Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 8/10/2019: GNOME 3.34.1, Problems for Atari VCS

  • GNU/Linux

    • An Intro to Mastodon for GNU/Linux Users

      Mastodon is a Twitter-like social network that is free software-based and federated. Being free means society controls the software running behind the server, and being federated means the social network is independent against central authority. In Mastodon, we can follow & text to anybody in same social network but unlike Twitter, there are no ads and we can follow & talk to users in other social networks. Speaking technically, Mastodon is one among today's so-called Fediverse social networks, it's based on modern ActivityPub technology, its source code is written in Ruby language, and therefore we can easily host our own Mastodon servers. I wish to support wider adoption of Mastodon in our GNU/Linux community so I tried to write this very short introduction that I divided into only 3 parts. Start with and go ahead!

    • Server

      • 7 steps to securing your Linux server

        This primer will introduce you to basic Linux server security. While it focuses on Debian/Ubuntu, you can apply everything presented here to other Linux distributions. I also encourage you to research this material and extend it where applicable.

        This tutorial presents the bare minimum needed to harden a Linux server. Additional security layers can and should be enabled depending on how a server is used. These layers can include things like individual application configurations, intrusion detection software, and enabling access controls, e.g., two-factor authentication.

      • The UNIX OS – 50 years and counting

        The UNIX OS design elements exist in numerous forms today, and its role in the evolution of computing is evident across entire infrastructures. Having enabled technologies such as cloud computing, security, virtualisation and mobility, it’s integral to the foundation of technologies ranging from cloud function as a service to serverless computing.

        The Internet was built on the UNIX system in the 1970s, with the first world wide web server running on a UNIX system back in 1989. Sectors including manufacturing, government, healthcare and financial services have adopted it in huge numbers and its impact is still evidenced across numerous Fortune 100 companies today.

        Modern-day examples include its use in the Human Genome Project as a platform to decode the human genome and as a render farm of UNIX systems in the first Disney-Pixar full length CGI animated film, Toy Story. Most of today’s ATMs and air traffic control platforms also run on UNIX derived systems, amongst numerous other examples of current implementations.

      • Pogo Linux Launches New Modular Intel Servers to Address IT Evolution in Data Services

        Pogo Linux (, a leading supplier of rackmount servers for the modern data center, today announced the immediate availability of a new product line of Intel€®-based servers. Based on the newest Intel€® server processor platform, Intrepid Modular Server System users can upgrade a single server with forward-compatible technology add-ons instead of buying a new server. The new Intrepid product line are integrated with 2nd Gen Intel€® Xeon€® Scalable processors and are shipping in volume across 1U thru 2U form factors.

        Since 1999, Pogo Linux has delivered custom-built, high-performance server hardware to IT departments of all sizes to process the compute backbone of traditional on-premise and data center applications. To support new business opportunities in the new digital and data services economy, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics, technology departments will need to make new investments in IT infrastructure to stay competitive. As this data transformation touches all aspects of business, modern server hardware must to evolve to help IT users support more connected users.

      • IBM

        • DevNation Live Bengaluru: Sail into cloud — An introduction to Istio

          Our first DevNation Live regional event was held in Bengaluru, India in July. This free technology event focused on open source innovations, with sessions presented by elite Red Hat technologists.

          In this session, Kamesh Sampath provides an overview of Envoy and Istio, two open source projects that will change the way you write cloud-native Java applications on Kubernetes. We’ll show how to download and set up Istio on your local laptop, then deploy Java microservices as part of the Istio service mesh with Istio sidecar proxy.

        • Not your BASIC web experience: Creative for Command Line Heroes Season 3 Episode 2

          Last week, we introduced this series with an overview of Command Line Heroes’ artwork. We hope you enjoyed reading about the details in the images for our first episode of season 3 about Python. Now, we’ll briefly cover how our web designers work to bring that artwork to you in its many forms—and we uncover the secrets of Episode 2: Learning the BASICs.

          Are there considerations beyond the initial design to take into account when putting the artwork online? Rachel Ertel, UX Lead: Considerations outside of the initial visual design are largely based on user experience. These include making sure the page’s load time is quick, to thinking through the way that the user would interact with copy, graphics, and actionable links. We want to make sure that the user comes to the right information at the right time, and that the process of getting where they want to go requires minimum effort and provides maximum reward.

        • Enhancing availability of SAP deployments with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 for SAP Solutions

          In August 2019, we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.7, the latest update to the stable and production-ready RHEL 7 platform. RHEL 7 helps customers meet the modern datacenter demands as well as the next-generation IT requirements of existing and new SAP workloads. On top of that, RHEL 7 for SAP Solutions includes additional capabilities to support SAP Applications across the hybrid cloud, from bare-metal servers to public cloud instances, all on a standard, flexible and scalable operating system platform.

          Both RHEL 7.7 and RHEL 7.6 for SAP Solutions bring new features and enhancements1 to bear that can help streamline operations through improved availability and reduced operating costs. RHEL 7.6 for SAP Solutions is validated and supported for use with SAP HANA on Intel x86_64 and IBM Power 8. Corresponding validation for SAP HANA on RHEL 7.7 is planned. Other SAP applications and database products, like SAP NetWeaver or SAP ASE may adopt and benefit from RHEL 7.7 features right away. Please consult SAP Note 2369910 and 2235581 for the latest information about validated releases and support by SAP.

        • Advanced Ansible variables in Satellite

          Satellite 6.6 beta was released recently, and contains a number of improvements related to Ansible variables. Ansible variables can be used to customize the behavior of Ansible roles. For example, an Ansible role could be configured to install whatever package is specified in an Ansible variable. From Satellite, we can set the value of the Ansible variable so that the package we want is installed by the role.

          Satellite 6.4 introduced the ability to run Ansible roles on Satellite clients, and allowed for parameters to be defined that could be accessed from within the Ansible roles as variables. However, there were a couple limitations to how Ansible variables were supported in Satellite: only string variables were supported, and the Satellite administrator had to review the Ansible role to discover the variable names that should be defined as parameters within Satellite.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #307: Ansible Deep Dive

        Hello and welcome to Episode 307 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts have an in-depth conversation with Jon Spriggs, G7VRI, an Ansible fanatic and guru. We cover the project, its installation, setup and operation from point A to point Z. If you're deploying multiple machines in your shack, are a systems administrator or just want to automatic some deployment procedures, this conversation is for you. Thank you for listening.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds dismisses 'anti-Microsoft stuff', claims Microsoft is now 'much friendlier' towards Linux

        The company went further in May this year by releasing a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build featuring the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2), which includes a real Linux kernel, enabling users to run more Linux software on Windows.

        While Torvalds and several other Linux kernel developers believe that Microsoft may have a desire to control Linux, they also assert that the software giant (or any third-party vendor) is not in a position to control Linux because of the very nature of the operating system, the way it has been developed, and its GPL2 open-source licensing.

      • Linus Torvalds isn't concerned about Microsoft hijacking Linux

        According to Torvalds, all the various companies showing an interest in Linux and throwing their resources into developing it have their own objectives, with their ultimate goal being to profit in some way from Linux.

        Microsoft is inclined towards Linux because of Azure, Torvalds believes, as over 50 per cent of the company's Azure workloads are now Linux. With the company expecting Azure to be a bigger business than Windows, it now has a strong interest in making it work better, rather than competing directly against it.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Extreme Gifts StackStorm to Linux Foundation

          Extreme Networks handed over governance of StackStorm, its open source workflow automation platform, to the Linux Foundation.

          It will continue as a standalone project under the Linux Foundation’s governance, said Arpit Joshipura, GM for networking, edge, and IoT at the Linux Foundation (LF).

          “Given the focus of the community and the requirements from the project regarding the neutral governance provided by LF, the current plan is to host the project under the LF,” Joshipura said in an email to SDxCentral.

          StackStorm allows users to automate workflows across data center servers, clouds, and containers using an infrastructure-as-code approach to DevOps. So, for example, after receiving an IT alert in the data center, the open source software kicks in to automate remediation. Other common applications include continuous deployment (CD), ChatOps, and automated security response.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Navi 14 AMDGPU Firmware Lands In The Linux-Firmware.Git Tree

          This easy availability of the firmware bits is the last piece of the puzzle for rounding out their Linux driver support. On the kernel side Linux 5.4 has the initial Navi 14 support albeit is disabled by default unless using the experimental feature bit. Mesa 19.2 also has the preliminary Navi 14 support in the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers, but I would recommend using Mesa 19.3-devel for the best feature coverage and performance. And then there's LLVM 9.0+ for the AMDGPU back-end, particularly with the RADV ACO back-end not yet having stable support for Navi. Lastly there are these necessary binary blobs now in linux-firmware.git for rounding out the Navi 14 GPU initialization.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Game over: Atari VCS architect quits project, claims he hasn’t been paid for six months

        The architect of Atari’s much-delayed retro console, the Atari VCS, has quit the project, claiming he hasn't been paid in six months. The departure could put the entire affair in doubt.

        Games industry veteran, one of the founding team members behind the Xbox, and Atari system architect, Rob Wyatt told The Register: “As of Friday, October 4th, I have officially resigned as the architect of the Atari VCS."

        The techie claimed "Atari haven't paid invoices going back over six months" to his design consultancy, Tin Giant, which was working on the VCS, adding: "As a small company, we have been lucky to survive this long.”

      • Things are going downhill for the Atari VCS as Rob Wyatt quits

        It's now confirmed that Rob Wyatt, someone who Atari made a big thing over joining them has quit citing non payment of invoices for at least six months.

        As confirmed by The Register who spoke to Wyatt, things have not been going well. Not only has Wyatt completely left the project, it sounds like Atari don't exactly know what they're doing. Originally, Atari said it would have their own Linux-based OS with an easy to use UI and their own store. According to sources The Register spoke to who've had direct contact with the VCS project, that might no longer happen. Sounds like it's turning into a regular Linux box now.

        No game developers have signed up to make original games, which is something I expected after their first announcement about actual games years after the IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign was a retro streaming service. On top of that, they've not been able to pull in the big game engines like Unreal or Unity too.

      • OpenTESArena, an open source re-implementation of The Elder Scrolls: Arena

        A fun open source game engine project we've not covered here before is OpenTESArena, an open source re-implementation of The Elder Scrolls: Arena and it just had a new release.

        Inspired by other similar projects like OpenXcom and OpenMW, their aim is to have a clean and cross-platform version using the original assets which you can get free from Bethesda. A few days ago a new release was put out to include Wilderness generation, Wilderness automap, City <-> wilderness transitions via city gate, City placeholder in wilderness, Player position in wilderness displayed with F2, CD version support and initial work on inventory slots.

      • Hold onto your humanity as the incredibly stylish Neo Cab is coming to Linux

        After some confusion, it turns out Neo Cab from developer Chance Agency and publisher Fellow Traveller will be coming to Linux.

        What is it? In Neo Cab, you play as Lina, someone making a last stand as a human driver-for-hire in a world increasingly overcome by automation. It's seriously stylish and has a story that will make you think about the way the world is going.

      • Don't Starve Together launches another big free update with 'Return of them - Salty Dog'

        Easily one of the best and most stylish multiplayer survival games available on Linux, Don't Starve Together has another big free update out with Return of them - Salty Dog.

        Don't Starve Together is becoming a rather large game now, there's so much to explore it's easy to get lost in the world. This is the full release of a recent Beta they did last month.

      • First-person block-based urban sandbox city-builder 'Voxel Turf' adds new biomes

        Voxel Turf is such a unique gem that blends multiple types of games together. It allows you to run around in first-person, build a city and fight off gangs. A big surprise update just dropped too.

        More work on performance went into this update, with the developer adding in "more intelligent entity culling". They say on average you should see an increase of 10% FPS in built-up busy areas which sounds good. They also did some map adjustments for bandits and dungeons not drawing unless you're in one and sun/moonlight shadows are not drawn while you are underground resulting in a big speedup in certain areas too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE's KWin To Still Pursue X11 Composite Unredirect, More Wayland Improvements

          KDE developer Roman Gilg attended the X.Org Developer's Conference last week in Montreal. At XDC2019 he provided the X11/Wayland developers with an overview of KWin's architecture as both an X11 window manager and Wayland compositor along with talking of some of the future plans.

          Recent and ongoing work covered includes the night color support for KWin on X11, simplifying the X11 compositor and GLX back-end, redesigning the output management code, and internal clients going through KWin's own QPA. But where the most exciting work is happens to be out in the future work.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.34.1 released

          GNOME 3.34.1 is now available. This is a stable release containing four weeks' worth of bugfixes since the 3.34.0 release. Since it only contains bugfixes, all distributions shipping 3.34.0 should upgrade.

          If you want to compile GNOME 3.34.1, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot..

        • GNOME 3.34.1 Released With Latest Fixes
        • First GNOME 3.34 Point Release Goes Live with Oodles of Bug Fixes

          The first GNOME 3.34 point release has been made available for download.

          A post-release patch fest, GNOME 3.34.1 features no new features but does include a shed load of bug fixes, band-aids and (less notably) translation updates.

          “This is a stable release containing four weeks’ worth of bugfixes since the 3.34.0 release. Since it only contains bugfixes, all distributions shipping 3.34.0 should upgrade,” GNOME developers say.

          Although most Ubuntu users are yet to sample GNOME 3.34 ahead of Ubuntu 19.10, due on October 17, they can look forward to knowing that this point release will be packaged and distributed as a regular software update to “Eoan Ermine”.

          Among the changes, GNOME Calendar 3.34.1 regains the Ctrl + N shortcut, fixes first weekday calculation, and improves search results handling.

    • Distributions

      • Top 10 Linux distributions OS most popular in last 6 months of 2019

        It is really difficult to track all available Linux distributions because they are countless, daily some new project is coming in and some going out (dead). That’s why Linux newcomers can easily be confused, although some top options such as Ubuntu, Debian, CertnOS, Linux Mint, Deepin etc. are always there to start. However, if you want to know the top 10 most downloaded and used Linux distros in past six months then here is the list. In it, you will find real popular systems but also one or the other unknown masterpiece. Lately, one new Linux OS start getting much traction and able to rank at the first spot in this top 10 list of Linx distros i.e MX Linux.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 31 Won't Add An Official POWER Desktop Spin

          While Fedora recently began spinning workstation/live images for POWER (PPC64LE) at least as a work-in-progress, it won't be made a formal feature of the upcoming Fedora 31.

          Due to the imminent feature deadline and little notice, the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee on Monday rejected the notion of a PPC64LE desktop variant at least for this current (F31) cycle.

        • CPE Team at Flock – Post Flock

          Flock is behind us, so it will be good to do some recapitulation what happened and how it was. Like every year it was awesome to meet people in person and add a face to a name. There was plenty of talks about IoT, Modularity and Fedora CI. Our team attended most of these talks and learned so many new things, heard so many new ideas and initiatives going on.

        • Flatpak 1.5 released with version pinning and update monitoring

          We finally got to see a significant update to Flatpak, and it also happens to accompany several new features and enhancements.

          Before getting into the details of this release, it only makes sense to first talk about the software itself. Accordingly, Flatbox is an application that assists in deploying software and managing packages. It is a sandbox environment where users can run their applications while keeping them separated from the system files. Now that we’re done with the introduction let’s head on to discussing Flatpak 1.5.0.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu and ZFS on Linux [Status Update]

          Somewhat recently, I posted about Ubuntu enabling ZFS [as the root filesystem] in its operating system installer, alongside other much needed updates. Well, here we are and the Ubuntu 19.10 release is right around the corner. Last Friday, ZFS guided partitioning support was officially merged into the Ubiquity mainline. Ext4 will continue to be the default option.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Haiku monthly activity report - September 2019

        Some initial work for ARM64 was completed by kallisti5. This includes setting up the Haikuports package declarations, writing the early boot files, and in general getting the buildsystem going. Jaroslaw Pelczar also contributed several further patches (some of these still undergoing review), providing the initial interrupt handling support, and various stubs to let things compile

        kallisti5 did some work on 32bit ARM as well, cleaning up some of the code to better match other platforms and preparing the reuse of EFI for ARM and ARM64 (as u-boot now implements an EFI interface, which would make things much simpler for our ARM boot process if we manage to use it).

      • BeOS-Inspired Haiku Making Progress On ARM, Various Kernel Improvements

        Just last week marked the one year anniversary since shipping the Haiku R1 beta release for this BeOS-inspired open-source operating system. The developers remain though as busy as ever with advancing this interesting open-source project.

      • Open source is just OEM software

        Open source software is just fake name used for a trojen horse to destroy Free Software Movement, which is defending the right of users. It is nothing but a new name for the old concept of OEM.

        OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. It is a company that produces parts and equipment that may be marketed by another manufacturer. But there are different mode of operations. We have to focus on one particular way of OEM.

        For example, US government spent huge amount of money in telecommunications and electronics. Once the technology was ready the iIdiot company took required knowledge and designed a new product. They then gave all these details to a Chinese company called Foxconn which employs child labour. Because children have delicate fingers useful for assembling components. (Around their office there are nets placed to avoid frustrated employee suicide. I dont know how they avoid other forms of suicide So the fancy gadget you hold in your may has blood all over.) They will manufacturer the equipment. But put sticker of original company. Then it will be shipped to all over the world.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird, Enigmail and OpenPGP

            Today the Thunderbird project is happy to announce that for the future Thunderbird 78 release, planned for summer 2020, we will add built-in functionality for email encryption and digital signatures using the OpenPGP standard. This new functionality will replace the Enigmail add-on, which will continue to be supported until Thunderbird 68 end of life, in the Fall of 2020.

            For some background on encrypted email in Thunderbird: Two popular technologies exist that add support for end-to-end encryption and digital signatures to email. Thunderbird has been offering built-in support for S/MIME for many years and will continue to do so.

            The Enigmail Add-on has made it possible to use Thunderbird with external GnuPG software for OpenPGP messaging. Because the types of add-ons supported in Thunderbird will change with version 78, the current Thunderbird 68.x branch (maintained until Fall 2020) will be the last that can be used with Enigmail.

          • Firefox 69 + Chrome 77 On Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu / Clear Linux Benchmarks

            With running some fresh cross-OS benchmarks now that Ubuntu 19.10 is imminent followed by Ubuntu 19.10, a new Windows 10 update coming in the days ahead, and also the release of macOS 10.15, a lot of fun benchmarks are ahead. In today's article is a quick look at the Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 vs. Clear Linux web browser performance for both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

          • Firefox 71 Landing Wayland DMA-BUF Textures Support

            Landing recently into the Mozilla code-base for the Firefox 71 release is DMA-BUF textures support on Wayland. When using Firefox with the OpenGL compositor enabled, the DMA-BUF EGL texture back-end is used that allows for sharing of buffers between the main/compositor process, working directly in GPU memory, and other benefits with this DMA-BUF usage. That code has been merged as another step forward for Firefox on Linux/Wayland.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6 “Getting started” guide translated into Russian

          LibreOffice has extensive documentation, thanks to our worldwide community of volunteers. Recently, Lera Goncharuk, Alex Denkin and Roman Kuznetsov worked on a Russian translation of the getting started guide – click the image below to read it. If you want to help with a translation in your own language, see this page to get started – and thanks for your help!


        • GNU Project Maintainers Move to Oust Richard Stallman from Leadership

          The Stallman saga has continued to grow stranger in the aftermath of his resignations, as many were concerned that he would be homeless after his website featured a notice that he was “Seeking Housing,” accompanied by a link leading to his specific requirements for a temporary residence. His personal site was also reportedly vandalized nine days ago with a message that he was stepping down from the GNU.

          The defacement with the false GNU resignation message was reverted shortly thereafter on September 30, and replaced with the header saying he continues to be “Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project” with no intention of stopping soon. Stallman has not yet publicly acknowledged the statement from the GNU maintainers. He has also not yet responded to our request for comment.

        • GNU Guix: Guix Reduces Bootstrap Seed by 50%

          We are delighted to announce that the first reduction by 50% of the Guix bootstrap binaries has now been officially released!

          This is a very important step because the ~250MB seed of binary code was practically non-auditable, which makes it hard to establish what source code produced them.

          Every unauditable binary also leaves us vulnerable to compiler backdoors as described by Ken Thompson in the 1984 paper Reflections on Trusting Trust and beautifully explained by Carl Dong in his Bitcoin Build System Security talk.

          It is therefore equally important that we continue towards our final goal: A Full Source bootstrap; removing all unauditable binary seeds.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • Ada Lovelace Day: 5 Amazing Women in Tech

          It’s Ada Lovelace day and I’ve been lax in previous years about celebrating some of the talented women in technology I know or follow on the interwebs. So, to make up for it, here are 5 amazing technologists.

          I was initially aware of Allison through her work on Perl, was vaguely aware of the fact she was working on Ubunutu, briefly overlapped with her at HPE (and thought it was impressive HP were hiring such high calibre of Free Software folk) when she was working on OpenStack, and have had the pleasure of meeting her in person due to the fact we both work on Debian. In the continuing theme of being able to do all things tech she’s currently studying a PhD at Cambridge (the real one), and has already written a fascinating paper about about the security misconceptions around virtual machines and containers. She’s also been doing things with home automation, properly, with local speech recognition rather than relying on any external assistant service (I will, eventually, find the time to follow her advice and try this out for myself).

        • 7 Excellent Free Books to Learn HTML

          HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is used to create web pages and other information that is intended for display in a web browser. Each markup code is known as an element or a tag. The web developer uses these elements to describe and define the content of a webpage. The elements tell the web browser how to display the information (both text and images) to the user.

          HTML has seen a number of revisions. HTML5 is the fifth revision of the HTML standard. HTML5 makes for a rich user experience with the canvas and SVG elements, native elements video and audio which allow video and audio to be placed directly in the HTML code. Other important new features include web storage, which offers a more secure and faster alternative than cookies, and geolocation, the heart of every location-based application.

          HTML is the markup language, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) determines how it is rendered, and JavaScript is the programming language. HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript are open, efficient and reliable web standards and allow web designers to create advanced web sites with creative graphics, animations, transitions and typography.

        • Easily hiding items from the legend in matplotlib

          When producing some graphs for a client recently, I wanted to hide some labels from a legend in matplotlib. I started investigating complex arguments to the plt.legend function, but it turned out that there was a really simple way to do it…

        • How I access Microsoft SharePoint in my Python scripts
        • What programming language would you teach a kid first?

          For the 10th year in a row, the Finding Ada Network celebrates Ada Lovelace Day on the second Tuesday of October. It is a global celebration with flagship and grassroots events honoring the achievements and contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

        • Linting with Flake8

          For so long the word "Linting" meant nothing to me. It sounded like some supercoder leet speak that was way out of my league. Then I discovered flake8 and realised I was a fool.

          This article is a simple one. It covers what linting is; what Flake8 is and has an embarrassing example of it in use.

          Before we get started, I need to get something off my chest. I don't know why but I really hate the word "linting". It's a hatred akin to people and the word "moist".

        • PyPy's new JSON parser

          In the last year or two I have worked on and off on making PyPy's JSON faster, particularly when parsing large JSON files. In this post I am going to document those techniques and measure their performance impact. Note that I am quite a lot more constrained in what optimizations I can apply here, compared to some of the much more advanced approaches like Mison, Sparser or SimdJSON because I don't want to change the json.loads API that Python programs expect, and because I don't want to only support CPUs with wide SIMD extensions. With a more expressive API, more optimizations would be possible. There are a number of problems of working with huge JSON files: deserialization takes a long time on the one hand, and the resulting data structures often take a lot of memory (usually they can be many times bigger than the size of the file they originated from). Of course these problems are related, because allocating and initializing a big data structure takes longer than a smaller data structure. Therefore I always tried to attack both of these problems at the same time. One common theme of the techniques I am describing is that of optimizing the parser for how JSON files are typically used, not how they could theoretically be used. This is a similar approach to the way dynamic languages are optimized more generally: most JITs will optimize for typical patterns of usage, at the cost of less common usage patterns, which might even become slower as a result of the optimizations.

        • Getting Started with Python PyAutoGUI

          In this tutorial, we're going to learn how to use pyautogui library in Python 3. The PyAutoGUI library provides cross-platform support for managing mouse and keyboard operations through code to enable automation of tasks. The pyautogui library is also available for Python 2; however, we will be using Python 3 throughout the course of this tutorial.

          A tool like this has many applications, a few of which include taking screenshots, automating GUI testing (like Selenium), automating tasks that can only be done with a GUI, etc.

          Before you go ahead with this tutorial, please note that there are a few prerequisites. You should have a basic understanding of Python's syntax, and/or have done at least beginner level programming in some other language. Other than that, the tutorial is quite simple and easy to follow for beginners.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The case for XML5

          My XML5 idea is over twelve years old now.


          XML in browsers has much less of a compatibility footprint. Coupled with XML not always returning a tree for a given byte stream making backwards compatible (in the sense that old well-formed documents parse the same way) extensions to it is possible. There is a chance for it to ossify like text/html though, so perhaps XML5 ought to be amended somewhat to leave room for future changes.

  • Leftovers

    • [Tips for remotees 1/xxx] Don't be Isolated.

      So let's start by the obvious first tip : don't stay alone. When I started working remote I had a girlfriend so I was quite occupied, when I wasn't working and when I was. But I was working from home, so Id' miss chitchatting with colleagues over a coffee. But I was coming out of a startup that was using skype as it's main chat tool and there was/(still is) an alumni chat session. So when I had a question or when I wanted to rant or think about something else or just have a pause I would chat with my ex-colleagues. After a few month I broke up with the woman I was with. And was left with almost not physical interaction with humans. The only thing close to it was me going to a swimming pool once a week and seeing people - but hardly interacting with them.After a month or two of that regime I started looking for a new job - a non remote one. Thankfully the 1,5h train ride killed the idea, while I made local friends using the meetup service (I was a Frenchman living in The Nederlands - Met Other people like me , we ended up having a weekly get together - which ended up in me meeting my wife). I also had an ex-coworker not living far from me that was also working on his own venture. We ended up having weekly lunches at the same restaurant were we could both bitch at life work and food :-p.

    • Spreadsheet Regrets

      Fiction writer F. L. Stevens got a list of literary agents from AAR Online. This became a spreadsheet driving queries for representation. After a bunch of rejections, another query against AAR Online provided a second list of agents.

      Apple's Numbers product will readily translate the AAR Online HTML table into a usable spreadsheet table. But after initial success the spreadsheet as tool of choice collapses into a pile of rubble. The spreadsheet data model is hopelessly ineffective for the problem domain.

    • Science

      • Medicine Nobel honors work on cellular system to sense oxygen levels

        The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three scientists for their research into how cells detect oxygen and react to hypoxia—conditions when oxygen is low in tissues. The fundamental physiology work has led to a better understanding of how more than 300 genes in the body are regulated, including the one for the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which controls the production of red blood cells.

        Oxygen sensing is integral to many diseases and numerous drugs are being developed to alter the response of this system to treat everything from cancer to anemia. “Applications of these findings are already beginning to affect how medicine is practiced,” Randall Johnson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who studies hypoxia and was on the prize selection committee, told a press conference in Stockholm announcing the winners.


        Kaelin, a cancer researcher, came into the topic by researching an inherited syndrome, von Hippel-Lindau’s disease, that increases the risks of certain cancers. It’s caused by mutations in the gene for VHL and Kaelin found that cancer cells lacking the protein turn on hypoxia-related genes.

        The cancer connections to this oxygen sensing system have only expanded. Some of the genes controlled by HIF are used by tumor cells to produce blood vessels to nourish themselves, others directly act on cell proliferation or metastasis. Several compounds that inhibit HIF-1alpha or the closely related HIF-2alpha are being tested in clinical trials to treat cancer patients. Another class of drugs inhibits the enzymes that modify HIF (they are called HIF prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors).

      • Who’s won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year?

        2019’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to three scientists for their work understanding how cells adapt to oxygen availability.

        BioTechniques’ congratulations go to William G Kaelin Jr (Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard University; MA, USA), Sir Peter J Ratcliffe (Oxford University and the Francis Crick Institute; London, UK) and Gregg L Semenza (Johns Hopkins University; MD, USA), who have won the 9m Swedish Kronor prize for their work on “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • U.S. And U.K. Governments Issue Update Now Warning For Windows, macOS And Linux Users

        Both U.S. and U.K. government agencies have taken the unusual step of issuing a rare update now warning to Windows, macOS and Linux users concerning a critical cybersecurity threat from advanced persistent threat (APT) attackers. Here's everything you need to know.

        It isn't the first time that the National Security Agency (NSA) has released a critical security vulnerability warning but these government agency update now advisories are few and far between. Once again, though, the NSA is making such a warning; this time regarding an ongoing attack from advanced persistent threat (APT) actors. The NSA warns that attackers could remotely take control of affected Windows, macOS and Linux systems. The United States Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has also issued an advisory and is recommending that users upgrade now. Furthermore, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the U.K. isn't being left out of the attack threat alert party either. So what is the threat behind this string of critical warnings?

      • Report finds cyberattacks on critical utility operating systems are increasing

        A new study published Friday finds that cyberattacks on the operational technology (OT) involved in running critical utilities are increasing and says these attacks have the potential to cause “severe” damage.

        The report, compiled by the manufacturing company Siemens and the Ponemon Institute, is based on survey responses from 1,700 utility professionals worldwide and focuses on cyber risks to electric utilities with gas, solar, or wind assets, and water utilities.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • What to Expect from Turkey’s Coming Invasion of Syria

        U.S. President Donald Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, October 6, that the United States troops inside Syria would not defend the Syrian Democratic Forces, which have built an enclave inside Syria along a section of the Turkish border. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are made up largely of Kurdish factions...

      • Massive fight in Novosibirsk reportedly leaves two cars burning, 50 arrested

        Police in the Russian city of Novosibirsk have arrested 50 people following a public brawl, a local source told Interfax.

      • As Impeachment Looms, GOP Revolts Against Trump on Syria

        They may have his back on impeachment, but some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal allies are suddenly revolting against his decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria.

      • Just Hours After Trump Bends to ErdoÄŸan, Reports Indicate Turkey's Bombing of Kurdish Forces Has Begun

        "The Turkish threats mean that the situation in this region will return to point zero," warned the SDF on Monday. "There will be chaos once again."

      • Secretary of Defense, Incorporated
      • What happens when a corporation colonizes a country?

        I think maybe the East India Company military was more like an oil platform, in that it was often [taking labor] from the streets rather than the gentry. And more dangerous. I mean, I think some of the military had a turnover of — about one in three died every year.

        And so your chances of surviving in the East India Company military were very low. So you had to be desperate.

      • The Domino Effect of Trump's Syria Withdrawal

        U.S. President Donald Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, October 6, that the United States troops inside Syria would not defend the Syrian Democratic Forces, which have built an enclave inside Syria along a section of the Turkish border. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are made up largely of Kurdish factions, who set up this armed force to defend the mainly Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. When the U.S. began its attack on the Islamic State (ISIS), the SDF became the ground forces beneath the U.S. bombers. Now, the U.S. has decided to betray the sacrifice of the SDF.

    • Environment

      • What Climate Change Will Do to Three Major American Cities by 2100

        According to the research Nexus compiled, St. Louis will see flooding, extreme heat, severe rainfall, and drought in the surrounding farmland. In Houston, on the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes will grow more destructive and temperatures will soar. San Francisco will witness rising sea levels, fierce wildfires, and extreme drought.

        This timeline is based on interviews with a dozen climate experts and a review of several dozen scientific studies. The projections assume an average sea level rise of six feet by 2100 — a little more in some places, and less in others — and the business-as-usual emissions scenario, which assumes that we will continue to pollute and use fossil fuels at our current rate.

        Rather than a scientific assessment, it is a rigorously researched prediction of what our future could bring unless we come together as a country and as a global community — fast— to address climate change as the crisis it is.

      • Speed Is Killing the Planet. Time to Focus on Efficiency

        Here's the thing: These ideas for accelerating the future fail to address a far more pressing problem than our stalled speedometers. In the US, transportation accounts for 27 percent of the carbon we release into the air, more than any other sector of the economy. Four-fifths of that comes from cars and trucks. The internal combustion engine is rocketing us deeper into a climate crisis that demands an immediate—and big—reduction in those emissions. Hyperloops might run on clean electricity, but it would take decades for them to become extensive enough to replace a significant number of cars. Supersonic flight requires engines that use much more fuel, and more carbon, than slower planes. These rosy renderings of effortless whooshing hither and yon distract us from what the problem demands: a way forward that prioritizes not thoughtless speed but calibrated efficiency.

      • En Route to Standing Rock, Greta Thunberg Holds Up 'Struggles of All Indigenous Peoples in Protecting Their Land, Water, and Traditions'

        A day after speaking with Tokata Iron Eyes on a climate panel, the pair led a march in Rapid City, South Dakota.

      • Brazilian Experts Warn in Open Letter to President Bolsonaro a 'Genocide Is Underway' Against Uncontacted Tribes

        The experts wrote that they are "extremely worried" about the firing of a top official at the agency that handles policies on Indigenous peoples.

      • Climate Activists Block Roads, March in Global Protests

        Activists with the Extinction Rebellion movement blocked major roads across major European cities Monday, kicking off a wide-ranging series of worldwide protests demanding much more urgent action against climate change.

    • Finance

      • Workers Stuck 'Paying the Ultimate Price' as GE Freezes Pensions for 20,000 Employees

        "GE hired a new CEO last year with a pay package worth up to $300 million."

      • U.S. Using Trade Deals to Shield Tech Giants From Foreign Regulators

        The Trump administration has begun inserting legal protections into recent trade agreements that shield online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from lawsuits, a move that could help lock in America’s tech-friendly regulations around the world even as they are being newly questioned at home.

        The protections, which stem from a 1990s law, have already been tucked into the administration’s two biggest trade deals — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a pact with Japan that President Trump signed on Monday. American negotiators have proposed including the language in other prospective deals, including with the European Union, Britain and members of the World Trade Organization.

        The administration’s push is the latest salvo in a global fight over who sets the rules for the internet. While the rules for trading goods have largely been written — often by the United States — the world has far fewer standards for digital products. Countries are rushing into this vacuum, and in most cases writing regulations that are far more restrictive than the tech industry would prefer.

        Europe has enacted tough policies to curb the behavior of companies like Facebook and Google and passed laws to deal with privacy, hate speech and disinformation. China has largely cordoned itself off from the rest of the internet, allowing Beijing to censor political content and bolster Chinese tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent. In India, Indonesia, Russia and Vietnam, governments are introducing regulations to ostensibly protect their citizens’ privacy and build domestic internet industries that critics say will stymie the ability of American companies to provide services in those countries.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Feminist activist sues Moscow for implementing facial recognition technology in public cameras

        Moscow activist Alyona Popova has submitted a lawsuit asking for the city’s implementation of facial recognition technology to be declared illegal. Sarkis Darbinyan, an attorney for the free speech group Roskomsvoboda who is representing Popova in court, notified Vedomosti of the lawsuit.

      • Greta Thunberg changes her Twitter bio to mock Putin after he criticised her speech [iophk: KSA-controlled communications channels]

        Now, after Putin's statements, she's changed it to "A kind but poorly informed teenager".

      • The PS4’s Facebook integration comes to an abrupt end, but it should only be temporary

        There was no warning of the change, and Sony’s terse blog post on the subject offered no explanation. Instead, Sony writes, “We apologize for any inconvenience,” and the company suggests using one of its provided video game avatars or uploading a new photo to replace your Facebook profile photo in the event you used that as the image for your PSN account.

        The move abruptly ended a multi-year integration, leading to speculation that Sony no longer wanted to engage in a relationship with the social network or that perhaps there was an issue complying with Facebook’s more stringent policies around third-party developers accessing data on its platform. Neither, in fact, are the case.

      • The Ties That Bind Facebook's Libra

        But a WIRED analysis finds that 15 of the 27 founding members of the Libra Association are directly or indirectly tied to Facebook. The total includes members that employ former Facebook executives, members whose boards include Facebook board members, and numerous ties through common investors.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Russian and US visitors, targets for the Spanish firm that spied on Julian Assange

        David Morales, the director and owner of Undercover Global S. L., the Spanish defense and security company in charge of protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London during Julian Assange’s long stay there, called on his team to catalogue “the Russian and North American citizens” who visited the cyberactivist as a maximum priority, according to testimonies and documents to which EL PAÍS has had access. The company allegedly spied on the WikiLeaks founder for the US intelligence services, and in the wake of revelations published by this newspaper is being investigated by the Spanish High Court, the Audiencia Nacional.

        Morales gave written instructions to his employees in London for them to give advance warning of the priority targets from both countries. All of the information collected about these and other visitors was sent to an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server in Jerez de la Frontera, the headquarters of UCE Global S. L., in southern Spain. This kind of “big brother” was the place were all of the information collected was stored in an orderly fashion, including files from cellphones, profiles by nationality (Russians, North Americans, Germans, etc.), professions, and documents from attorneys, diplomats, journalists, doctors, and so on.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Search of evidence in France: the new legal tools offered by the French law on trade secrets

        The transposition of the “trade secrets” directive in France allowed the introduction of new legal tools that apply to ex parte investigation measures and infringement seizures (“saisie-contrefaçon”). We propose here a panorama of the first decisions in this area.

        When it transposed the so-called “Trade Secrets” Directive (EU) 2016/943 of 8 June 2016, French Law No. 2018-670 of 30 July 2018 and implementing Decree of 11 December 2018 introduced a specific trade secrets protection regime. This regime provides new legal tools that apply to ex parte investigations and infringement seizures, with the aim of striking a balance between the plaintiff’s right to evidence and the seized party’s trade secrets, be it before the operations (i.e. in the judge grants the order authorizing the operations) and after them (i.e. when the judge decides what should be done with the seized documents).


        Therefore, when it comes to infringement seizures the provisional escrow is neither mandatory nor systematic, and it can be adjusted by the judge. The degree of discretion of the judge – which already existed before the Decree of 11 December 2018 – should allow to limit the flow of additional summary proceedings to challenge the order. Indeed, if the provisional escrow is systematically ordered, the seized party will be urged to also “systematically” challenge the order within one month after the seizure to protect its trade secrets.

        On another note, it should be mentioned that this “provisional escrow” mechanism does not solve the issue already existing when the seized party is a third party (e.g. for a pharma case, the National Agency for Medicines, known in France as ANSM), the actual holder of the trade secrets (in this case, the generics company) may not be informed that a seizure was carried out and may thus not be in position to challenge the order within one month to protect its trade secrets. The judge who will grant the order and the bailiff who will carry out the seizure will thus have to be vigilant in this regard.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Supreme Court Won’t Revive Suit Against Apple by University

          The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a $506 million patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc. by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s licensing unit.

          The court rejected arguments by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation that a U.S. appeals court should have ordered a new trial instead of dismissing the case when it threw out a jury verdict against Apple.

          The foundation said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals, has been inconsistent in deciding which cases warrant a new trial when it throws out a jury’s interpretation of a patent.

          As a result, rulings often depend on which judges are chosen for the three-member appellate panel on a particular case, the foundation said in its appeal. “This court’s guidance is needed.”

          The jury had ordered Apple to pay $234 million in a dispute over microprocessor technology. The judge added more damages, royalties and interest to bring the final judgment to $506 million. That figure would have gone higher if the appeals court had upheld the verdict.

          Apple, in urging the Supreme Court to deny the foundation’s appeal, argued that the Federal Circuit used settled law to decide that “no reasonable juror could have found” infringement in the case.

        • My Take after Oral Arguments: Supreme Court Likely to Affirm in Peter v. NantKwest

          The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on October 7, 2019 in this case involving the question of attorney fees in Section 145 civil actions. I’ll agree with Mark Walsh who identified this as a “a dry, procedural patent case.” But, I really enjoyed the oral arguments — Read some of the drama below.

          Before getting too dramatic: I recognize that the result of this case is basically not going to have much of any impact on patent cases. So, perhaps one benefit is that the court is unlikely to ruin the patent system with its decision here. Depending upon the outcome, Section 145 civil actions will be seen as relatively more/less expensive for the applicant. But, they are already very expensive for an applicant to pay its own expenses. My take is that the added PTO-attorney expense will be a relatively small extension of the already high-costs assuming that the PTO continues to be fairly thrifty in its defense of these cases. On the PTO side, the agency has to pay its attorneys from collected fees somehow. If it doesn’t get the fees from the 145 challenger, then it will collect them from the applicant pool in general (about $1.60 per applicant) as it has done for many years.

        • Peter v. NantKwest: PTO Faces Skeptical Justices over Assessment of Fees

          On the first day of the 2019-20 term, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Peter v. NantKwest, Inc.,[1] a case raising the question of whether a patent applicant should be responsible to pay all of the PTO's attorneys' fees in a ۤ 145 "appeal"; it did not go well for the government. With the Supreme Court's new procedures, the Deputy Solicitor General arguing the case was able to set forth the three main points of the government's case in two uninterrupted minutes. After that, he was barraged by pointed questions. Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella, arguing for NantKwest, faced less difficult questions and was better able to turn them to his advantage. Ultimately, the argument left the impression that the Justices are very skeptical of the government's desire to recover attorneys' fees as "expenses" of a ۤ 145 action regardless of whether the applicant prevails.

          The NantKwest case arose after a patent applicant lost an argument at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. A dissatisfied applicant has two options after an adverse PTAB decision: a routine appeal of the agency decision to the Federal Circuit under the Administrative Procedure Act under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 141, or a civil action the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 145. The ۤ 145 action allows for fulsome discovery, introduction of new evidence, and de novo review of the decision. However, it requires that "[a]ll of the expenses of the proceeding shall be paid by the applicant." 35 U.S.C. ۤ 145.

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