.

          SEP holders of the W kind would want 10% of W+P+M+O+D. If the OEM acceded to those demands instead of insisting on a reasonable royalty based on the value of the relevant component, the price would have to be raised to maintain the same level of profitability (or any profitability at all). SEP holders of the P, M, O, and D kinds would then also want higher royalties. Each and every time the OEM accepts this, and increases the price of the end product accordingly, you get another round of successive rate increases. That’s economic mayhem with prices spiraling to the sky.

          If each of the five categories of SEP holders wanted 5% of the end-product price, it would mean 25% in total. So at some point–sustainable or not–the spiral would stop. But it would never stop if everyone argued “use-based pricing” as long as technology improves here, there, and everywhere, or gets incorporated into a bigger end product. Theoretically, the fact that a single (unless totally negligible) app becomes available on an app store could trigger a round of “use-based” price increases across all fields of technology.

          In this simplified hypothetical example, we’re talking about only a smartphone. But a car is way more multifunctional than a smartphone, which further exacerbates the problem I just described.

          [...]

          In the PC space, modularity wasn’t merely an architectural, technological reality. The way those components were sold and optionally assembled by anybody made it easy to see. But that doesn’t mean that other technology stacks aren’t modular, too. The modular commercial model of the PC industry is the (only) appropriate one for smartphones and connected cars.

        • “A single inartful statement in the prosecution history”

          ‘441 patent, claim 1 (elsewhere claimed “effective amount”). The Board found a number of the claims invalid and Genentech appealed. None of the petitioners participated in the appeal to defend the Board’s decision as part of a settlement with Genentech, but the USPTO intervened.

          The question on appeal is the meaning of the claimed “amount effective to extend the time to disease progression.” The problem for the patentee is that the specifications do not define the required comparisons. During prosecution the examiner originally rejected “extend the time to disease progression” as indefinite after explaining that the specification “never set[s] forth what the extension of time to disease progress is relative to.”

          After receiving the indefiniteness rejection during prosecution, the patent applicant did not amend the claims but rather explained that “clearly” the effectiveness of the claimed combination should be compared with the baseline “relative to an untreated patient.” Later, during the IPR, the Board used the statement to construe the claim term as stated and find the claim invalid as obvious.

        • Unified’s Open COVID Pledge

          Though people often don’t connect the two, collective action is required to minimize the effects of COVID-19 and stop patent abuse. We at Unified are doing our part to help further both, starting with the following:

          First, Unified launched a crowd-sourced prior art campaign against two ex-Theranos patents recently asserted by Laborador Diagnostics, LLC, a Fortress Investment Group / Softbank Group subsidiary, against makers of COVID testing kits—an ongoing effort located here. Diagnostics companies play a crucial role in combating COVID-19. Fortress has a demonstrated record of asserting invalid patents across industries, and has now targeted U.S. diagnostics makers. We believe deterring invalid patent assertions is essential to ensuring U.S. companies are focused on beating back the current scourge and saving lives.

        • Nokia swimming against judicial tide with its dogged refusal to license automotive component makers

          Not only has the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) resumed its preliminary investigations of Daimler’s and four of its suppliers’ antitrust complaints over Nokia’s refusal to license automotive suppliers, but the former handset maker may come under pressure in a variety of jurisdictions.

          Nokia apparently hopes to gain leverage from a German court ruling scheduled for next week’s Thursday (earlier this week, the Munich I Regional Court’s press office confirmed that the decision was, for now, still slated for that day), though the coronavirus crisis may limit the immediate impact on Daimler’s German sales while the appeals court would review a hypothetical Nokia win. Daimler brought an extremely strong invalidity contention, fulfilled its obligations under the Court of Justice of the EU’s Huawei v. ZTE ruling to be shielded from an injunction, and couldn’t have been sued by Nokia in the first place had the Finnish company lived up to its FRAND licensing promise and licensed Daimler’s suppliers. Furthermore, banning an entire car over one of thousands of little elements of a wireless standard would not be a proportionate remedy in accordance with Article 3 of the European Union’s IPR Enforcement Directive.

          The third point–the obligation to grant an exhaustive component-level license on FRAND terms to suppliers at any level of the supply chain–is what the dispute is all about. In addition to those ten Nokia v. Daimler patent infringement cases (of which Nokia has already lost one and will likely lose many more), let’s not lose sight of Huawei’s German antitrust lawsuit aiming to obligate Nokia to make a component-level FRAND licensing offer. That case will presumably go to trial later this year. The Dusseldorf Regional Court has taken favorable positions on component-level licensing before, and as I mentioned in the post I just linked to, the presiding judge of one of the patent-specialized panels of its appeals court (Judge Thomas Kuehnen of the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court) explained in an article last year that SEP holders have an obligation under Art. 102 TFEU (the abuse-of-dominant-position paragraph of EU law) to license any implementer of a standard who so requests.

        • Software Patents

          • Huawei changes its patent story

            On the one hand, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is warring with the US over trade sanctions, including suing Verizon over its misuse of its patents. Verizon has replied that Huawei is taking “credit for American innovation” with baseless suits over “outdated and valueless” patents. But, on the other hand, Huawei just opened up its more than 56,000 patents to Linux and open-source companies by joining the Open Invention Network (OIN). What’s going on here?

            For background, you should know that Huawei’s patent portfolio is both enormous and, especially in 5G, comprehensive. Statia reports Huawei Is leading the 5G patent race with 3,147 patents. If you want to deploy 5G technology, you must deal with Huawei.

          • Jenam Tech patent challenged as likely unpatentable

            On April 1, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,923,995, owned and asserted by Jenam Tech, LLC (an NPE and Oso IP affiliate). The ’995 patent, generally directed to sharing information for detecting an idle network connection between two nodes, has been asserted in district court cases against LG and Samsung.

          • Q1 2020 Patent Dispute Report

            A new venue is beginning to emerge this quarter for NPEs, as they continue their assault on the High-Tech sector. Over the past few years filings for both the District Court and PTAB proceedings steadily declined, but are now beginning to level off.

            [...]

            While Delaware is a preferred venue for patent litigation outside of the PTAB, the West District of Texas has not only become a hotbed for patent litigation, but a preferred venue for NPEs. The Western District of Texas is on pace to have over 600 patent related cases, which NPEs comprise 80% of all cases. This is partly due to Judge D. Albright, a former patent litigator appointed to the bench.

            Filings for both PTAB and District Court appear to be leveling off, with a similar amount of cases as compared to last year.

            Small-to-medium enterprises (SME) were sued in 270 (or 32%) of all patent litigation defendants. Most by NPEs. SMEs were responsible for less than 10 of all the Q1 PTAB challenges.

            NPEs continue to bring the most patent disputes in the High-Tech sector for both District Court and PTAB proceedings. NPEs accounted for 85% of patent assertions in District Court and were responsible for 68% of all PTAB proceedings in the High-Tech Sector.

      • Trademarks/Copyright

        • US court rules that unlicensed reproduction of NBA players’ tattoos in their videogame avatars is not a copyright infringement

          Are tattoos protected by copyright? If so, can a person give a third party permission to use their likeness (which includes displaying the tattoos attached to their body) without the consent of the tattoo artist who realized said tattoos?

          These intriguing questions have been raised in a number of jurisdictions [see IPKat posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here; see also here for the (in)famous tattoo copyright headache surrounding The Hangover - Part II] though conclusive answers were not really provided … at least until very recently.

          Earlier this week, in fact, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York issued its much-awaited summary judgment opinion (16-CV-724-LTS-SDA) in the (long-standing) proceedings initiated by a company (Solid Oak), which seemingly holds an exclusive copyright licence in the tattoos of NBA players Eric Bledsoe, LeBron James, and Kenyon Martin, against videogame developer and publisher Take-Two [see here for a recap; and here for a comment, also noting the potential effect of the decision in other pending cases].

        • When the court turned to an expert on whether there was cybersquatting

          Kat friend Paul McClelland discusses a less frequent use of expert testimony in a case in Singapore concerning a contract for the transfer of a domain name, where an expert witness was relied upon to determine whether cybersquatting had occurred.

          As previously reported by IPKat, here, 3 Corporate Services Pte Ltd v Grabtaxi Holdings Pte Ltd [2020] SGHC 17 concerned the enforceability of a contract for the transfer of a number of ccTLDs containing the word “grab”. These domain names had been purchased by various entities who were connected in some way with the plaintiff, in or around the time that the defendant, today a leading provider of ride-hailing and financial services across South-east Asia, established operations in various South-east Asian countries under the “GRAB” name.

          It later transpired that the plaintiff (or a related party) had registered more than 1,000 domain names, including names similar or identical to other well-known brands. As a result of this information, the defendant declined to make payment, which ultimately led to the Court proceedings alleging breach of contract.

        • Gleissner fails again in aptly-named UK trade mark invalidity action

          To trade mark professionals, Michael Gleissner is a man who needs no introduction. The avid collector of registered trade marks (and unpaid costs orders) recently lost two registrations for PARASITE-related marks in a UK Intellectual Property Office invalidity action (decision here). This continues a trend of rightsholders successfully taking a stand against the activities of Mr Gleissner and his web of companies; a small piece of good news in generally difficult times.

          [...]

          In 2018, Trademark Merkenbureau CV, another Gleissner vehicle, successfully revoked Square Enix’s 2000-registered EUTM for SQUARE ENIX for non-use (the decision has been appealed). Following the revocation decision, Gleissner filed applications for PARASITE EVE and PARASITE in the UK, Benelux and Latvia (no use of these marks by the proprietors was claimed or proven) and the UK applications were registered without opposition.

          Square Enix relied on sections 5(4)(a) (passing off) and 3(6) (bad faith) (cf. section 47) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 to invalidate the UK registrations. The Latvian registrations had already been invalidated on the basis of bad faith, a fact relied upon by Square Enix. The Latvian court found that “[Gleissner's] attempt to register a nearly identical mark is not accidental, but is a deliberate, repeated, international operation with the specific purpose of appropriating trade marks and domain names belonging to others and the profiting at the expense of those trade marks and domain names and impeding trade mark owners from doing business … [this] constitutes a manifestly unfair act.”

      • Copyrights

        • Teaching Online, Copyright, and Queen Anne’s Revenge

          On March 23, 2020, the Supreme Court announced a decision in one of the three copyright cases before it this term, Allen v. Cooper, a case that involves alleged copyright infringement by the state of North Carolina for using some video shot by a private videographer of the salvage operation for Blackbeard’s notorious pirate ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Predictably, the Justices cannot resist word play about piracy and copyright infringement. The truth is that the case is really about sovereign immunity, so the jokes might have more appropriately focused on Queen Anne. The question presented in the case was whether a state can be sued in federal court for copyright infringement, and, specifically, was the effort to allow such lawsuits through the Copyright Remedies Clarification Act a valid exercise of Congressional authority.

          Both these questions received a resounding “no” in the unanimous opinion. The Court found that Congressed did not have authority, either under its Article 1 power to grant patents and copyrights or under section 5 of the 14th Amendment, to abrogate sovereign immunity to create state liability for copyright infringement. Patent practitioners will not be surprised that much of the discussion focused on the Court’s 1999 precedent in Florida Prepaid. Indeed, most of the debate in the case, which feature a majority opinion and two different concurrences, focused on the amount of deference due to established precedent, and it seems pretty clear that much of the background in this discussion are positions being established regarding Roe v. Wade.

        • Significant Revisions to the Swiss Copyright Act

          The typical mischievous mood of April Fool’s Day is absent this year, indeed even Google has decided to skip sharing jokes today to pay respect to those who are fighting COVID-19. In this current difficult and in so many ways extraordinary situation, it may only be a sideshow that today is also the date of entry into force of the arguably most important amendment of the Swiss Copyright Act since 1992 (the Act is available in English here, though at the time of writing the English translation does not yet reflect the amendments; these can be found here in German).
          The bill is the result of eight years’ efforts by a group of experts, the Swiss government and the legislature. During this time, the entire project seemed more than once on the brink of being abandoned for good. The first draft, published in 2013, gave rise to over 1200 comments from interest groups and the general public, showing the strong – and vastly diverging – interests at stake.
          The resulting compromise tries to accommodate many of these interests, but does so at the cost of a systematic approach to copyright law. Not surprisingly, therefore, the bill is a conglomeration of specific measures to address specific issues and lacks a general narrative of where Swiss copyright law is heading – or should be heading. This post will summarize only some of the most important aspects in (fully subjective) order of decreasing importance.

        • SCT: States can Keep Infringing Copyright With Immunity/Impunity

          In this case, copyright holder Rick Allen sued the State of North Carolina (Cooper is the Governor) for copyright infringement in Federal Court after the state willfully and deliberately copied his works. The videos and photos at issue here are ones that Allen captured as part of the recovery and exploration of the Pirate Blackbeard’s downed ship Queen Anne’s Revenge. The state used his materials for various educational purposes and Allen sued.

        • RIAA Declares “Victory” in Megaupload Case Despite Not Having a Trial

          Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier has been oulining some of the RIAA’s successes since he joined the industry group. Interestingly, he went straight to the Kim Dotcom and Megaupload case, which he described as a “huge significant victory”. While the case hasn’t yet gone to trial, its destruction more than eight years ago may be a good enough result for the RIAA.

        • Bulgaria Plans to Take Down Top Torrent Sites, with U.S. Assistance

          The Bulgarian Government is actively trying to take down several top torrent sites. The country’s Combat Organized Crime Unit are working together with U.S. authorities to shut down servers and seize domain names. Popular local trackers Zamunda.net and ArenaBG are mentioned as prime targets, but RarBG.to and Zelka.org are listed as well.

        • World’s Worst Copyright Trolling Lawyer, Richard Liebowitz, Files Lawsuit Against Ellen Barkin For Posting Photo Of Herself

          I’m still amazed that any photographer could think it’s wise to hire notoriously bad copyright trolling lawyer Richard Liebowitz. Liebowitz, among many other problems, has been sanctioned for lying to the court, sanctioned for failing to comply with court orders, and even got into trouble for lying to a court about the death of his grandfather (in that one he actually had a friend of his father’s write a letter to the court basically saying that the judge should excuse Richard’s many lies, because he’s just not that experienced). And even if you could look past all that, he’s a dreadful copyright lawyer. Going back a few years we quoted a judge telling him “No reasonable lawyer with any familiarity with the law of copyright could have thought…” Just a few months ago, a court made it clear that Liebowitz’s reputation comes with baggage:

        • How The Public Domain Coronavirus ‘Beauty Shot’ You Now See Everywhere Came To Be

          By now, you’ve probably seen this image of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 a million times:

04.03.20

Links 3/4/2020: Ubuntu Beta, GNOME 3.36.1, ExTiX LXQt Mini, NetBSD 8.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Thelio Major Proves To Be A Major Player For Linux Workstations

        For the past two months we have been testing the System76 Thelio Major and it’s been working out extremely well with performance and reliability. The Thelio Major offering with options for Intel Core X-Series or AMD Ryzen Threadripper and resides between their standard Thelio desktop with Ryzen/Core CPUs and the Thelio Massive that sports dual Intel Xeon CPUs.

        The Thelio Major is the platform we have been using for all of our AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X testing and it’s been working out great. The Thelio Major besides having Threadripper and Core X-Series CPU options can be configured with up to 256GB of RAM, up to two GPUs, and up to 46TB of storage for really yielding incredibly powerful Linux workstation performance potential.

      • Meerkat in the Lab: An Interview with Day Zero Diagnostics

        Day Zero Diagnostics, a life science company based in Boston, MA, is using genome sequencing and machine learning to modernize infectious disease diagnosis and treatment. They’re also a System76 customer. To get a better sense of what role our hardware has in their research, we sat down for an interview with Software Architect Walter Gillett, Product Director Ronda Kalis Taylor, and Manager of Sequencing Technologies Ian Herriott.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes – SEASON 4, EPISODE 5: Smarter Phones: Journey to the Palm-Sized Computer

        Few could imagine what a handheld computer would look like—or even do. But a trio of visionaries saw where computing was headed. Hear how they threw out the conventional wisdom on hardware and changed everything.

      • 2020-04-02 | Linux Headlines

        ProtonMail’s new Linux bridge makes its encrypted services available to standard email clients, new LTS releases for Linux Container tooling, a Manjaro-powered laptop from TUXEDO Computers, and a special edition PinePhone with Ubuntu Touch pre-installed.

      • Grains of Salt | BSD Now 344

        Shell text processing, data rebalancing on ZFS mirrors, Add Security Headers with OpenBSD relayd, ZFS filesystem hierarchy in ZFS pools, speeding up ZSH, How Unix pipes work, grow ZFS pools over time, the real reason ifconfig on Linux is deprecated, clear your terminal in style, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.15

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.15 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 5.4.30
      • Linux 4.19.114
      • Linux 4.14.175
      • Linux 4.9.218
      • Linux 4.4.218
      • WireGuard VPN Gets Added to the Next Linux Kernel

        I briefly mentioned WireGuard when I wrote of Cloudflare’s WARP beta. I think it’s something to add to your technology watch lists. It’s just not any old VPN app, it’s a VPN protocol that could very well replace current protocols like IPsec and OpenVPN, or at least be offered as an alternative.

      • Stable kernel 5.6.2
      • Btrfs File-System Updates Land In Linux 5.7

        SUSE’s David Sterba sent in the Btrfs file-system updates this week for the Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Some of the highlights for the feature-rich Btrfs file-system in Linux 5.7 consist of:

        - Speed-up of extent back reference resolution with an example test going “down from a hour to minutes.”

      • Linux 5.7 Seeing Updates For Intel SpeedSelect Technology, Jasper Lake PMC

        Andy Shevchenko submitted on Tuesday the x86 platform driver updates targeting the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

        Highlights of the platform-drivers-x86 updates for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Many improvements to the Intel SpeedSelect Technology support on Linux, including Cascadelake-X updates, displaying the enabled CPU core count, improved error reporting, and many fixes. Intel has been working on SST support since Linux 5.3 for dealing with these more granular power/performance controls on Cascade Lake and newer CPUs.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6.2[Stable] Released with added features & more!!

        Kernel 5.6.2 Released: The latest and the most stable Linux Kernel 5.6.2 has been released on April 2, 2020. Kernel authors Greg Kroah-Hartman, Eric Biggers, Jiri Slaby, Daniel Borkmann, Johannes Berg and more have added the changelog of the Kernel 5.6.2 on the official kernel.org.

      • Plenty Of New Sound Hardware Support, Continued Sound Open Firmware Work For Linux 5.7

        SUSE’s Takashi Iwai who oversees the sound subsystem for the Linux kernel sent in his changes on Thursday that are ready for the 5.7 kernel.

    • Applications

      • Cloudflare Launches Free VPN for Windows and Mac, Linux Version Also Coming

        Cloudflare has released the first beta of WARP for Windows and Mac, one year after the application make its way to mobile devices.

        Available free of charge on the two platforms right now, WARP is supposed to make its way to Linux as well, but Cloudflare says additional work is required in this regard.

        The company promises WARP for Windows and macOS will graduate from beta faster than the mobile sibling did on Android and iOS – general availability for the mobile version was announced in September 2019 after the April debut of the beta.

      • Best Computerized Telescopes for Linux

        We are living in exciting times, don’t you think? Interstellar objects are visiting our galaxy. Astronomers are winning Nobel. History is being made in so many fields of Astronomy. Thanks to the advancements in computers and technology, today, anyone can indulge in amateur level astrophotography. You just need the right equipment, a few add-ons, and you are all set.
        However, before you set your eyes at the Saturns rings, Martian ice-caps, or Jupiter’s moons, you need to learn the basics of Computerized Telescopes. Worry not, if you don’t know what those are. We will be covering all that in the buyer’s guide section. While the computers in most popular brands support windows, in this article, we will be reviewing the top 5 best computerized telescopes that support Linux too. So let’s begin!

      • Glipper – Clipboard Manager for GNOME Desktop

        We have covered several clipboard managers in the past with advanced applications such as Clipboard Anywhere, CopyQ and Indicator Bulletin. Today, I’m happy to introduce to you a simple tool for managing your copy and paste history and it goes by the name of Glipper.

        Glipper is a free and open-source clipboard manager built for the GNOME desktop environment. With it, users can manage their copied text using the clipboard history and it features plugin support to enable extra functionality. It was built to solve the problem of Ubuntu not having a built-in feature for managing copied texts.

      • With ProtonMail Bridge, You Can Now Use Encrypted Email With any Desktop Email Client

        Switzerland based ProtonMail is one of the best secure email services for privacy-concerned users with a focus on providing open source solution. Apart from encrypted email service, they also provide a free VPN service in the form of ProtonVPN.

        Providing the same encrypted email service through desktop client was a problem. To solve that problem, ProtonMail has officially launched ProtonMail Bridge for Linux.

      • QQ for Linux 2.0 Beta2 Released with Stability Improvements

        QQ for Linux, the popular instant messaging apps developed by Tencent, released the second Beta on April Fools’ Day.

        The development of QQ on Linux is quite slow. It has been 5 months since the last release.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Cellar Door Games have officially announced Rogue Legacy 2

        Rogue Legacy 2 from Cellar Door Games is a “genealogical” rogue-lite following the popular gameplay idea from the original, where you die and pass on your skills and continue to grow through new characters.

        While there’s currently no platforms mentioned for release since they’ve only just begun teasing it (there’s not even a trailer yet), it’s likely it will come to Linux since both the original Rogue Legacy and Cellar Door’s other title Full Metal Furies were on Linux and they were ported by Ethan Lee.

      • X-Plane 11.50 has a first Beta with Vulkan API support which should improve performance

        X-Plane 11 is a very highly rated flight simulation game and Laminar Research have been working on advancing the graphics side of it, with a first Beta out for the next version with Vulkan support.

        Announced on their official blog yesterday, Laminar mentioned that had 50+ third-party developers do plenty of private testing for them but as this is the first public Beta it will likely have some issues. For the Linux version any Linux distribution that can run recent GPU drivers should be fine, with any somewhat recent GPU that supports Vulkan. On the NVIDIA side you need at least driver version 440.26 but Mesa version for AMD was not mentioned (Intel seems not supported).

      • Strange Times: During The COVID-19 Outbreak, Evictions Get A Pause…In Final Fantasy 14

        As the world navigates the reality of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, we’ve already noted several ways that the outbreak has changed our daily lives. Me being me, I noticed just how many professional sports organizations were moving into broadcast versions of their eSports as a way to fill the void. That of course isn’t the only way video game life has changed.

      • Mesa OpenGL Threading Enabled For More Games Yielding Sizable Performance Jumps

        Well known open-source AMD OpenGL driver developer Marek Olšák has enabled more Linux games to run with Mesa’s GLTHREAD functionality enabled for helping with the performance.

        This OpenGL threading functionality is now enabled by default for more games. This OpenGL threading is only enabled on a per-application basis or when setting mesa_glthread=true but can really help with the performance especially on older hardware.

      • X-Plane 11.50 Public Beta 1: Vulkan and Metal Are Here

        Today is the day. X-Plane 11.50 public beta 1 is now available for download to everyone. (Steam users: the beta is staged on the servers, and we’ll let it loose this afternoon if it isn’t setting people’s machines on fire.)
        I want to extend my appreciation to the 50+ third party developers who participated in the eleven (!) private developer previews. This is probably the most complex single patch we have developed with regards to third party add-ons; their help testing and trouble-shooting issues was invaluable.

      • X-Plane 11.50 Flight Simulator Beta Released With Vulkan API Support

        For years we have been looking forward to X-Plane with a new Vulkan renderer to replace its aging OpenGL renderer. Finally today the X-Plane 11.50 Beta has been made public for this realistic flight simulator that supports Metal on Apple platforms and Vulkan everywhere else.

      • Google announce multiple new games coming to Stadia with Gunsport a ‘First on Stadia’ title

        As Google move ever closer to finally opening up Stadia to everyone, they continue building up their collection of streaming games with three titles out for April’s Pro subs and two new titles announced for release. Time for another Stadia round-up.

        For a reminder: right now you can get the Serious Sam Collection, Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) and Spitlings free as part of Stadia Pro if you kept up your subscription. Thumper is also staying for another month, after it previously due to leave Stadia Pro on March 31 and Metro Exodus has now left Stadia Pro so anyone else would need to buy it.

      • Darkest Dungeon: The Butcher’s Circus due out in May with online PvP arena battles

        Darkest Dungeon: The Butcher’s Circus is adding in a new twist on the harsh turn-based combat of Darkest Dungeon with arena PvP battles where you don’t risk your standard campaign crew.

        Giving players an entirely new way to play the game, you will be entering a new Hamlet location: The Butcher’s Circus where The Butcher demands a show. It sounds quite interesting, certainly nothing like the current Darkest Dungeon where the exploration forms a huge part of the usual gameplay. Doing away with all of that to focus purely on facing other players online, and climbing up the ranks certainly sounds interesting. With the supreme style it has, this could be great.

      • Another new NVIDIA Vulkan Beta driver expands Ray Tracing support on Linux

        The second update in the space of a week, NVIDIA just today put out another NVIDIA Vulkan Beta driver which further expands the Ray Tracing capabilities on Linux.

      • Mixing a sci-fi RPG with a Visual Novel ‘Planet Stronghold 2′ is out now

        Planet Stronghold 2 from Winter Wolves is a brand new science-fiction RPG that blends in isometric map exploration and Visual Novel elements. Serving as a sequel to their 2011 game, Planet Stronghold 2 turns things up a notch as their biggest game yet with it being their biggest game yet.

        With a branching plot featuring some tough and mutually exclusive choices, the ability to play as Male or Female with full skills customization and even a little romance thrown in too. What’s also interesting is that you can play it in different ways: either as a full RPG with the map exploration or tune it to the Visual Novel mode if you just want story content.

      • Terraria has now sold over 30 million copies as they get closer to the massive Journey’s End update

        Terraria from developer Re-Logic has now officially passed 30 million sales and shows no sign of stopping, as they approach a huge update with Journey’s End.

        What’s interesting is that they had announced in May last year, that they hit 27 million. So in the space of only around a year, they’ve added an additional 3 million. Considering how old Terraria is now (2011), it’s incredibly impressive that they’re just continuing to grow. They broke it down a little to mention that 14 million is from PC, 7.6 million on consoles and 8.7 million was from mobile.

      • inXile Entertainment announce Wasteland 3 is delayed until August 28

        Wasteland 3 was originally set for May 19 and now that some platforms have access to a Beta, inXile Entertainment have said they’re now going for an August 28 launch.

        The main reason being of course the current Coronavirus situation, they said in an announcement on their official site that they’re working from home like a lot of other companies which has impacted their work. However, they make it clear they’re in a good position with Microsoft and Deep Silver supporting them well and they wish to ensure “a stellar product on day one”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile: How to help us!

          We often get asked: “how long until the 1.0 release?”. Or: “how far away is Plasma Mobile 1.0?”. The usual answer to both these question is “It’ll be ready when it is ready”. But, really, how do we know that it is ready?

          Recently some of us prepared a check list of items which we consider necessary before we can declare Plasma Mobile “ready” or at rc1 status.

        • [Krita's] April Development Update

          With near infinite difficulty we managed to release Krita 4.2.9 in the last week of March… So now it’s time to look ahead! All Krita developers work from home anyway, whether they do sponsored work or are volunteers, but it’s quite hard to keep focus these days. Several of us are in quarantine, others are in lock-down — with people in Hong Kong, China, India, Russia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, U.S.A, Canada, Mexico and Brazil we live under a wide variety of pandemic responses. The Libre Graphics Meeting in Rennes has been moved to 2021, as has the Krita Developers Sprint that was going to happen right after LGM.

          But life goes on, and we’re on the verge of another edition of Google Summer of Code. Krita has received a bunch of excellent proposals! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for our prospective students!

          And, of course, a lot is happening in Krita’s repository! About two weeks ago we merged the resource management rewrite branch into master. Now, let’s unpack this in what we’ve been doing, and what this means… For the past five years, we’ve been working on rewriting the way Krita handles things like brush presets, brush tip and tags. This turned out to be a huge amount of work, sucking up lots and lots of energy. But in March we felt we could risk merging everything into master so it would get into the development builds.

        • KDE on Instagram

          Instagram is one of those social medium services and is run by everyone’s favourite Facebook. The good side of it is that it’s based on happy pretty pictures rather than angry people (Twitter) or political disinformation (Facebook) but the bad side of that is it is common to feel inferior because you’re not as good looking as the people in the pictures. Well that’s not a problem because everyone using KDE or helping out the community is automatically good looking.

        • Elisa Music Player by KDE is Refreshing, But Not There Just Yet

          If you’re someone who still listens to locally stored music, in this day and age of several streaming music services, you deserve a good music player app. I use Google Play Music because it also lets me upload my local music files. Yet, I can never really fully switch over because I just don’t like the silly-looking interface. Google Play Music just has the worst interface of all music streaming services. Thus, I still prefer using a nice, beautiful local music player app more often when I can. As such, I’m always on the lookout. Elisa Music Player was just released by the KDE team and is kind of available for every Windows, openSUSE, and Arch Linux user.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36 and 3.38

          Launched three weeks ago on March 11th, the GNOME 3.36 “Gresik” desktop environment brings numerous new features and performance enhancements, including refreshed login and unlock screens, a more polished GNOME Shell, and a new Extensions app for managing GNOME Shell extensions.

          GNOME 3.36 also revamps the calendar popover with a built-in Do Not Disturb feature, reorganizes the Power off / Log out options to be more accessible, adds a password peeking feature to most auth dialogs, and redesigns many panels of the GNOME Control Center.

        • GNOME 3.38 Desktop Environment Slated for Release on September 16
        • First GNOME 3.36 Point Release is Out with Oodles of Fixes

          Composed of bug fixes, band-aids, and post-release patches, the GNOME 3.36.1 point release aims to iron out lately-discovered wrinkles in the various components that make up the GNOME desktop environment.

          “GNOME 3.36.1 is a stable release containing three weeks of bugfixes since the 3.36.0 release. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.36 should upgrade,” GNOME advise.

        • GNOME 3.36.1 Released With First Batch Of Fixes

          Following last month’s release of GNOME 3.36 with its many new features and performance improvements, GNOME 3.36.1 is out today with the first batch of updates/fixes to this H1’2020 open-source desktop.

          With GNOME 3.36.1 comes changes like:

          - Improved app folders for GNOME Shell as well as improving its screen reader support.

          - Mutter has fixed its hardware cursor support on GPU hot-plug, support for middle-click emulation on mice, scaling fixes, fixed for building with OpenGL ES but without desktop OpenGL, and other bug fixes.

        • Molly de Blanc: SCaLE 18x

          The GNOME presence was felt throughout the conference with a special GNOME Beers and pre-release party on the first day of the conference, Thursday, March 5th. GNOME information flyers were also included inside every attendee bag.

          This presence carried on to our booth where we were able to connect with GNOME community members, contributors, and enthusiasts as well as tote our merchandise, including a brand new GNOME t-shirt, and stickers. Thank you to the number of supporters who assisted us at the booth including Foundation staff, Melissa Wu, Caroline Henriksen, Neil McGovern, and Rosanna Yuen, along with Foundation members Matthias Clasen, Sriram Ramkrishna, and Nuritzi Sanchez.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • ExTiX LXQt Mini with LXQt 0.14.1, Refracta Snapshot and kernel 5.6.2-exton :: Build 200402

          I‘ve made a new “mini” version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. It is based on (upcoming) Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa. The ISO file is now of 1050 MB, which is good if you want to run the system super fast from RAM. When the boot process is ready you can eject the DVD or USB stick. Use Boot alternative 2 or Advanced options… >> load to RAM. The best thing with ExTiX 20.4 is that while running the system live (from DVD/USB) or from hard drive you can use Refracta Snapshot (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu 20.04 system. So easy that a ten year child can do it! ExTiX 20.4 uses the latest kernel – 5.6.2. Released by Kernel.org today.

          Study all pre-installed packages in ExTiX 20.4.

        • ExTiX “The Ultimate Linux System” Gets a Mini Version Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Linux 5.6

          Arne Exton released today a new version of his ExTiX “The Ultimate Linux System” distribution with a “Mini” flavor featuring the lightweight LXQt desktop environment.

          ExTiX 20.4 is now available for download, and it’s the first release of the so-called “The Ultimate Linux System” distribution that’s based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system.

          This is also the first release of this Ubuntu-based distribution to ship with the recently released Linux 5.6 kernel series (Linux kernel 5.6.2 is included by default) and a “Mini” version, which features the lightweight and modern LXQt desktop environment.

        • ExTix 20.4 ‘Mini’ Linux Distro Released: Based On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          The Ultimate Linux system ExtiX 20.2 was the first Linux distro based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa.” Though v20.2 was an unstable version, Arne Exton, the ExTiX developer, has released a new mini version ExTiX 20.4.

          ExTiX LXQT 20.4 is tagged as ‘Mini’ release because it ships with the lightweight and user-friendly LXQT desktop environment. The v20.04 is also based on the next long term Ubuntu 20.04 and includes the latest Linux Kernel 5.6.2.

          [...]

          The installation process involves only three steps. First, download the ISO by clicking the button given below. Next, create a bootable USB using downloaded ExTiX ISO file. Then, plug in a USB stick into the system and finally reboot to either run in live mode or install ExTiX.

      • BSD

        • NetBSD 8.2 is available!

          The third release in the NetBSD-8 is now available.

          This release includes all the security fixes in NetBSD-8 up until this point, and other fixes deemed important for stability.

        • NetBSD 8.2 Released With Fix For Ryzen USB Issues, Fix For Booting Single Core CPUs

          While NetBSD 9.0 has been out since mid-February, for those still on the NetBSD 8 series the NetBSD 8.2 milestone is now available with various fixes. As a result of the coronavirus, the NetBSD 7 series is also being extended.

          NetBSD 8.2 ships with a fix for AMD Ryzen USB issues, a regression that caused a crash when booting single-core CPUs, Microsoft Hyper-V Gen2 VM frame-buffer support, TFTP support for x86 EFI booting, kernel memory information leak fixes, multiboot 2 support for x86 boot-loaders, mitigating last year’s Key Negotiation of Bluetooth attack, fixed firmware loading for the Nouveau driver, fixed loading of the AMD Radeon “Tahiti” VCE firmware, and other fixes.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Arch Family

        • New Manjaro Linux ARM 20.04 Released For Single Board Computers

          With the successful shipment of Manjaro Linux ARM to Pinebook Pro, the Manjaro ARM team has released a new ARM v20.4 for single board computers. The latest version is a successor to the previous ARM 20.02 with major system changes. Manjaro ARM is an Arch and Manjaro Linux-based small distribution by a developer team from Manjaro Linux. The ARM edition is a dedicated operating system for devices using ARM architecture-based processors.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • What’s new with tzdata: The time zone database for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          The Time Zone Database (tzdata) provides Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with data that is specific to the local time zone. Applications in the Linux operating system use this data for various purposes. For instance, the GNU C Library (glibc) uses tzdata to ensure APIs such as strftime() work correctly, while applications such as /usr/bin/date use it to print the local date.

          The tzdata package contains data files documenting both current and historic transitions for various time zones around the world. This data represents changes required by local government bodies or by time zone boundary changes, as well as changes to coordinated universal time (UTC) offsets and daylight saving time (DST).

        • JetBrains IntelliJ Red Hat OpenShift extension provides debug support for OpenShift components

          The 0.2.0 release version of the Red Hat OpenShift extension for JetBrains IntelliJ is now available. You can download the OpenShift Connector extension from the JetBrains Plugins Repository. This release provides a new OpenShift: Debug action to simplify the debugging of OpenShift Components pushed to a cluster. It is similar to features developed for Visual Studio Code and JBoss Tools for Eclipse. OpenShift Connector uses OpenShift Do‘s (odo‘s) debug command under the hood and supports only local Java and Node.js components. This enhancement lets the user write and debug local code without leaving IntelliJ.

        • IBM awards its second $50,000 Open Source Community Grant to internship and mentorship program Outreachy

          Last October, the open source community at IBM awarded a first-of-its-kind quarterly grant to promote nonprofits that are dedicated to education, inclusiveness, and skill-building for women, underrepresented minorities, and underserved communities in the open source world. Our Open Source Community Grant identifies and rewards future developers and open source leaders and creates new tech opportunities for underrepresented communities.

          Today, we are pleased to announce that the winner of the second quarterly Open Source Community Grant is Outreachy. Our open source community nominated a number of nonprofits doing incredible work and, while voting was close with plenty of deserving organizations in the mix, we awarded Outreachy the most votes for their commitment to providing paid internships to underserved and underrepresented minorities. The award is timely as it will help Outreachy provide paid remote work to underrepresented groups in a time when people are being forced to work from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

        • Red Hat OpenShift Serverless Inches Closer to GA

          Red Hat recently updated its OpenShift Serverless platform with a handful of new features that inch it closer to general availability (GA). The move highlights both the ongoing maturation of serverless platforms as well as the tepid pace of that maturation process.

          Red Hat’s OpenShift Serverless product is based on the Knative project. It boasts many of the benefits tied to serverless platforms like the ability to scale up or down to zero, which theoretically allows for lower operational costs. And OpenShift is Red Hat’s Kubernetes-focused enterprise platform.

          The update uses the Knative 0.12 iterations of serving, eventing, and the Knative command line interface (CLI). That’s just a few steps behind the most recent Knative releases that are part of the project’s rapid-fire release cycle. It also includes a handful of other integrations designed to ease use and integration.

        • Red Hat: We need to talk about cloud-native

          As they edge towards a 5G architecture, can the network operator community build on key takeaways from their early virtualization efforts? Susan James, senior director of telecommunications strategy at Red Hat, sure as hell hopes so.

          “The telcos need to look at what has been learned from the NFV years,” says James, adding pointedly, “there’s no point in just dumping applications into containers.”

          And that could be the temptation as the telecom sector starts to embrace the cloud-native aspects of 5G and all that encompasses, from new ways of building, onboarding, integrating, managing, exposing and supporting applications, whether developed in-house or sourced from third-party developers.

          Telcos have been talking about cloud-native for a few years, since they realized that somewhat monolithic virtualized network functions (VNFs) running on early NFV infrastructure platforms would only get them a smidge of the agility and flexibility they seek. Instead, a wide-area-network-friendly, carrier-grade version of the containerized systems increasingly popular with large enterprises and the data center brigade looks far better suited for the challenges that full-blown 5G (with its gazillions of potentially latency-intolerant devices connected to edge platforms) will bring.

          Now those conversations about containers, Kubernetes and next-generation telco cloud functionality are getting more frequent, says James, who has been with Red Hat – one of the leading providers of open source software systems for telco cloud deployments, such as its version of OpenStack and its OpenShift container platform – for almost two years, following more than 15 years at Ericsson.

        • Let’s monitor edge computing networks with RHEL!

          One of the characteristics of edge computing is that rather than one big network, multiple smaller networks are being used. Network connectivity inside of these smaller networks is mostly reliable, but the connectivity between these network bubbles can be unstable—some edge network concepts are even designed to cope with temporary network interruptions between these networks.

        • Ansible streaming video series, open source security tools, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

      • Debian Family

        • Norbert Preining: KDE/Plasma updates for Debian sid/testing

          I have written before about getting updated packages for KDE/Plasma on Debian. In the meantime I have moved all package building to the openSUSE Build Service, thus I am able to provide builds for Debian/testing, both i386 and amd64 architectures.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta Released

          For those with extra time on their hands due to being at home and social distancing, Canonical released the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS beta today for testing.

          The Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” beta is out for the desktop, server, and cloud platforms. Additionally, beta images are available for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta Released Today! The Wait is Over!

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta Released: The Team Canonical announced the latest version of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS for public usage. Users all around the world are eagerly waiting for the release of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version. The full release of this Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is scheduled to be released on 23 April 2020.

          The exact words from the Ubuntu team are…

        • Ubuntu 20.04: The most exciting new features

          Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) will be unleashed on April 23rd, 2020. The first reports of this new release were mostly focused on a new release of GNOME and a few other aesthetic tweaks, plus a couple of additional performance enhancements.

          But we are talking about Ubuntu, one of the most user-friendly and enterprise-ready desktop Linux distributions on the market. So of course the developers weren’t going to settle for having their twentieth release standing as an uneventful occasion. So it should come as no surprise that, in recent days, the news that Ubuntu was going to do something really important for this update came down the pipe.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta Is Now Available for Download

          Highlights of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release include the latest and greatest GNOME 3.36 desktop environment, a new graphical boot splash that integrates with the system BIOS logo, and Linux kernel 5.4 LTS with lz4 compression algorithm by default for kernel and initramfs for faster boot times.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Beta is Now Available to Download

          Landing in advance of next month’s stable release, the Ubuntu 20.04 beta gives enthusiasts and testers the chance to get up close with the various changes on offer.

          Such as?

          Well, Ubuntu 20.04 beta ships the Linux 5.4 kernel; offers the majority of the recent GNOME 3.36 release, including its new lock screen; and adds a new ‘dark mode’ setting to the Appearance section.

        • Get Ubuntu Touch And A Custom Case On The Newest 2020 PinePhone

          The surprisingly affordable $150 Linux Smartphone is getting its first “Community Edition” beginning this month, and it’s a momentous step forward for the PinePhone and for the open source mobile OS ecosystem. Pine64 — which also produces the PineBook Pro — has announced the PinePhone UBPorts Community Edition is available for pre-order right now and will begin shipping the custom device in May 2020.

        • PinePhone UBports Community Edition brings back an old but ongoing dream

          Linux phones like the PINE64 PinePhone and Purism Librem 5 may be the hot topic in the free and open source community but they are hardly the first to take a stab at that dream. Just a few years back, Canonical, makes of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, decided to take a whack at creating a mobile Linux platform, Ubuntu Touch. It failed but the open source community took over the helm, paving the way for a new partnership that has now resulted in the PinePhone UBports Community Edition.

          [...]

          UBports positions this PinePhone Community Edition as the newest way for tinkerers, developers, and users to get a phone they can use and change to their open source hearts’ content. It also warns, however, that it isn’t fit yet for a daily driver, depending on your needs. Things like cameras and support for USB peripherals are still missing but are coming.

        • PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” Linux Phone Launched with Ubuntu Touch

          PinePhone “BraveHeat” Limited Edition Linux smartphone launched last November as promised for $149.99. As the codename implied, it was for the enthusiasts as the phones that were part of that product batch may have had some defects, and came without an operating system, meaning the users had to flash the firmware themselves.

          But there’s now a new edition, namely PinePhone “Community Edition: UBports” pre-loaded with UBports with Ubuntu Touch featuring Lomiri user interface.

        • PinePhone ‘Community Edition’ Linux Phone With Ubuntu Touch: All You Need To Know

          After almost finishing the shipment of PinePhone ‘Braveheart Edition,’ Pine64 has opened the pre-order of their new PinePhone ‘Community Edition.’ One of the major updates in the latest edition is the collaboration with the UBports community.

          If you don’t know, UBports is the foundation that is supporting Ubuntu Touch after Canonical gave up the Ubuntu Phone project. After almost four years, UBports has finally entered into an official association with a Linux Phone. Also, Ubuntu Touch is the first pre-installed OS shipping in PinePhone as the previous Braveheart featured no official Linux OS.

        • [Older] My first steps with the BraveHeart PinePhone – Florent V
        • Forget the iPhone: PinePhone Linux Phone Running Ubuntu Touch Announced

          The so-called PinePhone “Community Edition” is a custom version of the PinePhone Linux phone that comes with Ubuntu Touch pre-installed, so you can now enjoy a full Linux package – the original version of the device shipped without an operating system.

          “The PinePhone UBports ‘Community Edition’ is the culmination of all our work over the past 18 months, from the first laggy Unity8 [now Lomiri] demos on the ‘Anakin’ development unit, to fighting with the modem on the “Don’t be Evil” prototype (turns out the SIM slot wasn’t wired correctly), through to our work to make the ‘Braveheart’ units suitable for use by early adopters and enthusiasts,” the official announcement reads.

        • Essential Guide: How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 (Beta) Right Now

          Well, in this guide I show you the steps required to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 from Ubuntu 18.04 or Ubuntu 19.10 right now, , nice and early, ahead of the final release.

          You do not need to download an .iso, fuss around with a USB thumb drive, or lose any of your files — you can upgrade directly with a half-way decent internet connection.

          Just keep in mind that (at the time you read this) the final stable release of the Focal Fossa is not yet available, only a beta quality candidate is.

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana”: All New Features And Release Date

          Linux Mint is undoubtedly one of the best beginner-friendly and tough competitors of the most famous Ubuntu Linux. One of the reasons can be credited to its upstream codebase. Since Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro, it uses the codebase of the latest Ubuntu long term support version.

          After ending 2019 with the release of Linux Mint 19.3, the Linux Mint team is ready to roll out its first version in 2020. As already revealed in their monthly blog, the upcoming Linux Mint 20 will be based on the next Ubuntu 20.4 LTS. So, in this article, I’m going to discuss everything about the new changes and release date of Mint 20.

        • LXD 4.0 LTS stable release is now available

          The stable release of LXD, the machine container hypervisor, is now available. LXD 4.0 is the third LTS release for LXD and will be supported for 5 years, until June 2025. This version comes with a significant amount of new features including adding virtual machines (VMs) support, the introduction of projects and improved networking, storage and security capabilities.

        • LXD 4.0 LTS Released For Offering The Latest Linux Containers Experience

          Ahead of the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release later this month, the Canonical folks working on LXD for Linux containers and VMs have released LXD 4.0 LTS.

          LXD 4.0 LTS is offering up the latest Linux containers experience and in great shape for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Some of the highlights for LXD 4.0 include:

          - Support for backing up of virtual machines using lxc export and lxc import, similar to existing container backup functionality.

        • LXD 4.0 LTS has been released

          The LXD team is very excited to announce the release of LXD 4.0 LTS!

          This is the 3rd LTS release for LXD and a very busy and exciting one!
          The changelog below is split so that both users of LXD 3.23 and LXD 3.0 can see what we have in store for them.

          As with all our other LTS releases, this one will be supported for 5 years (June 2025) and will receive a number of bugfix and security point releases over that time.

          As for LXD 3.0, we’re hoping to release one last bugfix release as 3.0.5 in the near future before we enter security-only maintenance mode for its remaining 3 years.

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.04 Release Notes

          There are many way ways of testing. A spare machine, a secondary hard drive, a live USB, or using a VM (Virtual Machine). If you are planning on using a VM, you may be interested in trying quickemu which allows you to easily manage QEMU VM’s with a shell script.

          We hope you will join in and help us make Ubuntu MATE 20.04 and all of it’s family a success

        • Canonical Wants to Manage Away Open Source Complexity

          Canonical launched a managed applications platform that allows enterprises to have the vendor control their open source applications regardless of what type of infrastructure those applications are running on.

          The Canonical Managed Apps platform is launching with the ability to manage 10 cloud-native database and logging, monitoring, and alerting (LMA) applications on multi-cloud Kubernetes infrastructure or on virtual machines (VMs) running on bare metal, public, or private clouds. The initial applications include databases MySQL, InfluxDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and ElasticSearch; the Open Source MANO NFV management and orchestration application; the Kafka event streaming platform; the Graylog logging platform; the Prometheus monitoring system; and the Grafana observability platform.

          Stephan Fabel, director of product at Canonical, explained that the management platform sits on top of or to the side of the infrastructure platform depending on the infrastructure being used. It acts to enforce the policies and models of that piece of software. The platform itself runs on open source software, and the vendor’s Juju service orchestration tool and underlying Charms deployment model.

        • Canonical To Simplify Cloud Operations For Enterprises With Managed Apps
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Rant of the day: well, at least Microsoft is making loads of money…

        Sadly, many if not most of our schools today are suddenly pumping lots of extra money into Microsoft, Zoom and other proprietary software companies, because they need online collaboration. We all know there are many alternatives to giving their students’ data away to foreign companies but most don’t bother. It is annoying, there is always budget for Microsoft, but not for proper, local, privacy-protecting open source solutions, even if those are better. Why is that?

      • Events

        • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 96

          While many activities around the world slow down due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to say the YaST development keeps going at full speed. To prove that, we bring you another report about what the YaST Team has been working on during the last couple of weeks.

          The releases of openSUSE Leap 15.2 and SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 are approaching. That implies we invest quite some time fixing bugs found by the testers.

        • Indonesian LibreOffice community: Online translation marathon

          Communities around the world help to translate and localise LibreOffice in over 100 languages. We really appreciate their efforts!

        • Update on openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

          Organizers of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference had a meeting this week to discuss various topics surrounding COVID19 and how it may affect the conference and planning for it.

          At this point, it is uncertain what restrictions governments may keep in place in the coming months. While October is some months away, there are many aspects we are considering as to how to run the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference.

          Travel restrictions, flights, hotel and venue availability, event capacity and our community members’ ability to attend the conference are all factors we are considering. We hope to make a decision about the conference at the latest by mid-June.

        • Daniel Stenberg: The curl roadmap 2020 video

          On March 26th 2020, I did a live webinar where I talked about my roadmap visions of what to work on in curl during 2020.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Any Corona tracking app must be used voluntarily and be Free Software

            The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) demands that the use of tracking technologies that aim at breaking the chains of disease infection may only be promoted on a voluntary basis, fundamental rights must be respected and the software must be published under a Free Software licence.

            In the last days there have been increasing debates about the use and development of apps that aim at helping to contain the corona virus, by tracking new infections and their contact persons. With the help of a contact diary it is possible to record who met with whom and when. If a person is infected with the corona virus, their contacts are informed and asked to isolate themselves and to take further actions, if necessary. It will be hopefully possible to break the chain of infection and thus reduce the infection rate. In some countries, there are also discussions about a mandatory use of this app, which would interfere on people’s right to control their technology and thus their privacy.

        • GNU Projects

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Bassel Khartabil Fellowship Awarded to Tarek Loubani—Using Open Access to Combat COVID-19

            The Fellowship award will allow Loubani to Combat COVID-19 through the release of Open Access plans for medical hardware, so that vital equipment may be produced cheaply by anyone with commonly available 3D printers. Loubani’s approach enables high quality devices to be made available during periods of global supply chain disruption, and in areas with limited access. Glia has released face shields already being used in the battle against COVID-19, as well as other hardware including stethoscopes, tourniquets, and otoscopes. Additional devices including pulse oximeters, electrocardiograms, and dialysis products are currently in development. See the full press release for more information about Loubani’s work and how the fellowship will support his efforts.

      • Programming/Development

        • Purism: Our tips for remote working

          Most of us don’t like writing documentation at the best of times but when going remote, a great team wiki or docs portal can help keep everyone in the loop and reduce repetitive questioning in team chat.

          Choose a solution that tracks changes (version control) and if needed, has an easy to use interface for non-technical people. We use wiki.js backed by git.

          You should document something if you have to say it more than once. This will empower people to answer their own questions by searching for the answer.

          If you are looking for a good example of team documentation take a look at GitLab’s public handbook (our wiki is private).

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RQuantLib 0.4.12: Small QuantLib 1.18 update

          QuantLib is a very comprehensice free/open-source library for quantitative finance; RQuantLib connects it to the R environment and language.

          This version does relatively little. When QuantLib 1.18 came out, I immediately did my usual bit of packaging it for Debian as well creating binaries via my Ubuntu PPA so that I could test the package against it. And a few call from RQuantLib are now hitting interface functions marked as ‘deprecated’ leading to compiler nags. So I fixed that in PR #146. And today CRAN sent me email to please fix in the released version—so I rolled this up as 0.4.12. Not other changes.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Observing Coronavirus Pandemic with Raku

            Every few years a new unknown virus pops up and starts spreading around the globe. This year, the situation with COVID-19 is different not only because of the nature of the virus but also because of the Internet. Whilst we have instant access to new information (which is often alarmist in tone) we also have the ability to access data for ourselves.

            Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering synthesizes COVID-19 data from different sources, and displays it on their online dashboard. They also publish daily updates in CSV files on GitHub.

            I decided to ingest their CSV data and display it using different visualizations to reduce panic and provide a way to quickly see real numbers and trends. The result is the website covid.observer. The source files are available in the GitHub repository.

        • Python

          • PyCharm 2020.1 Release Candidate

            We’ve passed the final approach fix, and we’re now established on the glideslope for the PyCharm 2020.1 release. This week’s build brings a couple of bug fixes as we hope to take the release in for a smooth landing. Let us know how we’re doing by getting this version, if you run into any issues please leave us a ticket on YouTrack.

          • EuroPython 2020: CFP for the Online Event

            Since we had started the CFP under the assumption of running an in-person conference and are now switching EuroPython 2020 to an online event, we will extend the CFP for another two weeks until April 12, to give everyone who would like to participate in this new format, a chance to submit a session proposal.

          • Visualizing Decision Trees with Python (Scikit-learn, Graphviz, Matplotlib)

            Decision trees are a popular supervised learning method for a variety of reasons. Benefits of decision trees include that they can be used for both regression and classification, they don’t require feature scaling, and they are relatively easy to interpret as you can visualize decision trees. This is not only a powerful way to understand your model, but also to communicate how your model works. Consequently, it would help to know how to make a visualization based on your model.

          • Python Bytes: #175 Python string theory with superstring.py
          • Onboarding Continuity – Building SaaS #50

            In this episode, we stepped from the welcome onboarding page to the first interactive page in the flow. I extracted the common banner for each of the templates and customized it for each of the steps in the process.

            The first thing we did was create a button on the starting page. The button connects the welcome page to the second step in the flow where the app will ask for information about the user’s school year.

            With the button in place, we created the new view to handle the school year form. Before getting into that form, I extracted the common onboarding banner into a template fragment.

          • Templates For User Interfaces

            In the previous Understand Django article, we looked at the fundamentals of using views in Django. This article will focus on templates. Templates are your primary tool in a Django project for generating a user interface. Let’s see how templates hook into views and what features Django provides with its template system.

          • Split String in Python

            When a string of multiple words is divided into the specific number of words based on a particular separator then it is called string splitting. Most of the programming languages use the split() method to divide a string into multiple words. The return type of this method is an array for many standard programming languages. the split() method is used in Python also to divide a string into words and it returns a list of words based on the separator. How to split() method can be used in Python is shown in this article by using different examples. Spyder3 editor is used here to write and execute the python script.

          • Send and receive UDP packets via Python

            We already know about two main transport layer protocols like TCP and UDP. For more information about TCP and UDP you can check reference section. In this article we will learn how to send and receive UDP packets using python program.

          • The 7 most popular ways to plot data in Python

            “How do I make plots in Python?” used to have a simple answer: Matplotlib was the only way. Nowadays, Python is the language of data science, and there’s a lot more choice. What should you use?

            This guide will help you decide. It will show you how to use each of the four most popular Python plotting libraries—Matplotlib, Seaborn, Plotly, and Bokeh—plus a couple of great up-and-comers to consider: Altair, with its expressive API, and Pygal, with its beautiful SVG output. I’ll also look at the very convenient plotting API provided by pandas.

            For each library, I’ve included source code snippets, as well as a full web-based example using Anvil, our platform for building web apps with nothing but Python. Let’s take a look.

          • Episode 3: Effective Python and Python at Google Scale

            In this episode, Christopher interviews Brett Slatkin about the 2nd edition of his book Effective Python. Brett talks about the revisions he made for the book, and updating it for the newest versions of Python 3.

            Christopher asks who is the intended developer for the book. Brett also discusses working on Google App Engine, and what it’s like to develop and maintain Python applications at Google Scale. Brett mentions a brief anecdote about working with Guido van Rossum, while they both worked at Google. He also provides advice about maintaining a large and aging Python code base.

          • Randy Zwitch: Building pyarrow with CUDA support

            The other day I was looking to read an Arrow buffer on GPU using Python, but as far as I could tell, none of the provided pyarrow packages on conda or pip are built with CUDA support. Like many of the packages in the compiled-C-wrapped-by-Python ecosystem, Apache Arrow is thoroughly documented, but the number of permutations of how you could choose to build pyarrow with CUDA support quickly becomes overwhelming.

            In this post, I’ll show how to build pyarrow with CUDA support on Ubuntu using Docker and virtualenv. These directions are approximately the same as the official Apache Arrow docs, just that I explain them step-by-step and show only the single build toolchain I used.

          • Python String Formatting

            The string Formatting is a very important task of any type of programming language. It helps the user to understand the output of the script properly. The string formatting can be done in Python in various ways, such as using ‘%’ symbol, format() method, string interpolation, etc. This article shows how the string data can be formatted in Python by using different string formatting methods. Spyder3 editor is used here to write and run the script.

            Two types of formatting parameters can be used in Python. These are positional parameters and keyword parameters. The parameter which is accessed by the index is called the positional parameter and the parameter which is accessed by key is called the keyword parameter. The uses of these parameters are shown in the next part of this article.

          • 30 Days Of Python | Day 3 Project: A Simple Earnings Calculator

            Welcome to the first mini project in the 30 Days of Python series. For this project we’re going to be creating a simple console application that will help an employer calculate an employee’s earning in a given week.

            [...]

            Once you’ve written your program, you shouldn’t be worried if it looks a little bit different to ours. You might have chosen different variable names or prompts, or you might have used a slightly different approach to us. This is absolutely fine. There are often may different ways to write even very short programs like this.

          • When to use the Clean Architecture?

            There are few possible reactions after learning about the Clean Architecture or Hexagonal Architecture (AKA Ports & Adapters) or even merely innocent service layer in Django. Some developers are enthusiastic and try to apply these techniques immediately, some are hesitant, full of doubts. The rest is strongly opposing, declaring openly this is an abomination. Then they say we already have excellent tools, like Django. Then they argue others don’t know about the advanced features of common tools. Then they call you Java developer in disguise.

            As a speaker and an author of the book Implementing the Clean Architecture , I have faced all the reactions from this spectrum. What two extremes fail to do, is to ask the right question – WHEN? When the Clean Architecture should be used?

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • Meet the Pastors Holding In-Person Services During Coronavirus

      At least 25 parishioners filed into a beige-brick church here Wednesday evening and were handed rubber gloves at the door. A handwritten sign directed them to designated areas with seats that had been spaced 6 feet apart. Another sign laid out five things people should do to keep from spreading the new strain of coronavirus, including staying away if they felt sick.

      The founding pastor of City on a Hill, Juan Bustamante, was in a particularly good mood. A day earlier, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott joined 30-plus other governors around the country in issuing a statewide stay-at-home order — though he declined to refer to it as such — that also designated religious services as essential. Under the order, Texans must stay home unless they work in certain business sectors or are grocery shopping, running must-do errands or exercising outdoors. Or going to church.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Swedish Alternative: Coronavirus as a Grand Gamble

        As draconian lockdowns, punitive regimes and surveillance become the norm of the coronavirus world, Sweden has treaded more softly in the field.  This is certainly in contrast to its Scandinavian cousins, Denmark and Norway.  The rudiments of a life uninterrupted generally remain in place. Cafes, restaurants and shops, for the most part, remain open and stocked.  As do gyms and cinemas.  Vibrant after-ski parties persist, much to the bemused horror of those across the border.

      • Is the Covid-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?

        The coronavirus may not, in retrospect, prove to be the tipping point that upends human civilization as we know it, but it should serve as a warning that we will experience ever more such events in the future as the world heats up.

      • Now That Coronavirus Is Inside This Adult Home for the Elderly or Mentally Ill, It May Be Impossible to Stop

        Over the years, Elmhurst residents have learned to mostly ignore the bedraggled and destitute residents who quarrel over cigarettes and beg for change outside the Queens Adult Care Center.

        But now, inside the worn brick building, are all the elements of an epidemiologist’s nightmare.

      • Appeal for Humanitarian Diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula

        As of March 28, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 192 countries and territories around the globe, infecting over 600,000 people and claiming nearly 30,000 lives. In the midst of one of the worst pandemics in recent history, one country still has not publicly confirmed a single case: North Korea.

      • Trump Administration Ignored National Intelligence Warning about Threat of Deadly Pandemic

        As of April 2, 2020, more than 997,000 patients have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (referred to as Coronavirus) in at least 204 countries and territories, with approximately 50,970 deaths, according to one source tracking the pandemic’s human toll, including more than 236,000 confirmed cases and 5,780 deaths in the United States.

      • Fighting for a Just COVID-19 Response

        The coronavirus gives us the opportunity to declare in our political and medical decisions that we will not drape the cloak of invisibility over historically neglected victims of disaster.

      • ‘Government Needs to Step In’: Food Banks Across US Report Unprecedented Demand—and Shortages—as Coronavirus Pandemic Ravages

        “We’re seeing people from every socio-economic level because the majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.”

      • Medical Staffing Company Slashed Benefits for Doctors, Nurses Fighting COVID-19

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

      • Where’s the Money for Health Care and Saving the Planet? Well, We Clearly Have It.

        The necessary response to the COVID outbreak shows how foolish politicians have been to say there’s no money for the things the US—and the world—so desperately need.

      • What We Need to Understand About Asymptomatic Carriers if We’re Going to Beat Coronavirus

        In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., around the last week of February, I joked to a colleague that maybe now, finally, people would learn how to wash their hands properly. My remark revealed a naive assumption I had at the time, which was that all we needed to do to keep the novel coronavirus contained was follow a few simple guidelines: stay home when symptomatic and maintain good personal hygiene. The problem, I thought, was that nobody was following the rules.

        In the past few weeks, however, more and more reports have emerged to challenge my neat assumptions. Seven out of 14 NBA players, coaches and staff who tested positive didn’t have symptoms when they were diagnosed, The Wall Street Journal reported. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a case study on a nursing facility in King County, Washington, where 23 residents tested positive for COVID-19, and it found that 13 reported no symptoms initially. Sixty singers went to rehearsal and followed all the rules, according to the Los Angeles Times — nobody hugged, shook hands or appeared ill — yet three weeks later, 45 were diagnosed with COVID-19 or had symptoms of the disease, and two have died.

      • Trump Backs Pharma Company’s Exclusive Patent on Possible COVID-19 Treatment

        As the United States leads the world in coronavirus cases, the nation’s healthcare system is already stretched to capacity and protective gear in short supply. President Trump and his health advisors say more than 100,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus in the next two weeks. Meanwhile, millions of people have lost their jobs, and a record 6.6 million unemployment claims were filed this week, on top of last week’s 3.3 million claims. For more on the economic impacts of the coronavirus, and how Trump has responded to the pandemic by rewarding pharmaceutical corporations like Gilead Sciences and indefinitely suspending environmental regulations, we speak with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen.

      • Pandemic Highlights India’s Class Divide as 1.3 Billion Lock Down

        In India, 1.3 billion people have been locked down for more than a week to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The country reports nearly 2,000 cases and at least 50 deaths. Millions living in poverty and migrant workers were stranded far from home when the lockdown was announced, and some have reportedly died making the perilous journey home. More than 80% of India’s workforce is informal, with most living off daily wages often less than $2 or $3 a day — wages they cannot earn under the present curfew — and more than 4 million Indians are homeless. We speak with Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, a contributing global opinions writer for The Washington Post. Her recent piece in Foreign Policy is headlined “Social Distancing Is a Privilege.”

      • No work through April and regional responsibility: Putin’s latest COVID-19 address at a glance

        This week of non-working days and self-isolation rules has allowed us to buy time to fight the coronavirus epidemic as effectively as possible. However, the peak [of the epidemic] has not passed in Russia, nor has it passed in the world more broadly. Therefore, I am making the decision to extend our non-working days through April 30. Salaries will continue to be paid. If the situation allows, we will adjust that period of time to end earlier. Because the epidemic is spreading through [Russia’s] regions unevenly, some areas must keep harsh restrictions in place, and others will find local, point-by-point decisions to be sufficient. For that reason, regional heads of government will receive additional authority. By the end of the week, they must propose measures optimized for their specific regions. In any case, government agencies, industries with nonstop workflows, medical institutions, and stores will continue to operate: limits may be placed on those facilities only at the federal level. Citizens of Russia, I ask you to pay extremely close attention to government demands and to doctors’ recommendations. Even this short week has shown that if we understand the seriousness of this situation, we will be able to decrease the risks. Good health to you.

      • Moscow public transit use finally decreases amid COVID-19 response measures
      • We Are Facing a Resurgence of Sexually Transmitted Infections Amid the Pandemic

        The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical importance of a robust and prepared public health infrastructure that can support people with limited income and resources — a grim reality for an increasing number of Americans given the mass shutdown of the U.S. economy.

      • Prisons are a COVID-19 Petri Dish

        Now is the time to empty the prisons. With over two million people incarcerated, the vast majority for nonviolent crimes, prisoners are packed like sardines, their overcrowding perfect for mass infection and spread of the Covid-19 pestilence. Nonviolent drug offenders, people who couldn’t make bail, people within six months of release, the elderly and infirm – all should be freed before they catch the disease, spread it and die.

      • Putin will address the nation again today, as Russia confirms a 28-percent spike in COVID-19 cases in the past day

        Vladimir Putin will make another national address on Thursday. The speech will reportedly air on television sometime after 4 p.m., Moscow time. 

      • Intellectual Disability Service Providers Want to Protect Clients. The State Isn’t Telling Them How.

        Christi Estrada has no idea when she’ll be able to visit her son again.

        John Estrada, 33, has autism. He lives in a government-funded group home in Tucson, Arizona. In mid-March, Christi received a call informing her that John’s house was quarantined because of fears of COVID-19. He was not allowed to go to a day program where he worked one-on-one with a care provider, participated in games, drew on his iPad and went hiking and bowling. Christi was barred from visiting.

      • International JUULs: E-Cigarette Giant Courts Foreign Governments

        In recent months, JUUL has come under immense pressure in the US. The company has faced hundreds of lawsuits, along with being raided by the FDA. The company has faced scandals around their marketing tactics, causing the company’s overall value to plummet from $38 billion in 2018 to $12 billion in 2020. One way that the company can make up for these lost profits is by spreading into international markets where they can use marketing techniques and advertising pitches that have been deemed illegal by the FDA in the US.

      • New York Wants Health Workers to Join the Fight Against COVID-19. Will It Pick Up Their Medical Bills if They Get Sick?

        As patients infected with the novel coronavirus begin to overwhelm hospitals in parts of the country, and more medical staff become ill, states are asking retirees, recent medical school graduates and other health professionals to step into the breach.

        New York City, the current epicenter of the pandemic with more than 44,915 cases, is recruiting medical volunteers with exhortations that recall World War I and World War II-era posters, “We want you for medical work now.”

      • Corporate Media Ignore International Cooperation as Shortcut to Coronavirus Vaccine

        When Dr. Jonas Salk was asked in a legendary interview about who owned the patent on the effective polio vaccine he and his team had developed, he acknowledged that their achievement belonged to “the people,” and likened efforts to profit off their innovation to be as unethical as trying to patent the Sun (Washington Post, 3/2/20). Their story is a fitting reminder in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic, as Salk and his team understood that universal no-cost or low-cost access to their innovation was central to their mission of eradicating the scourge of their day.

      • You Don’t Need to Believe China About China’s Coronavirus Success

        Bloomberg News (4/1/20) reported that anonymous US officials say that a secret US intelligence report says that China’s statistics on the coronavirus outbreak are “fake”…

      • Russian public health authority can’t explain why it’s published the same exact coronavirus test count for three days straight

        On April 2, Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) reported that more than 536,000 tests for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have been conducted throughout the country since the pandemic began.

      • In Russia, COVID-19 criminal charges are starting to roll in. Attorneys say they’re a scare tactic to keep people at home.

        On March 26, a residential care facility in St. Petersburg called “Zarya” (“Dawn”) was reoutfitted to serve as an observation center for city residents returning from abroad. Ever since, the center has been used to contain dozens of Russians accused of breaking self-isolation rules, and some of those individuals are facing criminal prosecution.

      • How sleeping with your phone increases the risk of cancer and infertility

        This risk linked to our dear laptops, the Department of Health of the State of California has just recognized it, based on numerous studies including one of the WHO. One of the safety recommendations in particular would be to not sleep with your phone. Not so eccentric as the laptop has replaced the blanket of many teenagers … and adults. It is estimated that 80% of users sleep with their phones.

        “The use of mobile phones has increased dramatically in recent years, including among children and young adults,” said the California Department of Health. However, certain laboratory experiments as well as studies on human health have suggested a possible long-term effect of the waves emitted by cell phones on human health. A potential impact on the occurrence of brain cancer, acoustic nerve tumors and salivary glands, but also on the decline in the number of sperm or their efficiency. The state of California also mentions a possible link between intensive use of the laptop and the appearance of headaches, as well as effects on learning and memory, hearing, behavior and sleep.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Chrome, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, VSCode Now Unofficially Available For Clear Linux

          One of the common criticisms for those trying to use Clear Linux on the desktop is that it lacks easy access to proprietary packages like Google Chrome and Steam. There has been plumbing within its swupd package/bundle management system to support third-party repositories to expand the ecosystem and now we’re finally seeing that happen.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Code Search for Google open source projects

              We are pleased to launch Code Search for Google open source projects. Code Search is one of Google’s most popular internal tools, and now we have a version (same binary, different flags) targeted to open source communities.

              Googlers use Code Search every day to help understand the codebase: they search for half-remembered functions and usages; jump through the codebase to figure out what calls the function they are viewing; and try to identify when and why a particular line of code changed.

              The Code Search tool gives a rich code browsing experience. For example, the blame button shows which user last changed each line and you can display history on the same page as the file contents. In addition, it supports a powerful search language and, for some repositories, cross-references.

            • Google Opens Code Search For Angular, Dart, TensorFlow And More

              Google has announced the launch of Code Search for its popular open source projects — Angular, Bazel, Dart, ExoPlayer, Firebase SDK, Flutter, Go, gVisor, Kythe, Nomulus, Outline, and Tensorflow.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Linux Foundation to Award 500 Training Scholarships
              • OpenDaylight Magnesium Advances Open Source Software Defined Networking

                On March 31, the OpenDaylight Magnesium release became generally available marking the 12th release of the open source Software Defined Networking (SDN) controller platform. The OpenDaylight project was officially announced in April 2013 with a long list of marquee sponsor all focused on the goal of creating an open source SDN controller. OpenDaylight has two releases in any given year, with Magnesium following up the Sodium and Neon releases from 2019.

                As is often the case, there are updates to existing projects as well as the addition of new projects in the Magnesium release. OpenDaylight is a platform that is comprised of multiple modular component project that users can choose to mix and match in different configurations as needed.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, kernel, linux-hardened, linux-lts, and pam-krb5), Debian (haproxy, libplist, and python-bleach), Fedora (tomcat), Gentoo (ghostscript-gpl, haproxy, ledger, qtwebengine, and virtualbox), Red Hat (haproxy, nodejs:12, qemu-kvm-rhev, and rh-haproxy18-haproxy), SUSE (memcached and qemu), and Ubuntu (apport).

          • COVID-19 forces browser makers to continue supporting TLS 1.0

            COVID-19 is forcing browser makers including Google and Mozilla to continue supporting the TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 protocols.

            In one of the strangest stories of the year, the COVID-19 virus has halted plans by major browsers to drop support for the ageing and insecure Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 protocols.

            Mozilla Firefox and Google’s Chrome developers sneaked out the move in recent days with only Microsoft Edge team bothering to formally announce the sudden reprieve on Tuesday.

            In fairness, with COVID-19 throwing development schedules into minor chaos browser development teams probably have other things on their minds right now anyway.

            While a temporary delay, it’s still an unexpected retreat for an industry which had showed unity in collectively deciding to banish TLS 1.0 and the lesser used TLS 1.1 by early 2020.

          • New TLDs and Automatic link detection was a bad idea

            I’ve a few more .conf files in /etc which could be interesting in an IT environment, but for the sake of playing with it I registered nsswitch.co at godaddy. I do not want to endorse them in anyway, but for the first year it’s only 13.08EUR right now, which is okay to pay for a stupid demo. So if you feel like it, you can probably register something stupid for yourself to play around with. I do not intent to renew this domain next year, so be aware of what happens then with the next owner.

          • In-Store Gift Card Scams Need More Investigation

            Although consumers might think it’s safe to purchase gift cards in-store, scammers are managing to hack those cards’ security codes. “They can actually tamper with the card itself and then recover that so it looks like it’s never been tampered with, or there are some devices that can actually strip the number off the cards,” Stan Prager with GoGeeks told KPTV.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • When Big Brother Goes to School the Students are the Test Subjects

              Facial recognition software is being sold to schools with the promise that it will increase their students’ safety, both on and off campus. Proponents proclaim that these systems are imperative in reducing drug abuse and violence, overseeing student mental health, and even going as far to claim that they have the ability to prevent school shootings– all without any real evidence in support. Further, the students in schools who have decided to adopt these measures are required to participate, foregoing parent permission.

            • Big Brother in the Age of Coronavirus: 100+ Groups Warn Against Exploiting Pandemic to Permanently Expand Surveillance State

              “These are extraordinary times, but human rights law still applies.”

            • New Inspector General’s Report Finds Even More Problems With The FBI’s FISA Surveillance Applications

              The FBI’s inability (or unwillingness) to craft factual FISA court affidavits was exposed late last year by an investigation by the DOJ’s Inspector General. During the FBI’s surveillance of former Trump advisor, Carter Page, information known by the agency was omitted to allow agents to continue its interception of Page’s communications. Despite having obtained info showing Page was likely not acting on behalf of a foreign power, the FBI continued its surveillance for months by hiding this key finding from the FISA court.

            • Teleconferencing Company Zoom Pitching End-To-End Encryption That Really Isn’t End-To-End

              As Karl Bode wrote what feels like a decade ago on March 19, 2020, privacy and encryption will be more important than ever during this pandemic and the future that succeeds it. Plenty of governments have been sacrificing citizens’ privacy for better virus tracking and plenty of governments were already throwing shade at encryption well before the pandemic became a pandemic. That includes our government, which has been agitating against encryption for several years now and fighting against our privacy in federal courts for decades.

            • Saudi Arabia Exploiting Wireless SS7 Flaw to Track Targets In The United States

              In 2017, hackers and security researchers highlighted long-standing vulnerabilities in Signaling System 7 (SS7, or Common Channel Signalling System 7 in the US), a series of protocols first built in 1975 to help connect phone carriers around the world. While the problem isn’t new, a 2016 60 Minutes report brought wider attention to the fact that the flaw can allow a hacker to track user location, dodge encryption, and even record private conversations. All while the intrusion looks like ordinary carrier to carrier chatter among a sea of other, “privileged peering relationships.”

            • Senator Blumenthal Is Super Mad That Zoom Isn’t Actually Offering The End To End Encryption His Law Will Outlaw

              Richard Blumenthal has been attacking internet services he doesn’t understand since before he was even a US Senator. It has carried over into his job as a Senator, and was abundantly obvious in his role as a co-sponsor for FOSTA. His hatred of the internet was on clear display during a hearing over FOSTA in which he flat out said that if smaller internet companies couldn’t put in place the kind of infrastructure required to comply with FOSTA, that they should go out of business. Blumenthal’s latest ridiculous bit of legislation lose your Section 230 protections. And while Blumenthal likes to pretend that the EARN IT Act doesn’t target encryption, he also lied about FOSTA and insisted it had no impact on CDA 230 (which it directly amended).

            • Harden Your Zoom Settings to Protect Your Privacy and Avoid Trolls

              Whether you are on Zoom because your employer or school requires it or you just downloaded it to stay in touch with friends and family, people have rushed to the video chat platform in the wake of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders—and journalists, researchers, and regulators have noticed its many security and privacy problems. Zoom has responded with a surprisingly good plan for next steps, but talk is cheap. Zoom will have to follow through on its security and privacy promises if it wants to regain users’ trust.

              In the meantime, take these steps to harden your Zoom privacy settings and protect your meetings from “Zoombombing” trolls. The settings below are all separate, which means you don’t need to change them all, and you don’t need to change them in any particular order. Consider which settings make sense for you and the groups you communicate with, and do your best to make sure meeting organizers and participants are on the same page about settings and shared expectations.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘Not Enough’: Trump Reversal on Coronavirus Relief Payments Still Leaves ‘Unacceptable’ Barrier for Millions

        “They’re still requiring SSI recipients and veterans receiving pensions to file a tax return before receiving their coronavirus stimulus payments.”

      • By The Time We Notice We’re Hungry, It May Be Too Late

        “[A]s the top U.S. watermelon-producing state prepares for harvest, Reuters reports, “many of the workers needed to collect the crop are stuck in Mexico …. Without the workers crops could rot in fields throughout the country,” starting in Florida and California where major harvests begin in April and May.

      • ‘Never Seen Anything Like It’: Economists Warn 6.6 Million New Jobless Claims Portend Unparalleled Crisis

        “A portrait of disaster. Unemployment insurance claims for the last two weeks are mind-blowing.”

      • ‘Portrait of Disaster’: Initial Unemployment Claims in US Jump from 211,000 to 6.6 million in Just 3 Weeks

        Given the incredible deterioration of the labor market in a matter of weeks, federal policymakers will absolutely need to come back and provide more desperately needed relief.

      • Unemployed Workers Can Get SNAP During Health Emergency

        States may need to update their public information about eligibility and their application process to enable eligible people to receive SNAP.

      • Swept Away: Disappearing and Criminalization of the Homeless Continues

        City and government officials repeatedly destroy these people’s lives and the few belongings that they have left in this world in effort to “clean up” public spaces. They uproot the self-built shelters and inhabitants’ belongings, leaving people with little means to meet their basic human needs and nowhere else to go. Authorities have caused the deaths of many people during these sweeps as many just want the problem to disappear without addressing or changing the root causes.

      • When the Invisible Hand Gives You the Finger

        Corporate media shrug as elite declare loss of profits worse than loss of lives.

      • Trump Congratulates Businesses for Helping Fight Coronavirus. But His Own Company Has Been Absent.

        As America’s coronavirus crisis has mushroomed, President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted the efforts of businesses to meet a desperate nation’s needs. “It’s been really amazing to see these big, strong, powerful — in some cases, very small companies, family-owned companies — step up and make a lot of great product for what we’re going through and what we will continue to be going through for a while,” Trump declared on March 24.

        His press conferences have sometimes seemed like a parade of CEOs, from the leaders of retail and pharmaceutical giants like Walmart and Roche to chiefs of relative mites like MyPillow. Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump have chimed in, too, lauding one hotel chain for offering free rooms to doctors, nurses and medical first responders.

      • ‘How Does It Feel to Sell Your Soul to the World’s Richest Man?’: Obama Aide Turned Amazon Exec Ripped Over Fired Workplace Organizer

        “Your boss is the richest person on Earth, and he just became $3.4 billion richer last month dumping stock in anticipation of this pandemic. How much does he pay you to pretend he can’t afford to give his workers PPE and a sane paid sick leave policy?”

      • How to Prepare for the Trump Recession

        Stronger safety nets are not only good for individuals and families in need. They will also prevent the looming recession from becoming an even deeper and longer economic crisis. 

      • For Americans With Bills to Pay, Help Is on the Way. Sort Of.

        April has arrived. Americans, hunkered down while a pandemic rages, face what to do about their mortgage, their rent payment, their credit card bill and their other debts.

        Local, state and federal governments have announced a variety of aid programs to help debtors through this dark period. But like the response to the coronavirus itself, the varying initiatives have been scattered and confused. Some governors acted to stop renters from being evicted weeks ago, while in other states the courts are still open, and meanwhile the federal government says it depends what kind of mortgage your landlord has. The answer to what kind of help can I get is a resounding, “It depends” — on what type of debt you’re talking about, who owns your debt and where you live. And on how long this societywide lockdown carries on. In short, it’s a mess.

      • Primary Election Debate Exposes Poverty and Homelessness in New Hampshire

        In 2018, New Hampshire had one of the lowest poverty rates in the nation; at just 7.6 percent, it was one of just six states in the US with a poverty rate under ten percent. As Jarret noted, some critics have argued that New Hampshire’s “unique and hallowed place in the presidential-campaign calendar” ought to be changed, because its relative lack of poverty is “ not reflective of the national condition.” However, Murphy wrote, New Hampshire also suffers from poverty, just not in ways that are readily “visible to television cameras and news correspondents who ramble through for a few days every four years.”

      • An Open Letter to My Landlord #CancelRent

        We will not be paying rent for April, and we thought we’d let you know why.

      • Subway Fare Hike in Chile Results in Mass Protests

        The people of Chile have been dealing with neoliberalism for decades and their lives are affected in many ways because of it. The protests in that country have even spread to Argentina where a protestor, Juan Carlos Giordano, stated that the people don’t have access to water, electricity, and that the prices of most goods in his country are at first world-levels while the salaries are at third world-levels.

      • In Nation Without Medicare for All, 3.5 Million Workers May Have Lost Employer-Provided Insurance Over Last Two Weeks

        “The COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the cruelty of tying health insurance coverage to employment.”

      • Even During a Pandemic, Plutocrats Prioritize Profits Over People

        These 24 billionaires, executives, and right-wing pundits are urging a premature rollback of social distancing, risking millions of American lives.

      • Trump Labor Department Accused of Quietly ‘Twisting the Law’ to Slash Paid Sick Leave Amid Pandemic

        “The Trump administration is robbing workers of the paid sick days and paid leave Congress passed into law for them. That is unconscionable.”

      • Stock Sales by GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler Trigger Allegations of Insider Trading

        An ethics watchdog called for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., to be investigated by “any federal law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction over insider trading” after a new report revealed the lawmaker unloaded millions of dollars in stocks from industries hit hard by the economic fallout over the coronavirus pandemic as she publicly downplayed the extent of the outbreak.

      • Senator Loeffler’s COVID-Related Stock Trades Looking Even Worse, While Feds Start Investigating Senator Burr’s

        As we noted just a few weeks ago, two Senators — Kelly Loeffler from Georgia and Richard Burr from North Carolina, both of whom were publicly trying to play down the risks associated with COVID-19 — were quietly engaging in stock trades that suggested they had a different viewpoint (while five different Senators sold stock during this period, only Loeffler’s and Burr’s look particularly suspicious). Burr’s stock sell-off was revealed first, and got the most attention, in part because he’s also the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was getting classified briefings about COVID-19. The latest news on that front is that the Justice Department has supposedly opened an investigation:

      • Russian government to give businesses 2.6 billion rubles to avoid layoffs

        Russia’s executive cabinet will allocate 2.6 billion rubles ($32.9 million) from the federal budget to banks with orders to compensate small and mid-sized businesses for COVID-19-related losses, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced through his cabinet’s press service.

      • The Return of Infrastructure Week

        According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump is calling for a fourth stimulus package, which he wants to be “very big and bold,” and to focus on infrastructure. He argued that this is a good time to do this, since interest rates are very low.

      • In Desperation, New York State Pays Up to 15 Times the Normal Prices for Medical Equipment

        With the coronavirus outbreak creating an unprecedented demand for medical supplies and equipment, New York state has paid 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than a nickel and as much as $7.50 each for masks, about 15 times the usual price. It’s paid up to $2,795 for infusion pumps, more than twice the regular rate. And $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000.

        This payment data, provided by state officials, shows just how much the shortage of key medical equipment is driving up prices. Forced to venture outside their usual vendors and contracts, states and cities are paying exorbitant sums on a spot market ruled by supply and demand. Although New York’s attorney general has denounced excessive prices, and ordered merchants to stop overcharging people for hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays, state laws against price gouging generally don’t apply to government purchases.

      • ‘The Poor, the Sick, the Homeless, the Children, the Low-Wage Workers’: Moral Leaders Demand Coronavirus Relief for Most Vulnerable

        “We are asking people to call on the White House and Congress to enact relief for the people that Jesus cared about,” say the Poor People’s Campaign co-chairs.

      • ‘Nightmare Scenario That Everyone Predicted’: As Millions Struggle to Meet Basic Needs, Trump Organization Requests Financial Relief

        “I’d be interested in knowing what help Trump and Jared are extending to their tenants as they ask for help themselves.”

      • The Dark Secrets in the Fed’s Last Wall Street Bailout Are Getting a Devious Makeover in Today’s Bailout

        From December 2007 to November 10, 2011, the Federal Reserve, secretly and without the awareness of Congress, funneled $19.6 trillion in cumulative loans to bail out the trading houses on Wall Street. Just 14 global financial institutions received 83.9 percent of those loans or $16.41 trillion. (See chart above.) A number of those banks were insolvent at the time and did not, under the law, qualify for these Fed loans. Significant amounts of these loans were collateralized with junk bonds and stocks, at a time when both markets were in freefall. Under the law, the Fed is only allowed to make loans against “good” collateral.

      • The White House Wanted To Give $0 To Tribes In The $2 Trillion Stimulus Bill

        In the end, tribes got about $10 billion in the emergency $2 trillion stimulus bill that President Donald Trump signed into law last Friday.

        But if the White House had its way, tribes wouldn’t have gotten a penny in direct relief, according to three Senate Democratic aides familiar with negotiations on the bill. And if Senate Republicans had their way, tribes would have gotten way less than they got.

        The National Congress of American Indians, the largest organization representing the interests of tribal governments and communities, told Congress in mid-March that the nation’s 574 tribes would need at least $20 billion in direct federal relief to stem job losses and economic instability caused by the coronavirus pandemic. When the Senate and White House began talks on the stimulus, Democrats pushed for creating a $200 billion stabilization fund to provide direct aid to local and state governments. Of that $200 billion, $20 billion should go to tribal governments, they proposed.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Chilling Free Expression: How ICE Uses Social Media to Target Immigrants

        As Max Rivlin-Nadler reported in a December 22, 2019 article in The Intercept, in Southern California, ICE agents used Facebook posts, photographs, and other personal digital information, to locate and ultimately arrest an immigrant after the man posted photos of himself and his family at his father’s birthday party. This is just one of the growing number of cases in which ICE has used a social media “surveillance dragnet” to target vulnerable and often non-violent immigrants who might be subject to deportation.

      • Google News Highlights Homophobic Stories about LGTBQ Community

        In that study, Tracy found that Google News featured content associated with a number of people or groups that have been classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

      • Automated Moderation Must be Temporary, Transparent and Easily Appealable

        For most of us, social media has never been more crucial than it is right now: it’s keeping us informed and connected during an unprecedented moment in time. People have been using major platforms for all kinds of things, from following and posting news, to organizing aid—such as coordinating the donations of masks across international boundaries—to sharing tips on working from home to, of course, pure entertainment.

        At the same time, the content moderation challenges faced by social media platforms have not disappeared—and in some cases have been exacerbated by the pandemic. In the past weeks, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have all made public statements about their moderation strategies at this time. While they differ in details, they all have one key element in common: the increased reliance on automated tools.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Assange’s Privacy Breached During 24/7 Surveillance of Ecuadorian Embassy

        Beyond raising general concerns over privacy, these secret surveillance methods could be seen as a serious breach of attorney-client privilege, as conversations and meetings between Assange and his legal team would be picked up and broadcast through the embassy bugging network. What’s more, the head of Undercover Global, David Morales, has some ties to individuals close to President Trump, providing circumstantial evidence that the US might have been involved in the operation. Morales’s company was often employed by the casino magnate and by political donor Sheldon Adelson, who has close ties to Donald Trump and is a major donor to the Republican Party. During this same period in 2018, Assange became the target of CIA surveillance under the direction of then director Mike Pompeo. Assange has since been apprehended by British authorities and is awaiting extradition to the US where he faces charges in relation to his activity with Wikileaks that could lead to as much as 175-year prison sentence.

      • Revive Journalism with a Stimulus Package and a Public Option

        Media scholar Victor Pickard writes in Jacobin and the Guardian that small local newspapers have been dying out, and the newspaper industry in general has lost more than fifty percent of its reporting staff since 2001. This is evidence that the market-based system we currently have is not working. For journalism to survive and thrive, we need a public option, which will require big changes. There would have to be government subsidies, a firewall put in place to protect media outlets from their influence. Media monopolies would have to be broken up and diversification would need to be a necessity, along with strengthening unions in newsrooms. This would replace the the profit model that we have today in the US. News outlets would have to be regulated and act in support of the informational needs of society. The general public would have to be included in order to be truly invested and supportive of such an endeavor.

      • At risk from coronavirus, Julian Assange is one of just two inmates in Belmarsh maximum-security prison held for skipping bail

        Julian Assange is one of just two inmates at Belmarsh maximum security prison in London, which houses 797 prisoners, being held for violating bail conditions, it can be revealed.
        Last week, lawyers for Julian Assange, who has a chronic lung condition, applied for emergency bail for their client on the grounds he was particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic. The presiding judge on the case, Vanessa Baraitser, rejected the claim.

        Yet Declassified UK has found that HMP Belmarsh has been repeatedly criticised by prisons inspectors since 2005 for not having adequate anti-infection precautions in place.

        New figures released to Declassified UK from Britain’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ) also appear to show the irregular nature of the conditions in which Assange is being held.

        The figures, correct for March 11 2020, show that more than 20% of the Belmarsh prison population is held for murder, while nearly two-thirds — or 477 people — are imprisoned for violent offences. A further 16 inmates are held for offences related to terrorism, including four people who planned to carry out terrorist attacks.

        Twenty inmates are held for sex crimes against children. This includes four people imprisoned in Belmarsh for rape of a child under 13, with a further three jailed for making indecent photographs of a child. Thirty-seven inmates are in Belmarsh for serious sex crimes, including 14 inmates convicted of rape of a woman aged over 16.

        In the list of offences of Belmarsh inmates provided to Declassified UK (found at the bottom of this article) it is likely that the one prisoner in the “fail to surrender to court/police bail at the appointed time” category refers to Assange. Another prisoner is held under a similar category: “fail to answer to court/police bail as soon as practicable”. It is not known who this prisoner is.

        The new figures raise further questions as to why the WikiLeaks publisher continues to be held at Belmarsh, which is described as “holding high-security risk prisoners on remand and awaiting trial”. The prison is infamous for its “Category A” facility which houses inmates described by the British government as “prisoners who, if they were to escape, pose the most threat to the public, the police or national security”.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Problem with the Term “Latinx”

        Despite the intentions of those who promote “Latinx,” efforts to be more progressive and inclusive continue to leave out important marginalized peoples, Tlapoyawa noted. In trying to decolonize language and thought, some unintentionally further the oppression and exclusion of indigenous people and those of African origins. Historically, Tlapoyawa noted, “The very idea of a ‘Latin America’ and ‘Latin’ people comes from the French intellectual Michel Chevalier, who sought in the late 1800s to create an umbrella term that would unite colonial subjects under a generic ‘Latin’ identity.”

      • Indigenous Communities Receive Unequal Aid After Natural Disasters

        The current system FEMA has in place for distributing aid puts indigenous communities at a disadvantage. To receive certain sorts of aid, such as “permanent, non-emergency repairs or long-term mitigation measures”, tribes must have a FEMA-approved mitigation plan. However, only 30% of tribes had one. In these communities, every region has one tribal liaison who, “navigates tribal agencies, approved contractors, the federal government and tribal council.” For these situations, this individual would be the sole person in charge of handling the heavy load of paperwork FEMA requires, with no guarantee that any funding or support will be provided. By making the process of seeking aid needlessly difficult for indigenous people, the agency is unfairly barring access to relief based on ethnicity/race.

      • Lebanon’s Syrian Victims Sold into Prostitution

        The mass influx of Syrian women and children refugees makes them very vulnerable to exploitation. Many times, women are married to a man who turns out to be a trafficker, while other women are sold to traffickers by their desperate family members. Most of these women want to leave this work, but lack the means to do so, in part because there is dire shortage of outreach programs to assist them. Paul, a volunteer for the Jesuits, explained to Al Jazeera that, in 2016, 75 trafficked Syrian women were confined in a brothel in the coastal town of Jounieh, where they were held for years, without any external assistance.

      • Exposing a Mental Health Facility for Foster Children Known as the “Misery Mill”

        Some children who were sent to Millcreek say that it’s a “horrific” and “violent” place. They report being bribed to fight other kids, and being beaten by the employees to the point where they sustained broken bones and bruises. One 11-year-old boy said “a female worker pushed him down, grabbed him by the hair and put her foot on his back.”

      • Florida School District under Attack by Anti-LGBTQ Organization

        In the fall of 2018, Jackie Jackson-Dean, a school psychologist and the LGBTQ liaison for schools in Pasco County, Florida, helped to create LGBTQ inclusive guidelines for the district. Not long after, she came under fire from Liberty Counsel, a designated hate group according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Malevolent messages started rolling in from strangers who found her personal information.

      • How COVID-19 Changed Our Lives: a Report From Beijing

        On January 18, after attending a meeting in Hangzhou, I planned to return to my home in Beijing. At that time, the Spring Festival in China was approaching. Although I had started buying tickets one week in advance, I still did not get a high-speed train ticket from Hangzhou to Beijing so I had to go from Hangzhou to Shanghai and wait for several hours before changing to a later train to return to Beijing.

      • New Green Scare: Law Enforcement Crackdown on Environmental Activism

        As Elizabeth King explained in an October 6, 2019 Progressive magazine article, while the Trump administration’s corporate-friendly policies dramatically endanger the health of our environment, those who take direct action in its defense are increasingly being framed as a domestic terrorists. The FBI and pro-fossil fuel politicians like Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe have identified environmental activism as a significant domestic terrorism threat.

      • Leaked Border Patrol Memo Tells Agents to Send Migrants Back Immediately — Ignoring Asylum Law

        For the first time since the enactment of the Refugee Act in 1980, people who come to the U.S. saying they fear persecution in their home countries are being turned away by Border Patrol agents with no chance to make a legal case for asylum.

        The shift, confirmed in internal Border Patrol guidance obtained by ProPublica, is the upshot of the Trump administration’s hasty emergency action to largely shut down the U.S.-Mexico border over coronavirus fears. It’s the biggest step the administration has taken to limit humanitarian protection for people entering the U.S. without papers.

      • Judge Benchslaps Cops And Courts For Turning Law Enforcement Lies Into ‘Objectively Reasonable’ Mistakes

        It’s always fun to read a good benchslap of cops who’ve tried to turn nothing at all into “probable cause.” It doesn’t happen very often because courts are far too obliging far too often. The standard law enforcement officers are held to — objective reasonableness — rarely seems reasonable, no matter how objectively you approach it.

      • The Temple of Self-Gratification

        Author David Foster Wallace once said that America is, “One enormous engine and temple of self-gratification and self-advancement.” The spectacle of American consumerism comes galloping to mind. But the pageant of gluttony with which we sate ourselves on a weekly basis is a pale reflection, at least in its intensity, of American foreign policy. Like our national addiction to guns mirrors our international addiction to bombs, so too our appetitive instincts at home merely reflect those same greedy impulses writ large in the global arena. From the soul of the gourmand to the surface-to-air missile, the attitude to the world is the same: take what ye would, all else be damned. But while consumers might bankrupt themselves on needless consumption, it is the imperial arm of the state that visits mass suffering on innocents abroad. The empire is an ogreish consumer that plods across the landscapes of the planet, disfiguring as it dispossesses, a kind of unreflective Freudian id blindly pursuing its own gratification. It’s thirst is unquenchable, its belly ever famished. And, thanks to the power of fiat, this growling Beowulf has unlimited credit with which to bankroll its adventurism. A ravenous profligate thumping through the agoras of the world, claws extended.

      • Violence Against Native American Women Prevalent Yet Underreported

        Spotted Eagle recounts an experience she had as a young woman. She was walking down the street with some friends when they became victims of a racist attack. The assailants shouted slurs and beat them. Spotted Eagle was left with a broken leg and bystanders did nothing to help them. The reality is that Native women are easy targets. Native American reservations are pretty isolated. They stand out-of-sight and out-of-mind for most people. A major challenge is that not enough people are educated about the problems these women face. They believe that they get great amounts of money from the casinos and government. However, this is not the case, as a lot of reservations don’t even have electricity. Also, the police on reservations are understaffed and don’t have enough resources. If a violator isn’t a part of their tribe, they have little power in investigating and prosecuting them. Perpetrators also seek places they are least likely to be caught. Another issue is that federal and state law enforcement don’t have a huge presence among the reservations. Tribal leaders say this is because of prejudice and longstanding racist issues

      • Amid Pandemic, Workers Walk Out, Building Momentum Toward General Strike

        Essential workers at Instacart, Whole Foods, Amazon and General Electric are staging protests and walking off the job in droves across the U.S., demanding increased protections and pay as they continue to face disproportionate risks and increasingly perilous working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Wisconsin Program Provides Coaching for Pregnant Mothers with Addictions

        Typically, women who are addicted to drugs and pregnant fear that if they are honest about their drug addiction with their doctor, child protective services or foster care will be notified and they will lose custody of their child after birth. At Pregnancy 2 Recovery, women talk to a recovery coach who understands their situation and devotes time to build the necessary trust with their clients. The program provides clients a safe place to get the help they need without the guilt, shame, and stigma that they may feel when they visit a doctor.

      • The Bleeding Obvious: Allowing Gay Blood Donation Now Will Save Lives

        With a global pandemic placing increasing pressure on our health system, Rodney Croome makes the case for an urgent review of laws that are putting even more pressure on a vital medical service.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Ex-FCC Staffer Says FCC Authority Given Up In Net Neutrality Repeal Sure Would Prove Handy In A Crisis

        It’s worth repeating for the folks in the back: the FCC’s hugely unpopular, facts-optional and fraud-slathered repeal of net neutrality did a lot more than just kill “net neutrality.” It gutted the FCC’s already dwindling authority over giant telecom monopolies, shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC that lacks the authority or resources to police the US telecom sector (the whole goal of telecom lobbyists). As a result, you’ve now got ISPs free to engage in problematic behavior (like bullshit fees, or charging people “rental fees” for modems they already own) that the government is incapable and unwilling to address.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • 3D Printing Ingenuity During Coronavirus Comes With IP Risks

          Innovators and volunteers are rallying to 3D printing to combat the new coronavirus. But with this ingenuity comes concerns about patent infringement and product safety.

          Owners of patents on certain designs of face shields, masks, and ventilator parts could have infringement claims against printers. There is also a risk of lawsuits if supplies are unsafe.

          Shortages of masks, gowns, and other protective gear in many cities hit hard by the pandemic have driven innovations. Open-source instructions are readily available, and volunteers are lining up.

          More than 4,300 individuals—from Portland, Ore. to Berlin, Germany—have added their names to a Google Doc circulating online with offers to help 3D print medical supplies. Businesses, and even some universities, have also offered help.

        • COVID-19 Patent and Trademark Deadlines Extended

          As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, patent offices worldwide are taking steps to minimize negative impacts that patent and trademark filers may suffer.

          Many offices have asked their employees to work from home, potentially causing delays. Most or all offices, including the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and European Patent Office (EPO), are conducting oral proceedings via telephone or videoconferencing.

          [...]

          Overall, all offices are taking measures to help reduce any delays caused by COVID-19.

          Links to certain offices’ COVID-19 webpages are included below. We encourage you to contact us with any questions you might have.

        • (Some) EPO Deadlines Extended

          In these unprecedented times, patent deadlines are understandably a much lower priority than they were a couple of months ago. Even those trying to meet their deadlines may find themselves unable to do so with the various limitations imposed by home working and staff shortages. In recognition of this, the EPO has extended time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 to 17 April 2020 (see), and it seems likely that further extensions will be announced shortly. However, the extension only applies to “time periods” as defined by the EPO rules and is not universally applicable to all EPO deadlines.

          “Periods” are generally set by EPO Communications or the EPC itself. Typical examples include the deadlines for filing responses to Examination Reports or for providing claims translations in response to the issuance of a proposed text for grant. There are, however, a number of significant EPO deadlines that are not “periods”. For example, we often talk colloquially about the deadline for filing a divisional application. More correctly, a divisional application can only be filed while the parent is pending. Once the parent has granted, the right to file a divisional application is lost. This is not a “period” as defined by the Rules and therefore the extension of time announced by the EPO does not apply.

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • ‘YouTube is Not Required to Share Email and IP-Addresses of Movie Pirates’

          YouTube is not required to hand over the email and IP-addresses of pirating users, Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe advised in an opinion to the EU Court of Justice. The opinion concludes that EU law doesn’t require providers to hand over more than the infringers’ names and postal addresses. The final ruling, which has yet to be issued, will likely set a crucial precedent for similar cases.

        • Kendall Jenner Posts Video of Herself on Instagram, Gets Sued For Copyright Infringement

          Model Kendall Jenner generates considerable sums from her Instagram account but according to a lawsuit filed in California, not all of that is raised legally. The complaint states that Jenner obtained a video of herself taken by a third-party and posted it on Instagram, in breach of copyright law. After gaining almost 23 million views, the owner now wants up to $150,000 in damages.

04.02.20

Links 2/4/2020: Linux 5.6.2, Qt Creator 4.11.2, LineageOS ROM Based on Android 10

Posted in News Roundup at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Looking For A Linux Laptop? Check Out The Latest Manjaro InfinityBook

        The market for Linux laptops is booming, especially in 2020. We’ve reported various updates about the launch and upcoming Linux laptop announcements. Following the same trend, TUXEDO computers and the Manjaro Linux team have joined hands to bring a brand new customized Linux laptop dubbed Manjaro InfinityBook.

        The two companies are already involved in producing the best products for the Linux community. The latest Manjaro InfinityBook is just another custom version of TUXEDO’s InfinityBook Laptop with pre-loaded Manjaro Linux OS. If you want to have a Linux laptop with the best user experience, get along with me to know more about InfinityBook.

      • Video conferencing with Jitsi

        Spring is coming to the northern hemisphere, and one’s thoughts naturally turn to … being locked up inside the house and not allowed to go anywhere. That has, in turn, led to an increasing interest in alternative mechanisms for keeping up with family and coworkers, especially video conferencing. There are a number of proprietary video-conferencing services out there; your editor decided to look into what solutions exist in the free-software realm. It turns out that there are a few; the first to be looked at is Jitsi.

        Jitsi is, in fact a collection of components, written mostly in Java (and JavaScript) and released under the Apache license. At the core is Jitsi Videobridge, which implements multi-participant video conferences, and Jitsi Meet, which implements the client side. Various other components live under the hood and are likely to only come to one’s attention if something goes wrong with them. There is also a Jitsi Desktop application, but that has been superseded by the browser interface and is considered “legacy” at this point.

      • Q: RoamingProfiles under GNU/Linux? What’s your Best Practice?

        This post is an open question to the wide range of GNU/Linux site admins out there. Possibly some of you have the joy of maintaining GNU/Linux also on user endpoint devices (i.e. user workstations, user notebooks, etc.), not only on corporate servers.

        TL;DR; In the context of a customer project, I am researching ways of mimicking (or inventing anew) a feature well known (and sometimes also well hated) from the MS Windows world: Roaming User Profiles. If anyone does have any input on that, please contact me (OFTC/Freenode IRC, Telegram, email). I am curious what your solution may be.

      • Must Have Apps For New Linux Users In 2020

        If you are a Windows user and recently shifted to Linux based platforms then you might be confused or wondering what to do, or how to play music, how to edit documents and so on.

        This post is for you if you are fresh or new Linux users and need some help with the transition from Windows to Linux.

    • Server

      • Ubuntu Blog: Edge AI in a 5G world – part 2: Why make the cell tower smart?

        AI training & ML operationsDecades of Moore’s Law have given us smartphones at a price we’re willing to pay but IoT devices need to be much cheaper than that. Adding today’s fastest CPUs or GPUs to IoT devices costs a significant amount which put a hard limit on what the market is currently willing to buy at scale.

        The IoT devices that are currently on the market are usually underpowered and have limited connectivity. With 5G connectivity and shared compute resources at the Edge these constrained devices will soon be able to do much more.

        For instance, adding a GPU to each IoT device for the purposes of AI model inference would mean a significant increase in the hardware bill of materials. This cost would be passed onto the consumer and because it is more expensive would drastically reduce the target audience. Instead, 5G allows for heavy computation to be offloaded to nearby shared GPUs and get a response with minimal latency.

        We will dive into this approach in the next section.

      • Tech Giants Team Up to Launch Open Source 5G Infrastructure Management Tool

        “5G and Edge Computing industry initiatives will require large-scale and geographically distributed multi-vendor infrastructure deployments”

        HPE and Intel are working with open source partners such as Red Hat to create a 5G distributed infrastructure management tool that could potentially help telecommunications firms get past the difficulty of installing 5G system into sites that hold infrastructure belonging to multiple vendors.

        The project will be donated to the Linux Foundation, with release scheduled for later in Q2 2020. It will be accessible via: www.linuxfoundation.org.

      • Cloudflare announces free VPN tool WARP for Windows and macOS, with Linux to follow

        If you’re in the market for a free VPN for your desktop PC or laptop, Cloudflare will soon have a new offering.

        Following on from the success of its free VPN for mobile devices, the company that’s also behind the 1.1.1.1 DNS resolver is now bringing WARP to Windows and macOS — and there is a Linux version in the works. Cloudflare’s WARP is currently available in beta, but not everyone will be able to get access to it straight away.

      • Kubernetes 1.18 Feature Server-side Apply Beta 2

        Server-side Apply is an important effort to migrate “kubectl apply” to the apiserver. It was started in 2018 by the Apply working group.

        [...]

        Server-side Apply works by keeping track of which actor of the system has changed each field of an object. It does so by diffing all updates to objects, and recording all the fields that have changed as well the time of the operation. All this information is stored in the managedFields in the metadata of objects. Since objects can have many fields, this field can be quite large.

        When someone applies, we can then use the information stored within managedFields to report relevant conflicts and help the merge algorithm to do the right thing.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Automatic buffer selection for io_uring

        The io_uring subsystem has, in the last year, redefined how asynchronous I/O is done on Linux systems. As this subsystem grows in both capability and users, though, it starts to run into limitations in the types of operations that can be expressed. That is driving a number of changes in how operations are programmed for io_uring. One example is the mechanisms considered for carrying a file descriptor between operations that was covered here in early March. Another has to do with how I/O buffers are chosen for operations.
        As io_uring developer Jens Axboe describes in this patch set, the usual mode for programs that handle large numbers of file descriptors is to use poll() to find out which descriptors are ready for I/O, then making separate calls to actually perform that I/O. One could use io_uring in this mode, but it defeats one of the purposes of the whole exercise: avoiding system calls whenever possible. The io_uring way of doing things is to just queue an asynchronous operation on every file descriptor, then react to the resulting events whenever one of those operations is executed.

        Working that way can indeed reduce system calls — all the way to zero if the request ring is kept full. But it also requires allocating a separate I/O buffer for each of those queued operations, even though many of them may not execute for an indefinite period of time. The poll() method, instead, allows an application to defer buffer allocation until a buffer is actually needed. Losing that flexibility can result in significantly higher memory use for applications that keep a large number of operations outstanding.

      • Working-set protection for anonymous pages

        A bit of background may be helpful for understanding how this patch set works; we’ll start with a highly oversimplified picture, then add some details as we go.
        Virtual-memory systems allow applications to address far more memory than can actually fit into the physical memory installed in the system, so a significant part of any given process’s address space is likely to exist only on secondary storage at any given time. Obviously, the pages that are in physical memory should be the ones that the process is going to use in the near future. The kernel cannot know for sure which pages will be useful, though, so it must fall back onto a set of heuristics that allow it to guess as well as it can.

        Some of those heuristics are reasonably straightforward. For example, if a process is observed to be working through a file sequentially, chances are pretty good that it will soon be wanting the pages of the file immediately after those it is accessing now. Another heuristic, found at the core of almost any virtual-memory implementation, is that pages that have been used recently are likely to be used in the future, while those that have languished unused for a while may not be worth keeping around.

        To implement that last approach, the kernel maintains a “least-recently used” (LRU) list; all user-space pages in physical memory are kept on that list. The kernel occasionally checks the pages on the LRU list and moves those that have been accessed recently to the head of the list. When more memory is needed, to bring in pages from secondary storage, for example, pages at the tail end of the list are reclaimed.

        In truth, the kernel maintains more than one LRU list. To begin with, the “LRU list” is actually two lists: the “active” and “inactive” lists. The active list functions mostly as described in the previous paragraph, except that, when pages fall off the tail of the list, they are put onto the inactive list instead. At that point, the protections on those pages are set to disallow all user-space access. Should some process access one of those pages, a “soft” page fault will result; the page will be made accessible again and returned to the active list. When memory is needed, pages will be reclaimed from the inactive list.

      • SELinux Seeing Performance Improvements With Linux 5.7

        A few months back when we last looked at the performance impact of having SELinux enabled there was a hit but not too bad for most workloads. But we’ll need to take another look soon as with the Linux 5.7 kernel are some performance improvements and more for SELinux.

        The NSA-backed Security Enhanced Linux has seen a fair amount of work build up for the now-open Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

      • Linux 5.6.2
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.6.2 kernel.
        
        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.
        
        The updated 5.6.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.6.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
        
        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git;a=summary
        
        thanks,
        
        greg k-h
        
      • Linux 5.6.2 Released With Fix For The IWLWIFI Intel WiFi Driver

        Linux 5.6.1 shipped on Wednesday morning as the first point release. That fixed some bugs in the media code, adding the ASUS USB-N10 Nano B1 to the rtl8188eu driver, adding a Comet Lake H PCI ID to the AHCI driver, adding some USB serial IDs, and a few other random fixes.

        Less than 24 hours later, Linux 5.6.2 is now shipping. Linux 5.6.2 has just a few fixes to the VT code but making it notable is carrying the mac80211 fix for fixing the broken Intel “IWLWIFI” wireless driver in Linux 5.6. That patch missed getting picked up by Linux 5.6.1 but is now there in 5.6.2.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 20.0.3 Released With Latest Open-Source Graphics Driver Fixes

          While many of you are users of Mesa Git for experiencing the bleeding-edge graphics drivers especially if you are a gamer wanting peak performance, for those on the Mesa stable series the Mesa 20.0.3 update has now shipped.

          Mesa 20.0.3 is the latest bi-weekly point release for back-porting the fixes to this Q1’2020 stable series.

    • Applications

      • ProtonMail Bridge support finally arrives on Linux

        Proton Technologies has announced that ProtonMail Bridge support is finally available to users on the Linux platform. The Bridge functionality enables people to connect their ProtonMail account with a desktop e-mail client. This app is necessary due to the way ProtonMail is built.

        In order to use the ProtonMail Bridge desktop app, you’ll need to be a paying subscriber of the service. With this app, you get ProtonMail’s privacy and security features, such as zero-access encryption and end-to-end encryption, with your preferred desktop e-mail client. Bridge is compatible with all e-mail clients that support the IMAP/SMTP protocols but comes with special optimisations for Thunderbird.

      • ProtonMail Officially Announces ProtonMail Bridge for Linux

        ProtonMail has just announced Bridge for Linux, finally allowing users to to get their ProtonMail message right in the email client they use on the computer.

        Bridge has been in beta for quite some time now, and the stable version comes with a series of new options thanks to the integration with Linux email apps, including full-text search, offline editing, and email exporting and backups.

        At this point, Bridge for Linux is specifically optimized for Thunderbird, Mozilla’s email client that’s used by a significant number of users on Linux. However, the app is compatible with pretty much any email client on Linux that uses IMAP/SMTP protocols.

        ProtonMail says this is just the beginning of Bridge on Linux, so future updates will bring improvements to the design, but also support for more clients on the platform.

      • ProtonMail Bridge Now Officially Available For Linux, Windows, And Mac

        In today’s world of rising cyberattacks, security measures have become an essential part of our digital lives. ProtonMail is one of those companies that aims to provide secure communication using its encrypted email service.

        But apart from security, ease of usage and access to these services also matter. Not every user always has an internet connection to check the recent emails or retrieve messages via their native OS email clients. Hence, ProtonMail has launched a desktop application, Bridge, to access all messages directly from local email clients.

      • DownZemAll is an open source download manager for Windows, Linux and macOS

        Recently, while casually browsing GitHub, I came across a name that seemed familiar at first; it turned out to be a new download manager called DownZemAll.

        The program’s name is very similar to the popular DownloadThemAll! extension for Firefox, which is what surprised me. The official page reveals that the developer of DownZemAll started the project during the time the legacy add-on stopped working with Firefox Quantum, and seems to have used it as the inspiration to rewrite this application.

        But that’s where the similarities end, because DownZemAll is a desktop program. Let’s take a look at it to see how it stacks up. The interface is mostly what you’d expect in a download manager: a menu bar, toolbar, the main pane, but unlike others, DownZemAll has a sidebar too. The options in the side panel are also available from the right-click menu.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • OpenTESArena – a modern game engine for The Elder Scrolls: Arena has a new release

        Now available free, The Elder Scrolls: Arena is something of a classic and it continues to live on with thanks to the free and open source game engine OpenTESArena. Bethesda Softworks actually made The Elder Scrolls: Arena free to download some years ago as part of the 10th anniversary which has certainly helped.

        Still in early development, with gameplay not really there yet, it’s very promising and a big new release went up a few days ago further expanding what it’s able to do with the original game data. OpenTESArena 0.11.0 adds in quite a lot including: original entity loading (static NPCs, creatures, trees, furniture, palace rulers, etc.), lights, water and lava rendering, fading voxels, translucent entity rendering, Ray Cast selection with pixel-perfect option and more.

      • Transport Tycoon Deluxe inspired ‘OpenTTD’ has a massive new release out

        Transport Tycoon Deluxe is a classic and OpenTTD is an excellent open source game engine directly inspired by it, with a huge new stable release out now.

        Saying it’s inspired by it is perhaps not entirely accurate, it’s a full replacement for it! With many new and advanced features, to make building a sprawling transportation network feel good on modern systems. It can use Transport Tycoon Deluxe data files or you can stick with the open graphics which still look good.

      • Relaxing strategic sky trading sim ‘Merchant of the Skies’ leaving Early Access on April 17

        Originally entering Early Access back in July last year for Linux, macOS and Windows it’s had a lot of updates since release and it has become a much bigger game. In Merchant of the Skies you start off with a small ship and not much else, then progress through trade and quest completion. As you accumulate more wealth, purchase islands and establish your company you gradually go through more advanced resource chains and continue expanding. There’s also something involving you needing to feed a massive fish-god. See the new release date trailer below:

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 4.11.2 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.11.2!

          We fixed the default target project when creating files with wizards, and the debugging of Qt Quick tests. We also got rid of several issues with the editor. Have a look at our changes file for a more complete list.

          The opensource version is available on the Qt download page under “Qt Creator”, and you find commercially licensed packages on the Qt Account Portal. Qt Creator 4.11.2 is also available as an update in the online installer. Please post issues in our bug tracker. You can also find us on IRC on #qt-creator on chat.freenode.net, and on the Qt Creator mailing list.

        • Qt Virtual Tech Con Registration is Now Open!

          We know many of you have looked forward to the hustle and bustle of Qt World Summit in May. While we unfortunately had to postpone it, we have put together a live online conference with many speakers from the Qt ecosystem to tie you over from the comfort of your favorite screen.

          Qt Virtual Tech Con 2020 offers a jam-packed 24+ hours of live techtalks, interactive Q&As, and virtual exhibition on May 12-13 to showcase the latest advancements in Qt and share the best practices in software design and development.

          Secure your seat and invite your peers!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Adrien Plazas: A Coloring API for GTK

          This week we had the Design Tools Hackfest 2020, virtualized because of COVID-19, where we discussed that recoloring API. We came up with something I think is interesting enough to discuss more widely.

    • Distributions

      • 21 Important Penetration Tools in Kali Linux

        Kali Linux uses many kinds of penetration tools to assess the security situation of your devices and networks. Whether you are looking to advance your career as an ethical tester or find the vulnerabilities of your systems, these powerful tools yield excellent results. Almost all of them should be accessible from the main Kali Linux terminal.

        Note: if you are an ethical tester, you must have the necessary permissions to access another person’s device, unless you’re testing on your own devices.

      • Reviews

        • Bodhi Linux 5.1 Review: Slightly Different Lightweight Linux

          Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Unlike most other distributions, Bodhi uses its own Moksha desktop and focuses on providing you a minimal setup to run on older computers.

          Bodhi Linux was first introduced in 2011. It is designed with “minimalism, resource efficiency, and user choice” in mind. The devs strove to provide a “system that is functional but not bloated“. As such, it uses the lightweight Moksha Desktop and has only the basic applications preinstalled. The idea is to give the user a stable platform to build the system that they want. It is based on the latest Ubuntu LTS.

      • Arch Family

        • What is Arch User Repository (AUR)? How to Use AUR on Arch and Manjaro Linux?

          What is AUR? What are the pros and cons of using AUR? How to use AUR in Arch-based Linux distributions? This beginner’s guide answers all such questions.What is AUR? What are the pros and cons of using AUR? How to use AUR in Arch-based Linux distributions? This beginner’s guide answers all such questions.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux helps pioneering unmanned marine research

          In 1620, the Mayflower embarked on an uncertain journey across the Atlantic Ocean, with more than 100 pilgrims on board hoping to begin a new life in the New World. Now, 400 years later, The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) will follow in the footsteps of the original ship from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Only this time, there will be no human captain or onboard crew. It will be one of the first full-sized, fully-autonomous and unmanned vessels to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

          The MAS project is a global collaboration led by marine research organization Promare. Conceived as a way to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, it could have long-lasting implications for the shipping industry and the future of oceanographic research.

          The autonomous shipping market is projected to grow from $90BN today to over $130BN by 2030. However; many of today’s autonomous ships are just automated and do not dynamically adapt to new situations. Using an integrated set of IBM’s AI, cloud, and edge technologies, ProMare is aiming to give the Mayflower the ability to operate independently in some of the most challenging circumstances on the planet.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • How to Setup CTRL+ALT+DEL As Task Manager in Ubuntu

          If you are a beginner in Ubuntu Linux and migrated from Windows, this guide is for you. You can easily setup CTRL+ALT+DEL as Task Manager in Ubuntu Linux with just a few tweaks.

        • Now you can pre-order a PinePhone with Ubuntu Touch for $150

          The PinePhone is an inexpensive smartphone designed to run open source operating systems such as postmarketOS, KDE Plasma Mobile, or Ubuntu Touch. But the first units to ship earlier this year didn’t have an operating system installed — it was up to users to load their own.

          Now the Pine64 team and the developers of Ubuntu Touch have announced that the first community partner edition of the phone is available for pre-order.

        • You Can Now Buy a PinePhone Preloaded with Ubuntu Touch

          Ubuntu Touch, also known by the name UBports, is a community-maintained version of Ubuntu for phones and tablets based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. It is a direct continuation of the codebase Canonical cancelled a few years back.

          From today you (and anyone else interested) can preorder a PinePhone Community Edition with UBports direct from the Pine64 Store.

        • PinePhone Ubuntu Touch Edition Now Available for Pre-Order

          Meet the PinePhone UBports Community Edition, the first variant of the PinePhone Linux phone to come pre-installed with a mobile operating system, namely the gorgeous Ubuntu Touch produced by UBports.

          It took UBports a year and a half to produce the PinePhone UBports Community Edition, which ships with the Lomiri (formerly Unity 8) user interface, but it’s finally available for pre-order for only $149.99 USD.

        • [Former Canonical manager] Dustin Kirkland: Coordinated Launch Cycles at Apex

          I joined Apex Clearing last year, having spent the previous 20 years as a software engineer, product manager, and executive, mostly around open source software, including Ubuntu, OpenStack, and Kubernetes. Albeit IBM, Canonical and Google differ from fintech on many levels, these operating systems and cloud infrastructure technology platforms share a number of similarities with Apex’s software-as-a-service platform. Moreover, there also exists some literal overlap: we’re heavy users of both Ubuntu and Kubernetes here at Apex.

          Ubuntu, OpenStack, and Kubernetes all share similar, predictable, time-based release cycles. Ubuntu has released every April and October, since October of 2004 – that’s 32 major software platform releases, on time, every time, over 16 years. Ubuntu has set the bar for velocity, quality, and predictability in the open source world. OpenStack’s development processes have largely mirrored Ubuntu’s, with many of the early project leaders having been ex-Ubuntu engineers and managers. OpenStack, too, has utilized a 6-month development cycle, since 2010, now on its 20th release. Kubernetes came along in 2014, and sought to increase the pace a bit, with quarterly release cycles. Kubernetes is a little bit looser with dates than Ubuntu or OpenStack, but has generally cranked out 4 quality releases per year, over the last 6 years. I’ve been involved in each of these projects at some level, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed coaching a number of early stage start-ups on how to apply these principles to their product development methodologies.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Selling Free and Open Source Software? With DRM?

        “What is everyones feelings on buying free/open source software? And if we are ok with that could we put DRM on the source code?” – Tom Ohhhhhh, boy. These are two intense questions. Short answer: Buying Free and Open Source Software = Great! Including DRM in, on, or anywhere near Free and Open Source Software (including on the source code itself) = The Opposite of Great!

      • Open Source Code – The Future of User Privacy

        Will we see more and more open source software in the future, or is this a passing trend that will die off eventually?

      • Events

        • Helping FOSS conferences in the face of a pandemic

          The effects of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are horrific and far-reaching; we really do not yet know just how bad it will get. One far less serious area that has been affected is conferences for and about free and open-source software (FOSS). On the grand scale, these problems are pretty low on the priority list. There are a fair number of non-profit organizations behind the gatherings, however, that have spent considerable sums setting up now-canceled events or depend on the conferences for a big chunk of their budget—or both. A new organization, FOSS Responders, has formed to try to help out.

      • Programming/Development

        • QuickDAQ.mikroBUS Development Board Leverages Visual Programming and MikroE Click Boards (Crowdfunding)

          mikroBUS is a socket interface that allows you to connect MikroElektronik (MikroE) Click add-on boards that can be buttons, sensors, a servo controller, a wireless module, and practically anything you may think of since there are over 700 Click boards to choose from.

        • GCC 10 Release Candidate Likely Hitting In The Next Few Weeks

          The month of April usually sees the new annual GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) feature releases and for GCC 10 in the form of GCC 10.1 as the first stable release in the series does stand chances of releasing this month.

          SUSE’s Richard Biener provided the latest GCC 10 status report on Wednesday. He notes there still are 21 bugs to fix (or demote to a lower priority regression) before they hit the milestone of no “P1″ regressions.

        • Eclipse Foundation offers open-source alternative to Visual Studio Code

          The Eclipse Foundation just released version 1.0 of an open-source alternative to Visual Studio Code called Eclipse Theia. Theia is an extensible platform that allows developers to create multi-language cloud and desktop IDEs, allowing them to create entirely new developer experiences.

          According to the Eclipse Foundation, the differences between Theia and Visual Studio Code are that Theia has a more modular architecture, Theia was designed from the ground to run on desktop and cloud, and Theia was developed under community-driven and vendor-neutral governance of the Eclipse Foundation.

        • Red Hat Developers: How to write an ABI compliance checker using Libabigail

          I’ve previously written about the challenges of ensuring forward compatibility for application binary interfaces (ABIs) exposed by native shared libraries. This article introduces the other side of the equation: How to verify ABI backward compatibility for upstream projects.

          If you’ve read my previous article, you’ve already been introduced to Libabigail, a static-code analysis and instrumentation library for constructing, manipulating, serializing, and de-serializing ABI-relevant artifacts.

          In this article, I’ll show you how to build a Python-based checker that uses Libabigail to verify the backward compatibility of ABIs in a shared library. For this case, we’ll focus on ABIs for shared libraries in the executable and linkable format (ELF) binary format that runs on Linux-based operating systems.

          Note: This tutorial assumes that you have Libabigail and its associated command-line tools, abidw and abidiff installed and set up in your development environment. See the Libabigail documentation for a guide to getting and installing Libabigail.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn BASIC

          BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. In 1964, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn.

          The advent of the personal computer was crucial to the success of BASIC. The language was designed for hobbyists, and as personal computers became more accessible to this audience, books of BASIC programs and BASIC games surged in popularity.

          BASIC is generally not regarded as the easiest way to take the first steps in learning the art of programming. But it does not hinder beginners from learning how to program, or teach them bad habits. And it’s the highest low-level language. Even today, there remains value in learning BASIC.

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

        • LLVM Plumbs Support For Intel Golden Cove’s New SERIALIZE Instruction

          Yesterday we noted Intel’s programming reference manual being updated with new Golden Cove instructions for Sapphire Rapids and Alder Lake and with that Intel’s open-source developers have begun pushing their changes to the compilers. The latest updates add TSXLDTRK, a new HYBRID bit for Core+Atom hybrd CPUs, and a new SERIALIZE instruction. After GCC was receiving the patch attention yesterday, LLVM is getting its attention today.

        • Python

          • The 20 Best Python Tips and Tricks You Must Know in 2020

            This well-crafted article will show how you can get good at Python. All these tips and tricks will make you a better Python Developer. If you are a beginner, you are in for a treat! Python is very easy to learn. Its syntax is very compact and clean. If you are up for it, you can master it within months. Python is truly ubiquitous. Software Development to Data Science, Machine Learning to Artificial Intelligence — you can do everything. Let’s show you how to become a Pythonista!

          • Reuven Lerner: Reminder: My free “Python for non-programmers” course continues tomorrow!

            If you’ve never programmed a computer before — or if you tried, and found it frustrating and difficult — then you’re welcome to join my “Python for non-programmers” course, which takes place on Thursdays at 10 a.m. Eastern.

            The class is 100% free of charge, and open to anyone who wants. Just register at https://PythonForNonProgrammers.com/. Registering gets you weekly reminders, recordings of previous sessions, and invites to the private forum, where you can chat about the lessons with other students.

          • Django changes its governance

            The Django web framework has come a long way since it was first released as open source in 2005. It started with a benevolent dictator for life (BDFL) governance model, like the language it is implemented in, Python, but switched to a different model in 2014. When Python switched away from the BDFL model in 2018, it followed Django’s lead to some extent. But now Django is changing yet again, moving from governance based around a “core team” to one that is more inclusive and better reflects the way the project is operating now.

            Django actually started out with co-BDFLs; Adrian Holovaty and Jacob Kaplan-Moss filled that role until they retired in early 2014, which motivated the change to the core-team model. By 2018, some problems with that new model were being felt, so James Bennett spearheaded an effort to change it, which resulted in Django enhancement proposal (DEP) 10 (“New governance for the Django project”)—adopted on March 12. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the problems identified for Django are sometimes heard in Python circles as well; the changes for Django could be a harbinger of Python’s governance down the road.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Get started with Bash scripting for sysadmins

            The Bash shell is definitely not the only shell out there, but it’s one of the most powerful. This makes it a popular choice for systems administrators needing to develop serious applications that go beyond a simple “laundry list” of commands to run on a system. There are lots of great uses for other shells (I default to Tcsh for Git hooks, for instance), but Bash is an easy choice for serious scripting, and here’s why.

        • Java

          • You should know the comparison between Java 8 & Java 9

            Java language is based on an Object-Oriented Programming algorithm. Oracle is currently maintaining Java. Being licensed under General Public License GNU, Java 8 was released on 14th January 2014 whereas Java 9 on 27th July 2017. The latest version is Java 13, which was released on 17th September 2019.

            If you’re applying for a job position as a Java Developer, you might want to read some Java 8 interview questions and also clarify differences between Java 8 and Java 9. The 8th version of Java included important updates. The basic purpose of Java 8 was to provide enhancements, bug fixes and improve the efficiency of coding compared to its predecessor. Java 9 included updates to enhance industry-wide development through a new platform module system.

            Java 9’s accessibility and improved modularity help developers to easily assemble and maintain sophisticated applications. It also helps in making Java scale down on smaller devices while improving security and performance.

  • Leftovers

    • Apocalypse, Now and Forever

      Notes from an Apocalypse: A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back is a thoughtful, engaging book that ends in failure. But Mark O’Connell shouldn’t take that assessment too personally. His book fails in the way that his culture—the modern, cosmopolitan, left/liberal, individualist culture—routinely fails in the face of multiple, cascading ecological crises.

    • Another New Peace

      It’s not easy to write in the middle of a tsunami or a pandemic either for that matter. It seems like a good opportunity, one might think, all the bars are closed and people’s usual activities like dating, eating-out and shopping aren’t options at all, but it’s just hard to focus when you’ve got too much on your mind.

    • Algonquin Anishinabeg Territory Threatened by Condo Development

      Dream Unlimited Corporation and Theia Partners, a subsidiary of Windmill,  stand to make millions from the 10- to 15-year construction project. The aforementioned activists have been going to the municipal and federal governments, pressuring them to stop the construction of condominiums on sacred land. Internationally renowned architect and Elder Douglas Cardinal, an opponent of the project, was quoted in Briarpatch magazine on the importance of Akikodjiwan, saying, “These beautiful, sacred waterfalls and islands lie at a symbolic confluence of waters: The rivers flow into the centre from the South, West and North and in turn flow to the East. Similarly, our own ceremonial lodges embrace the four directions and are opened to the East. Furthermore, the Chaudière Falls creates a great kettle; a whirlpool that brings water deep into the earth. With the uprising mist and the surrounding rock forms, the falls appear as a sacred pipe, sculpted by the Creator.”

    • Education

      • Balancing Screen Time for Children with Nature-Based Education

        A recent MRI study of children 3 to 5 years old showed reduced brain matter in the area associated with language and cognitive development for children who were exposed to only one hour of screen time per day.

      • Pandemic Reveals Limits of Education System to Assist Students and Families

        The COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding fast, with each day’s missives giving us new, and sometimes contradictory, information about the virus. Schools — public and private, pre-K through university — have been scrambling to figure out how best to respond since the virus hit the U.S. Currently, schools in most states are closed, but dates for reopening vary. Some are slated to open their doors in mid-April, while others have already announced that they will not reopen until fall.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The White House and the CDC are United in Stupidity

        On Saturday, I received a postcard of guidelines from the white house and the Centers for Disease Control – CDC. The guidelines repeated based recommended behavioral changes to the coronavirus outbreak on whether a person showed signs of being sick. This is a horribly misrepresentative response to this plague because it ignores the reality that this infestation has largely been spreading through people who had not yet shown signs of their own possible contamination.

      • Former WHO Director: 8-Week Suppression Strategy Could Stop US COVID Crisis in Its Tracks

        “We know we can get this under control,” says Dr Anthony Costello, a former Director at the World Health Organization (WHO) where he headed up maternal, child and adolescent health. “The problem is that Europe has been too slow to act compared with Asia; and America is now facing a huge crisis.”

      • “The Coronavirus is Man-Made:” the Conspiracy Theory Trap

        In this trying time, have you heard some of your friends say that the U.S. government created this pandemic or that the pandemic is not real at all?

      • COVID-19 in Haiti: the Current Response and Challenges

        On March 19, Haitian president Jovenel Moïse confirmed the first two cases of the novel coronavirus in Haiti. The number has since increased to eight. In response, the president has declared a state of emergency and ordered schools, factories, and religious entities to close; established a curfew; and closed the country’s borders. The government announced the new policies after previously suspending air travel from most countries.

      • Guatemalan Water Protectors Persist, Despite Mining Company Threats

        The hard work of protecting water and land from the long-term harms associated with gold and silver mining takes place daily on the frontlines of tenacious struggles throughout Latin America and around the world.

      • Coronavirus Exposes How Concentrated Pharma Ownership Has Destroyed Prescription Drug Markets

        Regulators then gave GPO’s antitrust exemption in the mid-1990s. All of this resulted in GPOs completely monopolizing the pharmaceutical trade, creating an economic system vulnerable to disruption. Smaller drug distributors in the US have been driven out of business due to impossible competition from GPOs. Even if hospitals wanted to buy from these smaller distributors, hospitals are typically locked into purchasing from a GPO due to their contracts.

      • ‘How Are We Supposed to Protect Our Lungs?’: Climate Strikers Blast EPA Suspension of Pollution Laws

        Greta Thunberg and others argue that the Trump administration has created another “loophole” for environmental destruction.

      • The Answer to Decreasing US Life-Expectancy—Community Health

        Research studies from the University of Wisconsin show that only twenty percent of a person’s overall health is attributable to access and quality of health care services. The rest depends on social, economic, environmental, mental, and personal behavior factors.

      • Nurses: We Are the Canaries in the Coronavirus Mine

        Instead of saying we’re heroes, we need people and organizations to stand up and protest the unsafe working conditions in healthcare facilities all across the country.

      • ‘When We Are Infected No One Is Safe’: Nurses Nationwide Protest Over Lack of Coronavirus Protective Equipment

        “For the wealthiest hospital corporation in the United States to show such disregard for the health and safety of its caregivers, is disgraceful and unconscionable.”

      • Chechnya is Russia’s first region to close its boundaries completely because of coronavirus

        Effective April 5, Russia’s Chechen Republic will close its boundaries completely to all passenger and individual traffic into and out of the region, in a dramatic effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Chechen officials announced the new policy on April 1, after local health officials confirmed the republic’s first death caused by coronavirus.

      • Congress Must Reject Weakened Medicaid Protections in Next COVID-19 Bill

        States received a significant temporary increase in federal Medicaid funding in the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law on March 18. In exchange for this increase in federal funding, they can’t impose new Medicaid eligibility restrictions, or take away people’s coverage, during the public health emergency. Now, some policymakers are trying to weaken or eliminate these beneficiary protections, after failing in an effort to do so in the newly enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Congress should again reject these attempts, which could cost hundreds of thousands of people (or more) their health insurance in the midst of a pandemic and severe economic downturn.

      • Surrender everything Moscow officials are launching an app to monitor coronavirus patients’ compliance with home isolation. It requires access to geolocation, calls, and device settings.

        On April 2, the Moscow Mayor’s Office will launch a mobile app called “Social Monitoring” designed for coronavirus patients with mild symptoms recovering at home. Eduard Lysenko, the head of the city’s Information Technology Department, confirmed this information in an appearance today on the radio station Ekho Moskvy. According to the city, there are currently about 550 confirmed COVID-19 patients who are recuperating at home, instead of in a hospital. “This [app] isn’t intended for everyone’s use. I repeat: this is for patients at home,” Lysenko explained. The app will be available on both iOS and Android, and the city is prepared to provide phones with the software preinstalled to patients who do not have mobile devices. (People will be required to return the hardware after their quarantine ends.) In another interview with the news agency TASS, Lysenko said patients will also be offered smartwatches loaded with the “Social Monitoring” app.

      • Russia records 440 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total number of confirmed infections to 2,777

        In the past day, Russia recorded 440 new cases of COVID-19, raising the country’s confirmed total to 2,777 infections. Once again, most of the new positive results (267) were in Moscow. Between March 31 and April 1, the number of deaths caused by coronavirus rose by seven people to 24. Meanwhile, a total of 190 people are known to have recovered fully from the illness.

      • The UK and Covid-19 Crisis

        The UK has been preoccupied with its roiling Brexit psychodrama since 2016.

      • No Pandemic-Related Pause? VA Privatization Leaves Veterans Waist Deep in Another Big Muddy

        Half a century ago, 60,000 Americans and more than three million Vietnamese lost their lives in the foreign policy quagmire known as the Vietnam War.

      • ‘Millions of People Lose Water Service Because They Can’t Afford Their Water Bills’
      • Democrats Being Blocked From Advertising On Trump’s Failed COVID-19 Response Due To Content Moderation Rules

        Here we go again: content moderation at scale is impossible to do well — and, as we’ve discussed, things are especially tricky when it comes to content moderation and political advertising. Now, when you mix into that content moderation to try to stop disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and you run up against… politicians facing blocks in trying to advertise about Trump’s leadership failures in response to the pandemic:

      • Thank Farmers and Grocery Workers for Their Service

        Our national security depends on those workers who feed us. They deserve a living wage and health care.

      • US Response to Coronavirus in North Korea Can Save Lives and Lead to Peace

        The urgency of the situation calls for drastic changes to business as usual. We can turn the COVID-19 crisis into a critical opportunity for international cooperation on the Korean Peninsula by reallocating resources toward protecting human health and reviving the stalled diplomacy between the US and North Korea.

      • Exclusive: The Military Knew Years Ago That a Coronavirus Was Coming

        Despite President Trump’s repeated assertions that the Covid-19 epidemic was “unforeseen” and “came out of nowhere,” the Pentagon was well aware of not just the threat of a novel influenza, but even anticipated the consequent scarcity of ventilators, face masks, and hospital beds, according to a 2017 Pentagon plan obtained by The Nation.

        “The most likely and significant threat is a novel respiratory disease, particularly a novel influenza disease,” the military plan states. Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel (meaning new to humans) coronavirus. The document specifically references coronavirus on several occasions, in one instant saying, “Coronavirus infections [are] common around the world.”

      • Republicans Could Kill Obamacare in the Middle of Coronavirus Recovery

        This is not the first GOP attempt to weaken the law, and repealing Obamacare would have an enormous impact on the country’s public health system, pandemic or not. But, as the Daily Beast notes, the timing of the decision—potentially during the recovery stage—gives it “a seismic significance.” At least 20 million Americans covered by Obamacare will lose their coverage if the law is repealed. “The only thing worse than a public health pandemic is a public health pandemic without health care,” Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson said. Two coronavirus cases mentioned in the article—one of a teenage boy who died after being turned away from a hospital because he didn’t have insurance, another of an uninsured woman who, after going to the hospital for treatment, was billed $35,000—give an early preview to what could become the new normal, depending on which way the Supreme Court rules.

      • Coronavirus Conspiracy Claims: What’s Behind a Chinese Diplomat’s COVID-19 Misdirection

        An examination of social media posts across Weibo, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit in English, Chinese, and Japanese reveals the context and pathways that brought this particular conspiracy theory to Chinese state media and diplomatic channels. Weeks of speculation and online conspiracy theorizing about military links to the virus’ origins or emergence, combined with a broadening uncertainty about the circumstances of Wuhan’s outbreak and increasingly brittle U.S.-China rhetoric, laid the groundwork for Zhao’s inflammatory tweets and the reaction that followed.

      • World risks food crisis in wake of coronavirus

        FAO, WHO and WTO warn of the risk of a worldwide food shortage if authorities fail to manage the crisis properly

        The world risks facing a food shortage if authorities fail to manage the continuing coronavirus outbreak properly, the heads of three global agencies have warned.

        As governments around the world are trying to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus by putting their populations in lockdown, international trade and food supply chains suffered a severe slowdown.

      • Should You Wear a Mask to Fight Coronavirus? A Top Doctor Weighs In, Angry It Has Come to This

        To help sort through this confusing calculus, Rolling Stone reached out to Donald Milton, both a medical doctor and doctor of public health, who runs the Public Health Aerobiology, Virology, and Exhaled Biomarker Laboratory at the University of Maryland. Several years ago, Milton published a paper showing the potential effectiveness of surgical masks in limiting viral spread. But as he spoke to Rolling Stone, Milton was mostly angry that the United States has so utterly botched the response to this pandemic that generalized mask wearing has become part of the conversation. He noted that a country like Singapore has managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus through robust public health measures, which have allowed its economy to keep functioning while reserving masks for the medical community and the obviously ill. He also points to South Korea that got ahead of the pandemic through mass testing. “We have that capability,” he says, “We could have done that.” Because we didn’t, Milton says, “We’re totally behind the 8-ball here. So we’re desperate.”

      • The Ghost Office: our Transition to Remote Work during COVID-19

        Before we decided to send people home and close the office, we sat down and listed all of the tasks that would require someone to be in the office. From there, we looked for remote-friendly alternatives and did our best to make the transition as smooth as possible.

      • The FDA’s emergency use authorization of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19: Dangerous politics, not science

        During my recent absense from this blog, I wasn’t entirely inactive writing about COVID-19. Obviously, I was active (much less frequently) on my not-so-super-secret other blog. During that time, I addressed the topic of the promotion of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (the latter sometimes with the antibiotic azithromycin) as treatments for COVID-19. It started with anecdotal reports from China of success repurposing these drugs to treat these patients, which somehow morphed into claims of “great promise” in randomized clinical trials, none of which have yet been published except for one of them, a small negative trial of chloroquine, and a second one, a small reportedly positive trial of hydroxychloroquine, that’s been published as a preprint and has major issues. Overall, the evidence supporting the use of these drugs against COVID-19 is shockingly thin (almost nonexistent), consisting of some in vitro evidence of antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, anecdotes, and ; yet they’ve become almost standard of care in many countries. Indeed, the FDA recently granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to use these drugs for COVID-19, leading Steve Usden to express alarm over at Biocentury. He’s basically saying what I’ve been saying on Twitter the last two weeks about the frenzied off-label use of these drugs to treat COVID-19. I’ll comment on his article in a moment. First, since I haven’t written about this yet here, let’s look at some background.

      • Trump rejects Obamacare special enrollment period amid pandemic

        President Donald Trump and administration officials recently said they were considering relaunching HealthCare.gov.

      • Hospitals Tell Doctors They’ll Be Fired If They Speak Out About Lack of Gear

        Hospitals are threatening to fire health-care workers who publicize their working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic — and have in some cases followed through.

        Ming Lin, an emergency room physician in Washington state, said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview to a newspaper about a Facebook post detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing. In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty. In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization.

        “Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image,” said Ruth Schubert, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Nurses Association. “It is outrageous.”

        Hospitals have traditionally had strict media guidelines to protect patient privacy, urging staff to talk with journalists only through official public relations offices. But the pandemic has ushered in a new era, Schubert said.

        Health-care workers “must have the ability to tell the public what is really going on inside the facilities where they are caring for Covid-19 patients,” she said.

      • What does it mean that Oracle is partnering with the Trump administration to study unproven COVID-19 drugs?

        One of the dizzying stream of innovation and health law stories to emerge last week is Oracle’s partnership with the White House to study unproven pharmaceuticals for treating COVID-19. We decided to unpack this story for ourselves and then to collectively share our thoughts in a short explainer.

        [...]

        The impetus behind studying these two drugs stems from in vitro studies following the 2005 SARS-CoV-1 outbreak. Those studies suggested the drugs could inhibit some types of coronaviruses from both entering cells and replicating after infection—potentially serving as a preventative and a treatment. But the studies were small, in cell culture rather than living animals, and not conducted against the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2. Some early work with the drugs against SARS-CoV-2 may be promising but it, too, has been done in a test tube rather than an animal model.

        Importantly, though, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not risk free. To the contrary, both have some significant side effects that may be especially concerning for COVID-19 patients. These include an increased risk of blindness and heart failure, the latter of which seems to be exacerbated by and is the primary cause of death in some COVID-19 patients. NPR recently reported that one COVID-19 patient on experimental chloroquine has died, seemingly as a result. It’s possible that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could make COVID-19 worse, not better.

        More drugs besides chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are being tested for COVID-19 treatment, and it is unclear which of these the Oracle platform might track. Drugs that have already received FDA approval for other indications include antiviral HIV drugs, interferons that activate the body’s immune response, and anti-arthritis drugs to treat lung inflammation. Researchers are also testing new drugs that have not yet received FDA approval; for example, the antiviral remdesivir, which is being scrutinized in numerous clinical trials, made headlines last week after Gilead asked for and received (and then withdrew) FDA designation of the medicament as an “orphan drug.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • More good news: Medical equipment is still prone to [cracker] attacks [iophk: Windows TCO]

            A new report from Unit 42 says 72% of health care networks mix [Internet] of things (IoT) and information technology assets, allowing malware to spread from users’ computers to vulnerable IoT devices on the same network. The report also offers a lot of data on non-medical IoT attacks.

            There is a 41% rate of attacks exploiting device vulnerabilities, as IT-borne attacks scan through network-connected devices in an attempt to exploit known weaknesses. And Unit 42 has seen a shift from IoT botnets conducting denial-of-service attacks to more sophisticated attacks targeting patient identities, corporate data, and monetary profit via ransomware.

          • Conficker a Twelve Years Old Malware Attack Connected Objects [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Twelve years after its creation Conficker malware is now attacking connected objects. The American firm Palo Alto Networks announces that it has detected Conficker on the connected devices of a hospital, activating a resurgence of the twelve-year-old computer worm. It calls on all owners of connected objects to adopt the security measures recommended by specialists.

            According to a report released Tuesday, March 10, 2020, by IT expert Palo Alto Networks, a twelve years old computer worm called Conficker has recently made a comeback. The latter, which emerged in 2008 by taking advantage of security vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, has generated a whole network of zombie machines.

            In 2009, Conficker reportedly infected up to 15 million machines. Still active, although it is considered a minor phenomenon and without real risk, it still infected some 400,000 computers in 2015. The proliferation of connected objects would have increased this number to 500,000 devices today.

          • [Older] Maastricht Univ. paid €250K to ransomware [attackers]: report [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Maastricht University paid between 200 thousand and 300 thousand euros to [attackers] who had blocked access to the university’s digital systems with ransomware, various people involved told the Volkskrant. The university board was forced to pay because the university’s backups were also hijacked. The backups [sic] – stored on the university servers – contain research data and data from students and staff from the past decades.

          • [Older] University of Maastricht says it paid [attackers] 200,000-euro ransom [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The University of Maastricht on Wednesday disclosed that it had paid [attackers] a ransom of 30 bitcoin — at the time worth 200,000 euros ($220,000) — to unblock its computer systems, including email and computers, after an attack that unfolded on Dec. 24.

          • [Older] Maastricht University Pays 30 Bitcoins as Ransom to TA505 Group[iophk: Windows TCO]

            A management summary of the Fox-IT report and Maastricht University’s response found that during the time frame of October 15 to 23 December 2019 (inclusive of both dates), the TA505 gained control over multiple servers. Following is the timeline of the events in the leadup to the final ransomware attack: [...]

          • Weakness in Zoom for macOS allows local attackers to hijack camera and microphone

            The Zoom video conferencing client for macOS does not take full advantage of the application hardening features the operating system offers, which could allow local malware to elevate its privileges or access the camera and microphone without the user’s knowledge. The issues, which stem from insecure use of system APIs, were revealed Wednesday by security researcher Patrick Wardle on his blog. Wardle has a long history of macOS security research, which includes finding vulnerabilities, analyzing malware and writing security tools for Apple’s platform.

          • FBI warns Zoom, teleconference meetings vulnerable to hijacking

            “The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language,” the FBI cautioned. “As individuals continue the transition to online lessons and meetings, the FBI recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts.”

            It’s not just private businesses and children whose meetings could be Zoombombed. Privacy and security issues in conferencing software may also pose risks to national security, as world leaders convene Zoom meetings. In some cases, world leaders such as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson have shared screenshots of their teleconferencing publicly only to reveal Zoom meeting IDs, raising concerns that sensitive information could be compromised.

          • Qakbot malspam sent from an infected Windows host [iophk: Windows TCO]

            Every once in a while, I’ll see spambot-style traffic from the Windows hosts I infect in my lab environment. On Tuesday 2020-03-31, this happened during a Qakbot infection. I’ve covered examining Qakbot traffic before, but that didn’t include examples of spambot emails sent from an infected Windows computer. Today’s diary provides a quick review of some email examples from spambot traffic by my Qakbot-infected lab host.

          • Varonis Exposes Global Cyber Campaign: C2 Server Actively Compromising Thousands of Victims [iophk: Windows TCO]

            During the analysis, we reversed this strain of Qbot and identified the attacker’s active command and control server, allowing us to determine the scale of the attack. Based on direct observation of the C2 server, thousands of victims around the globe are compromised and under active control by the attackers. Additional information uncovered from the C&C server exposed traces of the threat actors behind this campaign.

            [...]

            Qbot (or Qakbot) was first identified in 2009 and has evolved significantly. It is primarily designed for collecting browsing activity and data related to financial websites. Its worm-like capabilities allow it to spread across an organization’s network and infect other systems.

          • os x ssh fails when using -p flag/a>

            /usr/bin/ssh in macos 10.15.4 hangs if used with the -p flag to specify an alternate port and used with a hostname. This was not present in macos 10.15.3

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Security And Privacy In A Brave New Work From Home World

              We have moved to a radically remote posture, leaving a lot of empty real-estate in corporate offices and abandoning the final protections of the digital perimeter. For years, we’ve heard that the perimeter is dead and there are no borders in cyberspace. We have even had promises of a new and better style of working without being bound to a physical office and the tyranny and waste of the commute. However, much like the promise of less travel in a digital age or even the total paperless office these work-life aspirations never had a chance to materialize before COVID-19 forced us to disperse and connect over the Internet. This has massive implications on corporate culture and productivity. More immediately, the surge in use of remote work capabilities has consequences from a security and privacy perspective that cannot be ignored.

            • Revolution in Urban Design Integrates High Tech and Eco Tech

              The high-tech approach to healthy and sustainable cities involves the smart tech movement, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT enables various objects and entities to communicate with each other through the Internet. Telecom companies are selling the new 5G tech network as the communications backbone of the “Smart City.” Smart cities promise to use cameras and sensors to monitor everyone and everything, from bins to bridges, and use the resulting data to help the city run smoothly.

            • Appeals Court Tells Baltimore PD To Start Coughing Up Information About Its Cell Site Simulators

              The Baltimore Police Department was an enthusiastic early adopter of cell site simulator technology. In 2015, a Baltimore detective admitted the department had deployed its collection of cell tower spoofers 4,300 times since 2007.

            • How can we protect privacy during a crisis like Covid-19, when “health surveillance” is on the rise around the world?

              A couple of weeks ago, this blog looked at the use of smartphones to track people so that contact tracing can be carried out to slow the spread of Covid-19. Two weeks is a long time in a pandemic. Soon after, it emerged that many countries were going further, and using smartphone location to check that quarantined individuals were staying at home, and that people weren’t congregating in public. Countries adopting this approach include Canada, Poland, Taiwan and the EU. In the last few days, many more governments have joined in, including those of Ecuador, the UK, Singapore, Israel, Russia, Pakistan, Kenya, Bulgaria, South Africa and France. That astonishing escalation has alerted people to the larger risk here: that the coronavirus emergency will be used to introduce additional permanent surveillance, and to roll back hard-won privacy protections.

            • The EARN IT Act Violates the Constitution

              Since senators introduced the EARN IT Act (S. 3398) in early March, EFF has called attention to the many ways in which the bill would be a disaster for Internet users’ free speech and security.

              We’ve explained how the EARN IT Act could be used to drastically undermine encryption. Although the bill doesn’t use the word “encryption” in its text, it gives government officials like Attorney General William Barr the power to compel online service providers to break encryption or be exposed to potentially crushing legal liability.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • This is not a War—COVID-19 Pandemic as Opportunity to Rebuild Sense of Common Good

        When we speak about the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we should approach it by saying without a doubt: “This is not a war,” Marder wrote. We cannot turn a blind eye on how critical this condition is, however this does not mean his situation requires a militaristic approach. We should be searching for more holistic/systemic ways of grappling with the coronavirus crisis and how we can bring about a better world after the current pandemic winds down.

      • Lessons From Africa: Military Intervention Fails to Counter Terrorism

        Late last year, President Trump provoked a furor when he declared his intent to withdraw some 1,400 US troops from West Africa, where he claimed they had quelled the terrorist threat. He sparked a similar firestorm when he announced that the U.S. would (eventually) pull 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, where they were engaged in an 18-year conflict against other violent extremists.

      • The US Military’s Predatory Practices: Targeting Teens

        Rosa del Duca stated for WhoWhatWhy, “groups critical of current recruitment practices struggle to gain access to schools at all.” Teenagers are being targeted by recruiters due to the unlikelihood of being disqualified by a prior criminal record and being more naïve than an older crowd. Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act signed by Barack Obama in 2015, public high schools are required to provide the military with the names of all seniors, along with their contact information, or risk losing their federal funding.

      • Despite Calls for Global Ceasefire, Trump Threatens War With Iran Amid COVID-19

        “Unsatisfied with a global pandemic and an economic collapse, Trump wants to add a major war into the mix.”

      • Amid Coronavirus, Mullahs Speeding Up Nuclear Activities

        Why should having this amount of enriched uranium be regarded as a critical issue? Because the Iranian regime now has enough enriched uranium to refine and build a nuclear bomb if it desires to do so. Approximately 1000kg of uranium enriched at just 5% can be refined to create one nuclear bomb.

        Moreover, “the agency identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations in Iran,” according to a recently published second report by the IAEA.

      • As the World Is Distracted, Boko Haram Terrorists Strike a Key Western Ally

        As the world’s attention turns almost completely to the coronavirus pandemic, the battle against jihadi terrorism in Africa’s vast Sahel region has taken one of its deadliest turns yet. On March 23, Boko Haram terrorists ambushed a military encampment of Chadian soldiers on the Boma Peninsula, in the Lake Chad region. Over seven hours, the militants—whose group’s name roughly means “non-Islamic education is a sin”—killed at least 92 heavily armed troops with machine guns and bombs and injured dozens of others.

        It is the deadliest attack the Chadian military has ever suffered. Chad’s ruler of 30 years—President Idriss Déby Itno—visited the site of the attack the next day and picked through the burned-out wreckage. “I have taken part in many operations,” he said in a televised address, “but never in our history have we lost so many men at one time.”

      • US to deploy anti-drug Navy ships near Venezuela
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Victory! Federal Circuit Enables Public to Hear Arguments In Important Patent Case

        Just like us, federal judges are continuing to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on their ability to do their jobs. Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. announced that April’s oral arguments in our case would take place telephonically or not at all. Since that time, the court has cancelled arguments for a substantial number of cases on its calendar, but EFF’s argument on behalf of the public’s right to access court documents in patent cases is among those the Court has scheduled for telephonic argument.

        Whatever challenges lie ahead, courts must ensure that their proceedings remain as accessible to the public as possible.

      • Disinformation and propaganda during the coronavirus pandemic

        An internal EU document seen by news agency Reuters speaks of a comprehensive disinformation campaign from Russia, allegedly aimed at increasing coronavirus’ impact, creating panic and sowing doubts. Moscow swiftly rejected all accusations.

        The lines peddled by media close to the Kremlin tend to contradict each other these days. Sometimes the pandemic is all a big ruse, then suddenly we’re contemplating apocalyptic scenarios like the disintegration of the Schengen Zone, the break-up of NATO or even the collapse of Baltic states. According to the conclusions of EUvsDisinfo, the disinformation arm of the Kremlin aims to undermine solidarity during a crisis that calls for trust and cooperation.

    • Environment

      • Northern Europe’s warm water flow may falter

        Global heating can stop the flow of Europe’s warm water from the tropics. Happening often during the Ice Ages, it could soon recur.

      • Coca-Cola First in Plastic Pollution Two Years in a Row

        When asked about the egregious amount of plastic pollution linked to their company, Coca-Cola responded via email saying this: “Any time our packaging ends up in our oceans—or anywhere that it doesn’t belong—is unacceptable to us.” They also stated, “We are investing locally in every market to increase recovery of our bottles and cans, and recently announced the launch of a Vietnam industry-backed packaging recovery organization, as well as a bottler-led investment of $19 million in the Philippines in a new food-grade recycling facility.” In October 2019, Coca-Cola introduced a bottle made from recycled marine plastic, and in 2018 the company made plans to recycle the same number of bottles or cans it sells around the world. Despite the company’s efforts to reduce waste, they remain the face of plastic pollution due to their increasingly alarming waste trail.

      • Court Rules EPA Can’t Keep Secret Key Model Used in Clean Car Rule Rollback

        The new Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule, which requires vehicle fuel economy improvements of 1.5 percent annually rather than 5 percent, is expected to increase air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and consumer fuel spending.

      • What Does COVID-19 Have to Do With Industrial Pollution?
      • The Censored Cause of Natural Disasters

        A joint report from Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation, published in April 2019, was headlined, “Media Are Complacent While the World Burns.” “At a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster,” the authors wrote, “climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time.” A 2012 study by Media Matters for America showed that in an 18-month period, “news outlets gave 40 times more coverage to the Kardashians than to ocean acidification.”

      • Energy

        • Oil industry Exploits Pandemic as Excuse to Dodge Federal Regulations, Fees

          In an act of appalling hubris, the oil and gas industry is asking the federal government to loosen enforcement of federal regulations on public lands in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Kathleen Sgamma of the Western Energy Alliance, one of the petroleum industry’s primary lobbying groups, was quoted in EnergyWire as seeking one-year extensions for two-year drilling permits and 10-year federal mineral leases, a change that would allow them to hold onto unused leases they are stockpiling. Sgamma also referenced changes to compliance requirements and “royalty and fee waivers” for the world’s wealthiest industry. Robert McEntyre of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association is quoted in the same story as seeking “commonsense flexibilities” when it comes to complying with federal regulations.

        • Industry Infighting as Oil and Gas Seek Government Help

          Crude oil prices went into a freefall in early March following the one-two punch of an OPEC price war and the meltdown of financial markets because of the coronavirus pandemic. In less than two weeks, prices of the oil benchmark Western Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped from $45 to the low-$20s per barrel, plunging the global oil industry into a state of deep crisis. A tenth of global oil supply could become uneconomic to produce.

        • Former Oil Lobbyist Now Secretary of Interior, Giving Incentives to Big Oil

          Bernhardt took the cabinet position in April 2019, and only four days after he was confirmed he was hit with an ethics investigation. Before Bernhardt became head of Interior, he worked for the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a lobbyist for big oil. This law firm has earned tens of millions of dollars lobbying for the oil industry. Bernhardt is using his position in government to bring favors to his former client in the oil and gas industry, National Ocean Industries Association, over the interests of the American people.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • UK Purchased Billion Euros of Beef from Firms Tied to Amazon Deforestation

          Marfrig is a known supplier of beef to many fast food chains around the world including McDonald’s and Burger King. The company takes pride in its green credentials and recently approved a bond for environmentally conscious investors as well as claiming that none of the cattle they buy originate from farms implicated in deforestation.

        • Australians Left on Their Own to Ward off Toxic Smoke

          Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs in Australia told its staff to stay home due to the polluted air even though the air at home was not much better. The particles in the air were odorless but highly dangerous — containing toxins linked to respiratory ailments, cancer and heart disease — and especially harmful to children and the elderly. An elderly woman died of respiratory distress after breathing the smoke on the tarmac at the Canberra airport, and an asthmatic teenager died when Glenn Innes, New South Wales was inundated with smoke, Byler wrote. Canberra’s stores were out of air purifiers. Baylor and his family returned home and ordered an air purifier online that, once it was up and running, warned the family that their house’s air quality was “poor”. Eventually, the air purifier the Bylers installed moved the quality from “poor” to “very good”.

        • How the US Enables Shark Finning Worldwide

          This article raises questions as to why these shark fin shipments are passing through our borders without being monitored, thereby making the US a “weak link” in the inspection chain. As Bittel explains, the problem lies in the cargo handling procedures of US ports. So long as the cargo is not unloaded at the ports, there is no legal obligation to check the contents of the ship. Also, shark fins are often listed as “dried seafood” or some other vague variant, excluding the fins from protection under endangered species legislation.

        • What’s the Hang Up on Releasing Adult Lobos?

          On March 9, a colleague from Endangered Species Coalition and I published this op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal, identifying Arizona and New Mexico as major stumbling blocks to wolf recovery, “[B]ecause both are allowing the Fish and Wildlife Service only to conduct cross-fostering in their states.” We called out the urgency with which the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game must act to release well-bonded adult pairs into the wild this summer as a way of addressing the critical genetic crisis facing the wild wolves.

        • Bees Can Help Cities by Monitoring Pollution

          For four years, researchers collected honey from six hives across Vancouver and tested it for trace levels of lead, zinc, copper and other elements, to determine whether they were man-made and to help locate the elements’ sources. The trace amounts also provided a baseline on which to monitor local environmental changes. The work was a partnership between the university’s Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research and the non-profit Hives for Humanity, which promotes urban beekeeping.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Virginia Court Reaffirms The Right To Give Cops The Finger

        It’s pretty well established that giving the finger to cops is protected expression. Stopping or detaining someone for flipping you off violates their rights and the usual law enforcement excuses for unconstitutional behavior tend to perform poorly when examined by a federal judge.

      • How Do You Moderate COVID-19 Misinformation When It’s Coming From Official Sources?

        Continuing our never-ending series of posts about the impossibility of content moderation at scale, let’s take a look at just how impossible it is to handle misinformation in the age of COVID-19. Ben Thompson over at Stratechery has a truly wonderful post highlighting this problem with regards to Twitter’s disinformation policies, and how things break down when the “misinformation” is coming form official sources. We noted this, to some extent, the other day when we called out Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo for saying that he was seeking to have anyone who posted false information online about COVID-19 prosecuted. During the press conference, he said to only listen to “your elected officials, or to your appointed officials.” But, as we noted, our elected officials and their appointees aren’t always right.

      • Disney Deletes Print-on-Demand Sale Claiming Rights to Denmark’s The Little Mermaid Statue

        A woman who uploaded one of her own photographs to print-on-demand site RedBubble says she has been hit with a takedown notice by Disney. The photograph, which features the 107-year-old The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, apparently violates Disney’s rights. According to a copy of the complaint, the statue depicts one of “Disney’s Princesses”.

      • The rise of Andrey Lipov How an inconspicuous Kremlin bureaucrat was tapped to head Russia’s federal censor

        In late March, after several years spent transforming his agency from a dull licensing office into a bonafide Internet censor, Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov left for a new job at Gazprom-Media. His shoes will now be filled by Andrey Lipov, an inconspicuous Kremlin bureaucrat whose official biography spans just two paragraphs. Lipov’s most prominent initiative to date is his work on Russia’s “Internet sovereignty” legislation. As the new director of Roskmonadzor (which is responsible for implementing this law), he’ll have the chance to bring this project to life. Meduza correspondent Maria Kolomychenko studied Andrey Lipov’s career path, his high-placed associates, and past conflicts that have involved certain law-enforcement agencies.

      • Concerns Grow Over Wuhan Doctor Amid Call For Return to Work

        Whistleblowing Wuhan doctor Ai Fen is currently incommunicado, believed detained after giving media interviews about her initial concerns over the coronavirus, according to an Australian media report.

        “Just two weeks ago the head of Emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital went public, saying authorities had stopped her and her colleagues from warning the world,” flagship investigative show 60 Minutes Australia reported on Sunday.

        “She has now disappeared, her whereabouts unknown,” the show reported, also tweeting photos of Ai.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Extradition of Julian Assange and the Assault on the Free Press

        In 2006, Assange co-created WikiLeaks to provide whistleblowers a platform to inform the world and possibly even hold international governments and corporations accountable for their crimes against humanity. Since then, WikiLeaks has exposed a trove of authenticated, classified information, including the Guantanamo Files, the Collateral Murder video, and nearly 400,000 field reports from the Iraq War, that have been the bases for significant news reports by both corporate and independent news outlets.

      • Myanmar Journalist Arrested For Interview With Blacklisted Arakan Army

        “Reporting on armed conflict is not the same as being a terrorist, and threatening a journalist with life in prison is inexcusable. Myanmar’s assault on journalists must stop now.”

      • Sajid Hussain: Fears for Pakistan journalist missing in Sweden

        Sajid Hussain was last seen boarding a train in Stockholm on his way to Uppsala on 2 March, according to the group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

        The group said it was possible he had been abducted “at the behest of a Pakistani intelligence agency”.

        Hussain, 39, fled to Sweden in 2012 after writing about crime.

      • RSF Points Finger At Pakistani Intelligence After Exiled Journalist Disappears In Sweden

        Sajid Hussain, the editor of the Balochistan Times news website, went missing in the Swedish city of Uppsala on March 2, according to the website, which covered human right violations and other aspects of the situation in the southwestern Pakistani region.

        “Considering the recent attacks and harassment against other Pakistani journalists in Europe, we cannot ignore the possibility that his disappearance is related to his work,” Erik Halkjaer, the president of RSF’s Swedish section, said in a statement on March 30.

      • Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain goes missing in Sweden

        According to Human Rights Council of Balochistan (HRCB), “Mr Hussain was living in Stockholm and decided to move to a private student accommodation in Uppsala on 2nd of March because of his work and studies. After reaching Uppsala he remained in contact with his friends until 2pm, after that his phone went off and he was unable to be reached by his family and friends.”

        Swedish Police has also been informed about Mr Hussain’s disappearance and he was added on a missing persons database on 5th of March.

        However, concerns have been expressed regarding the slow progress in locating Mr Hussain’s whereabouts.

      • Baloch journalist goes missing in Sweden

        His wife Shehnaz told Dawn that he had worked on the issue of enforced disappearances in Balochistan, but his report exposing a top drug lord Imam Bheel in 2012 led to some threats. He also sensed being followed, she said. “Then some people broke into his house in Quetta when he was out investigating a story. They took away his laptop and other papers too. After that he left Pakistan in Septem­ber 2012 and never came back,” said Shehnaz.

        Taj Baloch, a friend of Sajid’s in Sweden, said he had met him a day before his disappearance and everything seemed fine. The next day, his phone was off, and he would not return any calls. The last someone had heard from him was when he was in a hostel office, getting the key of his room and he said he would call back.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • California Program Encourages Teachers, Social Service Workers to Report “Alienated” Youth to Government

        As Tracy Rosenberg, the executive director of Media Alliance, told Garrison, a coalition of thirty groups—including MPower Change (a Muslim grassroots movement), Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Media Alliance, Oakland Privacy, and the American Civil Liberties Union—has formed to oppose the program on the grounds that it violates students’ rights to privacy and their civil liberties.

      • Arctic Communities Fight for Justice and Resources to Overcome Tragic Deaths

        Published a year before the trial, “Death in the Arctic” featured the family of Robert Adams, who endured the tragic loss. Adams was murdered during a night out with friends in the Inuit village of Kangiqsujuaq, Quebec in March 2018. His father Bernie Adams is searching for answers to understand why the government has done little change to day to day life in remote Inuit Communities, which includes violence, high rates of suicide and accidents. Many of these issues do not make mainstream media as these communities ignored and treated as they are not a part of Canada. The media outlet focuses on the community’s stories and the fight for justice and resources to help their community to overcome these tragedies

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

        In the last few days, New York and Pennsylvania postponed voting in presidential primaries from April until June. A dozen other states have also rescheduled. Those wise decisions are in sharp contrast to a failure of leadership from Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

      • Death Camps in the Making: New York’s Prisons During a Time of Pandemic

        Every day, says Donna Robinson, a bucket of bleachy water is delivered to a ward in Bedford Hills to be used by the sixty women housed there, her own daughter among them. That’s the extent of the supplies they receive to keep their area sanitized from COVID-19.

      • Advancing Change in a Time of Disruption: Forging a New Pathway for Nature

        A disruption—such as a global pandemic—can provide a window of opportunity to change our habits and make positive change.

      • Silenced In Savannah: US Journalist Abby Martin Challenges BDS “Gag Law,” First Amendment Violation, in Georgia

        BDS—which stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—is a movement driven by global citizen activists, teleSUR explained. The BDS movement works to peacefully pressure for-profit companies that do business with the state of Israel, with the goal of pressuring Israel to obey international law and understand that the Palestinian people deserve human rights.

      • US Media Neglect to Report on Missing Black Females

        As Henry explained, a 2010 study of US media coverage found that “only 20 percent of reported stories focused on missing Black children despite it corresponding to 33 percent of the overall missing children cases.” The study concluded that missing person stories involving black children, and more specifically missing black girls, are reported on less frequently by corporate media. The media coverage a missing person case receives raises community awareness and can kickstart crowdsourcing efforts in terms of searching and funding, factors that can lead to the eventual discovery of said missing person.

      • Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Indian Reservation Suicide Crises

        Anecdotally, there had been fifteen deaths among youths on the reservation. This ongoing crisis prompted the tribal government to declare a state of emergency “related to recent youth and adult suicides on the Fort Belknap Reservation.” In the past year and a half, the reservation has encountered a rising trend of suicides and attempted suicides. They’re mostly among teens and young adults, although the impacts obviously affect the community as a whole. It’s becoming increasingly unsettling how non-seriously this is being taken by various government agencies. According to Connie Filesteel, who works with the Indian Community Council on special projects, they don’t have access to accurate statistics among the reservation. Native Americans have significantly higher suicide rates than any other racial group. Factors including a history of oppression and murder, dilapidated reservations, poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, isolation, and many more underlying causes contribute to the 42.82 deaths by suicide for every 100,000 Native Americans youths in Montana. The statewide rate for the same age group is eight deaths by suicide for every 100,000. On the Fort Peck Reservation, also in Montana, similar problems have been faced and attempted to be addressed. Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, this reservation has gone face to face with the tragic contagion of suicides and attempted suicides.

      • “Whose University? Our University!” The Struggle for a COLA at UC Berkeley

        On March 5th, in the midst of a campus-wide march and rally, a student protester at UC Berkeley walked into the bustling Free Speech Movement Café, a study spot that borrows its name from Cal’s legendary 1960s anti-war protests. “Fellow students!” she shouted, climbing on top of the counter.

      • Court Tells Lying Cops That Someone Asserting Their Rights Isn’t ‘Reasonably Suspicious’

        A couple of lying cops who couldn’t perform a traffic stop without violating the driver’s rights have just seen their illegally-obtained evidence tossed and their successful drug bust busted. The Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal not only finds the officers untrustworthy but also points out there’s nothing reasonably suspicious about someone’s invocation of their rights.

      • Pandemic Catalyzes Grassroots Action, Mutual Aid, Collaboration

        One of the biggest obstacles to fighting COVID-19 is the lack of ventilators. But in just three hours engineers in Italy created a prototype for a 3-D printed valve that successfully converts scuba gear into a ventilator mask. The mask tested successfully in an Italian hospital so the engineers have made the 3-D valve plans available to everyone (online) for free. In a separate innovation involving ventilators, Dr. Alain Gauthier, from Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital in Ontario, Canada redesigned a ventilator so it could serve as many as nine people.

      • Footballer Sent Off for Reacting to Racist Chants

        As RT would report, “The scenes have been widely condemned, and Taison later took to social media to state his tears were ones of ‘indignation’.” What happened in Ukraine proves that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has not made significant change or positive direction in controlling the racial abuse of its players.

      • Tibetan Father, Son Detained For Listening to Dalai Lama Teachings

        Though Chinese authorities quickly blocked outside communication links with Dorje’s family, a second source later learned that Dorje and his son were eventually freed after showing “a good attitude” while in custody.

        “However, the authorities also warned them that given the nature of their crime, they could have faced up to five years in jail,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

        After taking down the phone numbers of all of Dorje’s family members, the authorities forced the elderly villager and his son to sign a document promising never to repeat “the offense of receiving their daughters’ phone calls or listening to the Dalai Lama’s teachings,” the source said.

      • This Stalkerware Delivers Extra-Creepy Features

        Researchers are sending up a red flag over the distribution of an aggressive stalkerware app called Monitor Minor. In a report released Monday, researchers said the Android version of the app gives stalkers near absolute control of targeted devices, going so far as allowing them to capture the unlock pattern or unlock code of phones.

        “This is the first time we have registered such a function in all our experience of monitoring mobile platform threats,” wrote Victor Chebyshev, a security researcher at Kaspersky who authored the report.

      • Warren calls on food delivery apps to classify workers as full employees

        “Delivery workers are experiencing serious health and economic vulnerabilities as a result of their jobs, and your company is failing to provide appropriate and necessary protections,” the former 2020 presidential candidate wrote to DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Instacart.

        “I urge you to reclassify your delivery workers as employees, rather than independent contractors, and ensure they are provided a full suite of employee protections and benefits,” she said.

        Warren called on the four companies to provide 14 days of paid leave to those with COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — symptoms or who need to care for family members, protective equipment and a guaranteed minimum wage with added hazard pay.

      • Ulrike Uhlig: Breaking the chain reaction of reactions to reactions

        Each of these interactions is embedded in larger society, and, as said above, we learn these roles from childhood. Therefore, we perpetually reproduce power structures, and learnt behavior. I doubt that fixing this on an individual level is sufficient to transform our interactions outside of small groups, families or work places. Although that would be a good start.

        We can see that the triangle holds together because the Victim, seemingly devoid of a way to handle their own needs, transfers care of their needs to the Rescuer, thereby giving up on their autonomy. The Rescuer is provided by the Victim with a sense of autonomy, knowledge, and power, that only works while denying the Victim their autonomy. At the same time, the Persecutor denies everyone else’s needs and autonomy, and feels powerful by dismissing others. I’ve recently mentioned the importance of autonomy in order to avoid burnout, and as a means to control one’s own life. If the Rescuer can acknowledge being in the triangle, and give the Victim autonomy, by supporting them with compassion, empathy, and guidance, and at the same time respecting their own boundaries, we could find even more ways to escape the drama triangle.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Broadband Speeds Dip In Major Cities Due To Covid-19

        Generally speaking, experts believe the U.S. internet should hold up pretty well under the significant new strain created by COVID-19. Italy and China’s networks have generally weathered the added load, and most major U.S. ISPs say congestion shouldn’t be a problem. Streaming providers have been reducing their overall bandwidth consumption as a precautionary measure, though generally many providers say they’ve seen greater impact from events like the Superbowl.

      • Encryption Helps America Work Safely – And That Goes for Congress, Too

        Encryption is a critical tool to provide confidentiality and integrity to digital communications. Encryption enables much of the flexibility needed for staff to work from home securely during social distancing. End-to-end encrypted messaging like WhatsApp, Signal or iMessage, and voice or video calls allow staff to discuss sensitive topics without fear of eavesdroppers. Encryption also secures everyday digital activities like payroll, human resource management, and file sharing. For Congress to legislate effectively while staying healthy during this pandemic, the security provided by encryption will be key. When reaching across the aisle, especially necessary in times of crises, staffers and legislators must be assured that politically sensitive discussions remain confidential – even when those conversations happen over the Internet. And while congressional votes are public information, a remote voting system must ensure that congressional members’ votes aren’t tampered with, and in case they are, make it clear that tampering has occurred.

        A new bill introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Dianne Feinstein, puts the security provided by encryption under threat, and therefore, weakens the country’s ability to work, learn and govern while we aren’t able to conduct business as usual. This bill, called the “EARN IT Act of 2020,” would make changes to Internet intermediary liability rules in the United States and could force companies to modify their services for law enforcement to gain access to encrypted user content for various services – or become liable for the actions of all their users. But the consensus among cybersecurity experts is clear: there is no way to provide exceptional access to encrypted communications for law enforcement without making all of its users more vulnerable. Any way for law enforcement to get in could be found by criminals or foreign adversaries, and used for their own purposes.

      • Internet Society Expands Program for Secure Internet Routing Framework

        Supported by the Internet Society, the MANRS program is being expanded to include content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud providers. The reason is simple — the more network operators that adhere to MANRS, the more secure is the [Internet]. The cascading nature of [Internet] routing means not only that major network players like Cloudflare, Akamai, Facebook and Netflix (who have joined with the new expansion) are committed to secure routing, they are also committed to encouraging adoption by all of the many thousands of networks that peer with them.

        There are three categories of network operators within the MANRS program: networks (almost 300 members); IXPs (48 members); and now CDNs and cloud providers. While each category has a slightly different set of commitments, the purpose in each case is the same: to prevent the thousands of small and largely media-unnoticed outages and the few major catastrophes that occur all the time.

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • Court Manages To Get NBA2K Tattoo Copyright, Trademark Case Exactly Right

          Somehow, it’s been nearly four years since a tattoo company, Solid Oak Sketches, decided to sue 2K Sports, the studio behind the renowned NBA 2K franchise, claiming that the game’s faithful representation of several stars’ tattoos was copyright infringement. The company claimed to own the copyright on the design of several players’ tattoos, including most famously LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and DeAndre Jordan. The claim in the suit was that 2K’s faithful depiction of the players, whom had collectively licensed their likenesses via the NBAPA, somehow violated Solid Oak’s IP rights.

      • Copyrights

        • ETTV Moves to New Domain Name After Operator Goes Missing

          TV-torrent distribution group ETTV switched to a new domain name a few days ago. While domain changes are not unusual, the background to this decision is quite worrisome. According to a top ETTV staffer, the site’s main operator disappeared without a trace last December, which makes the site’s future rather uncertain.

04.01.20

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

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

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

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

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

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

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

    • Server

      • ZFS Tuning for HPC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Kubernetes Topology Manager Moves to Beta – Align Up!

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

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

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 572: f-droid

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

      • Pandemic Edition

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

      • 2020-04-01 | Linux Headlines

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

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6.1

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.1 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        The Linux 5.7 crypto subsystem updates include new drivers.

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

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

      • Linux kernel 5.6.0 iwlwifi bug

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

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

      • Graphics Stack

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

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

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

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

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

    • Applications

      • Chafa 1.4.0: Now with sixels

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

        [...]

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

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

      • Butterfly Builder, a tool to compile PHP

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

      • PAM testing using pam_wrapper and dbusmock

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

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

      • Get Unsplash Wallpapers on Linux with Fondo Wallpaper App

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Privacy Tools

        • 3 Zoom Alternatives to Maintain Your Privacy

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

          [...]

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

        • ProtonMail launches Bridge for Linux

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

    • Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 3.98.2

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

        • GTK 3.98.2 Released As Another Step Towards GTK4

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

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

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Join Us for SUSECON Digital on Wednesday, May 20

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

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • World Backup Day: A plan of action

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

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

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

        • Getting to open hybrid cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Red Hat DNF 4.2.21 Package Manager Released Today!

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

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

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

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

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

      • Debian Family

        • Debian LTS work, March 2020

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

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

        • Debian LTS and ELTS – March 2020

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

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

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 Codenamed Ulyana & More

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

        • Ubuntu Blog: Steps to maximise robotics security with Ubuntu

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

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

        • OpenStack distributions: How to choose the right one?

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

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

        • Accelerate AI/ML workloads with Kubeflow and System Architecture

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

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

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

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

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

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Extensions in Firefox 75

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

      • FSF

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

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

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

        • GNU Projects

          • Deprecating support for the Linux kernel

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

            (kernel linux-libre)
            with

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

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

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

      • Programming/Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • How does kanban relate to DevOps?

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

        • Joachim Breitner: 30 years of Haskell

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

        • How to compare objects in PHP

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

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

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

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

        • Perl/Raku

          • Monthly Report – March

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

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

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

          • The Weekly Challenge #054

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

        • Python

          • Hidden Markov Model – A story of the morning insanity

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

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

          • Tryton News: Newsletter April 2020

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

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

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

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

          • Linked Lists in Python: An Introduction

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

          • Python Software Foundation: An Update on PyPI Funded Work

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

          • Django bugfix releases issued: 3.0.5 and 2.2.12

            Today we’ve issued 3.0.5 and 2.2.12 bugfix releases.

          • Concurrency in Python

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

          • What the heck is pyproject.toml?

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

            [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • How to Speed up Your Python Code

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • PyCharm: What’s New in R Plugin

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

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

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

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

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

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

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

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

          • Kali NetHunter Updates

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

            [..].

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

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

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

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

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

            [...]

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

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

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

            The headline may be a bit overwrought, though.

          • How Hackers Are Targeting Networks Amidst Coronavirus Threat?

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia de-mystifies tone policing

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

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

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

      [...]

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

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

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

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Performing A Linux System Backup The Right Way

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

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

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

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

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • My story of transitioning from Mac to Linux

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

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

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

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

        [...]

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

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

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

      • Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers launch custom InfinityBook laptop

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

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

      • TUXEDO Computers Announces InfinityBook Manjaro Linux Laptop

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

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

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

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Arm is Here | LINUX Unplugged 347

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

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

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

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

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 86

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

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

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

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

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

      • mintCast 331.5 – Audio Schmaudio

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

        And finally, our listener feedback and a few suggestions.

      • Checking out Ubuntu 20.04 Ahead of its Release

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

      • LHS Episode #335: Clean My Glasses

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

    • Kernel Space

      • WireGuard VPN added to Linux 5.6

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

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

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

      • Linux 5.6 Debuts with Wireguard Secure VPN for Remote Networking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Linux 5.6, Bootlin contributions inside

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

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

      • [Collaborans] Linux Kernel 5.6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Highlights of the power management updates for Linux 5.7 include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Highlights on the scheduler side for Linux 5.7 include:

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

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

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

    • Benchmarks

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

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

    • Applications

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

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

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

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

      • Kushal Das: Introducing ManualBox project

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

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

      • OCRFeeder – Where images go to text

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

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

      • Nutty – A network monitoring app for Linux

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

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

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Joachim Breitner: Animations in Kaleidogen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

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

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

        • Behind Plasma Bigscreen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Qt 5.14.2 Released

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

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

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

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

        • SMPlayer – A Free Media Player for All Formats

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

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

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

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

        • Latte Dock development news

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

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

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Where are the best GNOME communities

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

        • API changes in Tracker 3.0

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

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

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

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

        • Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps

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

        • DevConf.CZ 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.03 Now Available

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

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

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

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

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • screenFetch in LMDE4

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

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

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

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

          [...]

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

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

      • Oracley

        • Announcing the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 for Oracle Linux

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

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

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

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

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

      • Arch Family

        • Obarun – An Arch Based Linux Distro Without Systemd

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

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

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.7 Enters Development with New Features and Improvements

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Introducing OpenApi Specification to IBM Cloud Functions

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

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

        • Powering SAP NetWeaver on RHEL 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Debian Family

        • Uyuni 2020.03 released — with enhanced Debian support!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Sparky news 2020/03

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

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

        • Jonathan Wiltshire: neuraldak

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

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

          [...]

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

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities March 2020

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

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

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

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

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

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

        • Canonical announces Managed Apps to simplify enterprise cloud operations

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

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

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Community Wallpaper Contest Winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Linux Mint 20 Release Date & Features

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

          What do we about Linux Mint 20 so far?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Monthly News – March 2020

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

          LMDE 3 EOL

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

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

          Mint 20, codename Ulyana

          The codename for Linux Mint 20 is Ulyana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 624

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

        • Design and Web team summary – 30th March 2020

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

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Pixelorama – Open Source Editor for Pixel Art

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

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

      • IEEE Standards Association Launches an Open Source Collaboration Platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Events

        • System Hackers meeting – Lyon edition

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

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

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

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Innovating on Web Monetization: Coil and Firefox Reality

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

            [...]

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

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

          • Announcing the Mozilla Mixed Reality Merch Store!

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

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

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

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

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

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

        • DataStax launches Kubernetes operator for open source Cassandra database

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

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

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

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

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

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Online Guide translated into Czech

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

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

        • Fontwork update

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

        • Bullet images update

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

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

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

      • FSF

        • HACKERS and HOSPITALS: How you can help

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

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

        • HACKERS and HOSPITALS

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

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Taler news: Exchange ready for external security audit

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

          • GNU Taler news: GNU Taler v0.7.0 released

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

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

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

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

          [...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • MIT Team Develops $100 Ventilator

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

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

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

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

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

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Racket

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

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

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

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

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Racket.

        • Pangeo with Dask Gateway

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

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

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

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

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

        • How failure-driven development makes you successful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.13 NoConf Reached

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

        • Python

          • Wing Python IDE 7.2.2 – March 30, 2020

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

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

            Listing your files with the Google Drive API

          • Lists in python example3

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

          • Python 101 – Learning About Dictionaries

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

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

          • Python main function

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

          • Using data from spreadsheets in Fedora with Python

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