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Links 20/3/2020: LMDE 4 “Debbie” Released, Debian GNU/Linux Social Network

  • GNU/Linux

    • Google

      • Chrome OS to shrink Linux disk image for Chromebooks with limited storage

        Linux apps bring a lot to the table for Chromebook users. The ability to have installable applications for which there isn’t a web-based alternative is huge and it could play an integral part in launching Chrome OS to a new level of usability and consumer popularity. Apart from the learning curve involved in navigating Linux apps, another problem that users will face is disk space.

      • Google develops Linux tool that tackles USB keystroke injection attacks

        Google has developed a tool for Linux machines that combats USB keystroke injection attacks by flagging suspicious keystroke speeds and blocking devices classified as malicious.

        Keystroke injection attacks can execute malicious commands via a thumb drive connected to a host machine, by running code that mimics keystrokes entered by a human user.

        In a post on the Google Open Source blog, Google security engineer Sebastian Neuner explained Google’s tool uses two heuristic variables – KEYSTROKE_WINDOW and ABNORMAL_TYPING – to distinguish between benign and malicious inputs.

        Measuring the time between two keystrokes, KEYSTROKE_WINDOW can generate false positives if users hit two keys almost simultaneously, although accuracy rises along with the number of keystrokes logged.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-03-19 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla announces plans to remove FTP support from Firefox, the latest version of Oracle’s Java Development Kit is out, and OBS Studio’s latest release has some handy new source and capture features.

      • LHS Episode #333: The Weekender XLIV

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

      • Building a Low Energy Storage Server for your Office/Homelab

        Saving power in your homelab can be a very important factor in your build. In this video, you'll see the process of building a lower energy storage server, that uses only around 55 watts! FreeNAS is shown as an example, but other NAS platforms can be used as well.

      • Python Bytes: #173 You test deserves a fluent flavor
    • Kernel Space

      • 5 Best Linux File Systems

        File Systems are very important for every operating system and Linux and its distributions are no exception. Most of the recent Linux distributions use Ext4 file system which is modern and upgraded version of older Ext3 and Ext2 file systems. Reason behind most of the Linux distributions use Ext4 file systems is that it is one of the most stable and flexible file systems out there.

        Many of you might have heard about BtrFS and it becoming default file system for Linux distributions. BtrFS is still under development and has long road to cover. Choosing the best file system for Linux and its distributions might be difficult task. Data safety and security is so important in this world, so finding the reliable and stable file system for Linux is important to avoid data loss and corruption. So today in this article I’m going to give you round-up of best file systems for Linux and its distributions.

      • Pet the cat, own the bathrobe: Linus Torvalds on working from home

        So your boss isn't sure you'll be productive while working at home. Perhaps, they should consider Linus Torvalds. He created a little operating system called Linux, which runs everything in the world except desktops, and Git, which is used by all major software developers everywhere, all while working from his home.

        Torvalds admits that when he started, "I worried about missing human interaction -- not just talking to people in the office and hallways, but going out to lunch etc. It turns out I never really missed it."

      • Linus Torvalds’ Advice on Working From Home during Coronavirus Lockdown

        While many of us are self-isolating indoors amidst the coronavirus outbreak. ZDNet had a special feature discussion with Linus Torvalds on his opinions or thoughts on working from home during the Coronavirus lockdown.

        If you didn’t know already (how could you not?), Linus Torvalds is the creator of Linux and Git as well. And, he did all that while working from home. Here’s a video from 2016 where Torvalds shows his home office...

      • AMD SEV-ES Guest Support Updated With More Improvements, Rebased

        Back in February came patches for AMD SEV-ES "Encrypted State" support as building off the Linux kernel's existing support for Secure Encrypted Virtualization in conjunction with AMD EPYC processors. The SEV-ES enablement work has now been revised.

        The SEV "Encrypted State" patches sent out this morning are for enabling Linux to run as a guest under an SEV-ES enabled hypervisor. The encrypted state portion of SEV is about protecting the guest register state from the hypervisor, beyond the memory encrypted afforded by SEV. The CPU register state becomes encrypted by SEV-ES and cannot be accessed or modified by the hypervisor in order to fend off control-flow attacks and other similar attacks.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 20.1 Aiming For Release At The End Of May

          This should come as little surprise to regular Phoronix readers and those that follow the Mesa release cadence, but Mesa 20.1 as the next quarterly feature release now has a release calendar putting its debut towards the end of May.

          May 20 is the target date for releasing Mesa 20.1.0 as the next feature release date. As usual, it's towards the end of the second month of the quarter. However, what tends to occur most often is that due to blocker bugs, Mesa feature releases usually get dragged well into the third month of the quarter before seeing their debut.

    • Benchmarks

      • HP ZBook 17 G6 Has The Most Impressive Mobile Workstation Performance We've Seen Yet

        For those that may be working from home more frequently now and looking for a very capable laptop to serve as a mobile workstation, HP's ZBook 17 G6 is the most powerful contender we have tested to date that offers great performance potential paired with very reliable build quality and also offering easy upgrade potential.

        The ZBook 17 G6 is HOP's new flagship laptop for offering "desktop performance on the go" and suited for a multitude of different areas where performance is critical for achieving your work efficiently. This mobile workstation is also built to be very reliable with going through MIL-STD 810G testing and manufactured out of aluminum and magnesium. Other high-end finishes with this laptop include Bang & Olufsen speakers and a dual microphone array configuration. There are also privacy minded elements incorporated like being able to physically cover the web camera when not in use.

    • Applications

      • Best Linux Text Editors for Programming in 2020

        In 2020, your choice of a text editor for programming is not limited to venerable command-line editors. You can also choose from multiple modern text editors developed using frameworks such as Electron and web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

      • 6 Best Free Linux Dictionary Tools

        One category of computer software which often receives little attention is the world of dictionary software. Whilst this type of utility might not seem particularly interesting, dictionary software is an important tool for writers and students. If you are learning a new language or want to check the meaning of a word or phrase, a good dictionary tool will be very useful.

        Many people use a traditional dictionary primarily for checking the spelling of a word. However, lots of computer software includes built-in spelling checking, often on-the-fly. The tools featured in this article offer far more functionality than mere spell-checking. Here you will find software that can actually transform the way that you write.

      • 12 Best Free Linux MySQL Tools

        MySQL is a relational database management system. It provides a very fast, multi-threaded, multi-user, and robust SQL (Structured Query Language) database server. MySQL is the most popular open source database, and is the database component of the LAMP software stack. LAMP consists of the Apache web server, MySQL and PHP, the essential building blocks to run a general purpose web server. MySQL is used and championed by many large organizations including Google, Facebook, the BBC, Intel, Sun, SAP, Dell, AMD, Novell, Veritas and many others.

        With the increasing popularity of MySQL, it is not surprising that developers have written useful tools which help users to monitor, query, administer, troubleshoot, and optimise MySQL databases. This article identifies 12 open source tools which help to reduce the complexity associated with the powerful database software.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl: 22 years in 22 pictures and 2222 words

        curl turns twenty-two years old today. Let’s celebrate this by looking at its development, growth and change over time from a range of different viewpoints with the help of graphs and visualizations.

        This is the more-curl-graphs-than-you-need post of the year. Here are 22 pictures showing off curl in more detail than anyone needs.

        I founded the project back in the day and I remain the lead developer – but I’m far from alone in this. Let me take you on a journey and give you a glimpse into the curl factory. All the graphs below are provided in hires versions if you just click on them.

        Below, you will learn that we’re constantly going further, adding more and aiming higher. There’s no end in sight and curl is never done. That’s why you know that leaning on curl for Internet transfers means going with a reliable solution.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master now available in Early Access

        Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master from Goblinz Studio enters Early Access today, letting you become the evil overlord of a dungeon. This isn't a Dungeon Keeper styled game though, it works like a turn-based strategy with some management elements.

        Quite a mouthful of a name that's for sure. Descriptive though, you know what you're getting into here. Pesky heroes trying to get into your dungeon, to run off with all your treasure. Something about a marketing department convincing them they'll be fine. They won't be though, you're there and you have lots of traps to set and monsters to unleash.


        So far, it's great fun and I'm looking forward to seeing all the extra content they add in. For Early Access, their current plan is to remain there for anything between 6 months to a year giving them time to add in modding support, new heroes, new monsters, new traps and so on.

        Goblinz Studio are certainly a dedicated team, and their constant Linux support is fantastic and deserves some attention. Their founder, Johann, wrote an Imgur post describing a brief bit of history and it sounds like they've done well with this one.

      • SameBoy – Powerful Game Boy Emulator Available as Snap

        The latest version of SameBoy, powerful Game Boy Emulator, available to install via Snap package in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        SameBoy is an open-source user friendly Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Super Game Boy emulator for macOS, Windows and Unix-like platforms.

        SameBoy is extremely accurate and includes a wide range of powerful debugging features, making it ideal for both casual players and developers.

        In addition to accuracy and developer capabilities, SameBoy has all the features one would expect from an emulator – from save states to scaling filters.

      • Get Mable & The Wood free in the GOG Spring Sale for 48 hours

        During the GOG Spring Sale, they've teamed up with Triplevision Games / Graffiti Games to offer their unique Metroidvania experience free for 48 hours.

      • Helms of Fury looks like a wonderful and colourful action rogue-lite coming to Linux

        Helms of Fury from developer A Bit Awake was just recently announced as a dungeon crawling rogue-lite with a focus on fast combat, discovering items and combining runes to create insanely powerful builds.

        A game made for you to replay, as you battle your way through various procedural dungeons full of enemies, traps and treasures with new things to discover every run. Not alone though, it's going to have local co-op to smash through with a friend.

      • Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition has a big update out and new story DLC coming soon

        Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition from Beamdog has been updated again, bringing some pretty huge improvements and a great sounding story pack is coming soon.

        Patch 1.80 (Version 8193.9) landed this week for the upgraded edition of this popular RPG, as Beamdog continue to refine the experience and support it well after release. One of the biggest changes this patch is related to performance, Beamdog said in some cases it's improved by up to "200%" and especially so on slower hardware. Optimizations were done across AI, Shadows, Textures and more. Other gameplay adjustments were also made like improved pathfinding around objects and they also said they fixed "Linux Steam CD key provisioning".

      • Dungeon Drafters will bring magical deck-building to Linux now it's funded

        Dungeon Drafters is another Kickstarter success as Manalith Studios' campaign just ended, hitting well over their goal and so the game is coming to Linux.

        They have 1,164 backers pledge €¥5,452,011 (around $49,569) to help make it happen. While the campaign doesn't list Linux support, they did confirm to GOL on Twitter that would be the case: "HEY THERE! I just want to let you know that we are CONFIRMING that Dungeon Drafters will be released to Linux", this was also sent in a direct message to us too.

      • Non-linear pixel art adventure Alwa's Legacy now launching a bit later

        Following on from their successful crowdfunding on Kickstarter they've now managed to hire Pelle Cahndlerby, who worked on the SteamWorld series for both writing and sound design so Alwa's Legacy should have some pretty great dialogue.

      • New Steam Client Beta up with Linux updates, Valve prepping Proton 5.0-5

        Valve have released a new Steam Client Beta which pulls in a couple of Linux improvements and they appear to be preparing a new Proton version with a tweak for Half-Life: Alyx.

        For the Steam Client Beta they fixed some Library layout regressions and Remote Play got a fix for muted audio when streaming after an RDP session.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • A Summary Between KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS And GNOME 3.36 Gresik

        After publishing my latest GNOME and then Plasma articles, I think it is interesting to summarize between them in a separate article considering several interesting stuffs. First, their release date are the same, 11, except Plasma is in February and GNOME is in March. Second, they publish interesting videos and announcements I listed below. Third, they had conferences in 2019 that back them up namely Akademy and GNOME.Asia Summit I also listed below. Fourth, they have users who love to write reviews such as Dedoimedo and OMG! Ubuntu I listed below too. Last but not least, I also mentioned where to download their source code, to contribute to them, and the donation links. I wish this summary article helps you in figuring out more about both. Enjoy desktop GNU/Linux!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Forking Great: the Arc GTK Theme Lives!

          A fork of the Arc GTK theme is available on GitHub and it picks up exactly where the theme’s previous authors left off.

          Why is this news? Well, you may recall I wrote about the dire state of Arc’s maintainer-ship a few weeks back. To put it bluntly: there isn’t one.

          But a number of you got in touch with me after I published that post to let me know about a new, actively maintained, albeit unofficial, continuation.

          And boy I am glad that you did!

          This isn’t a stale fork of the Arc theme code, either. This is an actively maintained branch with lots of bug fixes and other finesse to bring the theme as up-to-date as possible.

        • Friends of GNOME Update March 2020

          Welcome to the Friends of GNOME Update, March 2020 edition! We have some exciting things in the works and a shiny new GNOME release.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Slackware Family

        • Chromium and LibreOffice updates

          Due to the Corona (COVID-19) crisis, Google decided to postpone the introduction of Chromium 81 to the stable channel. Understandably due to the challenges created by sending most developers home for their own safety and protection, which is a cause for less efficient work schedules. Instead, there is an increased focus on addressing security related issues in Chromium 80 and releasing those in rapid succession. After all, any crisis attracts the worst of humankind to mess with the more gullible part of the population and browser based phishing and hack attempts are on the rise.

          And so, yesterday there was another version upgrade, and I built the new chromium packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current already. The chromium-80.0.3987.149 release can be downloaded from any mirror – or upgraded using slackpkg/slackpkg+ if you use that.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Using BOINC with podman on Fedora

          Following the blog post Installing and configuring Folding@Home in Fedora by jorti, I would like to talk of BOINC too.

          I'm not a scientist, I only know that BOINC is a distributed computing system where you can donate CPU cycles of you computer to scientific projects. You can join various projects, from astrophysics to biology.

          You can find more informations here:

          On #Fedora you can find the boinc-client as well the boinc-manager in the official repository.

        • PHP version 7.2.29, 7.3.16 and 7.4.4

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.4 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.3.16 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.2.29 are available in remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Insider 2020-03: syslog-ng-stable; macOS; BastilleBSD;

          This is the 79th issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

        • Bodhi: Release 5.2.0
        • TeleIRC v2.0.0: March 2020 progress update

          Since September 2019, the RITlug TeleIRC team is hard at work on the v2.0.0 release of TeleIRC. This blog post is a short update on what is coming in TeleIRC v2.0.0, our progress so far, and when to expect the next major release.

        • Using Keepalived for managing simple failover in clusters

          When you hear the term "high availability," you might think of large, complex environments with arcane technologies that are beyond the reach of the average sysadmin. But basic HA doesn't have to be complicated: in this series, you will learn about implementing basic, highly available services using Keepalived. I will take you through simple failover situations, as well as a more complex configuration used to respond to external events and trigger failovers. First, we will start with the fundamentals of Keepalived and the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP).

          This article is the first in a series of three articles covering everything from basic setup to advanced Linux HA concepts.

        • Red Hat: Why Automation Holds the Key to Security Governance and a Culture of Collaboration

          A typical FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 company has a vast and complex set of cybersecurity defenses in place; managed by multiple security operations teams spread across different business units and different geographies. A great deal of effort is put into securing an enterprise organization.

          Yet, despite the high level of diligence and preparation, security teams still lack a common framework and a common language that they can use to share designs, processes and ideas.

          This can be achieved by introducing automated workflows and processes based on a universal programmable language. However, the language must be accessible to all. It must be easy to understand and easy to write; so that information can be documented and shared amongst security professionals with different domain expertise.

          It should also support a completely unbiased approach, rather than a closed, proprietary system. This would upset the delicate balance of the complex security ecosystems already in place in large organizations. Finally, the system needs to be modular by design so that it can accommodate the vast, and growing, number of cybersecurity tools that large enterprises amass over time.

          IT and network operations teams have been using automated systems for some time. This is encouraging a culture of collaboration between different IT stakeholders. However, it’s an ongoing process and IT teams are always looking for the right combination of tools to support a comprehensive automation program.

        • Red Hat, Intel Create Testbed For Real World CNF, VNF Configurations
      • Debian Family

        • Debian Social Announced! Developers can Collaborate and Contribute.

          Debian Social: The Debian Social aims to run a few services under the domain ““. They said that their aim is to provide a safe place for Debian contributors. Debian.Social will help the contributor to showcase their work and share their work with other debian contributors. Users can collaborate with other users and help them to develop their contributions through the platform.

        • Announcing Debian Social
          ## Introduction

          The Debian Social Team maintains a variety of services under the domain. These services aim to make it easier for Debian contributors to share content and collaborate. -

          Here are some examples of services that the Debian Social Team intend to run:

          * Pleroma, a federated microblogging platform. Similar to Mastodon, Gnu Social and Statusnet. * Peertube, a federated video publishing platform. Debian contributors can use this to share content like howtos, interviews, podcasts, etc. It will also be a friendly interface for browsing and viewing the DebConf videos and from other Debian meetings. * Pixelfed, a federated image publishing platform. This is a friendly and modern site that makes it easier to share photos at Debian events where they can be easily found by other Debianites (as apposed to Signal, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram which has sadly become a norm for those). * Jitsi meet, a web-based videoconferencing site (currently needs no authentication).

          Federation means that these services can communicate with other instances on the Internet. From a pleroma account, you can follow videos on peertube or images on pixelfed, or other accounts anywhere in the fediverse and leave comments on them. Not only can they interface with other instances of the same software, but also with completely different software (if based on ActivityPub.)

          Here's a nice video that explains both Peertube and the Fediverse: -

          ## How to get an account on services ##################################################

          It's still early days for us and there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. If you're a brave soul who doesn't mind occasional errors, crashes, explosions and even (brace yourself...) spelling mistakes, then you can help us test these services before we open then up for wider beta testing.

          Long-term, we plan to authenticate these services against the service. Some services are part of the way there, others may take some more time and collaboration with upstream.

          In the meantime, you can request an account for one or more of the services by creating a ticket in - You need a salsa account in order to do this, your username on Debian Social platforms will match your salsa account. We'll gradually add accounts as we feel more confident in the service on a first come, first serve basis.

          ## More information ###################

          * For the most up-to-date information, see our wiki page: * If you need some help, try us on #debian-social (but please be patient, we're not always there and usually very busy)

          ## Current Known issues we aim to resolve before entering a proper beta phase #############################################################################

          * We're still working on moderation policies, CoC text on sites, etc. If you'd like to help with moderation, please join our IRC channel and tell us so! * Server load is currently higher than normal, we're just about to finish importing all the last Debconf videos into the Peertube instance * Pleroma has some suggestive images that we'd rather remove * Peertube gives an internal server error when you upload an avatar that contains transparency * We still need to figure out how to deal with some GDPR style requests better. For example, if a user requests a copy of all their data. For now we expect such requests to be few enough that we can deal with them manually. * Various small CSS issues

          We hope that some of our work might be useful to you,

          - Debian Social Team
        • Debian GNU/Linux To Bring New Social Platforms For Debian Contributors

          Yesterday, very exciting news came from the Debian social team for all Debian GNU/Linux contributors. In the mailing list, Debian Social has announced the launch of new services, especially for contributors to collaborate more and share their works using official social platforms.

          I guess you must have heard about Debian’s personal blogging platform “Debian Planet” where you can submit your content. But the upcoming channels aim to give more freehand and visual presence to all contributors via videos, microblogs, and images.

        • Debian Looks To Go More Social From Microblogging To A Federated Image+Video Platform

          Debian has the domain where they are looking to deploy a set of services to share content and collaborate among Debian contributors as their own federated social platform.

          The Debian Social Team is planning to host their own micro-blogging platform using Pleroma (similar to mastodon), host Peertube as a federated video publishing platform, use Pixelfed as a federated image publishing platform, and also hosting a Jitsi web-based video conferencing site.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Shows Your OEM’s Logo on the Boot Screen

          The boot screen experience in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS looks a tiny bit different from the one provided in Ubuntu 19.10 — at least for some people.

          After I boot my Lenovo laptop up I now see Lenovo’s terrible logo front and centre. The informative half of the boot splash is still there nestled beneath the vendor logo, and is composed of an animated spinner and the distro logo.

        • Canonical Technical Support for Ubuntu and open source during the COVID-19 pandemic

          All technical support services are currently at 100% SLA. We have updated our operational plan to accommodate expected sick leave among colleagues and their families as COVID-19 moves through our communities.

          We are committed to 24/7 technical support, configuration advice and online access to your accounts and support tickets.

        • Update: Canonical managed services and Ubuntu support during COVID-19 outbreak

          Canonical’s fully managed OpenStack, Kubernetes, Kafka, Elastic, Postgres and other open source stacks, are operating at full SLA.

          Ubuntu and broader open source support services are unaffected and our teams have adjusted schedules to allow for colleagues to be out sick while maintaining full coverage in the months to come.

          Security update coverage is similarly resilient.

          We are now 100% remote, and can sustain that posture indefinitely.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 'Debbie' is here, but you don't want it
          Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 "Debbie" has finally exited Beta and is ready for download. Exciting stuff, right? I suppose. The thing is, you probably don't want it.

          Don't get me wrong, LMDE isn't really a bad operating system, but it isn't intended for widespread use. Most people should use "regular" Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu. This Debian variant is really just a backup distribution (a contingency plan) in case Canonical ever stops developing Ubuntu -- something that hopefully won't happen anytime soon. With all of that said, some people do run LMDE as their daily operating system for some reason.

        • LMDE 4 “Debbie” released!

          LMDE is a Linux Mint project which stands for “Linux Mint Debian Edition”. Its goal is to ensure Linux Mint would be able to continue to deliver the same user experience, and how much work would be involved, if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. LMDE is also one of our development targets, to guarantee the software we develop is compatible outside of Ubuntu.

          LMDE aims to be as similar as possible to Linux Mint, but without using Ubuntu. The package base is provided by Debian instead.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 Released - Finally Supports SecureBoot, Home Encryption
    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Tracking the real US coronavirus testing numbers with open source

        Want to know something scary? We really don't even know how many people have been tested for the coronavirus, never mind how many have it. Despite the Trump administration's promise of millions of tests and President Donald Trump's claims that anyone can get tested for COVID-19, it's clear there's still not enough tests available.

        Fortunately, researchers and Atlantic writers are pulling together data from numerous sources and using open-source software to give us the most accurate possible numbers on those tested, those found to be ill, and those who haven't gotten it.

      • Tools for monitoring, introvert inclusion, and more industry trends

        As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

      • Getting started with GStreamer's gst-build

        GStreamer relies on multiple repositories such as base and good to build its ecosystem, and now owns more than 30 projects in Gitlab. So, a unified tool/build system has always been necessary to build a specified version.

        For over a decade, a script named gst-uninstalled was present in the gstreamer/scripts directory to build the whole solution. Although this tool was not very flexible and was missing some options in the command line, it was good enough if you wanted to tackle a surprising bug in our favorite framework. But it was not as good at providing a real swiss-army knife approach to build GStreamer and its dependencies.

        Another build system called cerbero, created a few years ago, provides a standalone solution to build GStreamer packages. This solution offers a wide range of options in addition to a proper sandbox to avoid system dependencies and to be able to prepare packages that include third party software dependencies for a given version. Cerbero is written in Python and can create builds for the host machine like gst-uninstalled but also for various common targets depending on the host. Indeed a Linux regular desktop host will be capable to cross-build GStreamer for x86(32/64bits) but also for architecture such ARM and system such as Microsoft Windows. It can also create builds for Android and iOS.

      • Open Source Cloud Storage: 14 Top Tools

        Open source cloud storage offers a critical support function for many people and businesses. Cloud storage is absolutely essential for one key reason: Storage valuable data on-premises without a remote backup can be a recipe for disaster. To keep costs low, many people use open source cloud storage. It’s like that among the 15 open source cloud tools below, you’ll find one that will work for you.

      • Remote work when SaaS is not an option

        Corey and I created Mattermost to enable remote work through an open source, self-hosted Slack alternative. We needed control of our data and infrastructure down to the source code, without vendor dependency or lock-in. That idea has grown into a 100+ person all-remote, open core company. We’ve learned a lot.

        As COVID-19 spreads globally, we know many organizations are scrambling to enable remote work for the first time. For many, signing up for a SaaS service is a non-starter. For others, providing the ability to collaborate on sensitive data from your home WiFi has serious implications. That’s why Mattermost offers a free, self-hosted product for organizations to collaborate in a locked-down private network, as well as remotely over VPNs, without data leaving their organization.

        The global emergency is driving greater need, and we want to do our part to help everyone find the right solution for working remotely. Effective immediately, until at least end of June 2020, our teams will be providing:

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4.2 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac
          LibreOffice 6.4.2 is the second minor release of version 6.4, which means it’s not supposed to introduce new features but to further polish the experience with the productivity suite. So what you’re going to get after updating is an improved experience overall, which means noticeable changes are unlikely – although if you’ve previously come across bugs, there’s a chance they are fixed now.

          And speaking of fixed bugs, TDF says there are plenty of these in today’s update, including one that’s specifically aimed at Mac users. The issue of blurry fonts on Retina displays has finally been resolved, so if you’re a Mac user, you can enjoy a smoother ride with LibreOffice after updating.

      • Public Services/Government

        • New EC open source security audit poll: Respondents recommend EC to focus on Linux, OpenSSL and Firefox

          A record number of respondents to a recent EU-FOSSA 2 survey favour the European Commission to audit Linux, OpenSSL and OpenSSH on servers. For PC Workstations, respondents want the EC to boost the security of Firefox, Java, and GnuPG. In addition, respondents say the EC should support university teachers and professional developers to increase the security of open source.

          The first part of the survey, respondents were asked what the EU can do to help developers make more secure software. The second part questions focused on the security of free and open source software. As a result, the survey provided knowledge about the current needs of the open source community.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Global Officials Call for Free Access to Covid-19 Research

            GOVERNMENT SCIENCE ADVISERS from the US and 11 other countries Friday called on scientific publishers to make all research related to the coronavirus and Covid-19 more freely available.

            In an open letter, the advisers, including White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director Kelvin Droegemeier, asked the publishers to make data available through PubMed Central, a free archive of medical and life science research, or through other sources such as the World Health Organization's Covid database.

            The other countries whose officials signed the letter are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the UK.

          • Now Is the Time for Open Access Policies—Here’s Why

            All publicly funded organizations should: 1) Adopt open access policies that require publicly funded research to be made available under an open license (e.g. CC BY 4.0) or dedicated to the public domain. In practice, this means research articles and data can be freely reused by others, thereby enhancing collaboration among scientists and accelerating the pace of discovery. 2) Ensure all educational resources (such as videos, infographics and other media tools) are also openly licensed to facilitate dissemination of reliable, practical information to the public.

            The current race to find a vaccine for COVID-19 exemplifies why rapid and unrestricted access to scientific research and educational materials is vital in the most open terms possible. Due to the very nature of the illness, including the fact that it was completely unknown to scientists before the outbreak and is now global, it’s impossible for just one organization, institution, and/or government to tackle this crisis alone. In fact, current global efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19 wouldn’t be possible without Chinese health officials and researchers initially sharing critical information on the nature of the virus in early January 2020.

      • Programming/Development

        • LLVM Lands Build System Changes To Make It Easier For Out-Of-Tree Projects To Use MLIR

          Since being released by Google engineers last year and subsequently integrated into the LLVM ecosystem, the MLIR intermediate representation has quickly been gaining interest both among LLVM projects and other external users.

          MLIR is designed with heterogeneous hardware and machine learning in mind. TensorFlow and others have been re-tooled to support MLIR among other out-of-tree 'users' and more certainly being on the way with this IR designed by Chris Lattner and others.

        • LLVM 10.0 Release Pushed Back By Another Week Over Last Minute Bugs

          LLVM 10.0 along with the likes of Clang 10.0 were supposed to be out nearly one month ago but instead a fifth release candidate arrived today.

          The LLVM 10.0 release cycle has gone on several weeks longer than anticipated due to having to deal with last-minute bugs. LLVM 10.0-RC4 came out last week and was already two release candidates past what they anticipated, but rather than going for the final release today, a fifth release candidate was decided upon.

        • Jeff Geerling's Ansible Books Free until April

          Hi everyone, think by now most of us are settling into long-term working from home routine as part of COVID-19 social distancing. Hope you and your familiy are healthy and safe.

          If you're looking for a technical book or two to read, Jeff Geerling just made his two books on Ansible free on Leanpub until April.

        • The Remote Journey: references to start

          I started my professional career in an archipelago and I have been involved in Open Source for years so managing remote software related teams, departments and even organizations has been the default for me. I have been also working as consultant in a remote-friendly environment and now I am working at MBition remotely. I believe I am familiar with many aspect of the The Remote Journey, which is a topic I am interested on beyond my work, since it is tightly related to the way of life I want to live.

          Remote work is a fairly mature topic at individual (software development), team and department level. It is maturing at company level too which means that there are already resources in internet that will cover most of the basic questions and topics that most of the companies struggling today with moving from colocated directly to remote-only environments might have.


          It is my belief that in general, habits change mindsets instead of the other way around. When walking through The Journey together with teams and organizations, I put emphasis in the ceremonies as a way to drive the needed change at every level: personal, team, department and organization. If you successfully adapt the ceremonies, your are in a great position to modify people’s habits.

          Personal ceremonies are that, personal. I will not get into them. There is plenty of literature in internet about how to face remote work, the advantages, the challenges and how to approach them. I have my own routines. They are not static although some of them have been with me for some time now. Some have been affected due to the confinament state we are in right now in Spain so I am adapting them to evaluate how they work. My advice in this regard is that you read about other people routines, identify yours, track them and experiement to find the right combination. Again, assume they will evolve over time.

        • Build a physical game controller for Infinite Bunner

          In HackSpace magazine issue 28 we had a look at how to create an ultrasonic controller for a version of Pong called Boing!. This month, we’re going to take a step further forward through video game history and look at the game Frogger. In this classic game, you control a frog as it makes its way across logs, roads, and train tracks, avoiding falling in the water or getting hit.

        • Bunker Up: Remote Work with a Bastion Host
        • Perl / Raku

          • Enter the Matrix ... with PDL

            We interrupt this k-Means broadcast to bring you an important message about threading (the PDL kind, not the Perl kind - darn those overloaded terms!)

          • PTS 2020 Cancelled

            The Perl Toolchain Summit (PTS) won't be happening this year. It had been planned for Vienna, so we're hoping that PTS 2021 will be held in Vienna.

            We had wondered about delaying it, or seeing whether there's interest in a virtual PTS, but right now we all have much more important things to worry about. When the time is right, we'll see what makes sense.

        • Python

          • Onboarding - Building SaaS #48

            I started the stream with a quick fix to the main app view.

            After that, we started a new project in the app. I needed to design the starting experience for a user.

            I explained to the stream all of the data that a user needs to be successful with the app. We looked at django-extensions and the graph of all the models that it can produce.

          • PyCharm 2020.1 Beta

            We have a new Beta version of PyCharm that can now be downloaded from our website

            This Beta brings us closer to the 2020.1 release: we’re working on polishing everything to get it ready, and this week’s version brings some great improvements.


            We recently improved how stepping works in the Python debugger. Previously we had a separate ‘Smart step into’ option that allows you to which function call you’d like to step into if there are multiple function calls on the same line. Unfortunately, we had a small issue where in some cases we skipped a couple lines while stepping. This has now been fixed.

          • Let’s Build A Simple Interpreter. Part 19: Nested Procedure Calls

            As I promised you last time, today we’re going to expand on the material covered in the previous article and talk about executing nested procedure calls. Just like last time, we will limit our focus today to procedures that can access their parameters and local variables only. We will cover accessing non-local variables in the next article.

          • What to do About Email: How to Extract Data from Microsoft PST Files
          • 4 Common Mistakes When Learning Python and Programming

            How are you progressing with your Python? What could be holding you back?

            I gave it some thought and identified 4 issues we commonly see that hold people back from becoming a proficient Pythonista and programmer.

          • hplip 3.20.3-2 update requires manual intervention

            The hplip package prior to version 3.20.3-2 was missing the compiled python modules. This has been fixed in 3.20.3-2, so the upgrade will need to overwrite the untracked pyc files that were created.

          • How to filter a list of strings in Python

            Python uses list data type to store multiple data in a sequential index. It works like a numeric array of other programming languages. filter() method is a very useful method of Python. One or more data values can be filtered from any string or list or dictionary in Python by using filter() method. It filters data based on any particular condition. It stores data when the condition returns true and discard data when returns false. How the string data in a list can be filtered in Python is shown in this article by using different examples. You have to use Python 3+ to test the examples of this article.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Using Bash scripts in Linux to delete the history, cookies and cache files of Firefox, Google Chrome and Thunderbird

            The browsing data stored by Firefox, Google Chrome and Thunderbird can be deleted using the respective application’s GUI. But you can also do that using a Bash script, which could be useful if you want to delete unnecessary/unwanted files before e.g. backing up your home directory, or if you want a quick and easy way to clear-out browsing data. In this post I list the scripts and Desktop Configuration files I have created in Gentoo Linux and in Lubuntu 18.04 to remove browsing data.

        • Rust

        • Java

          • 12 Best Udemy Java Courses for Beginners in 2020

            I’ve covered at least 3 articles on the best Udemy courses since this year began where I covered beginner courses for PHP and Python as well as a list of Python courses for advanced users, among other online courses.

            Today’s focus is on one of the most popular programming languages of all time, Java – a high-level object-oriented programming language used for building multi-platform applications, and I am certain that there’s at least one course that will spark your interest.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

      • While Warning Donors But Reassuring Public, GOP Intel Chair Unloaded Personal Stocks Before Covid-19 Smashed Markets

        "If you paid up to $10,000 for membership and have a history of donating to Richard Burr, you would have received significant insight about COVID-19 by Feb 27."

      • A Pandemic in Retrospect—Looking Back on the Coronavirus From 2050

        What will we say at that point, after we have finally learned what we so desperately needed to know?

      • Coronavirus Is a Historic Trigger Event—and It Needs a Movement to Respond

        Even in times of social distancing, building a collective, social response to the pandemic is our only salvation.

      • Frontline Nurses Condemn Trump's Racism and Cruelty Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

        "As nurses, we know that kindness and humanitarian compassion are at the core of healing, they are also at the heart of public health and safety."

      • Stay Home, Save Lives
      • Trump Calls the Coronavirus “Chinese” Despite Reports of Anti-Asian Hate Crimes

        “I would like to begin by announcing some important developments in our war against the Chinese virus. I will be invoking the Defense Production Act just in case we need it.” That was the opening line of President Trump’s news conference Wednesday afternoon. Later in the news conference, Trump was questioned by ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega on continuously referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.” A member of the administration also reportedly referred to the coronavirus as the “kung-flu.” Meanwhile, racist incidents and threats of hate crimes against Asian Americans have emerged across the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. We get response from Elizabeth OuYang, the former president of OCA-New York, a civil rights organization where she advocated for victims of hate crimes and fair media representation of Asian Americans. She is a civil rights attorney and community advocate who teaches at Columbia and New York University.

      • Economists Demand Trump Immediately Lift Iran, Cuba, Venezuela Sanctions

        A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States’ crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare — in addition to being cruel in itself — is “feeding the coronavirus epidemic” by hampering nations’ capacity to respond.

      • Naomi Klein Makes the Case for Transformative Change Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

        Author, activist and journalist Naomi Klein says the coronavirus crisis, like earlier ones, could be a catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, including those most responsible for our current vulnerabilities, while offering next to nothing to most workers and small businesses. In 2007, Klein wrote The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Now she argues President Trump’s plan is a pandemic shock doctrine. In a new video for The Intercept, where she is a senior correspondent, Klein argues it’s vital for people to fight for the kind of transformative change that can not only curb the worst effects of the current crisis but also set society on a more just path.

      • ‘They’re walking biological weapons and they don’t understand’ The ‘BBC’ interviewed hospital chief physician Denis Protsenko about Moscow's coronavirus outbreak. Here's a quick summary of what he said.

        We have patients older than 65, but they’re not seriously ill. There’s not a single patient in Moscow on a ventilator. There are nine people in intensive care, but none of them is in critical condition. We can’t stop patients from escaping — what are we going to do? Twist their arms behind their backs? We talk to them, but they don’t hear us and they don’t understand that they’re walking biological weapons. And it’s the opposite with a lot of other people: they complain that they aren’t getting enough attention, though they haven’t even tested positive for the virus. And then they write on Facebook: “Nobody’s treating me.” We don’t know when the epidemic will peak. We’re just doing our jobs and nothing there has changed. It’s in vogue now to trash the healthcare system, but we have a team that’s working great. I marvel at our doctors. They’re working overtime and volunteers are coming to the hospital. The media needs to stop the hysteria. A panic only interferes with our work, sending people to clinics for no reason, costing us valuable resources. Healthy people don’t need to wear masks — they won’t help you. If you’re sick or have come into contact with those who are sick, only self-isolation is the most effective measure right now. Closing down the city would protect everyone in it. It’s just a question of cost. The real question is how far we’re willing to go.

      • Not Giving Up on Happiness: Care of the Self and Well-Being in a Plague Year

        The specter of plague haunts our world, and it brings with it not only the ghouls of disease and death but vast economic and social uncertainty of a sort only the most elderly among us remembers (the Great Depression and World War II). My father is 90 and when I called him a child of the depression once, he pointed out to me that as someone born in 1929, he really didn’t come to political consciousness until the Depression had ended. He was too young to fight in the war, though he joined the army three years after it ended. So you’d really have to be 95 or older to have fully experienced those world-shaking events.

      • The Dem Primary is Over, and We Need Bernie Sanders to Lead on Health Care From the Senate

        On Tuesday, I cast a joyless vote for the very much politically doomed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Illinois primary, in an elementary school where hushed whispers and fearful glances had replaced the normal din of an election day. There was no one standing just outside the perimeter hustling me to vote for this or that candidate. There were no throngs of voters with whom to share that elusory joy in exercising your basic democratic rights. It was the first, and I hope the last, ballot that I ever cast wearing latex gloves. There are, I think, very good and important questions about whether this election should have been held at all.

      • Intelligence Chairman Raised Virus Alarms Weeks Ago, Secret Recording Shows

        Burr has a unique perspective on the government's response to a pandemic, and not just because of his role as Intelligence Committee chairman. He helped to write the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), which forms the framework for the federal response.

        But in his public comments about the threat of COVID-19, Burr never offered the kind of precise warning that he delivered to the small group of his constituents.

      • We Still Gotta Eat: Survival Strategies For The Hospitality Sector In The COVID-19 Era

        Businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector, are having to adapt and change to a new reality. Rachel Kong from Marque Lawyers has a few simple tips to ensure your evolution doesn’t land you in legal trouble.

      • Biden Silent on Plan That Could Make Coronavirus Vaccine Affordable

        The pharmaceutical lobby scored a major win earlier this month when it stopped House Democrats from adding language to the emergency coronavirus funding bill that would have pressured drug companies to make coronavirus vaccines affordable. Instead, the industry secured language in the bill that prevents the government from taking any action to address vaccine prices that could delay their development.

      • Trump’s Deportation Machine Is Still Churning Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

        Federal deportation proceedings for incarcerated migrants and immigration defendants continue nationwide despite pleas from defense attorneys, human rights groups and some judges who fear that in-person court hearings and conditions of confinement inside immigration jails could facilitate the rapid spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

      • John Goerzen: COVID-19 is serious for all ages. Treat it like WWII

        Today I’d like to post a few updates about COVID-19 which I have gathered from credible sources, as well as some advice also gathered from credible sources.


        I’d also add that many supermarkets offer delivery or pickup options that allow you to get your groceries without entering the store. Some are also offering to let older people shop an hour before the store opens to the general public. These could help you minimize your exposure.

      • Europe’s Doctors Repeat Errors Made in Wuhan, China Medics Say

        As Europe’s daily new cases of the coronavirus now eclipse China’s at the peak of its epidemic, doctors in Wuhan -- the city in central China where the pathogen first emerged -- are seeing worrying signs of similar mistakes unfolding.

        Key among them is inadequate protection for medical workers, leading to a high infection rate among doctors and nurses. In Wuhan, a lack of understanding of the disease and a shortage of protective equipment in the early weeks of the outbreak in January led to thousands of health-care workers being infected while treating patients. At least 46 have died.

        “Our European colleagues are contracting the disease in their daily practice, and the proportion is quite similar to the earlier situation in Wuhan,” said Wu Dong, a gastro-enterology professor at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Wu spoke from Wuhan with journalists in Beijing on Monday, alongside three other top Chinese doctors. “We need to protect our medical staff.”

      • Stop hoarding toilet paper: John Phillips

        People need to seriously stop it with all of the hoarding of food and toilet paper.

        Especially the toilet paper. We’ve been hit with a coronavirus pandemic, not cholera.

        I don’t know what in the world sparked the run on toilet paper, but suddenly it has become the new Tickle Me Elmo doll on Christmas Eve.

        How serious is the toilet paper shortage?

        If it lasts through Halloween we may be forced to TP our neighbors’ houses with CVS receipts.

        And it’s not just toilet paper. Everything seems to be in high demand right now, despite the fact that there is no actual supply shortage.

        Old-school hoarders, whose homes are piled high with stacks of decades-old newspapers, discarded gadgets and lime-green leisure suits, are the new hipsters.

        The New York Times reports that over the past several weeks, sales of rice have risen 50 percent, canned meat is up more than 40 percent, and sales of other essentials like beans, pasta, peanut butter and bottled water have also spiked.

        Kroger, the parent company of Ralph’s and Food 4 Less, told its suppliers that demand had surged 30 percent across all categories in recent days. Last year, their sales increased by about 2 percent.

        It’s not just Kroger stores that are experiencing a surge, it’s also happening at Trader Joe’s, Costco, Walmart and virtually everywhere else.

      • How to avoid coronavirus during home showings

        With all of us impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — be it working from home, schooling from home, social distancing, checking your temperature, ordering take out instead of dining in, and helping deliver groceries to the elderly — there are a few things you might want to consider if you are buying or selling a home during these uncertain times.

        Here’s a brief rundown on some precautions you may want to take as we ride out this storm.

        Don’t touch any surface in any home you are touring with your bare hands.

        The virus is passed on via airborne particulates and can survive on surfaces and be passed on by touch. Don’t touch anything.

      • Nationwide confinement announced in Mauritius

        The Prime MInister of Mauritius had a press conference scheduled at 14h30 today. 1.5 hours later it was canceled and journalists were told that the PM will address the nation directly later.

        At around 21h30 Prime Minister P. K. Jugnauth addressed the population through the national TV, Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation. It appeared to be a recorded message.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Paragon Software and Sagemcom Partner to Offer Solutions for Linux Systems

          Paragon Software, a file systems and storage management provider, and Sagemcom Broadband, are partnering to embed Paragon into Sagemcom’s Linux-based series of routers.

          “We are pleased to partner with Sagemcom Broadband to empower end-users with full access to exFAT-formatted data from Linux systems,” said Konstantin Komarov, CEO of Paragon Software Group. “Paragon is known for reliability and quality, and through its OEM reach, it is leading the way for greater interoperability. exFAT is the ideal system to integrate into routers and to provide streamlined file transfers, enabling a more powerful customer experience. The alliance with Sagemcom marks an important milestone in our business and underscores our position as a leader in the file system and storage market.”

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Open Source Goes Mainstream – How Sharing Is Shaping The Future Of Music [Ed:Openwashing buy reducing the brand "open source" to just about nothing at all]

              Open source developments in music are leading the industry in a new direction. An increasing number of creators, for example, are building custom instruments and software, then choosing to make the products open source, or sharable in source code format, which allows other creators to produce derivative works free of charge for non-commercial use.

              “While open sourcing has been happening on a small scale among academics for some time, it converted over the past few years and is now growing mainstream,” says Ajay Kapur, professor and director of music technology at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), pointing to a new movement of electronic artists seeking to create unique sounds and names for themselves on social media. “It’s been really amazing, there has been so much open source stuff happening in the industry driven by the maker movement.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Vietnam Orders Speed-up of Privatization of Major State Firms

              Vietnam’s Commission for Management of State Capital at Enterprises must focus on quickening the privatization process at several major state-owned companies, according to the government website, which cited Deputy Premier Truong Hoa Binh.

          • IoT Hype

            • Monnit’s New Edge Gateway Elevates Sensor-to-Server IoT Security

              Robust processing — Linux€® UBUNTUâ„¢ single-board computer with a 32-bit ARM

            • Thousands Of Internet-Connected Satellites Above Us, What Could Possibly Go Wrong!

              Our skies are full of satellites, more full than they have been, that is, because SpaceX’s Starlink and a bevvy of other soon-to-launch operators plan to fill them with thousands of small low-earth-orbit craft to blanket the Earth with satellite Internet coverage. Astronomers are horrified at such an assault on their clear skies, space-watchers are fascinated by the latest developments, and in some quarters they’re causing a bit of concern about the security risk they might present. With a lot of regrettable overuse use of the word “hacker”, the concern is that such a large number of craft in the heavens might present an irresistible target for bad actors, who would proceed to steer them into each other can cause chaos.


              Decades ago, to be involved in space technology you had to be a government. The average Joe might just be able to listen to some satellite traffic, but the investment required to set up any kind of ground station was not in any way trivial. Thus satellites were not built with security in mind because it was deemed unlikely that anyone would have the means to access them. This led to many craft carrying open transponders, making them effectively always-on analogue repeaters in the sky.

              As technology progressed it became possible to build or acquire ground station components for some of these transponders, and by the 1980s there were tales of shady companies selling transatlantic data links using illicit narrow-bandwidth carriers hidden amid the wideband TV feeds on commercial relays. This type of open-transponder hijack reached a mass-market in Brazil, where the US Navy’s Fleet Satellite Communications System dating from the late 1970s became so widely used as to become almost akin to a CB radio for the vast interior of that country. Even as satellite communications moved into the digital domain it was believed that the high barrier to entry would be enough of a deterrent, so for example the Iridium satellite phone system launched in the 1990s lacked encryption and could easily be eavesdropped upon with an SDR in 2015.

              In 2020 though, even the most novice of satellite engineers will be aware of security, and we expect that the likes of SpaceX will not have employed novices. Just as you could steal a 1980s Cosworth Ford Sierra with rudimentary tools but their latest quick Mondeo model has a formidable engine immobiliser built-in, so is it likely to be no walk in the park to compromise any of the current crop of spacecraft. Their citing a satellite hijack story from 1999 as reason to be worried in 2020 is about as valid as worrying about the Mondeo because a child could nick the Sierra; it simply isn’t credible. It’s not that there are not legitimate concerns to be expressed with relation to satellite security, it is simply that inflamatory and shoddy journalism is hardly the way to approach them.

            • The IT and Security Teams: Buddies or Rivals?
            • AIoT Has a Nice Ring To It

              The Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) is a relatively new term for the evolution of a domain Wind River has been playing in for a very long time. If we think of many of the first applications of Artificial Intelligence in connected devices, it is adding autonomy to previously human controlled systems. Think advanced autonomous drones, automated driver assistance features in vehicles, or even autonomous factory robots. These autonomous systems tend to still interact with humans, and as such they are safety critical. More so, they’re connected and have associated security risks. Importantly, you can have a secure device that doesn’t deliver safety critical functionality, but you cannot have an insecure safety critical device.

              These connected autonomous systems are incredibly complex, and require an intelligent systems platform from the device edge to the infrastructure edge to the cloud; and in the device they require real-time operating systems (RTOS) with guaranteed performance, coupled with AI/ML algorithms that are mostly associated with Linux. The use cases and requirements span the complete system. The systems may require containerized applications running in the cloud and on edge devices. The systems may require AI/ML frameworks that span the RTOS and Linux on the device. Wind River can offer the complete package with its comprehensive software portfolio.

        • Security

          • Open-source security tools for cloud and container applications

            The use of containers is becoming increasingly popular, and container security is more critical than ever. Luckily, there are various tools that can help keep your business safe! This article covers some popular open-source tools that your DevOps team can use to secure your container environment.

            As the use of containers is becoming more popular and streamlined, the security aspects related to containers have also become more critical for businesses. Containerization has particular structural and operational elements that need special attention. The architectural differences like a shared kernel for containers demand a different security approach altogether, in comparison to traditional security approaches. This makes it very important to understand and perform container-specific security scanning at the earlier stages of the build process. To meet these dynamic requirements of the DevOps teams, several open-source security tools are available in the market. This article covers some popular open-source security tools your DevOps teams can use to ensure the security of your container environment.

          • Top 5 Open Source Serverless Security Tools

            The growing popularity of serverless architecture has led to its massive adoption. My organization has jumped on the serverless bandwagon and it lives up to expectations. The advantages have been tremendous—we have more time to focus on the development, marketing and deployment of the software now that we need not spend much time on infrastructure maintenance.

          • How technical debt is risking your security

            Everyone knows they shouldn't take shortcuts, especially in their work, and yet everyone does. Sometimes it doesn't matter, but when it comes to code development, though, it definitely does.

            As any experienced programmer knows, building your code the quick and dirty way soon leads to problems down the line. These issues might not be disastrous, but they incur a small penalty every time you want to develop your code further.

            This is the basic idea behind technical debt, a term first coined by well-known programmer Ward Cunningham. Technical debt is a metaphor that explains the long-term burden developers and software teams incur when taking shortcuts, and has become a popular way to think about the extra effort that we have to do in future development because of the quick and dirty design choice.

          • Linux Developers Discuss Flushing L1 Cache On Context Switches In Light Of Vulnerabilities

            In light of data sampling vulnerabilities like MDS, engineers from Amazon, Google, and other organizations are discussing a proof-of-concept implementation that would optionally flush the L1 data cache on context switches.

            Flushing out the L1 data cache on each context switch would result in yet another performance hit so it isn't being taken lightly. At least based upon public information at this point doesn't appear necessary but an extra step to enhance the system security following Intel's data sampling vulnerability disclosures. The "request for comments" patch by an Amazon engineer describes it as an optional feature for those that are "paranoid due to the recent snoop assisted data sampling vulnerabilites, to flush their L1D on being switched out. This protects their data from being snooped or leaked via side channels after the task has context switched out."

            The discussed means are ensuring data left in the L1d would be cleared out and a second avenue being explored is clearing the L1 cache should any untrusted (potentially malicious) process be starting up so to clear out the L1 cache before hand.

          • COVID-19 Themed Multistage Malware

            More and more countries are closing their borders and ask citizens to stay at home. The COVID-19 virus is everywhere and also used in campaigns to lure more victims who are looking for information about the pandemic. I found a malicious email that delivers a multi-stage malware.

            It spoofs a World Health Organisation email and pretends to provide recommendations to the victim: [...]

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Privacy & Encryption Will Be More Important Than Ever In Wake Of Coronavirus

              Be it Cambridge Analytica, Equifax, or wireless carrier location data, the U.S. has already faced a steady parade of privacy and security related scandals. Now as countries around the world hunker down to slow the rate of COVID-19, the problem could easily grow even larger as a chain reaction of implications make privacy, security, and tools like encryption more important than ever.

            • As Covid-19 spreads around the globe, so does the idea of using smartphones to track everyone to help contact tracing

              Google and Facebook are considering the idea of analyzing the collective movements of millions of their users to help model how the coronavirus spreads. The idea is that aggregated and anonymized data from smartphones would be shared with government agencies. Naturally, there are concerns about the granularity of the data that would be provided, since it could easily allow the authorities to track everyone if too much detail is available.

            • A sneaky attempt to end encryption is worming its way through Congress

              A thing about writing a newsletter about technology and democracy during a global pandemic is that technology and democracy are no longer really at the forefront of everyone’s attention. The relationship between big platforms and the nations they operate in remains vitally important for all sorts of reasons, and I’ve argued that the platforms have been unusually proactive in their efforts to promote high-quality information sources. Still, these moves are a sideshow compared to the questions we’re all now asking. How many people will get COVID-19? How many people will die? Will our healthcare system be overwhelmed? How long will it take our economy to recover?

              We won’t know the answers for weeks, but I’m starting to fear the worst. On Wednesday the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 had officially become a pandemic. A former director for the Centers for Disease Control now says that in the worst case scenario, more than 1 million Americans could die.

              This piece by Tomas Pueyo argues persuasively that the United States is currently seeing exponential growth in the number of people contracting the disease, and that hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed. Pueyo’s back ground is in growth marketing, not in epidemiology. But by now we have seen enough outbreaks in enough countries to have a rough idea of how the disease spreads, and to understand the value of “social distancing” — that is, staying behind closed doors. So I want to recommend that everyone here reads that piece, and consider modifying your behavior if you’re still planning events or spending a lot of time in public.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Russia continues disinformation tactic, this time with coronavirus

        A specialist EU database has recorded almost 80 cases of disinformation about coronavirus since Jan. 22, it said.

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov pointed to what he said was the lack in the EU document of a specific example or link to a specific media outlet.

      • ‘Come clean’: Democrat demands answers after report says Chinese security forces were at Hong Kong protests

        Civic Party chairman Alan Leong has told HKFP that the Hong Kong government must “come clean” and explain, after a report on Wednesday suggested officers from China’s top internal security forces were observing the city’s recent protests and unrest from the frontlines.

        Reuters spoke to Democratic Party legislator James To and an anonymous foreign diplomat who said that the Hong Kong police had brought in officers from the People’s Armed Police (PAP) to monitor the demonstrations and their tactics. The presence of China’s anti-riot force – which is separate from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – was reportedly part of a wider effort by the paramilitary force to comprehend the turmoil in Hong Kong triggered by a now-axed extradition bill.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Combating an ‘infodemic’: When fear and false information go viral

        It’s one thing to quarantine people, it’s another to contain the fear and false information that’s gone viral in the world’s first social media pandemic.

        Conspiracy theories have spread faster than the virus itself. Scientific papers are being hastily released – and debunked. The Trump administration has alleged a foreign disinformation campaign to spread fear. As everyone from data scientists to pastors try to address this parallel challenge, dubbed an “infodemic” by the World Health Organization, many see an opportunity for society to come together in this crisis and emerge the stronger for it.

      • Senator Warren releases her list of mandatory conditions for any kind of corporate bailout

        Using federal dollars to save your business while laying off employees to maintain profit margins would be prohibited under Warren’s plan.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Any Corporate Bailouts Should Wipe Out Shareholders First

        Companies taking taxpayer money should have to limit CEO pay.

      • Nationalise Private Corporations In The Wake of Coronavirus

        The unfolding coronavirus pandemic is unleashing an unprecedented crisis on the Australian, and global, economies.€ It is a crisis on multiple fronts: a health crisis, an economic crisis, a financial crisis, an employment crisis, and a social crisis.

      • Trump Stimulus Plan: Still Getting Everything Wrong

        The president appears not to know what he's doing.

      • We Need Wage Guarantees And Radical Restructure, Not More ‘Stimulus’

        Stimulus packages are designed to ‘oil the wheels’ of a working economy, writes Jim Stanford. Our economy is no longer working.

      • Top 10 Reasons the U.S. Government Is Blowing This

        10. Recognizing that a problem that has grown severe in other countries could grow severe in the United States would require thinking of the United States as existing in the same world, susceptible to the same forces, as everyone else. A willingness to recognize that would have led to earlier action and wiser action more coordinated with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the United States is supposed to be exceptional.

      • Don’t Give the Airlines What They Want

        The last decade has been very good to U.S. airlines. Industry consolidation, stuffing more people into smaller spaces on planes, and stacking fees upon fees have resulted in unprecedented prosperity for the country’s Big Four (American, Delta, United, and Southwest). From 2012 to 2016, these four airlines were the most profitable in the world, walking away with a combined $42.3 billion, according to an analysis by L.E.K. Consulting. In the two subsequent years, 2017 and 2018, the US airline industry raked in an additional $27.3 billion in profits. They then used nearly all of that money, a whopping 96 percent, to buy back shares from stockholders—a move that enriches investors while doing nothing for the company itself—and handsomely compensating executives.

      • Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock After Reassuring Public About Coronavirus Preparedness

        Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The DNC Declaration of Dependence: Death, Shackles, and Misery

        We are in trouble in this year of 2020, when global warming is causing ethnic strife and the break-up of states into warring chiefdoms; when there is an intensified nuclear arms race between the United States, China, and Russia; and when India, Pakistan, and North Korea may now also be stockpiling nukes. The expert on peace and security issues Michael Klare has recently written € that “rising temperatures will increase the likelihood of nuclear war, largely because climate change will heighten the risk of social stress, the decay of nation-states, and armed violence.” If he is right, then various doomsday scenarios will only become more and more likely in the future, unless we can somehow get off the path we are on.

      • Coronavirus Exposes Stunning Presidential Leadership Vacuum
      • The Coronavirus Doesn’t Have to Disrupt Our Elections

        “No voter should have to choose between exercising their constitutional right and putting their health at risk,” says Senator Ron Wyden, who has proposed ambitious legislation that would require states and localities to develop and administer plans to operate elections in the face of “the very real threat looming this November.”

        How serious is that threat? “This pandemic presents unique, novel challenges to election administrators,” says Wendy Weiser, who directs the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. “It is very different from any of the election emergencies we have seen in recent years. The nation has not prepared for it.” And that’s a big problem. “Our elections will not be perceived as fair if steps are not taken to assure that people have options for voting, no matter what happens. This is an emergency we can address, but we don’t have that much time.”

      • China Casts Itself as Global Savior While U.S. and EU Focus on Virus at Home

        The Chinese government’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan province—initially trying to cover it up, including arresting doctors who raised early alarm bells—helped lead to the global spread of the pandemic. But now, as cases within its own borders begin to ebb, Beijing is shipping sorely needed medical supplies and doctors worldwide, including to Italy and Iran, two of the countries hit hardest by the virus outside of China.

        That has led to a combination of praise, mistrust, and criticism from top Western officials and experts who see China’s pandemic response as reflective of its growing global clout, especially in the face of what critics characterize as stumbling responses by the EU and United States.

      • U.S. Citizens Abroad Frustrated by Lack of Help From Embassies Amid Pandemic

        The State Department recommends Americans abroad monitor the relevant U.S. embassy’s website for new information, enroll in the department’s traveler program to receive latest embassy updates, follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance as well as directives from local health authorities, check with airlines regarding disruptions in travel plans, and monitor the department’s website dedicated to coronavirus response.

      • Precautions when linking to outdated or incorrect information

        The web is a wonderful tool for learning everything there is to know about anything and nothing. It’s also full of articles based on factual misunderstandings and misrepresentations, outright lies and misinformation, and there’s tons of outdated information.

        Links are how much of that information gets around on the web. They’re one-click pointers from one source of information to another. They’re also tiny up-votes/amplifiers in search-ranking algorithms that organize and disseminate information on a global scale.

        As an author, you can help your readers establish confidence in your writing by linking to authoritative source materials that back up your information and arguments. This gives your readers convenient ways to fact-check your information for themselves.

        However, sometimes you need to include links to information that’s outdated, untrue, or is otherwise untrustworthy. E.g. when you’re writing an external fact-check of a claim made by another author or a pathological lying politician.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Routing Around Damage: Censored Reporting Hosted In Custom-Built Minecraft 'Library'

        As it has always been, the internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it. Reporters Without Borders is ensuring forbidden information is getting into the hands of whoever wants it, no matter what their government feels they should or shouldn't read.

      • Jordan uses internet throttling instead of internet shutdowns and blocks to censor websites

        Internet blocking by governments is evolving at a fast pace, and new research shows that one government in particular, Jordan, has decided to start internet throttling instead of blocking to decrease the discoverability of the government’s anti-freedom of expression actions. Access Now recently published their 2019 #KeepItOn report (definitely a suggested read) which details internet shutdowns around the world. They cover everything from complete internet shutdowns like the Indian government has been doing in their Jammu and Kashmir region all the way to smaller governments blocking access to social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. The 2019 #KeepItOn report showed the world that Jordan throttled Facebook Live during a crucial election time.

      • Coronavirus Outrage Spurs China’s Internet Police to Action

        As China tries to reshape the narrative of its fumbled response to the coronavirus outbreak, it is turning to a new breed of police that carry out real-world reprisals for digital misdeeds.

        The internet police, as they are known here, have gained power as the Communist Party has worked to seize greater control over the thoughts, words, and even memories of China’s 800 million web users. Now, they are emerging as a bulwark against the groundswell of anger over governance breakdowns that exacerbated the epidemic.

        Officers arrive with an unexpected rap at the door of online critics. They drag off offenders for hours of interrogation. They force their targets to sign loyalty pledges and recant remarks deemed politically unacceptable, even if those words were made in the relative privacy of a group chat.

      • Facebook wrongly deletes legit posts, news on coronavirus pandemic

        Aimed at curtailing the spread of fake and mischievous health information around COVID-19, Facebook's News Feed spam filter blocked URLs of legitimate websites.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Dissenter Weekly: Whistleblowing During The Coronavirus Pandemic

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” we discuss whistleblower stories related to the spread of COVID-19 or the coronavirus.

        Homeless shelters in places like Orange County, California are in disrepair. That will likely lead to more widespread infections.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Body Camera Once Again Catches An NYPD Officer Planting Drugs In Someone's Car

        If at first you don't get punished, plant, plant again.

      • As Cities Around the World Go on Lockdown, Victims of Domestic Violence Look For A Way Out

        From Europe to Asia, millions of people have been placed under lockdown, as the coronavirus infects more than 183,000 people. But Anita Bhatia, the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Women tells TIME that “the very technique we are using to protect people from the virus can perversely impact victims of domestic violence.” She added that “while we absolutely support the need to follow these measures of social distancing and isolation, we also recognize that it provides an opportunity for abusers to unleash more violence.”

      • Robert Reich: Coronavirus is Revealing a Secret—America Has No Real Public Health System

        As the coronavirus outbreak in the United States follows the same grim exponential growth path first displayed in Wuhan, China, before herculean measures were put in place to slow its spread there, America is waking up to the fact that it has almost no public capacity to deal with it. Instead of a public health system, we have a private for-profit system for individuals lucky enough to afford it and a rickety social insurance system for people fortunate enough to have a full-time job.

        At their best, both systems respond to the needs of individuals rather than the needs of the public as a whole. In America, the word "public"—as in public health, public education or public welfare—means a sum total of individual needs, not the common good.

        Contrast this with America's financial system. The Federal Reserve concerns itself with the health of financial markets as a whole. Late last week, the Fed made $1.5 trillion available to banks at the slightest hint of difficulties making trades. No one batted an eye.

      • Special Report: How Korea trounced U.S. in race to test people for coronavirus

        South Korea’s swift action stands in stark contrast to what has transpired in the United States. Seven weeks after the train station meeting, the Koreans have tested well over 290,000 people and identified over 8,000 infections. New cases are falling off: Ninety-three were reported Wednesday, down from a daily peak of 909 two weeks earlier.

        The United States, whose first case was detected the same day as South Korea’s, is not even close to meeting demand for testing. About 60,000 tests have been run by public and private labs in a country of 330 million, federal officials said Tuesday.

      • Abducted Christian girl regains freedom, rejoins family

        A statement made available to Vanguard by the Hausa Christians Foundation, HACFO last night said: “On the 26th January 2020 the Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO) reported the tragic incidence that befell the Family of Mr. Amos and Mrs. Lydia Chindo of Gidan Dio Nassarawa Tudun Wada Anchau, Kubau LGA of Kaduna State Nigeria when their daughter Sadiya was abducted and forcefully Islamized.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Senators urge FCC to ensure all students have access to [Internet] during school closures

        A group of Democratic senators on Thursday strongly urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure students taking classes at home due to the coronavirus have access to the [Internet].

        In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) emphasized the importance of K-12 students currently studying from home having access to the [Internet].

      • Netflix is slowing down in Europe to keep the [Internet] from breaking

        The company said it would reduce the bit rate of all its video streams for 30 days.

        "We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.

        The announcement followed appeals from EU officials for Netflix and individual users to ditch high definition video to prevent the internet from breaking. With so many countries on forced lockdowns to fight the spread of the virus, hundreds of millions working from home and even more children out of school, the officials were concerned about the huge strain on the internet.

        European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for the EU internal market covering more than 450 million people, spoke to Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings on Wednesday and again on Thursday about the strain video streaming was placing on networks.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Why Softbank Patent Troll's Promise Of 'Royalty Free' License On Theranos Patents For COVID-19 Is Bullshit

        As noted earlier this week, a Softbank-owned patent troll, Fortress Investment Group, spun up a shell company Labrador Diagnostics this month, and days after the company came into existence, it sued a company working on COVID-19 diagnostics, claiming that the technology it used for those tests violated the patents it had bought from Theranos -- the sham of a company that went down in flames, and whose founders are still facing federal charges for fraud. Oh, and Fortress/Labrador/Softbank was using the law firm Irell & Manella, the same law firm that once sued on behalf of a monkey over copyright. On a related note, the current head of the US Patent Office, Andrei Iancu, used to be the managing director of that law firm, and to this day insists that there's no such thing as a patent troll. He should perhaps talk to his former partner, Morgan Chu.

      • Challenging what we think we know about "market failures" and "innovation"

        I really enjoyed the final version of Brett Frischmann and Mark McKenna's article, "Comparative Analysis of Innovation Failures and Institutions in Context." The article was published in Houston Law Review in 2019. But I initially encountered it when the authors presented an early draft at the 2012 Yale Law School Information Society Project's "Innovation Beyond IP Conference," conceived and brought together by Amy Kapczynski and Written Description's Lisa Ouellette. The conference explored mechanisms and institutions besides federal intellectual property rights (IP) that government uses, or could use, in order to achieve some of IP's stated goals. Examples explored include research grants, prizes, and tax credits, among countless others.

        Frischmann and McKenna's paper was world-opening for me when I first read the early version as a young(er) fellow. Back then, I was primarily struck by their insights on market failures. In IP law, we tend to talk about only one market failure: the fear of copying and the incentive problems generated by the fact that ideas resemble so-called "public goods," which can be easily copied and widely deployed by many users without depleting their value. Frischmann and McKenna shook my understanding of this assumption. As they write, "[t]hat analysis might be useful, as far as it goes, but it would ignore other market failures, such as the demand-side failure that leads to under-provisioning of drugs to smaller or nonexistent markets." (314).

        So, for instance, sure, one reason society may not see enough private investment in developing life-saving drugs is the fact that drug companies could not recoup the cost of their research and testing if they could not exclude generics from copying their novel findings and undercutting their prices. If this is the market failure, then we'd then zoom in on IP rights as the solution to the problem, to prevent that copying and competition. But we could just as well focus on other market failures, such as the fact that some diseases are so rare or so selective in the population they target that there wouldn't be sufficient demand for the life-saving drugs in the first place. All the IP rights in the world would not do anything to stimulate investment if not enough people want or are willing or able to pay for what you're selling. (I also distinctly recall how Yochai Bekler put it in his talk: "it's market failure all the way down.")


        What's more, these disparate ideas of what counts as "innovation" may result in serious conflicts that can undermine a program's efficacy. "Innovation" that promotes advancement of knowledge that also happens to involve automation, for example, would contradict "innovation" that has job creation for people in the region as its ultimate objective. Likewise, "innovation" that promotes advancement of knowledge that happens to involve environmental disruption or the spread of disease, would contradict "innovation" that has sustainable development, social welfare, or longterm economic growth as objectives. Countless other examples of such conflicts could be derived from the list.

      • KOL285 | Disenthrall: Contracts with Stephan Kinsella

        We talked about the standard legal view of contracts, the Rothbard-Evers title theory of contract, applications such as bitcoin “smart contracts” and intellectual property, the idea of breach of contract, liquidated damages clauses, and so on.

      • Patents

        • Patents in the Time of Coronavirus

          Most of the time, the patents I cover involve investment in technology and who gets how much money. Innovation is important, but the patent lawsuits I write about usually don’t directly threaten public health and welfare.

          Usually. Today’s a little different.

          Earlier this week, Mike Masnick at Techdirt reported on what might be the single least likable patent troll ever to exist. Labrador Diagnostics, a “patent troll which does not seem to exist other than to file this lawsuit,” sued a medical device testing company, BioFire, for patent infringement. Labrador, like many patent trolls, didn’t actually invent the technology it’s asserting. But in this case, that technology came from a dubious source—Theranos, the fraudulent medical device company. And Labrador’s law firm, Irell & Manella, is the alma mater of the current Patent Office Director—the one who claims that patent trolls are a myth. Unsurprisingly, Labrador is asking for an injunction against sales of BioFire’s testing devices—a tactic that is used by trolls to try to extract a fee far higher than the value of their technology, and one that courts and economists alike are skeptical of.

          Oh, did I mention that the devices that Labrador is trying to block the sale of can be used in testing for COVID-19?


          Mike also notes that Theranos sold its patents to Fortress, a private equity firm. There’s additional context to that transaction. As reported in John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, Fortress loaned Theranos money to help them wind down, securing the loan by stating that if Theranos failed to make specified payments, then Fortress would take ownership of the patents.

          Unsurprisingly, the medical device company which didn’t have a functional medical device failed to make those payments, and Fortress took the patents.

          But why would a private equity company want to own patents created by a company who never had the ability to do what they claimed? After all, if the patents covered technology Theranos actually knew how to make, then Elizabeth Holmes probably wouldn’t be facing a trial for defrauding Theranos’s investors.

          But it’s actually simple to explain why Fortress wanted those patents—Fortress had just launched a $400 million fund whose entire purpose was to fund patent troll activity. This wasn’t a new business for Fortress—they’d been financing patent trolls in a similar fashion since at least 2014. One might conclude that they liked the business so much that they decided to jump in with both feet.

          This is all part of a recent trend for private equity companies to finance patent troll litigation in exchange for a share of the profits—something known as “litigation finance.” But that comes with a cost—private equity is focused on its own benefit, not the costs of its tactics. And as a private equity company that invested in another patent troll might recall, over-financialization of an asset class can have serious negative consequences for the global economy.

        • Jury Verdicts in Design Patent Cases

          The jury awarded a verdict of $123k and the district court issued a permanent injunction. However, in a post verdict ruling, the district court remitted the damages award to zero and ordered a new trial on damages. The court also denied GMS’s motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on non-infringement and GMS appealed.

          The basic question in the appeal is the extent that functional elements of the design can be protected by design patent. Unlike copyright, design patent law does not have a statutory requirement that ornamental features of a design be separable from the functional elements. I have never used a “rock dust blower”, but nothing in the design shown above appears purely decorative. At the same time, I can imagine many ways to make a fully functional and relatively inexpensive “rock dust blower” that use different design features than those drawn by the patentee here. Unfortunately, during the trial (or pre-trial) GMS never pointed to (or provided evidence on) the particular functional aspects of the design here that should have been excluded. As such, the Federal Circuit found the issue waived

        • Illumina, Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The latest Federal Circuit decision on subject matter eligibility in the life sciences came down (by a divided court) in favor of eligibility, in Illumina, Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. The claims at issue fell into the third "bucket" of eligibility, being neither diagnostic method claims (always ineligible at the Federal Circuit) nor method of treatment claims (eligible, at least until the Supreme Court grants certiorari in the next iteration of Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals), but rather (as denoted in the majority opinion), method of preparation claims, a philosophical cousin to the claims in Rapid Litig. Mgmt. Ltd. v. CellzDirect, Inc. And as an added bonus, Judge Reyna dissented in a manner that illustrates his thinking on patent eligibility of inventions involving natural phenomena (and natural products).


          The Federal Circuit reversed, in an opinion by Judge Lourie joined by Judge Moore; Judge Reyna (the author of the Court's Ariosa Diagnostics Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc. decision) dissented. Judge Lourie got right to the point, stating "[t]his is not a diagnostic case. And it is not a method of treatment case. It is a method of preparation case." The opinion acknowledged the consistent precedent post-Mayo that diagnostic method claims are ineligible, and method of treatment claims are eligible, citing Judge Moore's dissent from denial of rehearing en banc in Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Servs., LLC ("Since Mayo, we have held every single diagnostic claim in every case before us ineligible."); the panel decision in Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Servs., LLC; Cleveland Clinic Found. v. True Health Diagnostics LLC, 859 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2017); and Cleveland Clinic Found. v. True Health Diagnostics LLC. The panel majority also recognized that the Court had consistently held method of treatment claims to be patent-eligible, citing Endo Pharm. Inc. v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc.; Natural Alternatives Int'l, Inc. v. Creative Compounds, LLC; and, of course, Vanda Pharm. Inc.


          The majority understood the natural phenomenon underlying the claimed invention to be "that cell-free fetal DNA tends to be shorter than cell-free maternal DNA in a mother's bloodstream" despite some apparent inconsistencies in how at least Roche enunciated its interpretation. The critical question as understood by the majority was "whether the claims are 'directed to' that natural phenomenon." The majority held that the claims were not directed to the natural phenomenon but rather were directed to "a patent-eligible method that utilizes it." In support of this conclusion, Judge Lourie wrote regarding the specificities of the claims (albeit not the five specificities he identified in his Vanda opinion). These include "specific process steps—size discriminating and selectively removing DNA fragments that are above a specified size threshold" that increased the relative amount of cffDNA in the processed sample compared to maternal DNA. The claimed method "change[d] the composition of the mixture" and produced a DNA-containing fraction that was different from what naturally occurs in maternal blood. This was what distinguished, for the majority, what was claimed from merely "observing that fetal DNA is shorter than maternal DNA or detecting the presence of that phenomenon."

        • Important IP Updates Covid-19 | 19.03.2020

          All EPO-specific deadlines expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are thus extended until 17 April 2020. All oral appointments scheduled until March 27, 2020, including examination and opposition procedures, will be postponed until a new date, unless there is confirmation of the meeting by videoconference.

        • Alert: European Patent Office Informally Announces Intended Extension

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

          If a party has missed a time limit due to problems caused by COVID-19, legal remedies may be available in addition to those discussed above. Hence, if a deadline before 15 March 2020 has been missed, it still may be possible to respond and advice should be sought from a European patent attorney.

          The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has also issued a recent statement which indicates that time periods will be extended where allowed by the relevant legislation. The UKIPO states that it is willing to consider requests for extensions as favourably as possible on a case-by-case basis.

        • Software Patents

          • Targeted Radio patent challenged as likely unpatentable

            On March 17, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,948,684, owned and asserted by Targeted Radio LLC, an Acacia Research Corporation affiliate and well-known NPE. The ’684 patent, generally directed to the insertion of advertising or other content into an Internet radio stream based on the user's location, has been asserted in a district court case against Pandora.

          • Federal Circuit affirms Unified IPR victory against Intellectual Ventures patent

            On March 17, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential opinion in Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Unified Patents, LLC, affirming a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in IPR2016-01643 that held several challenged claims of U.S. Patent 6,775,745 unpatentable. The '745 patent generally relates to a method of caching data on a computer, and has been asserted years prior, though the case is stayed.

            On appeal, Intellectual Ventures argued that the Board misconstrued several claim limitations of the '745 patent. The Court disagreed, finding that the Board's construction was reasonable, and affirming unpatentability.

          • Digital technologies take top spot in EU patent applications in 2019

            The European Patent Office (EPO) has recently published its Patent Index 2019 which analyses patent filing trends in 2019. Tech patent owners will be interested to know that digital technologies, especially 5G and AI, were the most prevalent fields for patent applications.

            The EPO received 181,000 patent applications in 2019 (4% more than in 2018).

            Digital communication patent applications increased by 19.6%, reflecting the rapid development of 5G technologies. Chinese companies contributed most to the growth in digital communication patent applications (+64.6%), followed by South Korea (+36.1%, albeit from a smaller base) and the US (+14.6%). For transmission of digital information patent applications, the top applicants were Huawei, Qualcomm, Ericsson, LG and Samsung. For wireless communication network patent applications, the top applicants were Huawei, Oppo, Ericsson, Qualcomm and LG.

            Computer technology patent applications also increased (up by 10.2%), tracking the growth in AI technologies (including machine learning, data retrieval, image data processing and pattern recognition). US companies (+13.6%) accounted for nearly 40% of all computer technology patent applications, EPO member states (+9.3%) for almost 30%, and China (+18.7%) made up just over 10%. For machine learning and pattern recognition patent applications, the top applicants were Alphabet, Bosch, Samsung, Siemens and Intel. For image data processing and generation patent applications, the top applicants were Phillips, Siemens, Sony, Alphabet and Samsung. For data retrieval patent applications, the top applicants were Microsoft, Alphabet, Samsung, Huawei and Siemens.

      • Copyrights

        • 'Hacked' Netflix MENA Twitter Account Asks For Movie Torrent Recommendations (Updated)

          Last night the Twitter account of Netflix in the MENA region suddenly had its 'N' logo replaced with a pirate-themed graphic. Then, in a series of bizarre tweets declaring a hack, followers were asked for recommendations on movie torrents. This morning Netflix apparently regained control and apologized but could there be more to this than meets the eye?

        • Charter Countersues Music Companies for Sending Inaccurate DMCA Notices

          Internet provider Charter Communications has submitted its answer to the piracy liability lawsuit filed by major record labels. The ISP denies many of the allegations and also strikes back. In a recent filing, it accuses the music companies of violating copyright law by sending DMCA notices for content they don't own.

        • Comcast, Disney Embrace Faster Home Video Release Windows In Wake Of COVID-19

          There's a growing list of things that the COVID-19 crisis has exposed as unnecessary nonsense. Broadband usage caps come first to mind, followed quickly by a lingering disdain for telecommuting by a long list of executives. But the outbreak is also shining a light on another dumb practice that has long been a point of contention: Hollywood movie release windows.

        • Surprise: Judge Throws Out Jury's Awful Copyright Infringement Decision Over Katy Perry Song

          Last summer, we wrote about yet another post-Blurred Lines decision, showing that any two random songs that sounded kinda a little similar, might be ripe for a court to find infringing. In this case, it was a Katy Perry song, Dark Horse, that was found to infringe on a little known artist named "Flame," who had a song called "Joyful Noise." As we noted at the time, the similarities between the song were simply basic and fundamental building blocks of music. As that article points out:

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