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Links 1/3/2020: Wayland-Protocols 1.19, LXSession 0.5.5, GhostBSD 20.02 Released

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.7
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.5.7 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.5.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

      • Linux 5.4.23
      • Linux 4.19.107
      • Linux 4.14.172
      • Linux 4.9.215
      • Linux 4.4.215
      • Simple Patch Lets Amazon's EC2 Linux Network Driver Start ~90x Faster

        With how ubiquitous the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is, one may have assumed that for years the software stack was already extensively optimized to insane levels, especially as it concerns the boot time for being able to quickly respond to changes in load... But it turns out there still is some low hanging fruit such as with Amazon's "ENA" network driver and a new patch allowing it to initialize 90 times quicker.

        The ENA Linux kernel driver is for the "Elastic Network Adapter" that provides the enhanced networking capabilities for Linux running on Amazon EC2. Interestingly, Intel engineer Josh Triplett managed to discover a big optimization out of the ENA driver with a rather trivial patch.

      • Graphics Stack

        • wayland-protocols 1.19
          wayland-protocols 1.19 is now available.

          This release is the first to include the new governance document, describing how to introduce and update Wayland protocols in wayland-protocols. See the file for details.

          This release also includes a new xdg-shell protocol that adds support for repositioning already mapped popups. Methods of doing so with inter-surface synchronization has been left out, with the intention of addressing this with a protocol at a lower level.

          Both the presentation time and xdg-shell protocol also got new attributes added meaning bindings using the enum and bitfield attributes will generate better result.

          Ivan Molodetskikh (2): presentation-time: add missing bitfield marker xdg-shell: add missing enum attribute to resize

          Johan Klokkhammer Helsing (1): Update point-of-contact for Qt

          Jonas Ã…dahl (4): xdg-shell: Remove left-over paragraph from pre positioner versions xdg-shell: Add support for implicit popup repositioning xdg-shell: Add support for explicit popup repositioning Bump version to 1.19

          Simon Ser (5): Add governance document Add .editorconfig readme: changes should be submitted via GitLab Add .gitlab-ci.yml Convert plaintext documents to Markdown

          git tag: 1.19
        • Wayland-Protocols 1.19 Released With Governance Guide, Updated XDG-Shell

          Coming a month after Weston 8.0 and a few weeks after Wayland 1.18 is Wayland-Protocols 1.19 (and subsequently Wayland-Protocols 1.20 over a snafu) as the collection of Wayland protocol specifications.

          Wayland-Protocols 1.19 adds a new governance document that outlines the steps for adding and updating Wayland Protocols. There really is no shift in behavior but now the process is formalized for helping new developers

    • Applications

      • The 15 Best Chemistry Tools for Linux System in 2020

        Chemistry is not at all a boring field of science. If you have a strong basic knowledge you are bound to love it. There are many computer programs to make learning chemistry interesting. On the other hand, higher study and research work in chemistry can not be done without using some software. But it is not an easy task to get the guidance towards to software you need. Most of the tools do not work as expected after installing. For the Linux users out there finding the best Linux chemistry software is even more tiresome because of the smaller userbase. So if you are here in search of some open-source chemistry tools for Linux, you are in the right place.


        Tomviz is a popular open-source chemistry tool for Linux. It is mainly a tomographic data analysis tool. Tomography is the method of sectioning and imaging of a particular thing by using a penetrating wave. CT scan is a good example of using the principle of tomography. Tomviz can visualize the tomographic data in 3D form. It can even use Python for custom algorithms to analyze tomographic data.


        It is an open-source Linux chemistry tool. It is mainly an ab initio quantum chemistry software package. This tool can simulate a variety of molecular properties with high accuracy. This Linux chemistry software is written in the C++ language. Users have access to numerous quantum chemistry methods through using the built-in numerical methods and algorithms of this software. The advanced Python interface of this tool allows the user to write their routines for quantum computations.

      • Linux Mint Unveils a Fast New File Transfer Tool for Linux Desktops

        To get a file from one PC to another PC at present users might reach for a USB stick; leverage a cloud sync service like Dropbox; or attempt Bluetooth file sending (which I swear never works for anyone).

        But sending files over the local network is (usually) a much faster way to fling files between machines — and it’s precisely this use case that Linux Mint’s new tool is built for.

      • Monthly News – February 2020

        10 years ago, Linux Mint 6 featured a new tool called Giver to easily share files across the local network. Without any server or configuration, computers would automatically see each others and you could simply drag and drop files from one to another. When the Giver project died we had to remove it from Linux Mint and we’ve been missing that functionality ever since.

        The “Network discovery” entry in our roadmap eventually led to early mockups but we never found the time to implement it… until now.

        Work started on a new implementation and with a smaller scope than the initial mockups. The idea is to recreate the core functionality offered by Giver. Server configuration (FTP, NFS, Samba) is overkill for casual file transfers between two clients, and it’s a real pity to use external media (Internet services, USB sticks, external HDDs) just to share files when there’s a local network which could do just that.

        The main window shows you the computers on the local network which are also running Warpinator**:

      • Imagining a thread-safe curl_global_init

        That’s the primary message that we push and that’s important to remember. You can write a multi-threaded application that does concurrent Internet transfers with libcurl in as many threads as you like and they fly just fine.

      • 3-2-1: A Common-Sense Approach For Backing Up Ubuntu — And Keeping It In Good Order

        And Linux’s stability issue has enraged plenty of users. Browse many user-in-distress threads on and you’ll come across plenty of frustrated posters who have tried everything and ultimately resolved that the only way forward is to install from scratch.

        While doing this can initially be a learning process of sorts, encouraging users to periodically rethink how they can make their system leaner and streamline the recovery process, after a while it becomes nothing better than a big, time-draining nuisance. Sooner or later, even the most advanced power users will begin to crave stability.

        I’ve been using Linux as my day-to-day OS for more than 10 years and have gone through my fair share of unwanted clean installations. So many, in fact, that I promised that my last re-installation would be my last. Since then, I’ve developed the following methodology. And it’s worked to keep my Lubuntu system running as good as the day I installed it without a re-installation since. Here’s what I do.

      • muCommander is a cross-platform, open source file manager

        muCommander is one of these, and happens to be an open source alternative. The program is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

        Here's a comparison of the interfaces of Total Commander and muCommander. The latter's GUI is perhaps a bit easier on the eyes, that's probably due to the theme and the icons on the toolbar.

      • KDiff3 is an open source file comparison and merge tool

        Unlike some comparison tools, KDiff3 is capable of three-way comparisons, i.e., you may use it to select up to 3 files or folders for comparison or merging.

        Run the program and you'll see a pop-up window overlapping the interface. Select the files or folders to be processed. Let's try it with a couple of documents. The application loads one document in each pane. The differences in the content are highlighted on a color-coded basis.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Unconventional Warfare has tactical combat with visual novel style storytelling up on Kickstarter

        Unconventional Warfare is certainly a peculiar mix with visual novel styled story-telling with anime characters, plus it's also a tactical shooter.

      • How to Play Old Flash Games in 2020, and Beyond

        Adobe is killing Flash at the end of 2020, but Flash games are an important part of internet history. Thankfully, a community project called Flashpoint is stepping up to save them. Here’s how you can keep playing all your favorites for the foreseeable future.

      • Top 15 Open Source Games

        Games are an important part of the overall software experience for users on any operating system platform. The vast majority of all games are proprietary, but there is a growing number of open source games that have emerged in recent years. Some of the games are open source adaptations of popular proprietary games that are no longer commercially available, while others are entirely new concepts. Enjoy!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • LXSession 0.5.5 released.

        The time to update the LXDE main session manager has come. Again, no new features but bugs fixing, and some translations updates, of course. We all hope it’s better than previous one was.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE

          This has been exciting week in KDE! A lot of longstanding issues and requests have been resolved, such as discovering Windows Samba shares, automatic screen rotation (on Wayland only for now, X11 later), Krunner no longer being obscured by top panels on Wayland, Automatically-centered panel widgets–and a lot more too! Check it out:

        • KDE Dolphin Restoring Support For Seeing Samba Shares From Windows

          KDE developers wrapped up February 2020 with many fixes and improvements throughout their desktop landscape.

          Some of the KDE work over the past week includes:

          - The Dolphin file manager now supports the WS-DISCOVERY protocol to restore support for making Samba shares from Windows visible. This fixes a two year old bug regarding the functionality.

        • KDE Has Screen Rotation Now Working On Wayland

          Addressing a two year old bug report over screen rotation not working when running KDE Plasma on Wayland, that support is finally on the way.

          KDE on Wayland has worked with some systems for at least 180 degree rotation (flipped), but not for 90 degree screen rotation. The bug report saw 30+ comments over the past two years while finally on Friday this issue was addressed.

        • My Final 2 weeks of SoK!

          Ooh the last 2 weeks of the program were intense. Here is what I did for the website.

        • The Many Features of the KDE Plasma 5.19 Desktop Environment

          In Plasma 5.19, due for release in early June 2020, the KDE Plasma development aims to bring the Breeze theme to the next level. For this, they have a list of things that need to be crossed off before Plasma 5.19 hits the streets, and they need community’s help, so contribute if you can!

          But it’s not all bling bling, as KDE Plasma 5.19 also promises a bunch of new features and improvements, such as automatic screen rotation on Wayland, better color-matching functionality for GTK apps, and full support for viewing stats for systems with more than 12 processors in KSysGuard.

          The Discover graphical package manager will make it easier for users to remove Flatpak repositories by automatically uninstalling all Flatpak apps and components from the respective repository. Moreover, Discover now displays the app version in the user reviews.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36 Seeing Last Minute Mutter Wayland Improvements

          On top of the last minute GNOME 3.36 work on scaled/transformed hardware cursors handling, there is some other interesting last-minute Wayland work on the Mutter side.

          On Saturday shortly after Red Hat's Jonas Ã…dahl released Wayland-Protocols 1.19, he went ahead and merged the Mutter compositor changes for the new protocol support around implicit and explicit repositioning of already mapped pop-ups. There is also GTK-side changes pending too for synchronized Wayland pop-up moving.

          Details on the Mutter changes around the Wayland pop-up moving via the MR that was honored this weekend.

    • Distributions

      • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 20.02

        This year's road map is all about making Genode and Sculpt OS more approachable. It turns out that the first release of the year already pays tribute to that goal. First, it equips Sculpt OS with a much more logical and welcoming graphical user interface (Section Redesign of the administrative user interface of Sculpt OS). Second, it greatly reduces the friction when hosting existing applications on Genode by smoothening several rough edges with respect to POSIX compatibility, and by generally improving performance.

        Most topics of the release are closely related to Sculpt. The biggest break-though is certainly the ability of running Sculpt OS on 64-bit ARM hardware (Section Sculpt OS on 64-bit ARM i.MX8 hardware) along with our custom virtual machine monitor (VMM). On PC hardware, Sculpt users can enjoy an updated audio driver and optimizations of the Seoul VMM. Furthermore, Sculpt's window manager received the much anticipated ability to use virtual desktops.

      • Genode OS 20.02 Released With Continued Improvements To Sculpt OS

        he developers of this original open-source operating system have been working on i.MX ARM support recently, which is now in working order including for its Sculpt OS.

        Sculpt OS itself remains a big focus as the developers work to make it more user-friendly and all around enhancing the usability of this original OS attempt. An updated image of the OS will be released soon with among the lower-level improvements being the inclusion of OpenBSD 6.6 audio driver coverage, support for virtual desktops, and Seoul VM monitor support.

      • Fuchsia Friday: Google is beginning to ‘dogfood’ test Fuchsia OS

        So what would a dogfood test of Fuchsia actually look like? From what we’ve learned over the years, Fuchsia is able to run on desktops, laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, phones, routers, smart displays, and more. That means a dogfood test could be for any or all of these different purposes for Fuchsia.

        Thankfully, from a comment on another code change, we can confirm at least one way that Fuchsia will likely be dogfooded. In a longer discussion about how Fuchsia’s update system works, a Googler shares two very interesting URLs — or at least something designed to look like a URL.

      • New Releases

        • GhostBSD 20.02 Now Available

          I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.02. A custom ZFS partition editor has been added, and t is possible to install GhostBSD with ZFS on the same disk containing Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX partitions. The system has been updated to 1201512. The Update Station application has multiple improvements, and numerous software applications have been updated.

        • GhostBSD 20.02 Brings Custom ZFS Partition Editor, Updater Improvements

          For those looking to experiment with a BSD-based desktop open-source platform, GhostBSD has been competing well as one of the few in this field. GhostBSD 20.02 is out and continues being based on TrueOS/FreeBSD stable packages while shipping the GTK-based MATE desktop environment as its out-of-the-box desktop solution.

        • SystemRescueCd 6.1 Adds WireGuard Support, Linux Kernel 5.4 LTS

          Coming more than a year after the SystemRescueCd 6.0 series, which switched to an Arch Linux base and dropped support for 32-bit kernel and user space programs, SystemRescueCd 6.1 is here with a brand-new kernel that will be supported for the next two years.

          The entire SystemRescueCd 6.0 series used Linux kernel 4.19 LTS, but SystemRescueCd 6.1 is powered by the Linux 5.4 LTS series, which will receive support until December 2021.

          This should vastly improve hardware support, meaning that SystemRescueCd is now capable of recognizing newer hardware. Linux kernel 5.4.22 LTS is included in the latest release.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 on openSUSE Tumbleweed | Awesome-Sauce

          With every release of Plasma, I have been quite pleased and happy to get the latest and greatest that they have to offer. I truly believe that this is how software updates should be. The steady progress of better performance, feature refinements and improved memory usage has made using Plasma a continual joy. I do admit, these are small refinements and tweaks, but that is a welcome method of introducing changes. There is nothing radical or earth shattering in Plasma 5.18, just refinements.

          I very much welcome these improvements and look forward to the next round. Personally, I am hoping for further refinements to the GTK integration. Currently, I am quite pleased with the changes that were made for client side decorations. I am also hoping that this course of performance and resource utilization improvements continue. I do realize that it is likely “we” are bumping up against realistic limits but I do recall a time when Plasma 4 could run quite nicely on a machine with 512 MiB of RAM, so… that’s something.

          If you haven’t tried Plasma in a while, 5.18 is not likely to disappoint. Running Plasma on openSUSE Tumbleweed is a great experience, not necessarily for the defaults as they closely follow upstream and a dark theme should be default. I haven’t had any of the glitching or strange behavior that Plasma has been known for in the distance past, Plasma runs great on 14 year old hardware as well as modern hardware. Most important to me, none of the changes in 5.18 are irritating. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement but for me, there is no greater statement that can be said about a desktop as the changes are not irritating.

        • What to expect from SUSECON 2020

          Well, since you put it like that, ah go on then, we said… and so it came to pass that the Computer Weekly Developer Network and Open Source Insider team signed up for SUSECON 2020 in Dublin’s fair city.

          SUSE, or occasionally, SuSE (pronounced soo’-sah), is a German Linux distribution provider. SuSE is an abbreviation for “Gesellschaft f|r Software und Systementwicklung mbH”, which loosely translates to mean ‘Software and System Development Company’.

          The company assembles open source components for the Linux operating system and related programs into a selection of distribution packages that can be purchased — and, going deeper, it offers solutions that helps its customers, partners and communities simplify, modernise and accelerate their business through enterprise Linux, containers, hybrid and multi-cloud and edge computing.

        • Fundamentals of IoT and edge in retail start with SUSE, the rest is up to you

          In the last article in this series, we covered IIoT (industrial internet of things): an area of technology that’s been around for probably thirty or more years (in tech years, that’s an age). Industry has been quietly deploying edge-based technology in all sorts of facilities, on a massive variety of machinery, plant, and physical systems. It’s easy to talk, therefore, about IoT at the edge as a new concept, but in truth, it’s really not.

      • Arch Family

        • First Arch Linux ISO Powered by Linux Kernel 5.5 Is Here

          Arch Linux 2020.03.01 is now available for download from the official website and it’s the first ISO release of the distribution to ship with the latest Linux 5.5 kernel series.

          Linux kernel 5.5.6 is included by default in the installation image, along with all the software updates and security patches that have been released throughout the month of February 2020.

          Released at the end of January 2020, the Linux 5.5 kernel series introduces full support for the latest Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer family, cross device offloaded copy for NFS clients, new Btrfs features, SMB multichannel support, and much more.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge Led by IBM Takes On Climate Change on 75th Anniversary of United Nations
        • IBM seeks developers to tackle climate change with open source technology innovations

          IBM is calling on developers from around the world to build innovative open source systems to tackle climate change, with more than $200,000 in funding on offer.

          The competition, IBM’s third Call for Code Challenge, was launched at the headquarters of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on February 26.

          The goal is to employ open source-powered technology in new ways that can make an immediate and lasting humanitarian impact in communities across the globe.

          “There is an urgent need to take action against climate change, and IBM is uniquely positioned to connect leading humanitarian experts with the most talented and passionate developers around the world,” said Bob Lord, IBM senior vice-president of cognitive applications and developer ecosystems.

        • IBM competition calls for open source solutions to climate change

          A coalition led by IBM has sent out its annual call for startups to develop innovative open source technology to tackle global issues.

          Call For Code is returning for a third year, this time encouraging applications that aim to tackle issues related to climate change, with the winner receiving a $200,000 prize and mentorship from IBM.

          The contest is run in partnership with the David Clark Cause, the Linux Foundation and the United Nations Human Rights Office.

          Successful applications will be supported through the Linux Foundation and developed through IBM's Code and Response initiative – a four-year program that moves the new application around IBM's worldwide community where it's tested and eventually launched.

          Over 180,000 participants took part in 2019's contest, according to IBM, with more than 5,000 applications put forward to solve issues around natural disaster relief.

        • IBM and Intel Create an Open Source Project To Form Smart Contracts

          IBM and Intel create an open-source project Fabric Private Chaincode that enables a new form of smart contract to attain the Intel Software Guard Extention (Intel SGX) advantages and further aid privacy and integrity in The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric blockchains.

          The new model of smart contracts is appropriate for applications where it is profitable to use the known blockchain properties of allocating, decentralized execution, and immutable ledger. This is exactly how it is supposed to work. During the process, the data is meant to be kept private, even from the participants running the blockchain network.

        • IBM CTO on How Red Hat Buy Strengthens the Kubernetes Game

          Open Source has been among the key vectors for digital transformation — enabling developers to collaborate on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) projects and introduce transparency in emerging technologies. Red Hat, the poster child of open source business became a dominant vendor for enterprise Linux and the storied $34 billion IBM buyout in 2019 helped Big Blue reposition itself as a major contender in the hybrid multi-cloud space.

          In an interview with Toolbox, Christopher Ferris, CTO Open Technology, IBM, talks how Red Hat acquisition gives IBM a broader reach in the hybrid multi-cloud platform, reinforces IBM's commitment to open source and why open source is staring at a bright future. Ferris also tells why companies are using open source programs to attract engineering talent, and how the C-Suite has opened up to open source projects.

        • IBM C/C++ and Fortran Compilers to Adopt LLVM Open Source Infrastructure

          Feb. 26, 2020 — IBM has been investing significantly in open source code, communities, and governance. LLVM is an open source compilation technology framework that is actively maintained by a large development community, supporting multiple architectures and programming languages. Clang is the open source C/C++ frontend for the LLVM project and provides full support for the latest language standards. IBM intends to fully incorporate the LLVM Core and Clang sub-projects in future C/C++ offerings on z/OS, Linux on Power, and AIX platforms.

      • Debian Family

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 'Debbie' Beta available for download

          Debian is a great Linux distribution in its own right, but also, it serves as a base for many other operating systems. For instance, the excellent Netrunner 20.01 that was just released. Even one of the best Linux distros, Ubuntu, is based on Debian. Then, we have operating systems based on Ubuntu, such as the wildly popular Linux Mint. Yes, in the Linux community, there are operating systems based on operating systems, that are based on other operating systems. Confusing, eh?

          While Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, there is actually a lesser known variant of the operating system called Linux Mint Debian Edition. As you can guess, LMDE cuts out the Ubuntu middleman and is based on Debian directly. Why do we need two versions of Mint? Well, you can think of LMDE as sort of a contingency plan -- it exists in case Ubuntu ever goes away. Consider it a back-up base, if you will. With that said, some people actually prefer LMDE, and they use it instead of vanilla Mint (yummy).

        • Ulrike Uhlig: Conflict as a clash of strategies and a vector for change

          I've been practising Non-Violent Communication (NVC) for several years. It helps me to better understand my feelings and needs. The concepts of NVC can also help to look at conflicts.


          May has issues doing all the work they're supposed to do and seeks to talk to their manager about it. The manager repeatedly refuses to receive them, as the manager is very busy. May had the hope to be able to sort their issues out with the manager but now they feel frustrated, and helpless, on top of feeling stressed out. Week after week, May tries to get in touch with the manager, as they don't know how to solve their issue alone. But as their demands become more pressing, the manager starts to feel annoyed, tense, and insecure, and keeps ignoring May's requests.

          May's needs: communication, cooperation, being understood, being seen, autonomy. Manager's needs: efficacy, independence, respect, autonomy.

          Both their needs are legit. Some of them even overlap.

          The conflict occurs at the level of their strategies: the manager makes the conscious decision to deny May's discussion requests, effectively denying them to voice their concerns and worries, which makes May feel helpless, frustrated, and angry. When May chooses to make their demands more explicit, the manager starts to feel more and more insecure.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities February 2020
        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in February 2020
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Wallpaper Contest is Now Open for Entries

          Like similar wallpaper contests run bu other Linux distros and flavours, Xubuntu is seeking to curate a set of superbly composed community-contributed photos or illustrations that it can ship by default as part of its upcoming LTS release.

          As well as being featured in the default install image of Xubuntu 20.04 LTS, due on April 23, 2020, the six lucky winners will also snare some swish Xubuntu stickers too!

          The Xubuntu 20.04 LTS wallpaper contest is open for entries until March 13, 2020.

          Naturally there are a few rules participants will need to bear in mind when selecting (or creating) artwork.

          Entrants may submit up to 5 pieces of work (only) which, obviously, must be totally original unless otherwise permitted by a compliant license.

          Subject matter should remain tasteful and safe for work, and should not include or otherwise infringe on any copyrights, trademarks, or protected logo out there.

          Finally, submissions should be at least 2560 x 1600 pixels in size.

        • Advent of open source

          Although cyber-attacks and data breaches on networks and devices are now commonplace, for many organisations security remains a low priority in many organisations, writes Joe McManus, Director of Security at Canonical, the company that publishes Ubuntu OS, among other software. The saying is true, it is not if you will be hacked, but when. This can be down to a number of reasons, ranging from a lack of skills within the organisation – with unfilled cybersecurity jobs expected to reach 1.8 million in two years – to simple ignorance and a lack of training. It seems as though we have not learned from the past. Organisations seem destined to repeat mistakes from the past. We still common misconfiguration and lack of applying patches as a major vector for cyber breaches. A major challenge is that engineering groups have not incorporated security into their software development lifecycle (SDLC). Furthermore, rarely has the security team been included in the early stages of development to the threat model and if they are, the model is not updated as feature creep expands the threat surface of the application. . However, the cybersecurity tide is turning, no longer is the security group seen as a roadblock to production but rather a trusted advisor that can ensure projects succeed in the current threat landscape. More businesses are realising they need to include security higher up the agenda.Implementing it early on in projects, monitoring it throughout development, and patching it throughout the software lifecycle are all becoming more of a priority.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Couchbase chief evangelist: Unraveling the open source delusion

        It is the now formerly open source vendors and investors that are threatening the meaningful existence of open source.

        Since the open source community split from the Free Software movement, open source has always been in peril. Free Software, protected by a strong copyleft licence, limits the scope of its community in exchange for greater coherence. Companies and investors who want to stretch open source into meaninglessness won’t touch the Gnu Public License (GPL) because they believe the downstream sharing of their work as a threat to their competitiveness.

      • A Simple New Tool Lets You Open Email Attachments Without Fear

        Now one technologist has produced a solution. Micah Lee, the head of information security for First Look Media, plans to release an alpha version of a free tool called Dangerzone on GitHub a week from Sunday, timed to a talk about it at the Nullcon conference in Goa, India. Dangerzone is a simple quarantine program that allows anyone to sanitize untrusted documents, neutering any tracking beacons, malicious scripts, or other nastiness that those files might carry.

      • Deviceplane wants to bring over-the-air updates to Linux edge devices

        Deviceplane, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 class, is developing an open-source toolset to manage, monitor and update Linux devices running at the edge.

        “We solve the hard infrastructure problems that all these companies face, including network conductivity, SSH access, orchestrating and deployment of remote updates, hosting, application monitoring and access and security controls. It’s 100% open source, available under an Apache License. You can either host it yourself or you can run on the hosted version,” company founder and CEO Josh Curl told TechCrunch.

        He could see this working with a variety of hardware, including robotics, consumer appliances, drones, autonomous vehicles and medical devices.

      • 10 compelling stats on the state of enterprise open source for IT leaders

        CIOs see enterprise open source – which is to say open source software that’s built, tested, and supported for enterprise use – as more important than ever for their organizations’ enterprise infrastructure strategy. In fact, a full 95 percent of the 950 IT leaders interviewed worldwide for Red Hat’s new 2020 State of Enterprise Open Source Report said that enterprise open source was at least important; 75 percent said it was very or extremely important.


        This pace of change is particularly eye-opening in a world where enterprise IT has historically moved fairly slowly. For example, the relative usage of enterprise open source and proprietary software is expected to more or less flip over the next two years, as enterprise open source grows from today’s 36 percent to 44 percent. That’s a big shift over a relatively short period of time. (Community open source is also expected to grow over the same period but at a more modest pace – increasing from 19 percent to 21 percent.)


        Enterprises expect to adopt many of these new technologies extremely quickly compared to the rate at which most new technologies have been picked up in the past; 56 percent expect to increase their container usage over the next 12 months.

        That said, one of the most interesting new topics in this year’s survey regarded how enterprises are handling legacy applications. Enterprises are indeed bringing in new technologies fairly rapidly. Applications that are either adapted for cloud environments (cloud-enabled) or written specifically for them (cloud-native ) already make up 61 percent of the application portfolio mix.

        However, the IT leaders interviewed plan to take a broad spectrum of approaches to the 39 percent of applications in the legacy bucket.

        In spite of the plurality of their existing applications being either cloud-enabled or cloud-native, respondents say they are mostly not planning to take the same approach with their legacy applications. Only 14 percent plan to re-architect as cloud-native while another 16 percent plan to re-architect as cloud-enabled. (Another 17 percent do plan some sort of more measured update or modernization.)

      • Shift from proprietary to open source software accelerating

        The use of proprietary software in enterprises worldwide is plummeting as recognition of the importance of open source software rises.

        Those are two of the key findings in the latest Red Hat-sponsored survey of open source trends which was published last week.

        Written by Gordon Haff, a technology evangelist at Red Hat, the 2020 State of Enterprise Open Source report was based on 950 interviews that were conducted with IT enterprise decision makers in 11 countries around the world. They were unaware that Red Hat had sponsored the survey.

        According to the report, almost all survey participants (95%) agreed that enterprise open source software was important to their organisations, with 75% stating that it was “very important” or “extremely important” – up from 69% in last year’s inaugural survey.

      • Carla: Open-source simulator for autonomous driving research
      • Auterion’s Open Source Operating System Provides Secure, Consistent Workflows

        With the Department of the Interior grounding the majority of its drone operations, the industry is starting to see the emergence of American-based companies looking to provide solutions to the government sector. Although many of these solutions are focused on providing American-made drones, this all came about from an awareness that drones were starting to collect sensitive data and that required better and more secure drone systems. As a result, there has been an increased demand for secure software, like the open-source platform offered by Auterion.

      • Open source should learn from Linux, not MySQL

        Open source now powers much of the world’s most critical new technologies, from programming languages and application platforms to machine learning and data infrastructure. As such, we need more, not less, open source innovation. However, the most innovative and sustainable open source rarely depends exclusively upon a single individual or company. Don’t believe me? Look at some of the most foundational open source projects of the past few decades. Linux? Scads of companies contribute. Or consider PostgreSQL, which has boomed in popularity over the past decade—it’s a true community effort, with contributors from a wide array of companies. Or how about the more recent Kubernetes? Though Google founded the project, many more companies contribute to it today.

      • 6 questions for the OSI board of directors candidates

        It's also very timely, given the upcoming Open Source Initiative (OSI) board of directors elections. Unsurprisingly, with all the various activity in open source licensing in the past 12-18 months, the OSI board has never seen more candidates, and with a greater range of interests and goals. They could take the organization in a variety of different directions, so figuring out how to vote is not going to be easy for anyone.

        Inspired in large part by a variety of conversations at FOSDEM, as well as my experience as a one-term OSI board member and longtime OSI volunteer, I'm going to lay out the questions I've asked OSI board candidates, and the reasoning behind those questions.

      • Web Browsers

        • Brave beats other browsers in privacy study

          Users looking for a privacy-focused browser might want to consider Brave first, according to a study published this week.

          Douglas Leith, professor of computer systems at Trinity University, examined six browsers for his report – Web Browser Privacy: What Do Browsers Say When They Phone Home? He found that Brave’s Chromium-based browser is the least likely to reveal unique identifying information about the computer using it.

          The study examined six browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Brave, Edge, and Yandex. It used several tests to deduce whether the browser can track the user’s IP address over time, and whether it leaks details of web page visits. To do this, it looked at the data shared on startup after a fresh install, on a restart, and after both pasting and typing a URL into the address bar. It also explored what the browser did when it was idle.

          Even though Mozilla makes a talking point of privacy in Firefox, it was Brave, developed by Mozilla’s founder (and creator of JavaScript) Brendan Eich, that won out. Brave, which has accused Google of privacy violations, is “by far the most private of the browsers studied” when used with its out of the box settings, according to the paper.

        • Brave browser now automatically points to Wayback Machine on 404

          The Brave web browser can now automatically detect when a webpage is unavailable and will offer to search the Wayback Machine for a backup, the Internet Archive has announced. Although the 404 error code is the most well known, the announcement notes that the feature also works for 408, 410, 451, 500, 502, 503, 504, 509, 520, 521, 523, 524, 525, and 526 errors.

          If you visit a missing page (such as this one) using Brave then the browser will generate a notification that reads “Sorry, that page is missing. Do you want to check if a saved version is available on the Wayback Machine?” Clicking the prompt takes you to an archived version of the page, where you can then scroll through different snapshots of the page taken over time. It makes it easier to find information that’s disappeared from the internet, regardless of whether it’s been deliberately removed or has just disappeared by accident.

        • Mozilla

          • New Google Lighthouse extension for Firefox goes live

            Google Developers announced a new official Google Lighthouse Firefox extension Wednesday. Google’s Lighthouse is an open source software (OSS) project with a few different integration points. There has been at least one port of the reporting tool for use as a Firefox extension.

            Firefox had not yet reviewed the extension, so it gets automatically categorized as “not a Recommended Extension.” Firefox will likely add Google’s extension to it’s “Recommend” list after review. In the meantime, the risk level on this extension is still unknown even when it appears to be very much legit.

      • CMS

        • Elementor Raises $15 Million, Plans to Invest in the Team, Product, and Community

          Elementor, which has quickly become one of the leading WordPress page builders and companies, announced Wednesday it raised $15 million in its first round of funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The investment round comes on the heels of the plugin surpassing four million active installations.

          Founded in 2016, Yoni Luksenberg and Ariel Klikstein wanted to create a platform for web creators to drag and drop elements on a page to quickly build sites to their specifications. It took two years for the plugin to gather its first million users. Since then, the user base has continued to rapidly grow, adding an extra million users at an average rate of six months.

        • Elementor raises $15M for its WordPress website builder

          WordPress has become so ubiquitous, it’s easy to forget that it still drives a huge ecosystem of startups that build tools and services around the platform. One of these is Elementor, a graphical website building platform that you can plug into WordPress to design and publish sites. More than 4 million sites have already been built with the tool — and it’s now seeing a million new sites every six months.

        • Bloomreach brXM 14 Released, Crafter Launches Marketplace, More News

          WordPress announced that it’s bringing the new Block Editor — which allows for a smoother drafting experience — to native apps. That means users can utilize the editor on-the-go with across a number of mobile devices.

          The new editor makes creating content more intuitive because the interface is simplified for a wide array of devices. This update will bring more efficiency to the content creation and editing process for WordPress websites.

      • Health

        • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Selects Alfresco to Modernise and Manage 3+ Million Patient Records
        • Healthcare Design Studio, GoInvo Releases Open Source Information Visualization "Understanding Coronavirus"

          GoInvo, a digital health design consultancy headquartered in Arlington, Massachusetts, today announced the release of "Understanding Coronavirus", (, the latest in a series of open source research and visualizations related to public health.

        • Coronavirus data analyses published on open-source platform Galaxy

          Dr. Wolfgang Maier and Dr. Björn Grüning from the University of Freiburg, together with researchers from universities in Belgium, Australia and the U.S., have reviewed previously available data on sequences of the novel coronavirus and published their analyses on the open source platform Galaxy. The two Freiburg bioinformaticians hope that this will facilitate the exchange of data between authorities, institutes and laboratories dealing with the virus. The Freiburg researchers have documented their approach and results on the bioRxiv portal.


          Within a few days, the team was able to apply identical workflows to each of the available sequences and make them publicly accessible via Galaxy. As a result, researchers worldwide now have access to the network of Galaxy servers in Europe, the U.S. and Australia, not only for the evaluation of the data, but also as the scientific infrastructure for their own work with COVID-19 data. This means that scientists will be able to analyze new COVID-19 datasets on public servers within hours after their release through the same workflows used to analyze the current data.

        • Commentary: COVID-19 crisis reveals the extraordinary promise of bioengineering

          From tackling the spread through open-source platforms to delivering food using robots, the COVID-19 outbreak has shone a light on engineering’s potential to make a difference, says Gong Ke.

      • FSF

        • FSF To Discuss “How To Fight Facebook?” At Its Annual Conference

          The Free Software Foundation was previously in headlines for starting a petition to upcycle Windows 7. Now, the open-source community is hosting its annual conference, LibrePlanet, and one of their primary topics of discussion is, “How do you fight Facebook?”

          Every year various activists and domain experts come together to attend LibrePlanet and discuss current “hot button issues” in technology. LibrePlanet 2020 will be hosted in Boston on March 14th and 15th. The theme of this year’s conference is “Free the Future.”

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Health GTK CLient 3.6.8 released

            The GH GTK client 3.6.8 fixes several bugs, specially related to the compatibility issues with KDE and other desktop environments.

            We have moved the header bar components to the main window, so now it also allows borderless operation.

          • Software Defined Everything With Mike Ossmann And Kate Temkin

            Software defined radio has become a staple of the RF tinkerer, but it’s likely that very few of us have ever taken their software defined toolchain outside the bounds of radio. It’s an area explored by Mike Ossmann and Kate Temkin in their newly published Supercon talk as they use GNU Radio to do some things that you might find unexpected.


            Kate and Mike introduce GNU Radio Companion — the graphical UI for GNU Radio — as their tool of choice and praise it’s use as a general purpose digital signal processing system whether or not that includes radio. Taking their own Great Scott Gadgets GreatFET One USB hackers toolkit peripheral as an input device they demonstrate this by analysing the output from a light sensor. Instantly they can analyse the mains frequency in a frequency-domain plot, and the pulse frequency of the LEDs. But their bag of tricks goes much deeper, exploring multiple “atypical use cases” that unlock a whole new world through creative digital signal processing (DSP).

      • Public Services/Government

        • New WhatsApp Security Blow: Political Staffers Move To Signal—Here’s Why That Matters

          You have to admire the irony. Politicians and lawmakers around the world continue to rail against the use of end-to-end messaging encryption, with market-leading WhatsApp judged the main culprit in securing nefarious communications. But, even as that debate rages, the EU Commission has instructed its staffers to use Signal instead of WhatsApp (or anything else). It’s more secure, they have been told, for messaging the outside world. That would be the end-to-end encryption at work.

          As reported by Politico, the move comes as a response to the various “high-profile incidents” that have “shocked diplomats and officials.” Staffers were given the instructions earlier this month. Signal is seen as a more secure option to WhatsApp—operated by a non-profit foundation, and is heralded alongside Wickr for its security first and above all else approach.

          The EU is undergoing cybersecurity improvements after the long-term interception of diplomatic cables was exposed in late 2018. And politicians have been spooked by the trail of high-profile cyber risk that has seen compromises of both Android and iOS devices by nation-state exploits in the last year. Until recently, WhatsApp had become the default messaging tool for groups of politicians and staffers, but there has been a gradual shift to alternatives for more secure communications.

          Underpinning Signal is an open-source platform judged more secure because its code is accessible by its community—you can’t hide vulnerabilities this way. WhatsApp’s security is based on Signal’s protocol, but its implementation is not open-source and so does not have the same level of transparency. Signal has until recently been seen as much more specialist than WhatsApp, but now has aspirations to go “mainstream,” as reported by Wired last week.

        • Signal becomes European Commission’s messaging app of choice in security clampdown

          The European Commission has told its staff to switch to the encrypted Signal messaging app in a move that’s designed to increase the security of its communications. Politico reports that, earlier this month, a message on the commission’s internal messaging boards notified employees about the change. “Signal has been selected as the recommended application for public instant messaging,” the message to the EU’s executive branch says.

          According to Politico, Signal will not be used for all communication. Encrypted emails will be used to send non-classified but sensitive information, and classified documents use tighter security measures still. Signal, meanwhile, is intended to be used for external communications between staff and people outside the organization.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Apache Subversion

          This week’s open-source project is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Apache Subversion is a control software and source code management tool available on most integration servers, integrated development environments, and issue tracking systems.

          Apache Subversion (“SVN”) was created by CollabNet in 2000 in an effort to create an open-source alternative to the then standard CVS (Concurrent Versions System).

          SVN allows users to commit code, manage changes, and recover previous versions of all sorts of data across files and directories.

          “We are very proud of Subversion’s long history, and remain committed to our mission statement,” said Stefan Sperling, vice president of Apache Subversion. “Subversion has moved well beyond its initial goal of creating a compelling replacement for CVS. In 2010 our m

        • Time to svn commit like it's the year 2000: Apache celebrates 20 years of Subversion

          The Apache Software Foundation has decreed this week to be the 20th anniversary of the source code management system, Subversion. So, happy birthday SVN!

          The Subversion project was kicked off by software outfit CollabNet in 2000. The plan was to create an open source version-control system that worked a bit like the Concurrent Versions System (CVS) that was popular at the time, but with improved functionality.

          CollabNet contacted Karl Fogel in February 2000 to see if he fancied having a crack at the project.

          Brian Behlendorf, co-founder of CollabNet and co-founder of The Apache Software Foundation, described the decision to do so as one of the best of his life.

        • Meson or Bazel for the build system

          GNOME and many other free software projects have migrated to the Meson build system. However I’m not entirely satisfied by Meson, its DSL (Domain-specific language) has a fatal flaw: all variables are global, the concept of variable scope doesn’t exist (see this issue).

          Choosing a build system for a project as large as GNOME (which has between 150 and 200 modules) should not be done lightly. What happened is that a few modules migrated to Meson, then someone has created a GNOME Goal for it, and then almost everybody were migrating to Meson, without any deep thinking, without looking at alternatives and weighing the pros and cons.

          In that regard, the Debian project functions better, for example all the discussions about choosing the init system: at least there has been deep thinking before committing to a new technology that has a wide impact on the whole project.

        • Unity build test with Meson & LibreOffice

          In a previous blog post we managed to build a notable chunk of LibreOffice with Meson. This has since been updated so you can build all top level apps (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw). The results do not actually run, so the conversion may seem pointless. That is not the case, though, because once you have this build setup you can start doing interesting experiments on a large real world C++ code base. One of these is unity builds.

        • C Programming loop examples

          Loop is a very essential part of any programming language to solve any problem. Three types of loops exist in most of the programming languages, just the declaration syntax is different for different languages. when we need to iteration some statements multiple times then a loop is used to do the tasks. Like other programming languages, C language contains for, while and do-while loops. This article shows the declaration and the uses of these three loops in C language using multiple examples to clarify the purpose of using loop in programming.

        • TCMalloc, Google's Customized Memory Allocator for C and C++, Now Open Source

          To clear up any ambiguity, it is worth noting this is actually the second time Google open-sources its memory allocator. Indeed, Google had already provided its memory allocator as a part of Google Performance Tools in 2005 along with many other tools, including a memory profiler, a heap checker aimed to ensure heap consistency, and Perl-based ppro profile analyzer and visualizer. As it happens, though, the internal version in use at Google diverged with time from the external one, so Google is now open sourcing its current version of TCMalloc, which contains several improvements such as per-CPU caches, sized delete, fast/slow path improvements, and more.

        • Ballerina Improves IDE

          Sequence diagrams are central to Ballerina. The developers say rather than relying on code, every program is a sequence diagram that illustrates distributed and concurrent interactions automatically.

        • Scala 2 community build is now complete

          The Scala 2 community build has been pronounced complete. We took a closer look at the general goals of the open source community build, what the latest version has in store, and what the Scala team has planned for the future of the general-purpose programming language.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 049: Smallest Multiple and LRU Cache
          • Monthly Report - February

            Looking back at my last month performance, I get mixed feelings. I feel bad that I only submitted 7 Pull Requests. It is not that I didn't try to up the number. I noticed some of my past Pull Request disappearing from GitHub. It is affecting my Pull Request Stats. I keep all contributions record under my GitHub profile. It gives me sense of accomplishments.

          • Narrowly destricted refs

            I really don’t feel like I have anything to add but I suppose it may not be obvious that the point of this exercise is to surgically limit the lifting of the refs stricture to just the desired symbolic dereference (without leaking it even as far as any other part of the expression) – in the most compact form possible.

            I also suppose I ought to expand on it by way of explanation for the less travelled in the dustier corners of Perl 5 syntax:

            The only even interesting part here is the little-realised fact that the curly braces in the traditional dereference syntax actually literally denote a block – complete with its own scope – much as curly braces do in general. Or in other words: every ${ ... } (or the like) is a do { ... } block. Just one that dereferences the value of the last expression in the block before returning it, instead of returning it verbatim (like a do { ... } block would).

        • Python

          • Erik Marsja: How to Convert a Python Dictionary to a Pandas DataFrame

            In this brief Python Pandas tutorial, we will go through the steps of creating a dataframe from a dictionary. Specifically, we will learn how to convert a dictionary to a Pandas dataframe in 3 simple steps. First, however, we will just look at the syntax. After we have had a quick look at the syntax on how to create a dataframe from a dictionary we will learn the easy steps and some extra things. In the end, there’s a YouTube Video and a link to the Jupyter Notebook containing all the example code from this post.

          • Test and Code: 103: Django - Lacey Williams Henschel

            Django is without a doubt one of the most used web frameworks for Python. Lacey Williams Henschel is a Django consultant and has joined me to talk about Django, the Django community, and so much more.

          • Tryton News: Newsletter March 2020

            Tryton is a business software platform which comes with a set of modules that can be activated to make an ERP, MRP, CRM and other useful applications for organizations of any kind. This month most of the changes were made in order to improve default Tryton features and allow it to work better in international use cases.

          • How to pickle objects in Python

            Any data can be serialized and deserialized in Python by using JSON and Pickle module. Before storing any data in a file, Python objects are serialized using pickle module. Python objects are converted into character streams by using this module. When the user wants to retrieve the data of the file for using another python script then the data of the file is deserialized by pickle module. The features of pickle module and how this module can be used in python script for serialization and deserialization are described in this tutorial.

  • Leftovers

    • Native Human Remains Suspected to Have Been Stored on Vassar College

      Gabrielle James grew up in New Mexico and is now a student in a very different world, elite Vassar College in New York. It’s been a bit lonely. In two years she has only met one other Native student.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Brutality of Hindu-Muslim Riot Emerges as India Counts Its Dead

        The wounded came in waves. First in ones and twos, limping up the steps and staggering through the aluminum doors, and then in wheelbarrows, with bleeding skulls and stabbed necks. Finally, the motorcycles and auto-rickshaws arrived, their seats stained with the blood of as many as they could hold.

      • U.S., Taliban Sign Deal Aimed at Ending 18-Year Afghanistan War

        Acknowledging a military stalemate after nearly two decades of conflict, the United States on Saturday signed a peace agreement with the Taliban that is aimed at ending America’s longest war and bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan more than 18 years after they invaded in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

      • "So-Called ‪'Peace Deal' Is Anything But": Critics Warn US-Taliban Deal Exposes Fallacies of Endless War Paradigm

        The agreement, warned Rep. Barbara Lee, "leaves thousands of troops in Afghanistan and lacks the critical investments in peacebuilding, human-centered development, or governance reform needed to rebuild Afghan society."

      • Inside the Taliban: What these jihadis say about long-sought peace

        One such fighter, who gives a nom de guerre that means one who rushes forward helter-skelter, says he distrusts the leaders. “This peace and this cease-fire are useless, because our prophet, our fathers, our grandfathers, our leaders were always in jihad, so that’s our only way, to continue jihad.”

      • Today’s Social Democrats Should Be More Like Olof Palme

        From 1932 to 1990 the Social Democrats considered full employment their most important goal and made it the essential element their economic policy. In principle, unemployment never exceeded 2 or 3 percent during the entire period. Socialism through the expansion of the welfare state was the strategy, with the state sector aiming to become a sphere outside the capitalist production system with its profit-maximizing principles.

        The political generation which created these reformist strategies had one thing in common: a deep democratic-socialist conviction. Palme and the politicians before him who built the world’s strongest Social Democratic Party were reformers because they sought to transform capitalist society. Incremental reforms based on social-democratic values with equal distribution of wealth, democratic decision-making, and freedom of expression as primary aims were the path to democratic socialism.

        Seen in this context, the murder of Olof Palme was a political murder since it had enormous political consequences. When Palme crossed Sveavägen, in Stockholm, at 11:17 PM he was leader of the party which had won the 1985 parliamentary election by opposing privatization in the welfare system, which had introduced wage-earner funds in private companies, which opposed membership of the EEC (now EU), stood for non-alliance and neutrality in foreign policy, and resolved to maintain a public sector which extended over half the economy and was subsidized through the highest taxation in the world. The kind of social democracy which was to emerge minutes later, without Olof Palme, not just in Sweden but across the West, was a fundamental break with all of this.

      • Data shows scale of gang killings in Central America

        A civilian in El Salvador is about as likely to get killed as one in Burkina Faso, new data shows.

        Violence, mainly involving criminal gangs, took the lives of 428 civilian Salvadorians in 2019. Compared with El Salvador’s total population of about 6.5 million, that puts it third in the world for violent deaths of civilians, according to an expanded open-source dataset.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • What happened at Assange’s extradition trial? Eyewitness reports from Julian’s father and others on Assange: Countdown to Freedom

        Randy Credico, host of Live on the Fly, is a political satirist, civil rights activist and former director of The William Mosea Kunstler Fund For Racial Justice. Randy has an uncanny knack for circumventing mainstream media disinformation and official stonewalling to bring you live-audio debriefings and analysis from lawyers, journalists, whistle blowers, organizers and activists who are fighting to protect Assange from a lifetime sentence behind the bars of a U.S. maximum security penitentiary.

        Randy visited Julian at the Ecuadoran embassy in London and is actively coordinating public support for him in the U.S. and abroad. Because Randy is adept at evading news blackouts and cutting through official stonewalling, Live on the Fly delivers gripping live-audio debriefings and analyses from the defense attorneys, witnesses, journalists, activists and many more.

    • Environment

      • Recycling plants are catching on fire, and lithium-ion batteries are to blame

        “I personally am a big fan of the technology. I think lithium-ion is transformational,” says Ronald Butler, a battery safety expert. But these batteries also have to be handled properly, he says. If they get damaged, overheat, or short-circuit, a rechargeable battery will have what’s called a thermal runaway event, producing heat internally and getting hotter and hotter until it begins to smoke and then burn. Other batteries, like the old-school alkaline triple As, might contaminate a load of recyclable material if they get crushed or damaged. Lithium, on the other hand, burns hot and will quickly catch fire or explode.

      • Energy

        • Oilpatch to pitch in more for orphan well cleanup

          The Alberta government says it's taking aim at the growing number of orphan oil and gas wells in the province by raising the levies collected from the oil and gas industry.

          The announcement, made in Thursday's budget, says the province will increase the amount of money collected from the oilpatch for orphan well decommissioning to $69 million in 2020-21. That's up from $60 million last year.

          According to the latest figures from November, there are 3,406 orphan wells scattered around the province, usually on the properties of rural landowners.

        • I Used to Love Cars. Here's What Drove Me Away

          I walk my children to school. I bicycle to work nearly every day. I own one small car that serves a family of four. When we travel as a family, my wife often drives.


          Even in a beautiful new Ultimate Driving Machine, solo commuting for three hours a day in stop-and-go traffic was miserable, and I began to look for alternatives. I tried taking the bus, but the schedule was inconvenient and to get to it I had to walk two miles on an unpaved shoulder. I tried leaving the car in New Jersey and crossing to Manhattan by train or ferry, but the car was vandalized. Resigning myself to the car slog I turned a practically free BMW into nearly a thousand dollars and 60 hours of wasted resources every month. I felt like an idiot. Lesson 1: Enough congestion will break the most devout car nut.

          After five years, I returned the keys to BMW, and started graduate school where I could walk to campus. For errands, though, I rented Zipcars, which are billed by the hour with steep late fees. They tempt you to use every minute you’ve paid for but make you sweat bullets to return the car promptly. Each time I locked a Zipcar and walked away without a late fee, I felt overwhelming relief. But there was more: I could blissfully ignore snow emergencies and street sweeping days that would have sent me scurrying to move my car in the dead of night through cold Boston winters.

          I eventually leased a car again when my second child was born. But on the days when I took my children to preschool on the subway or train, our interactions were far better, and we became different people than grumpy car people. Instead of shushing or ignoring my back-seat passengers so I could focus on driving, I was able to play with my children and engage them in conversation. Children find public transportation a far more stimulating environment than the back seat of a car, and as a parent on public transportation you can share in their exploration rather than tune it out.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Export Ban Should Make Us Re-examine Captive Life of Wild-Caught Elephants

          On August 26, 2019, the conservation and animal welfare community celebrated a win for elephants at the 18th summit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Geneva, Switzerland. Member states decided by majority vote that African elephants may no longer be removed from their natural or historic range in Botswana and Zimbabwe and exported to foreign, captive facilities, except under “exceptional circumstances.”

    • Finance

      • Chinese manufacturing hits record low amid coronavirus outbreak

        There was one silver lining to the fall in Chinese output though: Nasa said pollution monitoring satellites had detected significant decreases in nitrogen dioxide over the country, which evidence suggests is "at least partly" related to the economic slowdown caused by the outbreak.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Vulture Funds Profiting Off Puerto Rico Gave to Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar

        Puerto Rico was still recovering from Hurricane Maria when a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck on Jan. 7, leveling buildings along its southern coast and damaging power plants that provide electricity throughout the territory. Rebuilding from the earthquake could cost as much as $3 billion for the island, which is already more than $70 billion in debt.

      • The Broader Democratic Socialist Program Won Over Culinary Workers

        The Saturday of the Nevada Caucus began just like any other weekend for Monica Smith, an in-room dining server at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Smith works Wednesdays through Mondays and by 7:00 a.m. she was already at her workstation. But that day she was wearing something different: Her Culinary Union t-shirt and a jacket from her volunteer organizer days.

      • Trump Has Amassed More Than 3,000 Conflicts of Interest Since Taking Office

        The government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington announced Friday that after more than three years of monitoring President Donald Trump’s conduct, the president has hit a milestone, amassing more than 3,000 conflicts of interest between his businesses and his position in office.

      • American Fuhrer: Delusionary, Dictatorial Donald Trump Is Drunk on Power

        The word 'corruption' cannot fully embrace how this insulting megalomaniac is tearing apart our country, our democratic practices, and our moral norms. Who will put a stop to this president's corrupt rampage against the American people?

      • Bernie Sanders Is the Unity Candidate

        Despite the desperate smears from center-right opponents claiming he is "divisive," the reality is that Bernie Sanders’ policies are all about unity: common needs, mutual care, and a shared future.

      • Major Conservative Conference Funded by Opaque Groups and Foreign Entities

        This week marks another year of America’s long-running gathering of conservative activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Similar to prior years, this year’s CPAC is flush with cash from controversial figures and obscure groups alike.

      • Democratic Debate Moderators Frame Questions to Define Acceptable Politics

        What we continue to see is the corporate media's ability use of its outsized power to dictate the limits of the conversation—and therefore also limit the ambitions of our politics.

      • Debate Moderators Frame Questions to Define Acceptable Politics

        With Super Tuesday around the corner, the Democratic presidential debates are coming to a close. The debates are ostensibly an exercise in democracy, a chance for voters to evaluate candidates’ positions in order to cast a better informed vote in the nominating contest. But a review of three of the most frequent topics of debate starkly demonstrates how media hosts use their platform less to inform voters in an evenhanded way than to define which positions—and candidates—are acceptable, and which are not.

      • A Step Away From Fascism and 'Toward a Brighter More Just Future': 100+ Black Writers and Scholars Endorse Bernie Sanders

        "When so much is at stake, not only for Black people but for all people, and all life on the planet, we feel it imperative that we step outside of our classrooms and go beyond our campuses, to speak out on the current presidential election."

      • Clowns in the Time of Coronavirus

        We know by now what won’t take down Trump. By the time he and his minions started their propaganda this week — including Rush Limbaugh likening the disease to the “common cold” and his son saying something that’s not worth repeating — people worldwide were using the fear of coronavirus as an excuse to avoid Chinatowns. It had folks looking at Asian people wearing health masks, possibly for the benefit of their neighbors more than themselves, like Typhoid Marys. False information began spreading about the source of the disease, reaching down into the toilet of racist tropes. Everything from derogatory jokes and videos began to seep out online.

      • Donald Trump's disinformation campaign juggernaut: It's gaining speed

        Just look at what they've done so far. They unleashed their platoon of poodles in the right- wing media to pound the drum for the proposition that the Democrats have "weaponized" the coronavirus outbreak to "bring down Donald Trump," a line of outright horseshit pushed aggressively by Trumpazoid spokesbots Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity on their shows. Their "evidence"? Well, that terrible, nasty, mean Chuck Schumer has been critical of the Trump administration's initial request for only $2.5 billion to fight the virus, proposing instead that more than $8 billion will be needed. Trump himself doubled down against Democrats at his press conference on Thursday, unleashing a new attack on Nancy Pelosi. "I think Speaker Pelosi's incompetent. She's trying to create a panic. I think she's not thinking about the country," he added. "She should be saying we have to work together." As if that's not what Pelosi has been saying.

      • Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

        Dozens of interviews with Democratic establishment leaders this week show that they are not just worried about Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance. Since Mr. Sanders’s victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, The Times has interviewed 93 party officials — all of them superdelegates, who could have a say on the nominee at the convention — and found overwhelming opposition to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of a majority.

      • Episode 69 – Trolling Voters and News Media At The Nevada Caucus - Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode€ hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,€  and Nolan Higdon share and analyze their on the ground€ reporting€ and interviews from the 2020€ Democratic€ Party Nevada Caucus.€ ATL’s€  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.€  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Billionaire Tom Steyer ends 2020 presidential bid
      • Trump’s college bowl for criminals

        There is nothing wrong with for-profit colleges and universities in theory.

        Point being, higher education involves such vast spending already that merely adding a little vigorish on the top for some savvy capitalists would barely be noticed in the already crazed economic equation.

        No, the theory is not the problem. There is only something wrong with for-profit colleges in fact.

        At Berkeley, there have been 107 Nobel laureates, and they have a dozen or so special NL-only parking places on campus, and woe to the motorist who ain’t met the king of Sweden who puts his car there.

        I walked through a University of Phoenix parking garage the other day and failed to see such a designation.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The White House is Censoring its Top Infectious Disease Expert

        Moving forward, any government official who wants to talk about the COVID-19 outbreak will need Vice President Pence’s explicit approval.

      • Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials

        Critics of the vice president pointed to Mr. Pence’s record on public health when he was the governor of Indiana as evidence that he was not the right person to lead the government’s response to a health crisis. Democrats noted that Mr. Pence was blamed for aggravating a severe AIDS outbreak among intravenous drug users when he opposed calls for a clean needle exchange program on the grounds it would encourage more drug use.

      • Russian Director Behind Berlin Winner ‘DAU. Natasha’ Plans to Fight Propaganda Charges

        Khrzhanovskiy is optimistic that his film could incite a sea change in terms of what movies are shown in Russia, which is notoriously hard on anti-establishment stories. “I’m sure this will be shown in Russia at some point, because it’s definitely not about pornography or violence. These sexual or violent elements exist in the films but they are not the key elements. They just exist as part of stories about human fragility,” he said.

      • Russian Press Take Aim at ‘Dau’ Competition Selection at Berlinale in Searing Open Letter

        A group of Russian journalists at the Berlinale have published an open letter to festival leadership, questioning their selection of controversial Russian film “Dau. Natasha” during a period “marked by the struggle against the culture of violence and abuse in the film industry.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Subway must pay CBC $500K for failed defamation lawsuit over chicken

        Morgan decided to round down CBC's cost request given the size of its ask compared with other anti-SLAPP motions, but said there was no other reason to deviate from the expectation that the successful party was entitled to full costs.

        In addition to ordering Subway to pay CBC $500,000 for legal costs, the restaurant company will also have to pay the broadcaster another $178,000 in fees and disbursements.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Beijing ‘throttling freedom’ in Hong Kong, says ex-governor Chris Patten following arrest of pro-democracy figures

        Under the Public Order Ordinance, it is an offence for three or more people to act together in a disorderly manner with the intent to cause others to fear that a breach of the peace will be committed. The offence is punishable by three years in prison on summary conviction.

        However, Amnesty International Hong Kong said that peaceful protests do not require authorisation. The rights NGO’s director Man Kei-tam said in a press release that the arrests were a “shameless attempt to harass and silence those in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.”

      • The Catholic Church proposes AI regulations that ‘protect people’

        The Vatican wants to ensure that companies are not using AI as a means to collect data without the consent of individuals and then using that data for commercial or political benefit. In one recent example, it was shown that thousands of federal government agencies and private companies were using software owned by face recognition company Clearview AI, which scraped facial data without people’s knowledge. The company’s database, which features more than 3 billion images pulled from various online sites, is being used by law enforcement to catch persons of interest.

        The document also says that a “duty of explanation” must be established and that AI-based algorithms should provide individuals with information on how these algorithms came to their decisions to ensure that there is no bias. Last year, US lawmakers introduced a bill that would do just that and allow the Federal Trade Commission to create rules that would force these companies to evaluate automated systems containing “highly sensitive” information.

      • Archivists Are Uploading Hundreds of Random VHS Tapes to the Internet

        An organization called Vista Group recently uploaded dozens of VHS and cassette tapes from the 90s and early 2000s to the Internet Archive, and the content within is worth a retro-nostalgia trip back to a simpler, weirder, more wavy time.

        Vista Group uploaded nearly 200 in the last two months, most of which were uploaded on January 5—a rate noticeably higher than their usual 50-70 per month. They're being added to the VHS Vault, an Internet Archive collection of more than 17,500 VHS scans.

      • Tim Berners-Lee expands Inrupt team to ‘restore power’ on the web

        Inrupt was set up to develop a web platform entitled Solid – an open-source project aimed at restoring power and agency to individuals using the web.

        Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, launched a start-up in 2017 with the goal of redesigning the web as we know it.

        The start-up, Inrupt, was co-founded by Berners-Lee and John Bruce to counteract how the web has evolved into “an engine of inequity; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas”.

        In 2018, Berners-Lee wrote: “I believe we’re at a critical tipping point and that powerful change for the better is possible – and necessary. This is why I have, over recent years been working with a few people at MIT and elsewhere to develop Solid, an open-source project to restore the power and agency of individuals on the web.”

        On Friday (21 February), Inrupt announced that it has expanded its operational team to develop the Solid platform into a “massively scalable, production-quality technology platform”. Already, the company is working with local authorities in Manchester to pilot an app that will digitise children’s healthcare records, up to the age of two and a half.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Apple deleted files that I owned without telling me. It was inevitable, but I'm still pissed.

        I reached out to Apple, and I was told that, "This album has been modified by the content provider for many reasons. […] From time to time our content providers update their items in the catalog to ensure the highest possible quality for our customers," and that this was why I could no longer directly re-download the album from the iTunes Store.

        This is, of course, the inevitable risk of buying any kind of digital media — you don't actually own it. You're technically just buying a license to access that media, which can be revoked at any time. Presumably, that's what happened here (although Apple wouldn't just say so directly). I'm certainly surprised that Epitaph — a famously independent punk rock record label — would revoke the license for one Menzingers album while leaving the rest of them intact on the iTunes Store. But music licensing is messy.

        What's particularly frustrating, however, is that I had manually converted the entire Rented World album into non-Apple music files, and re-uploaded those into iTunes Match — specifically to avoid this kind of situation. While I'm not that surprised that Apple still embedded something in the audio files that would allow them to keep tracking the song across different formats, I am appalled that they could and would remove those files from my iTunes Match library as well.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • German patent litigators comment on minimal (if any) impact of proposed reform bill on patent injunctions

          Within a couple of hours of the German government's release of a draft patent "reform" bill (bearing the acronym "PatMoG"), this blog criticized the proposal as being "designed only to cement the status quo on injunctions." I followed up with a comparison to eBay and European Union law on proportionality of remedies (the EU law aspects of this were also the topic of a "bonus panel" at my November 2019 Brussels conference), and furthermore cautioned against Kremlinology, spin, and self-delusion.

          By now, some leading German patent litigators have spoken out on the subject, and I requested permission to quote a couple more.


          Also, the Bardehle Pagenberg firm published a detailed English-language analysis. Under the "Conclusion and prospect" subheading, Bardehle Pagenberg makes a remark that I had also made in various reform-related meetings: apparently the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection sought to take a position that would allow it to claim that German patent law had always complied with the EU's IPR Enforcement Directive. That's why the draft describes the amendment of ۤ 139 PatG (Patent Act) as a mere clarification of existing case law.

          Bardehle Pagenberg goes on to point out that the ministry's first draft, on which stakeholders can still submit comments until March 10, "rejects any further development of the legal situation beyond the 'Wärmetauscher' [Heat Exchanger] case law of the German Federal Court of Justice." In the Heat Exchanger decision, the Federal Court of Justice had found (though without practical impact on the case at hand) that a grace period for using up already-manufactured infringing goods might be possible in cases of extreme hardship.

        • Biotech Patent Attorneys, Have a Look at Your New Sequence Listing

          A new WIPO sequence listing standard is in the works, called ST.26. It provides a modernization of the old format ST.25. It is a much more detailed and complex standard, and it switches the enabling software from text only format to XML format. This article provides a brief overview.


          The Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS) developed the new WIPO Standard ST.26, and adopted it in 2017. It established a Sequence Listing Task Force, led by the European Patent Office (EPO), to assist with certain tasks1. Consultations were held with government and non-government associations2.

          ST.26 will be mandatory and paperless. The beta versions of the sequence listing software and validator tool are available for download here for all users. The program will be stored locally by users, not on a cloud service3. The new format is intended to come into effect for January 2022 in what WIPO is calling the “Big Bang”, meaning that all patent offices would transition from ST.25 to ST.26 at the same time. The ST.25 standard would not be used in parallel with ST.264.

        • Fed. Circ. Amgen Biosimilar Ruling Raises IP Damages Risk

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently affirmed a $70 million jury award for infringement of a manufacturing process patent for a biosimilar product without any infringing sales. The damages award in this case was particularly notable because the patentee did not practice the claimed technology.

          This decision highlights a real risk facing drug companies developing a biosimilar product: The reference sponsor’s patent portfolio may include dozens of patents that surround every step and variable in the manufacturing process, including alternatives that the reference sponsor itself does not use. This decision also highlights the benefits to innovator companies...

        • European Cooperation stakeholders meet at EUIPO

          From 24 to 28 February 2020, the first European Cooperation week of the year gets underway at EUIPO. This important forum brings together IP experts from all over the EU with the common goal of implementing the European Cooperation Programmes within the current Strategic Plan 2020 at EUIPO.

          Experts from the European Union Intellectual Property Network (EUIPN) will meet for the 8th European Cooperation Projects (ECP) working group meetings, the EUIPN Point of Contacts (PoCs) meeting and the Classification working group meeting on trade marks and designs.

          The meetings are a key driver of the development and sustainability of the ECP outcomes. They gather more than 170 experts from intellectual property offices of the EU, EUIPO and user associations, together with observers from the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

          The 8th ECP working groups will be reviewing the progress made on five different European Cooperation projects, including the ECP3 New Tools project on Decision Desktop, ECP4 Shared Services and Practices (CP11 and CP12), ECP5 European Network of Authenticities, and ECP2 major improvements to TMView and DesignView.

          Participation and engagement in the working groups has increased over the past years, thus reinforcing the exchange of knowledge. The working group members play a decisive role in shaping the outcome of each project, all of which combine to strengthen and develop the IP system across the EU. For example, experts will be invited to validated the last updates to the new TMview version planned to go live in April (the beta version was launched in late 2019), while progress in the drafting of common practices in the Convergence Programme on new types of practices will be sought.

        • Patent Terms – Means, Said, Whereby, Wherein
        • Software Patents

          • AI has no personality: EPO rules that an AI machine cannot be an inventor in patent applications [Ed: This overlooks the fact that EPO continues granting fake patents as long as one puts his/her name on the patent application]

            The Receiving Section of the EPO rejected the patent applications because they did not meet the formal requirements under Article 81 EPC, Rule 19(1) EPC. By declaring a machine to be the inventor, the applicant had not complied with these requirements. The EPO argued that an inventor according to Article 60 EPC may only be a natural person. The legislator's intentions and the fact that the EPC allocates certain rights to an inventor were used as justification in support of the argument. AI machines are inanimate objects and as such are unable to have any kind of personality or bear rights whereas only natural or legal persons have the ability to bear rights (or obligations).

            Likewise, AI machines are not able to transfer any rights to a successor in title, as was submitted by the Applicant. Given that machines have no legal personality and cannot have any legal title to a right to a patent, there is nothing they could transfer to a successor in title.

            The EPO has emphasized that the formal requirement of designating an inventor does not block the invention from patentability. However, assessing formal requirements takes place prior to the substantive patentability examination. Likewise, if an invention meets the requirements of Articles 52-57 EPC, this has no influence on whether or not the formal requirements are met.


            The applicant in the cases discussed above has the opportunity to file an appeal to the EPO Boards of Appeal within two months of notification of the decisions. According to public statements made by the Applicant, he intends to file an appeal.

            As an immediate consequence, Applicants should refrain from designating an AI machine or system as the inventor in a Patent Application. The EPO has made clear that only the designation of a natural person meets the requirements of Articles 81 and Rule 19 (1) EPC. It remains an open question if the owner or developer of an AI can legitimately be named as the inventor if the AI has made the invention autonomously. It is to be expected that the jurisprudence in the coming years will provide some clarification for these open issues.

          • AI has no personality: EPO rules that an AI machine cannot be an inventor in patent applications
          • AI has no personality: EPO rules that an AI machine cannot be an inventor in patent applications
        • 2019 Artificial Intelligence Year in Review

          AI Inventors – Coming to a Patent Office Near You?

          On December 20, 2019 the European Patent Office (EPO) rejected two European patent applications (EP3564144 and EP3563896) which designated a connectionist AI named DABUS (short for “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience”) as being the sole inventor.

          What is DABUS?

          The applicant for the two applications was the developer of DABUS, Dr. Stephan Thaler. The applications were filed by the Artificial Inventor Project, an international team of patent attorneys filing patents on behalf of DABUS globally. During prosecution of the European patents, the applicant described DABUS as a “creativity machine”. The AI comprises two artificial neural networks. The first artificial neural network involves a series of smaller neural networks trained to generate ideas in response to self-perturbations of connection weights which are controlled by a second “critic” artificial neural network. The second neural network monitors the first network for ideas, identifying the novel ideas and selectively forms and ripens the ideas which have the most novelty, utility, or value. The applicant argued DABUS was the sole inventor of the applications and that the owner of the AI should be the default owner of the patents and intellectual property generated by the AI.

          The EPO Decision

          The EPO issued its reasons for rejecting the applications on January 27, 2020 stating that the designation of an inventor is mandatory because it bears a series of legal consequences. Specifically, this included the requirement that the named inventor must be the legitimate one and they must be able to benefit from rights linked to this status. The EPO noted that an AI inventor lacking a legal personality could not enjoy such rights and that the name of a machine would not fulfill the requirements of Rule 19(1) of the European Patent Convention. Rather, the “EPC does not allow for non-persons, i.e. neither natural nor legal persons, as applicant, inventor or in any other role in the patent grant proceedings”. The decision is currently pending appeal. Perhaps by necessity, the EPO decision is reactive, rather than proactive, in its approach to considering AI-inventorship. Further guidance on how the owners of AI-generated inventions should navigate the patent system will be timely and necessary.

    • Copyrights

      • Smithsonian makes nearly 3 million pieces of art available online and free to use

        Ever wanted to take a deep dive into one of the world's largest art collections? The Smithsonian Institution has a groundbreaking surprise in store for the public, and the possibilities are endless.

        Tuesday, the Smithsonian released nearly 3 million images from its vast catalog –spanning the hallowed institution's 19 museums, research centers, libraries and the National Zoo – onto an online repository freely available to the public. It's not just art: Artifacts from history, culture and science are on the platform.

        It's available under public domain, which means that anyone in the world can repurpose images for their own use – whether it be collaging or for manufacturing products.

      • U.S. Remains the Top Traffic Source For Pirate Sites

        With over a billion visits per month, the United States remains the number one traffic source for pirate sites worldwide. New data from piracy tracking company MUSO further shows that streaming sites remain extremely popular among pirates, although there are distinct regional preferences.

      • OMI IN A HELLCAT Claims Comcast Got FBI to Pursue Gears IPTV Case

        Popular YouTuber OMI IN A HELLCAT was raided by the FBI last year in connection with his 'pirate' IPTV service Gears TV. With the authorities refusing to comment on the ongoing investigation, OMI himself is now claiming that Comcast prompted the FBI to take action, knowing that to tackle him on their own would be "an uphill battle".

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