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Links 15/4/2020: GNU Guix 1.1.0, Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU20

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How the Play Store could become Google’s one-stop-shop for all your Chromebook apps

        I was very excited to post about the arrival of two very significant apps last week in the Play Store. Well, not the arrival of those apps, per se, but the arrival of their PWA counterparts in place of the standard offer Android APKs. The two apps highlighted were YouTube TV and Twitter, and both services have fantastic Android apps and PWAs alike that have been available on Chromebooks for some time now. In the case of both apps, if you wanted the Android version on your Chromebook, you went to the Play Store for the install and if you wanted the web app (PWA) version, you went to the URL and clicked the install icon in your omnibar.

      • Google's grand Chrome OS plan is finally coming into focus

        Maybe it's an inevitable side effect of growth — or maybe just the piecemeal manner in which Google's Chrome OS platform has expanded — but Chromebooks today have so many program-running possibilities, it's damn near impossible to keep 'em straight. The computers can still run web apps, of course, just like in their earliest days, but they also now support the similar-looking-but-more-powerful progressive web apps, the on-their-way-out-but-still-present Chrome apps, the familiar-from-your-phone Android apps, and even the clunky-but-capable Linux apps. Sheesh!

    • Server

      • Side By Side Comparison Between GAFAM And Alternative World

          This is a list of good alternatives to GAFAM online services in ways understandable by people without deep knowledge about computer. By "Gafam" I mean popular online services of Google, Facebook, and alike and by "Alternative World" I mean Free Software-based challenging services of SearX, Mastodon, PeerTube, and alike. You can find here the new term Fediverse is sided with Alternative World. I hope this short article helps everybody to try out our Alternative World. Enjoy!

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU20

        We've just released SRU 20 for Oracle Solaris 11.4, the April 2020 CPU. It is available via 'pkg update' from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Punts Its Twentieth Update To Solaris 11.4

        With no sign of Solaris.Next either as Solaris 11.5 or Solaris 12, nor is it really expected to happen following Oracle's actions in recent years from layoffs to dismissing Solaris 12 when it was on their road-map at one point for 2017, Solaris 11.4 continues just being SRU'ed.

        Oracle will continue maintaining Solaris 11 for their customers through November 2034 -- and they at least have been doing that well with frequent (monthly) stable release updates. These ongoing Solaris 11.4 SRUs are focused on security fixes and rarely anything resembling new functionality.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Arm: A New Hope | LINUX Unplugged 349

        We build the server you never should, a tricked out Arm box, and push it to the limit with a telnet torture test.

        Plus what we're playing recently, community news, a handy self-hosted music pick, and more.

      • LHS Episode #338: Digital Dragon

        Hello and welcome to Episode 338 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short-topics episode, the hosts discuss Linux distros for SDR, TensorFlow, Linux files on Windows, Qt, CW, open-source ventilators and much, much more. Hope you're staying safe and healthy during the global crisis. Thank you for listening!

      • Your Linux Distribution Sucks

        We need to fix this problem.

      • mintCast 332.5 – Debian Mojito

        In our Innards section, we talk about our experiences with LMDE4!

      • This Week in Linux 99: Linux 5.6, Qt Diverting from Open Source?, PinePhone, UbuntuDDE, SUSE

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have a ridiculously packed episode for you with a new release from the Linux kernel itself, KDE announced they are working on Plasma for TVs and we’ve got some distro news from SUSE, Endeavour OS and a new Deepin Remix for Ubuntu. In hardware news, Pine64 announced a new UBports edition of the PinePhone and we’ve got two new Linux powered laptops announced recently. Tuxedo Computers teamed up with the Manjaro project to make some Manjaro branded laptops and System76 announced their new Lemur Pro. GNOME announced a new challenge they they are doing with Endless Computers called the Community Engagement Challenge and we’ve also got some interesting news for the future of the Calamares installer to cover. There’s also a topic that as a KDE Plasma fan, I’m not too excited to discuss this one and that’s Qt’s new roadmap where they are considering diverting away from Open Source to a degree . . . well, I guess more accurate to say a delay rather than diverting but we’ll get to that. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • Test and Code: 109: Testing in Financial Services - Eric Bergemann

        Financial services have their own unique testing development challenges. But they also have lots of the same challenges as many other software projects.

    • Kernel Space

      • Oracle Releases VirtualBox 6.1.6 with Support for Linux Kernel 5.6

        Oracle released VirtualBox 6.1.6 as the first version of its open-source and cross-platform virtualization software to support the recently released Linux 5.6 kernel series.

        Linux kernel 5.6 arrived at the end of March 2020 as the first release to ship with the WireGuard VPN solution built-in, providing next-generation VPN connections on Linux-powered machines.

        Linux 5.6 also added support for the USB4 implementation, a new CPU idle cooling thermal driver, AMD Pollock support, a new Zonefs file system for zoned block devices, and initial support for Amazon Echo smart speakers.

      • The Linux Kernel Prepares For Larger AMD CPU Microcode Updates

        Future AMD CPUs (more than likely, Zen 3) will be bearing larger CPU microcode sizes, resulting in the Linux kernel needing a change to load them.

        Currently the AMD Linux CPU microcode handler has a static upper limit of the page size, which is generally 4K. But in preparation for "future AMD CPUs" that will exceed that size, that upper limit is being bumped.

        With a change now pending as part of the x86/urgent work, that upper limit is being bumped to a factor of three times the page size. In other words, up to 12K microcode update size.

      • Linux Developers Are Once Again Trying To Enable Intel FSGSBASE For Better Performance

        For years there have been patches floating around for helping the performance of context switching sensitive workloads going back to "Ivy Bridge" CPUs but without ever crossing the finish line to get this "FSGSBASE" support merged. But now in 2020 it's once again being attempted.

        These patches are about enabling FSGSBASE instruction usage for allowing reading and writing to the FS/GS BASE from any privilege level. There are performance benefits thanks to skipping a system call and MSR write and also register savings.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Open Source software releases: Q1 2020 recap

          Long before COVID-19 took hold and made remote working the new reality for many, individuals and corporations from all parts of the world have worked together, collaborating online to drive technological advancements. Open Source software development thrives on remote collaboration, and continues to do so in 2020, with multiple projects announcing releases in the first quarter.

          As some of most motivated and active Open Source contributors and maintainers around the world, Collabora's team of engineers and developers took part in a number of these releases, both on their own time and while working on client projects.

        • Radeon GPU Analyzer 2.3.1 Released

          Radeon GPU Analyzer 2.3.1 is now available as the GPUOpen utility for analyzing Vulkan / DirectX / OpenGL / OpenCL code across platforms for performance profiling and other purposes.

          The Radeon GPU Analyzer 2.3.1 release has various performance improvements itself, a number of bug fixes, better support for its legacy OpenCL mode, Vulkan launcher enhancements, and other minor work for this open-source Radeon GPU debugging/profiling utility.

    • Applications

      • Started from the bottom, now we're near: 16 years on, open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape draws close to v1.0

        Inkscape, a popular open-source vector graphics application, is heading for its 1.0 release more than 16 years after its first appearance in November 2003.

        The Inkscape team has released two updates, one to fix issues with the current version, and the other a release candidate for 1.0.

        The application runs on Windows, Linux and macOS, though 1.0 is the first native macOS version as previous versions required the XQuartz X window system. It is fully 64-bit and requires OS X El Capitan 10.11 or higher. Mac support is hugely important, thanks to the wide use of Macs in the artistic and designer community. The native format of Inkscape is SVG, an XML-based standard for vector graphics.

        Under the covers the big change in version 1.0 is the switch to the GTK+ 3 library. This enables features including support for HiDPI displays. There are also a ton of application features, starting with a split view between outline and fully rendered views of the current document. Additionally, an X-Ray gives you a circular window that lets you peep through the drawing at the outline view. A new display mode called Visible Hairlines lets you see all lines of nonzero width, even if the zoom level would normally hide them.

      • Audacious Audio Player 4.0.2 Released with Qt UI Fixes [Ubuntu PPA]

        The second bug-fix release for Audacious 4.0 was released a day ago. Here’s how to install it in all current Ubuntu releases.

        While the first bug-fix release brings KDE Plasma 5.18 compatibility, Audacious audio player 4.0.2 includes mainly bug fixes and tweaks for the Qt interface...

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Promising spaceship colony sim 'Space Haven' Alpha 7 out with a Sandbox Mode, Early Access this year

        Two major features have been added to bring it closer to Steam and GOG with Advanced Game Customization and a proper Sandbox Mode. So now, you can really do whatever you want with it. You can also now actually pick what Crew you wish to start with and customize their outfits too, so it's getting a bit more like The Sims in space. Other big additions also came with Alpha 7 including a ton of translations, certain derelict ships can be captured and added to your fleet, there's new bigger ships for various factions and improved background art.

      • Set in a sinister, slowly decomposing land the action-RPG 'Crumbling World' has a demo out

        Releasing later this year on May 21, Crumbling World definitely has a curious setting. An action-RPG where the world is just falling apart and decomposing around you. Each play-through is procedurally generated so not only is it unique each time, the world is crumbling around you and so you're forced to keep moving.

        Dani Marti and Dume Arts recently put out a fresh Beta demo, which includes Linux support too!

      • Selfless Heroes, a sweet programming-puzzle game where you help heroes in a dungeon - with source code available

        Using an easy drag and drop interface, you design a simplistic AI to get around obstacles and progress through to the end of each dungeon level. It's clean and clear, with a nice interface that's made playing it a breeze. For avid programmers, it might not be the most interesting puzzle around but for casuals and a younger audience it's pretty good at introducing programming concepts.

      • The AI generated text adventure 'AI Dungeon' can now be played online with others

        AI Dungeon is absolutely fascinating. Every single adventure is different, as it's all powered by a fancy AI and now you and friends can join up for an adventure you're never going to forget.

        Quick reminder: AI Dungeon uses a machine learning model called GPT-2, which it uses to generate pretty much everything in the text-adventure. Anything you can express in written form can be your action and the AI dungeon master will decide how the world responds to your actions. The story, the result of your actions—all of it.

        With the introduction of multiplayer, which currently costs $4.99 a month to be able to host a game as you need to be a supporter (but anyone can join), thoroughly mixes things up. You and friends take turns, actions and stories are now all in third person rather than second person and the actual host can act like the dungeon master and supervise the AI by modifying and fixing responses it gives.

      • Lutris 0.5.6 Linux Game Manager Adds Fixes + Other Improvements

        Lutris 0.5.6 is out today as the popular open-source Linux game manager/launcher.

        On the fixes front Lutris 0.5.6 now has a fix for and Origin installation issues, better Wine sandbox handling for non-English systems, a blurry icon issue affecting the KDE desktop, and dropping broken translation files.

      • Linux game manager 'Lutris' has a sweet new build up - better Wine support, new DXVK handling

        Lutris is probably in my top 5 of free and open source Linux apps, as it's made gaming outside of Steam many times easier on Linux. Especially since it can pull in games from many different sources like Humble Store, GOG, and various others done through Wine like the Epic Games Store.

        The latest release put out today further improves the Wine experience. Now some Wine "core processes" are excluding from their monitoring which they say fixes " and Origin installation issues" and there's also a fixed for the Wine "sandbox on non English systems". Continuing Wine improvements they've also changed how they handle DXVK releases, so it now uses their own repository so they can roll out as needed (and hopefully catch any issues).

      • Couch-based Linux 'GamerOS' shows how SteamOS could be done - with a new release up

        While SteamOS had a nice idea to bring Linux gaming to the living room, it's currently on hold (although Valve may return to it). Now, there's another choice with the simply named GamerOS.

        GamerOS focuses on a true out-of-the-box experience with Linux and Steam, along with the Big Picture Mode. However, it's a lot more than that. It includes a ton of special tweaks to make everything run a lot smoother including: great gamepad input support, their own curated Steam Play Proton list to give you the best setup for Windows-only games, a "Steam Buddy" tool for installing non-Steam software like Flatpaks from Flathub and emulators, and a whole lot more.

      • Looks like 'Sword of the Necromancer' will be coming to Linux, as it's fully funded on Kickstarter

        Dungeon-crawler action RPG 'Sword of the Necromancer' is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, with quite a long time left to go they've been fully funded and it will be coming to Linux.

        As the name suggests, you have some kind of Necromancer powers as it seems the big gameplay hook here is how you revive fallen enemies to fight for you. With elements of it inspired by the likes of Enter the Gungeon, various Zelda games and Azure Dreams.

      • Slash Roll replaces cards with throwing dice and it's actually an interesting idea

        Slash Roll, a new Early Access indie game from NiankSoft recently appeared and it has a fun idea. It aims to be a 'pouch builder', that replaces card deck-building with collecting dice.

        The whole thing right now is relatively simple, although the developer does plan to expand it through the Early Access period. You go from table to table, challenging opponents and roll your dice. Each die can be an attack, defence and more and it does rely on some RNG with the rolling but it's actually quite fun. I really do love the idea, as a big fan of deck-building like experiences.

      • Challenging roguelike spaceship simulator 'Shortest Trip to Earth' released for Linux

        Shortest Trip to Earth takes elements of FTL, and then sprinkles in a huge amount more to make it have a lot more depth and quite a lot of challenge to it. Originally released in August last year, the Linux release arrived a few days ago.

        The tutorial is definitely recommended to go through on this one. When you first get into the game, it's pretty clear it's needed as they advertise the "brutal" difficulty of it. If you lose all your crew and/or your ship is destroyed, it's game over. However, you can unlock certain perks to help your next run.

      • Humble 2K's Game Together Bundle went live with a few Linux games

        Humble Bundle has a new set of games ready with the Humble 2K's Game Together Bundle, there's a few nice picks for Linux gaming fans in it and more if you use Steam Play Proton.

        For actual Linux support, there's not a lot. What's there though, is definitely good. In the first tier for €£1 / $1 you can get Spec Ops: The Line for Linux. Plus there's also The Darkness II, Sid Meier's Pirates! and Carnival Games VR.

        If you pay more than the average it includes the BioShock: The Collection, with that having BioShock Infinite as part of the package which does support Linux and is a huge amount of fun. There's also The Golf Club 2019, Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete and NBA 2K Playgrounds 2.

      • Gun simulating first-person shooter 'Receiver 2' is out now

        Wolfire Games have released 'Receiver 2', their brand new first-person shooter that takes gun simulation to an interesting level that makes it different to other traditional shooters.

        Acting as a much expanded sequel to the first iteration, Wolfire Games have taken the basic idea and expanded all parts of it. Receiver 2 simulates every internal part of each firearm based on manufacturer schematics and gunsmithing resources and can help people learn about guns including how to load and unload them, clear malfunctions, and operate their safety features.

      • UNIGINE 2 Community is a new edition of the powerful cross-platform game engine that's free to use

        Are you a game developer or an enthusiast looking to use a cross-platform and powerful game engine? UNIGINE 2 is now available in a 'Community' edition that's FREE to use.

        Once one of the most promising game engines around, UNIGINE doesn't really get a lot of press and not a lot of games use it but their feature set is impressive. It's also the tech that powers their very popular benchmarks including Superposition, Valley, Heaven, Tropics and Sanctuary.

      • Free and open source Master of Orion clone 'Remnants of the Precursors' has a Beta release

        Remember the original Master of Orion? Remnants of the Precursors is a strict feature clone of the 1993 classic. It's free, open source and a Beta version is out now. Given the age of Master of Orion, it's nice to see a fresh modern take on it while sticking to what made the original popular.

        The developer said it's feature-complete and fully playable, to the point that it should be enjoyable. However, there's plenty still to do before it reaches the shiny 1.0. They're still working through bug fixes, AI improvements, new artwork, additional writing, translations and so on.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Don't miss Akademy 2020 — This Year KDE is going Online!

          The KDE Community will be hosting Akademy 2020 online between Friday 4th and Friday 11th September.

          The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community. Participants will showcase, discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Members from the broader Free and Open Source Software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME OS on Pinebook Pro

          Recently, I have been working on running GNOME OS on the Pinebook Pro.

          GNOME OS is a bootable image used to test vanilla GNOME without dependencies on distributions. It is upgradable through OSTree and has Flatpak to allow installation of applications. GNOME OS is built using BuildStream. Basic dependencies are provided by Freedesktop SDK.

          The Pinebook Pro is a $200 arm 64 laptop from PINE64.

        • Sébastien Wilmet: GTK-Doc, Devhelp and [insert here missing GNOME project]

          In GNOME, the API documentation is written with GTK-Doc. For each module, it generates HTML pages plus a *.devhelp2 index file. Then the documentation can be easily browsed and searched in the Devhelp application.

          While GTK-Doc alone and Devhelp alone work fine, things get more complicated with cross-references: when there are links to symbols that belong to other modules. GTK-Doc handles this with gtkdoc-fixxref, but it needs to be correctly configured in the build system of each module.

          Then things get more complicated when installing pre-built documentation, instead of requiring every developer to build the gtk-doc documentation of every module that he/she cares about. Linux distributions have packages to install such documentation, but the cross-references may be broken.

        • Sebastian Pölsterl: scikit-survival 0.12 Released
    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • MakuluLinux Flash 2020 Could Be an Xfce Desktop Game-Changer

            I like the way Xfce works in MakuluLinux Flash 2020 a great deal. In fact, it is becoming a serious competitor to my current favorite desktops environments -- Cinnamon and KDE Plasma.

          This upgrade release has some annoying glitches, however. For instance, be careful when switching on some 3D features. All do not play well with some system hardware.

          Some of the settings with all of the animations seem to knock each other out. I discovered one glitch after I set up different backgrounds for four virtual workspaces. Every time I rebooted the system, some unselected background turned up in all desktops.

          The installation from the live session ISO was fast and easy. The installer even took care of petitioning options.

          I squeezed Flash 2020 onto a hard drive already holding four other Linux distributions. I was able to replace one of them with a click without having to deal with a separate partitioning preparation tool.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed Is Now Available on AWS Marketplace

          openSUSE developer Alessandro de Oliveira Faria announced the availability of the openSUSE Tumbleweed operating system on the AWS Marketplace.

          openSUSE, as a GNU/Linux distribution, was already available on the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Marketplace, but as the stable openSUSE Leap release.

          As you probably know already, openSUSE also offers a rolling-release version of its operating system, called openSUSE Tumbleweed.

          And the good news is that, as of this month, you can now install openSUSE Tumbleweed as a Linux server on Amazon AWS, and it’s intended for everyone wants to use the latest openSUSE release.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed available on AWS

          I make openSUSE Tumbleweed available on AWS. The Tumbleweed distribution is a pure rolling release version of openSUSE containing the latest stable versions of all software instead of relying on rigid periodic release cycles. The project does this for users that want the newest stable software.

          Tumbleweed is based on Factory, openSUSE’s main development codebase. Tumbleweed is updated once Factory’s bleeding edge software has been integrated, stabilized and tested. Tumbleweed contains the latest stable applications and is ready and reliable for daily use.

        • With coronavirus forcing us to work from home, SUSE suggests the Linux desktop

          None of the major enterprise Linux companies have been pushing the Linux desktop forward for some time. Their focus for over a decade now has been first on servers, then the cloud, and now, containers and Kubernetes. The Linux desktop has been on the backburner. Even Canonical with its Ubuntu desktop -- perhaps the first name in business Linux desktops these days -- is answering Linux desktop demand and not actually out there marketing it to customers.

          The Linux desktop today is driven largely by developers and fans. The most popular Linux desktops, such as MX Linux, Manjaro, and (my own favorite) Linux Mint are community rather than corporate-driven.

          But then along came the coronavirus and the sudden rush of people to work from home, and SUSE quickly figured out there was a new, underserved market for the Linux desktop: Companies with little in the way of resources that need to keep their businesses running with what their IT department and users already have at hand.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Enterprise Linux for all architectures: Bringing Red Hat Enterprise Linux to IBM z15 and LinuxONE III single frame systems

           If there’s one constant that can be relied upon, it’s that no two organizations will have the same needs or requirements. This is why Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports a broad ecosystem of hardware solutions and public cloud infrastructure, making the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform accessible no matter what your organization’s unique needs may be.

          Today, we’re pleased to continue to extend our commitment to customer choice in underlying compute architectures with RHEL support for IBM z15 and LinuxONE III single frame solutions. Building upon the features of z15 and LinuxONE III multiframe solutions, these new air-cooled platforms extend the benefits of IBM’s hardware technologies to a broader user base while continuing to offer supported configurations to enterprises seeking to use RHEL on these new platforms.

        • Ubuntu and the new IBM LinuxONE III LT2

          Back in September I wrote about Ubuntu on the new LinuxONE III. For the release of this new mainframe, there were balloons, and cake, and we had a great time celebrating. With Shelter in Place orders spreading throughout the US, we don’t have cake this time, but we do have a new hardware release!

          The IBM LinuxONE III LT2 follows in the footsteps of the initial release, with support for the great PCIe cards that the LT1 has, but aimed at the mid-range market. Most notably, that means it only comes in a single frame version (versus the option of up to four frames for the LT1), the processor cores run at 4.5ghz, instead of 5.2ghz, and they are all air-cooled.

        • Enterprise Linux for all architectures: Bringing Red Hat Enterprise Linux to IBM z15 and LinuxONE III single frame systems

          If there’s one constant that can be relied upon, it’s that no two organizations will have the same needs or requirements. This is why Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports a broad ecosystem of hardware solutions and public cloud infrastructure, making the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform accessible no matter what your organization’s unique needs may be.

          Today, we’re pleased to continue to extend our commitment to customer choice in underlying compute architectures with RHEL support for IBM z15 and LinuxONE III single frame solutions. Building upon the features of z15 and LinuxONE III multiframe solutions, these new air-cooled platforms extend the benefits of IBM’s hardware technologies to a broader user base while continuing to offer supported configurations to enterprises seeking to use RHEL on these new platforms.

        • IBM extends z15 mainframe family, intensifies Linux security

          IBM continued to reshape the mainframe with an eye toward further integrating it within hybrid clouds and securing Linux-based workloads.

          On the hardware side, IBM rolled out two entry-level, 19” single-frame, air-cooled platforms, the z15 Model T02 and LinuxONE III Model LT2. The new machines are extensions of the IBM z15 family that Big Blue rolled out in September of last year.

          Both can fit in cloud data-center racks and can be outfitted with a second drawer, should customers need to grow capacity. Both feature 65 cores using commercial processors running at 4.5GHz and can be configured to support all manner of workloads.

        • Fedora Origins – Part 01

            In the mid-90s a company named Red Hat emerged and slowly started to make a profit of its own by selling its own business-oriented distribution and software utilities. The name comes from one of its founders, Marc Ewing, who used to wear a red lacrosse in university so other students could spot him easily and ask him questions.

          Of course, as it was a business-oriented distribution, and I was busy with multiple other things, I didn’t pay much attention to it. It lacked the software I needed and since I wasn’t a customer, I was nobody to ask for additions.

          However, it was Linux and as such Open Source. People started to package stuff for RHL and put it in repositories. I was invited to join the community project, I promptly declined, misunderstanding the name. It was the second time I got invited that I asked ‘what is with the “US” there (in the name)?` Another user explained it was ‘us’ as in ‘we’ not as in the ‘United States.’ They explained a bit about how the community worked and I decided to give it a go.

        • Fedora 33 Planning To Enable Systemd-Resolved By Default

          Fedora 33 this autumn is looking to make use of systemd-resolved by default rather than NSS-DNS for name resolution.

          Systemd-resolved provides network name resolution for DNS / DNSSEC / DNS-over-TLS / mDNS / LLMNR. Systemd-resolved has been around for years as part of systemd's expansive offerings but to now disabled by default as part of Fedora's build. In turn with the Fedora 33 feature plan, Glibc will carry out name resolutions using systemd-resolved's nss-resolve rather than nss-dns.

        • Fedora Council and the git forge

          I love the passion the Fedora Project inspires in our community. That passion has been on display in the past week as the community has discussed the decision to move forward with GitLab as our git forge. I want to be very clear: we, the Fedora Council, dropped the ball on communication here. No one intended to be secretive or hide from the community, but we should have done better.

          I also want to emphasize that we trust the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team to make the right decision. Fedora’s dist-git is currently provided to us by CPE. The future of what they provide to the project is a decision they will make based on a transparent set of requirements agreed on by FESCo, Council, and interested community members. CPE team members are part of the Fedora community, and we know they share our passion for our project’s success. As the Council, we trust CPE to balance our requirements with the needs of CentOS and RHEL and come up with something that works for everyone and will be good for Fedora long-term. We’re also listening to the continuing conversation in the community. We are reiterating this in Council #292.

          Many of you have expressed a strong desire for Fedora to be built with free software at all layers of the infrastructure. The Council shares that desire, but we recognize that there are cases where viable free software options are not available. In this particular case, we believe that we do have those options. And we recognize that many of our community members feel that our dist-git tooling goes to the heart of Fedora’s work as a project, making it particularly important symbolically. We also reiterated this in Council #292.

        • OmegaT packaged with Flatpak

          Well, it has been time to resume the task. I’m not really an OmegaT user (I’ve used it just a few times in all these years) but I feel committed helping it to be better known and used in the Linux Desktop. In the past I made a lot of work with technical translations and I fully understand the power of the tool for profesional users and it’s opensource: as far as I know OmegaT is the best CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) opensource tool in the world.

          So I’m here again and did some work for a final product. Today the work is a lot of easier because the existence of the OpenJDK Flatpak extension (see this update from Mat Booth). Thanks for this extension! It’s so nice I’m finishing other two java programs to be published at Flathub: Freeplane and JClic. For this release series I’m taking the easy way of packaging the binary portable bundle instead of compiling from sources because… it’s tedious. I am concerned it’s not the best practice. And this time I’ve started from a more recent version beta 5.2.0.

        • Fedora 33's "Enterprise Linux Next" Effort Approved - Testbed For Raising CPU Requirements, Etc

          Fedora 33 later this year will see a new "Enterprise Linux Next" (ELN) buildroot and compose setup for testing new changes potentially destined for the next release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Most notable from the original ELN proposal is on potentially raising the x86_64 CPU requirements. ELN is now approved to take place.

          As outlined last month, Enterprise Linux Next would be a sort of testing grounds for possible changes in RHEL+1 and for building packages in a more RHEL-like manner. ELN would provide developers and other stakeholders with a feedback loop that resembles the CentOS/RHEL build process.

        • Red Hat Linux Hires Former IBM, Oracle Exec as Channel VP
        • Ceph Block Performance Monitoring: Putting noisy neighbors in their place with RBD top and QoS

          Prior to Red Hat Storage 4, Ceph storage administrators have not had access to built-in RBD performance monitoring and metrics gathering tools. While a storage administrator could monitor high-level cluster or OSD I/O metrics, oftentimes this was too coarse-grained to determine the source of noisy neighbor workloads running on top of RBD images. The best available workaround, assuming the storage administrator had access to all client nodes, was to poll the metrics from the client nodes via some kind of homegrown makeshift external tooling.

          Ceph Storage 4 now incorporates a generic metrics gathering framework within the OSDs and MGRs to provide built-in monitoring, and new RBD performance monitoring tools are built on top of this framework to translate individual RADOS object metrics into aggregated RBD image metrics for Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS), throughput, and latency. These metrics are generated and processed within the Ceph cluster itself, so there is no need for access to client nodes to scrape metrics.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Community Team Delegation Announced As Replacement To The Anti-Harassment Team

          Debian Project Leader Sam Hartman has delegated a set of individuals to serve as the Debian Community Team, the project's replacement to the former Debian Anti-Harassment Team.

          The Debian Community Team members are delegated by the Debian Project Leader and serve until updated or removed by the current/future Debian Project Leader.

          The Debian Community Team is tasked to "help Debian be a welcoming place, focusing on response to difficult or contentious communications, as well as other negative experiences and Code of Conduct violations. It aims to encourage and foster a respectful, productive, and inclusive atmosphere throughout the Debian community."

        • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in March 2020

          Welcome to Here is my monthly report (+ the first week in April) that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

          I am sure I am not the only one who will remember March 2020 in the future as a month nobody was really fond of. I was mostly occupied with non-Debian work and managed to get ill in the same week I wanted to celebrate my birthday but it didn’t matter anyway because of ehm quarantine and social distancing. Maybe next year March will be great again.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 4.10 “Warty Warthog” Review: Back To The First Ubuntu Linux Desktop

            Have you ever tried the very first release of the most popular Linux distribution? Well, this is exactly what I’m going to do for this article just before the latest Ubuntu 20.04 arrives. I will not discuss the evolution of Ubuntu and its variants but rather go back to the first release — Ubuntu 4.10.

          If you know the pattern for naming the Ubuntu version, you may have guessed it right that the first Ubuntu was released on 20 October 2004. Since then, it’s not only the favorite distro for beginners, but professionals also prefer it the most. So, let’s know about the first Ubuntu Linux desktop in detail.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Signal Speaks Out About The Evils Of The EARN IT Act

        Signal, the end-to-end encrypted app maker, doesn't really need Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. It can't see what everyone's saying via its offering anyway, so there's little in the way of moderation to do. But, still, it's good to see it come out with a strong condemnation of the EARN IT Act, which as been put forth by Senators Lindsey Graham, Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein, and Josh Hawley as a way to undermine both Section 230 of the CDA and end-to-end encryption in the same bill. The idea is to effectively use one as a wedge against the other. Under the bill, companies will have to "earn" their 230 protections, by putting in place a bunch of recommended "best practices" which can be effectively put in place by the US Attorney General -- the current holder of which, Bill Barr, has made clear that he hates end-to-end encryption and thinks its a shame the DOJ can't spy on everyone. And this isn't just this administration. Law enforcement officials, such as James Comey under Obama, were pushing this ridiculous line of thinking as well.

      • COVID-19 Stories

        • OpenLung, an open-source Ventilator to combat COVID-19

          The world has come to a standstill in the past few months. Every country is grappling with a crisis the likes of which they haven’t encountered since the last world war.

          Scientists have for years been warning us of the high likelihood of a never-before-seen virus swiftly blowing up into a pandemic. Most world leaders disregarded it as one-in-a-billion black swan event, but here we are today facing beyond-our-wildest-dreams consequences of their lack of imagination.

          In these demoralizing times, a group of volunteers is presenting their design for an open-source ventilator that can be manufactured in a short period using economical parts. Let us appreciate their contribution and spread the word about their low-cost alternative to expensive ventilators.

        • UNDP and partner to launch a global innovation challenge to tackle COVID-19

          The fight against COVID-19 is at a crucial tipping point, so the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and, an Avnet company and the largest online open-source technology hardware community, are taking action. The two organizations have partnered to launch the COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge to create open-source technology that developing countries can leverage in the fight against this global pandemic.

          The new design challenge is a call to action for all hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, innovators and inventors to come up with innovative ideas to cost-efficiently support COVID-19 response efforts in developing countries. There will be prizes and recognition awarded to the top ten solutions, and Avnet will provide support to accelerate the winners’ time to market by offering business consultation and access to engineering, design and manufacturing resources.

        • How young people can help fight COVID-19 with code

          The passions mentioned above stem from a deeply personal journey: My children and I are victims of parental kidnapping, and access to the internet and digital literacy are my pathways to being a mother from afar. My children, Zahra (age 13), Zahran (15), and Youmna (18), are safe and healthy, and we are frequently connected. They're living the same life youth all over the world are living these days, trying to social distance and remain in good health while figuring out this school thing (or lack thereof)—only one of my children has access to formal virtual learning during to COVID-19 school closures. The other two, without school-driven online learning options, tend to stay up all night playing Fortnight and making TikTok videos.

          I have always been passionate about digital inclusion and empowering the world through computer science, and the effects of COVID-19 have increased my desire to make a difference. About four years ago, I created a non-profit organization, MentorNations, to inspire youth and the world via technology. My non-profit has taught tens of thousands of young people in 12 countries to code. In my work at IBM as a developer advocate, I focus on empowering early-stage entrepreneurs, developers, and students with access to tech skills, professional development, and entrepreneurial thinking. My major focus areas include inspiring students to discover their career potential in enterprise computing while recognizing that we are all ANDs and not ORs.

        • Duke Creates Open-Source Protective Respirator

          A protective respirator created by a Duke University medical and engineering task force is now being used by Duke Health doctors as they treat patients with suspected cases of COVID-19.

          In an effort to combat the worldwide shortage of protective medical equipment, Duke is making the design widely available as an open-source design. (See link at end of story.)

          “We have these helmets that we wear during arthroplasty surgery (joint repairs) and we started to wonder, ‘Can these be repurposed?’ ” said Duke orthopedic spine surgeon Melissa Erickson, who first had the idea.

          Duke engineering professors Ken Gall, Paul Fearis and Eric Richardson tackled the task of turning the surgical helmet, which uses room air, into a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), which uses filtered air. The Duke Engineering team worked closely with Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab, which has 65 3D printers, to print and test numerous prototype designs.

      • Web Browsers

        • Daniel Stenberg: curl is not removing FTP

          Mozilla also announced their plan for the deprecation of FTP in Firefox.

          Both browsers have paused or conditioned their efforts to not take the final steps during the Covid-19 outbreak, but they will continue and the outcome is given: FTP support in browsers is going away. Soon.

        • Mozilla

          • Sharing Virtual Spaces is More than a Headset

            One of the questions that the Hubs team is often asked is about the benefits of shared virtual environments compared to traditional video conferencing. While Hubs was built to support virtual reality devices, and there are a number of benefits that a VR headset can provide for meeting with people online, we’ve been interested in understanding the different ways that people connect in Hubs even when they’re on a desktop or mobile device. As we think about the future of mixed reality, it’s important to recognize that the device form factors that people will use will vary from handheld and standalone devices as well as headsets. In this post, we’ll share a few thoughts about how meeting in shared 3D environments (even without a virtual reality device) can provide an alternative to video conferencing, and when it does - or doesn’t - work effectively.

          • April Extensions for Firefox Preview

            Back in February, we announced support for the first extension for Firefox Preview, the new and rebuilt mobile browser for Android that is set to replace Firefox for Android later this year.

            We’ve since expanded support for more add-ons from the Recommended Extensions program that we’d like to introduce to you. These add-ons will be available in Firefox Preview within the next 2 weeks.

            With Dark Reader, websites on mobile will be easy to read when the lights are dim. The extension automatically inverts bright colors on web pages to offer an eye-pleasing dark mode. There are a number of configuration options allowing you to customize your experience.

            When you are on the go, you don’t want people eavesdropping on your browsing behavior. HTTPS Everywhere automatically enables website encryption for pages that default to unencrypted communications. This is especially helpful if you are surfing via a shared wifi connection.

          • Expanding Client Certificates in Firefox 75

            When Firefox negotiates a secure connection with a website, the web server sends a certificate to the browser for verification. In some cases, such as corporate authentication systems, the server requests that the browser send a certificate back to it as well. This client certificate, combined with a signature from the private key corresponding to that certificate, allows the user to authenticate to the website.

            These client certificates and private keys are often stored in hardware tokens or in storage provided by the operating system.

            Using Firefox to access a client certificate stored on a hardware token typically involves loading a shared library written by either the vendor of the token or another third party into Firefox’s process. These third party libraries can cause stability issues with Firefox and are concerning from a security perspective. For instance, a vulnerability in one of these libraries can potentially put Firefox users at risk.

            Alternatively, Firefox can use client certificates that have exportable keys if they are manually saved to a file and then imported into a Firefox profile. Though this storage mechanism can be protected by a password, this option increases the potential for a private key to be compromised. Additionally, this method does not work at all for unexportable keys.

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 334

            Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community.

          • Eric Shepherd: Welcome to remote working

            First, let’s get the most important part out of the way: I hope you and yours are faring as well as possible during these difficult times. Though much of what’s happening was inescapable, enough mistakes were made that we find ourselves in an essentially generation-defining crisis. This is the time my daughter will point at and tell her kids, “You think you have it rough? Back in my day…”

            Please do everything you can to contain the spread of COVID-19. Stay home to the greatest possible extent.Don’t have visitors, or go out visiting others, and if you must interact with other people, stay as far apart as can be managed—at least six feet—and don’t allow your hands or face to come into contact with anything that others have touched. And, of course, wash those hands. A lot.

          • Alex Gibson: My seventh year working at Mozilla

            This week marks my seventh year working full time for Mozilla. The past year has been good for me personally and professionally, but it has also been an uneasy time for both Mozilla and the world as a whole. I write this post under lockdown during to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a very testing time for many people and organizations around the world. I’m thankful to still have a stable job, and to have the protection of being able to work from home. I’m more aware of my privilege now than ever before.

          • Nicholas Nethercote: Better stack fixing for Firefox

            I recently undertook a project to improve the stack fixing tools used for Firefox. This has resulted in some large performance wins (e.g. 10x-100x) and a significant improvement in code quality. The story involves Rust, Python, executable and debug info formats, Taskcluster, and many unexpected complications.

      • Education

        • 6 open source teaching tools for virtual classrooms

            As schools and universities are shutting down around the globe due to COVID-19, many of us in academia are wondering how we can get up to speed and establish a stable workflow to get our podcasts, online lectures, and tutorials out there for our students.

          Open source software (OSS) has a key role to play in this situation for many reasons, including...

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak

            This year's FSFE's Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop has been cancelled. The FSFE thanks our contributors and looks ahead to organizing the event next year.

            Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 currently gripping the world, in early March the FSFE had to make the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop 2020 (the "Workshop"). Originally scheduled to take place from 15 - 17 April in Barcelona, Spain, the Workshop is an annual conference held every year since 2008 for the FSFE's Legal Network, and serves as a meeting point for FOSS legal experts to discuss issues and best practices surrounding Free Software licensing.

            Many exciting sessions were scheduled for this year's Workshop, including discussions on the technological relevance of copyleft licenses, on the challenges facing Free Software with machine learning and big data, on ongoing litigation from various jurisdictions on software licensing, as well as many other talks and workshops.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guix 1.1.0 released

            We are pleased to announce the release of GNU Guix version 1.1.0!

            The release comes with ISO-9660 installation images, a virtual machine image, and with tarballs to install the package manager on top of your GNU/Linux distro, either from source or from binaries. Guix users can update by running guix pull.

            If you wonder what installing Guix System is like, this video gives an overview of the guided installation process:

          • GNU Guix 1.1 Released With PulseAudio & Other Services, 3k+ New Packages

            It's been nearly one year since the release of GNU Guix 1.0 as the transactional package manager and GNU/Linux system distribution while today that has been succeeded by Guix 1.1.

            The Guix 1.1 package manager supports a guix deploy command for deploying several machines at once, a new time-machine sub-command, and a variety of other package management handling improvements.

          • GNU Guix 1.1.0 released
          • Pluto Might Not Be A Planet, But It Is An SDR Transceiver

            In this post, I’m going to show you how you can use GNU Radio to make a simple Morse code beacon in the 2m ham band.

      • Programming/Development

        • Training at Qt World Summit 2020

          Qt World Summit 2020 has been postponed until October 20-22. It will take place in Palm Springs, USA.

        • Select all Google Photos (or Videos)

          Few weeks ago my uncle told me that he was unable to receive any new emails. A quick investigation led us to the idea that he had no more space left in his Google account, and that was caused by the hundreds and hundreds of photos and videos he was taking, that were automatically being backed up to Google Photos service.

          So the solution was simple, all he had to do is deleting some of the old photos to clear some space. but simple as that sound at first, turned out it wasn’t that an easy task after all.

        • Marcin Kolny: HawkTracer - low-overhead instrumentation-based profiler

          A while ago, at Amazon we've open-sourced instrumentation-based profiler - HawkTracer - which introduces very low overhead so it can be used on low-end platforms, where development environment is somehow limited (e.g. no ssh access, very limited disk storage etc). We used it to fix performance issues of Prime Video app on living room devices (SmartTVs, Streaming sticks, Game consoles etc).

        • If you use GNU Grep on text files, use the -a (--text) option

          Ah. Yes. How helpful. While reading along in what it had up until then thought was a text file, GNU Grep encountered some funny characters (in a DKIM signature information line, as it happened) and decided that the file was actually binary and so it wouldn't report anything more for the rest of the file than that final line.

        • DIY Single Sign-On for SSH

          TL;DR In this post we're going to set up Google single sign-on for SSH. Behind the scenes, we'll use OpenID Connect (OIDC), short-lived SSH certificates, a couple of clever SSH configuration tweaks, and Smallstep's open-source step-ca and step packages. We will set up an SSH Certificate Authority, and use it to bootstrap a new host and a new user in our system. While this approach requires more up-front work than a typical SSH public/private key setup, it comes with a lot of benefits beyond single sign-on. It eliminates the need for gathering and shipping and managing authorized_keys files.

        • Evaluate 3 ways to run Kubernetes locally

          The main purpose of Kubernetes is to host applications across a cluster of servers with sophisticated load balancing and resource allocation features. This ensures applications run smoothly, even if some servers fail. In production deployments, the use of multiple servers for Kubernetes is essential.

          However, there are situations where an IT admin or developer might want to run Kubernetes locally on a PC or laptop. A local Kubernetes environment, for example, enables developers to test new application code quickly without having to upload it to a production cluster first. Local Kubernetes is also a great way for newcomers to play around with the container orchestration system without the complexity and cost of a full-scale, multiserver deployment.

          Below are three approaches to run Kubernetes locally, all of which will work on a PC or laptop with Windows, Linux or macOS.

        • 5 IDEs for sysadmins

          Many sysadmins don’t consider themselves coders. They acknowledge that they regularly write complex scripts to help themselves automate their job, but they don’t consider themselves developers. I think it’s for that reason that most sysadmins also don’t think they have any use for an IDE. After all, an IDE is an Integrated Development Environment, and a sysadmin isn’t a developer, right? If that’s been your thought process, then it’s time to reconsider because a good IDE (or robust text editor) offers many benefits over a basic text editor.

          A good IDE provides syntax validation and smart auto-completion, important for catching mistakes that are at best, bothersome, and, at worst, harmful. An IDE also offers integration with the rest of your system so you can test scripts as you write them. Should something fail, a good IDE has a debugger to help identify the problem and, in some cases, help you solve it. Additional features include Git integration, quick access to a shell, plugins, and much more.

          There are lots of IDEs out there, and most are very flexible, but some arguably are best left to people who do nothing but develop software all day. Sysadmins have different needs and expectations than dedicated programmers, so here are five IDEs that stand out from the rest for sysadmins.

        • PyCharm: Here's what Python programming language developers get in new IDE update

          JetBrains has released the latest stable version of its PyCharm integrated development environment (IDE) for the Python programming language.

          PyCharm is a popular IDE for Python developers on Windows, macOS, and Linux. According to JetBrains' 2019 Python survey, PyCharm is by far the most widely used IDE for Python programming, ahead of Microsoft's Visual Studio Code for Python.

        • DBLD: a syslog-ng developer tool not just for developers

          DBLD is a central tool when it comes to syslog-ng development, but even after multiple blogs about the tool, it is still not much used outside of the developers’ team. So, what is DBLD and how could it be used even by you? The abbreviation stands for Docker BuiLD. Using containers ensures both that you have an easily reproducible build environment, and also that you do not have to “pollute” your base system with development-related software packages. You can use DBLD to build the release tarball or ready-to-use packages for a number of Linux distributions. It can even be used as a development environment with all necessary tools installed.

          Still not convinced? Yes, the listed possibilities are mostly interesting for syslog-ng developers and 3rd party packagers. If you are lucky, you will never need DBLD. On the other hand, it can come handy if you reported a problem and the syslog-ng team fixed it. Even if you are not a developer, only a junior sysadmin, you can still easily build fixed syslog-ng packages for testing (and even for production use) until an official release with the fix arrives.

        • COBOL

          • An Ancient Computer Language Is Slowing America’s Giant Stimulus

            “It is the largest issue with regards to implementation in the CARES program,” said Robin Roberson, executive director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. “Our mainframe is literally over 30 years old. It’s very difficult to program, it doesn’t do much. COBOL programmers are somewhat scarce.”

          • Unemployment checks are being held up by a coding language almost nobody knows

            COBOL remains a reliable language when used by banks and other private sector businesses that can afford to employ all of the older, COBOL-fluent programmers they need and invest in modernizing older COBOL code and additional hardware and processors to compute the data they retrieve. According to Reuters, 43 percent of banking systems are built on COBOL and 95 percent of ATM swipes still rely on the language. Over the last 50 years, COBOL programmers have been pulled out of retirement during times of crisis to ensure that essential computer systems don’t shut down when the country needs them most. Hordes of COBOL coders returned to the workforce during Y2K to ensure that the country’s dated systems wouldn’t rupture as their internal clocks switched over to the new millennium.

            But it’s an entirely different story in government. Without additional funding from the federal government, it’s difficult for states to modernize their COBOL code and invest in hardware that can withstand the mounting number of unemployment requests they’re receiving this year.

          • April 17 webinar: A Beginner’s Practical Approach to COBOL

            COBOL, or Common Business-Oriented Language, was originally designed for businesses. It is responsible for the efficient, reliable, secure, and unseen day-to-day operation of the world’s economy. The day-to-day logic that’s used to process our most critical data is frequently performed using COBOL.

        • Python

          • py3status v3.28 – goodbye py2.6-3.4

            The newest version of py3status starts to enforce the deprecation of Python 2.6 to 3.4 (included) initiated by Thiago Kenji Okada more than a year ago and orchestrated by Hugo van Kemenade via #1904 and #1896.

            Thanks to Hugo, I discovered a nice tool by @asottile to update your Python code base to recent syntax sugars called pyupgrade!

            Debian buster users might be interested in the installation war story that @TRS-80 kindly described and the final (and documented) solution found.

          • Implementing QPainter flood fill in PyQt5/PySide

            Building Piecasso (a PyQt5 Paint clone) I was disappointed to discover that while QPainter comes with a huge number of paint methods, ranging from pixels and lines to fully-filled polygons, it doesn't include a method for flood filling regions of an image.

            That makes a lot of sense, firstly because flood-filling is slow to do — requiring a pixel-by-pixel search through an image — and it's not that useful when drawing a UI, since you usually (and probably should) know what you're drawing and where.

            Still, I was disappointed there wasn't one, because I needed one for my app. What's Paint without being able to fill raggedy shapes in horrible colours?

          • Notes on last week’s Higher Performance Python class
          • Inheritance and Composition: A Python OOP Guide

            In this course, you’ll explore inheritance and composition in Python. Inheritance and composition are two important concepts in object oriented programming that model the relationship between two classes. They are the building blocks of object oriented design, and they help programmers to write reusable code.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #416 (April 14, 2020)
          • Spring updates while trying to stay healthy

            As mentioned before, we will finally start to distribute Evennia via PyPi (the Python Package Index) - that is, you will be able to run `pip install evennia`. Using GIT will no longer be a requirement to get started.

            Considering how quickly people in open-source throw up their three lines of code on PyPi these days, it may be surprising Evennia is not already on PyPi. I have however felt that reading and referencing the highly-commented code is a big part and requirement for getting the most out of the library.

            With the new documentation system, this would improve. And you can of course still use git and follow master branch like the good ol' days if you want!

          • Thank you to donors & sponsors

            PyCon 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA was cancelled due to COVID-19 and that impacted the PSF's finances. Our blog from March 31st estimated that the PSF would need to use $627,000 of its financial reserve to get through 2020.

            Since the time we cancelled PyCon 2020, the PSF staff and PyCon volunteers have been working on PyCon 2020 Online, which is launching tomorrow (subscribe here to get the content launch emails)!

            During our planning process, we have seen an overwhelming amount of support sponsors and registrants.

            Over 40 sponsors have agreed to participate in PyCon 2020 Online and 418 individuals donated and/or converted their registration fees to donations.

          • Robin Parmar: Visual Coding with Processing: COVID-19 Tracker

            This project uses the public API for COVID-19 mortality data, and maps the regional totals. So long as you understand the basics of Processing, you should be prepared for the step-by-step instructions in the video.

          • A Quick Guide to Generating Fake Data with Pandas

            Last August, our CTO Colin Copeland wrote about how to import multiple Excel files in your Django project using Pandas. We have used Pandas on multiple Python-based projects at Caktus and are adopting it more widely.

            Since Colin’s post, Pandas released version 1.0 in January of this year and is currently up to version 1.0.3. Pandas is fairly popular in the data analysis community. It was showcased at PyData NYC 2019, and was planned to be highlighted during multiple sessions at Pycon 2020 (before the event was canceled). A Pandas core developer will give a keynote at the postponed PyData Miami 2020 event (date to be determined).

            In this article, I’m going to take you through the steps to create some sample fake data in a CSV file. Large fake datasets can be useful when load testing your code. Pandas makes writing and reading either CSV or Excel files straight-forward and elegant.

          • PyTorch TensorIterator Internals

            PyTorch is one of the leading frameworks for deep learning. Its core data structure is Tensor, a multi-dimensional array implementation with many advanced features like auto-differentiation. PyTorch is a massive codebase (approx. a million lines of C++, Python and CUDA code), and having a method for iterating over tensors in a very efficient manner that is independent of data type, dimension, striding and hardware is a critical feature that can lead to a very massive simplification of the codebase and make distributed development much faster and smoother. The TensorIterator C++ class within PyTorch is a complex yet useful class that is used for iterating over the elements of a tensor over any dimension and implicitly parallelizing various operations in a device independent manner.

          • How to automate your cryptocurrency trades with Python

            In this tutorial, learn how to set up and use Pythonic, a graphical programming tool that makes it easy for users to create Python applications using ready-made function modules.

        • Java

          • Writing Java with Quarkus in VS Code

            In the previous articles in this series about cloud-native Java applications, I shared 6 requirements of cloud-native software and 4 things cloud-native Java must provide. But now you might want to implement these advanced Java applications in your local machine without climbing a steep learning curve. In this article, I will walk through using the open source technologies Quarkus and Visual Studio Code (VS Code) to accelerate the development of both traditional cloud-native Java stacks and also serverless, reactive applications with easier and more familiar methods.

            Quarkus is a Kubernetes-native Java stack tailored for GraalVM and OpenJDK HotSpot. It's crafted from best-of-breed Java libraries and standards with live coding, unified configuration, superfast startup, small memory footprint, and unified imperative and reactive development. VS Code is an open source integrated development environment (IDE) for editing code.

  • Leftovers

    • Apocalypse Around Every Corner

      I used to read my three kids their favourite story book series on Frog and Toad. Frog, more cheery than his friend Toad, who takes things a wee bit too literally and frets too much, says that “spring is just around the corner.” Thinking for a few seconds, Toad asks Frog if they could go out and find spring. So they do. They walk down the street and Toad is very excited, as he turns a corner, to find spring there to say a happy hello. But no matter how many corners they turn, spring doesn’t show up.

    • A Film Recommendation in Stay-at-Home Times: 'Sorry We Missed You'

      A very good flick to watch during a pandemic about one family's struggle in the gig economy.

    • [Old] Opinion: Airlines and Boeing want a bailout — but look how much they’ve spent on stock buybacks

      Many investors didn’t trust airline stocks through the bull market. Their valuation to earnings ratios were low, even as profits rose dramatically.

      But despite a history of rough patches during unforeseen events, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010 that disrupted air travel, large U.S. airline companies spent most of their free cash flow over the past 10 years on share buybacks, propping up their quarterly earnings-per-share results.

    • Frontier Communications to Prepare Bankruptcy Ahead of April 15 Payment

      Frontier, which provides internet, TV and phone service in 29 states, would continue operating while in bankruptcy, helped by a debtor-in-possession loan still being negotiated on Tuesday that could be around $500 million, the people said. The Norwalk, Connecticut-based company expects to file for Chapter 11 protection in White Plains, New York, they said.

    • 5G Arson: Another Transmission Mast Torched

      The police are investigating a fire at a transmission mast on Centaurusweg in Tilburg. The already burnt-out fire was discovered by a passerby on Saturday. "Because there have been more fires like this lately, we are doing forensic investigation," a police spokesperson said to Omroep Brabant. According to the broadcaster, seven transmission towers have been set on fire in the Netherlands over the past days.

    • Fires in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Are Still Getting Closer to The Reactor

      Hundreds of firefighters on Monday battled a forest blaze in Ukraine's Chernobyl exclusion zone while officials insisted there was no risk to the ruined reactor and nearby storage facilities for nuclear waste.


      For a visualisation thing I was doing, I wanted a UK map made out of small squares: these seem a useful way to make heatmaps of the way a thing affects the UK. There are plenty of such maps but they all seem to be on stock image sites which want you to licence them and so on and that seems a bit annoying, so I figured I’d make one.

      George Hodan has created a public domain (CC0) map of the UK (mirror here), so that was a good place to start. Then a small Python script and I’d made an SVG of the map:

    • Science

      • Dr. Didier Raoult: Bad science on COVID-19 and bullying critics

        The COVID-19 pandemic has been a golden opportunity for quackery and conspiracy theories, such as the willful misinterpretation of a study in order to claim that the influenza vaccine makes people more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, or that 5G networks and glyphosate somehow make the infection more deadly. Pseudoscience like this is to be expected from cranks, of course; so it is no surprise that antivaxxers, anti-GMO cranks, and other conspiracy theorists are fusing their favorite pseudoscience and conspiracy theories with conspiracy theories about COVID-19 in order to create meta-conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed just how weak the allegiance to evidence- and science-based medicine is among physicians, who have embraced unproven treatments, in particular chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, the latter sometimes with azithromycin. True, President Trump and his allies have been promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine with minimal evidence as the latest bright shiny object that let Trump’s magical thinking run wild with the hope that a magic bullet had been discovered to get us out of this crisis. However, before that it was Chinese and European physicians who had embraced the idea of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, none more prominently than French brave maverick doctor Didier Raoult, who is now not reacting well to criticism at all. In fact, he just doxxed a French physician and critic and threatened to sue him, as you will see.

      • Wave Function Collapse Explained

        Since developing DeBroglie and Tessera, I’ve had a lot of requests to explain what it is, how it works. The generation can often seem quite magical, but actually the rules underlying it are quite simple.

        So, what is Wave Function Collapse (WFC)? Well, it’s an algorithm developed by Maxim Gumin for generating tile based images based off simple configuration or sample images. It’s capable of a lot of stuff – just browse Maxim’s examples, or check out #wavefunctioncollapse on twitter, or see my youtube video. There’s really an incredible variety.

        WFC is explained briefly in Maxim’s README, but I felt it needed a fuller explanation from first principals. It is a slight twist on a much more broad concept – constraint programming. So much of this article is going to explain constraint programming, and we’ll get back to WFC at the end.

      • Russel Doty: Incorporating Disruptive Technologies into Existing Products

        How can you incorporate disruptive technologies into existing products? With much difficulty…

        Developing the new technology is likely to be the “easiest” part (not that it is actually easy). Actually using a disruptive technology in an existing, successful, proven product has an incredible range of forces aligned against it – technical, product, process, people, corporate, and especially customer! Note that we are talking about disruptive technologies; if a technology can easily be incorporated into an existing product, it is probably not really disruptive.

        Before we go into implementing a disruptive technology, let’s focus for a moment on the disruptive aspect. In addition to technology, the disruption applies to changes to the product needed to support the new technology. Disruption also applies to how the product is used, processes and systems using the product, the ecosystem built around the product, support, and especially customers.


        If you assume that a new product built on disruptive technology is going to immediately replace an existing mature product, you will be disappointed. If you try to force a new product – or an existing product with major changes – onto existing customers you will receive massive resistance. Note that if you force a customer to move to a new product, you also open the door to them considering other products, not just your replacement…

        In general, forcing customers to make changes in how they use a product is a bad idea. Changes in interfaces, capabilities, integration, or operation can have great impact on a customer’s business. Changes to a product can easily break existing processes and workflows, causing problems with little or no perceived benefit.

      • We lost another good one: Mathematician John Conway loses Game of Life, taken by coronavirus at 82

        Conway, 82, had most recently served as a Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, earning the John Von Neumann emeritus title. According to the local Planet Princeton, Conway took ill with the virus last week and died on Saturday following a brief struggle.

        He was memorialized by his peers at Princeton.

    • Education

      • Diversifying reading lists should not be skin deep

        In almost every campus in the UK and US, “decolonise the curricula” pushes are being taken seriously, and nowhere more so than in libraries. The subject is one many librarians feel strongly about, and there is much eagerness to help academics diversify their reading lists. At the University of Bradford, for instance, we are in the early stages of drawing together guidelines that will make clear the practical and ideological issues that academics should consider when reviewing their required reading.

        Not that any agreement is likely to be reached easily, of course. For starters, much will depend on what we decide we mean by “diversity” in the first place. Our neighbours at the University of Huddersfield understand it to relate to the ethnic, sexual and gender identities of authors. Others, such as the University of Kent, go considerably further, asking scholars also to reflect on the class, nationality and disability backgrounds of authors, too – while also taking into account intellectual and viewpoint diversity.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • If the Rich Trust in Hydroxychloroquine, Should We?

        Donald Trump the president last Saturday became Donald Trump the pitchman. He didn’t pitch any policy. He pitched instead what some are calling a “game changer” in the war against coronavirus, an 85-year-old anti-malaria medicine known as hydroxychloroquine.

      • 1 Out of 5 Americans Need Mental Health Care But Are Denied It—Yet Another Reason for Medicare for All

        Our mental health care system needs to get private health insurance out of it.

      • Progressives Urge Biden to Back 'Medicare for Kids' in Appeal to Sanders Supporters

        "To give a crumb to Bernie voters, you need to do something that includes the youth."

      • COVID-19 and Amerindians

        Most of us are preoccupied with quarantining, and whether or not we will have jobs to go back to when this is all over. In truth, it may be months. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine the Coronavirus (COVID-19) wreaking more economic or mortal havoc elsewhere, but it will, especially in the “developing world”. Imagine, cities like Dhaka, Karachi, Lagos, Manila, Port-au-Prince, or Brazilian favelas (slums), and/or refugee camps in the Middle East—places where social distancing is all but impossible. Imagine throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where they do not have access to enough ventilators they will need, not enough testing kits, not enough masks nor rubber gloves, and other protective equipment, nor the types of health care systems, and amounts of money in order to combat Coronavirus (COVID-19).

      • COVID-19 in Brazil: Favela Residents and Indigenous Communities Among Those Most at Risk

        As of noon on April 8th the total number of Covid-19 positive cases reported by Brazil’s health ministry exceeded 14,000 and the number of deaths exceeded 700. This is, by far, the highest number of reported cases in Latin America (though Ecuador has a greater number of reported cases and deaths on a per capita basis).€  The actual number of cases is likely many times greater, given that the current rate of testing for Covid-19 in Brazil is still very low – 258 per million, compared to 3,159 per million in Chile, 6,423 per million in the U.S. and 10,962 per million in Germany. In São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, and the hardest hit urban area in the country, the local health secretariat is reportedly only providing tallies for severe cases of the virus.

      • Guilt and Impunity: Gaza and COVID-19

        Plague has entered the Holy Land. During the week of Easter and Passover there is an uncanny conjuncture of dire threat and insouciance. Easter in the West is a cheery time of pastel eggs, chocolate, and death denial, of not grappling with Jesus’ last cry to God-the-Father: “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Nor is there any soul-searching, or torment, about the cry of Passover to “Let my people go” and dayenu – “enough suffering.” Passover celebrates Jewish people fleeing from enslavement to save their firstborn sons, while the State of Israel and its willing complicitors, for 13 years, has laid siege to Gaza, an open-air prison that holds two million people hostage to a pandemic, to military assault, to immiseration.

      • A Pandemic May be Reported Like a War, But They're Very Different

        I was walking in the early evening down an empty street in Canterbury, wondering how residents were coping with fear and isolation stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. People living there must have been in their houses judging by the cars parked outside, but there were few lights in the windows suggesting that they were in their kitchens out the back.

      • Hundreds of Workers in Meat and Poultry Plants Test Positive for COVID-19

        We look at the spike in coronavirus infections at meatpacking plants. In just one case, Smithfield Foods shut down a plant responsible for 5% of U.S. pork production after more than 350 workers at the facility tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, deaths of slaughterhouse workers have been reported in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Colorado. Many meat processing facilities employ large numbers of immigrants, including undocumented workers. We speak with Wenonah Hauter, executive director and founder of Food & Water Watch, and with Magaly Licolli, executive director of Venceremos, an advocacy group for poultry plant workers, based in Springdale, Arkansas, home to Tyson Foods headquarters.

      • Might the Coronavirus Be a Peacemaker?

        Could a post-coronavirus planet be one on which the U.S. military and the national security state were no longer the€ sinkholes€ for endless trillions of taxpayer dollars that could have been spent so much more fruitfully elsewhere?€ 

      • As Coronavirus Rages On, Trump Junks Your Mail and Attacks the Postal Service

        Distracted by the disease, we’re being conned by a White House intent on using contagion to disrupt democracy.

      • Moscow Health Department warns that COVID-19 hospital beds may soon run out

        The Health Department of Moscow’s city government has predicted that within the next two or three weeks, Russia’s capital may see a shortage of hospital beds in facilities designated for COVID-19 patients.

      • Coronavirus has reportedly reached Russia's military

        As of March 30, at least three Russian soldiers had tested positive for COVID-19, an unnamed source in Russia’s armed forces told the newspaper Kommersant. The three cases from two weeks ago included a command sergeant major, a colonel, and a warrant officer. Kommersant’s source says at least 133 other soldiers who came into contact with these individuals were placed under observation.

      • Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Help Curb War and Militarism?

        Decades ago, when I began teaching international history, I used to ask students if they thought it was possible for nations to end their fighting of wars against one another. Their responses varied. But the more pessimistic conclusions were sometimes tempered by the contention that, if the world’s nations faced a common foe, such as an invasion from another planet, this would finally pull them together.

      • She Came to New York to Help Fight COVID.

        Sarah Higgins is a nurse practitioner who has worked for years at a dermatology practice in Dallas. Because the practice performed elective procedures — skin rejuvenation, laser tattoo removal — it was suspended amid the COVID-19 crisis. Higgins, 34, soon raised her hand to come to New York City as a reinforcement for an overwhelmed health care workforce. She arrived in late March and was assigned to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, one of the hardest-hit medical centers in one of the city’s hardest-hit boroughs. On March 25, The New York Times reported that Elmhurst had seen 13 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, in what workers there called an “apocalyptic” surge of patients. Higgins turned up for duty the next day and worked the next 11 days straight, pulling 12-hour shifts in the intake section of the hospital’s emergency department.

        Are you a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient or other COVID-19 expert? Help make sure our journalism is responsible and focused on the right issues.

      • My 92-Year-Old Mother’s COVID Experience Shows How Rotten Our Health System Is
      • With 2,774 new cases in the past day, Russia's official coronavirus count hits 21,102 patients

        On the morning of April 14, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 2,774 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 21,102 patients. The latest infections were reported in 51 different regions, including Moscow (+1,489), the Moscow region (+460), St. Petersburg (+121), the Komi Republic (+97), and the Nizhny Novgorod region(+68).

      • There’s Been a Spike in People Dying at Home

        In recent weeks, residents outside Boston have died at home much more often than usual. In Detroit, authorities are responding to nearly four times the number of reports of dead bodies. And in New York, city officials are recording more than 200 home deaths per day — a nearly sixfold increase from recent years.

        As of Tuesday afternoon, the United States had logged more than 592,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 24,000 deaths, the most in the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. But the official COVID-19 death count may, at least for now, be missing fatalities that are occurring outside of hospitals, data and interviews show. Cities are increasingly showing signs of Americans succumbing to the coronavirus in their own beds.

      • In CoronaLand
      • Is the Coronavirus ‘Peak’ a Mirage?

        There’s a lot of talk these days about the coronavirus “peak”...

      • Five Ways to Get Rid of Coronavirus
      • Japan Nobel laureate says follow Taiwan in coronavirus battle

        During an interview with Nikkei News, the 2018 Nobel laureate encouraged Japanese authorities to adopt a more proactive approach. He explained that several countries, including Italy, the U.K., and the U.S., delayed their responses because they placed too much emphasis on the economy rather than containing the spread of the virus.

      • Switzerland initiated COVID-19 Science Task Force

        Switzerland has its own Science task force as a response to COVID-19 pandemics. It is a required initiative to put all the scientific minds into good use to advise, plan and overcome the challenges for the threats.

      • Coronavirus Illustrates Our Failure to Create a Fair Society

        African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die because we bear the pre-existing condition known as race.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • April 2020 and - rest assured - your Windows PC can still be pwned by something so innocuous as an unruly font

          Microsoft has delivered another epic Patch Tuesday, dropping fixes for more than 100 security bugs, and Adobe and Intel have added their dose of misery and security too.

          The April edition of Patch Tuesday sees the release of fixes for 113 CVE-listed bugs. Four really important ones are already being exploited in the wild. Of those, two target font code ,another goes for an old VBScript error and the last one requires local access.

          "In a web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit the vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website," Microsoft warns.

        • The Pentagon Hasn't Fixed Basic Cybersecurity Blind Spots

          The United States federal government isn't known for robust cybersecurity. Even the Department of Defense has its share of known vulnerabilities. Now a new report from the Government Accountability Office is highlighting systemic shortcomings in the Pentagon's efforts to prioritize cybersecurity at every level and making seven recommendations for shoring up DoD's digital defenses.

          The report isn't a checklist of what DoD should be doing to improve cybersecurity awareness in the abstract. Instead, GAO looked at three DoD-designed initiatives to see whether the Pentagon is following through on its own goals. In a majority of cases, DoD has not completed the cybersecurity training and awareness tasks it set out to. The status of various efforts is simply unknown because no one has tracked their progress. While an assessment of "cybersecurity hygiene" like this doesn't directly analyze a network's hardware and software vulnerabilities, it does underscore the need for people who use digital systems to interact with them in secure ways. Especially when those people work on national defense.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • April 2020 Zeta Alliance Weekly Call Summaries

              Changes To Zimbra’s Open Source Policy John E. explained that Zimbra 9 introduces a change to Synacor’s open source policy for Zimbra. Starting with Zimbra 9, a binary version of Zimbra 9 will no longer be released to the community and will instead only be made available to Zimbra Network Edition customers. There are currently no plans to release the source code for Zimbra 9 to the community. Zimbra 8.8.15 will remain open source for the community and continue to be supported for the remainder of its lifecycle through December, 31, 2024 ( ... lifecycle/). Version 8.8.15 will also continue to receive patches during this time frame. John E. described this new model for Zimbra 9 as “open core” where the open source products on which Zimbra is built will continue to be freely available, but the Zimbra 9 product itself will not be open source. Marc G. asked if Synacor’s plans involved introducing new features to Zimbra 8.8.15, or if the focus for introducing new features will shift exclusively to version 9. John E. said that he did not have the answer to this question. John also shared that starting with Zimbra 9, a source code license will be made available to customers who are licensing Zimbra Network Edition.

              Reactions To Zimbra Open Source Policy Change Noah P. said that part of his customer base values that Zimbra is open source and that it has been a marketing advantage over other proprietary email platforms. Marc G. said he felt this change will be hard for the open source community to support. John E. shared his personal opinion that Zimbra has struggled for several years to engage the open source community, as the ratio of people using Zimbra, compared to the number of people contributing back to Zimbra, has been very low. He said the biggest difference currently between Zimbra 8.8.15 and 9.0 is the addition of the new, Modern UI and welcomes feedback from Zimbra partners and the open source community on this policy change. Mark S. shared that many developers he has discussed it with have said that they have found it very difficult (if not impossible) to contribute to the Zimbra project in the past, mainly due to issues with an earlier version of the contributor’s agreement, which was finally updated a couple of years ago. Randy L. mentioned that another open source project, VyOS (, overcame issues with soliciting contributions back to their open source project by making binaries available to those who could demonstrate a meaningful contribution to the project in code or documentation work and suggested that such an approach might be something that Synacor should look at too. John E. invited Zimbra partners concerned about continued open source access to make a business case explaining how the loss of open source access would have a financial business impact for Synacor.

            • Changes To Zimbra's Open Source Policy

              The Zimbra email and collaboration suite will change its open source policy. This post from the Zeta Alliance notes the changes for Zimbra 9. "John E. explained that Zimbra 9 introduces a change to Synacor's open source policy for Zimbra. Starting with Zimbra 9, a binary version of Zimbra 9 will no longer be released to the community and will instead only be made available to Zimbra Network Edition customers.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Update from the CommunityBridge Development Team [Ed: The Linux Foundation works for Microsoft. Not for Linux; watch who drives this thing...]
              • TOC Welcomes Dragonfly Into CNCF Incubator

                The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) has accepted Dragonfly as an incubation-level hosted project. Dragonfly, which was accepted into the CNCF Sandbox in October 2018, is an open source, cloud native image and file distribution system. The goal of Dragonfly is to tackle distribution problems in cloud native scenarios.

        • Security

          • Can You Get a Virus on Your Smart TV?

            While getting a virus on your smart TV may seem like a cause for concern, it shouldn’t be. They’re not common because it’s not easy to create viruses that work on TVs. Many TVs come with some native features that make it hard for developers to create malware and similar threats that can successfully infect a TV for several reasons.

            Certain conditions must be met before a hacker can attack your TV. For example, if your TV’s ADB bugging feature is enabled, the hacker is on the same network as yours and can hijack your DNS resolution or access the network path.

          • Git Releases Security Update With Newline Character Creating Possible Credential Leak

            Git 2.26.1 along with new point releases going back to Git 2.17 were issued today as a result of a security issue.

            A member of Google's Project Zero team discovered that a specially crafted URL could trick the Git client into sending credential information for an alternative host to an attacker's host.

          • Making testing IPFire easier

            With the latest release - IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 142, we have added an easy way how to join developers testing IPFire. This is incredibly important for us in order to deliver the best releases of IPFire again and again without any regressions.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Even During a Pandemic, Digital Privacy Matters

              We do not have to become a data dystopia. But we must act quickly to stop the coronavirus from turning us into one.

            • After issuing 3.2 million ‘digital passes’ for travel under lockdown, Moscow revokes 900,000 of those permits

              This week, Russia’s capital launched a new “digital pass” system to track local residents moving throughout the city in vehicles (but not on foot). The new system’s rollout has had a few bugs. On Tuesday, April 14, city officials revoked 900,000 newly issued digital passes because they were apparently obtained using incorrect or inaccurate personal data, says Eduard Lysenko, the head of the capital’s Information Technology Department.

            • All Sports Are Esports Now: The MLB The Show, Players Tournament Edition

              For nearly a month now, since this coronavirus nightmare really began in America, we've been discussing how all sports have become esports, nearly overnight. Auto-racing kicked this trend off with some fairly great internet and television broadcasts of real racers driving digital cars. After that, the NFL and NBA made their own runs at some kind of esports events, with fairly mediocre results.

            • Esports Gets Local With Facebook's New DIY Tournament Tool

              The evolution of esports has been in progress for some time now. Once met with chuckles and the rolling of eyes, now esports is big business. We've seen esports hit certain checkpoints on its way to full legitimacy, from college scholarships, to leagues run by IRL professional sports organizations, all the way up to having esports tournaments broadcast by the likes of ESPN.

            • Scientists Warn Dutch Gov't Against "Invasive" Coronavirus Apps

              A group of 60 scientists wrote a letter to the government to voice concerns about using apps to track and combat the coronavirus, describing the plan as "invasive". "The use of apps should not affect our fundamental rights and freedoms," they said in their letter, RTL Nieuws reports.

              Earlier this month Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health, Welfare and Sports announced that the government is looking into how new technology can support the testing policy around Covid-19. The cabinet is thinking of using two apps. One sends a signal to everyone a diagnosed coronavirus patient had contact with, based on a unique registration number broadcast by their phone's Bluetooth. Those who had contact with the coronavirus patient will then be asked to self quarantine, keep in touch with their doctor, and register their symptoms via the second app.

            • Lev Parnas’ Co-Defendant David Correia Tests the Send-Your-Phone Border Exception Work-Around

              Given how often InfoSec people have argued that this method — sending your lawyer sensitive devices before crossing a border — is the best way to protect them, the resolution of this issue has some wider legal interest.

              But in this case, the resolution likely comes down to the fact that prosecutors told Judge Oetken, when getting a warrant for the DHL package, that it was sent from Correia to his lawyer.

            • Coronavirus: Couple wrongly fined €£1,700 after posting holiday snaps from last year amid lockdown

              With coronavirus lockdown in place around the world, people are turning to other ways to satisfy their wanderlust.

              For one couple from Victoria in Australia, this meant sorting out their old travel photos.

              But after posting the pictures of their 2019 holiday onto Facebook, Jaz and Garry Mott ended up receiving a fine from the state police for "infringement" of lockdown rules due to their "non-essential travel".

            • Android phones will get the COVID-19 tracking updates via Google Play
    • Defence/Aggression

      • As Turkey Bombs Syria, Activists Urge Trader Joe’s to Drop Turkish Goods

        In solidarity with the people residing in North and East Syria, groups across the U.S. are asking the multibillion-dollar grocery chain Trader Joe’s to de-shelve products from its Turkish suppliers. Rojava solidarity groups, organizing under a coalition hashtag of #TJsBoycottTurkey, launched a “Trader Joe’s Boycott Turkey” petition. The coalition also scheduled a communications zap that encourages a coordinated flurry of emails and phone calls to corporate headquarters for Wednesday, April 15 and Thursday April 16, and sent a demand letter. This campaign comes approximately six months after Turkey’s military invaded northeastern Syria, bombing and killing at least 450 people and displacing at least 200,000 Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians and others as part of a mass ethnic cleansing crusade.

      • Could the US Forever Wars Be Part of Our Past in a Post-Coronavirus Planet?

        Let me quote a Trumpian figure from long ago, Henry Ford. That’s right, the bigot who created the Ford Motor Company (and once even ran for president). Back in 1916, in an interview with a Chicago Tribune reporter, he offered this bit of wisdom on the subject of history:

      • The Rise of a Hindu Vigilante in the Age of WhatsApp and Modi

        Shamli and Muzaffarnagar, which sit in a sugarcane-€­growing and light industrial region about two and a half hours north of New Delhi, rarely command national attention in India. But when they do, it is often for their communal violence. In 2013 the two districts erupted in sectarian riots between Hindus and Muslims that killed around 50 people and displaced 50,000.

      • With the world distracted, China intimidates Taiwan

        China sends around 2,000 bomber patrols a year into the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two countries, according to Taiwan’s defence minister. These are taking increasingly menacing routes. In 2016, when Tsai Ing-wen, an opponent of reunification with China, was first elected Taiwan’s president, China began sending bombers to circumnavigate the island as a show of force. Last year it deliberately sent fighters across the mid-point of the strait for the first time in two decades. In December China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Shandong, was sent through the strait two weeks before Taiwan’s presidential election, in which Ms Tsai won a second four-year term.

      • 'Total authority': Trump's claim about presidential power gets pushback across political spectrum

        Federal law allows the federal government to impose quarantines in some circumstances and limit travel between states, but the Trump administration has not invoked those powers. The Supreme Court has struck down attempts by the federal government to intervene within states and Trump would not offer specifics about the source of this power when pressed by members of the press.


        Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University who was the sole witness called by Republicans before the Judiciary Committee in the impeachment inquiry into Trump, refuted Trump's claim in a tweet: "The Constitution was written precisely [to] deny that particular claim. It also reserved to the states (& individuals) rights not expressly given to the federal government."

      • Cuba Under Media Attack for Sending Doctors, Not Bombs, to Help Covid-19 Victims

        As coronavirus ravages the world, Cuba has exhibited disproportionate heroism, deploying medical personnel to at least 14 countries thus far to battle the pandemic—including to Italy, which has been particularly devastated. The response is in keeping with Cuba’s decades-long tradition of “doctors, not bombs,” which has seen the tiny island nation dispatch tens of thousands of medics across the globe to combat everything from Ebola to more mundane diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. The Cuban approach stands in marked contrast to the modus operandi of the global superpower and Cuba’s primary antagonist, the United States, a country with an established predilection for bombing rather than saving people.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Promise and the Peril of the Millennial Left

        On the value of demands and the pitfalls of ultimatums.

      • Re-Engaging Russia

        With the coronavirus already infecting over a million people and severely impacting the global economy, there is a new recognition of a need to reduce global tensions, what the UN secretary general has called a coronavirus truce. The situation is particularly stressful for Russia which only initiated a lockdown the end of March and is probably just at the beginning of an infection curve. This coincides with an oil price war with Saudi Arabia, badly impacting a Russian economy heavily dependent on oil. President Trump spoke with both leaders, threatening to impose tariffs if there is no resolution. But with significantly reduced demand due to the coronavirus, prices will certainly remain low.

      • There’s No Reason to Turn Airtime Over to Trump’s Deceptive Coronavirus Campaign Rallies

        If the powerful are spreading life-threatening lies, do not freely give them a huge platform to reach more people with those lies.

      • Critics Debunk Trump's Wild Assertion He Has 'Total' Authority on Reopening Economy

        "Fact check: That is definitely not true."

      • Bernie’s Missed Opportunity

        Bernie Sanders’ 2020 run for President turned out to be even more enigmatic than his 2016 run for the same office. Let’s take a look back in history to remember when Bernie actually won elections. The year is 1988. Bernie is running for Congress in Vermont. Bernie was widely criticized for running his campaign as an Independent—this, of course, would split the vote and give the seat to a Republican. Lo and behold it did. Nonetheless, Bernie had vigor and resolve and ran again in 1990. Bernie’s popularity was too much and he beat back both the Democrat and the Republican and the rest is history.

      • So Long, Bernie

        People, on the political left, need something to believe in if they’re to survive in a right-wing society. While many on the left criticize those of us who supported Bernie Sanders for president, there is a cohort who believes in taking part in the political system and campaigns long after any reasons remain for doing so. Seeing how the mass media treated Sanders during his two runs for the presidency, many who believe that only action on the streets is worthwhile are close to the truth. Bernie was a mild liberal reformer and the system of wealth and greed brought him to his knees. That he is a Democratic socialist is highly suspect, as a primary tenet of Democratic socialism is that the government controls the means of production. In Democratic socialism, the government does the latter through democratic means rather than through a dictatorship of the proletariat. While healthcare for all may come close to the government controlling a major institution, hospitals, doctors, etc. still maintain their independence.

      • History, Economic Justice, and COVID-19

        After an era of right-wing ascendance—and staring at the carnage of this ongoing pandemic—we must make sure the pendulum swings swiftly toward a more equitable future and a better society for all.

      • 'Sweet Revenge' as Challenger Karofsky Wins Seat on Wisconsin Supreme Court in Spite of GOP Suppression Effort

        "Although we were successful in this race, the circumstances under which this election was conducted were simply unacceptable, and raise serous concerns for the future of our democracy."

      • 'Time Is of the Essence': After Wisconsin Fiasco, 150+ Civil Rights Groups Urge Congress to Protect 2020 Elections

        The organizations are demanding at least $4 billion in funding "to ensure that each state can provide a comprehensive approach that includes both vote-by-mail and in-person options safely and effectively.

      • 'Propaganda Aired at Taxpayer Expense': Trump Uses Coronavirus Briefing to Play Campaign-Style Clip Attacking Media

        "Suggests they are spending their precious time right now making videos that defend the president's record and tenure rather than provide the much-needed emergency medical information that was promised."

      • Senate Democrats Rip Trump Labor Department for Attempting to Exclude Gig Workers From Unemployment Benefits

        "We believe that that the CARES Act definitively covers such workers, and the department should clarify its guidance to reflect this."

      • Mainstream Media Blind Spots In The Coronavirus Crisis
      • John Prine and Bernie Sanders: Honoring Two Men Just Brought Down by the Coronavirus Pandemic

        Two hugely important people were taken down by COVID-19 this past week. Both have left a legacy, the importance of which cannot be ignored.

      • No Trump, Says Watchdog Group, American Coronavirus Deaths Have Not Been "Very Low"

        "The facts, again, remain Trump's biggest albatross."

      • The Lesson of the Coronavirus? There’s No One Left to Trust.

        Now, this same collection of leaders is in charge of telling us when the crisis has passed—and we’re supposed to trust their judgement about when to reopen the country, even as so many of them failed to act quickly enough to shut it down in the first place. What kind of gullible fool do they take me for? Even George W. Bush wasn’t that kind of trusting sap, as he reminded people when he famously bumbled: “Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me… uhh… you can’t get fooled again.”

        Apparently, though, I am much more skeptical of our leadership than the average American is. A recent CBS/YouGov poll showed that 90 percent of Republicans trust Donald Trump for accurate information about the coronavirus outbreak, [...]

      • Watchdog finds the Pentagon is behind on several cybersecurity initiatives

        An April 13 report from Government Accountability Office report, titled "DOD Needs to Take Decisive Actions to Improve Cyber Hygiene,” warned that the Pentagon faces increased cybersecurity risk because the department hasn’t implemented basic cybersecurity practices.

        “Overall, until DOD completes its cyber hygiene initiatives and ensures that cyber practices are implemented, the department will face an enhanced risk of successful attack," GAO officials wrote.

        The watchdog evaluated three Pentagon initiatives: DOD Cybersecurity Culture and Compliance Initiative (DC3I), Cybersecurity Discipline Implementation Plan (CDIP), and cyber awareness training.

      • Information Wars Part 2

        Through a solicitor I have now obtained copies of, or at least the text of, the court orders banning me from the Alex Salmond trial. These court orders are simply an extract of the minutes of the court rather than separate documents.

      • Democratic Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Protect Fauci From Being Fired by Trump

        After President Donald Trump sent out a tweet this past weekend that included a suggestion to fire one of the most recognizable and trusted names on his coronavirus task force, a Democratic senator hopes to pass legislation to prevent him from doing so without just cause or oversight.

      • Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response

        Trump’s next move: He compared Coronavirus to the seasonal flu…and called the emerging crisis a hoax by the Democrats.With 100 cases in the US, Trump declined to call for a national emergency.Meanwhile, South Korea was now on its way to testing a quarter million people, while the US was testing 40 times slower. When a cruise ship containing Americans with coronavirus floated toward San Francisco, Trump said he didn’t want people coming off the ship to be tested because they’d make the numbers look bad.It wasn’t until the stock market reacted to the growing crisis and took a nosedive that Trump finally declared a national emergency.By this time, South Korea had been using an app for over a month that pulled government data to track cases and alert users to stay away from infected areas. Over the next weeks, as the virus began its exponential spread across the US, and Governors declared states of emergency, closing schools and workplaces and stopping the American economy in its tracks – € Trump passed on every opportunity to get ahead of this crisis. Trump’s priority was never public health. It was about making the virus seem like less of a nuisance so that the “numbers” would “look good” for his reelection. Only when the stock market crashed did Trump finally begin to pay attention…and mostly to bailing out corporations in the form of a massive $500 billion slush fund, rather than to helping people. And then, with much of America finally and belatedly in lockdown, he said at a Fox News town hall that he would “love” to have the country “opened up, and just raring to go” by Easter.At every point, Trump has used this crisis to compliment himself.This is not leadership. This is the exact opposite of leadership.€ 

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Chinese Government Bans 'Animal Crossing' After Hong Kong Gamers Stage Protests Inside The Game

        China loves to censor. And residents of the country -- as well as those in Hong Kong who are now seeing China encroach on their democracy -- love to dodge the censors. It's a game that's been played for years, but one that has become increasingly sophisticated with the erection of China's Great Firewall.

      • Lessig Withdraws 'Clickbait Defamation' Lawsuit Against NY Times After Changed Headline

        You may recall that earlier this year, I heavily criticized Larry Lessig's defamation lawsuit against the NY Times, which I believe is a quintessential SLAPP suit. The NY Times presented a Medium post that Lessig had written about the Jeffrey Epstein/MIT Media Lab situation in a way which he felt unfairly presented what he had said. As Larry and I discussed in a long and frustrating podcast, Larry believed that NY Times' characterization of what he said was "false and defamatory" and that it was done for clickbait reasons -- while I believe it was that Lessig himself failed to clearly explain his ideas, and that led many people to believe he was arguing something he was not. Lessig, clearly, disagrees. While I agreed that the NY Times (and many others) failed to understand the nuance of Lessig's arguments, you don't get to sue someone for misunderstanding your poorly made arguments.

      • Disney Plus’ butt cover-up hides a much bigger problem

        The representative also confirmed that Splash’s rating would revert from PG-13 on Disney Plus (different from the original) back to PG. It’s likely that the original film (with its brief nudity) would have been rated PG-13 if it came out a few months later, but Splash was released in March 1984, and the PG-13 rating didn’t exist until July 1984.

      • Florida Governor Responds To Lawsuit Over Coronavirus Infection Documents By Pressuring Newspaper's Law Firm To Drop The Suit

        We're at a time when we need more transparency from our government officials than ever. And, of course, we're not getting it. The White House ordered federal health officials to designate documents from top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, keeping them away from FOIA requesters. The nation's other coronavirus task force -- headed by Jared Kushner -- is carrying out its official business using private email accounts.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Trump Says His "Authority Is Total." In Response, Governors Are Rebelling.

        The president of the United States went fully off the rails on live television yesterday like your shouty right-wing uncle at the Thanksgiving table … times a thousand zillion infinities. Even for Donald Trump, who has set the bar for presidential behavior so low that worms use it as a guardrail, this was a rare and terrifying performance.

      • Why is Canada Refusing Cuban Doctors?

        We all have this feeling right now. Fear, sometimes verging on terror, and the main strategy to stay human is to never panic. Still, there is a lot of reason to be greatly afraid. Covid-19 has passed into every country, and most people on earth are on some variant of lockdown. The psychology of it is immense. There is an invisible enemy, somewhere out there, and it is threatening immediately our families and loved ones, and it has removed all outdoor life, socialization, schooling, etc.

      • Postal Workers Say USPS Isn’t Telling Them When Colleagues Test Positive for COVID-19, Despite Promising To

        The U.S. Postal Service appears to be continuing its checkered response to the coronavirus. Workers across the country say they’re not being informed when colleagues have tested positive for COVID-19, despite a Postal Service policy to do so.

        At the end of March, after workers complained, the Postal Service told its employees they would be notified if someone “in your workplace is confirmed to have COVID-19.”

      • Incarcerated Abolitionist Stephen Wilson On Hunger Strike Against Retaliation For Speaking Out About COVID-19

        Incarcerated abolitionist organizer Stephen Wilson began a hunger strike on April 7 to protest repression and retaliation he faced from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for speaking out about COVID-19 behind bars.€ 

        Wilson is imprisoned at SCI-Fayette, a prison located on a toxic waste dump south of Pittsburgh, where he has been a vocal critic of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ (PADOC) weak response to the outbreak of COVID-19. He has been working with outside supporters to raise money for incarcerated people across Pennsylvania to buy their own soap, cleaning supplies, and sealed foods to help slow the spread of the virus.€ 

      • EFF Seeks Public Comment About Expanding and Improving Santa Clara Principles

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced today a call for feedback and recommendations from organizations and individuals around the world to update the landmark 2018 Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability, which established due process standards for moderating users’ online speech.

      • Amazon Fires Three More Employees Who Criticized Working Conditions Inc. is hitting back at activists within its own ranks, terminating three employees who had criticized working conditions in its warehouses.

        The retailer confirmed on Tuesday that it had fired Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa for violating company policy. The two employees, who worked at Seattle headquarters, had taken to Twitter recently to voice concerns about the treatment of workers during the coronavirus pandemic; they’ve also long been involved in an employee campaign urging Amazon to do more to fight climate change. A third employee, Bashir Mohamed, who worked in a warehouse in Minnesota, was also fired. The Washington Post and BuzzFeed News reported earlier on the firings, which took place last week.

      • Agencies Can Launch Retaliatory Investigations Into Whistleblowers, Court Rules

        Federal agencies can launch retaliatory investigations against employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing without violating anti-reprisal laws, a federal court has said in a precedent-setting ruling.

        While agencies cannot dock pay, deny promotions or engage in several other retaliatory personnel actions against whistleblowers, investigating a worker who has attempted to shed a light on inappropriate or illegal behavior is allowable, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said. Federal whistleblowers have long complained agencies seek to turn the tables on them in an effort to discredit their claims or remove them from their positions.

      • “If Julian Assange is extradited, it’s the end of the rule of law in the West” Eva Joly (Interview)

        Last March, one of our journalists had the opportunity to speak with Eva Joly, a lawyer and former Member of Parliament, about the details of the Assange case, as she herself knows the main protagonist personally. The subjects of their exchange included the hunt for the whistleblower, his revelations, his conditions of detention and his trial. And in parallel, the questions raised in terms of freedom of information, human rights and democracy. Exclusive interview.

        Julian Assange has made a name for himself by exposing damning atrocities during the US invasion and war in Iraq and Afghanistan – two wars fought with lies – including the publication in April 2010 of the video Collateral murder, in which two Reuters reporters and several civilians were shot at from an American Apache helicopter. In the same year, WikiLeaks, of which he is the founder and spokesman, released hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents relating to war crimes and acts of torture committed by the US military.

      • Abolish Silicon Valley: memoir of a driven startup founder who became an anti-capitalist activist

        Wendy Liu grew up deeply enmeshed in technology, writing code for free/open source projects and devouring books by tech luminaries extolling the virtues of running tech startups; after turning down a job offer from Google, Liu helped found an ad-tech company and moved from Montreal to New York City to take her startup to an incubator. As she worked herself into exhaustion to build her product, she had a conversion experience, realizing that she was devoting her life to using tech to extract wealth and agency from others, rather than empowering them. This kicked off a journey that Liu documents in her new book, Abolish Silicon Valley: How to Liberate Technology from Capitalism, a memoir manifesto that's not just charming -- it's inspiring.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Senator Tillis Angry At The Internet Archive For Helping People Read During A Pandemic; Archive Explains Why That's Wrong

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the misguided freakout by (mainly) publishers and some authors over the Internet Archive's decision to launch the National Emergency Library during the COVID-19 pandemic, to help all of us who are stuck at home be able to digitally access books that remain in locked libraries around the country. A key point I made in that post: most (not all, but most) of the criticisms applied to the NEL project could equally apply to regular libraries. And perhaps that's why hundreds of libraries have come out in support of the project, even as those attacking the project insist that it's not an attack on libraries.

      • Internet Archive to Senator: No "Emergency Copyright Act" Required, Fair Use Has Library Covered

        The row over the Internet Archive's National Emergency Library, which aims to fill the learning gap in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, has now reached government. In response to a letter sent by Senator Thom Tillis, which accuses IA founder Brewster Kahle of creating an "emergency Copyright Act", Kahle says that such a thing isn't needed, as fair use has the project covered.

      • It Shouldn't Have Taken A Pandemic To Make Us Care About Crappy U.S. Broadband

        For years politicians have paid empty lip service about the "digital divide," or the essential lack of broadband access and affordability. Yet for decades the problem just kept getting kicked down the road. Why? Because U.S. regulators and lawmakers lacked the courage to tackle the biggest problem: a lack of broadband competition due to monopolization of the market. Nor were they willing to stand up to the politically powerful companies like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon which fight tooth and nail against any meaningful disruption of this broken status quo.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Charter Can't Sue Over False DMCA Notices, Record Labels Argue

          Last year Internet provider Charter Communications was sued by several record labels for not doing enough to curb piracy. A few weeks ago, the ISP hit back, suing the music companies for sending inaccurate takedown notices. The retaliatory move could promise fireworks but not according to the labels, who argue that Charter's claims fall flat.

        • French Government Says Google Must Pay French News Agencies For Sending Traffic Their Way

          European publishers just can't punish themselves enough, apparently. News agencies experiencing downturns related to their inability to take advantage of the miraculous communications platform that is the internet are turning to their governments, demanding something be done about Google and its [checks notes] insistence on sending search traffic their way.

        • Interview With Brad Schreiber On ‘Music Is Power’: Part 2—Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd

          Covering around a century, Music Is Power€ is a book by Brad Schreiber that takes readers on a tour of music that challenged social injustice and spoke to the masses during uncertain times.

          Schreiber is an award-winning author, journalist, and screenwriter, whose past books include€ Death In Paradise, Becoming Jimi Hendrix, and€ Revolution’s End.

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