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Links 9/4/2019: CRI-O/CNCF and Lutris 0.5.2 Released

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  • 5 Linux rookie mistakes
    It's smart to learn new skills throughout your life—it keeps your mind nimble and makes you more competitive in the job market. But some skills are harder to learn than others, especially those where small rookie mistakes can cost you a lot of time and trouble when you're trying to fix them.

    Take learning Linux, for example. If you're used to working in a Windows or MacOS graphical interface, moving to Linux, with its unfamiliar commands typed into a terminal, can have a big learning curve. But the rewards are worth it, as the millions and millions of people who have gone before you have proven.

  • Desktop

    • The Linux desktop is in trouble
      I've heard this before. There have been a lot of Linux desktop distros over the years. They tend to last for five or six years and then real life gets in the way of what's almost always a volunteer effort. The programmers walk away, and the distro then all too often declines to be replaced by another.

      It is not easy building and supporting a Linux desktop. It comes with a lot of wear and tear on its developers with far too little reward. Mint is really a winner and I hope to see it around for many more years to come. But I worry over it.

      Looking ahead, I'd love to see a foundation bring together the Linux desktop community and have them hammer out out a common desktop for everyone. Yes, I know, I know. Many hardcore Linux users love have a variety of choices. The world is not made up of desktop Linux users. For the million or so of us, there are hundreds of millions who want an easy-to-use desktop that's not Windows, doesn't require buying a Mac, and comes with broad software and hardware support. Are you listening Linux Foundation?

    • 10 Best Tiling Window Managers for Linux
      As the name Linux Window manager suggests, the work of window managers is to coordinate how app windows function and they automatically run in the background of your OS to manage the appearance and placement of running applications.

    • Windows, Mac, or Linux? We compare the pros and cons of these computing platforms [Ed: David Gewirtz "a hyperbole-free"? Really? CBS assigning anti-Linux troll to compare OSes now?]

  • Server

    • Red Hat contributes CRI-O to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation
      Today CRI-O, a project started at Red Hat in 2016 to be an Open Container Initiative-based implementation of the Kubernetes Container Runtime Interface, is being contributed to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). This project joins cornerstone containers and Kubernetes projects we’ve been a part of like etcd and others to join a neutral home for stewardship.

      This is a step forward for the containers and CRI-O community because it brings the project into the same home as Kubernetes, which benefits users given its close interdependency. CRI-O and Kubernetes follow the same release cycle and deprecation policy.

      CRI-O already has a variety of maintainers outside of Red Hat including Intel and SUSE. Red Hat plans to continue participating in developing CRI-O, especially as a part of our enterprise Kubernetes product, Red Hat OpenShift. With our heritage and dedication to open source software and community-driven development, CRI-O can benefit the community even further within CNCF housed next to Kubernetes.

    • 7 Best Free Linux Server Provisioning Tools
      Server provisioning is a set of actions to prepare a server, taking it from bare metal to a functioning system complete with an operating system, data and software.

      It does not take long for users to recognize that setting up more than a couple of machines is extremely time consuming. System administrators realize this extremely early in their career. The ability to deploy additional servers or to replace failed servers without fuss and bother is important if business applications are to keep running, and the pressure falls squarely on the system administrator. Server provisioning tools come to the rescue.

      However, the difficulty is that operating systems have thousands of components with different interfaces for different components. This means that an automated provisioning tool is a complex beast especially if you consider the tasks that are involved in provisioning a server. These include the installation of an operating system, kernel modules, middleware and applications. Further, the organization will want the system customized to their requirements such as deploying machines with specific roles such as web servers, email servers, with appropriate partitioning and packages. The server will also need to be appropriately configured for the network.

      Fortunately, there are a number of sophisticated tools available for Linux that are adept in provisioning servers, offering the ability to simultaneously set up thousands of machine unattended.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Episode 62 | This Week in Linux
      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a ton of stuff to talk about like Fedora’s announcement of the Beta for Fedora 30, Linux Journal released their 25th Anniversary issue for Free to everyone and UBports announced they were successful in forming their own Foundation. We also got a lot of App News this week from GIMP, WPS Office, Strawberry & DeaDBeeF music players, Chef automation tool, and more. We’re also going to check out some other Distro News from Sabayon and Linux Mint. Later in the show, we’ll check out some other news from Raspberry Pi, Wayland, Purism and more. Then we’ll round out the show with some Linux Gaming News from Aspyr Media and SuperTuxKart. All that and much on this episode of your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Bunch Of New Code Merged Into Mesa 19.1: Intel ANV, Iris, Softpipe, Virgl
        Mesa developers have been off to a busy start this week with a lot of new code merged affecting multiple drivers.

      • FreeSync Support For RADV Vulkan Driver Blocked By Lack Of Config System
        With the Linux 5.0 kernel the AMDGPU landed its support for FreeSync / Variable Rate Refresh support and that's already been joined by FreeSync/VRR support within Mesa's RadeonSI OpenGL driver. But FreeSync support for the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver has been delayed -- a merge request is now open but it's not expected to be merged at this point for a lack of a configuration management system.

        For several weeks now there's been an initial RADV FreeSync patch for testing albeit not extensively tested and some users running into problems with it. But more pressing that is preventing the RADV FreeSync support from landing in Mesa 19.1 is the lack of a config system to allow whitelisting/blacklisting of the functionality on a per-game/app basis.

      • Vulkan 1.1.106 Released As The Latest Update For This Graphics / Compute API
        It's been over two weeks since the release of Vulkan 1.1.105 while now it's been succeeded by Vulkan 1.1.106.

        Vulkan 1.1.106 is out to kick off a new week, but in reality it's not all that exciting. With Vulkan 1.1.106 there aren't any new extensions for this cross-platform graphics/compute API nor is there any major changes, but just the usual maintenance updates and other text clean-ups.

  • Applications

    • HP Linux Imaging & Printing Drivers Now Support Linux Mint 19.1 and Debian 9.7
      More than two months in development, the HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.19.3 software and drivers are here implement support for a bunch of new HP printers, including HP OfficeJet Pro All-in-One 9010, HP OfficeJet Pro All-in-One 9020, HP OfficeJet All-in-One 9010, HP PageWide XL 4100 and 4600 printers, HP PageWide XL 4100 and 4600PS MFP, as well as HP Color LaserJet Managed MFP E77422a, E77422dv, E77422dn, and E77428dn.

      Additionally, it now supports the HP LaserJet MFP E72425a, E72425dv, E72425dn, and E72430dn, HP LaserJet Managed MFP E62655dn and E62665hs, HP LaserJet Managed Flow MFP E62665h, E62675z, and E62665z, HP LaserJet Managed E60155dn, E60165dn, and E60175dn, HP Color LaserJet Managed E65150dn and E65160dn, as well as HP Color LaserJet Managed MFP E67650dh and HP Color LaserJet Managed Flow MFP E67660z printers.

    • Olivia – An Elegant, Powerful Cloud Music Player For Linux
      Today I stumbled upon a cool media player and I couldn’t resist myself to share it with you all. Say hello to Olivia, a beautiful, modern and powerful cloud music player for Linux. It is online/offline cloud-based player like YouTube Music, iTunes and Spotify. Using Olivia, you can search and view the online streams as the way you do in YouTube, download the streams, create and manage your music library.

    • Top 10 Best Radio Streaming Software for Linux System
      Nowadays, enjoying radio broadcasting is not a big deal or doesn’t require any traditional analog devices. We can see the presence of FM radio on various smart devices. But for computers, we can listen to the radio only by using the internet. There are many types of internet radio streaming software available for all the major platform including Linux, Windows and Mac OS but choosing the best one seem difficult for many of us. In this article, our expert team will only focus on the Linux system. This list of best Linux radio streaming software will help you to get the best one and save your time so that you don’t have to install all the software in your system rather just choose the one which fits most of your requirement.

    • OpenVPN 3 Linux client - v5 beta released
      The OpenVPN 3 Linux v5 beta release has just been made available. This is available in our git repositories [0] and URLs for source tarballs are listed later in this e-mail. RPM binaries for Fedora and RHEL/CentOS/Scientific Linux [1] completed the build process quite recently too. Debian and Ubuntu packages will come in releases just need a few rounds of internal testing and we will hopefully be able to release them soon too.

    • OpenVPN 3 Linux Beta 5 Builds Against OpenSSL By Default, Configuration Improvements
      The OpenVPN 3 Linux client has been in the works for a number of months with some big features including a rewrite in C++11, exposing a D-Bus interface that yields a number of usability improvements, better DNS configuration, and various other enhancements.

    • Proprietary

      • DaVinci Resolve 16 Beta Video Editor Employing Deep Learning, GPU Accelerated Tools
        Blackmagic Design has announced Davinci Resolve 16 beta as the newest feature update to the very feature-rich and cross-platform but proprietary video editor.

        DaVinci Resolve 16 introduces the DaVinci Neural Engine that uses deep learning and AI to power new features from auto color and color matching to facial recognition and other features.
      • Major Browsers to Prevent Disabling of Click Tracking Privacy Risk [Ed: proprietary software may simply mean malicious software or malware for short. Latest example here.]
        Newer versions of Chrome, Safari, and Opera will no longer allow you to disable hyperlink auditing, which is a concern for those seeking maximum privacy. While some of these browsers previously allowed you to disable this feature, newer versions are going in the opposite direction.

        Hyperlink auditing is an HTML standard that can be used to track clicks on web site links. This is done by creating special links that ping back to a specified URL when they are clicked on. These pings are done in the form of a POST request to the specified web page, which can then examine the request headers to see what page the click came from.

      • Major Browsers to Prevent Disabling of Click Tracking Privacy Risk
        Firefox still allows this "feature" to be disabled (and disables it by default).
      • VSCodium: 100% Open Source Version of Microsoft VS Code
        VSCodium is a fork of Microsoft’s popular Visual Studio Code editor. It’s identical to VS Code with the single biggest difference that unlike VS Code, VSCodium doesn’t track your usage data.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Lutris 0.5.2 Released With Various Improvements For Linux Gaming
        Released at the start of February was Lutris 0.5 with a much improved GTK3 user interface, integration, and other improvements to this open-source Linux game manager that works from Wine-based games to Steam and various other offerings. Lutris 0.5.2 is now out with the latest set of improvements on top.

      • Game launcher Lutris has another release out, adding a little spit and polish
        Lutris, where would I be without you now? This excellent open source game launcher has another point release out to fix some bits up.

      • Legend of Shara, a full prequel expansion for Tangledeep is out and it's great
        Legend of Shara is the first full expansion for the colourful roguelike RPG Tangledeep, it adds in a huge amount of content and it's worth a look.

        It's quite a different way to play Tangledeep too as in this story there's no town to visit, no meta progression, no special job system and you don't gain experience points like the main game. Instead, you spend Job Points earned by taking down monsters (and other ways) to level up your core stats.

      • Like tricky platformers or want to test people on your own creations? DASH is looking good and coming soon
        I've had the pleasure of testing out the platformer DASH: Danger Action Speed Heroes for a while now and it's truly shaping up to be an impressive game.

        The main hook with DASH is that anyone can be a designer and make their own levels, publish them and laugh as everyone completely fails or cry when someone comes along and absolutely destroys your own time. Some of the levels people have created are absolutely maddening, I've nearly thrown around my gamepad a few times…

      • GZDoom 4.0 Released With Experimental Vulkan Renderer
        GZDoom, one of the actively maintained open-source ports of the original Doom game, reached version 4.0 support this weekend with an initial Vulkan renderer in tow.

        GZDoom 4.0.0 features an initial Vulkan renderer that is currently experimental and can be easily enabled via a simple run-time switch as an alternative to its mature OpenGL renderer. The Vulkan renderer is activated with the +vid_backend 0 switch and your mileage may vary based upon any mods and other factors with your GZDoom game configuration.

      • GZDoom 4.0.0 Released

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • March Madness and the Quarterly Report
        The biggest highlight last quarter is getting hired to work on some part of KDE, particularly the documentation. It’s not the coding I’ve always dreamed of but getting paid to work on something you’ve been passionate about for years is a dream come true. Sadly, it’s just a three-month gig. More on the details on another post.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Sam Thursfield: Tools I like for creating web apps
        Here’s a list of the technologies I’ve recently used and liked.

        First, Bootstrap. It’s really a set of CSS classes which turn HTML into something that “works out of the box”. To me it feels like a well-designed widget toolkit, a kind of web counterpart to GTK. Once you know what Bootstrap looks like, you realize that everyone else is already using it. Thanks to Bootstrap, I don’t really need to understand CSS at all anymore. Once you get bored of the default theme, you can try some others.

        Then, jQuery. I guess everyone in the world uses jQuery. It provides powerful methods to access JavaScript functionality that is otherwise horrible to use. One of its main features is the ability to select elements from a HTML document using CSS selectors. Normally jQuery provides a function named $, so for example you could get the text of every paragraph in a document like this: $('p').text(). Open up your browser’s inspector and try it now! Now, try to do the same thing without jQuery — you’ll need at least 6 times more code.1

        After that, Riot.js. Riot is a UI library which lets you create a web page using building blocks which they call custom tags. Each custom tag is a snippet of HTML. You can attach JavaScript properties and methods to a custom tag as well, and you can refer to them in the snippet of HTML giving you a powerful client-side template framework.
      • CPUFREQ Power Manager Gnome Extension Ported To Gtk
        CPUFREQ Power Manager GNOME extension was recently ported to Gtk. In the future, this will allow the extension to work on other desktop environments, but for now it still requires Gnome Shell.

        CPUFREQ Power Manager (or just CPUFREQ) is a CPU frequency monitor and governor manager. It shows the current CPU frequency, while also allowing the user to change the CPU governor (performance/powersave), a feature which works with both Intel P-State and the CPUFreq kernel module.

        Besides CPU frequency monitoring and governor management, the application can also set CPU frequency speed limits, enable or disable Turbo Boost, set the numbers of online cores, while also allowing users to create their own custom profiles.

  • Distributions

    • 5 of the Best Linux Distros for Windows Users in 2019
      Linux is the best-known and most-used open-source operating system. Whether you’re looking for an OS that is tailored for laptops, workstations, desktops, gaming, A/V editing, or servers, you’ll always find a Linux distro for your specific need.

      However, if you’re new to Linux or are switching to Linux from Windows, you’ll want an OS that is GUI-focused like Windows. There are many different distributions of Linux out there, with some aiming to replicate the look and feel of Windows. The goal of this is to make transitioning relatively painless. With Linux boasting improved hardware support, long term stability and a wider range of software applications, there is no better time to try it!

      In this roundup we’ll introduce you to the best Linux distributions for those switching from a Windows environment.

      1. Zorin OS

      If you love Windows 7, Zorin OS will replicate that Windows experience for you. It not only features a desktop interface that looks and feels familiar, but also one that is beautiful and easy to use. But it doesn’t limit you to that interface. If you would love something different but with the same feel, Zorin OS does offer several options to choose from.

    • New Releases

      • Alpine 3.9.3 released
        The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.9.3 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

      • First Arch Linux ISO Snapshot Powered by Linux Kernel 5.0 Is Here
        Arch Linux 2019.04.01 is the first ISO image of the widely used Linux-based operating system, which follows a rolling release model where you install once and receive updates forever, to ship with a kernel (version 5.0.5) from the latest Linux 5.0 series, along with the latest updates released in March 2019.

        Linux kernel 5.0 brings several hardware enhancements over the Linux 4.x series, including FreeSync support for AMD Radeon GPUs via the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver, which enables a stutter-free viewing experience on LCDs with dynamic refresh rates, and a new energy-aware scheduling feature that improves power management in devices using ARM big.LITTLE CPUs.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Welcome to the CNCF, CRI-O!
        CRI-O, the Open Container Initiative (OCI) implementation of the Kubernetes Container Runtime Interface (CRI), will join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) incubator today. The project provides an alternative container runtime for Kubernetes and was founded back in 2016 (originally known as OCID) with the introduction of the Kubernetes CRI. CRI-O focuses on its first principles of stability and reliability. This has been proven since one and a half year for now and CRI-O synchronizes its releases with Kubernetes to ensure these principles for the future, too. The projects popularity raised over the past years that it is now the best solution to run Kubernetes workloads in a secure fashion. Currently, CRI-O has worldwide 106 contributors and 9 maintainers coming from Intel, Red Hat, and SUSE. SUSE CaaS Platform version 3 provides it as a technology preview, where CRI-O can be chosen during the installation. No further workload changes are needed to switch from Docker or containerd to CRI-O.

      • SUSE Manager 4.0 Beta 2 is out!
        With the first version you are able to create content projects, select a custom set of software channels as sources and create a lifecycle made of environments. Once you have selected some sources you can build the selected set which will populate the first environment. After the the first environment is built you can promote it through the environment lifecycle to the next environment in the loop. The result of the build (therefore the content of every environment) is a channel tree (made of cloned software channels of the sources selection) and you can assign systems to it.

    • Fedora

      • Things Are Looking Up for Linux on ARM Laptops
        I have something of a soft spot for Red Hat, specifically their commitment to improving Linux hardware support.

        I also have a soft spot for ARM laptops. Yeah, they tend to suffer from performance issues, but I’m ever the optimist: ARM laptops feel like they’re the cusp of greatness.

      • Red Hat And Fedora Working To Bring Linux-powered ARM Laptops
        In late 2017, Microsoft launched Windows 10 on ARM to let users run its operating system on the ARM processor-powered laptops, especially the ones powered by Snapdragon chips. The company also released a bunch of devices in partnership with OEMs like Asus, HP, and Lenovo, and marketed them as “Always Connected Devices.”

        Earlier this year, when a project named aarch64-laptops started gaining traction on GitHub, it seemed like a great idea to run Linux on ARM laptops. The project initially allowed users to run Ubuntu on Snapdragon-powered laptops like NovaGo TP370QL, HP Envy x2, and Lenovo Mixx 630. Now, it has been revealed that Red Hat is working with Fedora team to bring Fedora Linux to such devices.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • How to Install Linux Distribution Devuan on Raspberry Pi 3
          For the readers unfamiliar with the Raspberry Pi, this article is sadly not talking about the eatable kind! Raspberry Pi’s are single board, credit card sized computer made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in the UK. The boards have surprisingly good specifications for their size.

          For example, the newest model (Raspberry Pi 3 B+) sports a 1.4 GHz ARM 64bit quad core, 1 Gbe network adapter, 4 USB ports, HDMI out, Built-in bluetooth and 802.11ac WiFi! The best part about these little power houses is that they’re only 35 dollars! The Raspberry Pi has become a starting point for people to learn programming to advanced topics in robotics.

          This article is going to go over how to install the Linux distribution Devuan onto a Raspberry Pi 3. The process is very similar for other Raspberry Pi models as well. This installation will be done with another Linux distribution (although Windows installer tools do exist).

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 573

          • Career Guidance For Young People: A Retrospective
            At a conference in London, I had a non-zero number of beers with two editors who were launching a new Linux magazine called Linux Format. I plucked up the courage to ask if I could write an article and they said, “Yes, but if it is shit, we won’t publish it”. This seemed like a fair arrangement.

            The article passed muster and it went into the magazine. I started writing more and more and when I completed university, I decided to be a full time writer. It didn’t pay much, but I loved what I did, and it earned enough money to support the relatively frugal life my girlfriend and I lived. This is when I got the first taste of being able to devote my career to something I loved, and it was an amazing feeling.

            One of the articles I wrote was about a newly minted organization in Birmingham called OpenAdvantage. They were focused on training people in the West Midlands in Open Source; especially focused on manual laborers re-skilling in technology as more and more factories moved out of the area. After the article was published I was invited to lunch by one of the founders, Paul Cooper, where he somewhat surprisingly offered me a job to be a consultant there.

            I took the job and spent two years doing a range of things I had never done: consulting, training, learning new technologies, and more. While nerve-wracking at first, it gave me a taste for jumping in the deep end and figuring things out as I went. What followed were careers at Canonical, XPRIZE, GitHub, and then onto my current consulting business.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu MATE 19.04 and 18.04.2 Are Now Available for GPD Pocket & GDP Pocket 2
              Coming six months after the release of Ubuntu MATE 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) for the GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2 computers, the team lead by talented Martin Wimpress released today images of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04.2 LTS operating system, which was possible thanks to the recent hardware enablement (HWE) stack upgrade, and the beta version of Ubuntu 19.04 for the tiny devices.

              "Back in October 2018 the Ubuntu MATE team released bespoke images of Ubuntu MATE 18.10 for the GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2 that included hardware specific tweaks to get these devices working “out of the box” without any faffing about. Today we are releasing Ubuntu MATE 18.04.2 and Ubuntu MATE 19.04 images for both devices," said Martin Wimpress.

            • Ubuntu MATE: Ubuntu MATE 18.04 and 19.04 for GPD Pocket & Pocket 2
              Back in October 2018 the Ubuntu MATE team released bespoke images of Ubuntu MATE 18.10 for the GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2 that included hardware specific tweaks to get these devices working "out of the box" without any faffing about. Today we are releasing Ubuntu MATE 18.04.2 and Ubuntu MATE 19.04 images for both devices.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source mobile apps
    Like most people in the world, I'm rarely further than an arm's reach from my smartphone. My Android device provides a seemingly limitless number of communication, productivity, and entertainment services thanks to the open source mobile apps I've installed from Google Play and F-Droid.

    ​​​​​​Of the many open source apps on my phone, the following five are the ones I consistently turn to whether I want to listen to music; connect with friends, family, and colleagues; or get work done on the go.

  • 7 Open Source ERP Systems That are Actually Good
    As usual, there are proprietary closed-source ERP systems that cost a lot, and there are open source ERP systems that can be used alternatively. Which one to use depends on your own scenario; You organization’s size, number of staff, the type of modules and features you need and other similar criteria.

    Almost all the solutions that we are going to see offer two versions: A managed SaaS (software as a service) service that you pay for each month according to the services and the number of users you have in your organization, or a self-hosted open source version that you can download for free with no support.

    Apparently, the first step should be trying that ERP system that you like on your local machines, testing whether it’s sufficient for your tasks and employees, and if so, you could either purchase it as a SaaS, or request professional support when needed with the open source, free version.

    But why would you choose one software over the other? The reasons are many: The offered functionality of that ERP system, the user interface design, the programming language of the system, is your IT department capable of modifying and developing that open source ERP system even further, localization, GDPR compatibility.. And many similar criteria.

  • Clear Linux Preparing The LLVM 8 Switch, Including For Graphics/Compute Runtimes
    Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution is preparing to be one of the first distributions relying upon LLVM 8 (and Clang 8) out-of-the-box as the latest major release for this widely-used compiler stack.

    Intel developer Thiago Macieira provided a notice on Monday that they are preparing to land LLVM 8 and related changes into Clear Linux over the next few days. Besides switching to LLVM/Clang 8 and making adjustments to packages depending upon them, this landing also includes switching of Intel's OpenCL Runtime, Graphics Compiler, and Compute Runtime over to using LLVM 8 -- and where necessary upgrading those packages. While Intel's Mesa drivers do not depend directly on LLVM, their OpenCL NEO driver stack and other newer initiatives do rely directly upon LLVM.

  • Intel Finally Announces SVT-AV1, To Be Used By Netflix
    We've been pretty much exclusively reporting on - and benchmarking - the Intel SVT-AV1 open-source encoder since the start of February while finally today Intel has formally announced this initiative. It also turns out Netflix is cooperating with Intel on this Scalable Video Technology with their plan to make use of it.

    SVT-AV1 is part of their Scalable Video Technology umbrella of codecs, including the SVT-VP9 and SVT-HEVC encoders we have also been benchmarking a lot.

  • Intel To Work On AV1 Decoding Support, FFmpeg / GStreamer Plugins
    Yesterday Intel finally announced their SVT-AV1 video encoder as a promising high-performance AV1 encoder but it turns out they also have open-source plans this year for developing a performant AV1 decoder, among other interesting items on their road-map.

    This morning I was pointed out to their public Trello instances for the Scalable Video Technology work.

    On their SVT-AV1 agenda via the Public Trello are plans this quarter for YUV422/YUV444 support, multi-reference pictures, ALTREF pictures, adaptive transform block sizes, and other items. Of interest on their SVT-AV1 road-map is also plans for an AV1 decoder.

  • Events

    • Results from the 2018 LPC survey
      Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey after Linux Plumbers in 2018. We had 134 responses, which, given the total number of conference participants of around 492, has provided confidence in the feedback.

      Overall: 85% of respondents were positive about the event, with only 2% actually saying they were dissatisfied. Co-locating with Kernel Summit proved popular, so we will be co-locating with Kernel Summit in 2019. Co-locating with Networking Summit was also well received, so we will be doing that again this year, too. Conference participation was up from 2017 and we sold out again this year. 98% of those that registered were able to attend.

      Based on feedback from last year’s survey, we videotaped all of the sessions, and the videos are now posted. There are over 100 hours of video in our YouTube channel or you can access them by visiting the detailed schedule and clicking on the video link in the presentation materials section of any given talk or discussion. The Microconferences are recorded as one long video block, but clicking on the video link of a particular discussion topic will take you to the time index in that file where the chosen discussion begins.

    • Red Hat Brings the knowledge with 30 sessions and more at the Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver
      The Open Infrastructure Summit is coming to the Mile High City: Denver, Colorado, from April 29th through May 1st. Attendees from across the globe will be meeting to collaborate, exchange ideas and hear the latest from the OpenStack community.

      If you think the name sounds different, then you’re right. The OpenStack Summit has a new look and name: The Open Infrastructure Summit. With hundreds of sessions covering container infrastructure, CI/CD, telecom + NFV, public cloud, private & hybrid cloud, security, and more. You’ll also have the chance to hear from members of open source communities like Airship, Ansible, Ceph, Kata Containers, Kubernetes, ONAP, OpenStack, Open vSwitch, OPNFV, StarlingX, and Zuul. There’s something for everyone.

    • NumFOCUS Announces Cambridge Spark will Host a PyData Conference in 2019
      While this isn’t the first UK PyData event, Cambridge Spark will be bringing the event to Cambridge for the first time. “I’m delighted to announce Cambridge Spark’s continued support to the NumFOCUS and PyData community. We look forward to launching PyData Cambridge and share our appreciation for this thriving city that has become the UK hub for tech innovation and AI,” said Dr. Raoul-Gabriel Urma, CEO, Cambridge Spark.

    • LibrePlanet 2019 wrap-up: Building the free software utopia
      From the time of free software's inception, with Richard Stallman's announcement of the GNU Project in 1984, community has been a central part of its philosophy: we must be free to choose to share any software we use or create. Stallman wrote, "I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it," and from this point concluded that we must always be permitted to share our discoveries and innovations with others, in order to make their computing and their lives easier and better. Software that is free always has benefits beyond the individual, and the free software movement depends on a vibrant, ever-changing, committed pool of developers, activists, users, and enthusiasts to keep the dream alive and the movement growing.

      Every year, the LibrePlanet conference brings together many members of that movement to celebrate our achievements, strategize how to deal with our setbacks, show off new ideas, and decide what new frontiers we will trailblaze together next. The 2019 conference included many introductions to, and updates from, new and familiar projects, discussions on copyleft and security, and explorations of free software in the business world, but one compelling theme was woven through both days of the conference: how do we maintain and increase the health of our all-important community?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla VR Blog: VoxelJS Reboot
        If you’ve ever played Minecraft then you have used a voxel engine. My 7 year old son is a huge fan of Minecraft and asked me to make a Minecraft for VR. After some searching I found VoxelJS, a great open source library created by @maxogden and @substack. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated for about five years and doesn't work with newer libraries.

        So what to do? Simple: I dusted it off, ported it to modern ThreeJS & Javascript, then added WebXR support. I call it VoxelJS Next.

      • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Sharpen your WebVR skills with experiments from Glitch and Mozilla
        Earlier this year, we partnered with to produce a WebVR starter kit. In case you missed it, the kit includes a free, 5-part video course with interactive code examples that teach the fundamentals of WebVR using A-Frame. The kit is intended to help anyone get started – no coding experience required.

        Today, we are kicking off a week of WebVR experiments. These experiments build on the basic fundamentals laid out in the starter kit. Each experiment is unique and is meant to teach and inspire as you craft your own WebVR experiences.

        To build these, we once again partnered with the awesome team at as well as Glitch creator Andrés Cuervo. Andrés has put together seven experiments that range from incorporating motion capture to animating torus knots in 3D.

      • Designing Better Security Warnings
        Security messages are very hard to get right, but it’s very important that you do. The world of internet security is increasingly complex and scary for the layperson. While in-house security experts play a key role in identifying the threats, it’s up to UX designers and writers to communicate those threats in ways that enlighten and empower users to make more informed decisions. We’re still learning what works and what doesn’t in the world of security messages, but there are some key insights from recent studies from the field at large. We had a chance to implement some of those recommendations, as well as learnings from our own in-house research, in a recent project to overhaul Firefox’s most common security certificate warning messages.

      • Firefox Front-End Performance Update #16
        With Firefox 67 only a few short weeks away, I thought it might be interesting to take a step back and talk about some of the work that the Firefox Front-end Performance team is shipping to users in that particular release.

        To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of the great performance work that’s gone into Firefox 67 – but I picked a few things that the front-end team has been focused on to talk about.

  • LibreOffice

    • icons everywhere
      All items in the menubar have now an icon. Some items are missing tdf#124200 but in general all commands will show an icon in the menubar.

    • menubar updates
      Now even better in LibreOffice.
    • LibreOffice Community Member Monday: Biraj Karmakar
      India has 23 official languages according to the country’s constitution, but over 750 other languages are spoken there as well. Today we talk to Biraj Karmakar, who helps to translate LibreOffice into Bengali, and is a passionate supporter of other free and open source software projects:

  • CMS

    • How To Install Instructure Canvas LMS For Free
      The Canvas LMS software is Open Source. The AGPLv3 license it is under allows users to collaborate in software hosted on a cloud. Users of AGPLv3 licensed software must make any work based on it public and free. You cannot sell it, but you can sell products or offer services supported by the software. Including online courses, of course. Instructure does not release 100% of Canvas code, so you might not get the exact same experience as in signing on as a customer.


    • GIMP Image Editor 2.10.10 Released! (How to Install)
      GIMP image editor 2.10.10 was released on Sunday with new features, optimizations, and stability fixes.

    • Xen Project Hypervisor 4.2 Released, You Now Can Build a Digital Etch-A-Sketch, GIMP 2.10.10 Now Available, Kernel 5.1-rc4 Is Out, WhiteSource Announces New Integration with Atlassian Bitbucket Server
      GIMP 2.10.10 was released over the weekend. Highlights of the new version include many usability improvements and features such as "line art detection in the Bucket Fill tool for comic artists", "parametric brushes now have 32-bit per channel precision", "easier brush and pattern creation workflow" and much more. The release announcement notes that 775 commits were contributed since the last version.

    • Linux Release Roundup, Including Major Updates to DeaDBeeF & GIMP
      A major update to the world’s favourite open-source raster graphics editor The GIMP is now available to download.

      GIMP 2.10.10 arrives with a number of notable feature upgrades and tool improvements, including:

      Line art detection in the Bucket Fill tool Sample Merged option in the Heal tool 32-bit per channel precision for parametric brushes Easier brush and pattern creation workflow Scale tool now scales from the center “Readjust” option in various transformation tools On-canvas layer selection using the ALT key Quick colour picking using CTRL key Faster saving/exporting

    • GIMP 2.10.10 Now Available for Download on Linux, Windows, and Mac
      As explained in the official announcement here, the new version of GIMP comes with new features, optimizations, and stability fixes, so there’s a lot to discover after installing the update.

      You can check out the full changelog in the box after the jump.

      One of the highlights concerns the Bucket Fill tool which received a new mode called “Fill by line art detection.” As the developing team explains, “[this] is a new algorithm for painters, allowing to fill areas surrounded by “line arts”, while trying to leave no unfilled pixels near the lines, and closing potential zones.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Python REST APIs With Flask, Connexion, and SQLAlchemy – Part 3
      In Part 2 of this series, you added the ability to save changes made through the REST API to a database using SQLAlchemy and learned how to serialize that data for the REST API using Marshmallow. Connecting the REST API to a database so that the application can make changes to existing data and create new data is great and makes the application much more useful and robust.

      That’s only part of the power a database offers, however. An even more powerful feature is the R part of RDBMS systems: relationships. In a database, a relationship is the ability to connect two or more tables together in a meaningful way. In this article, you’ll learn how to implement relationships and turn your Person database into a mini-blogging web application.

    • Publishing a Book with Sphinx

    • Return a welcome message based on the input language

    • Fedora 31 To Start Removing Python2-Only Packages & Other Changes Approved
      At Monday's weekly Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) meeting, a number of changes pertaining to Fedora 31 were approved.

      First up, the "mass Python 2 package removal" was okay'ed by FESCo. This change is about continuing what started during Fedora 30 and is about tracking and removing packages that still depend on Python 2 if it looks like they won't be ported soon to Python 2. Python 2 is reaching end-of-life on 1 January 2020 and thus a final push to get packages over the porting line to Python 3 otherwise dropping them, at least until the upgrades have been made.

    • Wing Python IDE 7.0
      Wing 7 introduces an improved code warnings and code quality inspection system that includes built-in error detection and tight integration with pylint, pep8, and mypy. This release also adds a new data frame and array viewer, a MATLAB keyboard personality, easy inline debug data display with Shift-Space, improved stack data display, support for PEP 3134 chained exceptions, callouts for search and other code navigation features, four new color palettes, improved bookmarking, a high-level configuration menu, magnified presentation mode, a new update manager, stepping over import internals, simplified remote agent installation, and much more.

    • Programming language popularity: C++ bounces back at Python's expense
      There appears to be a resurgence in interest in 35-year-old programming language C++ , which has risen to third place in Tiobe's index for April 2019.

      C++ was created in 1985 as an extension of C and the latest standardized version, C++17, has support from a range of major C++ compilers, including Microsoft Visual Studio, GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), and Clang.

      The International Organization for Standardization's C++ group, Working Group 21 (WG21), is this year working on finalizing 'C++20'.

      Microsoft's Herb Sutter, who chaired WG21's meeting in February, said C++20 "will be C++'s largest release since C++11", which was released in 2011 and the first version that had been standardized. Two of the most important features coming to C++20 are 'modules' and 'coroutines'.

    • ReportLab: Adding a Chart to a PDF with Python
      The ReportLab toolkit supports adding many different charts and graphs to your PDFs. In fact, I have covered some of them in a previous article. However most of the examples I have seen, including the ones in my own article, do not show how to insert a chart as a Flowable.

      What that means is that most examples show you how to create a PDF with a single page that contains the chart in it. Most developers would want to be able to create some text, perhaps a table and insert the chart along with those elements. You would also usually have additional text following the chart.


  • A 3-step process for delivering tough feedback
    Too often, managers withhold tough feedback because they worry it will negatively affect an employee. The reality, however, is that failing to have tough conversations with people actually does them a disservice. People deserve to know where they stand. They deserve an opportunity to improve. They deserve a chance to address perceptions of their performance.

    The alternative is avoiding the temporary stress (mostly yours) and letting someone float through their career unaware of the things that could be holding them back. Those things will eventually catch up to them through missed opportunities, stagnant salary, or feedback that seems unexpected or unfair.

    In open organizations, the kind of honest, clear, and direct feedback my manager once gave me should be the norm. If people in these organizations can hope to maintain a high degree of adaptability, they need this kind of feedback.

  • Science

    • Chinese scientists design gene-editing tool using light to kill cancer cells
      Chinese scientists recently designed a remote-controlled gene-editing platform by using light, which can precisely target and kill cancer cells and offer revolutionary treatment for diseases including cancer, diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

      A team led by Song Yujun, a professor at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Nanjing University, designed the near-infrared (NIR) light-responsive nanocarrier for gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 for cancer therapeutics, and the team published their findings in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Connecticut Lawmakers May Bar Anti-Choice Clinics From Lying to Pregnant People
      Connecticut legislators advanced a bill that would curb deceptive advertising by the state’s anti-choice pregnancy centers.

      The legislation, known as An Act Concerning Deceptive Marketing Practices of Limited Service Pregnancy Centers, passed the Public Health Committee on March 29.

      Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that a California effort to regulate anti-choice clinics, commonly known as crisis pregnancy centers, was unconstitutional, though the Connecticut legislation isn’t nearly as far reaching. The Connecticut bill would ban advertising “any statement concerning any pregnancy-related service … that is false, misleading or deceptive.”

      Reproductive rights advocates expect Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D), a strong proponent of abortion rights, to sign the bill if it clears the Democratic-held legislature. Around 25 anti-choice pregnancy centers operate in Connecticut, which has only 18 licensed family planning clinics, according NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut.

    • Answering Rights Groups' Call, UN Human Rights Panel Demands Trump Admin Address Water Justice
      Along with the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise, and In the Public Interest, Food & Water Watch wrote to the UNHRC in January asking that they recognize water justice as a human rights issue under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

      As Common Dreams reported last week, the UNHRC also demanded to know what steps the U.S. is taking to protect the "right to life" from the climate crisis, which has contributed to wildfires as well as increasingly destructive hurricanes and flooding.

      Now that some of the world's top human rights officials have formally recognized that the U.S. has violated its citizens' fundamental rights by cutting off access to drinking water—especially as the Trump administration has rolled back regulations on water pollution and a federal judge acknowledged last week that Michigan's former governor may have helped cover up Flint's water crisis—Congress must follow suit, FWW said.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Kings Bay Plowshares: Peace Activists Face 25 Years for Action at U.S. Nuclear Submarine Base
      A group of peace activists have been jailed for over a year before trial for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia last April to protest U.S. nuclear weapons. The action took place on April 4, 2018—the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Armed with hammers, crime scene tape and baby bottles containing their own blood, seven anti-nuclear activists secretly entered Kings Bay—one of the largest nuclear submarine bases in the world—under the cover of night. Their goal was to symbolically disarm the six nuclear ballistic missile submarines kept there. Each submarine carries 20 Trident thermonuclear weapons. One year after this historic action, three of the Plowshares activists remain jailed in Georgia. The other four are out on $50,000 bond with electronic ankle monitors. All seven face up to 25 years in prison for their actions. On Thursday, global leaders, activists and scholars, including Nobel Peace Prize-winning South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky, released a petition addressed to U.S. Attorney General William Barr demanding all charges against the Kings Bay 7 be dropped immediately. Democracy Now! recently spoke with the four Plowshares activists who are out on bond: Martha Hennessy, Carmen Trotta, Patrick O’Neill and Clare Grady.

    • A New Nuclear Arms Race: As NATO Marks 70th Anniversary, Threat of Nuclear Confrontation Grows
      Commemorations—as well as protests—were held last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the formation of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. President Trump used the anniversary to push for NATO countries to increase military spending. During an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump demanded Germany and other NATO countries increase their military spending from 2 to 4 percent of GDP. The push for more military spending could benefit U.S. weapons manufacturers including Boeing. This comes as Acting Pentagon Chief Patrick Shanahan is under investigation for improperly advocating on behalf of Boeing, where he worked for 30 years. We speak with Joe Cirincione, president of the global security foundation Ploughshares Fund.

    • U.S. ‘Terrorist’ Designation Amps Up Pressure on Iran
      The United States on Monday designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization” in a move to increase pressure on the country that could also have significant military, diplomatic and economic implications throughout the Middle East and beyond.

      It is the first time that the U.S. has designated a part of another government as a terrorist organization. The designation could spark Iranian retaliation as well as open hundreds of foreign companies and business executives to U.S. travel bans and possible prosecution for sanctions violations. It may also affect the ability of American diplomats and military officers to engage with key Mideast actors, notably in Iraq and Lebanon.

    • Libya’s Incoming Strongman Haftar Will Send the Oil Out to Europe—and Keep Its Migrants In
      You can well imagine the tension when Libya’s beleaguered Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj met with the UN envoy Ghassan Salamé in his office in Tripoli on Monday morning. Not far away, in the south of Libya’s capital, the troops of the Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar had made rapid advances. They had taken the shell of Tripoli International Airport and had made a dash toward the road that links Libya to Tunisia. Haftar’s troops, well-armed and well-disciplined, had moved northward toward the Ain-Zara neighborhood. On Monday, Haftar’s air force bombed the only working airport in Tripoli—at Mitiga. The United Nations wanted to let al-Serraj know that it would not abandon him.


      As soon as the bombs started falling, General Khalifa Haftar departed for Benghazi (in Libya’s east) from his home in Virginia, just a 10-minute drive from CIA headquarters.

    • Iran Designates US Central Command a 'Terrorist Group' Operating in the Middle East
      Iran's Supreme National Security Council on Monday officially designated U.S. Central Command operating in the Middle East as a terrorist group.

      The move was a direct reaction to the Trump administration earlier in the day designating the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) in a similar fashion.

    • Annexation Is Happening Whether Netanyahu Is Reelected or Not
      Four years ago, on the eve of Israeli elections, Benjamin Netanyahu promised in a television interview that there would never be a Palestinian state on his watch. He retracted the statement a few days after winning, but only those who wanted to believe him actually did. Opposing Palestinian statehood has always been Netanyahu’s policy. He has diverged from it on rare occasions, when he was under enormous pressure to do so, and even then with a conspiratorial wink to his supporters.

      On Saturday, again on the eve of Israeli elections, Netanyahu stopped winking. Asked point blank in a television interview if he will annex a bloc of West Bank settlements in his next term, he responded unambiguously in the affirmative.

      “Will we move to the next stage? The answer is yes,” the prime minister said. “I will apply [Israeli] sovereignty — and I don’t differentiate between settlement blocks and specks of isolated settlements. Each of those specks is Israeli and we have a responsibility as the government of Israel.”

      Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of the West Bank should not surprise anyone who has followed Israeli politics in recent years. Others in his political coalitions, and even his own party, have been talking openly about annexation for years. More centrist Israeli thinkers are talking openly about plans for creeping, or de facto, annexation that are almost indiscernible from the right wing’s plans, or at least their desired outcome.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Standing in the Fire With Young Climate Activists
      A global student uprising is underway, with youth worldwide demanding that adults face the climate crisis head on. They need a strong foundation in themselves and adult partnership for the challenges ahead.

      Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg became one of the most well-recognized faces of this movement following her speech before world leaders at a UN climate conference in Poland in December 2018, when she said, “Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

      Youth leaders like Thunberg are rising up across the globe. I had the privilege of working with a group of them from the United World College of the Atlantic in early March this year when I co-led a retreat in the U.K. with 17- and 18-year-olds. There were six adults in the retreat as well as students from 11 countries. All of the students had been on the front lines of the most recent strike; all of them carry deep questions about their futures. A young woman from the Netherlands named Maura Van der Ark — whom I had met in the Amazon Rainforest two summers ago, as Truthout reporter Dahr Jamail and I conducted research for his book, The End of Ice — had organized the retreat to help fellow students find a solid footing in these times.

      These young people were exhausted from overwork, highly pressured to succeed by society’s standards, confused about their pathways into the future, and angry at their planetary inheritance. They were harboring a severe need to slow down, be themselves, reflect, and connect deeply with the Earth, with one another and with supportive, understanding adults. My experiences with them left a deep impression on me.

    • 'Years of Work Down the Drain' as Trump Endangers Wildlife and Communities by Gutting Successful Conservation Program
      As part of its anti-environment agenda, the Trump administration has directly contradicted orders from Congress by cutting funding for a successful national conservation program.

      The Guardian reported Monday that numerous scientists and employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) say President Donald Trump unilaterally slashed funding for a program put in place by the Obama administration in 2010 called Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs).

      The president's actions were denounced as "disheartening and short-sighted" by one critic on social media.

    • Trump to Add 'Tasteless Insult to Injury' by Promoting Fossil Fuel Deregulation in Shadow of Fatal Chemical Fire
      "In coming to the location of a deadly fossil fuel-related explosion to sign an order that would gut states' power to protect residents from the hazards of oil and gas pipelines, Trump is adding tasteless insult to the injury he is inflicting on our planet," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement.

      "Trump's support for the fossil fuel industry reflects a real disdain for public safety and a livable climate for generations to come," Hauter continued. "Expediting pipelines means more petrochemical buildout in places like Appalachia, and more disasters waiting in the wings—not to mention climate catastrophe."

    • Suspected Rhino Poacher Killed By Elephant and Then ‘Devoured’ By Lions
      A suspected rhino poacher was trampled to death by an elephant and then eaten by lions after entering South Africa's Kruger National Park, South African National Parks said.


      According to contrasting official reports in South Africa's Times Live, the man entered the park with a group of fellow poachers either April 1 or 2. Once the men were in the park, "suddenly an elephant attacked and killed one of them," Police Brigadier Leonard Hlathi told Times Live.

    • Artifishal | The Fight to Save Wild Salmon

  • Finance

    • Federal Reserve ‘Independence’ Means It’s Free to Serve the Financial Industry
      Neil Irwin had a New York Times article (4/6/19) warning readers of the potential harm if the Federal Reserve loses its independence. The basis for the warning is that Donald Trump seems prepared to nominate Steven Moore and Herman Cain to the Fed, two individuals with no obvious qualifications for the job other than their loyalty to Donald Trump. While Irwin is right to warn about filling the Fed with people with no understanding of economics, it is wrong to imagine that we have in general been well-served by the Fed in recent decades, or that it is necessarily independent in the way we would want.


      The economic damage of that era was mostly due to a huge jump in world oil prices at a time when the US economy was heavily dependent on oil. While Nixon’s interference with the Fed may have had some negative effect, it is worth noting that the economies of other wealthy countries did not perform notably better than the US through this decade. It would be wrong to imply that the problems of the 1970s were to any important extent due to Burns keeping interest rates lower than he might have otherwise at the start of the decade.

      It is also worth noting that the Fed has been very close to the financial sector. The 12 regional bank presidents who sit on the open market committee that sets monetary policy are largely appointed by the banks in their regions. (When she was Fed chair, Janet Yellen attempted to make the appointment process more open.) This has led to a Fed that is far more concerned about keeping down inflation (a concern of bankers) than the full-employment portion of its mandate.

      Arguably, Fed policy has led unemployment to be higher than necessary over much of the last four decades. This has prevented millions of workers from having jobs, and lowered wages for tens of millions more. The people who were hurt most are those who are disadvantaged in the labor market, such as African Americans, Hispanics and people with less education.

      Insofar as the Fed’s “independence” has meant close ties to the financial industry, it has not been good news for most people in this country.

    • Runaway Inequality Is a National Emergency, Billionaire Banker Warns
      In 2019, billionaires have more wealth than ever before while “almost half of humanity have barely escaped extreme poverty, living on less than $5.50 a day,” international charity Oxfam found in its latest survey of global inequality.

      Such wealth disparity is a crisis for the future of capitalism and the United States’ economic and political standing worldwide, Ray Dalio, billionaire and co-chairman of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, said in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday. “If I was the president of the United States,” Dalio told “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker, “what I would do is recognize that this is a national emergency.”

      In a LinkedIn essay elaborating on the connection between capitalism and income inequality, Dalio warns that conditions in America today are scarily similar to those in the 1930s, when countries like Germany fell into the hands of authoritarian governments. “There has been little or no real income growth for most people for decades” and “prime-age workers in the bottom 60% have had no real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) income growth since 1980,” he notes.

      Dalio also sounds the alarm on the potential for conflict that results from major gaps between the haves and have-nots: “Disparity in wealth, especially when accompanied by disparity in values, leads to increasing conflict and, in the government, that manifests itself in the form of populism of the left and populism of the right and often in revolutions of one sort or another.”
    • Sanders Vows to Ban 'Disastrous' Anti-Labor 'Right-to-Work' Laws
      Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday told a gathering of union machinists that as president he would keep states from undermining their rights by pushing for a federal ban on so-called "right-to-work" laws.

      Calling the rules "disastrous," Sanders told the International Association of Machinists that he would call on lawmakers to pass the Workplace Democracy Act, a proposal which he has regularly introduced in Congress since 1992 and which he plans to bring to the Senate floor once again in the coming days.

      Under "the most significant labor legislation introduced in very, very long time...we will end once and for all the disastrous right-to-work laws in 28 states," Sanders said to loud applause.

      The senator and 2020 presidential candidate also said the law would keep companies from "ruthlessly exploiting their employees by misclassifying them as independent contractors and [denying] them overtime by calling them supervisors"—both common practices by corporations.
    • What it takes to become a blockchain developer
      The past decade has been an interesting time for the development of decentralized technologies. Before 2009, the progress was slow and without any clear direction until Satoshi Nakamoto created and deployed Bitcoin. That brought blockchain, the record-keeping technology behind Bitcoin, into the limelight.

      Since then, we've seen blockchain revolutionize various concepts that we used to take for granted, such as monitoring supply chains, creating digital identities, tracking jewelry, and managing shipping systems. Companies such as IBM and Samsung are at the forefront of blockchain as the underlying infrastructure for the next wave of tech innovation. There is no doubt that blockchain's role will grow in the years to come.

      Thus, it's no surprise that there's a high demand for blockchain developers. LinkedIn put "blockchain developers" at the top of its 2018 emerging jobs report with an expected 33-fold growth. The freelancing site Upwork also released a report showing that blockchain was one of the fastest growing skills out of more than 5,000 in its index.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders Says He Agreed to Fox News Town Hall to Send Simple Message to Trump Voters: 'He Lied to You'
      "When I go on Fox, what I will say is, 'Look, many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you. He told you he was gonna provide healthcare for everybody. Yet his policies are to throw 30 million people off of the health insurance they have,'" the Vermont senator and 2020 presidential contender said in an interview with HuffPost's Amanda Terkel.

      "He told you he wasn't gonna cut Medicare and Medicaid. He lied to you," Sanders continued. "Massive cuts in his budget for Medicare and Medicaid. We're not going to let him do it, but that's what he wants to do. Told you his tax plan would not benefit the wealthy. He lied again. Of course, 83 percent of the benefits go to the top one percent. How do you explain that to people who voted for Trump if you don't talk to people who voted for Trump?"
    • As it Works to Stifle Primary Challengers, DCCC Takes More Money from Corporate Lobbyists
      Corporate lobbyists are raising an increasing amount of money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) at a time when the House Democrats’ campaign arm is taking fire from the left for its effort to freeze out primary challengers.

      Progressives have roundly criticized the DCCC for its plan to not conduct business with political vendors that work for candidates who plan to challenge incumbent Democrats. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said the new policy could have prevented him from winning his congressional seat. Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said the DCCC’s vendor policy would empower lobbyists because “voters will have one less avenue to pursue change.”

      The DCCC raised nearly $19 million in the first two months of this year, more money than it had raised by this point last election cycle, and the committee is relying more heavily on corporate lobbyists to collect checks. Lobbyists whose clients include health care, oil, gas, and coal interests, raised almost $440,000 for the DCCC in January and February, Federal Election Commission records show. Many of their clients oppose progressive priorities like a “Medicare for All” health-care system or a Green New Deal to mitigate climate change.

      “I do not take money from corporations, PACs, or lobbyists,” Khanna said in an email on Tuesday. “The DCCC should not, either.”

    • The Democratic Party Is Not Going Nuts. It's Coming to Its Senses.
      Is the Democratic Party becoming a mirror image of Donald Trump's Republican Party? Galloping leftist "extremism" — helped along by the populist rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — has centrists and conservatives fainting like myotonic goats at a fireworks show, from Dana Milbank at The Washington Post to former George W. Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner at The Atlantic.

      However, Wehner's alarmist article inadvertently demonstrates the problem with this kind of panic-mongering — a lack of real consideration whether Sanders might be right about anything, or whether his politics fit at all with America's previous traditions. In reality, the growing Sanders tendency in the party mostly reflects it coming to its senses.

      "To more fully grasp the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party," writes Wehner, his glasses steaming up in outrage, he runs through a list of Sanders-style policies. He asserts they would be "fiscally ruinous, invest massive and unwarranted trust in central planners, and weaken America's security."
    • Secret Service Director Out in Latest White House Shake-Up
      Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday she still shares President Donald Trump’s goal of securing the Mexican border, a day after she resigned as Homeland Security secretary amid Trump’s frustration and bitterness over a spike in Central American migration.

      At the same time, the White House announced Monday that Trump was replacing Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, the latest development in the shake-up in the upper echelon of Nielsen’s department. Alles’ departure, to be replaced by career Secret Service official James Murray, is unrelated to Nielsen’s resignation, according to administration officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the personnel matter. Yet it is part of a DHS turnover that began last week when Trump withdrew his Immigration and Customs Enforcement director’s nomination to stay on permanently.

      Nielsen had traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday with Trump to participate in a roundtable with border officers and local law enforcement. There she echoed Trump’s comments on the situation at the border, though she ducked out of the room while Trump spoke. As they toured a section of newly rebuilt barriers, Nielsen was at Trump’s side, introducing him to local officials. She returned to Washington afterward as Trump continued on a fundraising trip to California and Nevada.

    • Kirstjen Nielsen’s Brutal and Calamitous Leadership of the Department of Homeland Security Comes to an End
      She implemented some of the Trump administration’s most vicious policies and repeatedly violated the law. Late yesterday, President Trump announced that Kirstjen Nielsen has resigned as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Trump said that Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will serve as Acting Secretary.

      Nielsen’s tenure as head of one of the country’s largest government agencies was a humanitarian catastrophe, consistently showing a clear disregard for civil rights and people’s lives. Indeed, just over a week prior to her resignation, CBP agents forced asylum-seekers to sleep outside beneath a bridge in El Paso in extremely low temperatures and deprived of medical care.
    • Journalists say Russian political strategists funded and advised at least six candidates in Madagascar’s 2018 presidential race
      BBC investigative journalists discovered that a large number of Russian political experts were involved in Madagascar’s 2018 presidential elections. The British news outlet doesn’t specify how many Russian consultants were active, but a report last month by the website Proekt cited a source who claims there were 15 to 20 strategists on the job.

      The Russian political operatives’ work reportedly started in March 2018 and continued for almost a year. According to the BBC, the strategists entered the country as tourists and election observers, and then worked with high-ranking political officials. Two former candidates now speak openly about their collaboration with Russian political advisers: Andre Mailhol (who finished fourth in the first round of voting) and ex Prime Minister Omer Beriziky (who finished 24th).
    • Ignoring Lessons of #metoo, Media Scrutinize Biden’s Accusers
      As women come forward to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate touching, some media have responded by scrutinizing their political motives.

      Former Nevada Assemblymember Lucy Flores described in an essay for New York magazine’s The Cut (3/29/19) how in 2014 Biden put his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and slowly kissed the back of her head. Since Flores spoke out, six other women have come forward to say that Biden touched them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.

      Shortly after Flores explained to CNN’s Jake Tapper (3/31/19) that Biden made her feel “shocked” and “powerless,” Tapper questioned her politics. He asked Flores to explain her political motivations, mentioning that she supported Bernie Sanders for president in 2016, and recently attended a Beto O’Rourke rally.

      “I would say politics was definitely the impetus,” Flores answered. “The reason why we’re having these conversations about Vice President Joe Biden is because he’s considering running for president.”
    • Corporate Media Literacy?
      At a time when media education is perhaps more vital than ever, Project Censored associates Nolan Higdon and Ben Boyington make the case that corporations and their allies are working to redefine “media literacy” in ways that promote their interests, while screening out complete critical analyses of the influence of media in society.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • ‘No reactive measures were taken’: Russian prosecutors blame mass cancellations of pop and rap concerts on concert organizers themselves
      At the end of 2018, official pressure led to the cancellation of more than 40 concerts throughout Russia. A handful of acts appeared to be targeted disproportionately, especially the pop groups IC3PEAK and Friendzone along with the rappers Husky and Eldzhey. Although government involvement played a key role in that wave of suppression, Russia’s youth parliament, which is tied to the State Duma, took the administrative initiative to ask regional prosecutors for reports explaining the causes of the cancellations.

    • Victory! Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Latest Threat to Section 230
      In a victory for online freedom of expression, the Second Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a dangerous lawsuit that would threaten to undercut what makes the Internet an essential tool for modern life. EFF filed an amicus brief in the case, Herrick v. Grindr, last fall, urging the court to do the right thing. We’re happy to report that the court heeded our warning.

      The plaintiff in the case, Matthew Herrick, alleged that he has been mercilessly harassed online by an ex-boyfriend, who appears to have created a series of fake profiles of Herrick on the gay-dating app Grindr. Herrick said that more than 1000 men have arrived at his home and his work, thinking that they were invited for sex. In his lawsuit, Herrick asked that Grindr be held responsible for the fake profiles and the damage caused by his ex-boyfriend. While what happened to Herrick is despicable, it’s the perpetrator that should be held responsible, not the online space where the harassment happened. If it were successful, Herrick v. Grindr would have threatened free speech and innovation online.

      A provision of the Communication Decency Act called Section 230—short for 47 U.S.C. €§ 230—protects intermediaries like ISPs, social media sites, and dating sites like Grindr from liability for what their users say or do. This is not for the platforms’ sake: it’s for the users. When Congress passed Section 230, it recognized that if our legal system failed to robustly protect intermediaries, it would fail to protect free speech online.

    • Facebook, Google Face Crackdown on Disturbing Content
      Tech giants like Facebook and Google came under increasing pressure in Europe on Monday when countries proposed stricter rules to force them to block extreme material such as terrorist propaganda and child porn.

      Britain called for a first-of-its-kind watchdog for social media that could fine executives and even ban companies. And a European Union parliamentary committee approved a bill giving internet companies an hour to remove terror-related material or face fines that could reach into the billions.

      “We are forcing these firms to clean up their act once and for all,” said British Home Secretary Sajid Javid, whose department collaborated on Britain’s proposal.

      Opponents warned the British and EU measures could stifle innovation and strengthen the dominance of technology giants because smaller companies won’t have the money to comply. That, in turn, could turn Google and Facebook into the web’s censors, they said.

      The push to make the big companies responsible for the torrent of material they carry has largely been driven by Europeans. But it picked up momentum after the March 15 mosque shootings in New Zealand that killed 50 people and were livestreamed for 17 minutes. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the attacks in the 24 hours afterward.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • I know what EU did last summer: Official use of Microsoft wares to be probed over slurp fears
      The European Union's Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has announced an investigation into Microsoft products used by EU institutions.

      The probe will build a list of Microsoft wares in use by official bloc bodies and check that the "contractual arrangements" between the two are "fully compliant with data protection rules".

      The move is at least partially in response to a report commissioned by the Dutch government that found that the software giant's Office Pro Plus application suite, which includes the likes of Word and Outlook, was collecting all manner of data and stashing it on US-based servers.

      That got regulators a little hot under the collar since such activities are very much frowned upon under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Users can alter the amount of data slurped by Microsoft's productivity applications (assuming they can find the settings) but not easily turn it off completely.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • With Nielsen Out and Stephen Miller Driving Immigration Policy, Critics Fear 'The Worst Is Yet to Come'
      "The worst is yet to come."

      So wrote Esquire columnist Charles P. Pierce on Monday following the ouster of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen—and as signs that senior White House adviser and xenophobe Stephen Miller is exerting more control over immigration policy.

      As Common Dreams reported, President Trump announced Sunday that Nielsen would be leaving her position. During her time as Homeland Security secretary, she oversaw widely condemned policies including the forcible separation of families and the caging of children at the southern border.

      Commenting on her tenure, the ACLU tweeted Sunday: "From the family separation crisis she created and defended, to restricting immigrants' rights to seek asylum, to relentless and pointless efforts to build Trump's border wall, Nielsen's department served as the key to Trump's unconstitutional and anti-immigrant agenda of fear."

      With such a record, progressive lawmakers like Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) welcomed her departure.

    • Former Intelligence Officials Sue The Government Over Its Unconstitutional Pre-Publication Review Process
      A handful of former intelligence officials are suing the US government for engaging in prior restraint. It's a novel take on a First Amendment issue -- one that involves a vetting process for books, articles, and op-eds written by these officials containing details of their work in the CIA, Defense Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

      While the government obviously has some right to ensure classified or sensitive info isn't leaked in post-career memoirs, the plaintiffs argue the vetting process has no guidelines and no firm timetable, which has resulted in planned publications being held up for years with zero explanation. Charlie Savage has more details at the New York Times.

    • 40+ Neglected Animals Evacuated From Gaza Zoo
      The animals, including five lions, five monkeys, four ostriches, three peacocks, two wolves and a hyena, were moved from a zoo in Rafah, Gaza to Jordan Sunday by the animal welfare charity Four Paws. The group said it was its largest rescue mission to-date. Most of the 47 animals will stay in animal sanctuaries in Jordan, while two of the lions were flown to South Africa Monday.


      Israel and Egypt have maintained a land, sea and air blockade of Gaza since 2007, after Hamas won parliamentary elections and assumed control of the territory following clashes with rival group Fatah, which controls the West Bank. There are 1.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza, and around 80 percent rely on aid, Time reported.

      The more-than-10-year blockade has caused the economy in Gaza to deteriorate so severely that the UN warned it would be uninhabitable by 2020, Voice of America reported in September 2018. At the time of the report, unemployment in the territory is at 27 percent, the highest in the world. Most households only get two hours of electricity a day and only 10 percent of people have access to safe drinking water.

    • Terrorists or terrorized? What you should know about Russia’s counter-terrorism case against leftist activists
      A court in St. Petersburg has begun reviewing the merits of a felony case that involves 11 left-wing activists from St. Petersburg and Penza, who are accused of plotting to overthrow the government by staging multiple terrorist attacks. One of the two antifascist suspects on trial in St. Petersburg has confessed to the charges, though his relatives say he only did so after repeated beatings in jail. The second defendant, meanwhile, maintains his innocence. Meduza reviews what we know about the hearings.

    • ‘Meduza’ interviews a high-ranking legislator in Ingushetia, where unusually persistent protests have broken new ground in Russian civil dissent
      Mass protests have been ongoing in the North Caucasian republic of Ingushetia since the fall of 2018. At first, residents of the Russian federal subject were protesting a land trade that would shift some Ingush territories to the neighboring republic of Chechnya. When the Ingush parliament began considering a law that would repeal the region’s current referendum requirement for territorial changes, protesters shifted their attention to that amendment. In April, authorities began searching and arresting opposition leaders in Ingushetia, the local Internal Affairs Ministry leader resigned, and government officials stopped speaking with journalists. However, Meduza was able to speak with a vice speaker of the People’s Assembly of Ingushetia, Vasily Svetlichny. He told us that avoiding bloodshed and pursuing diplomacy are both very important but that he believes the protests were provoked externally, not that they emerged from a grassroots effort.

    • Xenophobic Far-Right Parties Form Alliance Aiming to 'Win and Change Europe'
      "Europeans are losing their faith in the possibility of European solutions to European problems. At the same time as faith in the EU is waning, we see a rise of misanthropy, xenophobia, and toxic nationalism," DiEM25, the organization that helped form the European Spring, said in a statement last month. "If this development is not stopped, we fear a return to the 1930s."

      "That is why we have come together despite our diverse political traditions—Green, radical left, liberal—in order to repair the EU," the statement continued. "The EU needs to become a realm of shared prosperity, peace, and solidarity for all Europeans. We must act quickly, before the EU disintegrates."

      As Common Dreams reported, DiEM25 co-founder and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis unveiled the European Spring's slate of candidates for the May elections during an event in Brussels last month.
    • Former Police Chief Says Conviction Requirement For Forfeitures Makes It Too Hard To Take Cash From People
      One of the worst defenses of civil asset forfeiture has been penned by retired police chief Robert Stevenson for the Michigan news site, the Bridge. It's written in response to two things: pending forfeiture reform bills in the state legislature and the Supreme Court's Timbs decision, which indicated forfeiture may fall on the wrong side of the 8th and 14th Amendments.

      Michigan definitely needs to overhaul its forfeiture laws. Law enforcement claims it's dismantling drug cartels, but a look at the state's forfeiture stats shows cops are just piling up low ball seizures to create a suitably impressive total. Cash seizures are routinely below $1,000. Vehicle seizures are also popular with Michigan cops, but the average value of vehicles taken from alleged drug dealers also falls below the $1,000 mark.

      It's these tiny seizures -- the ones not worth fighting in court -- that the state legislature is trying to curb. It's hoping to implement a conviction requirement for any forfeiture under $50,000. Chief Stevenson says this would let the drug dealers win. But beyond using some florid language to flesh out a tiny parade of horribles, Stevenson cannot actually say why this conviction requirement would harm drug enforcement efforts. He tries. Lord, how he tries. But there's nothing coherent in his defense of cops taking property from citizens just because.

    • On Toddler Torturers: There Are Some Lines That Simply Can't Be Crossed
      Secretary of Cruelty Kirstjen 'I Put Kids In Cages and Then Lie About It' Nielsen is out, which we'd love to celebrate except she was tossed because she wasn't sufficiently horrifying: She didn't kidnap enough terrified children or jail enough innocent parents or abuse enough basic Constitutional tenets or spout enough repugnant lies or adopt draconian enough methods - machine guns or fewer mylar blankets? - to stop the flood of brown-skinned misery at the border, though her status reportedly rose after she used tear gas on fleeing families. Also we're not much up for partying because, given the current trajectory, our national horrors will likely get worse. That was made clear Monday when, after Trump earlier ditched his ICE nominee because "we want to go in a tougher direction,” he also fired Secret Service Chief Tex Alles, who reported to Nielsen and whose ears were evidently not to Trump's liking. The changes are part of a "near-systematic purge" of the Department of Homeland Security orchestrated by sick Nazi Stephen Miller, who reportedly plans to oust several others deemed inadequately cruel in hopes of expediting the removal of all those irksome, tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free to achieve his own personal Final Solution.

      In her resignation letter, Nielsen wrote that ripping toddlers away from their parents was "the honor of a lifetime." "I can say with confidence our homeland is safer today," she declared, thanks to "historic efforts" to "defend our borders (and) uphold our laws and values." She also briefly lamented the "discord in our nation’s discourse" that her noble efforts sparked, evidently forgetting that a racist demagogue's obsession with punishing poor, brown, voiceless people for a fictional crisis was behind them. In truth, Richard Wolffe writes, Nielsen was "the worst among all the charlatans, sycophants and moral sellouts surrounding Donald Trump." She oversaw "the two greatest scandals of the entire human misfortune that is the Trump presidency" - a death toll of 3,000 after Hurricane Maria and the many thousands of separated, traumatized children who will long continue to suffer. She also turned the country's second largest national security agency into "a vastly expensive and vastly immoral catastrophe" whose anti-immigrant prison-industrial complex now spends more on the border than the combined budgets of all our law enforcement agencies - money that could be spent on alleviating suffering in the countries so many are fleeing.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Colorado Net Neutrality Bill Heads To Governor's Desk For Signing
      You can add Colorado to the growing list of states finalizing state-level net neutrality legislation. Colorado's new Senate Bill 78 would not only block ISPs from engaging in all the usual anti-competitive shenanigans (blocking or otherwise throttling a competing service), but it would also force ISPs to pay back state taxpayer-backed grants if they engage in said behaviors. After a last-second GOP attempt to add porn filters to the legislation failed, the bill passed the Colorado General Assembly last week and heads to the desk of Colorado Governor Jared Polis for signature.

      Colorado legislators note the effort is just one of 120 bills and resolutions in 34 states (and DC) crafted on this subject since Ajit Pai's FCC voted to kill net neutrality in late 2017. The bills are a direct reflection of the strong bipartisan majority of Americans that support such protections.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jefferson on Abstract Ideas
      Jefferson had been involved in a debate over whether a particular milling patent was valid. Inventor Oliver Evans1 had obtained a patent on certain machinery used in milling flour and attempted to convince other millers to pay him to convert their mills to his technology. This was complicated by the fact that Evans’ patent had expired and was revived by a special act of Congress a few years later. During the time the patent was not in force, some millers had incorporated his invention into their own mills. When millers proved uninterested in paying Evans to convert their mills to his patented invention, Evans began suing millers—something of a prelude to failed modern companies falling back on patent monetization.

    • Patent case: Use of dexmedetomidine for sedation in intensive care units, Austria
      The Higher Regional Court of Vienna confirmed that the “second medical use” of an already known substance, as required for patent protection, can be that the substance is used for a specific group of patients with specific effects.

    • Infringing by Using a System vs Making/Selling the System
      Omega’s patents cover remote control and monitoring systems for vehicles. The defendant, CalAmp, helps companies and governments monitor their vehicles (location and status, such as battery health and vehicle speed). In the infringement trial, a Florida jury sided with the patentee – finding the patents willfully infringed and not invalid. The district court then trebled the damages and awarded attorney fees — for a tidy sum of $15 million (with an ongoing royalty of $13 per unit).

      On appeal, the Federal Circuit has made several interesting rulings. In a later post, I’ll return to the validity issue.

      This post will focus on infringement: Some of Omega’s claims require both “a transmitter and a receiver for receiving signals from said transmitter.” (33 and 31 in the figure above). CalAmp’s accused device has the transmitter, but the accompanied receiver is a cell-phone tower. Since CalAmp does not supply cell towers, the appellate panel found CalAmp cannot be a direct infringer under the All Elements Rule.

      Making and Selling vs Using: Note here that we’re talking about system claims, and the patentee particularly accused CalAmp of “making and selling” the invention. As explained below, infringement allegations for “using” an invention can be treated more expansively under the beneficial control doctrine.


      At the end of the appeal, only one claim was left as valid/infringed. The Federal Circuit determined that the patentee had not provided sufficient evidence at trial to support the full damage award based upon that lone claim. Thus, the new trial will also be needed on damages.

    • Trademarks

      • Horse Race Announcer Sues Over Bill Murray Film That Included His Trademarked Tagline
        People's confusion as to what trademark law protects and doesn't protect is a source of neverending frustration for those of us who simply cannot stand the growth of ownership culture. There is this pervasive and growing sense by those who aren't particularly well informed that trademark law simply allows one to own a word or phrase to the exclusion of every other person's use. That, obviously, is not the case and it's always worth reiterating over and over again that the point of trademark law is to prevent the public from being misled as to the source of a good or service. And, yet, that baseline fact eludes far too many people.

        Such as Dave Johnson, for instance. Johnson is a rather renowned announcer for horse racing, having spent time on the Illinois circuit and, more famously, calling races at Santa Anita Park. If you're a fan of the pony races, you may know his signature call even if you don't know his name: "And down the stretch they come!" Johnson trademarked the phrase in 2012. He also recently sued the Weinstein Co. over the 2014 Bill Murray film, St. Vincent, in which Murray uses the line.

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