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Links 19/5/2020: OpenBSD 6.7, Endless OS 3.8.1

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The cheapest laptop in the world is powered by a 28-year-old operating system

        At $99.99 (roughly £85/AU$155), the Pinebook from Pine64 is by far the cheapest brand new laptop on the market. Despite leaving plenty to be desired from a hardware perspective, it has amassed a loyal following worldwide.


        Other than a small screen update, the device is pretty much unchanged since it was launched (and reviewed) in 2017.

        At the time, our reviewer said: “If you’re after an affordable Linux laptop, look no further. Yes, you’ll need to get used to the keyboard, and the touchpad is oversensitive – but for Linux students, coding beginners and even children, the Pinebook is an excellent option that you should not overlook.”

      • 24 Linux desktops you need to try

          One of the great strengths of the Linux desktop is the choice it affords its users. If you don't like your application menu in the lower left of your screen, you can move it. If you don't like the way your file manager organizes your documents, you can use a different one. Admittedly, however, that can be confusing for new users who aren't used to having a say in how they use their computers. If you're looking at installing Linux, one of the choices you're going to have to make is which desktop you want to use, and the best way to do that is to try a few different ones until you find the one that feels right for you.

    • Kernel Space

      • Purism and Linux 5.7

        Following up on our report for Linux 5.5 and 5.6 this summarizes the progress on mainline support for the Librem5 phone and its development kit during the 5.7 development cycle. Our contributions improved support for the hardware found on our Devkit as well as phone components like the accelerometer and GPU.

      • Xen Summit 2020 Pivots to a Virtual Experience

        In light of continued Covid-19 safety concerns, the 2020 XenProject Developer and Design Summit will now be held virtually on July 6-9. As our in-person event shifts to a virtual one, we are taking careful consideration to ensure the Xen Summit will continue to be a great forum to learn, connect, and grow.

        Attendees will have the ability to network, attend presentations with live Q&A, and hash out technical issues in design sessions – all virtually, from anywhere.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: Containers and Checkpoint/Restore Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

        We are pleased to announce that the Containers and Checkpoint/Restore Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

        After another successful Containers Microconference last year , there’s still a lot more work to be done. Last year we discussed the intersection between the new mount api and containers, various new vfs features including a strong and fruitful discussion about id shifting, several new security hardening aspects, and improvements when restarting syscalls during checkpoint/restore. Last year’s microconference topics led to quite a few patches that have since landed in the upstream kernel with others actively being discussed. This includes, various improvements to seccomp syscall interceptions, the implementation of a new process creation syscall, the implementation of pidfds, and the addition of time namespaces.

      • Linux KVM Virtualization Had Mistakenly Been Applying L1TF Workaround To Unaffected CPUs

        The all-important Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) code for open-source virtualization had mistakenly been applying its L1TF workaround for unaffected CPUs -- namely AMD EPYC CPUs -- for the past several months until the issue was uncovered this week.

        Only Intel CPUs are vulnerable to L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) / Foreshadow, but the KVM code ended up applying L1TF workarounds to guests on unaffected processors. The change that borked KVM's L1TF handling was mainlined back in January and subsequently back-ported to the various maintained kernel branches as a "fix" thus found on the various LTS kernels currently and just not the recent 5.x kernels released this calendar year.

      • Linux Kernel Seeing Workaround Revived For Buggy Micron NAND Block Erase Behavior

        A new patch series has been revived from work originally published by Micron back in 2018 for dealing with the behavior on their planar 2D NAND devices where in rare cases when issuing block erase commands, the flash block might not actually be erased and this could lead to further problems down the road when touching said block.

        Five patches sent out today revive Micron's work in dealing with some of their legacy 2D NAND devices where when a block erase command is issued, the block erase operation completes and a pass status returned, the flash block might have not been erased. But making matters worse is that operations on said blocks could in rare cases lead to subtle failures or corruption.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Peter Hutterer: xisxwayland checks for Xwayland ... or not

          One of the more common issues we encounter debugging things is that users don't always know whether they're running on a Wayland or X11 session. Which I guess is a good advertisement for how far some of the compositors have come. The question "are you running on Xorg or Wayland" thus comes up a lot and suggestions previously included things like "run xeyes", "grep xinput list", "check xrandr" and so on and so forth. None of those are particularly scriptable, so there's a new tool around now: xisxwayland.

        • NVIDIA Engineer Revives Work On Linux Proactive Memory Compaction

          One of the interesting patch series initially published back in 2019 by NVIDIA engineer Nitin Gupta was on proactive memory compaction for the Linux kernel while so far in 2020 it hasn't yet been merged but a fifth revision to the work was published today.

          The proactive memory compaction was brought on to address latency issues currently experienced with the kernel's on-demand memory compaction behavior that can happen as a result of requesting a lot of hugepages.

    • Benchmarks

      • GCC 10 vs. Clang 10 Compiler Performance On AMD Zen 2 + Intel Cascade Lake

         We delivered many benchmarks of Clang 10.0 on various CPUs following that updated LLVM compiler stack release earlier this year. With GCC 10 released earlier this month, we have begun our benchmarking of this annual feature release to the GNU Compiler Collection. First up is a look at the GCC 9 vs. GCC 10 vs. LLVM Clang 10 compiler performance on AMD Zen 2 and Intel Cascade Lake systems.

        This initial round of benchmarking for GCC 10 vs. Clang 10 is looking at the release builds of each plus GCC 9.3 when testing on AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X and Intel Core i9 10980XE workstations. The Threadripper 3990X is running out of the System76 Thelio Major. Both systems were running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with the Linux 5.4 kernel and all the compilers were built in the same release mode manner. There are RAM/SSD differences between the systems with not intending to compare the AMD vs. Intel performance but rather looking at how these LLVM Clang and GCC compilers are performing across multiple CPU families. Additional CPU benchmarks will be forthcoming with these compilers.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Cross-platform game engine 'Defold' is now open source

        Cross-platform game engine Defold has announced that it's now become fully open source, with the formation of a Defold Foundation.

        It's interesting as the owner was King, a popular mobile game developer (Candy Crush amongst others) who also acquired the Defold engine from others before them. It was already free to use and cross-platform but the next step was announced today.

        "We are immensely proud to be able to open source Defold and we’re eager to start the journey as an open source game engine together with our great community of game developers building games using Defold. We would also wish to thank King for believing in our open source vision and entrusting Defold to the Defold Foundation." says Björn Ritzl, Product Owner, the Defold Foundation.

        "We’re hugely impressed by the Defold team, and look forward to seeing many great gaming experiences come to life. We’ve seen millions of players already playing the King games run on the Defold engine and we’re excited to see the community come together even more, with the support of the Defold Foundation." says Tjodolf Sommestad, Chief Development Officer, King.

      • New Proton Versions on Demand? (Streets of Rage 4)

        Not to long ago Streets of Rage 4 was released on Steam, and something caught my eye. Pierre-Loup Griffais (from Valve) mentioned specifically on Twitter than the game would be supported at launch using the latest Proton version (5.0.7).

      • Valve slowly begin sending out Artifact 2.0 invites

        Artifact 2.0, the revamp of Valve's failed competitive card game inches ever closer with the announcement of invites starting to slowly go out.

        Valve has been blogging about their planned changes, like the removal of card purchases to ensure a more level playing field and no pay to win. That alone could be what allows it to succeed, especially considering the actual gameplay was genuinely fun. Earning cards as you play gives a much nicer feel of progression.

        In the latest update post, Valve gave an updated roadmap of what's going on and it indicates they're now starting to send out invites to original owners. The next step after that is to transition to an Open Beta and then release for everyone but we're probably quite a few months away from that.

      • The Yellow King, an indie dark horror MMO is now on Linux

        The Yellow King is an Early Access massively-multiplayer online world with a dark horror theme and it's now available on Linux.

        A dark massively-multiplayer online world inspired by the horror writings of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert W. Chambers. Delve into infinite dungeons with hundreds of other players to discover secret treasure, ingenious traps, unspeakable monstrosities, roguelike puzzles, and a complex combat system.

      • Monster Sanctuary now allows you to enter The Underworld

        Creature capture and battle game Monster Sanctuary just had another huge update recently, adding in quite an interesting area to explore.

        You can now visit The Underworld, an area that hasn't been explored for hundreds of years. This comes with a whole new major story arc, set after the others so you need to have played through the rest of the game first so this content is aimed at regular players. It gives you seven new monsters to collect, some of which are a "spooky Occult-type" and there's something about giant spiders—spooky.

      • 3dSen PC will turn classic NES games into 3D on June 19

        3dSen PC is quite magical. An emulator that not only runs classic NES games, it changes the way you play them and it now has an Early Access release date.

        Arriving with Linux support on June 19, it's been in development for quite a few years. It takes a lot more time than usually because of what it's doing. It makes each game 3D, giving you an entirely new perspective and integrates save states and Steam Input for easy gamepad support.

      • Free and open source evolution sim 'Thrive' has moved to Godot

        Along with a brand new released version, the free and open source evolution game Thrive has now moved over to Godot Engine as a base to carry development forwards.

        Here's a quick refresher. Thrive is a game in which the player guides a species from their origin as a microbe to the space age and beyond. Gameplay is split into seven stages – Microbe, Multicellular, Aware, Awakening, Society, Industrial and Space. Want to know why they moved their base of Thrive over to Godot? They explained a little in this previous post from back in March. Seems they main issue they had was their previous graphics engine, and not finding a suitable standalone replacement so Godot can do that for them and more.

      • Legend of Keepers adds mini-bosses and Steam Workshop support

        Legend of Keepers has you defend a dungeon against heroes, as a sort-of reverse dungeon crawler that mixes in events and all sorted. It's currently in Early Access and Goblinz Studio just gave it a nice big content boost.

        The Master Promotion system got a bit of a rework. The Enchantress now has access to new spells for the second spell room but perhaps more excitingly, Slaveholder can now choose between three mini-bosses which replacing the third monster room. Personally, I prefer monsters over traps and spells so these mini-boss characters sound like a lot of fun to watch in action.

      • The Force Engine is a fresh attempt to rebuild the Jedi Engine

        Recently appearing is a new open source game engine project called The Force Engine, with an aim to be an accurate version of the Jedi Engine that powered games like Dark Forces and Outlaws.

        There were other attempts like DarkXL / XL Engine, which the author sadly stopped some time ago. The developer of The Force Engine mentions that while it "shares a legacy with DarkXL, it is a complete rewrite" as written on the official site. Quite an exciting project if they keep up with it especially with it having modern, built-in tools, such as a level editor and support for mods that were designed to work with the original games.

      • Peaceful town-building RPG 'Littlewood' should leave Early Access in July

        Littlewood is a wonderful casual game, one built for gamers who like the slower side of life and it's getting very close to leaving Early Access. The developer announced this in their latest update, that they're "aiming for Littlewood's 1.0 launch to be at the end of July".

        What is Littlewood? It's a town-building RPG. There's no combat, the world is already saved and you're trying to rebuild everything. Collect resources, befriend NPCs and build them a house and more. It's a very slow and sweet game for when you want to relax a little.

      • AMD Zen 3 will work with older 400 Series motherboards

        AMD recently announced that for Zen 3, it wouldn't work on older motherboard chipsets but they've taken on feedback and found a way around it.

        In a post on Reddit, an official AMD employee gave a detailed answer on their new plans and they said clearly that they will be working with motherboard vendors on this. Thankfully this means for the next generation Zen 3, AMD B450 and X470 motherboards will be supported.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • What is SeExpr about?

          YES! Once I get a prototype up and running, and a build is made, I’ll need lots of testers for the UX bits.

          But most importantly: I need examples! Up to now, SeExpr is used mostly with proprietary software: Pixar’s Renderman (wiki here), and Autodesk’s Maya. The only open-source software that supports SeExpr is INRIA’s compositing software, Natron. Fully free, open source examples that we can bundle with Krita, would go a long way towards showcasing this project.

          That’s all from me! Next time, I’ll dissect the insides of the SeExpr library. Please chime in with any comments, amyspark @ #krita in the Freenode network.

        • Complex text shaping fixed in Konsole 20.08

          Konsole was one of the few terminal emulators with proper complex text shaping support. Unfortunately, complex text (including Malayalam) shaping was broken around KDE Applications release 18.08 (see upstream bug 401094 for details).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Mahmoud Khalil: My GSoC Proposal Got Accepted For GNOME

          I’m very happy to announce that my proposal for GSoC for The GNOME git client app “gitg” got accepted.


          I’m in my senior year in my College, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and Software Systems at Ain Shams University, So I saw this as a great opportunity to get more experience with the help of a mentor and an awesome community to enhance my skills, while also helping in improving, making an impact to and extending software I really like and appreciate it’s working flow, simplicity, and elegance like GNOME.

          So I began this year by studying and learning more about the technologies used to develop GNOME Software e.g. GObject, Glib, etc. Then around February I saw the ideas list at GNOME website and I was really interested in gitg ideas, So I contacted gitg IRC channel, talked with the Project Maintainer (Alberto Fanjul, “albfan” on IRC) and told him that I’m interested, he presented me with a newcomers’ issue and I made a MR for it. Then I created a pet project just to play around more with libgit2-glib library, which is a wrapper for the libgit2 APIs.

        • Ujjwal Kumar: GSoC 2020 - Gnome

          Seeing my colleagues applying for GSoC this year, I started my search and made some contributions to the Gnome’s projects. So I put an application for one of the Gnome’s projects (only one application, in case you were wondering). On the 4th of May 23:45 IST, I received the acceptance email from GSoC community (Yay!).

          The project I applied to is libhandy (a library of GUI widgets for phones). In there I’ll be working on implementing a new widget (more description here).

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Endless OS 3.8.1 Released: A Mobile-Like Streamlined Linux Experience

           Endless Computers, which builds a Linux-based operating system as well, has released a new point version Endless OS 3.8.1. The latest release comes with several improvements, changes, and bug fixes. So, let’s check out all the new features in v3.8.1.

          The installer is the first element that you require before installing and using Endless OS. Also, Endless OS is one of those Linux distros that offer an installer app to create an Endless OS bootable Live USB stick on Windows. The latest OS v3.8.1 updates the installer to its new version that makes the dual boot process smooth and makes the user experience better.

        • Release | Endless OS 3.8.1
      • BSD

        • Clang 11 Changes -O To Match GCC Behavior

          Clang 11.0 has changed its "-O" optimization flag to match the defaults of GCC.

          LLVM Clang currently treats the -O option as matching the -O2 optimization level as that was chosen back when Clang didn't differ between -O1 and -O2 optimization levels. GCC meanwhile has treated -O as the -O1 optimization level.

          But now with Clang's -O1 and -O2 behavior differing, Clang has changed its -O behavior to -O1 in matching the characteristics of the GNU Compiler Collection.

        • The Dark Side Of Hackathons: Why They Are Counter Innovation Culture

          The term Hackathon was coined by Niels Provos from OpenBSD

        • First seed for OpenBSD/powerpc64 planted by kettenis@

          In a set of commits to the tree on Saturday, Mark Kettenis (kettenis@) added the early beginnings of support for the 64-bit PowerPC platform: [...]

        • OpenBSD 6.7

          This is a partial list of new features and systems included in OpenBSD 6.7. For a comprehensive list, see the changelog leading to 6.7.

        • OpenBSD 6.7 Released With FFS2 Improvements, Better Raspberry Pi + PineBook Pro Support

          OpenBSD 6.7 was released this morning as the newest version of this security-minded BSD operating system.

          Among the many changes with OpenBSD 6.7 are:

          - FFS2 file-system improvements including using 64-bit timestamps and block numbers by default for new installs.

          - Support for the Raspberry Pi 4 on ARM64 while improving the Raspberry Pi 3 support too. Raspberry Pi 2/3 support has also improved for OpenBSD ARMv7.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • New Challenges Require New Thinking

          As has been said before, these are trying times we live in. We are being challenged as individuals, families and companies. And if you have been keeping an eye on this space, you’ve noticed that SUSE – as a company and as individual employees wherever we are – have been doing our best to find ways to help. To help our customers, our partners and our friends and co-developers in open source. To help the medical manufacturing industry and the healthcare community they serve. To help our neighbors around the world.

          The global COVID-19 pandemic has created or uncovered many problems that can be mitigated or even solved with the right technology deployed in the right way. New challenges (and we are all certainly seeing our share of those, wherever we live) require new solutions and new ways of thinking. So we’re doing our best to help you find new ways to solve emerging (and sometimes long-standing) business issues.


          Meanwhile, we are pleased to invite you to join thousands of enterprise software users and industry watchers at SUSECON Digital, starting May 20.

        • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 Public Release Candidate 2!

          As a reminder Media1 contains the binaries (usual installation ISO), Media2 contains the sources and Media3 which contained debuginfo packages is _not_ provided as ISO image anymore but still available as Online Channel.

      • Slackware Family

        • Slackware is now PAM'ified

          After three months of testing (initially it was planned to be few days only), PAM is finally merged into the main tree of Slackware-Current per 18 May 2020. Many people have expected this to happen, they just wait for the trigger and finally Pat pushed the changes today.

          Some people have started to panic about the integration of PAM, but really, there is nothing to worry about. Slackware will still keep to it's root and traditions. The integration of PAM is something inevitable as more and more upstream projects requires PAM as one of the authentication mechanism (including my Cinnamon SlackBuilds project) and the myth about PAM being insecure is no longer valid. Other distributions have been using PAM for many years and they do work well, so it should work well with Slackware as well.

          Kudos to Patrick and the rest of the crew and some contributors, the integration of PAM is very smooth and there's no breakage at all. Everything works normally before and after the upgrade process as long as you follow the instructions carefully (install those three important packages: pam, libpwquality, cracklib). I have upgraded all my machines (except for my laptop but soon) to the PAM'ified version of Slackware and everything works fine here.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Linux distro review: Fedora Workstation 32

            Fedora is a pretty different beast than what I'm used to from my Ubuntu daily drivers. It's a lot closer to the Gnome upstream than Ubuntu is... and while some people might like that, I discovered that I really don't.

          The use of the Wayland display server instead of the much older Xorg didn't make much difference on the i7-powered HP Dragonfly Elite G1 I tested it on. Windows dragged smoothly and videos were tear-free—but they had been on an Xorg-powered distribution, too. I don't think Wayland is a big draw for me personally—at least not yet. I'm more than content to let it cook for however much longer it needs to before it succeeds in supplanting Xorg.

          For the most part—and to my surprise—Fedora felt more sluggish than I'm used to. Reboots were significantly slower and Firefox application launches laggier than Ubuntu on the same hardware, and I believe on, eg, Clear Linux or GhostBSD either. There were exceptions to this rule, though—Gnome's Software Center was much snappier on Fedora than I'm used to in Ubuntu.

          I'm unlikely to switch to Fedora any time soon—but if I did, it would probably be for Matthew Miller's promise of routine, painless six-month upgrades. I normally keep to Ubuntu's every-two-year LTS (Long Term Support) releases, because I don't like broken stuff. Then again, I encountered more broken stuff just in the course of a daily package upgrade here than I expected.

          Fedora is probably best-suited to people who like to tinker and get really, really antsy if they don't have the absolute latest version of every software package. Both its repositories and its kernel tend to get updated considerably faster than Ubuntu's. For example, even though Ubuntu 20.04 is less than a month old, Fedora 32 already has a newer kernel—5.6.12, to Ubuntu's 5.4.0.

        • OpenShift topology view: A milestone towards a better developer experience

          The topology view is part of Red Hat OpenShift's developer perspective, which takes a unique approach to providing an application-centric visual representation of projects. This could potentially help reduce stress for developers and provide them with a more insightful perspective to innovate. Here's how we've approached improving the developer perspective as a user experience.

        • Awards roll call: March 2020 to May 2020

          Summer is just around the corner and Red Hat is adding more awards to our roster! We are proud to announce that several Red Hatters and Red Hat products are being recognized by leading industry publications and organizations for efforts in driving innovation.

          Open source is ingrained in everything we do at Red Hat, and we are continually amazed by the collaboration and creativity demonstrated by Red Hatters as well as our communities, partners and customers. These latest awards are a testament to the open source way and our company-wide dedication to supporting solutions that end users need today, tomorrow and beyond.

        • Paul Cormier, Red Hat CEO: “Never Rest On Your Success. Be Paranoid.”

          We had the utmost pleasure of interviewing Red Hat’s new CEO, Paul Cormier. After spending over 20 years at the world’s leading open-source software solutions, Paul is now taking charge at the helm of the company. Recently, he interacted with Fossbytes and told us about the company’s success, the current pandemic situation, how he successfully managed to jump over hurdles, and about the future strategies of Red Hat under IBM.

        • Fedora 33 Looks To Up Its Code Hardening For 64-Bit Arm Systems

          Fedora has been improving its 64-bit ARM (AArch64) support for quite some time and with this autumn's Fedora 33 release it should be in even better shape.

          One of the AArch64-specific Fedora 33 changes being planned is enabling support for newer ARMv8.3~8.5-level code hardening features in order to enhance the security.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.05~dev

          Call for testers.

          It is a development release of Sparky which is based on Debian testing “Bullseye”.

          The Sparky Advanced Installer received (experimental) improvements by darekem73, such as: ● autopartitioning ● partition encrypting ● logical volume support The Yad based GUI is disabled, so text mode only.

          Other changes: ● sparky tools uses ‘spterm’ (Sparky Terminal) now ● ‘debi-tool’ replaced by ‘gdebi’ back ● ‘otter-browser’ replaced by ‘epiphany-browser’ (thanks to lami07) ● added Openbox Noir to the desktop list

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Outs Linux Kernel Security Updates for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS

            Two kernel updates are available for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series running the Linux 4.15 LTS kernel series, as well as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS systems running the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel series.

          Two issues are common for both the Linux 4.15 and 4.4 kernel series, namely a flaw (CVE-2020-11494) discovered in the Serial CAN interface driver that could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information (kernel memory) and a vulnerability (CVE-2020-11565) that could let a local attacker with access to specify mount options to the tmpfs virtual memory file system to crash the system by causing a denial of service.

        • Here’s Why Ubuntu Linux 20.04 Feels Insanely Fast And Responsive

          When Ubuntu 19.10 was released, I wrote that upgrading to it felt like upgrading to a FreeSync or G-Sync display. Something dramatic and borderline magical had happened, but what?

          Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt explained that they started seeking out “cold spots.” Think of a cold spot as Gnome Shell sitting idle for even a few milliseconds when it should be updating the frame being displayed onscreen.

          To do this, the team conducted real-time performance analysis using Google Profiler. Combined with Intel’s Mesa driver, they were able to pinpoint where the CPU or GPU had “stalled,” resulting in increased visual latency. You might refer to it as “lag.” And those milliseconds add up.

          This led to the zapping of numerous bugs, including one that caused Xorg sessions to be one frame “laggier” than Wayland sessions. Want to read the technical stuff? Click here. Or read Daniel Van Vugt’s complete blog post from last year.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Pandemic stress test: The open source cloud is up to the challenge

          We all know that modern business has become a rapid-response environment. Never before have we had the number of IT resources at the tips of our fingers as we have today, and most of them are enabled by the cloud. When we refer to "the cloud", we may be talking about several computing concepts, but typically the cloud consists of a set of remotely-hosted resources and services, from web pages to mobile apps or even traditional desktop applications.

        The cloud continuously transforms our connectivity on a global scale. It can be found everywhere, from our vehicles to our phones and even to our watches. From what we are witnessing right now, the cloud may ultimately safely carry numerous organizations through a global crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global remote workforce of millions of people, nearly overnight. The move has generated a sharp rise in the demand for cloud providers, forcing many of the digital productivity and collaboration tool providers to adjust their service offerings and, in many cases, strengthen their own safety and security infrastructure to manage the surging need.

      • An open source HTTP router to increase your network visibility

          In my previous article, I introduced Skipper, an open source HTTP router and reverse proxy for service composition. This article focuses on how Skipper increases network visibility and describes its advantages for both developers of scalable applications and operators of the infrastructure they run on.

        As an HTTP routing provider, Skipper wants to provide visibility to application developers. At e-commerce retailer Zalando, our developers in feature teams want to monitor their systems to understand failure rates (%), throughput (request per second, or RPS), and latencies (e.g., p50, p99, p999). Skipper library users who want to instrument their custom proxies can use Skipper's metrics package to instrument their proxies and create custom metrics.

        Operators need observability to understand how the system behaves in general and at certain points in time, so they're ready when someone asks, "What happened yesterday at 2:30am?" or "How would this request be processed?" Skipper can help answer these questions by increasing backend applications' visibility.

      • AOMedia AV1 2.0 Codec Library Released With Many Improvements

        Version 2.0 of the libaom AOMedia AV1 video encoder / video codec SDK library is now available as the first major update in nearly two years.

        Libaom 2.0 is the first release since the original 1.0 release back in mid-2018 after the AOMedia codec working group approved the 1.0 release. The developers view this AOMedia AV1 2.0 release as now being their "first official release" for production.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Firebird 4.0 Beta 2 release is available for testing

          Firebird Project announces the second (and last) Beta release of Firebird 4.0, the next major version of the Firebird relational database, which is now available for testing on Windows and Linux platforms.

          This Beta release arrives with features and improvements already implemented by the Firebird development team, as well as with countless bugfixes. Our users are appreciated giving it a try and providing feedback to the development mailing list. Apparent bugs can be reported directly to the bugtracker.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • FSFE calls for a more inclusive competition law in Europe

            In order to contribute to the EU Commission assessment of the Market Definition Notice, the FSFE has taken part in the public consultation to call for more attention to smaller stakeholders and civil society in topics of EU competition law.

            The European Commission has launched an evaluation of some central concepts of EU competition law. The so-called EU Market Definition Notice (the "Notice") enables the Commission to identify actual competitors of relevant products and geographic markets to enforce prevailing competition policy and law. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine whether the Notice, introduced in 1997, remains fit for its purpose in light of recent developments. This is especially necessary when we also consider the dramatic digitalisation of the European markets that has occurred in the past 23 years.

            In order to contribute to a fair and inclusive assessment, the FSFE took part in the public consultation to highlight the necessity of having the experience of grassroot organisations and civil society actors heard by the Commission. Notwithstanding the deep expertise in competition law in the software and telecommunications field these smaller stakeholders have, they might be disadvantaged in raising attention to essential competition topics, since the Commission might hear a biased account of the needs of the market when only large and well-funded business organisations have sufficient resources to effectively provide feedback in consultation procedures.

      • Public Services/Government

        • EU Parliament Strongly Recommends Developing and Using Open Source Software

          Europe is choosing open source more than ever. Not just limited to EU Commissions’ decision to use Signal messaging app but also open science and the adoption of open source software by European universities.

          Now, in a recent press release by the European Pirate Party, it looks like the EU Parliament is urging EU institutions to use open-source software. All thanks to the Pirate amendments for encouraging the use of open-source software.

          The EU Parliament not just encourages the use of open-source software, but they have also advised to prioritize development of open-source software by the EU institutions.

          So, not just aiming to adopt using open-source software but to develop open-source software. And, that’s definitely good news!

      • Programming/Development

        • A month of git-lab

          About a month ago I published the initial version of git-lab, a command line client for GitLab. Lots of new features have been added since then, and I hope you’ll find them useful. Tobias Fella and especially Benjamin Port joined and brought this project forward.


          As git-lab is still pre-release software under development, it is especially helpful if you report bugs, they happen!

        • How to make life easier for your future self wanting to port your apps to compiled QML

          Compiled QML is the new feature in Qt6 which makes many people look forward to the Qt6 release. Most of us already maintain or contribute to projects which make use of QML, so let’s make sure we can use compiled QML in our projects once its available.

          First, a disclaimer: I only started experimenting with this today, and not all my assumptions have to be true in the end. The Qt Company’s plans on the changes for Qt 6 are also not yet fixed, which means that things can still change.

        • QML Online - First stable version!

          Everything starts with QHot, that I describe as "Hot reload for nested QML files", a useful tool for anyone that likes to prototype UI elements or ideas with a real-time feedback of what you are typing in QML. I noticed that compiling the project or recalling qml/qmlscene tools just to test and check my ideas was pretty annoying and time-consuming, the desire to have something like godbolt or quick-bench started growing. My objective was something that was closer to these tools but for QML development, and that is how QHot was born.

        • Daniel Holbach: GitOps Days 2020 Schedule

          We have two beautiful days of GitOps sessions and content lined up for you. Tomorrow will be day 1, so if you haven’t signed up yet, head to and register there!

        • GitLab's take on the current state of DevOps

            GitLab, a prominent Git-based DevOps company, has released the results of its fourth annual DevSecOps survey This global survey of over 3,650 respondents found that DevOps rise has led to "sweeping changes in job functions, tool choices, and organization charts within developer, security and operations teams."

          The vast majority of developers are finding DevOps is living up to its promise of faster software releases. According to the survey, nearly 83% of developers report being able to release code more quickly with DevOps.

        • g_assert_no_errno() and GLib 2.65.1

          It’s the start of a new GLib release cycle, and so it’s time to share what people have been contributing so far. GLib 2.65.1 will be out soon, and it will contain a new test macro, g_assert_no_errno(). This checks that a POSIX-style function (like, say, rmdir()) succeeds when run. If the function fails (and indicates that by returning a negative integer) then g_assert_no_errno() will print out the error message corresponding to the current value of errno.

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn Factor

          Factor is a dynamic stack-based programming language. It was originally conceived as an experiment to create a stack-based language practical for modern programming tasks. It was inspired by earlier stack-based languages like Forth and Joy.

          Factor programs look very different from programs in most other programming languages. At the most basic level, function calls and arithmetic use postfix syntax, rather than prefix or infix as in most programming languages. Factor provides local variables, but they are used in only a small minority of procedures because its language features allow most code to be comfortably written in a point-free style.

          Here’s our recommended free books to learn Factor.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.20 Continuously Upgraded

            Patrick Böker has added AzureCI as a new Continuous Integration pipeline for Rakudo. It is meant to replace the different CI pipelines that Rakudo uses now. AzureCI tests all build combinations the other CI pipelines tested (plus some more). This will get rid of a good bit of redundant, wasteful testing and will make it easier to provide nightly builds and binary releases (with MacOS, Linux and Windows covered). The plan is to stop using Travis, AppVeyor and CircleCI for testing Rakudo core soon.

        • Python

          • Understanding bitwise operations in Python

            Have you ever wondered about bitwise operations in Python? They’re not that common nowadays, but they are still in the language, and can be useful in some cases.

          • Python 3.9.0b1

            Python 3.9 is still in development. This release, 3.9.0b1, is the first of four planned beta release previews. Beta release previews are intended to give the wider community the opportunity to test new features and bug fixes and to prepare their projects to support the new feature release.

          • Python 3.9.0b1 is now available for testing

            On behalf of the entire Python development community, and the currently serving Python release team in particular, I’m pleased to announce the release of Python 3.9.0b1.

          • Montreal Python User Group: MP-76 – Hackathon recap

            Pythonistas, The Tonic Glacier hackathon of our 76th Montréal-Python event wrapped up on Sunday May 3rd on a very positive note.

          • What is Python used for?

            So what is Python really used for?

            If you are really asking this question, then I am going to assume that you are a beginner who is not entirely sure if investing your time learning Python is a good choice.

            I totally get it.

            When you are new to the world of programming, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of programming languages.

            You probably have received a lot of advice to start your programming learning journey with Python.

          • Convert a Python String to int

            Integers are whole numbers. In other words, they have no fractional component. Two data types you can use to store an integer in Python are int and str. These types offer flexibility for working with integers in different circumstances. In this course, you’ll learn how you can convert a Python string to an int. You’ll also learn how to convert an int to a string.

          • Python RegEx

            In this tutorial, you will learn about regular expressions (RegEx), and use Python's re module to work with RegEx (with the help of examples).

            A Regular Expression (RegEx) is a sequence of characters that defines a search pattern

        • JavaScript

    • Standards/Consortia

      • SD 8.0 Specification To Allow 4GB/s Transfer Rates By Leveraging PCIe 4.0

        SD 8.0 cards will retain backwards compatibility and will run even faster thanks to PCIe 4.0 and NVMe 1.4. For hardware making use of PCIe 3.0 x2 or PCIe 4.0 x1, transfer rates are said to be up to ~2GB/s while using PCIe 4.0 x2 will allow up to 4GB/s. SD Express cards supporting dual PCIe lanes will now have three rows of pins.

      • Stop setting the language of your website based on my location

        A much better way (and probably easier) is to use the user's browser/system language. That's the language I want to read on 99% of the time. Otherwise, why would I have my machine in that language? And if it's not, I will change it myself.

  • Leftovers

    • Holy Super Soaker Batman
    • Science

      • The pre-emptive disinformation war against a coronavirus vaccine

        It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve now been writing about the antivaccine movement on a regular basis for the last 15 years. The first big splash I made dates back to when the blog was only six months old and I took on the utterly awful article simultaneously published in Rolling Stone and, Deadly Immunity. The article was by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and was basically a conspiracy theory that claimed that the CDC “knew” that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal, which was in several childhood vaccines until 2002, caused autism but that it “covered up” the data showing it at a conference in 2000 held at the Simpsonwood Conference Center near Atlanta. It was the first example I had ever encountered of what I now like to call the “central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement,” although now that thimerosal has been gone from vaccines for 18 years it’s been supplanted by the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory (featured in the 2016 conspiracy film disguised as a documentary VAXXED), in which a senior CDC scientist supposedly admitted that the CDC “knew” that vaccines cause autism but manipulated data in one of its studies to cover up the link. Plus ça change…

      • Why you can ignore reviews of scientific code by commercial software developers

        tl;dr: Many scientists write code that is crappy stylistically, but which is nevertheless scientifically correct (following rigorous checking/validation of outputs etc). Professional commercial software developers are well-qualified to review code style, but most don’t have a clue about checking scientific validity or what counts as good scientific practice. Criticisms of the Imperial Covid-Sim model from some of the latter are overstated at best.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How life has changed for Russia’s oncologists. Photos from doctors on the job.

        As hospitals around the world admit waves of new patients infected with the coronavirus, other necessary medical services have naturally continued, albeit under very changed conditions. Oncologists work inside this danger zone, going days without seeing their loved ones and donning the miserably uncomfortable but necessary personal protective equipment that has become so familiar in news reports since the start of the pandemic. The Anti-Leukemia Foundation recently asked oncologists in Moscow and St. Petersburg to share photographs and videos showing what their job is like during the fight against COVID-19. All photos below were provided by the foundation.

      • Staying Above Water During the Pandemic
      • Self-quarantined Moscow professor says she was fined for failing to install the city’s mobile tracking software

        A university professor in Moscow says she was fined 4,000 rubles (about $55) for failing to install an app on her smartphone that would allow the city to track her movements and ensure that she remains self-quarantined. Irina Karabulatova says she’s been bed-ridden for a year already due to an illness and has not been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

      • Covid-19, Big Ag and the Failing Food System

        Big Ag has separated humankind from the process of creating food that sustains existence. This separation has been done for material gain. Big Ag has interrupted the most natural relationship, a spiritual relationship, between humanity and the land. This human/land connection supersedes all religions. It is humankind’s association with land that feeds us and fortifies people to grow and expand civilization. It is this divine relationship that has been interrupted by the economic agenda of Big Ag. That agenda, like in most industry, is to monetize human need, with little or no concern for people’s wellbeing.

      • COVID Deaths in US Approach 100,000 as Trump Administration Misleads Public

        There is a lot to keep track of these days, and almost all of it is awful.

      • COVID-19 cases spike in Saratov after a brief easing of quarantine restrictions and the region locks down again

        Officials in the Saratov region have reinstated quarantine measures after a brief easing of restrictions on outdoor activities led to another wave of coronavirus infections. In an announcement on Monday, Alexander Strelyukhin, the regional government’s cabinet head, urged residents to be patient and take health officials’ recommendations more seriously. 

      • Substitute Pharmacists Warn Their Co-Workers: We’ll Probably Bring the Virus to You

        He joined Walgreens around a decade ago, fresh out of pharmacy school and eager to learn. Like many new grads, he started as a floater — a substitute for employees who call out sick or take vacation — and he was floated as far as he was willing to go. Sometimes he would drive hours east of the Dallas area, where he lived, to pick up shifts in rural Texas, sleeping in hotels for days at a time.

        The pharmacist, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, eventually worked his way up to become a full-time manager at a store in Dallas. But recently he’s returned to floating, this time at CVS, preferring its flexible hours. In the past three months, he’s traveled between 10 stores.

      • Arundhati Roy and Bill McKibben Argue Covid-19 an Opportunity for Humanity to Get Off Dangerous Path

        If the world is able to "flatten the carbon curve" in the same way it is now desperately trying to flatten the infection rate curve "then people might look back in 50 years at this time and thank us, you know, instead of curse us."

      • Fauci Saves

        What kind of a country is it that will not care for its own people?

      • 'Neither Ironic or Funny': Cell Data Reveals Right-Wing Lockdown Protesters May Be Spreading Covid-19

        "The behavior we're seeing at protests carries a high risk of infection," said Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency care physician and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

      • To maintain social distancing, Russian regulators say planes should be no more than half full

        As the aviation industry hobbles back to work, Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare is encouraging airlines to sell no more than 50 percent of the available seats on planes, in order to observe social distancing guidelines. 

      • The Stay-at-Home Orders Trump Mocked Likely Saved Nearly a Quarter Million Lives

        Social distancing and stay-at-home measures instituted across the country may have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, according to the findings of one study.

      • 71 New COVID Cases Detected in Wisconsin Following GOP-Enforced In-Person Voting

        At least 71 individuals in the state of Wisconsin who voted in person or performed tasks as poll workers during the April 7 statewide election contracted coronavirus just a few weeks later, according to the state’s Department of Health Services.

      • Coronavirus 'Immunity Passports' Are Not the Answer

        A system of immunity passports in the United States threatens to exacerbate racial disparities and harm the civil liberties of all.

      • 'National Day of Mourning' Protests This Week to Condemn GOP Failures Amid Mass Suffering Caused by Covid-19

        "This should be political suicide. Let's make sure it is."

      • Can You Be Evicted During Coronavirus? Here’s How to Find Out.

        As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the nation’s health and economy, renters and landlords alike are navigating a shifting legal landscape. With unemployment swelling, federal, state and local authorities have scrambled to assemble a makeshift safety net of policies that will keep renters hit hard by the crisis from losing their homes.

        These responses offer renters some protections, at least in the short run, but they’ve also created confusion. If you’re a renter, you might have no idea if you can be evicted.

      • Coronavirus spread in Russia is gradually slowing, with roughly 9,000 new cases reported in past day

        On the morning of May 18, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 8,926 new coronavirus infections in the past day (up 3.1 percent from the day before) bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 290,678 patients. Moscow’s share of the new cases fell to 36 percent from well over half a few weeks ago.

      • Teachers Union Says 'Flimsy' CDC Flowchart on School Reopenings Shows Trump Disregard for Student Safety

        "The reality of reopening school buildings and college campuses is that any missteps could cost lives... Once again, this administration has politics trumping science."

      • COVID-19 Killed at Least 25 Residents of One Illinois Nursing Home. The Family of One Victim Has Filed a Lawsuit, Alleging Negligence.

        The family of a woman who died last month from COVID-19 has filed a lawsuit against the nursing home where she lived, which has had one of the largest and deadliest outbreaks of the virus in Illinois.

        The lawsuit alleges that negligence at Bria of Geneva led to the death of Helen Osucha, 97, who died April 26 after she became “gravely ill” as the coronavirus spread through the nursing home about 40 miles west of Chicago. Osucha was not isolated from other residents or tested for the coronavirus and her family was not informed that she was ill, according to the lawsuit.

      • Unsettling Noises: Locked Down in Queens

        For the past nine weeks an eerie silence has descended upon my neighborhood, as it has for much of the rest of New York City. Being a musician, I am extremely aware of my sonic environment at all times and the soundscape of the city has abruptly changed since even a week before the Stay-at-Home order was given on March 22nd. Gone are the honking horns and idling engines in snarled traffic. I don’t hear the traffic helicopter hovering overhead daily anymore. The incessant roar of the turbines from the high volume of commercial airliners coming in and out of nearby LaGuardia and JFK airports has been replaced by birdsong. The residual din of the MTA, LIRR, and thousands of other passersby that made up my “natural” listening existence in my neck of the woods, a non-descript residential area where urban and inner Queens rub up against each other, is no longer prevalent.

      • As Invasive Covid-19 Tracing Technologies Loom, ACLU Unveils Guidelines to Guard Against Overreach

        The civil liberties group also challenged so-called "immunity passport" proposals that could create "a new health surveillance infrastructure that endangers privacy rights."

      • Screen fatigue to slipping productivity: How virtual meeting burnout is real

        Virtual burnout is a real issue for professionals spending increased amounts of time before their computers as they work from home (WFH). For one 27-year-old commodity trader, it meant going in for spectacles as an eye test showed his vision had dimmed during the lockdown due to excessive screen time. On a typically busy day, he attends up to 25 calls a day, across time zones, lasting “on an average, 20-25 minutes and last night, it was 95 minutes.”

        Meanwhile, Bengaluru-based Vaibhav Jalan, who is an associate vice-president for a business vertical in Bengaluru, has lately been complaining of recurring headaches. Exhaustion, tiredness, constant headaches, drowsiness, irritability, etc, are some signs of burnout amid the coronavirus pandemic. “If you have been feeling exhausted, even though your work just demands talking/sitting through video calls, then you may have experienced virtual meeting burnout leading to fatigue, decreased sustained attention and straining cognitive resources,” explained Ajeeta Mulye, psychologist and outreach associate, Mpower – The Foundation.

      • Use the COVID-19 crisis to fix the water crisis

        For years before this crisis hit, a majority of America’s water utilities were already in financial distress. To balance the books, utilities deferred maintenance, resulting in a widespread failure of infrastructure. Just last year, there were nearly a quarter of a million U.S. water main breaks. Likewise, many utilities have been understaffed, with approximately a third of water utility positions unfilled. Without adequate funding or reserves, purchase of new health-related technologies goes undone.

        All of this has led to cascading problems — and ever-greater exposure by Americans across the country to unsafe drinking water. With the COVID-19 crisis, this is certain to get worse.

      • DNDi and MSF joint statement at the 73rd World Health Assembly

        WHO Member States must take five decisive steps to transform good intentions about access to COVID-19 drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines into tangible health tools in the hands of clinicians and patients:

        Ensure researchers, public health experts, civil society, and political leaders from low- and middle-income countries have a seat at the decision-making table. Research in resource-constrained settings must be accelerated and supported to identify the tools and interventions that will save lives. Commit to open sharing of research knowledge and data, which improves efficiency and accelerates scientific progress. R&D funding should be made conditional on results and data, promising compounds, clinical trial protocols and results, being put in the public domain. Guarantee that health tools are free of intellectual property restrictions, which can obstruct research and large-scale production of affordable health technologies. No new legal rights should be sought, and technology owners should either not enforce their existing IP or share it via non-exclusive licensing globally. Countries must use all legal mechanisms, including TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access. Act now to ensure sufficient production, equitable allocation, and affordable pricing. Additional production capacity must be created, including through technology transfer. New health tools need to be equitably allocated both between countries and within countries. Pricing must be as close as possible to cost of production, affordable for health systems, and free to those most in need. Require full transparency of the massive public investments into discovery and development of COVID health tools. Transparency is key to securing public trust and demonstrating accountability of governments and funding recipients.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Canarytokens: Token Anything, Anywhere

        A brief overview of how they work:

        Web token

        1. Visit and create a web token with the label “Fake email in the finance folder of Adrian’s inbox”.

        2. The server gives me a unique Canarytoken/link. I place it in the finance folder of Adrian’s inbox.

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • How Cloud Buildpacks can help you deploy complex applications to your cloud

              We all know what containers are, right? Of course, right. They've been around for decades, but Docker made containers so easy to use they've reshaped how we run and deploy complex applications. But, as useful as they are, you can't use them by hand to easily install complex programs. For that, we need a different take on automating program deployment: Cloud Buildpacks.


              While Cloud Buildpacks started before cloud-native development techniques took off in programming circles, Buildpacks are now incorporating cloud-native techniques. Pivotal and Heroku started the Cloud Native Buildpacks project in January 2018. It has since transitioned to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) as part of the Cloud Native Sandbox.

            • Microsoft Admits: “We Were Wrong About Open Source” [Ed: Distraction from other MIT affairs?]

              During a virtual MIT event, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal counsel, admitted that Microsoft had the wrong perception of open-source culture back in the 20s.

              Brad said, “Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally.” He joined Microsoft in 1993 when Linux and the free software revolution were on the verge of rising to change the world of open source.

            • Microsoft admits it was wrong about Linux and open source
        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (dpdk and exim4), Fedora (openconnect, perl-Mojolicious, and php), Red Hat (kernel and kpatch-patch), Slackware (sane), and Ubuntu (bind9, dpdk, exim4, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-gcp, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-snapdragon, and linux, linux-aws, linux-lts-xenial, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon).

          • Security Expert Tadayoshi Khono Joins EFF Advisory Board

            EFF is proud to announce a new addition to our crack advisory board: security expert and scholar Tadayoshi Khono. A professor at University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, Khono is a researcher whose work focuses on identifying and fixing security flaws in emerging technologies, the Internet, and the cloud.Khono examines and tests software and networks with the goal of developing solutions to security and privacy risks before those risks become a threat. His research focuses on helping protect the security, privacy, and safety of users of current and future generation technologies.Khono has revealed security flaws in electronic voting machines, implantable cardiac defibrillators, and pacemakers, and automobiles. He recently studied flaws in augmented reality (AR) apps, and last year co-developed a tool for developers to build secure multi-user AR platforms. A 2019 report he co-authored about the genealogy site GEDmatch, used to find the Golden State Killer, showed vulnerabilities to multiple security risks that could allow bad actors to create fake genetic profiles and falsely appear as a relative to people in the GEDmatch database.Khono has spent the last 20 years working to raise awareness about computer security among students, industry leaders, and policy makers. He is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and a Technology Review TR-35 Young Innovator Award. He has presented his research to the U.S. House of Representatives, and had his research profiled in the NOVA ScienceNOW “Can Science Stop Crime?” documentary and the NOVA “CyberWar Threat” documentary. Kohno received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, where he earned the department’s Doctoral Dissertation Award.We’re thrilled that Khono has joined EFF’s advisory board.

          • Why you should be using Multi-Category Security for your Linux containers

            In our last post, we discussed SELinux and how it can be used to improve container security. We also looked at the Multi-Level Security (MLS) and Multi-Category Security (MCS) models. In this post, we'll compare those models and explain why we believe MCS to be a better approach to container security.

            We often describe SELinux policy for containers as "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." What we mean by this is we use SELinux to keep the processes inside of the container file system. If somehow they break out of container confinement, SELinux can prevent them from reading and writing other content on the hosts file systems.

            SELinux has been proven to block container breakouts based on file system attacks. The goal of MLS is similar in that it allows the processes running in the same sensitivity level to read/write all of the content at the same level.

          • Payment portals leak the passport numbers of the tens of thousands of Muscovites ticketed for quarantine violations

            Over the past two months, Moscow has issued tens of thousands of fines to local residents for violating the city’s coronavirus self-isolation restrictions. Thanks to weak cryptographic security, the personal data of those ticketed is now available online.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Now The Washington Post Misleadingly Complains About Google & Apple Protecting Your Privacy Too Much

              Both the NY Times and the Washington Post have been among the most vocal in attacking internet companies like Google and Facebook, claiming that they're bad regarding your privacy. Yet, like with France (who fined Google for its privacy practices, but then got mad at the company over the privacy-protecting features of its COVID contact tracing API), the Washington Post has a very, very weird article complaining about Google and Apple's project because it's too protective of people's privacy. We've talked in the past about how the API (jointly developed between Apple and Google) was designed from the ground up to be privacy protective. And you know damn well that if the API wasn't developed as such there would be huge articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere decrying this API as a threat to everyone's privacy. Yet here, the complaint is that it's too protective, because these companies simply can't win.

            • It's Impossible To Opt Out Of Android's Ad Tracking; Max Schrems Aims To Change That

              Most of the world has been under some form of lockdown for weeks, but that clearly hasn't stopped the indefatigable Austrian privacy expert Max Schrems from working on his next legal action under the EU's GDPR. Last year, he lodged a complaint with the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) over what he called the "fake consent" that people must give to "cookie banners" in order to access sites. Now he has set his sights on Google's Android Advertising ID, which is present on every Android phone. It builds on research carried out by the Norwegian Consumer Council, published in the report "Out of control".

            • Rights Groups Demand House Democrats Fix Bill That Gives FBI Power to Search Browser Histories Without Warrant

              "Collecting this information is as close to reading minds as surveillance can get. It is digital mining of the personal lives of Americans."

            • Tell your House Representative to vote against letting the FBI access internet history without a warrant

              The Patriot Act is up for renewal with the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act and this bill as-is allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to access your internet history without a warrant. Under this new law, all the DOJ has to do is claim that an American citizen is tangentially related to an ongoing investigation and they’d be able to access your internet history that is stored with your internet service provider (ISP) – this gross privacy violating power must be stopped. The bill is currently in the House of Representatives and could be voted on as soon as next week.

            • China’s Tech Giant Baidu to Invest $70 Million in Livestreaming

              Baidu launched its own short video platform in 2017 called Haokan, which offers a mix of user-generated and professionally generated content. Growth has been slow, however, and it now trails massively behind Bytedance’s Douyin and the Tencent-invested Kuaishou. Haokan has around 30 million daily active users, while Douyin claims 296 million and Kuaishou 214 million, Caixin reports.

              Baidu’s investment amidst a number of lawsuits against Bytedance for “unfair competition”. Reports said Monday that Kuaishou has filed a suit in Beijing against Douyin because searches for the former app in a popular Chinese app store lead instead to a paid Douyin ad. In December, Baidu sued Bytedance’s Jinri Toutiao app, a news aggregator making strides in short form video, for “interfering” with search results, nudging users looking for Baidu short videos to Bytedance-owned platforms instead.

            • Assad Exploiting COVID-19 Prevention Measures to Consolidate Grip on Syria, Observers Say

              Alkoutami and Fahim report a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm uncovered that Syrian authorities have planted spyware in citizens’ cell phones through a coronavirus prevention application. This new application, called “Covid19,” is a digital thermometer that serves as a decoy while the encrypted AndoServer malware spies on the user.  

              "There are a trove of malicious apps that are embedded with spyware that secretly spy on the users. One has a fake thermometer embedded in it.  It’s just a disguise while the malware is secretly spying on users. It points to the regime’s ability to infiltrate various spaces, not just physical and hospital ones, but also the cyberspace in a time of crisis," said Alkoutami.

            • Emails show UC Santa Cruz police used military surveillance to suppress grad student strike

              The University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Police Department, with assistance from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the California National Guard, used military surveillance to suppress the UC Santa Cruz graduate student wildcat strike earlier this year, according to emails acquired through the California Public Records Act.

              Vice first reported the content of the emails on May 15 which provided insight into the coordinated efforts between the UC Santa Cruz Police Department, Alameda County Sheriff's Office, and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, to police the protests. As Salon has previously reported, police and campus officials reacted to the nonviolent labor action with threats, arrests, firings, and violence from the police with batons, according to grad students at the strike, for months as grad students demanded a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to help alleviate the rent burden of living in a pricey coastal California town.

              The new emails, which have been reviewed by Salon, dive deeper into the efforts to police the protests that went beyond what the grad students observed on the picket line. They show the UC Santa Cruz Police Department requested mutual aid from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office to police the protests as early as December 31. Notably, UC Santa Cruz is located in Santa Cruz County, not Alameda County — which is about 40 miles north.

            • Square announces permanent work-from-home policy

              Square employees will be able to work from home even after the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders end, Jack Dorsey told workers. The indefinite extension of the company’s remote work policy echoes a similar announcement from Twitter last week. Dorsey is CEO of both companies.

              “We want employees to be able to work where they feel most creative and productive,” a company spokesperson told The Verge. “Moving forward, Squares will be able to work from home permanently, even once offices begin to reopen. Over the past several weeks, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes for people to effectively perform roles outside of an office, and we will continue to learn as we go.”

              The new policy will apply to teams that are able to do their jobs remotely. Those that need to come into the office, like security personnel and facilities, will continue to do so.

            • FBI: Pensacola gunman prodded by al Qaeda to attack

              In response, Apple said it provided the FBI all the data it had, including from iCloud backups. But the company said it opposes any kind of “backdoor” that would allow anyone other than the user to unlock a phone. “We do not believe in the creation of a backdoor — one which will make every device vulnerable to bad actors who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. There is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys, and the American people do not have to choose between weakening encryption and effective investigations.”

            • The FBI cracked another iPhone — but it's still not happy with Apple

              After months of claiming that Apple's privacy protections had stalled its investigation, the Justice Department said Monday that it had accessed a terrorism suspect's iPhone with no help from the company.

            • German Court Limits Power of Spy Agency's Overseas Bugging

              Germany's Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that the surveillance of telephones and internet traffic of foreign nationals abroad by the BND intelligence agency violates parts of the constitution. It is the first time the court, acting on complaints from foreign journalists and Reporters Without Borders press freedom watchdog, has ruled that the BND is subject to Germany's constitution for its activities abroad. The ruling said that telephone and internet surveillance of foreigners abroad by the BND violated the freedom of the press and right to privacy in telecommunications enshrined in the country's constitution, or Basic Law. "The German state authority is bound by the fundamental rights of the Basic Law, not only within the German territory," said the court, adding further safeguards and oversight are required. The complainants were mostly journalists reporting on human rights violations in conflict zones and in authoritarian states who were concerned about legal provisions allowing the BND to collect, store and analyse data via telecoms monitoring abroad. Reporters Without Borders has argued that existing rules put informants in danger.

              "We hope to strengthen source protection internationally in the digital space," Christian Mihr, director of Reporters Without Borders, Germany, told Inforadio just before the ruling. The ruling requires the government to change an amendment to the law on the BND's powers introduced in 2017 after it was discovered that U.S. intelligence had bugged Germans' internet traffic and that the BND had acted similarly abroad.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • War and Power in Classical Greece: Lessons for Superpowers and the World
      • The Bouficha Appeal: Universal Call for Humanity to End Militarism and Stop War

        On March 15, 1950, the World Peace Council sent out the Stockholm Appeal, a short text that called for a ban on nuclear weapons and that would eventually be signed by almost 2 million people. The appeal was made up of three elegant sentences:

      • Unmasking the “Wartime President”

        There is an insidious attempt by President Trump to manipulate workers and consumers into believing they are “warriors,” fighting to save the American economy from the coronavirus. His aim is to motivate citizens to return to work and to shop prematurely, in the belief that they are saving the country, when, in fact, their unnecessary sacrifice of health and life is about his attempt to save his 2020 re-election campaign.

      • Far Right Extremists Hope to Incite New Civil War Amid Political Chaos of COVID

        The U.S. government has the official public policy of never negotiating with terrorists, paying them ransom or otherwise surrendering to their demands. The logic is simple: to give in to terrorists is to encourage more violence and other attacks.

      • Part II of the Kent-State Series - The Project Censored Show
      • The Coming Nuclear Menace: Hypersonic Missiles

        The United States is seeking to acquire “volumes of hundreds or even thousands” of nuclear-capable hypersonic missiles that are “stealthy” and can fly undetected at 3,600 miles per hour, five times faster than the speed of sound.

      • Ousted Inspector General Was Also Probing Possible Illegal Pompeo-Trump Effort to Force Through Saudi Arms Deal

        "Since day one, this president has thought he's above the law, above criticism, and can get away with anything—including a fake 'emergency' to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia," says Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      • Democrat Suggests Saudi Arms Sales Behind Firing of State Department Watchdog

        Engel said Linick's probe centered on the Trump administration's emergency declaration a year ago to bypass Congress to approve $8.1 billion in arms sales to several countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. said at the time the weapons were needed to deter what it called "the malign influence" of Iran throughout the Middle East.

      • Firing of State Watchdog May Be Related to Saudi Arms Sales, Senior Democrat Says

        On Monday, U.S.-Saudi ties were unexpectedly dragged into a new political scandal, one that could put U.S. support for the Saudi coalition back in the crosshairs of Congress. Trump abruptly fired the State Department’s top watchdog on Friday evening, and now the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, says the watchdog was probing the U.S. decision to sell precision-guided munitions to the Persian Gulf kingdom over the disapproval of Congress last year.

        Engel said in separate statements that Trump’s sacking of Inspector General Steve Linick may have been related to both his inquiry into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s misuse of staff for personal errands and his inquiry into U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

        “I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing. His office was investigating—at my request—Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” Engel said in a statement to Foreign Policy.

      • Saudi arms sale was a second area of investigation for fired State Department watchdog

        Ousted State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to greenlight arms sales to Saudi Arabia against the will of Congress when he was abruptly removed from his post, congressional officials tell NBC News.

        The probe into the Saudi arms sale is the second known investigation into Pompeo’s activities that Linick is known to have been pursuing when he was fired by President Donald Trump on Friday evening, in a letter to Congress explaining that the administration no longer had confidence in Linick. The inspector general was also looking into allegations Pompeo enlisted a political appointee to perform personal chores like picking up dry cleaning, NBC News previously reported.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • A military contractors’ report circulating on Capitol Hill claims to have evidence that COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab. It’s filled with information that’s just plain wrong.

        “This is an illustrated guide on how not to do open source analysis,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, who analyzed the MACE report for The Daily Beast. “It is filled with apples-to-oranges comparisons, motivated reasoning, and a complete refusal to consider mundane explanations or place the data in any sort of context.”

        A Department of Defense spokesperson told The Daily Beast that MACE did not produce the report “in coordination with the DoD.” Sierra Nevada did not respond to a request for comment.

      • [Older] How (Not) To Report On Russian Disinformation

        Whether you’re listening to NPR, watching MSNBC, or reading the New York Times, you will likely be barraged with stories about Russian [astroturfers] meddling in every topic imaginable. No matter how obscure, it always seems like these nebulous groups of “Russian trolls” are spreading discord about the topic du jour — Colin Kaepernick, the Parkland shootings, and even Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But when we talk about Russian disinformation, what is actually happening, and how should the subject be handled with accuracy and nuance?

        To be sure, there is such a thing as Russian disinformation, and it warrants coverage from journalists and researchers. However, the way that this topic is covered in many large Western outlets is not always as precise as it could be, and often lacks sufficient context and nuance. This issue came into focus this week when the New York Times published an article with a glaring inaccuracy about Russian disinformation — an article which was then shared by President Obama.

      • America’s far right is energised by covid-19 lockdowns

        The spreading of conspiracy theories is central to the extreme right’s activities. Some claim the virus is a hoax. Others blame the Chinese, the Jews or even Bill Gates. Some claim that the federal government is using the virus as a pretext to confiscate weapons and enforce “medical martial law”. Extremists also spread more familiar conspiracy theories, decrying 5G networks and vaccinations, which help introduce the uninitiated to their ideology.

        Lockdowns fit this recruitment agenda. Stuck at home with money running short, people might become “more receptive to these movements”, warns Joshua Fisher-Birch, of the Counter-Extremism Project, an NGO. The far right is making use of online platforms such as Facebook, Gab and Telegram to spread its message to this captive audience. They use an ever-changing litany of memes, ranging from George Washington dressed as one of their ranks to Ronald McDonald with a machine gun on his lap. They also have a significant presence in the online gaming world, which helps them attract young recruits.

      • Soldiers of the boogaloo: David Neiwert on the far right's plans for a new civil war

        The U.S. government has the official public policy of never negotiating with terrorists, paying them ransom or otherwise surrendering to their demands. The logic is simple: to give in to terrorists is to encourage more violence and other attacks.

        It would appear that the state of Michigan does not follow the same policy.

        Last Thursday, the Michigan state legislature announced it would not convene because of threats of violence and chaos by armed right-wing militias and other paramilitaries, as previously seen during the recent anti-lockdown protests.


        Right-wing terrorism is and will be a future template for Trump and his movement against their perceived or real enemies. White neo-fascist violence, and the threat of such violence have consistently escalated during the Age of Trump.

    • Environment

      • Emerging From the Pandemic With a Climate Plan

        As we come out of this pandemic with an altered business landscape and more awareness of our personal consumption patterns, we have a rare opportunity to make sure that the planet’s climate doesn’t become an even bigger crisis than the one we are battling now.

      • Taking the Air out of Balloon Pollution: Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year Danielle Vosburgh

        Danielle Vosburgh has been selected as the Fund for Wild Nature’s Grassroots Activist of the Year for 2020. Danielle is co-founder of the Florida-based grassroots group Balloons Blow, which opposes helium balloon releases and their harmful impact on wildlife.

      • Climate Campaigners Applaud Biden on Vow to Pull Plug on Keystone XL Permit

        "We'll need just this kind of climate ambition to make way for a livable planet in the next four years."

      • Giant Hogweed and Wild Parsnip: Do Not Touch!

        Furanocoumarins, when combined with sunlight, can cause phytophotodermatitis, a serious skin inflammation. The chemical prevents the skin from protecting itself against sunlight, which can lead to a severe sunburn. The reaction can be as mild as skin discoloration or as severe as large, painful blisters. The effects of giant hogweed can be much worse than that of wild parsnip, with some blisters similar to third-degree burns, permanent scarring, discoloration of the skin, increased sensitivity to sunlight that may last for years, and contact with the eyes could lead to blindness.


        If you see Giant Hogweed, keep your distance, and take high-resolution photos of the entire plant, stem, leaves, flowers and/or seeds. Photos and detailed directions to the infestation can be emailed to DEC at or contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office for assistance with identification.

        DEC crews visit each confirmed infestation site of giant hogweed and use an appropriate control method for the size of infestation and location. This service is free of charge to the landowner. Sites are visited each year until the plants are eradicated. For sites to be monitored and controlled, the landowner must give annual permission.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • 'Save the News' Campaign Urges Immediate Covid-19 Relief Funds to Sustain Local Journalism in Time of Crisis

        "Americans need access to information about their local communities more than ever, and yet layoffs and furloughs are only increasing as this pandemic continues."

      • The Big Empty: How Corporate Headquarters Have Abandoned America’s Suburbs

        When Kmart bought Sears in 2005, the retailer famous for its blue-light special sales left its longtime corporate home in Troy, Michigan, to move to Hoffman Estates, the headquarters of its new acquisition.

        Built in 1972, Kmart’s former headquarters, dubbed Fort Kresge, consists of a clutch of low, interlocking buildings of dark steel and mirrored glass. Brick towers loom in between them. Its nickname combined the campus’ fortresslike appearance with the surname of company founder Sebastian Spering Kresge.

      • House Democrats Demand State Dept. Reveal "Secret Plan" to Slash Social Security

        House Democrats are demanding that the Trump administration turn over to Congress all documents related to an internal State Department plan that reportedly proposes giving Americans direct cash payments in exchange for cuts to their Social Security benefits, an idea advocacy groups denounced as “monstrous.”

      • New Postmaster General's Focus on Modernization Likely Means Job Losses at USPS

        Much of the criticism of new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has centered on his $2 million in contributions to the Trump campaign and other Republican causes since 2016. DeJoy is in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte.

      • Food Drops Are Not Enough. Expand Food Stamps Programs Now.

        As heartening and important as these food drops are, they’re a supplement, not a replacement for what government can and must do.

      • Reopen the  Economy; or Charge of the Right Brigade

        Half a shop, half a bar, Half a school onward. Into the Virus of Death Goad the Sick Hundreds. “Forward the Right Brigade, Charge on your cards,” he said. Into the Virus of Death Goad the sick hundreds.

      • Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus

        Insolvent Wall Street banks have been quietly bailed out again. Banks made risk-free by the government should be public utilities. 

      • Imagine a World Where All Workers Are “Essential,” But Not All Leaders Are

        Among the myriad contradictions revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most suggestive is the difference between “essential” and “nonessential” workers and the work they do. While there seem to be significant differences about who falls into which group, what’s interesting is the apparent ease with which most people take the categories themselves for granted. What makes it possible — at least under the admittedly exigent circumstances of the pandemic — for millions (or billions on a global scale) of workers to be informed that what they do day in and day out can suddenly be forgone? What does this say about how these millions actually spend their time?

      • Sears Helped Build a Giant Entertainment Arena. Now, a Suburb Pays Millions to Keep It Running.

        In the mid-2000s, Sears, the village of Hoffman Estates and a private developer decided to go into show business together.

        They agreed to build the Sears Centre, an 11,000-seat entertainment venue 30 miles northwest of Chicago that was expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people a year from across the region to watch top music acts and sports teams. The village would finance the project with $55 million in bonds. The center would generate the revenue to pay off the notes.

      • The Coronavirus Is Devastating Already Devastated Communities

        The people and equity-centered recovery approach we are putting forward is intended to address immediate needs, but it’s also a guide for long-term change.

      • Cashing in on the pandemic: how lawyers are preparing to sue states over COVID-19 response measures

        As governments take action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent economic collapse big law firms, too, are watching the virus. Yet, their concern is not to save lives or the economy. Instead the lawyers urge big business to challenge emergency measures in order to defend its profits. In a parallel corporate justice system called ISDS states could face multi-million dollar lawsuits. On 26 March 2020, Italy’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 8,000 – then over twice the number seen anywhere else in the world. Morgues were overflowing with coffins and hospitals had long stopped accepting any non-emergency patients as doctors were fighting to save lives. “I have never seen anything like this,” one of them told a reporter. “You think everything is fine. Then, when it gets into the lungs, it convinces the body to fight so much, we end up killing our own bodies.”

        On the same day, lawyers of Italian law firm ArbLit published an article entitled “Could COVID-19 emergency measures give rise to investment claims? First reflections from Italy”. Instead of worrying about Italy’s record coronavirus death toll, the lawyers pondered whether the Italian government’s “hastily drawn-up and ill-coordinated” measures to curb the spread of the virus and lessen its economic impact, “may well fall within the scope of... investment treaties... between Italy and other states, paving the way for damages claims brought by foreign investors against Italy.”

      • US considers backing away from WHO move on Covid-19 drug patents

        The US is preparing to publicly disassociate itself from language in a World Health Organization resolution that will back the right of poor countries to ignore patents in order to gain access to a Covid-19 vaccine or treatment. Many governments, particularly in Africa, fear they will be squeezed out by richer countries unless they can force companies that discover anti-Covid therapies to share their intellectual property with manufacturers able to produce them cheaply at scale. African ambassadors in Geneva, where the WHO is based, said US diplomats had sought to persuade them to support a dilution of language in the resolution, but that they had refused. According to several people familiar with the situation, the US was planning to disassociate itself from part of the resolution, but talks are continuing. Although the US will make its objections clear, the resolution is expected to pass. The White House declined to comment on the negotiations. The resolution is being discussed at a virtual two-day meeting of the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s governing body, which concludes on Tuesday. “The US made some input trying to water down the references to Trips and patenting,” said one west African ambassador to Geneva, referring to Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. “The US is certain they will be the first to get the vaccine, but it might not be true.” Illustrating the concerns about richer countries getting earlier access to any vaccine, Ellen ‘t Hoen, a patents specialist at the University of Amsterdam, said it took a decade for African countries to get affordable Aids medicines, a period when millions of people died. “What we have seen in the past is that high-income countries rush to the front of the queue and leave the rest of the world to fend for themselves,” she said. In 2001, in the so-called Doha Declaration, World Trade Organization ministers said that governments could overrule intellectual property in a public health emergency. The US and other nations with strong pharmaceutical sectors, including the UK, Switzerland and Japan, wanted language explicitly referring to the Doha Declaration removed from the resolution, according to an early draft seen by the Financial Times.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Bolstering Case for Nationwide Vote-by-Mail, New Study Shows Wisconsin In-Person Election Exploded New Covid-19 Infections

        While counties with the most in-person polling places on April 7 saw large case spikes in the following weeks, counties that used widespread absentee balloting saw the opposite effect. 

      • Trump Calls Legally Protected Whistleblowing a 'Racket' as Fired Scientist Rips President's Failed Covid-19 Response

        "How can federal employees feel safe to speak up when the president wants to take away their legal protections?"

      • Even With COVID-19 Pandemic, Most Media Organizations Get Refugee Issues Wrong

        The coronavirus pandemic intensified a refugee crisis, endangering millions of people who already were struggling to survive and obtain safety.

        When Katie Dancey-Downs, a journalist in the United Kingdom, pitched Shadowproof a story about COVID-19 and asylum seekers, we knew we wanted to collaborate because of her commitment to covering refugee issues.

      • The Privileged and Powerful in the Pandemic
      • 'More Naked Corruption': Inspector General Ousted by Trump Was Investigating Whether Pompeo Used Staffer for Personal Chores

        "There is no form of corruption too small for this administration. Leave nothing behind. They'll take the doorknobs too if they can figure out how to unscrew them."

      • Countries Exploit COVID-19 Pandemic To Shut Down Borders And Block Refugees

        In March, a naval freight ship could be seen floating off the coast of Lesvos. It contained new arrivals to the Greek island, people who wanted to seek asylum but were denied this right.

        The ship was overcrowded. Asylum seekers were not allowed to shower on board, and there were no appropriate beds. Luckily, none of these people carried the COVID-19 virus, or it could have spread quickly through the cramped conditions.

      • Fired Inspector General Was Looking Into Pompeo’s Personal Use of Public Funds

        A State Department whistleblower who was fired on Friday evening had been looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had abused his powers of office by ordering department employees to carry out personal tasks for him — including walking his dog, picking up his dry-cleaning, and making dinner reservations for his wife and himself, among other errands.

      • House Democrats Demand Trump State Department Turn Over 'Secret Plan' to Slash Social Security Amid Pandemic

        "The idea that we would ask Americans to sell out their retirement and long-term security for assistance during a crisis is insane."

      • For Trump, It’s Mission Accomplished

        “We have met the moment and we have prevailed,” Donald Trump said at a news briefing May 11. “The moment” is quite a departure from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s idea that “the virus determines the timeline,” and from his caution that “we’re not out of the woods yet.” Fauci’s points seem incontrovertible, but not in Trump world, where the only thing that matters is his reelection. From now to November 4, we can expect Trump to focus on satisfying his two bases: for the white nationalists, touting restrictions on immigrants and refugees, supporting anti-closing protests, and derailing the rest of Obama’s environmental agenda; for Wall Street, reassuring the stock market and pushing reluctant governors to reopen the economy.

      • Democracy Dies in Dysfunction

        Democrats can act now to avert chaotic, low-turnout fall elections. Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate who now leads the voting rights group Fair Fight, says, “No. 1, we have to have vote-by-mail.” Building on existing vote-by-mail and absentee ballot rules, she says, “We simply have to scale it so that every state can execute it at the level necessary for a country in crisis, and that is doable.” Abrams proposes a “toolbox” approach, in which states make voting by mail available to all, along with safer early and in-person voting. But the time to scale it up is running out, and hard-pressed state and local governments don’t have the necessary resources. The National Vote at Home Institute calculates that 42 states would need “infrastructural changes” to make voting by mail a readily available option. “Can we expand the vote-by-mail system? Absolutely,” Amber McReynolds, the group’s CEO told BuzzFeed News in April. “But if this drags on for weeks and decisions are slow, it’s not possible.”

      • The Masked Versus the Unmasked

        Followers of Qanon, a far-right conspiracy movement, provide fodder for the president’s paranoia, as reported by my colleagues Matthew Rosenberg and Jim Rutenberg. I hear that the letter Q now appears on T-shirts at far-right protests in Germany. Signs at a recent demonstration in Stuttgart listed the “worst dictators” in history: Bill Gates followed by Angela Merkel and, down the list, Hitler.

      • Trump's Megalomania and Boris Johnson's Incompetence Have Only Increased in COVID Pandemic

        The US and UK are the nation states that have performed worst in the world in coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Americans and Britons make up more than a third of the 300,000 people worldwide who have died from Covid-19. They have paid the ultimate price for their governments’ slow and incompetent response to the spread of the disease.

      • Pompeo Openly Admits He Asked Trump to Fire Inspector General Because He Wasn't Doing What 'We Had Tried To Get Him To'

        Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly admitted Monday that he asked President Donald Trump to fire the State Department inspector general—an official who is supposed to be independent from political influence—because he was not "performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to."

        IG Steve Linick was reportedly investigating at least two State Department matters, including whether Trump violated the law with his emergency declaration last year approving billions of dollars in U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which Pompeo approved. Linick was "in the final stages" of the probe when Trump announced his firing on Friday, the New York Times reported.

        The IG was also looking into whether Pompeo unlawfully required a State Department staffer to perform personal errands, such as walking Pompeo's dog and picking up his dry cleaning.

        Pompeo told the Washington Post in an interview Monday that he was not aware that he was under investigation when he requested that Trump fire Linick.

        "It is not possible that this decision, or my recommendation rather, to the president rather, was based on any effort to retaliate for any investigation that was going on or is currently going on," Pompeo said. "Because I simply don't know."

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: Google Removes Podcast Addict From Play Store Because It Has COVID-19 Related Podcasts

        Today's example of the Masnick Impossibility Theorem is quite a doozy. Podcast Addict, a very popular mobile podcast player, says that Google removed its app from the Play Store, supposedly for violating Google's new rules related to COVID-19. Like pretty much all big internet platforms, Google's Play Store is trying to combat "misinformation" and "disinformation" about COVID-19. A few months back we saw this issue play out with Google advertisements, in which it was blocking politicians from advertising about the failed response of various elected officials to the pandemic, because it said only "official" government entities could advertise about COVID-19.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Associated Press Has Some Explaining To Do About Its 'Tweeted Contract' To Reuse Viral Content

        Five years ago, we wrote a post detailing the crazy permission-asking media scrum that forms on Twitter when people post photographic or video documentation of something major happening. Under such tweets, you'll often see dozens of reporters asking for "permission" to use the images or videos in news reports. In many cases, fair use would likely cover the usage, but news organizations are understandably gun shy about copyright lawsuits from greedy lawyers who would be all too quick to sue them for merely embedding a tweet.

      • Egyptian police arrest Mada Masr editor Lina Attalah outside of Tora prison

        Attalah, who is also the co-founder the independent news website, was arrested outside of Tora prison while attempting to interview Abdelfattah’s mother, Laila Soueif. Attalah was sent to Maadi police station to be held overnight before being questioned by prosecutors tomorrow, Mada Masr said in a statement.

      • Egypt arrests journalist during interview in latest attack on independent media

        Lina Attalah, the editor in chief of one of the country’s few remaining independent media outlets, was taken into custody Sunday afternoon as she tried to speak with Laila Soueif. Soueif was bringing cleaning supplies to her imprisoned son, Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is on a hunger strike.

      • Independent Egyptian media outlet says top editor Lina Attalah arrested

        A prominent investigative media outlet in Egypt said security forces detained its editor-in-chief Sunday, the latest arrest amid a wider crackdown on dissent and the media.

        Mada Masr, one of a shrinking number of independent news websites in Egypt, said Lina Attalah was arrested outside Cairo's Tora prison complex.

      • Independent Egyptian media outlet says top editor arrested

        Mada Masr is one of the hundreds of websites blocked by the Egyptian government in recent years. The outlet has continued to publish through mirror sites. It has produced investigative pieces looking into some of Egypt’s government institutions, including the intelligence agencies, military, and presidency.

      • Farewell to Beyond the Beyond

        So, the blog is formally ending this month, May MMXX.

        My weblog is a collateral victim of Covid19, which has become a great worldwide excuse to stop whatever you were doing.

        You seen, this is a WIRED blog — in fact, it is the first ever WIRED blog — and WIRED and other Conde’ Nast publications are facing a planetary crisis. Basically, they’ve got no revenue stream, since the business model for glossy mags is advertisements for events and consumer goods.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • So Long to American Exceptionalism

        Over there is now over here: America’s pandemic role reversal.

      • The Trump Administration Is Rushing Deportations of Migrant Children During Coronavirus

        The girls, 8 and 11, were alone in a rented room in a dangerous Mexican city bordering Texas. Their father had been attacked and abandoned on the side of a road and they didn’t know where he was.

        For seven months the children had waited with their dad in Matamoros, across from Brownsville, to ask U.S. authorities for asylum. They had fled their home after death threats from local gang members and no help from police. They had also been victims of sexual assault.

      • Police in Tatarstan sent to prison for torturing a man who then killed himself

        A court in Tatarstan has sentenced five police officers to several years in prison for torturing a 22-year-old man in October 2017. According to the human rights project “Zona Prava,” the precinct head received a nine-year sentence and four criminal investigators were sent to prison for between six and 11 years. A sixth suspect remains at large and wanted by the authorities.

      • US Deportations Are Exporting COVID-19 to Latin America and the Caribbean

        Travel is restricted around the world — but the United States has been flying migrants on hundreds of deportation flights to at least 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean since the pandemic began in the United States. There have been over 100 cases of migrants deported from the United States testing positive for COVID-19 upon being returned to Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and Colombia.

      • Hungary's Government Using Pandemic Emergency Powers To Silence Critics

        Every emergency brings with it the temptation for governments to grant themselves extra powers while they deal with the current crisis. When the coronavirus made its way into Hungary, it was too much for the Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, to resist.

      • First victory against French police drones

        The Conseil d’État, the French administrative highest court, has just issued its decision on our case against surveillance drones deployed by the Parisian Police during the Covid lock-down. This decision is a major victory against drone surveillance. It sets as illegal any drone equipped with camera and flying low enough, as such a drone would allow the police to detect individuals by their clothing or a distinctive sign.

      • Caring About the Murder of Ahmaud Arbery

        Black men are being stalked and killed in the US–business as usual. Ahmaud Arbery’s murder was based on: “He’s a black man running down our road.” Punishment for the crime of being black is sometimes death.

      • ‘This is war’ In Dagestan, Russia, where a 500-person wedding is considered modest, can a strong collective mindset stop COVID-19?

        In the Republic of Dagestan, a federal subject on the southern edge of Russia that stretches from the Caspian Sea into the Northern Caucasus Mountains, weddings and funerals mean enormous crowds. Hundreds and even thousands of people regularly gather to celebrate major life events not only from all over the republic but from all over Russia as well. Those traditions don’t fit well with the circumstances of a global pandemic. However, the strong communities that underlie them have been helping Dagestan pull off miracles of self-organization and mutual aid, especially when there’s no hope of receiving government support. Meduza asked journalists Patimat Amirbekova and Vladimir Sevrinovsky to take a deep dive into Dagestan’s anti-coronavirus efforts from the seaside capital of Makhachkala to the republic’s remote mountain villages.

      • Rwandan Genocide Suspect's Arrest in France Raises Questions

        Ethnic Hutu militants killed an estimated 800,000 people in Rwanda between April and July of 1994, most of them ethnic Tutsis. The U.N.-created International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda convicted and sentenced 61 people in connection with the genocide before shutting down in 2015.

      • TikTok removes Faizal Siddiqui's video promoting acid attack after NCW complaint

        TikTok influencer Faizal Siddiqui's video was taken down by the video-sharing app on Monday for 'glorifying' acid attack on women. The move came after the National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma wrote to the DGP of Maharashtra Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, demanding action against the same.

      • University of Utah police officer showed off explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey to his co-worker

        When Miguel Deras, one of the officers assigned to her case, received them, he saved the photos on his personal phone. And days before McCluskey was killed by the man who was blackmailing her, Deras showed off at least one of the images to a male co-worker and bragged about getting to look at them whenever he wanted, according to two fellow officers.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Covid-19 Just Triggered The Worst Quarter Ever For Cable TV 'Cord Cutting'

        2019 saw a record number of consumers ditch traditional cable television. 2020 was already poised to be even worse, and that was before a pandemic came to town. With the pandemic not only sidelining live sports (one of the last reasons many subscribe to traditional cable in the first place), while putting a strain on many folks' wallets, cord cutting has now started to truly take off. Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett, who a decade ago suggested such cable TV defectors were irrelevant, has long since changed his tune.

      • The House Passed Legislation to Keep People Online Despite COVID-19, And the Senate Should Follow

        The just-passed HEROES Act is a massive relief package designed to alleviate the harm of a massive crisis. In it is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which would make it easier for Americans affected by COVID-19 to stay connected to the Internet. As the Senate takes up this legislation, it should make Internet access a priority, not a bargaining chip. 

        The Emergency Broadband Benefit program mandates that ISPs offer a broadband service for free to COVID-19 impacted people that the government will pay $50 per month to cover ($75 per month for tribal lands). Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will also be required to offer the discounted promotional packages they offered as of May 1, 2020, which means any special offers an ISP was providing for high-speed service at an affordable price (including any teaser prices), will be locked in place for the duration of the emergency. The legislation would also abolish long term contracts consumers would be forced to sign to obtain those lower rates by prohibiting early termination fees. In many cases, this arrangement, even in cable monopoly markets, would guarantee that a COVID-19 impacted person could obtain high-speed access for free.

      • VPN protocols and which is the best to use

        Put simply, a VPN works by using tunnels that provide anonymity and security when using the internet by encrypting the data that your computer sends to the VPN server at the other end.

        However, as we know from the older WEP protocol for Wi-Fi encryption, outdated protocols can be compromised, and may not offer enough in terms of data security.

        Therefore, users need to be aware of the various VPN protocols, in order to make sure that their provider supports the newer, more secure ones, while avoiding the older, less secure protocols.

        These VPN protocols – including PPTP, L2TP and SSTP – all draw upon the mechanics of the original Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). PPP encapsulates the IP packets of data, and then transmits them to the server at the other end. PPP is an older protocol, made to establish a VPN tunnel between a dial-up client for connection to a network access server.

    • Monopolies

      • Global Health Experts Caution Against 'Vaccine Nationalism' as Scientists Search for Solution to Pandemic

        "Either we get through this pandemic together, or we fail. Either we stand together, or we fall apart."

      • How Will COVID-19 Change the World?

        Pandemics, like revolution, war and economic crises, are key determinants of historic change. We look at the history of epidemics, from Black Death to smallpox to COVID-19, and discuss how the coronavirus will reshape the world with leading medical historian Frank Snowden, author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. He is a professor emeritus at Yale University who has been in Italy since the pandemic began, and himself survived a COVID-19 infection.

      • Uber lays off another 3,000 employees

        Uber is laying off another 3,000 employees as the coronavirus pandemic cuts into demand for its services, the company announced on Monday.

        Combined with the previously announced layoffs of 3,700 workers in customer support and recruiting roles, the ride-sharing giant has now lost roughly 25 percent of its staff since the beginning of May.

        Uber is also closing around 40 of its offices worldwide, winding down its AI Labs and merging its delivery services, including Eats.

      • Uber lays off more than 3,000 workers as Silicon Valley's implosion continues

        As of 1:50 PM ET, Uber's stock had risen by 7 percent, according to The Motley Fool — likely in response to the company's May layoffs, which have reduced the company's previously 26,900-strong workforce by roughly a quarter as well as led to the closure of 45 offices. Khosrowshahi's email did not mention reports that the company is trying to buy Grubhub, a food ordering and delivery service, which would help the company more effectively compete with rival DoorDash as well as offset some of its recent financial losses.

      • Presidential secretary-general announces resignation on Facebook [iophk: Foreign-owned, foreign-filtered social control media in place of official communication :( ]

        Presidential Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) took to Facebook Sunday night (May 17) to announce that she is planning to resign from her post one day before Wednesday's inauguration ceremony.

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • USPTO Announces COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program

            Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it would be implementing a COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program, in which applicants that qualify for small or micro entity status will be allowed to request prioritized examination without paying the fees typically associated with such prioritized examination. Under the new pilot program, the Office will try to reach final disposition of applications within six months, provided that applicants respond promptly to Office communications. USPTO Director Andrei Iancu noted that the new pilot program was intended to help independent inventors and small businesses, adding that "[a]ccelerating examination of COVID-19-related patent applications, without additional fees, will permit such innovators to bring important and possibly life-saving treatments to market more quickly."


            While the new pilot program will be limited to small and micro entities in order "[t]o focus the USPTO's resources on those applicants that may be more resource constrained," the Office notes that it will periodically evaluate the new pilot program to determine whether its coverage should be expanded or narrowed. In addition, to qualify for the new pilot program, the claims of an application must cover a product or process related to COVID–19, and such product or process must be subject to an applicable FDA approval for COVID–19 use. The notice notes that such approvals may include, for example, an Investigational New Drug (IND) application, an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), a New Drug Application (NDA), a Biologics License Application (BLA), a Premarket Approval (PMA), or an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

            Other requirements for participating in the new pilot program include making the request at the time of filing of a non-continuing original utility or plant nonprovisional application; at the time of filing of an original utility or plant nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of an earlier filing date under 35 U.S.C. §§ 120, 121, or 365(c) of one prior nonprovisional application or one prior international application designating the United States; or at the time of filing or after the filing of a Request for Continued Examination of a plant or utility application or a national stage of an international application. The notice points out that any application that claims the benefit of the filing date of two or more prior filed nonprovisional U.S. applications or international applications designating the United States under 35 U.S.C. §§ 120, 121, or 365(c) will not be eligible for participation in the new pilot program.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Law Must Enable Museums to Fulfill Their Mission

          At CC, we share these values and we’re glad to support museums in nurturing the cultural fabric of societies around the globe. We do that through our work on openGLAM, where we help cultural institutions make the most out of the possibilities offered by CC licenses and tools to share their collections of cultural heritage online as openly as possible. We’re also busy promoting the interests of museums in the copyright law and policy arena. Central to CC’s copyright policy agenda is making sure museums’ concerns and needs are treated on equal footing with those of copyright owners, in a balanced and fair manner. In this blog post, we focus on the importance of copyright limitations and exceptions (L&Es) as the pillars on which museums can rest to fulfill their mission free of any undue legal encumbrances.

        • Nintendo Sues Stores Selling New 'Team-Xecuter' Switch Piracy Hack

          Nintendo has filed two lawsuits in US courts targeting several online stores selling Switch hacks and mods linked to Team-Xecuter. According to the gaming company, the stores help people create and play pirated copies of Nintendo Switch games, causing tremendous harm. Nintendo hopes to shut the sites down swiftly as Team-Xecuter is about to release a hack for the Switch Lite console.

        • Ubisoft Sues Google & Apple For Copyright Infringement Over Rainbow Six: Siege Clone

          Ubisoft has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the makers of Area F2, a mobile game that's allegedly a blatant clone of the company's Rainbow Six: Seige. As distributors of the title, both Google and Apple are named defendants in the action, primarily due to their refusal to remove the game from their respective stores following infringement complaints from Ubisoft.

        • How API Copyright Cases Could Hurt The Software Sector

          The U.S. Supreme Court has reportedly postponed hearing a case that some say could lead to chaos in the software sector.

          On April 13, the high court announced that it has rescheduled hearings in the legal battle expected to establish whether application programming interfaces (APIs) are protected by copyright law. APIs, of course, are the bricks and mortar of building software. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the court said it won't take up the case again until its next term, which begins in October.

          For the software industry, the delay represents something of a reprieve.

          Many legal experts and top players in software development, including Microsoft and IBM, have explained how any decision that allows the copyrighting of APIs could bring chaos. Because the practice of copying programmatic interfaces was for a long time widely believed by those in the industry to be legal, such a ruling could mean that scores of developers have unwittingly embedded into countless programs the equivalent of legal time bombs.

          Not only could a ruling like that likely lead to confusion about liability, but it could also threaten the software industry's prevailing spirit of cooperation. In recent years, some of the top companies have collaborated in an unprecedented way to produce mutually beneficial standards and practices through projects like Open Policy Agent. As the co-founder and CEO of a marketplace-as-a-service company for API-first products, I've seen how these have helped pave the way for the sector's long run of innovation and growth. If the experts are correct, making APIs copyrightable could encourage opportunists to exploit the situation and wipe out all the trust that's been built in the business.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Curation and Preservation Work
The winter is coming soon and this means our anniversary is near
Microsoft GitHub Exposé — In the Alex Graveley Case, His Lawyer, Rick Cofer, Appears to Have Bribed the DA to Keep Graveley (and Others) Out of Prison
Is this how one gets out of prison? Hire the person who bribes the DA?
Richard Stallman's Public Talk in GNU's 40th Anniversary Ceremony
Out now
Objections to binutils CoC
LXO response to proposed Code of Conduct
Conde Nast (Reddit), Which Endlessly Defamed Richard Stallman and Had Paid Salaries to Microsoft-Connected Pedophiles, Says You Must Be Over 18 to See 'Stallman Was Right'
Does this get in the way of their Bill Gates-sponsored "Bill Gates says" programme/schedule?
Techrights Was Right About the Chaff Bots (They Failed to Live up to Their Promise)
Those who have been paying attention to news of substance rather than fashionable "tech trends" probably know that GNU/Linux grew a lot this year
Selling Out to Microsoft Makes You Dead Beef
If all goes as well as we've envisioned, Microsoft will get smaller and smaller
Mobile Phones Aren't Your Friend or a Gateway to Truly Social Life
Newer should not always seem more seductive, as novelty is by default questionable and debatable
Links 29/09/2023: Disinformation and Monopolies
Links for the day
iFixit Requests DMCA Exemption…To Figure Out How To Repair McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
Jim Zemlin Thinks the World's Largest Software Company Has 200 Staff, Many of Whom Not Technical at All
biggest ego in the world
Links 29/09/2023: Linux Foundation Boasting, QLite FDW 2.4.0 Released
Links for the day
Red Hat Does Not Understand Community and It's Publicly Promoting Microsoft's Gartner is basically lioning a firm that has long been attacking GNU/Linux in the private and public sectors at the behest of Microsoft
A 'Code of Conduct' Typically Promoted by Criminal Corporations to Protect Crimes From Scrutiny
We saw this in action last week
Techrights Extends Wishes of Good Health to Richard M. Stallman
Richard Stallman has cancer Still Going, Some Good News From Canada
a blow to software patents in Canada
The Debian Project Leader said the main thing Debian lacked was more contributors
The Debian Project Leader said the main thing Debian lacked was more contributors
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 28, 2023
IRC logs for Thursday, September 28, 2023
Links 28/09/2023: Openwashing and Patent Spam as 'News'
Links for the day
Links 28/09/2023: Preparing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.9 and 9.3 Beta
Links for the day
We Need to Liberate the Client Side and Userspace Too
Lots of work remains to be done
Recent IRC Logs (Since Site Upgrade)
better late than never
Techrights Videos Will be Back Soon
We want do publish video without any of the underlying complexity and this means changing some code
Microsoft is Faking Its Financial Performance, Buying Companies Helps Perpetuate the Big Lies (or Pass the Debt Around)
Our guess is that Microsoft will keep pretending to be huge, even as the market share of Windows (and other things) continues to decrease
Techrights Will Tell the Story (Until Next Year!) of How Since 2022 It Has Been Under a Coordinated Attack by a Horde of Vandals and Nutcases
People like these belong in handcuffs and behind bars (sometimes they are) and our readers still deserve to know the full story. It's a cautionary tale for other groups and sites
Why It Became Essential to Split GNU/Linux Stories from the Rest
These sites aren't babies anymore. In terms of age, they're already adults.
Losses and Gains in an Age of Oligarchy - A Techrights Perspective
If you don't even try to fix something, there's not even a chance it'll get fixed
Google (and the Likes Of It) Will Cause Catastrophic Information Loss Rather Than Organise the World's Information
Informational and cultural losses due to technological plunder
Links 28/09/2023: GNOME 45 Release Party, 'Smart' Homes Orphaned
Links for the day
Security Leftovers
Xen, breaches, and more
GNOME Console Won’t Support Color Palettes or Profiles; Will Support Esperanto
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer
Let's Hope GNU Makes it to 100
Can GNU still be in active use in 2083? Maybe.
GNU is 40, Linux is Just 32
Today it's exactly 40 years since Richard Stallman sent a message regarding GNU
GNU/Linux and Free Software News Mostly in Tux Machines Now
We've split the coverage
Links 27/09/2023: GNOME Raves and Firefox 118
Links for the day
Links 27/09/2023: 3G Phase-Out, Monopolies, and Exit of Rupert Murdoch
Links for the day
IBM Took a Man’s Voice, Pitting Him Against His Own Work, While Companies Profit from Low-Effort Garbage Generated by Bots and “Self-Service”
Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer