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Links 27/5/2020: CoreOS Container Linux Reaches Its End-Of-Life, 2020 GNOME Foundation Elections Coming

  • GNU/Linux

    • Systemd Will Change How Your Linux Home Directory Works

       The team behind systemd want you to adopt a new way of managing home directories. Calling it a “new way” is putting it lightly—this is a real paradigm shift for Linux. Here’s everything you need to know about systemd-homed, which is likely coming to a Linux distro near you.

      When systemd was introduced in 2010, the Linux community split into three camps. Some thought it was an improvement, and others thought it was a flawed design that didn’t adhere to the Unix philosophy. And some didn’t care one way or the other.

      The backlash from the opposers was loud, heated, and, in some cases, almost fanatical. Lennart Poettering, a software engineer at Red Hat and co-developer of systemd, even received death threats.

    • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Calculators – Week 31

        This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

      The desktop calculator is a small utility that’s shipped with all major operating systems. It’s usually a standard affair, and designed for basic use. They typically include trigonometric functions, logarithms, factorials, parentheses and a memory function.

      In this article I’m surveying some of the notable calculator software available for the RPI4. I’m not looking at computer algebra systems although they are available from the RPI4. Let’s first look at galculator.

    • While waiting for the Linux train, Bork pays a visit to Geordieland with Windows 10

        Bork!Bork!Bork! As the UK tentatively returns to work and those who must venture back onto public transport, we were happy to learn that even in these changed times, Windows remains as wobbly as ever.

      Today's entry comes from Register reader Dan.

      Snapped last week, the Newcastle Station Info Point is terribly poorly, with three pop-ups showing Windows' escalating levels of distress.

      The first sign of wobbling was the "Close programs" message, which tends to pop up when Microsoft's OS is getting short of resources. Things went downhill from there.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • This is the first AMD Ryzen laptop to come with Linux – making it easier than ever to ditch Windows 10
        Want a Linux laptop with an AMD Ryzen processor? Then you might be interested in the latest creation from a German PC maker, which is claiming a ‘world first’ with its Tuxedo Book BA15 having an AMD chip and Linux pre-installed.

        While you can install Linux on many laptops if you so wish, having it arrive with the operating system already on the machine and fully configured means you don’t have to go through the hassle of wiping the portable of Windows 10 and installing (then setting up) the alternative OS. Also, those laptops which do come with Linux on-board run with Intel processors.

      • Tuxedo Book BA15 Linux laptop with 25hr battery from $935
        A new Linux laptop is now available to purchase with prices starting from $935, powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U (4x 2.1 – 3.7 GHz Quad-Core, 8 Threads, 4 MB Cache, 15 W TDP) and offering two slots for super fast SSDs in space-saving M.2 form factor, 1x NVMe or SATAIII, 1x NVMe (both as M.2 socket).

        The Linux laptop is equipped with a huge battery capable of providing up to 25 hours of use on a single charge. Other features include Wireless LAN / WLAN standards: 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n/ax, Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111 Ethernet, 10/100/1000 Mbit), HD Webcam / camera including microphone and AMD Ryzen 5 3500U (4x 2.1 – 3.7 GHz Quad-Core, 8 Threads, 4 MB Cache, 15 W TDP) supported by DDR4 SO-DIMM.

      • TUXEDO Computers’ Latest Linux Laptop Is a Power House for Gamers

        The TUXEDO Book XA15 laptop is a power house, coming equipped with a powerful AMD Ryzen 3000 desktop processor and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2000 Refresh series graphics cards.

        Designed by TUXEDO Computers as a high-end gaming machine, the TUXEDO Book XA15 Linux-powered laptop offers customers a high-end mobile workstation for gaming and graphic renderings with desktop-class performance.

        Customers can choose between a wide-range of AMD Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, including the Ryzen 5 3600, Ryzen 5 3600X, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 7 3800X, or Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 9 3950X.

        And the best thing about having a laptop equipped with a desktop processor is that you can easily upgrade or repair it.

    • Server

      • Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud: what is the difference?

        Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are two exclusive terms that are often confused. While the hybrid cloud represents a model for extending private cloud infrastructure with one of the existing public clouds, a multi-cloud refers to an environment where multiple clouds are used at the same time, regardless of their type. Thus, while the hybrid cloud represents a very specific use case, multi-cloud is a more generic term and usually better reflects reality.

        Although both architectures are relatively simple to implement from the infrastructure point of view, the more important question is about workloads orchestration in such environments. In the following blog, I describe the differences between hybrid clouds and the multi-cloud and discuss the advantages of orchestrating workloads in a multi-cloud environment with Juju.


        In turn, multi-cloud simply refers to using multiple clouds at the same time, regardless of their type. There is no dedicated infrastructure that facilitates it. There is no dedicated link, single IdM system, unified LMA stack or an integrated network. Just instead of a single cloud, an organisation uses at least two clouds at the same time.

        The goal behind the multi-cloud approach is to reduce the risk of relying on a single cloud service provider. Workloads can be distributed across multiple clouds which improves independence and helps to avoid ‘vendor lock-in’. Furthermore, as the multi-cloud is usually a geographically-distributed environment, this helps to improve high availability of applications and their resiliency against failures. Finally, the multi-cloud approach combines the best advantages of various cloud platforms. For example, running databases on virtual machines (VMs) while hosting frontend applications inside of containers. Thus, workload orchestration remains the most prominent challenge in this case.

      • Kubernetes for Data Science: meet Kubeflow

        Data science has exploded as a practice in the past decade and has become an undisputed driver of innovation.

        The forcing factors behind the rising interest in Machine Learning, a not so new concept, have consolidated and created an unparalleled capacity for Deep Learning, a subset of Artificial Neural Networks with many hidden layers, to thrive in the years to come.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Look what's inside Linus Torvalds' latest Linux development PC
        In a Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), Linus Torvalds, Linux's top developer, talked about the latest progress in the next version of Linux: Linux 5.7-rc7. Along the way, he mentioned, "for the first time in about 15 years, my desktop isn't Intel-based." In his newest development box, he's "rocking an AMD Threadripper 3970x." But a computer is more than just a processor no matter how speedy it is, so I talked with Torvalds to see exactly what's in his new box.

      • Linux Founder Switches Allegiance To AMD After 15 Years As Intel Customer

        Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) has made strong inroads into the CPU processor market following the launch of the Ryzen series in 2017. Companies and tech leaders are also gravitating toward AMD, as its processors boast a superior price-to-performance ratio.

        More recently, Linux open source operating system founder Linus Torvalds has said he is ditching Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), which was his processor for a one-a-half decades, and is switching over to AMD.

        "In fact, the biggest excitement this week for me was just that I upgraded my main machine, and for the first time in about 15 years, my desktop isn't Intel-based," Torvalds said while announcing Linux 5.7-rc7 kernel.

      • Micron's HSE Open-Source Storage Engine Ticks Up To v1.7.1

        Announced at the end of April was Micron's HSE as a new open-source storage engine designed for offering speedy performance and lower latency on modern solid-based storage, especially for systems employing 3D XPoint technology. Version 1.7.1 of HSE was released today as their first open-source release since going public with this technology.

        HSE 1.7.0 was released a week prior to Micron announcing this open-source project in April while has now been succeeded by v1.7.1. This heterogeneous-memory storage engine over the past month has seen a number of fixes throughout, cleaning up code as a result of code review, fixing up some of the examples, and other work.

      • Linux 5.8 Feature Queue Has Multiple Performance Optimizations, Intel Rocket Lake, Other Hardware

        If all goes well Linux 5.7 should reach stable this weekend and that in turn will mark the start of the Linux 5.8 merge window. With our monitoring of the various "-next" branches for weeks already, here is a look at some of what is on the table for this next version of the Linux kernel.

      • Using regmaps to make Linux drivers more generic

        Very few developers enjoy maintaining drivers out of the Linux kernel tree due to a number of reasons like the lack of stable driver APIs, or the possibility that a driver duplicates pre-existing kernel functionalities like, for example, an entire networking stack from scratch.

        Factoring out common driver infrastructures into generic, reusable modules is much more desirable to deduplicate code, fix common bugs and have unified interfaces. To no surprise, this has been, and continues to be, a constant Linux kernel development effort. In this article, we will examine a specific instance of this process, namely the effort to make the Synopsys MIPI DSI host controller driver more generic so it can support more device revisions and SoC platforms.

      • Input and Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA 440.66.15 Vulkan Linux Driver Offers Up More Fixes

          NVIDIA has been quite aggressive recently with their new Vulkan beta drivers for Windows and Linux with today marking another such release.

          NVIDIA over the course of May is now on their third Vulkan beta series after the prior two added new Vulkan extensions and different fixes, including improvements to their KHR ray-tracing support. Today's release is focused squarely on delivering more fixes to users/developers.

        • NVIDIA released a new 440.66.15 Vulkan Beta Driver

          NVIDIA continue advancing their Vulkan drivers with a brand new Beta now available that pulls in a good bunch of fixes. This is driver version 440.66.15, released May 26.

        • Linux Getting Fixed Up For Handling Pointing Sticks On Some Touchpads

          For input devices on some laptops that are a combination of a pointing stick and touchpad, the Linux kernel's multi-touch driver will finally begin handling them correctly.

          At least for Synaptics and Elan devices that offer a combination of a pointing stick and touchpad, the Linux kernel has been ignoring the input events from the pointing stick. But with Linux 5.8 that will change in properly handling the combo multi-touch devices via the hid-multitouch driver and this change is set to be back-ported as well to the various Linux kernel stable series being supported.

        • Mesa 20.1 Features Include Big Improvements For Open-Source Intel, Radeon Graphics Drivers

          The release of Mesa 20.1 is imminent as the latest quarterly feature update to this collection of open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers predominantly in use by Linux systems. Here is a look at the many exciting improvements with Mesa 20.1.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • GOG Summer Sale is live, with demos for upcoming Linux games

        DRM-free store GOG has today released their huge Summer Sale, full of discounted games and they've also put up some fun demos for upcoming games.

        Much like what Steam are planning with the Steam Game Festival, GOG are getting in on the action and a little early too. Thanks to that you can now grab demos for CARRION, Spiritfarer and Vagrus - The Riven Realms: Prologue. All three of them well worth trying!

      • Slime Rancher adds more treasure to find, more adventures coming

        Slime Rancher, the absolutely adorable game about adventuring and catching little (and sometimes big) slimes has a fresh update and a tease about future content.

        For the completionist adventurer, Monomi Park have added in two new Treasure Pods to find and unlock on your travels. These special pods add a fun element to the exploration, requiring you to spend some monies earned to open them and get some extra goodies.

      • Half-Life was going to get a Ravenholm spin-off

        It's emerged that the Half-Life series was going to go into other directions, with a Ravenholm spin-off that was planned and you can see some footage.

        Noclip, a creator of documentaries has done a new feature-length video on the history of the game studio Arkane, who are known for titles like Arx Fatalis, Dishonored and more. As it turns out they were also involved in what was internally known as Ravenholm. It was originally worked on by Junction Point Studios, who later handed it to Arkane Studios, who were hired by Valve to start a Half-Life project.

        Ravenholm was never formally announced and eventually cancelled. However, bits of it did leak a few times which according to the documentary is part of the cause of some Half-Life 3 / new episode speculation but they said it was never being considered as a normal episode in the series but as a standalone game.

      • Escape Velocity: Override remaster Cosmic Frontier: Override gets funded

        Cosmic Frontier: Override, the remaster of the classic Escape Velocity: Override has managed to get successfully funded with the finishing of their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Being developed by Evocation Games and Peter Cartwright, who is one of the original scenario designers.

        The Kickstarter ended on May 26 with £38,783 in funding from just over 1,000 backers. Not only is it fully planned to support Linux, they will also be open sourcing the game engine used named Kestrel. They said that will happen after release, not during development for "practical reasons".

      • Beyond Blue gets a release date, Linux looks to be later

        Beyond Blue looks like a wonderful narrative adventure, one made with the help of real science and they recently announced a June 11 release date.

        The press email only mentioned "PC" which is usually used in place of Windows and then specific consoles, so we looked to get that cleared up since it was originally announced for Linux. When speaking to the developer E-Line Media about the Linux version they stated, "The production team is working out a plan that will launch Linux as soon as we are able.". Good to see it's still coming!

      • Check out the second teaser for Spiritfarer, looks super sweet

        Spiritfarer from developer Thunder Lotus, the "cozy management game about dying" gains a second gameplay teaser ahead of a release later this year.

        From the same team that gave us Sundered and Jotun, it's looking and sounding extremely promising. You play as Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, a Spiritfarer. Build a boat to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife. Farm, mine, fish, harvest, cook, and craft your way across mystical seas. Join the adventure as Daffodil the cat, in two-player cooperative play. Spend relaxing quality time with your spirit passengers, create lasting memories, and, ultimately, learn how to say goodbye to your cherished friends. What will you leave behind?

      • The best Linux games

          Although there has been a change in the gaming industry for several years, Windows is and remains the undisputed top dog among gaming operating systems. Nevertheless, more and more titles are available for Linux: With Steam, Ubuntu and GOG, users now have a decent game collection available . These include numerous free online games and iconic retro games.

        The best place to go for Linux games is certainly the Steam platform . More than 13,000 games are currently available. In addition to numerous indie games, well-known AAA titles can also be found.

        On the Ubuntu Software Center you can find free and paid Linux games . The focus is more on the category of arcade and board games. However, the key is in the store, because the Steam client can be downloaded there to access the well-known Steam games that are also available for Windows. To be able to use the center, however, you must create a user account. Alternatively, Steam Linux download is available from the Internet.

      • Burning Knight is a roguelike where you rob a dungeon, coming soon

        At least the setting is honest, you're totally robbing the dungeons in Burning Knight and then attempting to flee.

        Burning Knight is an action-packed procedurally generated roguelike, with fast-paced action and plenty of exploration across various floors in the Burning Knight's castle that you're stealing goods from. It can turn into a bullet-hell in some rooms, there's hundreds of items to find and they can be combined to "build your very own game-breaking combos" and it does sound awesome.

        The developer, Rexcellent Games, just announced on Twitter yesterday that it's now actually complete. They're waiting on Valve's approval, and it looks like it will hopefully release next month. SteamDB captured the date changing to June 5 but that might be a temporary date.

      • Stadia gets Elder Scrolls Online on June 16, 1440p in web and more

        A few bits of Stadia news for you as Google have announced the next set of additions coming to their game streaming service.

        For players who were a bit let down by resolution options, there's some good news. As some players already saw across the last few weeks and today being made properly official, 1440p is now an option when playing Stadia in a web browser.

      • Humble Cities: Skylines Bundle is up for some easy city building

        Cities: Skylines, one of the finest city builders ever is now available in a big Humble Bundle for you to grab the base game and lots of extra content.

        This is honestly a ridiculously good deal and probably the cheapest Cities: Skylines has ever been. For £1 you can get Cities: Skylines and the Deep Focus Radio DLC. Even if you only go for that, there's a lot to enjoy without any expansions.

      • Python Qt5 - PyQt5 and PyGame compatibility with source code.

        This tutorial tries to solve from the objectives related to solving and stabilizing compatibility errors between PyQt4 and PyQt5 and creating a common interface between PyQt5 and PyGame. There is always the same problem in programming when the developer for some reason has to change classes, methods and functions and reusing the old code is no longer valid. In this case, common or other errors occur, which leads to a waste of time.

      • EA to Release 2 Command & Conquer Games' Source Code to Help Modders

        EA has announced that it's releasing the source code for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert in an effort to support the series' modding community ahead of the launch of Command & Conquer Remastered.

        Announced in a blog post on May 21, EA has decided that it will release the dynamic-link library (.dll file) and for both Tiberium Dawn and Red Alert, as well as the games' respective source codes. This will allow modding of the remastered game, something highly requested by fans.

      • EA Goes Open-Source with Command & Conquer Remastered Collection

        Today, Command & Conquer Remastered Collection lead producer Jim Vessella posted a community update outlining the game’s commitment to the modding scene.

        EA will be releasing the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll – some dynamic libraries for developers to work with – and their corresponding source code under the GPL version 3.0 license. This license allows EA to let others view and use the source, but still have ownership.

        This makes Command & Conquer one of the first major RTS franchises to provide their source code to users in this fashion, allowing aspiring modders opportunities to build custom maps, units, art and gameplay logic into the classic Command & Conquer experience. Incredible!

      • Roadwarden, an impressive text-adventure RPG has a new demo

        Roadwarden, an upcoming game that doesn't quite fit into a particular genre but takes elements from RPGs and text adventures has a fresh demo.

        You are a Roadwarden, a brave stranger putting his life in danger to make a difference in this grim world. While most people would never risk a solitary journey through the wilder parts of the land, you – as a Roadwarden – willingly accept the struggle to live up to your promise to guard travellers, connect isolated villages, support merchants and repel attacking creatures, bandits or even undead.

      • Megaquarium: Freshwater Frenzy expansion announced

        A big new paid DLC expansion and free update has been announced for the aquatic spin on theme park building with Megaquarium: Freshwater Frenzy. Developed by Twice Circled, which is a one-person studio from Tim Wicksteed. Their first game was Big Pharma in 2015, which also supported Linux and went onto grossing over $2 million since release.

        Freshwater Frenzy is the first expansion to their second game, Megaquarium, that originally released in 2018. This expansion will focus on giving you more options for expanding your carefully designed aquarium with an all-new freshwater habitat. This environment includes new possibilities and options for fish husbandry, including breeding fish and developing hybrids, creating and maintaining healthy pH levels, and a new freshwater focused campaign.

      • Burning Knight is an roguelike where you rob a dungeon, coming soon

        At least the setting is honest, you're totally robbing the dungeons in Burning Knight and then attempting to flee.

        Burning Knight is an action-packed procedurally generated roguelike, with fast-paced action and plenty of exploration across various floors in the Burning Knight's castle that you're stealing goods from. It can turn into a bullet-hell in some rooms, there's hundreds of items to find and they can be combined to "build your very own game-breaking combos" and it does sound awesome.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile update: April-May 2020

            It’s been a while since the last status update on Plasma Mobile, so let’s take a look at what happened since then.

          To assist new people in contributing, we organized a virtual mini Plasma Mobile sprint in April. During the three days, we discussed many things, including our current tasks, the websites and documentation, our apps and many other topics. Most of our important tasks have been asigned to people, many of them have been implemented already.

          On Saturday, there was a training day, with four training sessions on the technology behind Plasma Mobile...

        • Contributing to KDE is easier than you think – Websites from scratch

          This is a series of blog posts explaining different ways to contribute to KDE in an easy-to-digest manner. The purpose of this series originated from how I feel about asking users to contribute back to KDE. I firmly believe that showing users how contributing is easier than they think is more effective than simply calling them out and directing them to the correct resources; especially if, like me, said user suffers from anxiety or does not believe they are up to the task, in spite of their desire to help back.

          Last time I talked about websites, I taught how to port current KDE websites to Markdown, and this led to a considerable influx of contributors, since it required very little technical knowledge. This blog post however is directed to people who are minimally acquainted with git, html/css, and Markdown. We will be learning a bit of how Jekyll and scss work too.

        • KIO FUSE Beta (4.95.0) Released

          It’s a great pleasure to announce that KIO FUSE has a second Beta release available for testing! We encourage all who are interested to test and report their findings (good or bad) here. Note that, the more people who test (and let us know that they’ve tested), the quicker we’ll be confident to have a 5.0.0 release. You can find the repository here.

          To compile KIO FUSE, simply run kdesrc-build kio-fuse or follow the README. If your distributor is really nice they may already have KIO FUSE packaged but if they don’t, encourage them to do so!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Looking for candidates for the 2020 GNOME Foundation elections

          I forgot to write this a few days ago; I hope it is not too late.

          The GNOME Foundation's elections for the Board are coming up, and we are looking for candidates. Of the 7 directors, we are replacing 4, and the 3 remaining positions remain for another year. You could be one of those four.

          I would like it very much if there were candidates and directors that fall outside the box of "white male programmer"; it is unfortunate that for the current Board we ended up with all dudes. GNOME has a Code of Conduct to make it a good place to be.

        • Se buscan candidat@s para las elecciones 2020 de la Fundación de GNOME
        • GNOME Foundation Board of Directors: a Year in Review

          The 2020 elections for the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors are underway, so it’s a good time to look back over the past 12 months and see what the current board has been up to. This is intended as a general update for members of the GNOME project, as well as a potential motivator for those who might be interested in running in the election!

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Hands-On With Drauger OS

          Using Ubuntu as the backbone, Drauger OS has been in development for about two years and is essentially a distribution designed with gamers in mind, giving gamers what they need to start gaming out of the box whilst providing little to nothing else in terms of pre-installed software. In order to shave off some hardware usage, it ships with XFCE as the desktop environment; some panels have been moved around to give the user a GNOME-like experience, and as of right now this is the only edition that Drauger OS comes with.

          Per my chat with Thomas on his Discord channel, the name was inspired by one of the enemies encountered in Skyrim — Wikipedia terms it as “an undead creature in Norse mythology.” Funnily enough, the spelling of “Drauger” is unintentional, but he doesn’t plan on spelling it back to “Draugr” as it would require too much work within the codebase.


          Frankly, not right now. I’ve had several frustrating issues with the installer, issues with partitioning, and a huge turn down is the fact NVIDIA users can’t really game with this distribution. That being said, Drauger OS is currently a beta, so I expected these hiccups. I do like the color scheming, I do like how it’s using a stable distribution as the backbone, and I have faith that the gaming experience will improve over time. Several of these problems I have let Thomas aware of, and he’s probably working on them as I write this.

      • New Releases

        • Simplicity Linux 20.7 Alpha is now available

           We are pleased to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 20.7 Alpha. All versions are based on Buster Dog (which you can find here) with the 5.6.12 XanMod kernel, PCManFM as the desktop and XFCE4-Panel. We chose the latter two over Cinnamon because we’ve decided that Simplicity was getting a little bloated, and dropping Cinnamon cut a lot of this bloat.

          With people working from home more, we have had a redesign of Mini 20.7. It has web based versions of Google Docs, Gmail, Taiga and Spotify like earlier releases, but it also includes Messenger, Mega, and Photopea so that you can do more without having to have a powerful laptop to run local applications.

      • BSD

        • Open Letter to the TrueOS Community: TrueOS Discontinuation

          Hey TrueOS Community! I just wanted to take a few minutes to address what some of you may have already guessed. With a heavy heart, the TrueOS Project’s core team has decided to discontinue the development of TrueOS for the foreseeable future. We’ll still be heavily involved in other Open Source projects like FreeNAS & TrueNAS CORE. We’re incredibly proud of the work we put into TrueOS and its predecessor, PC-BSD.

          TrueOS source code will remain available on GitHub for others that may want to continue the work that we started so many years ago. I can’t explain just how much we appreciate you all being loyal fans of TrueOS and PC-BSD in the past. We’re confident that even though this is a hard decision, it’s also the correct decision because of the exciting new projects that we’re all becoming more involved in like TrueNAS CORE. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Slackware Family

        • Plasma5 for Slackware: KDE 5_20.05. Also, new Ardour 6.0

            Anew batch of Plasma5 packages for Slackware-current is available now. The KDE-5_20.05 release is also the last monthly update you’ll see from me for a while in my ‘ktown‘ repository. I expect Pat to add Plasma5 to Slackware-current, but I am done waiting and have an urgent need to dedicate my spare time to other matters. With PAM finally added to the core distro, there should no longer be a showstopper for getting rid of KDE4 and replacing it with Plasma5.

          And remember, these packages will not work on Slackware 14.2. Along with adding the May batch for -current, I have removed the old (KDE 5_17.11) Plasma5 packages that were still in my ‘ktown’ repository for Slackware 14.2. They have been un-maintained for two and a half years, who knows what security issues they cause. If you really want or need Plasma5, migrate to Slackware-current please.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fighting exploits with Control-Flow Integrity (CFI) in Clang

          Many available exploits are based on techniques such as Return Oriented Programming and Shell Code Injection and execution, as well as other ways an attacker can gain control and subvert the expected execution flow from an application’s execution flow. These exploits aren't novel, nor are techniques to try to prevent them. Compilers deploy a wide range of hardening at compilation-time to mitigate the risk of arbitrary code execution. These include Stack Canaries, Stack-clash protection, and FORTIFY_SOURCE as examples of builtin protections against stack corruption and control flow integrity.

          With that in mind we are going to have a look at the Control-Flow Integrity (CFI) protection implemented by the Clang compiler for x86_64 architecture.

        • Red Hat Software Collections 3.5 and Red Hat Developer Toolset 9.1 now generally available

          The latest versions of Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset are now generally available. Red Hat Software Collections 3.5 delivers the latest stable versions of many popular open source runtime languages and databases natively to the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. These components are supported for up to five years, helping to enable a more consistent, efficient, and reliable developer experience.

        • Build Smart on Kubernetes with OpenShift from anywhere in the world

          The Build Smart on Kubernetes World Tour is a series of in-person and virtual workshops around the globe that help you build the skills you need to quickly modernize your applications. This World Tour provides a hands-on experience and teaches the basics and more of working with Kubernetes using the hybrid-cloud, enterprise container platform Red Hat® OpenShift® on IBM Cloud™.

        • IBM Data Asset eXchange launches new data sets and exploratory Watson Studio notebooks

          The IBM® Data Asset eXchange (DAX) is an online hub for developers and data scientists to find free and open data sets under open data licenses. A particular focus of the exchange is data sets under the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA). Since launching the exchange in 2019, the Center for Open-Source Data & AI Technologies (CODAIT) team has been working on steadily adding new data sets to the exchange, as well as resources that help explore these data sets.

          Our latest update to the Data Asset eXchange adds a host of new data-related assets and user experience enhancements. For existing data sets, we’ve added seven new Watson Studio notebooks as well as three Watson Studio projects (a new class of data assets that package multiple notebooks together). Along with these notebooks, we’ve also added eight new data sets to the exchange, featuring domains such as oil extraction, remote sensing, and speech recognition. Finally, we are working on improving the way DAX displays data set previews. We have begun to add data glossaries and detailed metadata sections to provide users with extra context behind a data set’s features and use cases. We have also started working on accommodating text, image, and audio data record preview allowing users to sample data sets without having to download the entire data set archive.

        • New container capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2

          In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1, we added new container features including full support for rootless Podman, Podman Play/generate Kube, and container images for the Golang toolset ("A minor release with major new container capabilities"). Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 hits the ground with an even bigger set of features.

        • End-of-life announcement for CoreOS Container Linux

           As we've previously announced, Fedora CoreOS is the official successor to CoreOS Container Linux. Fedora CoreOS is a new Fedora Edition built specifically for running containerized workloads securely and at scale. It combines the provisioning tools and automatic update model of Container Linux with the packaging technology, OCI support, and SELinux security of Atomic Host. For more on the Fedora CoreOS philosophy, goals, and design, see the announcement of the preview release and the Fedora CoreOS documentation.

          We'd love for you to try Fedora CoreOS and get involved! You can report bugs and missing features to the issue tracker and discuss Fedora CoreOS in Fedora Discourse, the development mailing list, in #fedora-coreos on Freenode, or at our weekly IRC meetings.

        • CoreOS Container Linux Reached End of Life, Here Are Some Alternatives
          Today, we’re saying goodbye to another great GNU/Linux distribution, CoreOS Container Linux. The well-known container-focused distro is no more and will no longer receive updates or security patches.

          May 26th was the last day the distribution was supported by CoreOS. It’s been pulled for new subscribers on the AWS Marketplace and all published resources will be deleted after September 1st, 2020.

        • Red Hat’s CoreOS Container Linux Reaches Its End-Of-Life
        • How the fabric8 Maven plug-in deploys Java applications to OpenShift

          The fabric8 Maven plug-in, often abbreviated FMP, can be added to a Maven Java project and takes care of the administrative tasks involved in deploying the application to a Red Hat OpenShift cluster.

        • EMEA: Asiakastieto Unlocks Open Banking Innovation with Red Hat
        • COVID-19, climate change, and the urgent need for innovation

          We are facing a time of unprecedented crisis. While the COVID-19 pandemic puts lives and livelihoods at immediate risk, climate change is an existential threat for humanity. Global challenges such as these are colossal tests of leadership and demand global answers. As the UN Secretary General put it, “We are in this together — we will get through this together.” To effectively address these unfolding human crises, we must put human rights at the heart of the response. We need to reaffirm our common values of humanity and solidarity. And we need to think outside the box. To that extent, leveraging technology for good is essential, as it now allows us to adapt at levels previously unthinkable.

          Innovation in key areas of technology including cloud computing, AI, and open source means it is now easier than ever to quickly pivot towards addressing the most pressing issues we face. A great example is the Call for Code challenge, which quickly pivoted to take on COVID-19 when the global impact of this pandemic became apparent. Within six weeks, the solutions that emerged addressed everything from how we can keep a physical distance when queuing at stores to helping small businesses re-emerge stronger after a crisis. Many of these are already being considered for deployment opportunities.

        • Bringing Java into the Kubernetes-native future with Quarkus

          By now, you may have seen this funny word floating around the Java development community: Quarkus. And, you may have seen the latest Red Hat news around it, that we are excited to welcome Quarkus as an official Red Hat Runtime.

          But, what does this mean, and why should you be excited about Quarkus? This post will dive into what it means to take Java into the modern, distributed, Kubernetes-first, cloud-native application development world we are in today, and why it is so important.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Biggest Impact Of Open Source On Enterprises Might Not Be The Software Itself

          Open source software underpins many of the applications we use today, whether critical for our society to function, or just for our ability to share photos of our quarantine-sourdough with strangers. The code itself has clearly changed our software applications, but what deeper, underlying impact on software delivery and organizational culture have we seen through this process?

        In this article, I had the privilege of speaking with three industry luminaries that have contributed to building open source projects and communities for many years. I wanted to learn from them about the diffusion of software delivery practices from communities and projects into companies and products.

      • Mark Rotteveel and documentation team migrated the first documents to asciidoc
      • Open-Source and Closed-Source Monitoring Tools Compared (2020 Edition)

        Some benefits of using free and open-source software include decreased software costs, increased security and stability, protecting privacy, education, and giving users more control over their own hardware. Today, free and open-source software is everywhere. For instance, operating systems such as Linux and descendants of BSD are in widespread use and are powering millions of servers. Free-software licenses and open-source licenses are also used by many software packages. Furthermore, the free-software movement and the open-source software movement are online social movements that are accessory to the widespread adoption of free and open-source software.

      • Events

        • Annual Report 2019: Native Language Projects – events around the world

          Canadian LibreOffice supporter Marc Paré set up LibreWaterloo, to “have a local presence on the Canadian scene with respect to the LibreOffice project and software. We would like to connect with local LibreOffice coders and users, and “to have fun” should be one of the pillars and principles we strive for.”

          He continues: “I spoke at a meeting of the KW Non-Profit Sys Admin (KWNPSA) where I am a co-coordinator, and I announced the creation of the new LibreWaterloo community group. There, I did a two hour presentation on the status of The Document Foundation, along with LibreOffice and the benefits of starting a group. There were approximately 15 people at the meeting, and a couple of people came to trouble-shoot their software; however, the meeting was not to trouble-shoot issues, but to discuss if there was an interest from the Sys Admin group.”

          Marc set up an organizing committee of three people to start with, and has plans for more events and localisation in Canada’s indigenous languages.

      • Web Browsers

        • Stuart Langridge: Browsers are not rendering engines

          An interesting writeup by Brian Kardell on web engine diversity and ecosystem health, in which he puts forward a thesis that we currently have the most healthy and open web ecosystem ever, because we’ve got three major rendering engines (WebKit, Blink, and Gecko), they’re all cross-platform, and they’re all open source. This is, I think, true. Brian’s argument is that this paints a better picture of the web than a lot of the doom-saying we get about how there are only a few large companies in control of the web. This is… well, I think there’s truth to both sides of that. Brian’s right, and what he says is often overlooked. But I don’t think it’s the whole story.

          You see, diversity of rendering engines isn’t actually in itself the point. What’s really important is diversity of influence: who has the ability to make decisions which shape the web in particular ways, and do they make those decisions for good reasons or not so good? Historically, when each company had one browser, and each browser had its own rendering engine, these three layers were good proxies for one another: if one company’s browser achieved a lot of dominance, then that automatically meant dominance for that browser’s rendering engine, and also for that browser’s creator. Each was isolated; a separate codebase with separate developers and separate strategic priorities. Now, though, as Brian says, that’s not the case. Basically every device that can see the web and isn’t a desktop computer and isn’t explicitly running Chrome is a WebKit browser; it’s not just “iOS Safari’s engine”. A whole bunch of long-tail browsers are essentially a rethemed Chrome and thus Blink: Brave and Edge are high up among them.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 74
          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): How to unleash the full power of Fluent as a localizer

            Fluent is an extremely powerful system, providing localizers with a level of flexibility that has no equivalent in other localization systems. It can be as straightforward as older formats, thanks to Pontoon’s streamlined interface, but it requires some understanding of the syntax to fully utilize its potential.

            Here are a few examples of how you can get the most out of Fluent. But, before jumping in, you should get familiar with our documentation about Fluent syntax for localizers, and make sure to know how to switch to the Advanced FTL mode, to work directly with the syntax of each message.

      • FSF

        • Don’t miss your chance to win fabulous prizes: Get your friends to join the FSF!

          As you may already know, every associate member is incredibly valuable to the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Since most of our funding comes from individual donations and memberships, associate members aren’t just a number. Each new membership magnifies our reach and our ability to effect social change, by demonstrating your commitment to the crucial cause of software freedom.

          Right now, FSF associate members have the opportunity to reap some fantastic rewards by participating in our virtual LibrePlanet membership drive. We still have the raffle prizes generously donated by Technoethical, Vikings,, and ThinkPenguin for this year’s LibrePlanet conference, which we held entirely online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we’re giving them away to those who go the extra mile to help us grow by referring new annual associate members to sign up!

        • May GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 12 new releases!

          bison-3.6.2 denemo-2.4.0 emms-5.4 freeipmi-1.6.5 gcc-10.1.0 gdb-9.2 gnuastro-0.12 gnuhealth-3.6.4 mediagoblin-0.10.0 nano-4.9.3 nettle-3.6 parallel-20200522

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Qt Online Installer 3.2.3 Released

            We are happy to announce Qt Online Installer / Maintenance Tool 3.2.3 has been released.

            We have fixed a few translation issues. Please read the details in ChangeLog.

            The page, introducing Qt Open Source usage, has been slightly modified. The goal has been to clarify the Qt Open Source usage.

          • Qt Updates Its Online Installer To Clarify Open-Source Obligations

            Following yesterday's release of Qt 5.15 LTS as the last series before Qt 6.0, The Qt Company has now released a new Qt Online Installer.

            Qt Online Installer 3.2.3 is out with a few translation fixes and they have reworked their "Qt Open Source usage" page. The page lays out the open-source usage obligations for the toolkit under the GPLv2/GPLv3/LGPLv3. The page also allows users to buy Qt or choose the right license and lays out the various obligations when using the open-source version.

      • Programming/Development

        • Photoframe Hack

          Sometimes you just want to get something done. Something for yourself.

          You do not intend it to be reused, or even pretty.

          You build a tool.

          My tool was a photoframe with some basic overlays. I wanted the family calendar, some weather information (current temperature + forecast), time, and the next bus heading for the train station.


          I also have a bunch of REST calls to my local home assistant server. Most of these reside in the HassButton class, but I also get the current temperature from there. These are hardcoded for my local network, so needs refactoring to be used outside of my LAN.

          All of these interfaces require API keys of one kind or another – be it a proper key, or a secret URL. These are pulled from environment variables in main.cpp and then exposed to QML. That way, you can reuse the components without having to share your secrets.

        • Writing the Ultimate Locking Check

          In theory a clever programmer could discover all the bugs in a piece of software just by examining it carefully, but in reality humans can't keep track of everything and they get distracted easily. A computer could use the same logic and find the bugs through static analysis. There are two main limitations for static analysis. The first is that it is hard to know the difference between a bug and feature. Here we're going to specify that holding a lock for certain returns is a bug. This rule is generally is true but occasionally the kernel programmers hold a lock deliberately. The second limitation is that to understand the code, sometimes you need to understand how the variables are related to each other. It's difficult to know in advance which variables are related and it's impossible to track all the relationships without running out of memory. This will become more clear later. Nevertheless, static analysis can find many bugs so it is a useful tool.

          Many static analysis tools have a check for locking bugs. Smatch has had one since 2002 but it wasn't exceptional. My first ten patches in the Linux kernel git history fixed locking bugs and I have written hundreds of these fixes in the years since. When Smatch gained the ability to do cross function analysis in 2010, I knew that I had to re-write the locking check to take advantage of the new cross function analysis feature. When you combine cross function analysis with top of the line flow analysis available and in depth knowledge of kernel locks then the result is the Ultimate Locking Check! Unfortunately, I have a tendency towards procrastination and it took me a decade to get around to it, but it is done now. This blog will step through how the locking analysis works.

        • Raising the ground

          To read this blog I recommend you to be familiar with C programming language and (not mandatory) basics about SDL2. The main goal of this blog is not to give you a copy and paste code, instead it will guide you along the way until you get results by your own merit, also if you find any issues/mistakes/room for improvement please leave a response, thanks for reading.

        • Include jQuery in web pages – Local or CDN

          In the last article of the learn jQuery series, we learned to create jQuery development environment. Fortunately, it was pretty easy to create. In this article, we will learn to include jQuery on our web pages. In this article, we will fire our first jQuery code and will see it working in our web browser.

        • LLVM 11 Merges AMD Radeon GCN Offloading For OpenMP

          While AMD has been working on AOMP for Radeon OpenMP offloading as their downstream of the LLVM/Clang compiler suited for GPU compute offloading to their hardware, at least some of that work is beginning to appear back in upstream LLVM.

          Merged today into LLVM 11 Git is support for OpenMP offloading for the AMD GCN architecture, including setting of LLVM's CUDA mode. This part 1 patch is just a few dozen lines of code thanks to the AMDGPU back-end long being in upstream LLVM as well as the necessary infrastructure already being there for OpenMP device offload. Great to see this happening and hopefully more of these Radeon GPU compute changes will be hitting the LLVM tree shortly.

        • What is The Mediocre Programmer?

          This book is a personal journey for both of us. It's a memoir of my time as a programmer and my feelings along the way. I've thought many times about giving up and finding a different career path but doing anything other than being a computer programmer scares me even more. Does that mean I'm stuck in a perverse ouroboros of self-pity and self-doubt? Hardly. It means that I need to dig deeper to understand why I chose the path of being a programmer and realize that it took a lot to get here and it's going to take a lot more to get where I want to be. It's a commitment to seeing things as they are now and moving forward from wherever I'm standing.

          I hope you'll join me on this journey.

          (The book is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC-BY-SA). You are encouraged to read it, share it, and use it to help others through their struggle).

        • Meet your new robotic best friend: the MiRo-E dog
        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #422 (May 26, 2020)
          • Real Python: A Beginner's Guide to Pip

            What is pip? pip is the standard package manager for Python. It allows you to install and manage additional packages that are not part of the Python standard library. This course is an introduction to pip for new Pythonistas.

          • Return people from a list and dictionary with Python

            In this article, we are going to return a list of names that show whether that person is nice or naughty based on True (Nice) or False (Naughty) value from the ‘was_nice’ key within a list of dictionaries pass into either the get_nice_names function which will only return the name of a person who is nice or get_naughty_names function which will do vise versa.

          • Python 101 – Learning About Loops

            There are many times when you are writing code that you will need to find a way to iterate over something. Perhaps you’ll need to iterate over the letters in a string or the objects in a list. The process of iterating over something is done via a loop.

            A loop is a programming construct that allows you to iterate over chunks. Those chunks could be the letters in the string or the lines of a file.

          • Data visualization made simple in Python with Seaborn

            Plotting in Seaborn is much simpler than in Matplotlib. While Matplotlib makes the hard things possible, Seaborn makes complicated things uncomplicated by giving you a range of plot types that "just work."

          • A simple Python HTTP server for your sysadmin toolbox
          • Qt for Python 5.15.0 is out!

            Hello everyone! We are really happy to announce that Qt for Python 5.15.0 is now out! 

            As always, you can get the latest via: pip install pyside2, or just upgrading your current installation: pip install -U pyside2.

            At the same time we wanted to release another version for users still on 5.14, so we decided to release too. You can get it via pip install pyside2==

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Awk Cheatsheet And Examples

            Awk is a great utility for text parsing and maniupulation. All unix operating systems have Awk installed by default. If you are on Windows. Please check out at the bottom of this tutorial on how to install and enable awk on Windows.

          • Printing repeats within repeats, and splitting a list into columns

            Repeats within repeats. BASH printf is a complex piece of machinery. The man page says a printf command should look like printf FORMAT [ARGUMENT]..., which makes it seem the "argument" is the thing to be printed and the "format" describes how.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • LATEX.css

        This almost class-less CSS library turns your HTML document into a website that looks like a LATEX document. Write semantic HTML [...] add to the of your project and you are good to go. [...]

  • Leftovers

    • KKR to Invest $1 Billion to Build Data Centers in Europe

      The investment firm is teaming up with industry veteran Franek Sodzawiczny to launch Global Technical Realty, which will develop and build data centers for large technology companies in Europe, the people said. The venture could be announced as soon as Wednesday, they said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

      Data centers are drawing increasing interest from private equity firms as more companies outsource the storage of vast information sets to third-party providers. Macquarie Group Ltd., Digital Colony and EQT AB are among investors that have done deals in the sector.

      Sodzawiczny, who previously founded Zenium Data Centers, will become chief executive officer of GTR, according to the people. Zenium received backing from billionaire George Soros’s Quantum Strategic Partners Ltd. and was acquired by CyrusOne Inc. in 2018.

    • Education

      • My Advice to the Class of 2020

        This time of year is normally filled with joy and celebration, as millions of graduates across the country take their first steps into the “real world”.Some of you reading this are families of graduates. Some are graduates yourselves. Either way, you may be thinking of all the 2020 graduates who didn’t get a ceremony, celebrated with loved ones over Zoom, and are entering into the most uncertain jobs market since the Great Depression.I am, too.So here’s my message to the Class of 2020:I’m not going to beat around the bush. These are hard times. You’re graduating into the worst economy in 80 years, and we don’t have any idea when or how the economy will recover. Much depends on the course of this tragic pandemic. On the other hand, I don’t want you to despair. You have your entire lives in front of you. And you have your education, and, hopefully, resilience and fortitude.The multiple crises we’re facing are also opportunities to remake this nation and the world, hopefully into more just societies.In this spirit, I wanted to share with you a final class I taught a few years back, when I and my students were still all together in a classroom. In watching it, it seemed to me that the lessons still hold, especially in this pandemic and economic crisis — the importance of personal resilience, the inevitability of failure, the challenge of designing your own hoops to jump through, the new careers and forms of work you’ll encounter, the central importance of gaining wisdom about yourself. I hope these ideas give you the courage to face the future with realism and resourcefulness, and the confidence to dedicate at least some of your life to fortifying the common good.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Lake of Ozarks Partygoers Who Ignored Social Distancing Told to Self-Isolate

        Memorial Day weekend is traditionally spent with friends and family members, and is commonly seen as the unofficial start of summer. In the era of COVID-19, however, many barbecue events and grill outs were understandably canceled or at least modified, to coincide with social distancing recommendations put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

      • Survey Shows 1 in 5 Teachers—Citing Covid-19 Concerns—Likely Won't Return to US Schools This Fall

        Polling also showed that nearly six in 10 parents may refuse to send their children back to classrooms next semester.

      • Feds Made It Harder to Free Prisoners Amid COVID, Even as Barr Promised Releases

        Even as the Justice Department announced that federal prisons would release vulnerable, nonviolent inmates to home confinement to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the agency was quietly adopting a policy that makes it harder for inmates to qualify for release, not easier. The result has been that more than 98% of inmates remain in federal custody, while a handful of celebrity inmates, like former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, have been released to home detention.

      • Trump Ridicules Biden’s Use of a Face Mask as US COVID Infections Near 2 Million

        President Donald Trump shared a tweet that seemed to have ridiculed the way Joe Biden, his presumed Democratic Party opponent in this year’s presidential race, looked while wearing a mask during a Memorial Day Ceremony.

      • Let’s Pay Attention to What COVID-19 Is Trying to Tell Us About Climate Change

        It’s pointing us to a healthier and more resilient world if we chose to listen. We have no time to lose.

      • 'How the Trump White House Sees You': Top Economic Adviser Under Fire for Calling Workers 'Human Capital Stock'

        "They've always been indifferent to human life. And in the face of mass death, the masks are coming off."

      • Is Mitch McConnell Blocking State Aid to Enrich Vulture Funds and Bolster Corporate Control of the Economy?

        Without further assistance from the Federal government, all states will be obliged to make draconian cuts in their budgets. 

      • TRUMP-20: The Other Pandemic

        In the destructive wake of TRUMP-20, Americans should practice media-distancing. Daily reports that expose us to Trump, his lies, his racism, and the never-ending circus that surrounds him are detrimental to your health, particularly if you have a pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure. The toll it has taken on the nation’s health is immeasurable. The bloated orange man with the funny hair and Mussolini pout no longer amuses, if indeed he ever did.

      • ‘You can throw the official figures in the trash’ Data analyst says Russia’s coronavirus statistics show signs of fraud

        Boris Ovchinnikov, one of the founders of the “Data Insight” e-commerce research agency, says he’s analyzed Russia’s official coronavirus statistics and determined that the data could be falsified at the federal level.

      • Across Colombia, red flags of despair fly as harsh Covid lockdown is extended for a third time

        Colombia’s infection rate is relatively low, but its ruthlessly enforced lockdown is causing hunger and nationwide anger. In the working class districts of Bogota, signs of desperation are everywhere.

      • As New Zealand Eliminates COVID, Epidemiologist Says “We Look at Trump’s Behavior & We’re Horrified”

        To learn how New Zealand has largely eliminated COVID-19, we continue our extended interview with Michael Baker, an epidemiologist who is a member of the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Technical Advisory Group and advising the government on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He describes how the country’s response compares to the government actions in the United States and worldwide.

      • The Gods of Small Things

        One of the great things about the Covid-19 silver lining playbook is the opportunity it affords to come out of the closet, like Bradley Copper, about my sapiensexuality. There, I’ve said it. I’m on the cyberprowl for minds who want to have a good old-fashioned LeftHandOfDarkness mind-fuck together. Makes no difference if you’re black or white, long as you know what I mean. Zoom-Zoom. See you in/out there in our new-fangled pop-up postmod Brady Bunch world.

      • Governments are Using COVID-19 Crisis to Crush Free Speech

        Stop those non-humans who are writing and provoking our people,” says Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in an Instagram video. The non-humans he objects to are journalists who criticise the Chechen authorities for mishandling their response to the Covid-19 epidemic.

      • Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service releases updated numbers on coronavirus cases in the prison system

        According to an official statement from the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), Russia’s prison system has recorded 980 cases of COVID-19 among its employees, Interfax reports.

      • Ramzan Kadyrov posts photo of meeting in Grozny following reports of his hospitalization for COVID-19

        On his Telegram channel, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said that he was taking part in a meeting of the regional headquarters for combatting the coronavirus in Grozny on May 26. 

      • The Covid-19 Conspiracies of German Neo-Nazis

        Where there are conspiracy theories, German Neo-Nazis are never far away. Indeed, the Corona pandemic is a welcoming vehicle for German Neo-Nazi to broadcast their ideology and to recruit new members. The belief in conspiratorial forces behind the 2020 Corona crisis isn’t just nonsense; it is a dangerous symptom of democratic societies’ plight to be exploited by its enemies.

      • The Banality of Evil, COVID-19 Edition

        As the COVID-19 pandemic ran its deadly course in New York, governor Andrew Cuomo  affirmed a state policy forbidding nursing homes to reject suffering from the disease.

      • Brazil’s Reckless COVID Response Threatens Indigenous Survival

        As Brazil sees more than 800 deaths in 24 hours and nearly 400,000 confirmed cases, we look at COVID-19’s devastating impact on Brazil’s Indigenous peoples, who are dying at double the rate of the rest of the country. We speak with world-renowned Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, who wrote an open letter to right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who called the virus a “little flu,” to warn him the pandemic is “an extreme threat to their very survival.”

      • Tennessee’s Secret to Plentiful Coronavirus Testing? Picking Up the Tab.

        To reopen businesses and public spaces safely, experts say, states need to be testing and contact tracing on a massive scale. But only a handful of states are doing enough testing to stay on top of potential outbreaks, according to a state-by-state analysis published by NPR.

      • As Trump Golfed and Downplayed COVID, US Death Count Pushed Past 100,000

        On Tuesday afternoon, the United States of America surpassed a grim milestone as more than 100,000 deaths resulting from COVID-19 were officially recorded.

      • Hawaii Considers an Explicitly Feminist Plan for COVID-Era Economic Recovery

        “The road to economic recovery should not be across women’s backs,” reads the first sentence of Hawaii’s Feminist Economic Recovery Plan.

      • More than 130,000 people in Russia have now recovered from COVID-19

        On the morning of May 26, Russian officials announced that as many as 131,129 people in Russia are known to have recovered fully from COVID-19, including 12,331 in the past day. Also in the last 24 hours, another 174 people reportedly died from the disease, raising Russia’s total number of fatalities officially caused by coronavirus to 3,807.

      • COVID-19: A magnet for medical conspiracy theories

        Conspiracy theories having to do with medicine are quite common, and we’ve written about them here before, particularly among the antivaccine movement. I even coined a term, the “central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement” and argued that the entire antivaccine belief system, as disparate as the individual beliefs and subsidiary conspiracy theories that make it up can be, can basically be boiled down to the contention that vaccines are dangerous but “they” are hiding it from you. Who are “they”? They’re the CDC, medical profession, big pharma, and the rest of government who, in the central conspiracy theory, “know” that vaccines cause autism and all manner of harm but are covering up the evidence. That’s why the antivaccine propaganda and conspiracy movie disguised as a documentary VAXXED resonated so much, telling, as it did, the story of the “CDC whistleblower“, who supposedly revealed that the CDC “knew” that the MMR vaccine greatly increased the risk of autism in African-American boys but “covered it up” in the study in which that result was supposedly found. That this “evidence” came in the form of an incompetent reanalysis of a CDC-published paper by a biochemical engineer turned clueless epidemiologist named Brian Hooker mattered not at all. In this, the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory very much resembled the Simpsonwood conspiracy theory from the early 2000s, in which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. pushed a claim that the CDC “knew” that thimerosal in vaccines was causing autism but covered it up at a conference at the Simpsonwood conference center near Atlanta in 2000.

      • Amazon Delivery Driver Says He Was Fired For Asking About Coronavirus

        FAE Distributors is an “Amazon Delivery Service partner. ”Amazon describes the program like this: “DSP owners are responsible for hiring, training, developing, and retaining a team of 100 high-performing, hardworking employees, operating with up to 10-40 vans.” These companies are contracted by Amazon to deliver packages and must undergo three weeks of training to become part of the program.

        Andre Kirk, an FAE delivery worker, told Motherboard that on April 4 he asked in the workforce’s public GroupMe whether anyone had tested positive for coronavirus. FAE’s owner Demoine Harvey told the chat that no one had tested positive, then in a private chat chastised Kirk, adding that it wasn't a group concern but "the entire world concern" so Kirk should direct all questions to him directly. When Kirk shared those messages in the GroupMe, Kirk was immediately kicked out and the GroupMe dissolved. Motherboard has reviewed these messages.

      • 43 Million Americans Are About to Lose Their Health Insurance Because of Our Employer-Based Health Care System

        Taking this uncertainty into account, the Urban Institute’s analysts provide separate estimates as to how many workers will be thrown off their employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) under different unemployment scenarios. If unemployment hits 20 percent, just over forty-three million Americans will lose their ESI — the figure being a staggering fifty-six million should it reach 25 percent. Though some will qualify for Medicaid or be able to purchase individual coverage for themselves (income permitting), the report’s authors find that millions will become completely uninsured even in less pessimistic unemployment scenarios. Ultimately, as many as 7.5 million Americans could lose insurance entirely in the event the unemployment rate climbs to 25 percent.

      • Cruises and Covid19

        FastCompany has a brief article about bookings for cruises in August [2]. There have been many negative comments about this online.

        The first thing to note is that the cancellation policies on those cruises are more lenient than usual and the prices are lower. So it’s not unreasonable for someone to put down a deposit on a half price holiday in the hope that Covid19 goes away (as so many prominent people have been saying it will) in the knowledge that they will get it refunded if things don’t work out. Of course if the cruise line goes bankrupt then no-one will get a refund, but I think people are expecting that won’t happen.

        The GQ article highlights some serious problems with the way cruise ships operate. They have staff crammed in to small cabins and the working areas allow transmission of disease. These problems can be alleviated, they could allocate more space to staff quarters and have more capable air conditioning systems to put in more fresh air. During the life of a cruise ship significant changes are often made, replacing engines with newer more efficient models, changing the size of various rooms for entertainment, installing new waterslides, and many other changes are routinely made. Changing the staff only areas to have better ventilation and more separate space (maybe capsule-hotel style cabins with fresh air piped in) would not be a difficult change. It would take some money and some dry-dock time which would be a significant expense for cruise companies.


        The entertainment options that cruises offer are greatly desired by many people. Most cruises are aimed at budget travellers, the price is cheaper than a hotel in a major city. Such cruises greatly depend on economies of scale, if they can’t get the ships filled then they would need to raise prices (thus decreasing demand) to try to make a profit. I think that some older cruise ships will be scrapped in the near future and some of the newer ships will be sold to cruise lines that cater to cheap travel (IE P&O may scrap some ships and some of the older Princess ships may be transferred to them). Overall I predict a decrease in the number of middle-class cruise ships.

        For the expensive cruises (where the cheapest cabins cost over $1000US per person per night) I don’t expect any real changes, maybe they will have fewer passengers and higher prices to allow more social distancing or something.

        I am certain that cruises will start again, but it’s too early to predict when. Going on a cruise is about as safe as going to a concert or a major sporting event. No-one is predicting that sporting stadiums will be closed forever or live concerts will be cancelled forever, so really no-one should expect that cruises will be cancelled forever. Whether companies that own ships or stadiums go bankrupt in the mean time is yet to be determined.

      • SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) treatment: a patent review

        Introduction: Coronavirus has been responsible for several virus outbreaks since 2003, caused by SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and currently SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the causative agent of coronavirus disease in 2019. COVID-19 has become a global public health emergency because of its high virulence and mortality capacity. This patent review aims to provide an overview of the patents that present possible treatments for SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV.

        Areas covered: To treat SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2, researchers have filed patents for a number of therapeutic agents. Most of the treatments found were protease inhibitors aimed at proteases such as PLpro, 3CLpro, RNA helicase, and Spike protein, or used monoclonal antibodies and interferons. In addition, the use of Chinese folk medicine and its multitude of medicinal plants with strong antiviral properties was reinforced. Thus, these therapies used in previous epidemics can serve as an aid in the new pandemic by SARS-CoV-2 and be a starting point for new treatments.

        Expert opinion: The various antiviral alternatives presented in this review offer therapeutic options to fight coronavirus infections. If shown to be effective, these drugs may be extremely important in the current pandemic.

      • European Commission proposes €750B EU recovery package

        The European Commission called for a €750 billion recovery plan on Wednesday that would use an unprecedented scale of joint debt incurred by the bloc's 27 member countries in a bid to revive economies decimated by the coronavirus.

        The rescue and recovery plan is bolted onto a revised seven-year budget proposal — the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) — totaling €1.1 trillion for the years 2021 to 2027. The budget plan will now be subject to fierce negotiation among EU heads of state and government, and requires their unanimous approval. Top officials hope to reach a deal by summer.

        “Today we face our very own defining moment,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament as she presented her plan. “What started with a virus so small your eyes couldn’t see it, has become an economic crisis so big you simply couldn’t miss it.”

      • Commission puts forward massive €750bn stimulus against corona-crisis

        The European Commission will propose later on Wednesday (27 May) an unprecedented fiscal stimulus of €750 billion, mostly made up of grants that do not need to be reimbursed, to overcome the deepest recession in EU history.

        “The Commission proposes a €750 billion recovery fund which is added to the common instruments already launched. A European turning point to face an unprecedented crisis,” Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni revealed in a tweet.

        Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will present the details of the updated multi-annual financial framework (MFF) and its new recovery fund before the European Parliament this afternoon, after the college of commissioners adopts it.

        The recovery fund will include a total of €500 billion given to member states through grants and an additional €250 billion via favourable loans.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Spotify finally removes its 10,000-song library limit

          While Spotify has more than 50 million songs available to customers to stream at any time, until today, there was a hard limit of 10,000 songs that users could save to their own “Your Music” collections on Spotify for easy access.

        • Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield on competing with Microsoft, the future of work, and managing all those notifications

          Butterfield joined me on The Vergecast to talk about everything from racing to meet the surge of users during the pandemic, competing with Microsoft, the future of offices, and keeping Slack as an Electron app on the desktop.

        • Slack CEO: Microsoft is ‘unhealthily preoccupied with killing us’

          Butterfield expands on why he thinks Microsoft is “unhealthily preoccupied” with Slack and compares Teams to more of a competitor to Zoom. Slack obviously has its own voice and video calling features, but it’s not the primary focus of the app, and often, businesses integrate Zoom or Cisco’s WebEx instead. Microsoft has been moving businesses from Skype for Business to Teams, which traditionally focused on voice and video calling.

          Ultimately, Butterfield thinks Microsoft is trying to force the Teams comparison because “Microsoft benefits from the narrative that Teams is very competitive with Slack. Even though the reality is it’s principally a voice and video calling service.”

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Google Open-Sources AI for Using Tabular Data to Answer Natural Language Questions

              Google open-sourced Table Parser (TAPAS), a deep-learning system that can answer natural-language questions from tabular data. TAPAS was trained on 6.2 million tables extracted from Wikipedia and matches or exceeds state-of-the-art performance on several benchmarks. Co-creator Thomas Müller gave an overview of the work in a recent blog post. Given a table of numeric data, such as sports results or financial statistics, TAPAS is designed to answer natural-language questions about facts that can be inferred from the table; for example, given a list of sports championships, TAPAS might be able to answer "which team has won the most championships?" In contrast to previous solutions to this problem, which convert natural-language queries into software query languages such as SQL, which then run on the data table, TAPAS learns to operate directly on the data and outperforms the previous models on common question-answering benchmarks: by more than 12 points on Microsoft's Sequential Question Answering (SQA) and more than 4 points on Stanford's WikiTableQuestions (WTQ).

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • EdgeX Foundry Hits 5 Million+ Container Downloads

                EdgeX Foundry, a project under the LF Edge umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation, has announced a major milestone of hitting 5 million container downloads and the availability of its “Geneva” release.


                Keith Steele, EdgeX Foundry Chair of the Technical Steering Committee, added: “With at least 50% of data being stored, processed and analyzed at the edge we need an open, cloud-native edge ecosystem enabled by EdgeX to minimize reinvention and facilitate building and deploying distributed, interoperable applications from the edge to the cloud. In 3 short years, EdgeX has achieved incredible global momentum and is now being designed into IOT systems and product roadmaps.”

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • India’s Aarogya Setu App Goes Open Source

              India has finally released the source code of its coronavirus tracking app, Aarogya Setu, on GitHub, nearly two months after its launch coupled with several privacy-related concerns.

            • Aarogya Setu goes open-source: What it means for the end user
            • Aarogya Setu becomes open source: What does it mean?

              As an answer to that today the government of India has made the Android version of the Aarogya Setu app open source, which means developers will be able to inspect the source code of the app and modify for changes. The source code of the Android version is already available for review and collaboration. All developers and researchers can visit this link to participate:

              The government has announced that the iOS version of the application will be released as open-source within the next two weeks and the server code will also be released subsequently. The government has also said that nearly 98 per cent users of Aarogya Setu app use an Android phone. The app is available for both iOS and Android users.

            • Government of India makes Aarogya Setu app open source; here is what it means

              Alderson isn’t the only one to have raised alarm over privacy issues in the Aarogya Setu app. New Delhi-based Software Freedom Law Centre has alleged that the app collects sensitive user data such as a user’s gender and travel history, The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) has also alleged that Aarogya Setu lacks transparency.

            • India’s contact tracing app is going open source [Ed: India gives Microsoft control over mass surveillance tool]

              The source code will be published on GitHub at midnight Tuesday.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (sqlite3), Fedora (libarchive and netdata), openSUSE (dom4j, dovecot23, gcc9, and memcached), Red Hat (devtoolset-9-gcc, httpd24-httpd and httpd24-mod_md, ipmitool, kernel, kpatch-patch, openvswitch, openvswitch2.11, openvswitch2.13, rh-haproxy18-haproxy, and ruby), and SUSE (freetds, jasper, libxslt, and sysstat).

          • Patterns of Compromise: The EasyJet Data Breach

            It has been a withering time for the airlines, whose unused planes moulder in a gruelling waiting game of survival. The receivers are smacking their lips; administration has become a reality for many. Governments across the globe dispute what measures to ease in response to the coronavirus pandemic; travel has been largely suspended; and the hope is that some viable form will resume at some point soon.

          • Google Authenticator enables device-transfers, no back up/export options

            You’ve probably seen calls to “secure your account” with a second-factor authentication (2FA) app all over the web. Online services promote it as a way to improve the security of your online account. After you’ve enabled 2FA, you need to know your username and password as well as a one-time use token (a four–six digit code) generated by your 2FA app.

            When you enable 2FA with an online service, it “installs” a secret into your 2FA app — often by scanning a QR-variety matrix barcode. The client app can then generate a one-time use login token derived from the shared secret. You type in that token when you log in to the service. The service can generate its own token following the same process and compare the two login tokens. If a bad actor intercepts the token, it can only be used once and will be worthless in the future.

          • Smart cars vulnerable to hack that could enable 'remote control'
          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • House to vote on whether the FBI can access internet history without a warrant: Act now to Save Internet Privacy

              Internet privacy is on the line as Congress votes this week on whether or not the FBI will be able to access the internet history of Americans without a warrant. The House of Representatives is likely planning to vote on H.R. 6172, the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, tomorrow May 27th, 2020. As is, the bill will allow the FBI to access your internet history without a warrant. Thanks to the widespread pushback against this frankly unconstitutional clause, Representative Lofgren (D-CA) and Representative Davidson (R-OH) are expected to introduce an amendment that would curb this proposed overstep of government surveillance with support from the Speaker of the House.

            • Senate Talking Points Say Warrantless Collection Of Internet Use Data Keeps Terrorists From Killing Us

              The Senate tried and failed to erect a warrant requirement for the FBI's collection of US citizens' internet browsing data. The amendment to the FISA reauthorization fell one vote short -- something that could have been avoided by having any of the four missing Senate supporters show up and actually support the thing. The House has a chance to pass this amendment before sending the bill to the president, but they've decided to engage in some unproductive infighting instead.

            • A Mess In The House: Dirty Pool As Rep. Schiff Inserts Loophole To Help The FBI Spy On You

              As the debate continues over the renewal of some Patriot Act provisions for NSA surveillance techniques, the House now has a chance to correct a failure by the Senate, by one measly vote, to require a warrant for the FBI to go sifting through your internet histories that the NSA scooped up along the way. The intelligence community refuses to reveal how often this is done, but Senator Wyden is indicating that it's a lot more than you think -- and he's been right pretty much every time he's made those suggestions.

            • The House Is Voting on Section 215, Again. The Bill Still Needs More Reform

              Later this week, the House of Representatives is once again voting on whether or not to extend the authorities in Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—a surveillance law with a rich history of government overreach and abuse, along with two other PATRIOT Act provisions, and possibly, an amendment.

              Congress considered several bills to reauthorize and reform Section 215 earlier this year, but the law expired on March 15 without renewal. In the days before that deadline, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, without committee markup or floor amendments, which would have extended Section 215 for three more years, along with some modest reforms. However, the Senate failed to reach an agreement on the bill, allowing the authorities to expire.

            • Facebook reportedly ignored its own research showing algorithms divided users

              An internal Facebook report presented to executives in 2018 found that the company was well aware that its product, specifically its recommendation engine, stoked divisiveness and polarization, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

              Yet, despite warnings about the effect this could have on society, Facebook leadership ignored the findings and has largely tried to absolve itself of responsibility with regard to partisan divides and other forms of polarization it directly contributed to, the report states. The reason? Changes might disproportionately affect conservatives and might hurt engagement, the report says.

            • Facebook Executives Shut Down Efforts to Make the Site Less Divisive

              “Our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” read a slide from a 2018 presentation. “If left unchecked,” it warned, Facebook would feed users “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.”

              That presentation went to the heart of a question dogging Facebook almost since its founding: Does its platform aggravate polarization and tribal behavior?

              The answer it found, in some cases, was yes.

              Facebook had kicked off an internal effort to understand how its platform shaped user behavior and how the company might address potential harms. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had in public and private expressed concern about “sensationalism and polarization.”

              But in the end, Facebook’s interest was fleeting. Mr. Zuckerberg and other senior executives largely shelved the basic research, according to previously unreported internal documents and people familiar with the effort, and weakened or blocked efforts to apply its conclusions to Facebook products.

            • NSO Group Impersonated Facebook to Help Clients Hack Targets

              Infamous Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group created a web domain that looked as if it belonged to Facebook's security team to entice targets to click on links that would install the company's powerful cell phone [cr]acking technology, according to data analyzed by Motherboard.

            • Trump urges GOP to vote against bill reauthorizing surveillance powers

              But the Senate included new legal protections for some FISA warrant applications in a win for civil liberties-minded lawmakers, and the amended bill passed 80-16, forcing it to go back to the House for a second vote. The Justice Department opposed the changes, saying that they would "unacceptably degrade" the U.S. government's ability to carry out surveillance.

            • FBI can’t use evidence from phone’s lock screen without warrant, Washington judge says

              If your phone’s lock screen displays anything that might be used as evidence of a crime, the FBI needs to have a warrant before they can use it in court, according to a U.S. District Court judge in Seattle, Washington.

              Judge John Coughenour ruled this week that while police can take a person’s phone at the time of their arrest and place it in the department’s search inventory, investigators cannot use the contents of the lock screen as evidence after the fact, according to court documents.

            • China’s health scores for citizens won’t go away when coronavirus does

              A government app that used digital bar codes to control citizen movements at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in China is likely to become a fixture in people’s daily lives.

              Hangzhou, a southern Chinese city home to tech giants like Alibaba, said on Saturday (May 23, link in Chinese) that it plans to “normalize” the use of the app, which was rolled out in February, and turn it into a “‘firewall’ to enhance people’s health and immunity” after the pandemic recedes.

            • Maximator, a European spy pact to rival the Five Eyes, comes to light

              In a paper published last month, Mr Jacobs publicly revealed the existence of the Maximator alliance for the first time, to the considerable irritation of those who had kept it under wraps for decades. The group was formed in 1976, when Denmark joined forces with Germany and Sweden to intercept and decipher messages sent by satellites, a burgeoning method of communication. The Netherlands joined two years later, bringing its intercept stations in the Carribean to the table, and France in 1985. The group is alive and well today.

            • ByteDance Hit $3 Billion in Net Profit Last Year

              TikTok parent-company ByteDance Ltd. generated more than $17 billion in revenue and more than $3 billion in net profit last year, figures that show the startup, already the most valuable in the world, is growing at a brisk rate, according to people familiar with the matter.

            • Atmos Home Develops First “Local” Voice-Powered Home Hub

              Home hubs have always had a major privacy flaw for one reason: they all beam your voice commands back to a central server.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • A Whistleblowing Visionary Offers a Ticket to Our Future—If We Take It

        Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has a reputation for legislative mastery. She frequently uses it on behalf of corporate interests, however, not the invisible workers making less than minimum wage.

      • US Government Attempts To Bureaucratically Thwart NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner’s Appeal For Compassionate Release

        The coronavirus may infect NSA whistleblower Reality Winner while she is incarcerated at a women’s prison hospital. She has a history of respiratory illness that makes her exceptionally vulnerable. Yet, the United States government contends they have no record of Winner ever submitting a request for relief. Prosecutors further suggest—even if the warden for Federal Medical Center Carswell received a request for release from Winner—that she did not follow the appropriate process so her appeal should be denied.

        Winner pled guilty in 2018 to one count of violating the Espionage Act when she disclosed an NSA report to The Intercept. She believed the report contained evidence that Russian hackers targeted United States voter registration systems during the 2016 election.

      • Twitter tags Trump tweet with fact-checking warning

        President Trump has used Twitter as a platform to pick fights with other politicians and celebrities. Now he may be in for a fight with the platform itself.

        Following the firm's decision to label his tweets as misleading, he claimed on Twitter that the company was stifling free speech and that he wouldn't allow it. But Twitter as a private company gets to set its own rules for what happens on its platform.

        The trouble for many was that up until Tuesday the firm didn't seem to be enforcing its rules when it came to the US president or other global leaders.

        This is not the first time President Trump has made claims on Twitter that some say would have gotten less powerful people blocked from the site.

      • Twitter labeled Trump tweets with a fact check for the first time

        On Tuesday, Twitter highlighted two of Trump's tweets that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud, appending a message the company has introduced to combat misinformation and disputed or unverified claims.

        "Get the facts about mail-in ballots," read the message beneath each tweet. It linked to a curated fact-check page the platform had created filled with further links and summaries of news articles debunking the assertion.

        Twitter said the move was aimed at providing "context" around Trump's remarks. But Twitter's unprecedented decision is likely to raise further questions about its willingness to consistently apply the label to other Trump tweets that have been deemed misleading by third parties, particularly as the president has lobbed baseless allegations against former Rep. Joe Scarborough regarding the death of a congressional staffer years ago.

      • Twitter fact checks Trump's tweets for the first time, calls mail-in voting claim 'misleading'

        Twitter slapped a fact check label on a pair of "misleading" tweets by President Donald Trump on Tuesday in which he railed against mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Twitter adds fact-check warnings to Donald Trump tweets

        The social media site added a warning phrase to two of Trump’s tweets in which he called postal voting “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed”.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • New York Uber and Lyft Drivers Sue Cuomo Over Refusal to Pay Unemployment Benefits During Pandemic

        "I work hard and follow the rules to support my family. The state should also follow the rules and pay drivers what we are owed so we can survive this crisis."

      • Demanding End to 'Failed Billionaire-Backed' Policies, 200+ Teachers and Activists Urge Biden to Go Bold on Public Education

        "The public health and economic emergencies resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have only made public education more vulnerable. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of public education itself is at stake."

      • Killer Capitalism’s COVID-19 Back-to-Work Imperative

        Over the past several weeks, daily new cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. have remained in the 22,000–25,000 range. By June 1, it is estimated that the number of deaths each day will rise to 3,000. Yet all 50 states now have begun lifting socially-protective measures aimed at containing the coronavirus, planning to “re-start” the U.S. economy – primarily by sending workers back to work. Why is this, and what really should be done?

      • Trump Adviser Says "Human Capital Stock" Should Get Back to Work

        As the United States trembles on the verge of 100,000 COVID deaths and nearly 1.7 million confirmed infections — a “badge of honor” in the fetid mind of Donald Trump — the question of how we got to this horrific place stands out like a pustule on the skin of the nation. Trump has wielded outsize influence in driving this ship onto the reef, to be sure, but he has not acted alone.

      • Countries Rushing to Reopen Risk Causing an 'Immediate Second Peak' In Covid-19 Infections and Deaths, WHO Warns

        Dr. Mike Ryan, director of WHO's Health Emergencies Program, called on countries that have seen a decline in cases to continue imposing social distancing and testing strategies.

      • Dying to Work

        The pandemic is still with us. After the first tentative steps to ease the lockdown in Germany – the most successful large European country to halt the spread of the virus thanks to massive testing – the disease has shown signs of spreading faster.

      • Arkansas Can't Secure Financial Assistance Site So Governor Decides To Call The Person Discovering The Breach A Criminal

        The best place for a messenger is six feet under, according to the governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson. Despite being a founding chair of Governors for CS [Computer Science] (according to Slashdot), Hutchinson has decided to blame a security researcher for the state's inability to properly secure one of its websites. Lindsey Millar, who reported the breach exposing the sensitive information of the site's users, reports that Governor Hutchinson is trying to villainize the person who stumbled upon the unexpected data flow.

      • The Financial Catastrophe That Coronavirus Brought to Small Towns

        Kevin Smith, the mayor of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, feels abandoned by the federal government. On Easter Sunday, a storm hit his city of 10,000, one of the poorest in the state. It knocked out power for most residents; those who’d used SNAP benefits to stock their refrigerators saw their groceries spoil. Streets flooded. Sewers overflowed. In the thick of a pandemic, debris blocked roads to the hospital.

        His city faces a loss of up to 30% in revenue because of the coronavirus, but doesn’t qualify for direct federal stimulus funding, which is reserved for those with populations of 500,000 or more. So at a time when his city needs infrastructure the most, he is weighing cuts and layoffs.

      • As COVID-19 Continues, Governments Must Shield Emergency Measures From Investor-State Arbitration

        How governments are responding to COVID-19 was the focus at this year’s virtual World Health Assembly (WHA), which concluded on May 19. The premier annual event in the international public health community tackled not only medical issues such as drug patent rules and neglected tropical diseases but also the economic fallout of the worst pandemic in our lifetimes.

        Throughout the weeks prior, officials engaged in intense horse-trading over the language of a resolution on COVID-19. Some of the main areas of contention, media reports said, were how to address things like the pandemic’s impact on vulnerable workers and poverty levels and how to use international treaties to protect emergency health measures from unnecessary legal hurdles, such as from intellectual property rules.

        One issue that officials should consider as they prepare for the short- and medium-term aftermath of COVID-19 is the prospect that they may soon face massive arbitration targeting such measures, due to the investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism embedded in a vast web of international investment treaties.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain

        Where are the calls for Trump’s resignation? Since his first months in the White House, Trump has been the most impeachable, most lawless, most self-enriching, most bungling President in U.S. history. He relies entirely on lying and scapegoating to avoid taking responsibility for his failures. Trump didn’t even win the popular vote – the Electoral College selected him. President Trump has fomented chaos and corruption in his administration without encountering insistent demands for his resignation.

      • Is Stacey Abrams Progressive?

        The Georgia Democrat, while clearly forward-thinking on voting rights and other key issues, has repeatedly thrown her lot in with the corporate wing of the party.

      • Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump

        In its late stages, capitalism morphs into a form of neoliberal fascism. In this instance, the structural misery produced by capitalism via its destruction of the welfare state, safety net, and its growing investment in accelerating inequality and criminalizing all social problems merges with the theater of racism, racial cleansing, hyper-masculinity, ultra-nationalism, militarism, scapegoating the vulnerable, and the politics of disposability. Cruelty and hate now become a badge of honor among the financial, political, and corporate elite. One consequence is not merely a criminogenic political and economic system, but a state of barbarism that reflects a death-dealing psychosis among political leaders such as Trump and Bolsonaro.

      • So Wait, People Really Think The Barr DOJ's Investigation Into Google Is In Good Faith?

        Late last week, news emerged that the DOJ would likely be bringing a massive antitrust lawsuit against Google. Reports suggest this is the culmination of a full year of saber rattling by Bill Barr, who has made "antitrust inquiries" into "big tech" a top priority at the DOJ:

      • Trump's "Uncreative Destruction" of the US/China Relationship

        Economists like to think of the wreckage caused by stock market downturns, widespread bankruptcies, and corporate downsizing as “creative destruction.” As it destroys the old and the dysfunctional, the capitalist system continually spurs innovation, much as a forest fire prepares the ground for new growth.

      • Democratic Congressman Calls for Probe Into Former White House Official’s $3 Million Mask Deal

        A senior Democratic congressman on Tuesday called for a watchdog probe into a $3 million Indian Health Service contract given to a former White House official to provide masks to Navajo Nation hospitals hit hard by the coronavirus.

        ProPublica reported on Friday that IHS granted the contract for 1 million respirator masks to Zach Fuentes, a former deputy chief of staff to President Donald Trump, 11 days after Fuentes formed his company. The contract was granted with limited competitive bidding.

      • Bill Barr Promised to Release Prisoners Threatened by Coronavirus — Even as the Feds Secretly Made It Harder for Them to Get Out

        Even as the Justice Department announced that federal prisons would release vulnerable, nonviolent inmates to home confinement to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the agency was quietly adopting a policy that makes it harder for inmates to qualify for release, not easier. The result has been that more than 98% of inmates remain in federal custody, while a handful of celebrity inmates, like former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, have been released to home detention.

        In two memos, one in late March and a second in early April, Attorney General William Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Justice Department, to begin identifying inmates who could safely be released to home confinement — essentially house arrest. They instructed prison officials to grant “priority treatment” to inmates deemed to present minimal risk to the public.

      • Trump Surprises GOP With Threat to Pull RNC Convention Out of North Carolina

        One of President Donald Trump’s many targets on Memorial Day Weekend has been North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who he says is moving too slowly on the state’s reopening. Railing against Cooper on Twitter, Trump threatened to pull the 2020 Republican National Conventional out of Charlotte — and CNN is reporting that Republicans involved in the planning of the convention were “completely blindsided” by Trump’s threat.

      • Hong Kong Legislature Surrounded by Riot Police Ahead of Expected Protests

        "The idea of one country, two systems is broken," he said after a late dinner at McDonald's. "China said it would stick to that agreement, but that's not the case."

      • Democrats want to restrict political ad targeting ahead of the 2020 election

        On Tuesday, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced a bill that would upend political advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google.

        The Banning Microtargeted Political Ads Act would bar platforms like Google and Facebook from allowing advertisers to target messages based on the demographic or behavioral data of their users. The Federal Elections Commission would act as the primary enforcer of these proposed rules, but the bill leaves room for individuals to bring civil action on companies accused of violating it. A court could award anywhere from $100 to $1,000 in relief for negligent violations and $500 to $5,000 for reckless ones.

        “Microtargeting political ads fractures our open democratic debate into millions of private, unchecked silos, allowing for the spread of false promises, polarizing lies, disinformation, fake news, and voter suppression,” Eshoo said.

      • Anti-War Groups Push Biden and the Democrats to Rethink Foreign Policy

        The letter, which made a practical case for Biden and the Democrats to embrace a more progressive approach to international affairs, was organized by Demand Progress and signed by organizations such as MoveOn, Indivisible, Just Foreign Policy, Peace Action, and the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

        “As the Coronavirus pandemic reveals, our country and many others are woefully unprepared for the crisis that we now face. Without extraordinarily bold leadership, this is likely to be the beginning of a period of profound instability for the entire planet, given the intensifying climate crisis that is also now underway,” explained the groups. “Just as the domestic policy debate has shifted significantly in recent years, the current global context demands that we act boldly to redefine the role of the U.S. in the world.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • If You're Reporting On Trump's Supposed Plans For 'Anti-Conservative Bias' Panel, Shouldn't You Mention The 1st Amendment?

        Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that "President Trump is considering establishing a panel to review complaints of anti-conservative bias on social media." That story is likely behind a paywall, though Fox News (natch) reposted most of it and lots of tech news sites wrote up their own versions of the report.

      • Petition calls for investigation into Twitter censorship after hiring of Li Fei-Fei

        A White House petition was created last week after news broke that the Twitter accounts of Chinese dissidents started to disappear after a controversial Chinese-American artificial intelligence (AI) expert was hired to serve on the company's board.

        On May 11, Twitter announced in a press release that it was hiring Li Fei-Fei (李飛飛), an AI expert and former vice president of Google, to its board of directors as a "new independent director" with immediate effect. Li quit Google in 2018 after a trail of leaked internal emails revealed that she appeared to be more concerned about the public relations damage to Google's image if news broke about the company's work on Project Maven than the ethical issues raised by over 3,000 Google employees.

      • YouTube is deleting comments with two phrases that insult China’s Communist Party

        YouTube is automatically deleting comments that contain certain Chinese-language phrases related to criticism of the country’s ruling Communist Party (CCP). The company confirmed to The Verge this was happening in error and that it was looking into the issue.

        “This appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are investigating,” said a YouTube spokesperson. The company did not elaborate on how or why this error came to be, but said it was not the result of any change in its moderation policy.

        But if the deletions are the result of a simple mistake, then it’s one that’s gone unnoticed for six months. The Verge found evidence that comments were being deleted as early as October 2019, when the issue was raised on YouTube’s official help pages and multiple users confirmed that they had experienced the same problem.

      • Why Google Is Investing In Taiwan’s Tech Talent

        The U.S. search giant ultimately wants a relatively low-cost and secure base in Northeast Asia, says Standard Chartered’s Phoo. Costs, including labor, run higher in Japan and South Korea than in Taiwan. The island has made power supplies more stable in the past two years, he adds.

      • Chinese scholars pressured over criticism of state on Covid-19

        According to news reports and testimony from some of those involved, there has been an increase in online harassment and censorship, and in some cases interventions by universities and the police, as Beijing bristles against international criticism.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalist arrested for individual picket in support of jailed ‘Police Ombudsman’

        Journalist and municipal deputy Ilya Azar was arrested while holding an individual picket near the Interior Ministry building in Moscow, the human rights outlet OVD-Info reports.

      • Judge Sends Devin Nunes' SLAPP Suits Against CNN And Washington Post Off To Their Proper Venues

        It appears that at least one judge handling Devin Nunes' various SLAPP suits in Virginia has caught on to at least some of what's going on here. Judge Robert E. Payne has now transferred two of his lawsuits -- the ridiculous defamation filing against CNN and the even sillier SLAPP suit against the Washington Post -- to better venues. In both cases, the judge seems pretty fed up with Nunes' lawyer, Stephen Biss, opening both by quoting what was said to Biss in yet another one of his silly SLAPP suits:

      • Trump Administration and the Washington Post: Picking Fights Together

        For the past several months, the Trump administration has been picking fights—using cold war rhetoric regarding China and applying a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.  The editorial writers of the Washington Post for the past few weeks have written a series of pieces that support a hard line against China, and on May 24th the Post’s lead article was a chauvinist attack on Iran that had the rare attribute of being both counterfactual and counter-instinctive.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • USPTO Rule Making: Codify SAS, Eliminate Presumption in Favor of Petitioner

        The USPTO is seeking comments on amending certain PTAB Rules of Practice. While it proposes many amendments, two seem key: one for instituting on all challenged claims and grounds (to conform with SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S. Ct. 1348 (2018)) and the other to eliminate the presumption at institution favoring the petition as to testimonial evidence. Comments will be accepted through June 26, and the notice is available here.

        As to the first major proposal, as amended the PTAB will institute an IPR, PGR, or CBM proceeding on all claims and all grounds if preponderant evidence in the petition shows at least one claim is unpatentable.


        Interestingly, the Office specifically asked for input as to implementation, stating “the Office may apply any rule changes, if adopted, to all pending IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings in which a patent owner’s preliminary response is filed on or after the effective date.”

      • Patent case: Nippon Shokubai Co., Ltd. vs. Basf SE, EPO

        Nippon Shokubai filed an opposition against the grant of BASF’s patent. In relation to the payment they filed EPO Form 2300E, which – erroneously – did not indicate any payment method in box X ‘Payment’, which then indicated ‘not specified’. In the accompanying letter the professional representative had indicated that the opposition fee could be deducted from their deposit account.

        The Opposition Division held the opposition filed by the professional representative of Nippon Shokubai deemed not to be filed because payment of the opposition fee was not effected in a timely manner under the new rules for automatic debiting (ADA 2017).

      • Odyssey Logistics v. Iancu: Two of the three bears in an APA challenge

        One of my biggest head-scratchers when I studied administrative law in law school were the timing rules for bringing challenges under the Administrative Procedures Act. It wasn’t because of a lack of comprehension, but instead due to the way these rules can block off judicial review of agency action. Individually the timing rules make sense, but collectively they produce a Three Bears-type situation that can trap the unwary: the timing of challenges has to be just right, or the challenge will get tossed for being either too early or too late.

        This case involves two challenges to actions taken by the PTO and one challenge to a set of rules published by the PTO in 2011. The first two challenges were dismissed as two early and the third was too late.

        Count I involved a request for rehearing by the relevant Technology Center Director following the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) reversal of the examiner’s objections to Odyssey’s application. Odyssey challenged the propriety of the request on procedural grounds at the PTO, but then filed a challenge in the Eastern District of Virginia before the PTAB ruled on the request for rehearing. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s holding that the PTAB decision was not a “final agency action” under the APA. Nor did the Federal Circuit see this as a situation involving an abusive use of agency rules to delay proceedings that justified compelled action by the court.

      • CAFC: Obviousness and Non-Limiting Reference Numerals in Claims: Grit Energy Solutions, LLC v. Oren Technologies, LLC.

        The Federal Circuit, in vacating the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decision in an inter partes review (IPR) that claims in a patent were not obvious, held that, for an obviousness inquiry, reference numerals in the claims “do[] not limit the disclosure of the claims.” Grit Energy Solutions, LLC v. Oren Technologies, LLC, 2019-1063 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 30, 2020) (patent-in-suit is U.S. Patent No. 8,585,341).

        The ‘341 patent “requires (a) the container to have a gate with a pin fixedly affixed thereto, and (b) the support structure to have an actuator with a receptacle.” During the IPR, Grit Energy argued that the ‘341 patent was obvious over U.S. Patent No. 7,252,309 and French Patent Application No. 2,640,598. The court noted that it is undisputed that the ‘309 Patent “discloses the opposite of the ‘341 configuration,” and the ‘598 application’s “non-limiting example, standing alone, discloses the opposite of the ‘341 configuration.” However, the parties disputed whether claim 5 of the ‘598 application discloses the ‘341 configuration. Claim 5 of the ‘598 application is reproduced here.

      • Patent Law Ain’t Broke, So Don’t Fix It

        “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to patent law as much as anything else. Our patent system is working, yet some want to change it in a way that will weaken the system of making sure all patents are valid.

        With the prospect of faulty foreign drugs and tests being marketed to Americans for the coronavirus, now is a good time to protect against attempts to hurt American companies actually producing real products to test and fight COVID-19.

        Techdirt reported on March 16, 2020, one such U.S. company was sued by Labrador Diagnostics “which does not seem to exist other than to file this lawsuit, and which claims to hold the rights to two patents (U.S. Patents 8,283,155 and 10,533,994) which, you'll note, were originally granted to Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos -- the firm that shut down in scandal over medical testing equipment that appears to have been oversold and never actually worked.” According to the report, Theranos sold patents to Fortress Investment, and Fortress “then set up this shell company, ‘Labrador Diagnostics,’ which decided in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic it was going to sue one of the companies making COVID-19 tests, saying their test violates those Theranos patents, and literally demanding that the court bar the firm from making those Covid-19 tests.”

        Thankfully, instead of needing to spend millions of dollars and years in federal court, especially if there are appeals by one side or the other, Congress created a process to streamline such disputes in rare, but important cases.

        The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a proceeding called the Inter Partes Review (IPR) that was created in 2011 as part of the America Invents Act. That proceeding allows patents to be reviewed to see if they should not have ever been granted. A patent might not have been eligible to have been granted in the first place if so-called “prior art” existed to show the item or process the patent covers already exists or is already patented. Duplicate patents are sometimes missed by overworked patent examiners during the review process. Also, there are situations where the patented item is not “new, novel or non-obvious,” which is the required standard for a patent. The IPR is a proceeding that reviews whether the patent should have ever been granted and is conducted by an administrative body of expert patent examiners called the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

      • The Doctrine of Equivalents Fails to Save Patent Infringement Suit: Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., et al, v. Covidien LP

        Following a bench trial, the District Court of Massachusetts held that Ethicon’s “shepherd’s hook” design for finger actuation of a forceps is not equivalent to a “finger loop” claimed by Covidien’s patent no. 9,241,759, and thus Covidien had failed to establish infringement for Ethicon’s Enseal X1 Large Jaw vessel sealer. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. v. Covidien LP, No. 16-12556-LTS (D. Mass., April 24, 2020.) The court provided an interesting analysis under the Doctrine of Equivalents.


        The Federal circuit applies two articulations of the test for equivalence. Under the insubstantial differences test, ‘[a]n element in the accused device is equivalent to a claim limitation if the only differences between the two are insubstantial.’” Honeywell Int’l Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., 370 F.3d 1131, 1139 (Fe. Cir 2004)). Alternatively, “[t]he function-way-result test provides that ‘an element in the accused device is equivalent to a claim limitation if it performs substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result.’’’ Voda v. Cordis Corp., 536 F.3d 1311, 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2016.

      • Software Patents

        • Federal Circuit Finds Fault in PTAB’s Determination of Obviousness Without Proper Notice

          In Nike v. Adidas (Fed. Cir. April 9, 2020) (precedential), the Federal Circuit addressed the notice provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) as they relate to the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB or Board) determination in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding. Specifically, this precedential decision held that notice is required when the PTAB advances a novel theory of unpatentability.

          Originally, Adidas filed a petition for inter partes review of a patent owned by Nike. After the petition was granted, Nike filed a motion to amend requesting cancellation of a number of claims and entry of substitute claims. This decision centered around dependent claim 49, which recited, in part, "second stitch configuration forms a plurality of apertures in the flat knit textile element, the apertures formed by omitting stitches in the flat knit textile element and positioned in the upper for receiving laces."

        • Federal Claims Court Finds Prosecution History Estoppel in Allowable Dependent Claims

          In the recent decision of IRIS Corporation Berhad v. United States of America, the United States Court of Federal Claims had the opportunity to evaluate the Doctrine of Equivalents (DOE) in view of applicant actions during prosecution. More specifically, this case centered around the applicant’s actions of incorporating dependent claim material into an independent claim and whether those actions led to prosecution history estoppel.

          This case arose when IRIS sued the United States Department of State for patent infringement by its manufacture and importation of certain electronic passports. The patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 6,111,506 (“the ‘506 Patent”), was directed to a method of making an identification document.

        • CAFC Holds Patent-Ineligible Claims to Ranking Stations in Ad-hoc Radio Network: Cisco Systems, Inc. v. Uniloc 2017

          Patent claims directed to “determining a master/slave rank of each station” in an ad hoc radio network are directed to the patent-ineligible “abstract idea of selecting the highest ranked station.” Cisco Systems, Inc. v. Uniloc, 2017, No. 2019-2048 (Fed. Cir. May 13, 2020) (opinion by Judge Moore, joined by Judges O’Malley and Taranto) (non-precedential). The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed a decision by the Northern District of California under FRCP 12(c) dismissing a cause of action for patent infringement of claim 6 of U.S. Patent No. 6,980,522 based on patent-ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.


          Unlike Finjan, Inc., v. Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018), Thales Visionix, Inc. v. U.S. (Fed. Cir. 2016), and other cases where a technical improvement supported patent-eligibility, here the claim did not recite any technical structure or specific arrangement. As the court put it, “[t]he entirety of the claim is simply the abstract idea [of ranking] and nothing more.”

          The patent owner also argued that claim 6 should have survived Alice step one at the motion to dismiss stage because it had made allegations as to why the claimed invention was unconventional. The court disagreed, because the patent owner had made only general statements that were “sweeping conclusory statements” and not “factual allegations.”

          Alice step two could not save the ’522 patent; there was no saving inventive concept. Instead, as the patent owner admitted, “the ’522 patent [uses] known computer hardware and . . . wireless protocols (like Bluetooth).”

        • Federal Circuit Uses Claim Construction to Overturn Lack of Enablement: McRO v. Bandai Namco

          In its second time considering a patent, the Federal Circuit upheld the district court’s ruling on noninfringement but overturned its ruling of lack of enablement in McRO v. Bandai Namco. The decision rested on the claim construction of one term, “vector.” That construction excluded the accused products from the scope of the patent, but it likewise excluded examples that the defendants had offered of embodiments that were not enabled by the patent.

          McRO owns the sole patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 6,611,278, which covers a “method for automatically animating lip synchronization and facial expression of animated characters.” The patent describes automating the modeling of an animated character’s mouth according the phoneme being spoken by the character. A phoneme is the smallest unit of spoken speech, i.e., a single sound. For each phoneme, a “morph target” is applied to a model of the neutral position of the character’s mouth. Each morph target is a set of “deltas,” each of which is a vector representing the change in position of a vertex of the mouth model from the neutral position to a phoneme-specific position. Each delta can be scaled by a “morph weight” between 0 and 1.


          McRO asserted the patent against everyone who’s anyone in the videogame space, including Bandai Namco, Sony, LucasArts, Activision, Blizzard, Disney, Square Enix, and others, in the Central District of California. The district court initially held the patent invalid for ineligible subject matter, but the Federal Circuit overturned that decision in 2016 (covered by this blog here) and let the case continue. The district court then ruled that the patent was invalid and not infringed, leading to this second appeal to the Federal Circuit.

        • When Are Preambles Limiting?

          In his recent article Without Preamble, Stanford professor Mark Lemley surveys the morass of law on determining when patent claim preambles are limiting, and he predicts that it will be swept away if the Supreme Court ever faces the issue. Given that possibility, how should practitioners think about drafting preambles when applying for a patent?

          Much of legal academic literature provides little use for practitioners, instead proposing grand constitutional theories, doing social science on legal institutions, or setting out policy arguments for changing the law. Professor Lemley’s article falls under the more useful category of doctrinal analysis: surveying a field of law and offering some original points that practitioners would do well to think about.

        • Without Preamble

          The Federal Circuit is ignoring a significant share of the words of patent claims. That’s a bad idea as a matter of policy. It is virtually impossible to tell when the court is going to do it. And it’s inconsistent with the idea that the claims define the scope of the invention, and with how the Supreme Court thinks about claim construction and its closest analogies, statutory interpretation and construing contracts.

          The culprit is a labyrinthine set of rules the Federal Circuit uses to decide whether or not to include the “preamble” to a patent claim as a part of the claim. The words of the preamble, which can sometimes amount to more than half of the whole claim, might or might not be treated as part of the invention depending on a complex of factors, including whether the claim reads as a complete sentence without it, whether the same words are used in both the preamble and the body of the claim, whether the body of the claim includes the magic word “said,” whether the preamble merely claims a use, benefit, or environment for the claim, and whether the preamble “is necessary to breathe life and meaning into the claim.”

          In Part I I discuss the bizarre body of law around patent claim preambles and how the law got to its current confused state. In Part II I suggest that the rule serves no useful purpose, and that if and when the Supreme Court gets such a case it should and will sweep the rule away. Patent applicants should be drafting patents with that fact in mind, and the rest of us should be interpreting claims with one eye on the fact that this is a doctrine whose days are numbered.

        • Claim Preclusion Does Not Apply to Ineligible Subject Matter: VideoShare, LLC v. Google LLC (W.D. Tx.)

          The sins of the parent patent will not be visited on the child patent, at least in the Western District of Texas. An earlier determination of ineligible subject matter does not trigger claim preclusion against an infringement suit asserting a patent issued from a continuation application from the earlier patent. VideoShare, LLC v. Google LLC, Civ. No. 6-19-CV-00663-ADA (W.D. Tx. May 4, 2020).

          Because this case involves claim preclusion (or res judicata, if you like Latin), the conflict necessarily started in an earlier case. Back in 2013, VideoShare sued Google in the District of Delaware for infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,464,302, “Method and System for Sharing Video with Advertisements over a Network.” The accused product was YouTube. The court invalidated the ’302 patent as ineligible subject matter under § 101, and the Federal Circuit confirmed the result.

          The current case features the same parties and the same accused product, with the case now relocated to the Waco, Texas. VideoShare accused Google—specifically YouTube—of infringing U.S. Patent No. 10,362,341. The ’341 patent is a continuation of the ’302 patent from the Delaware case. During prosecution of the ’341 patent, VideoShare had to use a terminal disclaimer to overcome a double-patenting rejection over the ’302 patent.


          But the court goes further than just that outcome. “The Court concludes that the doctrine of claim preclusion cannot be readily applied to analyzing patent eligibility” or to either step of the Alice test. “[B]ecause one element of claim preclusion is whether or not the two patents have the same scope, if the scope of the first patent was not determined when evaluating its patent eligibility, then it is axiomatic that claim preclusion based on patent ineligibility cannot apply to the second patent.” For both Alice steps, differences in claim language, unconstrued terms in the later-asserted patent, and changes in the type of claim (apparatus, method, etc.) can change the outcome.

        • Lack of Algorithm in Specification Renders Means-Plus-Function Claim Indefinite

          The Eastern District of Texas held that the only asserted claim of U.S. Patent No. 6,452,515 was indefinite because “the term ‘[means] for encoding these labels in a random order’” (alterations in original) invokes 35 USC § 112 ¶ 6, and “the specification of the ‘515 Patent does not disclose an algorithm for performing the encoding function required by this limitation.” Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Google LLC, No. 18-cv-00501-JRG-RSP (E.D.Tex. May 1, 2020).


          Following the claim construction order, Google filed a motion for summary judgment of invalidity. The court, in citing H-W Tech., L.C. v., Inc., 758 F.3d 1329, 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2014), held that “[s]ummary judgment is a proper means for deciding invalidity due to indefiniteness.” Since the court’s claim construction order held “that the only asserted claim in this case is indefinite,” the court granted Google’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity.

        • Design Choice and Obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103 at the Federal Circuit: Uber Tech., Inc. v. X One, Inc.

          The Federal Circuit has reversed a PTAB determination of non-obviousness because, where the PTAB found no motivation to combine references, the Federal Circuit found a combination of references presented a simple design choice between a predictable, finite number of possibilities. Uber Tech., Inc. v. X One, Inc., No. 2019-1164 (May 5, 2020) (Chief Judge Prost, joined by Judges Dyk and Wallach) (precedential). This is an interesting case for patent applicants, patent owners, and patent challengers alike. On the one hand, for patent examiners and patent challengers, this decision reinforces the looseness of the requirement to show a reason to combine references to show obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103 and KSR Intern. Co. v. Teleflex Inc. (S. Ct. 2007). On the other hand, for patent applicants and owners, the court did identify a specific showing to support obviousness that will be unavailable in many cases.

          Claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,798,593 recite techniques for mobile devices to exchange location information according to a “buddy list” that could be dynamically generated and updated.

        • Claim Interpretation and Definiteness of Terms of Degree

          During claim construction, Kitsch argued to the Court that claim 1 was indefinite under 35 U.S.C. § 112 and could not be construed because the phrase “water repellent” was relative and failed to provide the necessary definitive metes and bounds. Specifically, Kitsch argued that all fabrics are water repellent to some degree, providing supportive extrinsic evidence indicating that all fabrics have a water repellency rating. In contrast, Deejayzoo asserted that the phrase had a plain and ordinary meaning.

          The Court sided with Deejayzoo for two reasons. First, the Court pointed out the intrinsic evidence of record, including a Figure showing water beading on fabric, a description of specific types of water relent fabrics in the Specification of the ‘930 patent, and example water repellent fabric distributors provided in the Specification. Second, the Court noted that it may be technically correct that a fabric haves 0-100% water repellency, however, Kitsch failed to address how a person of ordinary skill would understand the phase and that common parlance of “water repellent” does not include such a broad definition. Ultimately, the Court found “water repellent” not indefinite and did not construct the claim to have a specific meaning.

        • EDTx Hands Down Indefiniteness Ruling in Semcon v. TCT Mobile

          The Eastern District of Texas recently issued a claim construction ruling with a couple interesting rulings on indefiniteness in the case of Semcon IP v. Louis Vuitton and TCT Mobile (April 29, 2020).

          TCT Mobile is a mobile communication company whose brands include Alcatel, Blackberry, and TCL Communications. Semcon IP is a patent assertion entity whose patents cover “fundamental technology for adjusting the processor clock and voltage to save power based on the operating characteristics of the processor.” The patents include Nos. 7,100,061; 7,596,708; 8,566,627; and 8,806,247, all part of the same family. Semcon sued TCT Mobile, along with fashion brand Louis Vuitton, for infringement as part of an assertion campaign against multiple companies in the Eastern District of Texas.

          While the court construed twelve terms in its 64-page ruling, the most interesting rulings were on indefiniteness of two terms appearing in dependent claims of the asserted patents. The court found “sleep state” definite but “said change in operating conditions” indefinite.


          Semcon did not fare as well with the term “said change in operating conditions,” which the court found indefinite. The disagreement here was over antecedent basis. The chain of dependency for the claim including the term does not recite the words “a change in operating conditions” but does recite “a change in frequency of said first clock signal,” “adjust said first clock signal by a first value,” “adjust said clock signal by a second value,” and “change said first value to a third value and to change said second value to a fourth value.” Semcon pointed to these terms as providing an antecedent basis. The court disagreed. “It is not clear whether the change in operating conditions refers to the generic change in frequency of the first clock signal in the PLL circuitry, the first-value adjustment to the first clock signal, the second-value adjustment to the second clock signal, the change in frequency to provide the processor frequency (due to the first-value adjustment), or the change in frequency to provide the component frequency (due to the second-value adjustment). Perhaps the change in operating conditions refers to all of these or some subset of these?” Thus, the term was indefinite.

        • Nokia-fed Avanci-aligned patent troll Conversant stepped up litigation campaign against Daimler: now four cases pending in Munich

          Nokia used to be the pride of Europe in its field, but it failed (as the saying goes, the higher you climb, the harder you fall), and a result, its patents have become not the, but certainly a scourge of Europe.

          In October I discovered a German Conversant v. Daimler lawsuit because it was mentioned in a U.S. court filing. Nokia gave Conversant a package of cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs)--a practice commonly referred to as "privateering" that anybody in Brussels trying to dissuade the European Commission from enforcing EU antitrust law against Nokia should be ashamed of.

    • Trademarks

      • C&D Bullying: Everyone Can be Groucho Marx/Competent Lawyering in an Age When Everyone can be Groucho Marx

        I regularly present on legal ethics in patent practice at CLE conferences around the country, and, less often, on general ethics or other IP ethics areas, such as trademark practice. While doing some research a couple of years ago for one of those, I ran into the phenomenon of “trademark bullying,” which is when a powerful trademark owner sends a C&D letter to a small business, threatening a tour of the pits of misery (wait for it) if the small business doesn’t stop using the big business’ mark.

        Of course, these letters are often necessary for trademark owners to avoid dilution, and so on. And, of course, C&D letters aren’t as significant a part of a patent litigation as trademark litigation, but there are lessons to be learned for all. So excuse the slightly off-topic post.

        The hook I developed for talking about this is a bit of interesting history. It seems that after Warner Brothers released the movie Casablanca, the Marx Brothers decided to do their parody of “Night in Casablanca.” Apparently (there is some doubt), this caused Warner Brothers to inquire about the movie. Groucho Marx used that request to create a firestorm of publicity, poking fun at the (alleged) claim to own the word “Casablanca,” which, of course, was the name of a city. Marx’ letter and a bit about this is here. It’s worth a read (even though if you’re like me, you would rather do anything than look at a computer screen). Marx’ tactic of using sarcasm and portraying WB as a bully worked and the Marx Brothers’ movie was more of a hit than it likely otherwise would have been.

      • XOXO' word mark cannot be registered as a trade mark, says EU General Court

        XOXO - what does one first think of when they see/hear the expression? Some may equate it with hugs and kisses, others may immediately think to follow it up with “…Gossip Girl” [*slowly raises hand*], some may recall the US fashion brand, and those who have been stuck on the video streaming services for perhaps a bit too long may come up with the Netflix original film of the same name [not this Kat though - Google brought it up, I swear]. Regardless of its repertoire of potential associations, marks including and consisting solely of ‘xoxo’ have been registered as trade marks in various countries. However, in T-503/19, Global Brand Holdings LLC - the company behind US brand ‘XOXO’ - found themselves once again unable to register it at the EU level, due to the mark being found devoid of distinctive character.


        If you wanted a restatement of the independence of the EU trade mark system, you need look no further. It once again illustrates the difficulty faced by companies attempting to promulgate their brand worldwide - there is no guarantee that a mark eligible for trade mark protection in some territories will be granted such protection in others.

    • Copyrights

      • How A Feud Among Wolf-Kink Erotica FanFic Authors Demonstrates What The Copyright Office Got Wrong In Its DMCA Report

        Last week, we wrote about one of the biggest, glaring flaws in the Copyright Office's long awaited report on the DMCA 512's safe harbors was its refusal to recognize how frequently it's abused to take down legitimate works. As if on cue, over the weekend, the NY Times has quite the story about a feud in (I kid you not), wolf-kink erotica fan fiction, that demonstrates how the DMCA is regularly abused to punish and silence people for reasons that have nothing to do with copyright.

      • Cloudflare Ordered to Reveal Operators of Popular Pirate Sites

        Shogakukan, one of Japan's largest manga publishers, has been given permission to obtain the personal details of the operators of one of Japan's most popular pirate manga sites. The DMCA subpoena compels Cloudflare to reveal what it knows about the people behind, a near top-500 site in its home country.

      • Hellboy's $270,000 Piracy Damages Calculation Fails to Convince Judge

        The makers of the film Hellboy have suffered another setback in court after their second attempt to convince a judge that a $270,000 judgment against torrent site and uploader MKVCage failed. The filmmakers calculated the damages amount by multiplying the alleged infringements by the Blu-ray retail price, but this is not sufficient.

      • FOIA: Film industry lobbies South Africa’s Parliament to suspend Copyright Amendment Bill

        Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has obtained 311 pages of correspondence between officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and employees of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other entities including law firms on matters regarding South Africa and copyright policy. The correspondence dates from December 2018 to November 2019 and reveals an assiduous campaign mounted by the MPA and RIAA to thwart the passage of South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill in the South African Parliament and to prevents its signing by the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.

        The MPA and RIIA, working in concert with the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) petitioned USTR to impose higher tariffs on South Africa (by revoking the Generalized System of Preferences) over concerns with, inter alia, the fair use provisions contained in South Africa’s Copyright Amendment Bill.

      • Best Sites to Download Subtitle for Your Movies & TV Series

        OpenSubtitles is among the biggest platforms for subtitles with north of 5 million subtitles in 50+ languages. Elmedia Player for Mac has integrated support which enables users to watch movies with subtitles without having to download them manually. Users can also upload subtitles, make requests, participate in a forum, install recommended browsers and extensions, and follow its blog.

        The new website features a simplified approach to finding subtitles as users can choose to search for subtitles using a series or movie title, IMDB ID, or go to their dedicated pages.

      • Punitive damages introduced into the Draft of the Amended Copyright Law of China

        On 26 April 2020, the Draft Amendment to the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China ('CLC') was submitted to the 17th meeting of the standing committee of the 13th National People's Congress for deliberation. It was then published on 30 April 2020 to solicit opinions from the public (See here for an online-translatable version of the Draft Amendment's full context).

        Since its enactment in 1991, the CLC has been amended approximately every decade (the first amendment occurred in 2001 and the second occurred in 2010). Of particular concern in the Draft Amendment this time is the proposal to significantly increase the cost of infringement by incorporating punitive damages.

      • The Ninth Circuit rules that The Moodsters characters are ineligible for copyright protection, denies panel and en banc rehearings: Daniels v. Walt Disney Company

        Although U.S. copyright protection extends only to original works of creative expression, sufficiently distinctive elements - such as the characters in a fictional work - may be protected by copyright. Not only are the films, Godzilla, Rocky, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial protected by copyright, but the respective characters for which each film is named are also protected by copyright.

        In March, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that The Moodsters characters, a line of five, color-coded, anthropomorphic emotions are not subject to such protection for a want of sufficient delineation. This ruling came at the end of the lawsuit initiated by The Moodsters creator, Denise Daniels, against Walt Disney Company, alleging that the film Inside Out infringed her copyright in The Moodsters characters.

        Daniels petitioned to have the decision reheard by the same 9th Circuit panel or the 9th Circuit en banc following this unfavorable ruling. On May 4, 2020, the 9th Circuit denied her petition, re-affirming that The Moodsters characters are not entitled to copyright protection in an amended ruling. Lacking copyright protection for The Moodsters characters, the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Daniels' copyright infringement claim.


        The second prong of the Towle test allows for some change in visual appearance between different iterations of a character, but requires "consistent, identifiable character traits and attributes." Those traits must compose a character that is "immediately recognizable as the same character whenever it appears."

        Many of the identifiable traits of The Moodsters characters cannot form the basis of copyright protection. The concept of various colors representing particular emotions is not creative expression, but rather an idea. Copyright protection does not extend to ideas, but to original works of creative expression only. Were the concept of using colors to represent emotions a form of expression, it would still fail to qualify for copyright protection; the concept of emotions represented by colors is not original to the Moodsters.

        Of the traits that are eligible for consideration, there is little consistency between different iterations of the characters. In the first iterations - the pitchbook and the pilot - The Moodsters resembled insects with "tall antennas that act as 'emotional barometers' to form a distinctive shape and glow when an emotion is strongly felt." In the second generation of The Moodsters, the characters resemble "lovable bears" with detective hats; rather than serving as emotional barometers, the second generation of The Moodsters helps children "investigate" their emotions. Even the names of The Moodsters changed across various iterations, with three different names for each character. Because the only consistent traits were the colors and emotion pairs for each character, The Moodsters characters failed to satisfy the second prong.

      • YouTube took down Michael Moore’s film attacking renewable energy

        The controversial film Planet of the Humans, produced by Michael Moore, was taken down from YouTube on Monday because of a copyright infringement claim. The complaint was filed by photographer Toby Smith, who was alarmed that his work was used in a film that he doesn’t support, The Guardian reports.

        “I don’t agree with its message and I don’t like the misleading use of facts in its narrative,” Smith said to The Guardian. A few seconds of Smith’s video, Rare Earthenware, were used in Moore’s film, which criticizes renewable energy.

      • J.K. Rowling is releasing a new book chapter-by-chapter online for free

        J.K. Rowling will stagger the release of her new children’s novel The Ickabog over the next seven weeks, publishing the book in tiny chapters online and making it available to readers for free.

        Rowling is hosting The Ickabog on a new website with anywhere from “a chapter (or two, or three)” being published at a time, according to Rowling’s note. The first two chapters are available to read now, and although there’s no description of what the story entails, The Ickabog seems to have more in common with traditional fairy tales. Picture faraway kingdoms with lords and kings. Although the idea came to her while she was writing her wildly successful Harry Potter series, that’s the one thing it is not.

        “It isn’t Harry Potter and it doesn’t include magic,” Rowling wrote. “This is an entirely different story.”

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?
A Lot of Technological 'Progress' Has Been Nothing But Buzzwords
Free software does not try to excite people people over nothing
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