Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 13/6/2020: Mesa 20.0.8 and Devuan GNU+Linux 3.0.0 in Review

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Now you can buy laptops with elementary OS pre-installed (GNU/Linux distribution)
        Elementary OS is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with an emphasis on speed, privacy, and ease-of-use. It also happens to have a user interface that’s reminiscent of macOS and a slightly controversial history of trying to guilt people into paying for free software.

        Like most GNU/Linux distributions, you can download elementary OS for free (or make a small donation) and install it on pretty much any computer released in the past decade.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Noodlings | LeoCAD, DeWalt and a UPS

        openSUSE + LibreOffice conference will be online. See the news article for details on on the Open Source Event Manager system, the online Summit and submitting for talks for it.

        Tumbleweed Updates for snapshots 20200609 and 20200610, both trending stable scores.

      • LHS Episode #351: The Weekender L

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

      • Python Bytes: #185 This code is snooping on you (a good thing!)
      • Episode 13: PDFs in Python and Projects on the Raspberry Pi

        Have you wanted to work with PDF files in Python? Maybe you want to extract text, merge and concatenate files, or even create PDFs from scratch. Are you interested in building hardware projects using a Raspberry Pi? This week on the show we have David Amos from the Real Python team to discuss his recent article on working with PDFs. David also brings a few other articles from the wider Python community for us to discuss.

        David searches for the latest Python news, links, and articles to produce PyCoder’s Weekly with Dan Bader. PyCoder’s Weekly is a free email newsletter for those interested in Python development. Along with David’s article on PDFs, we discuss another recent Real Python article about building physical projects with the Raspberry Pi. We also discuss articles from the community about: the PEPs of Python 3.9, why you should stop using, Python dependency tools, and several ways to pass code to Python from the terminal.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8 Lands The Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer To Spot Race Conditions

        Merged overnight into the Linux 5.8 code-base is KCSAN, the Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer that is a dynamic race detector for spotting flaws in the kernel code.

        The Linux Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer with this newly-added kernel code (4k+ lines of code) paired with compiler-based instrumentation in supported compilers is able to provide detection of race conditions happening within the kernel.

        Even before being mainlined to the kernel, KCSAN has already been successful in spotting legitimate kernel bugs and now with it being mainlined should see more usage in helping uncover other code flaws dealing with multiple threads/concurrency.

      • AMD Prepping PCID/INVPCID Support For KVM Guests On Zen 3 EPYC

        The latest Linux kernel patch work we are seeing out of AMD in preparations for Zen 3 processors coming later this year is INVPCID instruction support for KVM virtualization guests.

        One of the new capabilities we are looking forward to on the Zen 3 instruction set side is adding Process Context Identifiers (PCID) support. As part of the PCID support is the INVPCID instruction for Invalidate Process-Context Identifier to invalidate TLB mappings and caches based on the process context identifier.

      • Linux kernel earns CII best practices gold badge
      • Here's how to get one of the highest-paying jobs in tech

        The Linux Foundation is offering a cloud engineer bootcamp that offers a certification in six months for a job that can pay $146,000.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.0.8
          Hi list,

          I'd like to announce mesa 20.0.8 is now available. This is the last planned release of the 20.0.x series, and users are advised to consider the 20.1.x series instead.

          There were a couple of blocking issues that held this release up, so it's bit larger than normal, especially for one so late in the series. Overall though the changes are fairly normally distributed across the tree, with drivers for Intel and AMD hardware making up the majority of the changes, and little bits here and there for everything else.


          Shortlog ========

          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (3): radv/winsys: Remove extra sizeof multiply. radv: Handle failing to create .cache dir. radv: Provide a better error for permission issues with priorities.

          D Scott Phillips (1): anv/gen11+: Disable object level preemption

          Danylo Piliaiev (6): anv: Translate relative timeout to absolute when calling anv_timelines_wait anv: Fix deadlock in anv_timelines_wait meson: Disable GCC's dead store elimination for memory zeroing custom new mesa: Fix double-lock of Shared->FrameBuffers and usage of wrong mutex intel/fs: Work around dual-source blending hangs in combination with SIMD16 glsl: inline functions with unsupported return type before converting to nir

          Dave Airlie (1): llvmpipe: compute shaders work better with all the threads.

          Dylan Baker (13): docs/relnotes Add sha256 sums to 20.0.7 .pick_status.json: Update to ceae09da156309327d7ba6f4a59d3a2e9b8837d9 .pick_status.json: Update to a887ad7c84e14fdad7907037a39e9fee9d504bf3 .pick_status.json: Update to 4504d6374dbe2aa40af519c16765457bcbf81b84 .pick_status.json: Update to f0c102c075f8ac76629bb34619187262ccc3e9d8 tests: Make tests aware of meson test wrapper .pick_status.json: Update to e58112bc08f99861ac634ede8db0f98cd497fc14 radonsi/si_state.c: retab .pick_status.json: Update to 0795241dde1507e0c6a3f9ef07c281ad4f2acf7b vulkan-overlay/meson: use install_data instead of configure_file docs: Add release notes for 20.0.8 VERSION: bump to 20.0.8 docs: Add sha256sums for 20.0.8

          Eric Engestrom (3): tree-wide: fix deprecated GitLab URLs glapi: remove deprecated .getchildren() that has been replace with an iterator intel: fix

          Erik Faye-Lund (2): zink: use general-layout when blitting to/from same resource nir: reuse existing psiz-variable

          Gert Wollny (1): nir: lower_tex: Don't normalize coordinates for TXF with RECT

          Ian Romanick (1): anv/tests: Don't rely on assert or changing NDEBUG in tests

          Ilia Mirkin (1): nouveau: allow invalidating coherent/persistent buffer backings

          Jan Palus (1): targets/opencl: fix build against LLVM>=10 with Polly support

          Jason Ekstrand (6): anv:gpu_memcpy: Emit 3DSTATE_VF_INDEXING on Gen8+ nir/lower_double_ops: Rework the if (progress) tree nir/opt_deref: Report progress if we remove a deref nir/copy_prop_vars: Record progress in more places intel/vec4: Stomp the return type of RESINFO to UINT32 intel/fs: Fix unused texture coordinate zeroing on Gen4-5

          Jonathan Marek (1): freedreno/a6xx: use nonbinning VS when GS is used

          Joshua Ashton (1): radeonsi: Use TRUNC_COORD on samplers

          Lionel Landwerlin (4): iris: fix BO destruction in error path i965: don't forget to set screen on duped image i965: fix export of GEM handles iris: fix export of GEM handles

          Lucas Stach (1): etnaviv: retarget transfer to render resource when necessary

          Marek Olšák (2): radeonsi: don't expose 16xAA on chips with 1 RB due to an occlusion query issue radeonsi: add a hack to disable TRUNC_COORD for shadow samplers

          Marek Vasut (1): etnaviv: Disable seamless cube map on GC880

          Michel Dänzer (1): util: Change os_same_file_description return type from bool to int

          Nataraj Deshpande (1): dri_util: Update internal_format to GL_RGB8 for MESA_FORMAT_R8G8B8X8_UNORM

          Neha Bhende (1): util: Initialize pipe_shader_state for passthrough and transform shaders

          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (1): omx: fix build with gcc 10

          Rhys Perry (4): nir: fix lowering to scratch with boolean access aco: fix interaction with 3f branch workaround and p_constaddr aco: check instruction format before waiting for a previous SMEM store aco: preserve more fields when combining additions into SMEM

          Rob Clark (1): freedreno: clear last_fence after resource tracking

          Samuel Pitoiset (4): spirv,radv,anv: implement no-op VK_GOOGLE_user_type nir/lower_explicit_io: fix NON_UNIFORM access for UBO loads radv: enable zero VRAM for Doom Eternal radv: enable zero VRAM for all VKD3D (DX12->VK) games

          Timothy Arceri (3): glsl: stop cascading errors if process_parameters() fails radv: fix regression with builtin cache glsl: fix potential slow compile times for GLSLOptimizeConservatively

          Vinson Lee (4): zink: Check fopen result. r300g: Remove extra printf format specifiers. vdpau: Fix wrong calloc sizeof argument. mesa: Fix NetBSD compiler macro.

          Yevhenii Kolesnikov (1): intel/compiler: fix cmod propagation optimisations

          git tag: mesa-20.0.8
        • Mesa 20.0.8 Released To End Out The Series

          With Mesa 20.1.1 having shipped, Mesa 20.0.8 was released today as the final point release of last quarter's Mesa 20.0 series.

          Mesa 20.0.8 is the last update to the prior stable series and users are now encouraged to upgrade to Mesa 20.1 for the best open-source OpenGL/Vulkan driver experience.

          Mesa 20.0.8 has several Intel ANV and Radeon RADV driver fixes, an LLVMpipe improvement for compute shaders, a few NIR fixes, a build fix in the OMX code for GCC 10, a few minor ACO fixes, enabling of the RADV zero vRAM behavior for all VKD3D games, and other random fixes throughout.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Futex2 Proposed In Latest Effort For Linux Kernel Optimization That Can Benefit Gamers

        Last year Valve in cooperation with consulting firm Collabora published their work on extending the futex system call for more optimal thread pool synchronization with a means of waiting on any of several futexes. This kernel-level work paired with patched user-space for Wine/Proton allows better matching behavior on Windows. It's been months since hearing anything on Valve's futex effort while today a futex2 system call was published for discussion.

        The futex patches posted last year could help with Linux gaming CPU utilization in the patched implementation leading to lower CPU utilization than an eventfd-based approach currently employed by Wine. This kernel improvement can mean lower CPU utilization and also avoids the possibility of exhausting available file descriptors.

      • Stealth hacking adventure OFF GRID playable during Steam Game Festival

        Stretch those fingers and get ready to hack the planet in the stealth-hacking adventure OFF GRID, as it's getting a demo ready for the Steam Game Festival. The Steam Game Festival will launch June 16 and run until June 22 and we have it confirmed that OFF GRID will have the demo available on Linux too.

        Funded on Kickstarter back in 2018, along with many other games, OFF GRID is a story-focused game with hacking as the central game mechanic. Gameplay utilises unique mechanics that allow you to manipulate the world and people around you with the data they unwittingly leave behind. It’s a stealth game where the player can truly hack and manipulate objects in the environment.

      • Time matters in the tactical RPG 'The Iron Oath' and it looks very promising

        The Iron Oath is an upcoming turn-based tactical RPG set in a medieval fantasy world, one where your choices matter because as you progress time flows and affects everyone including your characters.

        You will be in charge of managing your own mercenary company. This includes recruiting, managing them and going together through difficult missions. Time moves with you as you progress through the game affecting character age, the world itself changes dynamically reacting to time and choices during events and overall it sounds thoroughly exciting.

        Originally funded on Kickstarter in 2017, with Linux support planned, they recently had a quick bit of footage shown off in the IGN Summer of Gaming event and it's looking really slick.

      • art of rally looks terrific in the latest trailer and it will be on GOG too

        Bright colours, stylish low-poly graphics and a whole lot of speed is what's coming our way with art of rally. From the same developer behind Absolute Drift and it's coming to Linux this year.

        Already confirmed to be releasing on Steam, and we've previously written about art of rally so it's not a new announcement. However, we do now know it will also release on GOG in addition to Steam.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Calamares extensions and out-of-tree modules

          Calamares is a universal Linux installer framework. It provides a distribution- and desktop-agnostic set of tools that Linux distributions (and potentially FreeBSD as well) can use to build an installer for Live media (that is, ISO images). It is broadly themable, brandable, configurable and tweakable – the core repository contains 54 modules for various parts of the install process.

          Even 54 modules can’t do justice to all the breadth of things-people-might-want for Linux, so Calamares encourages people to write their own modules to solve specific problems. Calamares is also an eager upstream, so if the problem is specific, but affects lots of people, or can be made generally useful, then Calamares is eager to incorporate those modules into the “core” of the software product.

          To help and support people developing modules, Calamares should provide all the necessary bits for development: it has a C++ API and some CMake stuff that needs doing, for instance, and module-developers will need that.

        • Cantor Integrated Documentation : Week 1 and 2 Progress

          Hello KDE people!! It's been almost couple of weeks of the coding period already, and it has been hectic already. I was mostly able to stick to the timeline I had proposed, just loosing couple of days here and there. None the less, I am here presenting my progress on the project.


          I have also tried customizing the official documentation. I personally did not liked the layout of the official documentation, so I tried to add some styling to it. Currently I am in process of doing it. Adding style to hundreds of HTML files was a challenge and tedious task to be completed manually. I again utilized Python's power and created a script to link the main CSS file to the HTML files.

        • Norbert Preining: KDE/Plasma Status Update

          Some time has passed since the last updated of my KDE/Plasma packages. In the meantime KDE/frameworks 0.70 was uploaded to Debian/unstable, and everyone should have smoothly transitioned to the “official” packages by now.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Refactoring Fractal: Remove Backend (I)

          After a week and a half of starting work on Fractal in the GSoC and figuring things out, I could remove all state from one half of the backend, or what is called in Fractal as Backend.

          Confusing, right? Let me explain further.

          Actually the core of the application is split between two structs: one called AppOp, where most of the data is managed, and another one called Backend, out of the app crate, in fractal-matrix-api, where the calls to the server are done. They communicate between through message passing, but Backend stores some state that isn’t present in AppOp, or it’s even duplicated. So there are two sources of truth for state.

          That makes the process of implementing multi-account support harder and more error-prone than it should be.

          There are two paths to the solution here: remove AppOp and move all data to Backend or do the same in the opposite direction. I chose the latter because I wouldn’t have to transfer as much state as in the former case. Moreover, this way I can remove both loops and spawn threads directly and call functions directly from it instead of passing messages and matching against them (while spawning new threads anyways). Beware that these threads are kernel threads, not green threads or coroutines (aka Futures), so this is a very grotesque way of doing network requests without blocking the GUI as it is currently. It’s something that will be tackled in the future, though.

    • Distributions

      • Exploitation Tools in Kali Linux 2020.1

        Many people around the world are becoming interested in the hacking world. This might be due to sci-fi movies or other futuristic titles that have attracted users to learning how to hack. There are several exploitation tools in Kali Linux 2020.1 for practicing this skill. This article lists some of the most well-known and reliable exploitation tools out there. All of these tools are open-source and can be downloaded from anywhere in the world.


        Metasploit Framework is a penetration testing tool that can exploit and validate vulnerabilities. This tool contains the basic infrastructure, specific content, and tools necessary for penetration testing and vast security assessment. Metasploit Framework is one of the most famous exploitation frameworks and is updated on a regular basis. New exploits are updated as soon as they are published. This program contains many tools that are used for creating security workspaces for vulnerability testing and penetration testing systems.

      • Reviews

        • PsychOS: A Crazy Cool Distro That Pushes Linux Limits

          One of the great joys of constantly checking out new or obscure Linux operating systems is finding some insane innovations that stand out from the crowded collection of distros. The current release of PsychOS Linux, code-named “Insane,” possibly might blow your mind.

          This distro is really an off-the-wall project with the potential to become a thing unto itself. PsychOS is a systemd-free, GNU/Linux operating system based on Devuan ASCII — a fork of Debian Linux.

          PsychOS Linux is a strange duck in the Linux distro world. It is very retro-esque.

          Even if you consider yourself a retrophile, however, PsychOS may not be for you. It is developed for older hardware and is available only for 32-bit computers. The developer has no immediate plans to release a 64-bit version.

          However, there is a workaround. If you are interested in checking it out, you can run it in a virtual box with 32-bit settings.

          Many Linux devs are dropping 32-bit releases, so even though PsychOS is not a mainstream product, it can keep aging hardware productive.

          PsychOS is polished in that it runs well. It is interesting in that it is clearly unlike the look and feel of today’s top-of-the-line Linux distributions.

      • New Releases

        • Escuelas Linux 6.9 Released: An Educational OS With Zoom App By Default

          Are you looking for an educational operating system for students of pre-school to high schools? This Spanish-based lightweight Escuelas Linux is worth noticing, which comes with tons of free educational software.

          Recently, Escuelas Linux released its new version 6.9 that includes a major application update and minor bug fixes. Though Escuelas targets Spanish-speaking students, it has support for the English language as well. So, let’s take a detailed look at its new enhancements.

      • BSD

        • OpenZFS removed offensive terminology from its code

          On Wednesday evening, ZFS founding developer Matthew Ahrens submitted what should have been a simple, non-controversial pull request to the OpenZFS project: wherever possible without causing technical issues, the patch removed references to "slaves" and replaced them with "dependents."

          This patch in question doesn't change the way the code functions—it simply changes variable names in a way that brings them in conformance with Linux upstream device-mapper terminology, in 48 total lines of code (42 removed and 48 added; with one comment block expanded slightly to be more descriptive).

          But this being the Internet, unfortunately, outraged naysayers descended on the pull request, and the comments were quickly closed to non-contributors. I first became aware of this as the moderator of the r/zfs subreddit where the overflow spilled once comments on the PR itself were no longer possible.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/24

          Another week has passed. There have been a few technical issues around the publishing of our snapshots. Two were flagged for release, but actually never made it to the mirrors. Turned out, kiwi renamed some of the live-images from *-i686-* to *-ix86-*. But nothing else knew about it. As we even have links on the web pointing to those image names, we opted to revert to the original name. So, due to this, we only release 3 snapshots (0604, 0609, and 0610; 0609 contained the changes of 0605 and 0607 – the ones that got not synced out).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora program update: 2020-24

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Congratulations to the winners of the Fedora 32 elections. I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Facilitation, collaboration, and webcams: A story about Principles of Authentic Participation

          This post does not describe what the Principles are (click that link to learn more about them). This post describes the story behind the Principles, and how our Sustain Working Group worked together over three months of virtual facilitation during the COVID–19 crisis to build these Principles.


          After lunch, I gathered folks for the discussion group to discuss what authentic participation means. If we could propose a basic set of principles that we agree on, could this be a useful tool for the pain points of stories shared in the morning session?

          The afternoon discussion was insightful, but lacked firm conclusions. We had great ideas and lots of stories, but nothing to tie them together. I collected email addresses of folks who wanted to continue engaging on the Principles of Authentic Participation. However, I wasn’t sure what the next step would be at the time.

          At the Summit, I committed to facilitation of a public Discourse forum discussion, but some attendees voiced that Discourse was not accessible for them. To compromise without exhausting myself across too many platforms, I promised to host a few online discussions for folks to gather and talk about these things again later.

        • Red Hat Insights Twitter chat
        • Event streaming and data federation: A citizen integrator’s story

          Businesses are seeking to benefit from every customer interaction with real-time personalized experience. Targeting each customer with relevant offers can greatly improve customer loyalty, but we must first understand the customer. We have to be able to draw on data and other resources from diverse systems, such as marketing, customer service, fraud, and business operations. With the advent of modern technologies and agile methodologies, we also want to be able to empower citizen integrators (typically business users who understand business and client needs) to create custom software. What we need is one single functional domain where the information is harmonized in a homogeneous way.

        • Digital transformation in financial services without breaking the bank

          Like many organizations, financial services companies identify digital transformation as a top business priority. But their journey may be more complicated, as their infrastructures are often a blend of legacy platforms and processes, with core software built on proprietary vendors’ technology, and app development practices still tied – at least to some extent – to waterfall methodologies.

          Financial services firms are facing real challenges that, while somewhat germane to all companies on a digitization journey, may be hitting them a little harder. For example, the cost of long-term contracts with proprietary software vendors continue to increase, while limiting their flexibility to accomodate ever-evolving market demands.

          Because of costs of these commodity infrastructure and application architectures – which, by the way, rarely drive competitive differentiation – we’ve observed an increase in agile procurement as a means to alleviate these issues.

        • 3 lessons from remote meetings we’re taking back to the office

          For those of us fortunate enough to work remotely during this pandemic, we'll likely be camped out in our home offices for a while yet. The transition back to in-person work will take time and be geographically patchy.

          As I've talked with colleagues who are working remotely, many people say this period is temporary and makeshift: "Once it's safe to return to the office, we can resume all our old habits and processes." But in truth, this period of working from home and our eventual return to the office are deeply entwined. The choices and changes we make now will impact the ways we work once we step back into our offices, laboratories, classrooms, and other workspaces.

          Rather than viewing this moment as temporary and makeshift, we should see it as formative. By investing in and improving our online meeting experience now, we can build the foundation for a better work environment that persists long after the pandemic. We can use this moment to recalibrate our culture and systems, so they are more robust, resilient, and inclusive. Those of us in scientific fields can use this moment to deliberately shift toward kinder science.

      • Devuan Family

      • Debian Family

        • Ulrike Uhlig: The right to demand change

          Two women sit in an office, one asks: "What's the difference between being assertive and being aggressive?" The other replies: "Your gender." (Cartoon by Judy Horacek, 1961.)

          When a person of a marginalized group (read: a person with less privilege, a person with lower rank) is being framed and blamed as being aggressive, she is being told that her behavior is unacceptable. Marginalized people have learnt that they need to comply to fit, and are likely to suppress their feelings. By being framed as aggressive, the marginalized person is also being told that what they are saying cannot be listened to because the way they are saying it does not comply with expectations. There is a word for this: tone policing. This great comic by Robot Hugs has all the important details. Tone policing is a silencing tactic in which privileged participants of a discussion one-sidedly define the terms of the conversation. This tactic has the interesting side effect of shifting the responsibility to prove that one is not {aggressive, hostile, explosive, a minefield, etc.} to the person being framed and blamed - proving that one is worthy to be listened to. (Some of those words are actual quotes taken from real life.)

          Years ago, I worked in a company in which my female developer colleague would put herself in a state of overly expressed sorriness, all the while pretending to be stupid and helpless whenever she needed to ask anything from the sysadmins. When I confronted her with that, she replied: "I do it because it works." In the same company, another woman who generally asked assertively for what she needed ended up being insulted by one of the project managers using the word "dominatrix". While the example comes from my own experience, this kind of thing happens across any oppression/privilege boundaries.

        • DebConf20 moves online, DebConf21 will be in Haifa

          The DebConf team has had to take the hard decision that DebConf 20 cannot happen in-person, in Haifa, in August, as originally planned. This decision is based on the status of the venue in Haifa, the local team's view of the local health situation, the existing travel restrictions and the results of a survey of potential participants.

          DebConf 20 will be held online instead!

          The Debian community can still get together to share ideas, discuss plans in Birds of a Feather sessions, and eat cheese, from the safety of the desks at home.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Download Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Beta
          The stable version of Linux Mint usually takes around 20 days to release after the beta announcement. So, the Mint 20 will be released by the end of June.

          Linux Mint 20 will be available in 3 editions (Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce) but only in 64-bit. It will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and use a Linux 5.4 kernel.

          Linux Mint 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Home directory encryption, which was removed in Ubuntu, will continue to be available in Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana”.

          Linux Mint 20 will have improved Nemo performance. Linux Mint 20 is supported until 2025. Linux Mint 20 is 64-bit only and there will be no 32-bit release. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS dropped 32-bit ISO 2 years ago but Linux Mint was obsessed with 32-bit but now there won’t be any support for it.

        • Complete Guide To Install Zotero On Ubuntu 20.04

            This tutorial explains how to install Zotero research assistant tool completely on Ubuntu Focal Fossa. This including web browser and word processor integrations (Firefox and LibreOffice Writer). You will find a 1 minute short demo video too below. After practicing, you will have Zotero accessible on your desktop area, panel, and start menu, and finally make documents with citations and bibliography easily. Examples in using and its results also included on last sections. Enjoy!

          Zotero is a free software desktop research assistant to collect references, data and information, to be processed as bibliography and citations in LibreOffice Writer or Microsoft Word documents. Zotero is available for GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS. Zotero can be considered as an alternative to the proprietary Mendeley and such research assistant programs.


        • Productivity is but a snap away – useful applications for your everyday needs

          The state of being productive comes in various guises. Sometimes, you want to do more. Sometimes, you want less. It’s been a while since we toured the Snap Store, and we thought you would be interested in a fresh batch of cool, fun and useful applications that can help you perfect your daily digital activities. Without further ado, let’s have a look.


          We hope you enjoyed today’s tour. There’s something for everyone – developers, people who seek improved battery life on their laptops, smartphone users, those looking for a robust backup setup, and Ubuntu 18.04 users with a penchant for eye candy.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 800 authors and counting

        Today marks the day when we merged the commit authored by the 800th person in the curl project.

        We turned 22 years ago this spring but it really wasn’t until 2010 when we switched to git when we started to properly keep track of every single author in the project. Since then we’ve seen a lot of new authors and a lot of new code.

        The “explosion” is clearly visible in this graph generated with fresh data just this morning (while we were still just 799 authors). See how we’ve grown maybe 250 authors since 1 Jan 2018.

      • The Business of Open Source

        In a recent Twitter thread, Adam Jacob (co-founder and former CTO of Chef) talked about Chef’s switch from an “open core” model to a a “Red Hat” model for licensing their software. It was a fascinating discussion, with important implications for open source companies and their business models. I’ll reproduce the thread here, with Nat Torkington’s comments.

        First, I’d like to start with some background. The behavior of major cloud companies, such as Amazon, has increasingly stirred up angst and fear in open source companies. These companies provide (and support) software that anyone can download, install, and use for free. There are often commercially licensed add-ons around the open core. Amazon and other cloud providers have taken the free software without paying (after all, it’s free, that’s the point), and offer it in their commercial cloud products “as a service.” There’s nothing in the license to prevent this; after all, you can download and run the software without charge. It’s more free than beer; after all, you wouldn’t leave a party with a keg to sell on the street corner. The cloud providers have the technical capabilities to run and support the software at scale, so they have no need to buy services from companies like Chef (or Puppet, or Elastic, or MongoDB, or DataStax, or…), and in many cases they have the ability to build their own versions of the open source company’s proprietary add-ons. The result is that they are taking away market share without contributing anything in return. Stephen O’Grady has a good (and much more detailed) summary of the problem.


        Chef has gone in the other direction. Just over a year ago, they doubled down on open source; as of April 2, 2019, all software development is under the Apache 2.0 license. You can download their software, use it, contribute to it, and even redistribute it or turn it into a service on your cloud platform, all for free. There is one catch: Chef is a trademark, and you do not get the rights to the trademark. You can redistribute the software, but you can’t call it Chef. This model is comparable to Red Hat’s: all of their software is open source, under the GNU Public License. You can use it to make your own distribution, but you can’t redistribute it and call it Red Hat.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in Glean: Project FOG Update, end of H12020

            It’s been a while since last I wrote on Project FOG, so I figure I should update all of you on the progress we’ve made.

            A reminder: Project FOG (Firefox on Glean) is the year-long effort to bring the Glean SDK to Firefox. This means answering such varied questions as “Where are the docs going to live?” (here) “How do we update the SDK when we need to?” (this way) “How are tests gonna work?” (with difficulty) and so forth. In a project this long you can expect updates from time-to-time. So where are we?


            Third, we have a Glean SDK Rust API! Sorta. To limit scope creep we haven’t added the Rust API to mozilla/glean and are testing its suitability in FOG itself. This allows us to move a little faster by mixing our IPC implementation directly into the API, at the expense of needing to extract the common foundation later. But when we do extract it, it will be fully-formed and ready for consumers since it’ll already have been serving the demanding needs of FOG.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Why I don't like SemVer anymore

            Back in 2017 I wrote a blog post on how I manage version numbers. In that post I mentioned how I tried to follow semantic versioning. Over the subsequent 3 years I have come to the conclusion I actually don't like SemVer for my projects. It turns out I am not the only person to hold this opinion; Donald, Hynek and Bernat seem to agree with the general sentiment.


            Here's a thought experiment: you need to add a new warning to your Python package that tries to follow SemVer. Would that single change cause you to increase the major, minor, or micro version number? You might think a micro number bump since it isn't a new feature or breaking anything. You might think it's a minor version bump because it isn't exactly a bugfix. And you might think it's a major version bump because if you ran your Python code with -W error you suddenly introduced a new exception which could break people's code. I did a poll on Twitter and there was no consensus as to what the right answer was.


            To me that speaks volumes to why SemVer does not inherently work: someone's bugfix may be someone else's breaking change. Because in Python we can't statically define what an API change is there will always be a disagreement between you and your dependencies as to what a "feature" or "bugfix" truly is.

          • Thanking the people behind Spyder 4

            After more than three years in development and more than 5000 commits from 60 authors around the world, Spyder 4 finally saw the light on December 5, 2019! I decided to wait until now to write a blogpost about it because shortly after the initial release, we found several critical performance issues and some regressions with respect to Spyder 3, most of which are fixed now in version 4.1.3, released on May 8th 2020.

            This new release comes with a lengthy list of user-requested features aimed at providing an enhanced development experience at the level of top general-purpose editors and IDEs, while strengthening Spyder's specialized focus on scientific programming in Python. The interested reader can take a look at some of them in previous blog posts, and in detail in our Changelog. However, this post is not meant to describe those improvements, but to acknowledge all people that contributed to making Spyder 4 possible.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 043

            Continuing with the Flask course.

            Today I learnt about how to loop, using Jinja loop blocks. The syntax is slowly becoming clear to me. Everything python related in enclosed is {% … %} blocks, except for variables which use their own {{ … }} syntax.

            What I am still confused on is the relationship between the various files, I am writing. There is html and then there are templates and there are python files themselves. Hopefully that will get clearer in the days to come.

          • any() and all() in Python with Examples

            In this tutorial, we'll be covering the any() and all() functions in Python.

            The any(iterable) and all(iterable) are built-in functions in Python and have been around since Python 2.5 was released. Both functions are equivalent to writing a series of or and and operators respectively between each of the elements of the passed iterable. They are both convenience functions that shorten the code by replacing boilerplate loops.

            Both methods short-circuit and return a value as soon as possible, so even with huge iterables, they're as efficient as they can be.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • U.S. Passes 2 Million Coronavirus Cases as States Lift Restrictions, Raising Fears of a Second Wave

        The number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases has officially topped 2 million as states continue to ease stay-at-home orders and reopen their economies and more than a dozen see a surge in new infections. “I worry that what we’ve seen so far is an undercount and what we’re seeing now is really just the beginning of another wave of infections spreading across the country,” says Dr. Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

      • Federal Agencies Have Spent Millions on KN95 Masks, Often Without Knowing Who Made Them

        In scrambling to buy protective equipment for the coronavirus pandemic, federal agencies purchased up to $11 million worth of Chinese-made masks, often with little attention to manufacturing details or rapidly evolving regulatory guidance about safety or quality, a ProPublica review shows.

        Some agencies cannot say who made their masks at a time when thousands of foreign-made respirators appeared on the market, some falsely claiming approval or certification by the Food and Drug Administration. Some agencies bought the masks, known as KN95s, from companies that share a U.S. representative with another firm recently accused of fraud by the Justice Department.

      • Will Corporate Accountability Be the Next Coronavirus Casualty?

        As the Coronavirus spread, corporations risked essential workers' lives. Immunizing businesses from liability would make them even more reckless.

      • Moscow mayor urges residents to stay home during upcoming Russia Day and Victory Day celebrations

        Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has announced that the Russian capital is not planning any public events for Russia Day (June 12), or for the day of the rescheduled Victory Day parade on June 24. He recommended that city residents stay at home.

      • US Passes 2 Million COVID Cases Amid Reopening, Raising Fears of Second Wave

        The number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases has officially topped 2 million as states continue to ease stay-at-home orders and reopen their economies and more than a dozen see a surge in new infections. “I worry that what we’ve seen so far is an undercount and what we’re seeing now is really just the beginning of another wave of infections spreading across the country,” says Dr. Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.

      • After the peak How Dagestani communities hit hard by a COVID-19 cover-up are mourning, recovering, and bracing for the rest of the fight

        In mid-May, eyes across Russia turned to Dagestan as it became clear that the Caucasian republic’s COVID-19 statistics were being massively undercut. Many Russian regions had seen a spike in “community-acquired pneumonia” diagnoses, but in Dagestan, testing was so scarce that these misclassified coronavirus cases far outnumbered those that were correctly confirmed. Now, after media attention that forced regional officials to recognize the problem, the republic has received an influx of direct medical deliveries, military troops are building emergency hospitals, and charitable foundations are rushing to meet hospitals’ orders for personal protective equipment (PPE). Official COVID-19 statistics in Dagestan also began rising sharply soon after officials admitted that they had previously been deflated. On May 18, when President Vladimir Putin held a videoconference with the republic’s leaders, there were 3,460 confirmed COVID-19 cases and only 29 deaths in Dagestan. Less than two weeks later, on May 30, those figures were 4,830 and 226, respectively. Now, as of June 11, Dagestan has officially tested 109,801 of its residents, revealing 6,272 coronavirus cases and 309 deaths. Even as the numbers continue to rise, however, it is likely that the first peak of Dagestan’s COVID-19 epidemic has passed. In the process, the disease changed every part of Dagestani society, from cities to mountain villages. Vladimir Sevrinovsky traveled through the region to ask what happens to tightly bound communities left to fight COVID-19 with support that comes too late.

      • Public Health Officials Urge Caution as 14 States Report Surge in Covid-19 Infections After Reopening

        Several of the states reporting a rise in cases will soon host President Donald Trump's campaign rallies, where social distancing is not expected to be enforced.

      • It's Been Three Months Since Covid-19 Hit and the Economic Pain Continues

        More than one in five workers are either on unemployment benefits or are waiting to get on.

      • Downton Abbey in Our Time and Place

        Thanks to Covid-enforced lockdown (a privilege not afforded to essential, mostly underpaid, workers)—I finished watching the entire six seasons of Masterpiece Theatre’s Downtown Abbey—for the first time—just as George Floyd’s brutal murder (caught on video), inundated television screens, newspapers and social media. Following on the heels of the Amy Cooper story, the murder of Ahmaud Arberry, and alongside reminders of other recent murders of Black men and women including Breonna Taylor—Floyd’s “I cant breathe” plea as Officer Chauvin’s knee squeezed the last breath out of him–began igniting waves of protest across the USA. These have been of such intensity and scope as to invite comparison to the civil rights protests of the 1960s by many scholars and media pundits. [1]

      • How Thailand Contained COVID-19

        When the novel coronavirus began its swift spread from China in mid-January, people in Thailand — the favorite destination of Chinese tourists — feared the worst. Thousands of Chinese visitors had come into Thailand in January, including some 7,000 people from Wuhan, then the epicenter of the viral outbreak.

      • Structural Racism and COVID-19

        Over the past two weeks, the United States—already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic—has reckoned with another public health crisis: police violence against Black Americans. The protests and outrage galvanized by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer have renewed public attention to the pervasiveness of racial inequality throughout the United States. With this backdrop, it is hard to ignore the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Black Americans, who are dying at a rate twice as high as their share of the population.

        In this blog post series, we have focused on how innovation and health laws have exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic thus far, and how they can help spur development of affordable preventatives, diagnostics, and treatments. But we also think it is important to recognize how these laws and other legal institutions have often been complicit in creating the structural framework within which these racial disparities have persisted. In this post, we highlight the work of scholars who have focused on this issue and explain how structural racism contributes to disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths, access to treatments among those who have been afflicted, and access to the most effective preventative interventions.


        Professors Ruqaiijah Yearby and Seema Mohapatra point out that Black Americans have substantially lower access to health care even when it is affordable because it is simply less accessible. Hospitals disproportionately close and relocate as the local Black population increases; physicians similarly leave when hospitals do. With respect to COVID-19 specifically, “racial and ethnic minorities lack access to COVID-19 tests and testing sites.” Rather, “[t]esting centers are more likely to be in well-off suburbs of predominantly white residents than in low-income neighborhoods that are predominantly black,” according to Professors David Williams and Lisa Cooper.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (tomcat), Debian (intel-microcode, libphp-phpmailer, mysql-connector-java, python-django, thunderbird, and xawtv), Fedora (kernel and thunderbird), Gentoo (perl), openSUSE (libexif and vim), Oracle (dotnet, kernel, microcode_ctl, and tomcat), Red Hat (net-snmp), Scientific Linux (libexif and tomcat), Slackware (kernel), and SUSE (adns, audiofile, ed, kvm, nodejs12, and xen).

          • Sysadmin security: Auditing your perimeter and access points

            When assessing corporate security, you need to approach it with the attitude that you are an outsider and want access. You must learn to view your network and your corporate facility from the outside, the same way as a potential attacker does. Performing internal scans is a good thing, but you also need to assess your external security. Is your network an easy mark for attackers? Is your corporate facility secure? Are employees safe? Can you gain access to valuable assets inside your network from the outside with minimal effort?

            Some companies hire outside security consultants who, as part of their service, attempt to breach corporate security just as real attackers would. They phish, they probe, they attempt to tailgate, they call into the office with legitimate-sounding requests, and they also attempt to gain physical access to employee areas and secured data centers.

          • x86/urgent Updates Sent In To Linux 5.8 With The Speculation Mitigation Fixes

            The first round of "x86/urgent" fixes have been sent in to Linux 5.8 just ahead of this weekend's 5.8-rc1 milestone while many of these fixes are marked for back-porting to the stable series.

            Making this pull of x86/urgent fixes notable is that it does include the work I first reported on a few days ago regarding a Google engineer uncovering some holes in Linux's Spectre mitigation handling. Some handling could result in some mitigation behavior being unfairly applied to AMD CPUs and in other fixes for addressing an issue that applications could be silently vulnerable to Spectre Variant Two attacks when thinking they are mitigated but in fact not. There is also a fix for a buggy optimization that could lead to Spectre V4 SSBD mitigation to be disabled for child processes.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Defund the Police, Defund the Military

        On June 1, President Trump threatened to deploy active-duty U.S. military forces against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in cities across America. Trump and state governors eventually deployed at least 17,000 National Guard troops across the country. In the nation’s capital, Trump deployed nine Blackhawk assault helicopters, thousands of National Guard troops from six states and at least 1,600 Military Police and active-duty combat troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, with written orders to pack bayonets.

      • Police Reform Was Never Going to be Easy, But Now's the Time

        As the worldwide demonstrations continue two weeks after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman, the question is whether outrage will lead to real reforms?

      • Get Ready to Pay the Costs of a New Cold War With China

        How will it affect you?

      • New Report Details How Tear Gas Used to 'Crush Peaceful Protests' Around the World

        "In too many countries tear€ gas is used to deny protesters their universal right to peaceful assembly."

      • Trump’s Illegal Use of Military Against Uprisings Portends Battles Ahead

        The backlash against Donald Trump’s illegal show of military force against anti-racist protesters compelled him to withdraw the troops — for now. But we must continue raising the illegality of this use of the military and pushing for barriers to guard against future such deployments. The threat of a resurgence of this violation still looms because as the protests continue, Trump might change his mind. And if he loses the election, all bets are off.

      • Another 91 Cases Linked To Lying Houston Cop Involved In A Botched Drug Raid Have Been Dismissed

        The fallout continues from a no-knock raid in Houston that left the two homeowners dead. The warrant was predicated on statements/controlled buys "performed" by a nonexistent informant using drugs apparently "found" in Officer Gerald Goines' squad car. What was supposed to be the takedown of a dangerous heroin dealer was actually the killing of two people who possessed no heroin. Instead, investigators found personal use amounts of cocaine and marijuana, and none of the drugs or weapons Officer Goines claimed would be found at the residence in his warrant application.

      • “I Can’t Do It” Say Some GIs Being Deployed to Quell Uprisings

        A number of United States service members concerned about the possibility of being ordered by President Donald Trump to suppress uprisings in cities across the country are looking into ways they can personally abstain from such actions.

      • Trump Refuses to Discuss Removing Confederate Names From Military Bases

        President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday on social media that he would not engage in any discussions on renaming military bases that bear the names of Confederate generals.

      • Trump Picks Site of Anti-Black Massacre for Rally on Day Marking End to Slavery

        President Donald Trump is planning to appear in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week for his first campaign rally since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, at a location and on a date that many are saying is incredibly insensitive and disrespectful to events in Black history in the U.S., especially in the wake of uprisings that have occurred following the killing of George Floyd late last month at the hands of white police officers.

      • Thousands Protest Against Annexation. But Is It Enough?

        "The majority of U.S. public opinion now acknowledges the legitimacy of black grievances, while the majority of Israelis—including most of the Jewish center-left—continues to view Palestinians, at least those beyond the former Green Line, as a mortal enemy bent on their country’s destruction."

      • How the Saudis, the Qataris, and the Emiratis Took Washington

        It was a bare-knuckle brawl of the first order. It took place in Washington, D.C., and it resulted in a KO. The winners? Lobbyists and the defense industry. The losers? Us. And odds on, you didn’t even know that it happened. Few Americans did, which is why it’s worth telling the story of how Saudi, Emirati, and Qatari money flooded the nation’s capital and, in the process, American policy went down for the count.

    • Environment

      • The Perfect Storm Approaches

        This hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, will be “one of the most active” on record, some of the country’s top weather forecasters are predicting. By the end of May, before the season had begun, there had already been two named tropical storms. And a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study released in May indicates that climate change has been intensifying the strength of hurricanes by about 8 percent per decade over the past 40 years. At the same time, infections and deaths from Covid-19 are projected to last through the summer and into the fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and others.

      • Black Lives and the Green New Deal

        The Green New Deal is a vehicle for building the broad movement for structural change necessary to truly make Black lives matter.

      • Formosa Plastics Opponents Ask Louisiana Governor to Veto Bill Over Harsh Sentencing Concerns

        But if you ask Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, a Louisiana community group, what House Bill 197 means to her, the answer that comes back isn’t about floodgates or water pumps or pipelines. It’s about the legacy of slavery in the United States — and how that legacy echoes in criminalization efforts€ today.

      • Big Money Bought the Forests. Small Logging Communities Are Paying the Price.

        Wall Street investment funds took control of Oregon’s private forests. Now, wealthy timber corporations reap the benefits of tax cuts that have cost rural counties billions.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Trump Administration Eliminates Protections for Vast Ocean Monument — Experts React
        • How We Analyzed Data From Oregon’s Timber Industry

          Timber helped build Oregon, but, since the 1990s, the state’s western counties have lost thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in annual revenue. For decades, much of the blame for the downturn has been placed on the federal government’s decision to reduce logging in national forests.

          An investigation by OPB, The Oregonian/OregonLive and ProPublica examined ownership and tax data to determine the financial losses for counties in the Coast Range from the decline in logging on federal lands and from tax cuts for the timber industry. Our analysis of data found that timber tax cuts have cost counties at least $3 billion in the past three decades. By comparison, counties lost close to an estimated $4 billion due to federal logging reductions. In western Oregon, at least 40% of private forestlands are owned by investment companies that profit from the cuts. We detail the steps of our analysis below.

        • Forest Restoration or Forest Degradation?

          These two images display a recent example of a forest “restoration” project designed to improve the “health” of a ponderosa pine forests. The area to the left of the path was recently (about a year ago) thinned and then burned. The area to the right of the trail shows what the “unhealthy” landscape was like before “restoration” occurred.

    • Finance

      • 'Speaking of Looting...': Trump Admin. Refuses to Disclose Corporate Recipients of $500 Billion in Coronavirus Bailout Funds

        "This is outrageous AND exactly what was obviously going to happen AND exactly why many of us opposed CARES as written."

      • The Migrant and the Moral Economy of the Elite

        The circular offered ‘relief for migrant workers by allowing inter-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses’ (If two neighbouring states could agree on it). But said nothing about the millions voting with their feet on the highways.

      • Gimmicks Might Be the Key to Understanding Capitalism

        Over the course of her career, scholar and critic Sianne Ngai has asked readers to interrogate the everyday aesthetic judgments we make about art and objects. While finding kitty cams, baby carrots, and bath toys “cute” might seem innocent, Ngai cautions that a term like “cute” is ultimately rooted in a desire to “aestheticize powerlessness,” a useful tool for making commodification and consumption feel, conversely, empowering. Ngai explores the assumptions about political economy underpinning “cute” and similar terms in her 2012 book Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting. In that book, which won the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize for excellence in literary criticism, Ngai explored the ways that our aesthetic judgements have been molded and transformed by the logic of late capitalism. The “zany,” perhaps best embodied by the image of Lucille Ball stuffing chocolate bonbons into her mouth while working on the conveyor belt, encapsulates, Ngai argues, our growing sense that the boundary between labor and play has begun to dissipate. “Interesting,” our most ubiquitous aesthetic judgment, represents a demand to prolong our critical labor, or as Ngai puts it, “Let’s keep on talking about this movie, let’s continue giving it attention, even though it is not particularly good.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • You Don’t Have to Publish Both Sides When One Side Is Fascism

        The Trump administration and its Republican enablers are fighting a series of wars directed at targets inside the United States. A partial list would include immigrants, African Americans, Jews, poor people, middle-class people, people with student loan debts, the environment, voting rights, fair elections, blue-state taxpayers, the rule of law, honest elections, and all forms of accountability for Donald Trump, his family, and the criminals who helped him get elected. Because these are by and large unpopular causes, and it is the job of the press to let the public know what is going on, journalists are also a necessary, if ancillary, target. That explains Trump’s frequent use of the phrase “enemies of the people,” which had been the go-to charge of dictators and mass murderers, as well as his incessantly parroted mantra “fake news.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “He Didn’t Deserve to Die Over $20”: George Floyd’s Brother Urges Congress to Stop Police Killings

        A day after George Floyd’s family laid him to rest in his hometown of Houston, his brother Philonise Floyd addressed lawmakers on Capitol Hill to demand an end to police violence. “I’m tired. I’m tired of pain,” he told the House Judiciary Committee. “People of all backgrounds, genders and races have come together to demand change. Honor them. Honor George.”

      • Spain: Trial Begins for Former Salvadoran Colonel Accused of ’89 Jesuit Massacre

        Many Salvadorans and human rights advocates around the world have welcomed the start of the trial.

      • The Beginning of the End for Unearned Authority

        At last glance it looks like we are up to almost 600 documented episodes of police violence during the George Floyd protests. An attorney and mathematician have compiled a google doc titled “GeorgeFloyd Protest – police brutality videos on Twitter”.

      • Historian Robin D.G. Kelley: Years of Racial Justice Organizing Laid Groundwork for Today’s Uprising

        As protests against police brutality and racism continue across the country, we speak with historian and UCLA professor of African American studies Robin D.G. Kelley. “We’re not here by accident,” Kelley says, crediting racial justice organizers for laying the groundwork for this moment over the last decade. “The real question now is whether or not this can be sustained.”

      • Dockworkers to Shut Down West Coast Ports in Memory of George Floyd

        On June 19th, members of the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union (ILWU) will shut down 29 ports across the West coast in solidarity with ongoing protests over the murder of George Floyd. The day of action is slated for Juneteenth, the day celebrating the heralding of the emancipation proclamation to Texan slaves more than two years after the proclamation took effect in 1863.

      • Unravelling Donald Trump

        President Trump’s most ardent supporters and harshest critics would probably both agree on one thing:€  The Donald is one of a kind.€  By this, they generally mean that we have never seen anyone act like him€ €  in the White House.€  But he is also one of a kind in another way—the first corporate CEO to become€ €  President—and that fact itself may explain at least some of his actions.

      • Globally Uprooting a Racist Past

        Not only have the protests against police violence gone global, but they have cut deep into Western history: into its racism and colonialism, which, until now, have remained quietly unquestioned and entrenched in our institutional "normal."

      • Corporate Media Are Focusing on Race—and Dodging Class

        Economic injustice is vital to the entire U.S. power structure. While many people of all races suffer as a result, people of color are at much greater risk.

      • Trump Proposes Changes to Asylum Rules That Stand to 'Practically Write the Refugee Definition Out of Existence'

        "The Trump administration is doubling down on a xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda while the president is fueling violence against Black and Brown people in our country with his racist, white supremacist rhetoric."

      • The Rev. Jesse Jackson: ‘Every City Has Its George Floyd’

        The Nation interviewed the Rev. Jesse Jackson on the night he returned from the Minneapolis funeral service honoring George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody. Demonstrations were building in cities across the nation, and across much of Europe and Australia. Although the overwhelming majority were nonviolent, some were scarred by vandalism and violence. Cameras captured some police officers standing with the demonstrators, taking a knee with them, and others brutally dispersing them. Police violence has already taken more lives since the demonstrations began.

      • Hiding Behind a Badge
      • Weapons that Protect White Privilege Prevent Sustainable Community Change

        In her poem, “The Revolution Will Rhyme,” Buffalo Black Lives Matter activist Jillian Hanesworth writes about the movement for change we now see sweeping across the world.

      • We Don't Want No Racist Police

        Police are not superior to anyone just because they put on a uniform and take orders from the State.€ € It is not revolutionary to suggest that.€ € It’s just basic logic, the fundamental law of equality.

      • A Trip From Utopia to Distopia

        You can’t get much further away from the news than on the north shore of Montana’s largest water body, Fort Peck Lake. While cattle and bison graze the vast prairie above, the lake lies at much lower elevation and topography pretty much provides a natural blackout for modern communication devices. Besides, once you’re there, “civilization,” or what passes for it these days, seems very far away indeed.

      • 'Grotesque Abuse' of Authority as Trump Declares National Emergency Over ICC Probe of Alleged US War Crimes

        "The Trump administration's contempt for the global rule of law is plain."

      • What George Floyd’s Dying Breaths Tell Our Fractured Nation

        It’s past time for a radical restructuring of criminal justice.

      • George Floyd and Casting Shadows

        In the wake of George Floyd’s horrendous lynching by cops caught on film, there are some equally horrendous things being said about his character. Candace Owens, the darling of the hate-filled far right among others, began disparaging him before his body was even cold. Owens is a talentless hack who merely provides a convenient black face for modern white supremacy, and she gets paid well for doing so. But white supremacists and apologists for police brutality have been working tirelessly to sling mud on Floyd’s character in an effort to disparage the justified rage and protests against state violence and institutional racism, and the ruthless response to them.

      • Seattle Protesters Declare Autonomous Zone Around Police Precinct After Heated Standoff with Police

        In Seattle, protesters have barricaded a six-block autonomous zone, after protests were met with a violent police response. Amid a days-long standoff, police removed barricades and abandoned their East Precinct building, and protesters moved into the area, declaring it “Free Capitol Hill.” We go to Seattle to speak with Omari Salisbury, a citizen journalist who has been live-streaming the uprising and police crackdown.

      • Federal Legislators Pitching Massive Police Reform Bill That Would End Qualified Immunity

        There's some national-level police reform on the way, courtesy of Democratic lawmakers. Unfortunately, it's going up against a party that holds a majority in the Senate and has pledged an oath of fealty to our very pro-cop president. This will make it difficult to pass in its unaltered form. And that's even if it's given a chance to come up for a vote when it hits the Senate, considering the Senate Majority Leader's antipathy towards legislation he doesn't agree with.

      • Why the George Floyd Protesters are American Patriots

        When demonstrations erupted across the country after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers, Donald Trump portrayed the protesters as America’s enemies.

      • Why NASCAR’s New Ban on the Confederate Flag Is Such a Big Deal

        Hell froze over this week when NASCAR announced its decision to officially ban Confederate flags from its racing venues. In a statement as astonishing and unexpected as anything we’ve seen in sports since maybe 1947, the racing league said,

      • Stop Asking Marvel To Keep Cops From Wearing Masks With 'The Punisher' Skull On It

        Regular readers here will certainly know that movie-sequel maker and occasional comic book producer Marvel is quite notorious for protecting its intellectual property in a rather heavy-handed way. Some of the examples of its protectionist actions are, ironically, cartoonish. Such as when it used copyright to crush the creator of Ghost Rider. Or refusing to allow copyrights for some of Marvel's most famous characters to revert back to the folks who actually created them through termination rights. Add to this that Marvel is now a part of Disney, a company nearly as famous for its forays into shaping copyright law as it is for anything else. With all of the above, perhaps it was understandable when people saw a whole bunch of cops in the news for all the wrong reasons adorned in face masks imprinted with the logo for The Punisher that those same people wondered aloud why Marvel wasn't suing the police over it.

      • Appeals Court Again Says That The White House Can't Just Remove A Press Pass Because It Didn't Like A Reporter Mocking Seb Gorka

        Last summer we explained why it was a clear 1st Amendment and 5th Amendment violation for the White House to remove Playboy reporter Brian Karem's press pass, with no warning, after he got into a small verbal tiff with former White House employee Seb Gorka. Lots of Trump supporting people, who seem wholly ignorant of how the Constitution actually works, were very mad at us for reporting on that, and insisted that it was somehow obvious that the White House could revoke a press pass like that, even in retaliation for a reporter's statements. And yet, just as we predicted, the district court quickly ruled that the White House needed to restore Karem's pass.

      • Non-Black People of Color Are Mobilizing to End Complicity in Black Death

        The complicity of an Asian American officer in the murder of George Floyd is forcing Asian American communities across the country to face the ongoing ways in which we have benefited from and acted in complicity with broader systems of white supremacy.

      • Statues Celebrating Colonialism, Racism, and Oppression Toppled Across US and Worldwide

        "It's a powerful thing for us to be able to dismantle the entire building of this country, the truths and the untruths that have been told about Christopher Columbus."

      • Behind Every Terrible Police Officer Is An Even Worse Police Union Rep

        The biggest impediments to serious police reform are the shields erected around them, preventing officers from being held responsible for just about anything. Officer Derek Chauvin, whose brutal killing of a black man has provoked a national civil uprising, may be criminally charged at the moment. But that's no guarantee he won't end up a cop again, even if he ends up convicted.

      • Trump, DOJ Claim ANTIFA, Other Extremists Are Hijacking Protests. DOJ Filings Show No Link To Outside Groups.

        The Trump Administration has decided to give cops a pass on killing black people. Wait. Hear me out. The Blue Lives Matter administration began its term by declaring war on the general public if it refused to lick boot properly. And now ANTIFA is behind the riots and looting seen around the country.

      • 'We Must Act Now': Sanders Demands Congressional Ban on Police Use of Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets Against Protesters

        "The American people are rightly demanding justice and an end to police brutality and murder. The U.S. Senate has got to act now, has got to hear the cries for justice that are coming from the streets of this country."

      • Black Lives Matter Movement in Seattle Occupies Six-Block "Autonomous Zone"

        Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Seattle flooded City Hall Tuesday night for an evening of speeches and protest as the movement took over a six block area in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and issued a list of demands to city government in an ongoing uprising that appears nowhere near over.

      • Cuomo and de Blasio's Feud Highlights Democratic Fractures Over Floyd Protests

        On Sunday, June 7, as the outcry over violent suppression of Black Lives Matter protests in New York City was heard round the world, Mayor Bill De Blasio rescinded the city’s 8 pm curfew implemented a week prior, and made his first overtures to appease protesters, including a vow to cut some funding to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Immediately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved to cast himself as the champion of the resistance, demanding “we seize the moment” to achieve equality. But a week earlier, the governor and mayor were both on board for implementing New York’s first curfew in 75 years. The joint order was a rare point of consensus between the two most powerful New York politicians and reflected a consolidation of the political line of the Democratic Party: public outpourings of support and solidarity, but increasingly repressive moves to squash a protest movement which is growing too big and militant to control via the normal channels of cooptation and containment.

      • Police Killed Breonna Taylor in Her Home. Their Report Lists Injuries as "None."

        On Wednesday, Louisville Metro Police released the incident report for the death of emergency room technician Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot and killed in her apartment by police executing a no-knock search warrant nearly three months ago. Outcry over Taylor’s death and the slow pace of the investigation into the police action that killed her helped spark a wave of Black Lives Matter protests in Louisville and across the world that is still ongoing.

      • Alternatives to Policing—The Case for Public Health and Community Development Investments - Censored Notebook

        As outrage sparks over police brutality, systemic racism, and socio-economic inequality, activists are calling to defund police. Despite other calls for anti-bias training, civilian review processes, and policies that prevent police brutality, the “Defund Police” movement sheds a light on the unprecedented expansion and intensity of policing in the last forty years. Cities spend more on policing than on health, housing, arts, parks, community development, workforce development, and civil rights combined. Instead of utilizing police as the primary tool for managing symptoms of socio-economic and race inequality, we must look at rebuilding and empowering our communities to address root causes for real change.

      • Media Acknowledge Drive to Defund Police—but Seek to Blunt Its Radical Edge

        Corporate media are typically loath to cover protests (at least, those not of the right-wing variety), as years of FAIR analysis can attest. But the remarkable ongoing nationwide protests against racism and police brutality have not only drawn widespread media coverage, they’ve shifted the national conversation on public safety.

      • Tear Down the Racist Statues, End Racist Debt and Pay for Equalizing Reparations

        The statues are coming down. The most recent avalanche began in the United States after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police and the uprising it occasioned. In Philadelphia, the city removed a statue of former police commissioner Frank Rizzo; the mayor agreed with the protesters who called for its immediate removal, saying that the “statue is a deplorable monument to racism, bigotry, and police brutality for members of the Black community, the LGBTQ community, and many others.”

      • Time for Change

        An African-American man in his 40s whom I know well has been crying in despair over the life of George Floyd being pushed out of him during nearly nine minutes lying face down in a Minneapolis street, a life whose brutal end sparked a firestorm of nationwide demonstrations appealing for an end to racial injustice.

      • UN vows to ‘maintain trust’ in Congo aid effort after damning review leaked

        The UN has pledged to “carefully consider” the recommendations of an operational review into humanitarian aid operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a draft of the document leaked to The New Humanitarian revealed widespread corruption and abuse.

        The operational review was commissioned by an anti-fraud taskforce created by UN agencies and aid groups in Congo after the NGO Mercy Corps discovered a large-scale fraud scheme in late 2018 – first made public this week after a more than nine-month investigation by TNH.

        Funded by DFID, the UK government department responsible for overseas aid, the 70-page draft review was circulated last month to aid officials working in Congo and describes how corrupt practices have impacted everything from the recruitment of staff to the procurement of supplies and the delivery of aid.


        The operational review said there is a mutual lack of trust between aid groups and communities in Congo, who “perceive humanitarian aid as corrupt and driven by external agendas”.

        McLachlan-Karr said humanitarian organisations in Congo have already introduced a number of measures in recent months. “Pursuant to the allegations,” he said, “the UN and its partners have taken a number of decisive steps to stamp out fraud and abuse.”

        According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, five million people are currently displaced in Congo – one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises. Hundreds of thousands of Congolese have become newly displaced in recent months alone.

      • Confessions of a Former Bastard Cop

        I was a police officer in a major metropolitan area in California with a predominantly poor, non-white population (with a large proportion of first-generation immigrants). One night during briefing, our watch commander told us that the city council had requested a new zero tolerance policy. Against murderers, drug dealers, or child predators? No, against homeless people collecting cans from recycling bins. See, the city had some kickback deal with the waste management company where waste management got paid by the government for our expected tonnage of recycling. When homeless people “stole” that recycling from the waste management company, they were putting that cheaper contract in peril. So, we were to arrest as many recyclers as we could find. Even for me, this was a stupid policy and I promptly blew Sarge off. But a few hours later, Sarge called me over to assist him. He was detaining a 70 year old immigrant who spoke no English, who he’d seen picking a coke can out of a trash bin. He ordered me to arrest her for stealing trash. I said, “Sarge, c’mon, she’s an old lady.” He said, “I don’t give a shit. Hook her up, that’s an order.” And… I did. She cried the entire way to the station and all through the booking process. I couldn’t even comfort her because I didn’t speak Spanish. I felt disgusting but I was ordered to make this arrest and I wasn’t willing to lose my job for her. If you’re tempted to feel sympathy for me, don’t. I used to happily hassle the homeless under other circumstances. I researched obscure penal codes so I could arrest people in homeless encampments for lesser known crimes like “remaining too close to railroad property” (369i of the California Penal Code). I used to call it “planting warrant seeds” since I knew they wouldn’t make their court dates and we could arrest them again and again for warrant violations. We used to have informal contests for who could cite or arrest someone for the weirdest law. DUI on a bicycle, non-regulation number of brooms on your tow truck (27700(a)(1) of the California Vehicle Code)… shit like that. For me, police work was a logic puzzle for arresting people, regardless of their actual threat to the community. As ashamed as I am to admit it, it needs to be said: stripping people of their freedom felt like a game to me for many years. I know what you’re going to ask: did I ever plant drugs? Did I ever plant a gun on someone? Did I ever make a false arrest or file a false report? Believe it or not, the answer is no. Cheating was no fun, I liked to get my stats the “legitimate” way. But I knew officers who kept a little baggie of whatever or maybe a pocket knife that was a little too big in their war bags (yeah, we called our dufflebags “war bags”…). Did I ever tell anybody about it? No I did not. Did I ever confess my suspicions when cocaine suddenly showed up in a gang member’s jacket? No I did not. In fact, let me tell you about an extremely formative experience: in my police academy class, we had a clique of around six trainees who routinely bullied and harassed other students: intentionally scuffing another trainee’s shoes to get them in trouble during inspection, sexually harassing female trainees, cracking racist jokes, and so on. Every quarter, we were to write anonymous evaluations of our squadmates. I wrote scathing accounts of their behavior, thinking I was helping keep bad apples out of law enforcement and believing I would be protected. Instead, the academy staff read my complaints to them out loud and outed me to them and never punished them, causing me to get harassed for the rest of my academy class. That’s how I learned that even police leadership hates rats. That’s why no one is “changing things from the inside.” They can’t, the structure won’t allow it. And that’s the point of what I’m telling you. Whether you were my sergeant, legally harassing an old woman, me, legally harassing our residents, my fellow trainees bullying the rest of us, or “the bad apples” illegally harassing “shitbags”, we were all in it together. I knew cops that pulled women over to flirt with them. I knew cops who would pepper spray sleeping bags so that homeless people would have to throw them away. I knew cops that intentionally provoked anger in suspects so they could claim they were assaulted. I was particularly good at winding people up verbally until they lashed out so I could fight them. Nobody spoke out. Nobody stood up. Nobody betrayed the code.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Streaming Is Laying Bare How Big ISPs, Big Tech, and Big Media Work Together Against Users

        HBO Max is incredible. Not because it is good, but because of how many problems with the media landscape it epitomizes. If you ever had trouble seeing where monopoly, net neutrality, and technology intertwine, well then thanks, I guess, to AT&T for its achievement in HBO Max. No one knows what it’s supposed to do, but everyone can see what’s wrong with it.

        For the record, HBO Max is a streaming service from AT&T, which owns Warner Bros. and, of course, HBO. HBO Go, by contrast, is the app for people who subscribe to HBO through a cable or satellite provider. And HBO Now is a digital-only subscription version of HBO. HBO Max is, somehow, not HBO. It’s a new streaming service, like Disney+, offering both the back catalogs of HBO and Warner Bros. and new exclusives. The name, which emphasizes HBO and doesn’t alert people that this is a service where they can watch Friends, has been a marketing problem.

      • Senators Wyden And Markey Make It Clear AT&T Is Violating Net Neutrality

        For years now, AT&T has imposed arbitrary broadband monthly usage caps and costly overage fees -- but not if you use the company's own streaming TV service. As a result, when you use AT&T's own streaming TV platforms, you won't see any limits. But try to use an AT&T competitor like Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix, and you'll face monthly limits and usage surcharges. Like many big ISPs, AT&T has temporarily lifted its caps on fixed-line broadband networks, but is expected to quietly return to the practice once things semi-normalize.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Arsus patent challenged as likely invalid

          On June 11, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 10,259,494, owned and asserted by Arsus, LLC, an NPE. The ‘494 patent, generally directed towards a rollover prevention apparatus for an automobile, is currently being asserted against Tesla Motors. Prior patents in this family were asserted in a case against a BMW dealership in Utah (dismissed on non-infringement).

        • Software Patents

          • Gentlemen. It has been a privilege playing with you tonight.

            Ubisoft (Rocksmith) and Yousician are competitors in the music-lesson software market. Truthfully, I really enjoy using these tools — their main problem is the added screen time.

            In 2018, Ubisoft sued Yousician for infringing its U.S. Patent 9,839,852 covering an “Interactive Guitar Game.” Before the opening act even started, the district court dismissed the case on failure-to-state-a-claim. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6). In particular, the court found the claimed invention to be improperly directed to an abstract idea. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has now affirmed.

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