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Links 31/8/2020: Linux 5.9 RC3, PinePhone Manjaro, 4MLinux 33.2, Q4OS 3.12, Blender 2.90 and LXD 4.5

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lilbits: Lenovo’s Linux laptop is here

        Earlier this year we learned that Lenovo was going to start selling some ThinkPad laptops with Fedora Linux as an alternative to Windows. Now you can buy one.

        The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is a 2.4 pound laptop that measures 0.6 inches thick, features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 1. port, and two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and support for up to a 4K display and up to an Intel Core i7-10610U processor.

        Previously available only with Windows, you can now configure the laptop with Fedora Linux and save about $44 in the process (although with a starting price of $1287 at the moment, this is still very much a premium laptop).

      • Many Linux Developers Are Ecstatic Over Fedora On Lenovo Systems

        As noted this weekend, Lenovo has begun offering Fedora pre-loaded on their systems beginning with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 laptop. Red Hat's Christian Schaller who serves as the senior manager for desktop chimed in with some additional thoughts and details on this achievement.

        Schaller has penned a lengthy blog post covering the milestone of Fedora now being available from the Lenovo web store as part of the X1 Carbon while more models are to come.

      • First Lenovo laptop with Fedora now available on the web!
        This weekend the X1 Carbon with Fedora Workstation went live in North America on Lenovos webstore. This is a big milestone for us and for Lenovo as its the first time Fedora ships pre-installed on a laptop from a major vendor and its the first time the worlds largest laptop maker ships premium laptops with Linux directly to consumers. Currently only the X1 Carbon is available, but more models is on the way and more geographies will get added too soon. As a sidenote, the X1 Carbon and more has actually been available from Lenovo for a couple of Months now, it is just the web sales that went online now. So if you are a IT department buying Lenovo laptops in bulk, be aware that you can already buy the X1 Carbon and the P1 for instance through the direct to business sales channel.

      • Lenovo Now Offering Fedora Linux as an Option
        Lenovo kicked off the Summer of 2020 by claiming it would certify both their ThinkPad and ThinkStation hardware lines for Linux. The hardware giant is making good on that promise and is now offering a laptop preloaded with Fedora Linux.

        At the moment, there’s only one device offered with Fedora. Said device is the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8. The base price of this laptop is $2,145.00, but with the coupon THINKPROMO that price is cut to $1,287.00. The base model includes a 10th gen Intel Core i5-10210U CPU (1.60 GHz) with 4 Cores, 8 Threads, and a 6 MB cache, 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 256 GB PCIe SSD, 14.0" FHD (1920x1080) IPS anti-glare display, a 720p HD camera, Intel Wi-Fi 6, and a Fingerprint Reader. Of course, you can configure up to a 10th gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, a 1 TB PCIe SSD, and a 4K UHD (3840x2160) IPS display for a total of $3,451 (using the THINKPROMO coupon drops that price to $2,070.60).

      • Lenovo’s First ThinkPad Laptop With Fedora Linux Now Available To Buy
        Towards the end of April 2020, Lenovo announced its collaboration with the Red Hat-sponsored community project, Fedora Linux. It aimed at bringing Lenovo’s ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen8 laptops with Fedora 32 pre-loaded.

        Finally, after a worthwhile wait of over four months, Lenovo has started offering its ThinkPad laptops with a pre-installed Fedora workstation. As of now, ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen8 is the first laptop that is now available to buy, while others are still to come.

    • Server

      • LXD 4.5 released
        The LXD team has announced the release of LXD 4.5. LXD is a container and VM manager focused on running full Linux distributions. Highlights include virtual networks through OVN, bpf system call interception, a new way to allocate PTS devices, improved cluster remote storage, AppArmor confinement for some side services, and graphical console attach on Windows clients.

      • LXD 4.5 has been released

        The LXD team is very excited to announce the release of LXD 4.5!

        This is another pretty busy release for LXD with the main highlight no doubt being the addition of OVN to our networking options.

        On top of that, we have some welcome improvements to our container support with both the bpf syscall interception and the new allocation logic for pts devices.

        And lastly, good improvements to clustering and to security with the improved remote storage work and the new AppArmor profiles.

      • COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Reckoning with Cloud Costs

        While cloud applications are both more accessible and more resilient than on-premises applications, the cost of migrating applications to the cloud is substantial. In the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic, there’s naturally now a lot more focus on those costs. To help IT organizations better assess those costs, the Linux Foundation has launched the FinOps Foundation, a consortium dedicated to identifying best practices to rein in IT costs.

      • Announcing the General Availability of Bottlerocket, an open source Linux distribution built to run containers

        As our customers increasingly adopt containers to run their workloads, we saw a need for a Linux distribution designed from the ground up to run containers with a focus on security, operations, and manageability at scale. Customers needed an operating system that would give them the ability to manage thousands of hosts running containers with automation.

        Meet Bottlerocket, a new open source Linux distribution that is built to run containers.

      • KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2020

        This year I managed to partecipate to KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2020. As you can imagine, the conference did not happen in real life, but it was converted to an online conference. More virtual conferences I attend to, more I understand the limits and the advantages of them compared to real conferences. In this particular conference, I realized that one of the biggest problems I have with virtual conferences is that, during the conference, the conference events and talks add to your usual events and meetings, making it impossible to follow all events you wanted to follow.

      • Increasing the Kubernetes Support Window to One Year

        Starting with Kubernetes 1.19, the support window for Kubernetes versions will increase from 9 months to one year. The longer support window is intended to allow organizations to perform major upgrades at a time of the year that works the best for them.

        This is a big change. For many years, the Kubernetes project has delivered a new minor release (e.g.: 1.13 or 1.14) every 3 months. The project provides bugfix support via patch releases (e.g.: 1.13.Y) for three parallel branches of the codebase. Combined, this led to each minor release (e.g.: 1.13) having a patch release stream of support for approximately 9 months. In the end, a cluster operator had to upgrade at least every 9 months to remain supported.

        A survey conducted in early 2019 by the WG LTS showed that a significant subset of Kubernetes end-users fail to upgrade within the 9-month support period.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Check Out Diskonaut The Terminal Disk Space Explorer

        Have you ever wanted to visualize the size of your various folders from your terminal well with the help of diskonaut you can do that as well as freeing up disk space and do some basic disk management, obviously this isn't the most productive tool but sometimes style is a bit more important than functionality in linux applications.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 97

        Bad news for Mozilla, divided opinion on modular phones, AI takes over aviation, whether Canonical is on the right path, and plenty of great developments in KDE Korner.

      • This Week in Linux 115: Linux Birthday, Fedora 33 BTRFS, Firefox 80, openSUSE Jump & More

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ll celebrate the first of 3 birthdays for the Linux kernel. Mozilla announced a new release of Firefox with Firefox 80. Fedora 33 is switching to BTRFS and they are having a Testing Week for those wanting to help.

      • GNU World Order 369

        The final binaries in **linuxdoc-tools**, most notably **sgmldiff** and **xmlto**.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Builders Proceed Evaluating The Path To Including Rust Code To The Kernel
      • Paragon Submits Third Version Of New NTFS Kernel Driver For Linux

        Two weeks ago file-system driver vendor Paragon Software posted patches for their previously commercial NTFS Linux driver with hopes of getting the code mainlined. That initial patch drew some criticism for how it was handled but a week later a new version was published that split up the patches nicely and had other feedback. Prior to calling it a weekend, Paragon sent out a third version of the "NTFS3" Linux kernel driver patches.

        On Friday a third revision to Paragon's "NTFS3" driver was sent out for review by upstream Linux kernel developers. With this new version there is now FIEMAP support, fixed encoding support, and various coding clean-ups to better jive with the Linux kernel coding standards and improve the code quality.

      • Nintendo Switch Controller Driver To Be Upstreamed With Linux 5.10

        There has been the out-of-tree DKMS hid-nintendo driver to support the Nintendo Switch controller on Linux while with the Linux 5.10 kernel later this year that driver will be merged.

        The HID subsystem is queuing the Nintendo driver ahead of the Linux 5.10 merge window expected to open in October.

      • VirtIO-FS DAX Support Close To Mainline For Offering Tremendous Performance Boost

        Judging from the latest FUSE Git activity, it's looking like the VirtIO-FS DAX patches that have been around since last year could be merged for Linux 5.10. This can provide a significant speed-up for those making use of this FUSE file-system for sharing files/folders with guest VMs.

        VirtIO-FS provides a means of file sharing between the host systems and guest VMs making use of VirtIO. VirtIO-FS relies on FUSE while an important performance feature that has been worked on is direct access (DAX) support.

      • Linux 5.9-rc3
        You all know the drill by now - another week, another rc.

        A fair number of small fixes all over here, with a lot of noise spread out fairly evenly due to the "fallhtough" comment conversion.

        But while the fallthrough annotations are some fairly widespread background noise, we've got the usual driver fixes all over (gpu, usb, others). And architecture updates (arm64 stands out with both kvm fixes and DT updates, but there's some x86 and powerpc changes too)

        And misc changes elsewhere.

        On the whole it's been pretty calm for being rc3. This is actually one of the smaller rc3's we've had in recent releases, although that's likely at least partially the usual timing issue (ie no networking pull this past week).

        So go out and test.


      • Kernel prepatch 5.9-rc3

        The third 5.9 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

      • Linux 5.9-rc3 Is A "Pretty Calm" Release

        Linus Torvalds has released the sixth weekly test version of the forthcoming Linux 5.9 kernel.

        Causing the most churn this week was the tree-wide conversion of making use of the fallthrough macro. That change itself added more than two thousand instances of the macro. Following that initial pull was a secondary pull request recently merged with some fallout fixes.

      • [GSoC] Address Sanitizer, Wrap-up

        Hello everyone. The coding period for GSoC 2020 is now officially over and it’s time for the final evaluation. I’ll use this blog post to summarize the project details, illustrate the instructions to use ASan, and discuss some ideas on what can be done further to enhance this feature.

      • [GSoC] libgfxinit: Add support for Bay Trail

        Hello everyone. I’ve been working on adding Bay Trail support to libgfxinit as a GSoC project. Yes, as I don’t usually talk much outside of IRC and Gerrit, I would imagine this post would come up as a surprise to most people. Despite the journey being way more difficult than initially foreseen, I eventually managed to get most of what I could test on Bay Trail working, with next to no spaghetti-looking code.

        The commits adding Bay Trail support to libgfxinit and integration with coreboot can be retrieved with this Gerrit query. Additionally, the coreboot port for the Asrock Q1900M mainboard used for testing can be found on this Gerrit change.

      • Linux Receiving Generic Casefolding Implementation For File-Systems

        In making for easier code re-use among file-systems and allowing a unified implementation to focus on a single code-base for optimizations moving forward, a generic case-folding implementation for Linux file-systems is being prepared for mainline.

        EXT4 and F2FS have both supported optional UTF-8 based case-folding support for file/folder names on a per-folder basis going back a year. To date the file-systems have relied upon similar albeit copied implementations of the code while now it's being spun into a generic implementation that can be easily shared between file-systems. Besides avoiding code duplication for UTF8 case-folding, this standardization makes it more easy to optimize it moving forward without having to port any optimizations to the different file-system implementations. The code in its current form should be functionally equivalent to the existing per-filesystem code.

      • A Kernel Maintainer's Prediction On The CPU Architecture Landscape For 2030

        In addition to talking about code/hardware obsolescence from the Linux kernel, prominent upstream Linux kernel developer Arnd Bermann also presented at last week's Linux Plumbers Conference on the current SoC landscape and sharing his predictions for ten years down the road.

        Bergmann gave a talk in addition to the obsolescence one on the "SoC support lifecycle in the kernel" when talking about changes in SoC/CPU architectures and how that has evolved over time and the Linux kernel embracing the changes while also identifying code that has reached the end of its useful life.

      • Linux Patch Proposed To Double Raspberry Pi 4 Transfer Speed To eMMC/SD Storage

        Manjaro Linux developer Tobias Schramm brought to light that only single data rate mode is currently being used for micro SD cards and eMMC storage with Raspberry Pi 4 Model B SBCs. But with a two line kernel patch, the double data rate mode can be enabled.

        Tobias sent out on the kernel mailing list that both micro SD and eMMC with the Raspberry Pi 4 is running in single data rate mode only. However, the controller and the board circuitry appear to support the double data rate (DDR) mode just fine. He added that he even checked on the signal integrity on the data lines for the micro SD card slot and didn't find any issues.

      • Intel Still Working To Tune Linux Power Efficiency For CPU Power-Sharing Scenarios

        Going back to earlier this year has been work on an "adaptive" mode for P-State to improve GPU bound efficiency when the CPU is forced to share a power/thermal budget with other components like onboard graphics. That work is still advancing and an update was provided on it last week.

        This work has been under investigation and development for a number of months now for cases where ramping up the CPU frequency in an effort to improve performance may not be as beneficial as remaining in a lower power state so the onboard graphics can enjoy more thermal/power capacity. In some cases this tuning can improve performance by around 15% and with very significant performance per Watt advantages.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Melissa Wen: GSoC Final Report

          I haven’t said Hi for a while when starting a post. I think the rush and the whirlwind of things happening during the GSoC made me a little agitated. This year, my project was the only one accepted for X.Org Foundation, and I felt a great responsibility.

          Well, this is the last week of the project, and I’m slowing down and breathing :)

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Geometry Overview

          I’ve mentioned GS on a few occasions in the past without going too deeply into the topic. The truth is that I’m probably not ever going to get that deep into the topic.

          There’s just not that much to talk about.

        • Peter Hutterer: User-specific XKB configuration - part 3

          Let's talk about everyone's favourite [1] keyboard configuration system again: XKB. If you recall the goal is to make it simple for users to configure their own custom layouts. Now, as described earlier, XKB-the-implementation doesn't actually have a concept of a "layout" as such, it has "components" and something converts your layout desires into the combination of components. RMLVO (rules, model, layout, variant, options) is what you specify and gets converted to KcCGST (keycodes, compat, geometry, symbols, types). This is a one-way conversion, the resulting keymaps no longer has references to the RMLVO arguments. Today's post is about that conversion, and we're only talking about libxkbcommon as XKB parser because anything else is no longer maintained.

        • Facebook Still Pursuing "NetGPU" - Working On AMD GPU Support In Addition To NVIDIA

          It was the recent Facebook patches for implementing NetGPU that with one of the NVIDIA-focused patches led to the recent controversy around "GPL condoms" in the kernel and ultimately leading to new protections with Linux 5.9. That NetGPU code is still being worked on by Facebook with upstream hopes but now in addition to the NVIDIA driver support they are also working on AMD GPU support with the open-source driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA 450 Series Linux Driver OpenCL/CUDA/OptiX Performance On Pascal/Turing

        With last week having delivered some current NVIDIA Linux gaming performance metrics ahead of the anticipated GeForce RTX 3000 "Ampere" series launch this week, here are some fresh compute metrics for those interested.

        Following the tests last week looking at the OpenGL/Vulkan gaming performance, this article is simply providing some fresh OpenCL/CUDA/OptiX metrics for Pascal and Turing graphics cards on the very latest Linux driver. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was used for all testing with the Linux 5.4 kernel and the NVIDIA 450.66 driver is the latest public driver as of testing time.

    • Applications

      • The 5 Best Open Source Password Managers

        It won’t be wrong to say that managing passwords on your own could be a tad tricky, especially if you’re frequently registering on new websites. Although your web browser’s built-in password manager could do the trick, your passwords could still come into jeopardy in case you log in to your main account from another computer and forget to log out. If you also happen to agree, then password managing applications are just the thing for you.

        On the internet, you can easily find a plethora of password managers. However, trusting their makers with your most private information could be a bit of a gamble. Apart from security concerns, a significant number of such applications also require users to pay a certain amount of money in exchange for their services. If you look further than these mainstream options, you will also find open-source software that might not be that famous but still provides users with a sense of security and doesn’t cost a single penny. Assuming that we have you sold, let’s cut to the chase and have a look at the best open-source password managers out there.

      • Warpinator – Send and Receive Files Across a Network

        Warpinator is a free, open-source tool for sending and receiving files between computers that are on the same network. All you need do is install Warpinator on the computers, choose a group code, edit your firewalls if necessary, and that’s all.

        It features a simple, themeable user interface with an easy-to-configure menu and works without the need for any servers or special configuration. Warpinator is an official file sharing app developed by Linux Mint.

      • 5 ways to convert video files on Linux

        Need to convert a video file on your Linux PC? Can’t figure out which app to use to convert that video file from an MP4 to an AVI or another format? We can help! Follow along as we go over 5 ways to convert video files on Linux!

        In this list, we went over 5 ways to convert video files on the Linux desktop. What conversion method do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments below!

      • Puddletag Audio Tagger 2.0.1 Released with Python 3 Port

        Puddletag audio tag editor 2.0.1 was released 2 days ago with official Python 3 and PyQt5 support.

        Since Ubuntu 20.04 dropped Qt4 and old Python 2 libraries, Puddletag 1.2 as well was removed from Ubuntu universe repository.

        The Python 3 & PyQt5 branch was started a few months ago by sandrotosi. Now it’s finally merged into Puddletag 2.0.1.

      • Digital Assets – cryptocurrencies prices and statistics

        A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Typically it does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is also typically not issued by a central authority. Instead, there’s decentralized control.

        Cryptocurrencies have not only had an impact on the world’s expectations surrounding money. They’ve also continued to evolve since the first Bitcoin block was mined back in 2009. Since then, thousands of unique cryptocurrencies have appeared.


        Digital Assets is a GUI that lets you monitor movements in the prices of cryptocurrencies. The program is written in Python. Digital Assets uses the Nomics API to retrieve the prices.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Awesome action-RPG 'Last Epoch' will not leave Early Access in 2020

        Last Epoch has been through a few small evolutions since being in Early Access, and it's starting to really be impressive. It does appear to need some more time to cook though.

        Game Director, Judd Cobler of Eleventh Hour Games has written up a post to talk about the final release, which they've decided not to put out in 2020. As the first game they've worked on as a team, they had seemingly low hopes and were aiming for a niche but it seems they've done well enough to grow and improve even more. So they've been able to put more time and effort into all the various features so it's led to the need for more time to finish it all.

        Fair enough. Sounds like the reasonable thing to do, why rush what's clearly working so far? It looks good, it's continuing to get bigger and better with a really good user rating on Steam. They're not giving a release date now, other than "when the game is ready".

      • Check out the dev walkthrough of Skul: The Hero Slayer and some 1.0 footage

        Skul: The Hero Slayer, an impressive Early Access action-platformer rogue-lite is due to hit the big 1.0 soon so come check out the latest footage and developer chat.

        They have a great idea, with you playing as a little Skeleton against the 'Heroes' in the Human race that teamed up with an Imperial Army to attempt to wipe out the Demon race. You have a few tricks, like the ability to completely change by swapping around skulls. You can have two ready at a time which changes attack range, speed, abilities and more.

      • Fantasy city-builder Songs of Syx comes to Steam on September 21 - try the demo

        Gamatron AB are calling Songs of Syx an epic city-state simulator, blending elements of a city-builder with real-time strategy gameplay and much more. Featured a few times here on GOL now, as it looks ridiculously promising. It's coming with full Linux support, after a successful crowdfunding campaign back in May.

        It's something of a grand strategy game, that gradually increases the scale. There's multiple races to deal with, city-building that lets you grow into the tends of thousands, trade with other kingdoms across the lands, massive real-time tactical battles with thousands of units in play and the list of what they have planned for it stretches far.

      • Free-moving roguelite platformer 'ScourgeBringer' leaves Early Access in October

        One of my current favourites to keep going back to, ScourgeBringer is set for a big upgrade and a full release on October 21 along with a new trailer out now.

        Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious entity wreaked havoc on all humanity, ScourgeBringer puts you in the shoes of the deadliest warrior of her clan: Kyhra. Help her to explore the unknown and slash her way through ancient machines guarding the seal of her past, and maybe the redemption of humanity.

      • Get ready for another low-res PSX-styled horror, Harmful The Second Tape is out

        If you enjoy a good, short horror experience that's intended for you to play through in one sitting - check out the new release of Harmful The Second Tape.

        "After the investigation ran cold following the recovery of the first tape, Authorities received a Second Tape by mail. Its contents were even more disturbing than before. The case had now been handed over to Agent Willis of the FBI."

        Following on from the idea the developer came up with for the first game, Harmful, which is free and was made during a Game Jam this is a second more-polished helping of retro horror that acts as a sort of standalone sequel. Play from the perspective of the Agent and the Killer as a disturbing story unravels.

      • Shing! brings unique controls to beat 'em up fun - out now for Linux PC

        Shing! from developer Mass Creation is what they're calling a "beat 'em up 2.0", as it does away with button-bashing and replaces it with a new weapon control system.

        "Experience the most exciting and immersive beat-em-up combat system ever – become a kickass ninja and slice some demons in style! Join a band of wisecracking warriors in a bloody adventure through the land of mythical monsters and mysterious machines."

      • Ludo is a new sleek front-end for Libretro, as an alternative to RetroArch

        If you find the RetroArch a little overwhelming and want something different as a front-end for Libretro, have a look at the newly announced Ludo.

        For those not aware, RetroArch is just a front-end application to the Libretro API. This means anyone can write their own entire UI for it and use all the same 'Cores' as RetroArch does to run classic games through emulation. Which is what's happening with Ludo.

      • The Steam client had a new stable release, some great Linux improvements

        Valve continue progress on ensuring the Steam client is both stable and overflowing with features, with a stable update rolling out now.

        This new release adds: support for EA Play (the new EA subscription service), fixes numerous bugs, improved updates handling with low disk space, improved handling of game launches which fixes several issues with the Big Picture Overlay, better sorting of games with non-English titles, you can now dismiss a Play Next suggestion, a Steam Points Shop link was added to supported games and more.

      • Open source Mario Kart clone SuperTuxKart 1.2 is FREE on Windows, Mac, and Linux

        Some people think you need expensive hardware to have fun playing video games, but the truth is, you don't. Believe it or not, there are plenty of free games that can run well on a fairly meager PC. No, I am not just talking about emulating classic video games (piracy is bad, mmkay). Actually, there are some really fun PC games that you can legally download at no charge.

        One such popular game is SuperTuxKart. This open source Mario Kart clone is totally FREE on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It can even be had on Android too. Rather than use Nintendo mascots, the racers in SuperTuxKart are based on open source projects -- it is quite cute. The game even has network support these days, so you can have a multiplayer experience over the internet. SuperTuxKart recently reached version 1.2, and the new version is chock full of improvements. The developers are also sharing their plans for the future of the game.

      • 3D Arcade Racer SuperTuxKart 1.2 Released: Install It On Ubuntu

        3D Arcade Racer SuperTuxKart 1.2 has been released with new features and improvements. SuperTuxKart is one of the popular open-source kart racing game.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • LXQt Review: A Lightweight, Extensible and Attractive Desktop Environment

        Similarly to the w LXDE article, the user who should use LXQt is the user who is looking for the most performance out of the box at the expense of everything else. You may be on a system with limited RAM and CPU horsepower and looking to maximize your experience, or you may just value minimalism or simplicity over cohesion. Regardless, LXQt is a great choice.

        Now that you’ve learned about LXQt, make sure to check out some of our other Desktop Environment reviews, including GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon and Xfce.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Going to Akademy - with a companion

          In January, one month before travelling to Brussels for FOSDEM 2020 (do you remember when the conferences were taking place in the non-virtual world?), I was following a conversation on Mastodon. The discussion was about free software companion apps that could be used on the PinePhone in FOSDEM. Calindori, the calendar of Plasma Mobile was mentioned as a tool that could do the job.

        • GSoC'20 with KDE

          It’s the final week of Google Summer of Code and I can’t believe how quickly these past few months have gone by. I am glad to share that all the functionality that we initially planned for my GSoC coding period is now complete and all that is left is to test the projects.

        • Cantor Integrated Documentation : Month 3 Progress

          Hello KDE people. Phase 3 evaluation is on. In this blog post, I will update you on the progress made during the final month of the coding period.

        • Improve MAVLink Integration of Kirogi – Progress Report 3

          It's already nearing the end of GSoC.

          Although the result is quite not satisfying for me but I learned many things participating GSoC especially how to program KDE applications and how to contribute to KDE community.

          It was a great experience. Thanks to KDE community for giving me chance to participate this program!

        • Cantor - GSoC2020 final post

          this is the sixth and the final post about the progress in my GSoC project. I want to present an overview of what was done in the last couple of days and to also provde the overall summary of the project.

          The last phase of my project was about but fixing. There were several bugs reported earlier already and I selected seven bug to be fixed as part of my GSoC project. Those bugs are the most important ones and addressing those issues perfectly fits into the overall idea of my project to improve the usability of Cantor. Out of those 7 bugs, four were resolved. More on this below.

          The first bug was about the tabulation behaviour. The tabulation in Cantor worked always as the auto-completion, also even if there was no need for the auto-completion, for example in the beginnig of the line. Now it works better. If the auto-completion logic says there are completion results, the tabulation works as the completion but if there're no completion results, the tabulation works as expected and the cursor is moved forward. Also, backward tabulation with Shift+Tab has been added and the multi-line tabulation is now supported, too.

        • MyPaint Brush Engine Phase #3 Report

          Today is the last day of google summer of code 2020.

        • Delete the QQmlApplicationEngine?

          KClock is the default clock/alarm app for plasma mobile. It needs to run in background all time otherwise the we can’t ring alarm for you and you may wake up late. The problem is you’ll also want a front end UI to add/remove alarms. And that’s exactly the problem we faced.

          On x86_64 platform, KClock consumes 48 MiB private memory and 95 MiB shared memory. While on ARM this would be lower but not too much. We decide that for an app that merely remember when to ring alarm, this is unacceptable. So at first, we skipped QQmlApplicatoinEngine construction if you pass --daemon flag on launch. This effectly disables the UI creation and we managed to archieve 6.6 MiB memory usage.

          But we’ll have to consruct UI when user decide that he/she/they would like to bring up the front end. And when the last window closed, the memory allocated for UI isn’t freed. You don’t want to lose 40 MiB of ram just to open clock once, do you? Naturally, we want to destroy the QQmlApplicationEngine once last window closed.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Arc Menu 48 Released with 3 New Menu Layouts + More

          Arc Menu is one the best GNOME extensions available — and it just got even better!

          A brand new version of Arc Menu has been released (version 48 for those keeping count) and it sees the app launcher alternative level up in several areas — and yes, before you ask, it includes new menu layouts.

          I want to start off by highlighting the revamped Settings dialog new in this update. Arc’s developers have redesigned the various config panels to better conform to GNOME’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG). This naturally enhances usability by bringing order and consistency in, for example, the placing of toggles and switches, the use of a sidebar, cleaner layout of options, and so on.

          But it’s the 3 new menu layouts included in this revision that most of you will be excited about. These include two ‘full screen’ ones: “Raven Extended” and “Dashboard”. The latter was added for ‘GNOME Purists’ who want something as immersive as GNOME Shell’s default full-screen app launcher, but with the configurability offered by an extension.

        • Ujjwal Kumar: Google Summer of Code 2020

          It has been a great journey working on the libhandy project both challenge wise and outcome wise. My project requirement was to implement an adaptive version of Grid widget and I’m happy to say that the frame has successfully been laid out. The widget is not yet in its final shape and is still under a thorough review process and surely will need some bug fixes to reach a stable form. That being said, I believe it can be used to fiddle around and discover more use cases for it. The latest code for the same is available at this branch.

        • How Does it work, A Full guide for EteSync module in Gnome Evolution app

          Welcome, in the past months I’ve been working on an EteSync module for Evolution so EteSync users can add their account to Evolution and mange all their data from there.

          EteSync, it is a secure, end to-end encrypted and FLOSS sync solution for your contacts, calendars and tasks. Evolution is a personal information management application that provides integrated mail, calendaring and address book functionality. You can see all my past posts from here if you want to know more about the module.

          This is basically a tutorial on how to use the EteSync module in Evolution. It should be simple and covering all of the important stuff that you’ll need to do to manage your data in your EteSync account.

        • GNOME Games: Final submission

          !369 (merged): Refactoring old code by making a new Core interface and RetroCore class. These are used to generalizes all interactions that are related to firmware. Where RetroCore is an implementation class of Core interface. FirmwareManager class is for organizing checksums verification through Core/RetroCore when a game requiring a firmware is run by the runner.

          !405 (merged): Made a Firmware interface and a RetroFirmware class that moves all the functions and information needed by firmware from FirmareManager to itself. By doing this, the Core interface is used to make firmware objects, FirmwareManager manages firmware objects, and the firmware object runs checksum verification and contains all information related to that firmware.

          !408: Some minor changes to how checksum verification takes place to be more efficient. Added methods to FirmwareManager that handle addition and removal of firmware along with methods that listed all supported firmware and methods to check whether the file being added is a supported firmware or not.

          !411 (merged): Since both SHA-512 and MD5 checksums will be mandatory by a commit in !408, present core descriptor files needed to be updated to have both SHA-512 and MD5 checksums.

        • GNOME’s Sound Recorder App Has an Awesome New Look

          Developer Kavan Mevada worked on modernising the audio recording utility as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Now, with the code-minded sprint over, Mevada shares an update on the progress he’s made — and is all I can say is wow!

          Sound Recorders legacy codebase was ditched in favour of a ground-up, modern rewrite. Complimenting the streamlined foundation is a newer, cleaner, and more responsive UI designed according to GNOME’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG).

        • GNOME’s Sound Recorder App Has an Awesome New Look

          Avid users of the GNOME Sound Recorder application will be pleased to hear that the tool has finally received some overdue attention.

          Developer Kavan Mevada worked on modernising the audio recording utility as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Now, with the code-minded sprint over, Mevada shares an update on the progress he’s made — and is all I can say is wow!

          Sound Recorders legacy codebase was ditched in favour of a ground-up, modern rewrite. Complimenting the streamlined foundation is a newer, cleaner, and more responsive UI designed according to GNOME’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG).

        • Mahmoud Khalil: GSoC Final Report of GNOME gitg Work

          Hi everyone, GSoC is coming to an end, and I’d like to present you with all the changes I’ve made so far on gitg.

          I’ve learnt a lot while working on gitg, it’s really well-structured with a great architecture design. I didn’t have to refactor that much of code while extending it’s functionality, and I was amazed by how well-written and extendible it was.

        • Where to next!, GSoC 2020 final Report

          It has been 4 months since my acceptance in the GSoC program, it is really true, time flies when you’re having fun. Google Summer of Code was one of the good experiences I’ve had. I basically didn’t have any knowledge about the open source world, but it helped me get started into knowing more about it and start contributing to those awesome communities like GNOME and EteSync. I am really glade with the experience I’ve gained and the people I knew along the journey.

        • Jose Francisco Lorenzo-Hernandez: Project Summary

          Welcome to last project post!

          Following GSoC Work Product Submission Guide ( I wrote the following post to summarize the work done on GSoC ’20 on gnome-battery-bench project.

        • Clarissa Borges: GSoC final report!

          My project consisted of building a UI library for the GNOME web ecosystem. GNOME has many websites (,,,,, and many others, but, currently, they don’t have a consistent design between each other.

        • Chinmay Gurjar: GSoC Final Report

          I’ve been working on Music for the past three months, adding support for remote sources. The work included adding support for dLeyna and DMAP source for Music.

        • Abhishek Kumar Singh: Google Summer Of Code 2020 Final Report

          During this summer I improved Pitivi’s Media Library. The work included both refactoring and adding new functionalities. My proposal has a detailed roadmap on the goals I set to achieve during this summer.

        • Molly de Blanc: Friends of GNOME Update August 2020

          We’re going to be doing some rebranding soon, including looking for a new name. Our goal is to cover news and activities from the GNOME Foundation, as well as linking out to interesting GNOME news. Feel free to contact us with any name ideas you may have!

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: BunsenLabs Linux Lithium

          BunsenLabs Linux is a distribution offering a lightweight and easily customizable Openbox desktop. The BunsenLabs distribution is based on Debian's Stable branch which gives the project access to a vast collection of software packages.

          Bunsen's latest release is called Lithium (the project uses element names in place of version numbers) and is based on Debian 10 "Buster". Lithium now automatically updates the application menu when new software is installed and includes a range of Broadcom wireless drivers to help users get on-line. The distribution now ships with a dark theme by default and the project's welcome window script has been streamlined to get the system up and running faster. Bunsen should now work with Secure Boot systems.

          BunsenLabs is available in two builds. One is a 1.2GB ISO file for 64-bit (x86_64) computers while the other is a 651MB ISO for 32-bit systems. The second ISO is quite a bit smaller in order to allow it to fit on a CD. Booting from the project's install media brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot into a live desktop environment or launch the system installer. The live mode is available in three flavours (normal, failsafe, and running from RAM) while the installer can be launched in graphical or text mode.

          Taking the live option brings up a graphical desktop, powered by the Openbox window manager. Once we arrive at the desktop a welcome window appears. This window gives us a few quick tips on using desktop shortcut keys, provides us with the live environment's password, and tells us how to use the command line to change our keyboard's layout. We are also told we can quickly access the application menu by right-clicking on the desktop. Finally, we are told that to run the system installer we need to restart the computer and select an install option from the boot menu; the installer is not available through the live session.

      • New Releases

        • 4MLinux 33.2 released.

          This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 5.4.53. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.43, MariaDB 10.4.13, and PHP 7.4.8 (see this post for more details).

          You can update your 4MLinux by executing the "zk update" command in your terminal (fully automatic process).

        • Q4OS 3.12 Linux Distro Released, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster”

          Q4OS, the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution that keeps the spirit of the old-school KDE3.5 desktop environment alive has been updated to version 3.12.

          Based on the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster” update, Q4OS 3.12 is here to 3 and a half months after version 3.11 to update the long-term supported (LTS) Q4OS 3 “Centaurus” series with all the latest security and software updates from the Debian Stable repositories.

          This release ships with two editions featuring the Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.8 and the more modern KDE Plasma 5.14.5 desktop environment. For the latter, there’s a new theme for you to try called Debonaire, which offers a dark panel and Kickoff applications menu.

        • Q4OS 3.12 Centaurus, stable

          An update to Q4OS 3 Centaurus LTS has been released. The new 3.12 Series receives the recent Debian Buster 10.5 update, critical security and bug fixes, and several specific Q4OS enhancements. We've been working on visual Plasma themes, the Debonaire theme is now available directly in Plasma based live media, and other new themes are available for installation from repositories. Automatic detection of NVidia hardware and dedicated installer has been upgraded and fixed. In addition to the above, Q4OS 3.12 brings other enhancements, such as the Firefox 80 installer, supplemented desktop profiles and a cumulative upgrade covering all changes from the previous stable Q4OS 3 Centaurus release.

          Current users only need to perform a regular update to get all the new features. Anyone can download installation media images from the Downloads section of the Q4OS website.

        • Escuelas Linux 6.10 Released with LibreOffice 7.0, Linux Kernel 5.8, and Jitsi Meet App

          The Escuelas Linux developer informs 9to5Linux today about the general availability of Escuelas Linux 6.10, a new important update to this Ubuntu/Bodhi Linux-based educational oriented distribution.

          Escuelas Linux 6.10 comes about three months after Escuelas Linux 6.9 and it’s the first release to utilize the latest Linux 5.8 kernel series, which brings better hardware support. Therefore, Escuelas Linux should now run on newer hardware or work better on existing systems.

          While Escuelas Linux 6.9 introduced the Zoom app for video conferencing, the new release includes another video conferencing app, namely the desktop version of Jitsi Meet, a free and open-source online video conferencing and instant messaging app to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

        • Linux Weekly Roundup #93

          Welcome to the 93rd release of our Linux Roundup! We had a full week of Linux Releases which is truly exciting!

          Bluestar Linux 5.8.3, ExTiX 20.9, Absolute 20200827, Nitrux 2020.08.28 was released this week!

          Have a great week and please stay safe and careful.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Teamviewer updated to 15.9.4

          TeamViewer provides easy, fast and secure remote access and meeting solutions to Linux, Windows PCs, Apple PCs and various other platforms, including Android and iPhone.

        • Shortwave updated to 1.1.1

          Shortwave is a free radio streaming software with more than 20,000 radio stations from around the world.

        • Click-radio updated to 3.6

          A lightweight and simple gui interface media app

        • Thunderbird updated to 78.2.1

          Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open-source cross-platform email client, news client, RSS, and chat client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. The project strategy was modeled after that of the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

        • Supertuxkart updated to 1.2

          SuperTuxKart is a free 3D kart racing game. The aim is to make the game fun more than to make it realistic. You can play with up to 4 friends on one PC, racing against each other or just try to beat the computer

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Stasiek Michalski wins the race for the openSUSE Board

          The openSUSE Ad-hoc Board Election is now concluded.

          Stasiek Michalski has been elected to join the openSUSE Board. The complete result is as follows:

          Stasiek Michalski — 160 votes Pierre Böckmann — 70 votes 234 out of 510 eligible members have cast their vote in this election. We recorded 4 blank votes.

        • Element | Matrix Chat Client on openSUSE

          All the kids have been talking about the wonders of Matrix as the future of decentralized, secure communication. I have known about it, seen bridges being used in the openSUSE discord and Telegram rooms. Most of my experience has not been great, generally there were significant delays. I have used a few clients, on a web client, which I didn’t care for and I also used Quaternion a Qt based client but I have had issues with the encrypted messages bit. I found the user experience to be rather… lack-luster at best. Mostly, I found the whole thing quite confusing. Accessing new rooms wasn’t self-evident, understanding what Matrix is and isn’t was confusing and I therefore found it frustrating to use. My experience, has been that I really preferred Telegram for communication.

        • Announcing the SUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi LinkedIn group

          We have supported SUSE Linux on various models of Raspberry Pi systems since 2018. Although we have seen a variety of use cases for SUSE Linux on Raspberry Pi devices, we really did not have a good forum for people to share technical information for using SUSE Linux on the Raspberry Pi.

          To address this limitation, I have created a LinkedIn group to foster sharing of technical information about using SUSE Linux on Raspberry Pi and other Single Board Computers (SBC) based on Arm processors. This new group can be found at

        • Ritchie-CLI for openSUSE

          Ritchie is an open source tool developed from ZUP Company that allows you to create, store and share automations securely. It also optimizes repetitive commands so you have more programming autonomy. As a member of the openSUSE community, I make the packages available to all openSUSE users.

          How does Ritchie work?

          In a general context, the common process for executing a project is to create a whole previous infrastructure, defining a language in the system that will be programmed, downloading dependencies and defining the rules that should be used for the project.

        • Canonical + SUSE Engineers Call For More Extensible Linux System Calls Moving Forward

          Aleksa Sarai of SUSE and Christian Brauner of Canonical presented at last week's Linux Plumbers Conference with a call for more extensible system calls moving forward in aiming to enhance the Linux user-space API.

          The talk was a collection of recommendations -- some of which are already common in the introduction of new system calls -- and new recommendations compared to the traditional "trial and error" approach the kernel has seen to some extent with system calls of the past.

        • Adapting for Hybrid Cloud – Part 2 of 3: The SUSE Solution

          SUSE delivers capabilities for you to combine multiple cloud platforms, including converged container and virtual infrastructure, into a single entity; one that consolidates access to resources and is controlled in a single management environment. The outcome: you gain all the benefits of cloud solutions while maintaining total control and consistency of execution.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Why upstream Ansible stopped shipping rpms

          The upstream Ansible Project used to ship rpms and tarballs on their server, For Ansible-2.10+, they’ve (I’m part of the project although not the originator of this decision) decided not to ship rpms anymore and to push people to use as the official source of the tarballs. This came up in a recent thread on twitter with a question of whether this meant that Ansible was forgetting who it was meant to serve (sysadmins) as sysadmins want to get their software in their platforms’ native packaging format rather than the language packaging format.


          Getting back to the fear that removing rpms from was an indication that ansible is forgetting that it is a tool for sysadmins and needs to be shipped in ways that sysadmins will find palatable…. I don’t think that the removal of rpms and traballs is an indication as the above rationale seems like it will make things better for sysadmins in the end. However, ansible-2.10 is a big realignment of how ansible is developed and shipped and I think those changes are going to have costs for sysadmins [2]_, [3]_. nirik (Kevin Fenzi, the Fedora/EPEL ansible package maintainer) and I have been talking on and off about how the Fedora/EPEL ansible rpm should be adapted to minimize those costs but it is a large change and changes are often both hard in the transition and, after the transition is over, may be better in many areas but worse in some others. Ideas about how we can smooth out the things that are worse while taking advantage of the things that are better is appreciated!

        • Join us at IBM Z Day 2020!

          On September 15, we’ll be hosting our second annual IBM Z Day, a free virtual event that will bring together mainframe experts from all over the world to share their stories. This year, we’re digging deep into the IBM Z organization to feature all of the latest breakthrough innovations.

          This past year has been filled with exciting announcements in the realm of IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE — starting with the launch of the IBM z15 and LinuxONE III in September 2019, and continuing with announcements around IBM Data Privacy Passports, IBM Secure Execution for Linux, Red Hat OpenShift for IBM Z and LinuxONE, Red Hat Ansible Certified Content for IBM Z, and more. In April, we put out a call for COBOL expertise, accelerating plans to release new COBOL training materials, discussion forums, and more in collaboration with the Open Mainframe Project. And just a couple of weeks ago, we announced the New to Z Community, where developers who are new to the mainframe can start building their careers.

          Bringing all of these accomplishments together, IBM Z Day will shine a light on these topics and more, with keynotes from IBM’s Ross Mauri, Willie Tejada, Marius Ciortea, and Meredith Stowell, along with John Mertic, Director of Program Management at the Linux Foundation.

        • Red Hat Has Been Working On "stalld" As A Thread Stall Detector + Booster

          Red Hat engineers in recent weeks began working on a new project called "starved" though recently renamed to "stalld". The stalld service is for serving as a Linux thread stall detector.

          The stalld daemon monitors Linux threads and detects when threads are stalled as a result of CPU starvation. The stalled thread is in turn boosted by stalld by setting the SCHED_DEADLINE policy and then the original policy restored following the boost.

        • Madeline Peck: Onto Part Time at Red Hat

          I hope everyone is having a great week. At the beginning of the summer, I thought today would be my last blog post since this is the end of the summer internship. What an experience! However of course, I’ll still be here next week, just working way less a week haha.

          On Thursday last week Mo asked me to help with the Fedora 33 wallpaper draft package that was supposed to go out on Friday or Monday at the latest.

        • Custom Grafana dashboards for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4

          OpenShift administrators often face the same challenges as other system administrators: "I need a tool that will monitor the health of my system." Yet, traditional monitoring tools often fall short in their visibility of an OpenShift cluster. Thus, a typical OpenShift monitoring stack includes Prometheus for monitoring both systems and services, and Grafana for analyzing and visualizing metrics.

          Administrators are often looking to write custom queries and create custom dashboards in Grafana. However, Grafana instances provided with the monitoring stack (and its dashboards) are read-only. To solve this problem, we can use the community-powered Grafana operator provided by OperatorHub.

        • Can You Run Linux on a Power Server?
        • IBM's Possible Designs For Power10 Systems

          In the past two weeks, we have been telling you about the future Power10 processor that will eventually be able to support the IBM i platform as well as AIX, Big Blue’s flavor of Unix, and Linux, the open source operating system that is commercially exemplified by IBM’s Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution. The leap in performance with Power10 is akin to those we saw between the generations spanning from Power6 through Power9.

          This week, we want to contemplate the systems that will be using the Power10 chip and how they will be similar to and different from past and current Power Systems machines. Then we are going to take deeper dive into performance, clustering systems through their memories rather than their I/O – perhaps the most exciting new thing in the Power architecture – and then also do a side foray into machine learning inference performance, which is going to be important for future commercial application workloads.

      • Debian Family

        • EasyOS version 2.4.1 released

          Another exciting release! The last release announced at Distrowatch was 2.3, on May 30, 2020. Since then, as usual, there has been a hectic pace of development. Here is an announcement blurb, with highlights since 2.3:

          EasyOS 2.4.1 has significant and exciting new features since version 2.3. This includes enhancements to "lockdown in RAM" as an alternative security strategy to containers, tools and strategies for debugging bootup in the initrd, automatic version update via an "update" icon on the desktop, and choice of settings to retain when erase the session. There are many package changes, including built from Debian 10.5 DEBs and kernel bump to 5.4.59. Updated applications include SeaMonkey, Pupradio, fftag, ffplay-gtk, Pmcputemp and EasyDD. New apps include MATE Calc and iotop. Many infrastructure improvements and fixes -- too many to list, see the release notes.

        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in August 2020
        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-08
        • The metamorphosis of Loopy Loop

          Between 28 and 31 May this year, we set out to create our first ever online MiniDebConf for Debian. Many people have been meaning to do something similar for a long time, but it just didn’t work out yet. With many of us being in lock down due to COVID-19, and with the strong possibility looming that DebConf20 might have had to become an online event, we rushed towards organising the first ever Online MiniDebConf and put together some form of usable video stack for it.

          I could go into all kinds of details on the above, but this post is about a bug that lead to a pretty nifty feature for DebConf20. The tool that we use to capture Jitsi calls is called Jibri (Jitsi Broadcasting Infrustructure). It had a bug (well, bug for us, but it’s an upstream feature) where Jibri would hang up after 30s of complete silence, because it would assume that the call has ended and that the worker can be freed up again. This would result in the stream being ended at the end of every talk, so before the next talk, someone would have to remember to press play again in their media player or on the video player on the stream page. Hrmph.

        • Sparky news 2020/08

          The 8th monthly report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          ● Sparky 2020.08 of the rolling line released ● Sparky 2020.08 Special Editions released ● Linux kernel updated up to version 5.8.5 & 5.9-rc2 ● added to repos: Warpinator, Gmail Desktop, Joplin, Gis Weather

          There is an issue in the Advanced Installed which generates broken fstab in the latest rolling iso images, so all of them have to be updated. No problem if you installed Sparky using Calamares.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 20.08

        There are two overarching themes of Genode version 20.08: Increasing the weight of native work loads, and strengthening the system's resilience against driver failures.

        With native work loads, we are speaking of software executed directly on Genode without relying on virtual machines. Compared to static systems or hypervisor scenarios, such work loads are brutally unforgiving when it comes to the quality of the POSIX runtime, the performance of Genode's protocol stacks, and the economics of the porting of software. By bringing the Chromium web engine alive, we expose Genode to one of the most heavy-weight commodity software stacks in existence. We are thrilled to report in Section Improved Qt5 integration and work flows that the Chromium-based Falkon web browser can be hosted on Sculpt OS now. The collateral effects of this work are at least as valuable as the particular application: Improved work flows for porting large software projects, and covering many formerly hidden corner cases of the C and C++ runtimes.

        With Sculpt OS, the resilience of Genode in the event of failing graphics or input drivers came into focus. Section The GUI stack, restacked describes a complex surgery that puts the low-level GUI stack upside down, paving the ground for exciting features like swapping out or updating drivers on the fly without reboot.

      • Genode OS 20.08 Has Chromium Web Engine Running, Low-Level GUI Work

        The Genode OS project is out with its 20.08 version bump that brings some high profile improvements for this open-source operating system framework.

        Among the highlights of the newly-released Genode OS 20.08 are:

        - The ability to run the Chromium web engine as a native component. Google Chrome/Chromium itself hasn't been brought to Genode OS but the initial Chromium Web Engine user on Genode is the Falkon web browser.

      • Blender 2.90 Released with Major Improvements, Initial Wayland Support
        Those of you familiar with this famed FOSS fave won’t be surprised to hear that the new release is jam packed with new features, new tools, and new capabilities, plus performance enhancements, workflow tweaks, and other changes.

        “Building on the success of the 2.8x series, Blender 2.90 continues to polish the user experience, introducing improvements to EEVEE, Cycles, sculpt, VR, animation, modeling, UV editing and so much more,” the team says of the release.

        And they aren’t pulling your leg...

      • Blender 2.90 Released With Intel Embree Usage, Broader NVIDIA OptiX Support
        Blender 2.90 is out as a huge feature update to this widely-used, cross-platform and open-source 3D modeling solution.

        Blender 2.90 comes with many improvements including the likes of:

        - Intel's open-source Embree is now used for ray-tracing on CPUs, offering better performance.

        - Intel Open Image Denoise is now used more widely.

      • Blender 2.90 Open-Source 3D Creation Software Released with Major Changes

        The Blender 2.90 free and open-source 3D creation software is now available for download and it’s a major update that digital artists and designers have been expecting for so long.

        Highlights of Blender 2.90 include a new physically based texture called Nishita for simulating the colors of the sky, completely revamped motion blur in EEVEE with support for mesh deformation and hair for better precision, and faster motion blur via Intel Embree for ray tracing on the CPU.

        There’s also a new shadow terminator offset setting that provides smooth shadows without shading artifacts, a new denoiser that can be used interactively in the 3D viewport, and NVLink support for NVIDIA CUDA and OptiX.

      • Securedrop Worktstation and how can you help

        The second half of the event was a live demo of the new SecureDrop Workstation project.

        SecureDrop is an open source whistleblower submission system that media organizations and NGOs can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. It was originally created by the late Aaron Swartz and is now managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation. SecureDrop is available in 20 languages.

        The current SecureDrop is dependent heavily on air-gapped Tails systems. This means increased security but also means a lot of time in accessing the submissions by the journalists. SecureDrop Workstation is the next generation system coming up to help in reducing this and also provide much smoother user experience without giving up the security.

      • Postfix vs. Sendmail

        Postfix and Sendmail are in the same category of Mail Transfer Agents. When selecting the MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) for your system, to choose the best option that meets your needs, you must consider a few important features, such as performance, security, documentation, and feasibility.

      • GStreamer 1.18 supports the Universal Windows Platform

        The most important next step is to upstream as many of the GLib patches we worked on as possible, and then spend time porting a bunch of GLib APIs that we currently stub out when building for UWP.

        Other than that, enabling gst-libav is also an interesting task since it will allow apps to use FFmpeg software codecs in their gstreamer UWP app. People should use the hardware accelerated d3d11 decoders and mediafoundation encoders for optimal power consumption and performance, but sometimes it's not possible because codec support is very device-dependent.

      • Firebird ODBC documentation (English and German) is migrated to AsciiDoc

        Firebird ODBC documentation (English and German) is migrated to AsciiDoc

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Break Free from Google’s Tracking With Ungoogled-Chromium

            For those who don’t know, Google Chrome is built on the top of the Google Chromium browser, which is an open source browser released under BSD license having almost the same features as in Google Chrome. Google’s approach is to add new features and tests to Chromium gradually before they land in the closed-source Google Chrome browser, which Google ships to the world with its own branding. It also adds its own extra layer of tracking/integrations into the Chrome browser, and some (+50) tracking services/integrations are also in Chromium.

            A lot of other browsers such as Vivaldi and Brave are also based on Chromium, but they have their own approaches to remove Google’s tracking and services from it.

            Ungoogled-Chromium is a community project managed by a lot of volunteers to simply remove all the integrated Google’s services and features from the Chromium browser, so that it can be a good privacy-respecting web browser, away from Google’s eyes.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 79 on Android - One step back, one step forward

            If you ask me, do I have a magic bullet solution to the Firefox market share? No, of course not. You can't solve that by logic, because most people are illogical, and most people can barely count to ten. Mozilla seems to be trying to bring some of the vast pool of idiots to its side, but so far, its experiments have not yielded any satisfactory results. The whole Firefox 57 saga and whatnot, didn't work out. I told you so.

            But what Mozilla did do is alienate its hardcore users, the loyal veterans, the 1% who do not count. Only recently, I gave the company cautious praise for going back to its roots - Web designed around freedom and privacy (sort of). And now, they have undermined their own fragile platform once more. It's exhausting. Even depressing. This strategy is not winning anyone really, neither the plebes nor the geeks. That said, I intend to use Firefox as long as it exists, a decade or a century - if I exist that long. And I strongly recommend you do so, too. Because the alternative, a universe without a rival browser to the whole Chrome thingie, is a horrible one for people with triple-digit IQ. If you need convincing, just look at the "native sockets" API proposal or whatever.

            So, mobile, Android, Firefox 79. It's okay. It has some nice attributes, and overall, it's a decent enough browser. Given what's happened with Firefox Quantum onwards, at some point in time, we will get extra functionality (that we already had in old Firefox, but hey, modern ftw). So if you're willing to suffer a little for the time being, then it will be sort of okay in the end. You will have to contend with a more simplified and less efficient interface, plus fewer addons, side by side with reasonable privacy and speed. But don't fight it. There's no point. The old net is dead, and it's not coming back. Just be rich, move to a secluded island, and problem solved! There.

          • No judgment digital definitions: What is the difference between a VPN and a web proxy?

            Virtual private networks (VPNs) and secure web proxies are solutions for better privacy and security online, but it can be confusing to figure out which one is right for you. Here’s a look at how these services protect you and how to choose the best option for when you’re online.


            A secure web proxy works for tasks that you might do only in your browser. This can amount to a lot of activity like shopping, paying bills, logging into social media and reading emails. A secure web proxy serves as an intermediary between your browser and the internet. Your web browsing data will pass through a secure tunnel to the internet directly from your browser, masking your IP address, so the web server you are contacting doesn’t know exactly where you are in the world. And that makes you harder to track and target.

            A proxy is useful when you’re browsing the web on a public WiFi. When a proxy is enabled, it will stop eavesdroppers on the same network from spying on your browsing activity or reading your transactions on unencrypted sites. It sounds harmless, but public WiFi networks can be like a backdoor for hackers.

          • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 78

            The tab modal print UI work is still in full swing, and is aiming for Firefox 81.

          • Wladimir Palant: A grim outlook on the future of browser add-ons

            A few days ago Mozilla announced the release of their new Android browser. This release, dubbed “Firefox Daylight,” is supposed to achieve nothing less than to “revolutionize mobile browsing.”


            What this text carefully avoids stating directly: that’s the only nine (as in: single-digit 9) add-ons which you will be able to install on Firefox for Android now. After being able to use thousands of add-ons before, this feels like a significant downgrade. Particularly given that there appears to be no technical reason why none of the other add-ons are allowed any more, it being merely a policy decision. I already verified that my add-ons can still run on Firefox for Android but aren’t allowed to, same should be true for the majority of other add-ons.


            Before this release, Firefox was the only mobile browser to allow arbitrary add-ons. Chrome experimented with add-ons on mobile but never actually released this functionality. Safari implemented a halfhearted ad blocking interface, received much applause for it, but never made this feature truly useful or flexible. So it would seem that Firefox had a significant competitive advantage here. Why throw it away?

            Unfortunately, supporting add-ons comes at a considerable cost. It isn’t merely the cost of developing and maintaining the necessary functionality, there is also the performance and security impact of browser extensions. Mozilla has been struggling with this for a while. The initial solution was reviewing all extensions before publication. It was a costly process which also introduced delays, so by now all add-ons are published immediately but are still supposed to be reviewed manually eventually.

            Mozilla is currently facing challenges both in terms of market share and financially, the latter being linked to the former. This once again became obvious when Mozilla laid off a quarter of its workforce a few weeks ago. In the past, add-ons have done little to help Mozilla achieve a breakthrough on mobile, so costs being cut here isn’t much of a surprise. And properly reviewing nine extensions is certainly cheaper than keeping tabs on a thousand.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Introducing IDE support for Apache Camel K Modeline

          Apache Camel K is a lightweight integration framework built on Apache Camel that runs natively on Kubernetes. Camel K is designed explicitly for serverless and microservices architectures and allows you to run an integration written in Camel DSL on your cloud.

          Since Apache Camel K 1.0.0, it has been possible to specify the configuration options for starting an integration route using Apache Camel K Modeline. Just place a single comment line, // camel-k:, at the top of your config file. Using this method allows you to specify a relatively complex integration project in a single file.

          Until now, you could only access these configuration options through the command line. In this article, I introduce the new IDE support for Apache Camel K’s Modeline configuration.

        • 10 Years of OpenStack – Shane Wang at Intel

          Storytelling is one of the most powerful means to influence, teach, and inspire the people around us. To celebrate OpenStack’s 10th anniversary, we are spotlighting stories from the individuals in various roles from the community who have helped to make OpenStack and the global Open Infrastructure community successful.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Seven Finally Available as Snap

          I am happy to see LibreOffice 7.0 shipping as Snap in late August. This means now millions of computer users using Ubuntu and other distros can install LibreOffice Seven from Snap Store in one standard way. If you have installed it before, you can upgrade it right now. For you didn't know, Snap Store is like Play Store in Android and App Store in iOS that is one central way for users to get apps.

        • Physics Based Animation Effects Final Report

          The project’s main goal was to create at least three new animation effects on LibreOffice Impress that are simulated using 2D physics engine Box2D. Which would use the 2D physics engine’s capabilities to create some exciting animations that bounce around interact with each other and hopefully look cool.

        • Community Member Monday: Tomáš Chvátal

          I am from Prague, Czech Republic, where I work for SUSE as a Team Lead for software development/packaging. For SUSE and openSUSE I am responsible for the LibreOffice packages, and ensure they are built and delivered for everyone.


          Mostly making sure the package is fresh and crispy on the openSUSE and SUSE stack, and fixing all the reported issues found by the users.

          SUSE has a partnership with Collabora Productivity, and as such we also fix various compatibility issues between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice to make it easier for people to switch to free (and better :P) alternatives.

        • LibreOffice GSoC Final Report

          The idea of additions is to better integrate extensions. On various places it should be possible to get more content from external storage. It is an “addition” as it rather provides presets than extensions like macros or templates; but the procedure behind might be similar. On various places it should be possible to get more content such as macros or templates from external storage. This requirement is now fulfilled with the Additions Dialog.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Coherent Open Source Licensing

            Coherent Open Source preserves the Open Source Definition, and promotes the use of a minimal set of three licenses, which can satisfy most business purposes.

      • Public Services/Government

        • How a local government migrated to open source

          In 2015, the Eyüpsultan Municipality in Istanbul, Turkey, began a bold migration to adopting open source software. This involved several major changes: Linux on the desktop and major changes to the IT infrastructure, including a transition to the Zimbra email server and the PostgreSQL database.

          This was a big decision, and it wasn't made lightly. Open source technologies provide an important opportunity for our country to have an independent and secure information infrastructure. There are uncertainties about future terms and costs of using licensed software that connects users to a particular brand ecosystem. The more connected to these technologies we are, the harder it is to switch to alternative products. The commercial nature of key companies, to say nothing of pricing and licensing policies, poses significant risks.

      • Programming/Development

        • LLVM Merges Machine Function Splitter For ~32% Reduction In TLB Misses

          At the beginning of August we reported on Google engineers proposing the Machine Function Splitter to LLVM as a means of making binaries up to a few percent faster thanks to this code generation optimization pass for splitting code functions into hot and cold portions. That work has now been merged into LLVM 12.0 with very promising results.

          The LLVM Machine Function Splitter was merged prior to the weekend into the Git code-base for what will be LLVM 12.0 early next year. Making use of this optimization pass ensures the hot code paths are loaded into the CPU cache while keeping the cold code paths at lower priority for the cache.

        • Python Vs Scala For Apache Spark
        • Is It Time To Overhaul The GNU Dynamic Linker?

          At the GNU Tools Track during this week's Linux Plumbers Conference was an interesting talk by Red Hat's Ben Woodard. He shares his perspective on how the GNU dynamic linker ( could be ripe for an overhaul in the 2020's.

          Given the stature today of Linux and the Unix wars being over, Woodard expresses his views on it could be time to overhaul the dynamic linker/loader and make it much more fitted for today's worlds. Possible areas for improvement include more robust linking, faster linking, and new performance and debugging angles. Among his "crazy ideas" would be experimenting with an ABI-aware loader, tool interface registration with the loader, an early fork in the loader for introducing new behavior, a modular library requirement solver, and more.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSMC 0.2.2: Small updates

          A new release 0.2.2 of the RcppSMC package arrived on CRAN earlier today (and once again as a very quick pretest-publish within minutes of submission).

          RcppSMC provides Rcpp-based bindings to R for the Sequential Monte Carlo Template Classes (SMCTC) by Adam Johansen described in his JSS article. Sequential Monte Carlo is also referred to as Particle Filter in some contexts.

          This releases contains two fixes from a while back that had not been released, a CRAN-requested update plus a few more minor polishes to make it pass R CMD check --as-cran as nicely as usual.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppCCTZ 0.2.9: API Header Added

          RcppCCTZ uses Rcpp to bring CCTZ to R. CCTZ is a C++ library for translating between absolute and civil times using the rules of a time zone. In fact, it is two libraries. One for dealing with civil time: human-readable dates and times, and one for converting between between absolute and civil times via time zones. And while CCTZ is made by Google(rs), it is not an official Google product. The RcppCCTZ page has a few usage examples and details.

        • Set Up Passwordless Login System in Laravel
        • Python

          • PyDev of the Week: Connor Ferster

            This week we welcome Connor Ferster as our PyDev of the Week! Connor is the author of handcalcs which was recently featured on the PythonBytes Podcast.

          • Remove Element from an Array in Python

            This tutorial will go through some common ways for removing elements from Python arrays. Here's

          • "CodersLegacy": PySide vs PyQt | Understanding the difference

            Once people get to know about both PySide and PyQt, due to their similarities, people have a hard time picking one over the other. Here in this “PySide vs PyQt” article we’ll examine both libraries from multiple angles and attempt to come to a conclusion.

            The reason why we are comparing these two libraries is because both of them are Python bindings of the same GUI framework Qt. We’re here to compare both these bindings.

            We’ll start off with PyQt first as it’s the more poplar library and was released (officially) before PySide.

          • How to Deploy Your Open Source Package to PyPI

            I built a small PyBitesTips class to consume our Python tips from the command line. The code (project) is here

            Speaking of tips, here are some cool things I learned / re-used: - Make a class callable using the __call__ dunder (magic) method. - Use namedtuples and instantiate them with ** keyword args: [Tip(**tip) for tip in resp.json()] - Use paging of results with pydoc.pager. - Break down output creation and printing in different methods (and helpers) which made testing the code easier.

          • Automated Browser Testing with Opera and Selenium in Python

            When it comes to cross browser testing, we tend to focus on executing test cases for bigwigs like Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. What about the other browsers? What about Opera? Opera may not be your default browser, but it still is a popular web browser in the market and is especially loved in areas that don’t have high-speed Internet. This is because Opera performs quite well even at slow internet speeds. Owing to this, Opera has a market share of around 2.17% globally from July 2019 – July 2020 as per GS StatCounter. 2.17% may look like a small fraction, but we are referring to global statistics, meaning 2.17% of all the internet users. This could turn up to be a considerable number of leads for your business.

          • Python 3 Installation & Setup Guide

            Installing or updating Python on your computer is the first step to becoming a Python programmer. There are a multitude of installation methods: you can download official Python distributions from, install from a package manager, and even install specialized distributions for scientific computing, Internet of Things, and embedded systems.

          • No Module Named Numpy
          • New course: Testing your Python programs with pytest

            My first job was at a company that wrote software for hospitals. As you can imagine, our work needed to be really reliable — so we had an entire team dedicated to quality assurance (QA). Their job was to run our software for months at a time, given many different inputs, and to make sure that it didn’t cause trouble. I can tell you that the head of QA was the most feared person in my department. And yet, we all knew that his job was of utmost importance. If it weren’t for him, buggy software could go out the door, with catastrophic effects for people being treated in hospitals around the world.

            More than 25 years have passed since I had that job. And while not every program directly affects people’s lives, there’s no doubt that software is hugely influential. Buggy programs can not only hurt people, but lose money, destroy documents, give incorrect projections, and use up valuable resources.

          • Python Monthly August 2020

            Being a Python developer is a fantastic career option. Python is now the most popular language with lots of growing job demand (especially in the fields of Web, Data Science and Machine Learning). You have many job opportunities, you can work around the world, and you get to solve hard problems. One thing that is hard, however, is staying up to date with the constantly evolving ecosystem. You want to be a top-performing python developer, coder, programmer, software developer, but you don’t have time to select from hundreds of articles, videos and podcasts each day.

          • Montreal Python User Group: Quadratic Judo Code Sprint

            For the whole month of September, we code together on free and open source software in Python. Our effort will be centered on two projects: * French translation of the official Python documentation; * Voluntaria, a Django portal to help non-profits synchronize the effort of their volunteers.

            We have a wide range of tasks for both projects, ranging from easy to very advanced. We promise you a detailed overview of the tasks as well as an introduction to the mentors on the sprint opening night on Monday August 31st at 5:30pm. After the initial meeting, we stay in touch on the Montréal-Python Slack and with one sync-up meeting every Monday evening. The results of the sprint are going to be during Montréal-Python #80 (Pedal Kayak) on September 28, 2020.

          • How to Transcribe Speech Recordings into Text with Python

            When you have a recording where one or more people are talking, it's useful to have a highly accurate and automated way to extract the spoken words into text. Once you have the text, you can use it for further analysis or as an accessibility feature.

            In this tutorial, we'll use a high accuracy speech-to-text web application programming interface called AssemblyAI to extract text from an MP3 recording (many other formats are supported as well).

          • Catalin George Festila: Python 3.8.5 : Testing with openpyxl - parts 002 .
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Weekly Blog #7
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: From console.log to GSoC 2020
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #13
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Outro
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Final Work Report - Last Weekly Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: All Done!
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Final Week Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Final Blog Post
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC: Week #14
        • Rust

          • GSoC wrap-up - Implementing WebGPU in Servo

            Hello everyone! I am Kunal(@kunalmohan), an undergrad student at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India. As a part of Google Summer of Code(GSoC) 2020, I worked on implementing WebGPU in Servo under the mentorship of Mr. Dzmitry Malyshau(@kvark). I devoted the past 3 months working on ways to bring the API to fruition in Servo, so that Servo is able to run the existing examples and pass the Conformance Test Suite(CTS). This is going to be a brief account of how I started with the project, what challenges I faced, and how I overcame them.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • HTML Email ought to be considered harmful

        Some people make fun of my plain-text emails, but really, I think it’s time we re-consider our desire for colours, hyperlinks and inline images in email messages, especially for those who use web-based email clients as their primary email interface.

        The problem basically boils down to this: HTML gives too much opportunity for mischief by a malicious party. In most cases, HTML isn’t even necessary to convey the information required. Tables are about the only real “feature” that is hard to replicate in plain text, for everything else there’s reasonable de-facto standards already in existence.

  • Leftovers

    • Chadwick Boseman’s Wakanda: Afro-Futurism Is in the Present

      "Of all the world regions, Africa and the Middle East most suffer from stereotypes in the U.S. media."

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Proposed rules to protect bulk power grid from foreign targeting raise concerns

          Under the executive order, the secretary of Energy was tasked with creating a list of “pre-qualified” vendors that U.S. companies can work with, along with identifying which equipment currently in use in the power system poses a security risk and should be replaced.

        • Security

          • IPFire Linux Firewall Now Ships with the IPFire Location Database

            IPFire 2.25 Core Update 148 is here as the monthly update you’ve been waiting for, replacing last month’s Core Update 147 release. But it’s not you regular maintenance update, but an important milestone in the history of the project.

            Why? Because it’s the first release to ship with the brand-new IPFire Location project, an in-house built location database that replaces MaxMind’s GeoIP database and also provides some much-needed improvements.

            With IPFire Location you’ll be able to better secure your firewall by analyzing the origin of attacks and blocking attackers from certain countries. You can also choose which servers can be accessed from certain locations, as well as to limit connections from a specific place.

          • IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 148 released

            This is the official announcement for the release of IPFire 2.25 - Core Update 148 - an update I have personally been waiting for: We finally roll out replacing Maxmind's GeoIP database by our own improved implementation. As we have already pre-announced some time ago this side-project inside the IPFire Project is finally ready for prime time.

            It comes with a new implementation to build, organise and access a highly optimised database packages with loads of helpful data for our firewall engines, as well as our analytics to analyse where attacks against the firewall are originating from.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (bacula, bind9, freerdp, libvncserver, lilypond, mupdf, ndpi, openexr, php-horde, php-horde-core, php-horde-gollem, php-horde-kronolith, ros-actionlib, thunderbird, and xorg-server), Fedora (golang-github-ulikunitz-xz and qt), Gentoo (bind, chrony, ghostscript-gpl, kleopatra, openjdk, and targetcli-fb), Mageia (ark, evolution-data-server, fossil, kernel, kernel-linus, and thunderbird), openSUSE (apache2, graphviz, grub2, inn, librepo, and xorg-x11-server), Oracle (firefox), and Red Hat (git).

          • Microsoft, Oracle, and Google top list of companies with most vulnerabilities disclosed in Q2

            The number of vulnerabilities being disclosed by major technology companies is returning to normal levels after a lower-than-usual first quarter, due in no small part to the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.

          • X-XSS-Protection – Secure Apache from Cross-Site Scripting

            Cross-Site Scripting (Also known as XSS) is a client-side attack by injecting malicious scripts to the web application. After that your application will be the carrier of the malicious scripts to reach the other users browser. In that case, the other user’s browser will understand the malicious scripts served from a trusted sources and will execute the script

          • Notes From the Chaos Communication Camp

            The Chaos Communication Camp happens every four years. The trouble is, every four years its attendance seems to double. This year the group that organizes the camp, the Chaos Computer Club, is struggling to accommodate 4,500 camping hackers.

            The camp is being held in the German countryside at the site of a large 19th-century factory that once supplied Berlin with its terracotta roof tiles. I make it there by train and local bus on the second day of the event, and late that night pitch a tent in the middle of a spectacular lightning storm. The electrical grid that snakes through every part of the camp’s 20 odd acres withstands the deluge of water: There are no fires or electrocutions. Only the inside of my tent gets wet; there’s a vent at the top I can’t find the cover for.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Progressive Foreign Policy and Ending Endless War: What Democrats Want

        "The center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted considerably to the left on foreign policy and national security in a short span of time."

      • China’s war games raise fears for Taiwan’s security

        Even more worrying, from China’s point of view, are calls from some politicians and former officials in America for the government to give a more clear-cut commitment to defend Taiwan. At the moment it is bound only by a law passed in 1979 which undertakes “to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States”. This vagueness has been dignified with a clever-sounding euphemism, “strategic ambiguity”.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Australia's carbon emissions fall to 22-year low

        According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory update released by the government, emissions of greenhouse gases in Australia are estimated to be 518 million tonnes in the 2019-20 financial year, reports Xinhua news agency

      • Trump Shifts $44 Billion Away From FEMA Amid Record-Setting Hurricane Season

        Lawmakers are concerned that President Donald Trump’s decision to swipe $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will leave its disaster fund depleted amid a record-setting hurricane season.

      • Energy

        • Germany's Merkel: Don't link Navalny case to pipeline plan

          Germany has a duty to do what it can to help get to the bottom of the apparent poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, but she argued that the issue shouldn't be linked to the fate of a German-Russian gas pipeline project whose completion the U.S. wants to prevent.

          Navalny, an opposition politician and corruption investigator who is a longtime foe of President Vladimir Putin, has been at Berlin's Charite hospital for nearly a week after falling ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on Aug. 20. The hospital said earlier this week that tests on Navalny indicate he was poisoned.

        • Saudi Arabia may cut October crude oil prices to Asia: survey
    • Finance

      • COVID-19 Could Set Back Women’s Economic Progress for Decades

        Nothing in recent decades has shown the extent to which our care industry is underfunded and undervalued quite like the coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of a public health crisis when the life-saving and sustaining work of health care, elder care and child care is most needed, it is out of reach for many. Accessing adequate care services is, to put it simply, often a matter of life and death.

      • Co-ops Can Lay a Path to Just Economies Amid the COVID Crisis

        Cooperatives are showing greater resilience than traditional enterprises in Argentina amid the COVID-19 crisis, in the same way as employee-owned companies did in the U.S. during the Great Recession, producing COVID tests, masks and disinfectant, and directly meeting the needs of their workers and communities.

      • Postal Banking: Brought to You by JPMorgan Chase?

        The largest Wall Street bank is reportedly in discussions with the U.S. Postal Service for the exclusive right to solicit postal banking customers.

      • How many refinances are you allowed during a pandemic?

        Paul and Laura DePerry shaved $260 off the mortgage payment for their Rancho Santa Margarita home when they refinanced last March. Their interest rate dropped to 3.63% from 4.25%.

        Then the pandemic hit, and mortgage interest rates fell to record lows. This week, the DePerry’s locked in another $240-a-month savings with a new rate of 2.88%, paying about $3,200 in closing costs.

        In total, their payment fell $500 per month after cutting their interest rate by almost 1.4%.

      • Huawei quits oldest sports sponsorship deal after 9 years

        Chinese telecom giant Huawei announced on Monday it is ending its oldest major sporting sponsorship deal in the world when it ends its contract with Australian rugby league team Canberra Raiders after nine years, blaming a “continued negative business environment.”

        Australia has barred the world’s largest maker of switching gear and a major smartphone brand from involvement in crucial national communication infrastructure in recent years, while China has ratcheted up pressure for an Australian policy reversal.

        Huawei will end its financial backing of the Raiders at the end of the current National Rugby League season. The grand final is on Oct. 25.

      • UN labor body: Qatar 'dismantles' kafala employment system

        New labor rules in the energy-rich nation of Qatar “effectively dismantles” the country's long-criticized “kafala” employment system, a U.N. labor body said Sunday.

        The International Labor Organization said as of now, migrant workers can change jobs before the end of their contracts without obtaining the permission of their current employers.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Assange Travesty Continues

        The travesty that is Julian Assange’s extradition hearing resumes fully on 7 September at the Old Bailey. I shall be abandoning my own legal team and going down to London to cover it again in full, for an expected three weeks. How this is going to work at the Old Bailey, I do not know. Covid restrictions presumably mean that the numbers in the public gallery will be tiny. As of now, there is no arrangement for Julian’s friends and family in place. It looks like 4am queuing is in prospect.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Rebellions Work

        We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before€ us.

      • Colorado gun-rights activist raising money to defend teen shooter in Kenosha killings

        Well-known Colorado gun rights activist Dudley Brown is backing the 17-year-old who is facing murder charges for shooting two men and wounding a third during a night of civil unrest in Kenosha, Wis.

        Brown, the former executive director and current president of the influential Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, hopes to raise $100,000 through a group called the National Foundation for Gun Rights. He founded the organization in 2000 as a potential rival to the National Rifle Association. The Denver Post was first to report on the fundraising for Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday.

      • Rally supporting police draws scores to downtown Kenosha

        Scores of police supporters gathered Sunday in downtown Kenosha where protesters have been demonstrating against police brutality since the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend.

        Some attending the rally in the Wisconsin city wore “back the blue” shirts. Others carried American flags. They applauded when law enforcement vehicles rolled by.

      • Italy’s Lampedusa: Back on the migration front line

        An uptick in arrivals this summer has stretched asylum processing facilities on the Italian island of Lampedusa – closer to North Africa than mainland Italy – beyond capacity, adding to the ammunition used by right-wing politicians to stoke fears and tensions over migration during the coronavirus pandemic.

        In recent months, asylum seekers and migrants have escaped from overcrowded quarantine centres in various parts of Italy, 28 people rescued at sea have tested positive for COVID-19, and viral outbreaks have been recorded in at least three migration reception centres due to an absence of adequate social distancing space.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • California’s Assembly May Do Nothing to Help on Broadband—Thanks to Big ISPs

        Update: Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has moved to table any efforts to close the digital divide this year. The pandemic has exposed how vital high-speed broadband is to the daily lives of all Californians. The Legislature must conclude all business by midnight on August 31. Call your Assemblymember TODAY and tell them to put the needs of Californians working and learning amid the pandemic over the interests of big ISPs.


    • Monopolies

      • The Mannheim Regional Court refuses CJEU reference in Nokia v Daimler – time for the Commission to investigate?

        This month the Mannheim Regional Court released a decision (here) in the dispute between Daimler AG, owner of the famous Mercedes-Benz brand, and the Finnish company Nokia (also see our previous post on this blog (Another CJEU ruling on standard-essential patents and FRAND looks inevitable). The controversy centred on Nokia’s European Patent EP2981103, which the German court found to have been infringed by Daimler. The invention relates to the “allocation of preamble sequences for an access procedure in a mobile communication system”, namely telecommunications technology employed in cars for e-connectivity. The patent in question is a standard essential patent (SEP) as it is relevant to UMTS and LTE mobile phone standards – with car manufacturers in Europe being dependent on this technology to enable their cars for e-connectivity. The dispute has been closely watched as it may have effects for the Internet of Things as mobile connectivity is getting more and more crucial in a wide range of industries.

        Cars and other motor vehicles operate such sophisticated communication technologies that they are sometimes referred to as “smartphones on wheels”. Auto-manufacturers thus require access to the latest technological standards – 4G and 5G – that are key to navigation and communications. Inevitably, these essential technologies are often the subject of patents and thus require licensing. When the companies that own the patents (licensors) and the manufacturers who seek to make use of the tech (potential licensees) cannot agree on the terms in line with commitments to fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing, patent disputes are inevitable.

      • Patents

        • The Trueman flow: why timing is everything in biosimilars

          Neil Trueman, chief international IP counsel at Mundipharma and corporate IP Star, delves into the IP challenges of biosimilar and generics manufacturing

        • This week in IP: FRAND victory for Unwired Planet, Teva charged in price-fixing investigation

          The UK Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling determining that courts in England and Wales are able to set a global fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rate when the licensor and licensee cannot agree on terms.

          In a unanimous ruling, handed down via video link on Wednesday, August 26, the court upheld previous decisions from the England and Wales High Court (in 2017) and Court of Appeal (2018).

          The ruling, which came almost one year after the Supreme Court heard the case, clarifies that in appropriate circumstances, courts in England and Wales have the power to require that a company, which intends to implement standard technology in the UK, enters into a worldwide portfolio licence of a patent owner’s standard essential patents (SEP).

        • [Older] UK’s exit from the UPC now final

          On 20 July 2020, the UK officially withdrew its ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. This was expected, following the announcement from the UK Prime Minister’s Office on 28 February 2020 – see our previous post here. Details can be viewed here on the UPC website.

          In a written statement in the House of Commons, Amanda Solloway (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation), explained the decision as follows:

          “…in order to ensure clarity regarding the United Kingdom’s status in respect of the Agreements and to facilitate their orderly entry into force for other States without the participation of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom has chosen to withdraw its ratification of the Agreements at this time. The United Kingdom considers that its withdrawals shall take effect immediately and that it will be for the remaining participating states to decide the future of the Unified Patent Court system.”

          It is now up to the Preparatory Committee to convene and find a way forward. We will report on any further announcements from the Committee as and when they become available. Meanwhile, HSF’s EU-wide patent litigation practice stands ready to represent clients in the UPC despite the UK’s exit from the project, and to manage multi-jurisdictional patent litigation as it always has.

        • BioWorld MedTech Patent Highlights: Week 34

          The Patent Gazette provides snapshot analysis and indexing of pharmaceutically relevant patenting within days of its publication by patent offices. Primarily focusing on material from the main three patents offices (i.e., the EPO, USPTO, and WIPO), it provides brief descriptions of a patent’s content and seeks to link it to both prior patenting of relevance and to any commercial activity pertinent to the technology being described.

        • Patent Office Updates You Need to Know

          The European Patent Office (EPO) has requested that external partners refrain from visiting if they recently visited a high risk area and are requiring that any visitor seeking entry must sign a declaration that they have not visited a high risk area in the past two weeks.

        • Spiralling into the abyss? Pharma PIs: lessons from Neurim

          It would be uncharitable (but sometimes accurate) to suggest that reading patent judgments is a good cure for insomnia. Something that certainly is useful in battling lack of sleep is the drug melatonin, which has been the subject of recent patent judgments in the UK and Sweden on applications for preliminary injunctions (PIs). In this blog post, we examine those judgments and contrast the different approaches of the courts.


          In the UK, pharmaceutical innovators have typically been able to obtain PIs against companies threatening to enter the market with generic products. Patent holders have relied on the risk of an 'irreversible price spiral' if generic products are allowed to launch before the validity of a patent can be tested at trial, though it is recognised that such a price spiral will (in general) only occur once there are at least two generic products in the market.

        • Unitary Patent Series Part 1: Grace Period Provisions

          Many patent owners are interested in trying to draft a single patent application that will serve them in several countries. This is ambitious, since there are many differences between various countries’ patent systems, but perhaps not impossible. The patent drafter just needs to be aware of and try to balance all the different requirements in the single patent application. This series of articles will outline some important considerations when drafting a single patent application.

          In this first article, we will review the grace period provisions in the U.S., Korea, China, and the European Patent Office (“EPO”). It is a requirement in all jurisdictions that a patent may only be granted if an invention is new (i.e. is not disclosed in the prior art before the filing date or, if priority is claimed, before the priority date). Certain countries, however, allow “grace periods” for inventor disclosures, meaning that such disclosures do not form part of the prior art. Grace periods can be particularly valuable for pharmaceutical inventions if, for example, clinical trial data is required to support the claims., but the clinical trial protocol is published before the filing or priority date (whichever is applicable). At least in the United States, as seen in Sanofi v. Watson and Vanda v. Westward, mere publication of a protocol does not trump later patent claims directed to the results of the protocol.

        • The first in a two-part series of articles about IP and offshore wind power by the Carpmaels & Ransford team

          Companies in this sector are investing heavily in IP, particularly patents, to safeguard their R&D efforts and to help drive technological advancement. The turbines in wind farms off the coastline today contain the technology covered by patents filed in the last two decades. Figure 1 illustrates that wind power installations have risen in line with the number of patents filed and granted from 2000 to 2009, highlighting a direct correlation between innovation and installations.

        • Baxalta Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          This definition was inconsistent with the remainder of the '590 specification, that disclosed bispecific antibodies, and also inconsistent with other naturally occurring antibody embodiments, such as IgM and IgA. Judge Dyk also dismissed the inconsistencies that this construction raised between claim 1 and claims 4 and 19 based in the one instance of express disclosure in the '590 specification. The District Court also relied on amendments made during prosecution of the '590 patent claims, wherein Baxalta amended claim 1 as filed to replace "antibody derivatives" with "antibody fragments." In Judge Dyk's view, these amendments amounted to a disclaimer of bispecific antibodies and limited the claims to antibody fragments.


          The Federal Circuit vacated Judge Dyk's claim construction and final judgment and remanded, in an opinion by Judge Moore joined by Judges Plager and Wallach. The panel opinion reviewed Judge Dyk's construction de novo because the only evidence relied upon in Judge Dyk's decision was intrinsic evidence and thus the Federal Circuit owed the District Court no deference; see Teva Pharma. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc., 574 U.S. 318 (2015)). Under this standard, the Federal Circuit found that Judge Dyk erred in construing the term "antibody." Relying on the plain language of the claim (the first canon of claim construction under Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc); Judge Dyk joined 9 other Federal Circuit judges in this opinion), the Federal Circuit held that "nothing in the plain language of claim 1 limits the term "antibody" to a specific antibody consisting of two identical heavy chains and two identical light chains or an antibody that only binds the antigen that induced its synthesis or very similar antigens." The panel also opined that the dependent claims "confirm[ed] that [the term] "antibody" is not so limited," inter alia, wherein dependent (and asserted) claim 4 expressly recited a bispecific antibody as a species of antibody or antibody fragment. Construing a term in an independent claim to exclude expressly recited species in dependent claims is "inconsistent with the plain language of the claims," according to the panel, citing Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. T-Mobile USA, Inc., 902 F.3d 1372, 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2018); and Ortho-McNeil Pharm., Inc. v. Mylan Labs., Inc., 520 F.3d 1358, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2008). Genentech argued (at trial and before the Federal Circuit) that the proper outcome was to invalidate any such inconsistent dependent claims, which the panel refused to do based on the plain language of the claims.

          Turning to the specification, the panel also rejected the District Court's reliance on specific disclosure set forth above. While acknowledging that, in isolation, that paragraph could be interpreted as providing a definition, "claim construction requires that we 'consider the specification as a whole, and . . . read all portions of the written description, if possible, in a manner that renders the patent internally consistent,'" citing Budde v. Harley-Davidson, Inc., 250 F.3d 1369, 1379–80 (Fed. Cir. 2001). Judge Dyk's use of the specification to support his claim construction was also inconsistent with the practice of the Court, inter alia, because this excerpt is devoid of language that renders such "general statements" limiting, as set forth, for example, in Luminara Worldwide, LLC v. Liown Elecs. Co., 814 F.3d 1343, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2016). Considering the specification as a whole, the panel notes that it contains "specific disclosures regarding bispecific, chimeric, and humanized antibodies and methods of production thereof," all of which rebut the District Court's construction. The specification also expressly discloses methods for producing humanized or chimeric antibodies which are also inconsistent with Judge Dyk's claim construction.

          Finally, the Federal Circuit considered the prosecution history and concluded that it did not support the District Court's claim construction based on prosecution history disclaimer. According to the panel, the disclaimer perceived by Judge Dyk was not "sufficiently clear and unmistakable" to amount to clear disclaimer, citing 3M Innovative Properties Co. v. Tredegar Corp., 725 F.3d 1315, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2013). The District Court's construction was also inconsistent with allowance of claim 4, which expressly recites bispecific antibody fragments.


          The panel also notes that the specification contained language ("may also include," "e.g.," "such as," and "etc.") indicting that the patentee did not intend to provide a limiting definition of the phrase "antibody fragments."

        • Software Patents

          • $1,000 Awarded for Ortiz & Associates '299 prior art

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winners, Shalini Bansal and Rajesh Singh, who split a cash prize of $1,000 for their prior art submissions for U.S. Patent 9,147,299. The '299 patent generally relates to streaming media. The patent is owned by Ortiz & Associates, LLC, and is currently being asserted in U.S. district court against Roku, Panasonic, Microsoft, and Hisense.

            To help the industry fight bad patents, we have published the winning prior art below.

            We would also like to thank the dozens of other high-quality submissions that were made on this patent. The ongoing contests are open to anyone, and include tens of thousands of dollars in rewards available for helping the industry to challenge NPE patents of questionable validity by finding and submitting prior art in the contests. Visit PATROLL today to learn more about how to participate.

      • Trademarks

        • Repurposed fabric face coverings - what options are available to affected brands?

          At least in the UK, as the Government continues to nudge us in the direction of something resembling pre-Covid normality, the number of people wearing face masks outside of the home has inevitably increased. And, naturally, the market has responded, increasing the supply of standard medical-grade face masks, as well as “designer” face coverings.

          This GuestKat is particularly interested in the second category. Some clothing brands have launched their own face coverings, but a cottage industry of repurposed designer fabrics has also sprung up. Enterprising individuals have created face coverings fashioned from designer scarves, handkerchiefs and other items from luxury brands such as Hermes, Versace and Louis Vuitton. Some of the face coverings appear to be made from genuine items, but there will also be many counterfeits. Either way, brand owners are facing a new challenge, and it is interesting to watch their response.

        • Washington Football Team, IP and cultural expressions: time for a rethink? [Ed: Stop saying "Aye Pee" when you mean to say "Trademarks"]

          Many readers will have noted the recent decision by the owners of the (American) Football team formerly known as the "Washington Redskins" to find a new name for the team. This decision follows a history of increasing pressure on the team, due to the growing consensus that the term "redskin" (and the associated imagery and mascot used by the team) is offensive to Native Americans. The team resisted this pressure for a number of years, and finally capitulated recently, seemingly as a result of the actions of key sponsors and retail partners in connection with the increased attention on issues of racial inequality following the killing of George Floyd. [Not a great look for Washington Football Team.]

          The Washington controversy has involved, among other things, some significant IP issues. Leaving aside the rather predictable (given the team's public dilation on the issue of a potential name change) instance of trade mark squatting, most of the IP interest came from proceedings in the TTAB and the District Court of Virginia, and the subsequent ruling of the Supreme Court in Matal v Tam (all reported by this very blawg). In very brief summary, five Native American plaintiffs initially (and on appeal) succeeded in having certain of the team's trade marks cancelled on the basis that they "may disparage...persons...or bring them into contempt or disrepute", contrary to ۤ1052(a) of the Lanham Act. Importantly, however, these decisions did not restrict the team's ability to use the nickname "Redskins"; only (initially) the right to register this term as a trade mark. Then, in 2017, the Supreme Court determined that ۤ1052(a) violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment, and was therefore unconstitutional.

      • Copyrights

        • The legal nature of Article 17 of the Copyright DSM Directive, the (lack of) freedom of Member States, and why the German implementation proposal is not compatible with EU law

          What is the legal nature of Article 17 of the Copyright DSM Directive? What is the relationship between that provision and the InfoSoc Directive?

          These questions, which might look at first sight academic in both nature and significance, are actually of great practical relevance, including to determine the room for manoeuvre enjoyed by EU Member States during the (ongoing) national transposition phase.

          In this sense, it is notable that the German Government has been moving from the idea that the freedom accorded under Article 17 is such that Member States are inter alia entitled to decide whether to introduce exceptions or limitations beyond both those specifically referred to in Article 17(7) and those listed in Article 5 of the InfoSoc Directive (see the proposed ‘de minimis’ remunerated ‘authorized use’ in €§6 of the German Discussion Draft Act).

        • EUR 2,453 per individual character: Chinese brush pen calligraphy works and fair use

          Chinese brush calligraphy is a traditional art form of writing ‘Hanzi’ (in Chinese: ‘汉字’, Chinese characters). For thousands of years, it has been an enduring form of self-expression. With simple tools – normally four: ink brush, ink, paper and inkstone, which are called ‘the four jewels of the study’ in China – calligraphers could freely present an infinite variety of works by controlling the pressure of the brush, the ink intensity, or the speed of wielding the brush. The combination of simplicity and myriads of changes have bestowed calligraphy works inexhaustible appeal throughout history.

          There are some standard styles in brush calligraphy, e.g. the square, straight and neat ‘Kaishu’, the unruly and allegro running ‘Caoshu’, and the in-between style ‘Xingshu’.

          Yet, even when written in the same style, works from different calligraphers can easily present distinctive personal characteristics, as brush calligraphy is the combination of visual aesthetics, literary meaning and the state of mind and body of the calligrapher. A calligraphy work then, to some extent, is more of a pictorial work. Maybe that is one of the reasons why Picasso once said, ‘Had I been born Chinese, I would have been a calligrapher, not a painter.’ A piece of calligraphy work is able to convey rich emotions and artistic conception of calligraphers.

        • Anti-Piracy Groups Keep Sending Takedown Notices for Dead Sites After Many Years

          Anti-piracy groups have a long memory, it appears. They don't easily forget about their former adversaries, even those that shut down many years ago. A variety of rightsholders and reporters still flag sites such as Openload, KickassTorrents, isoHunt, Hotfile, and even Rapidshare. Perhaps they're being sentimental but it's high time to move along.

        • DISH Network Sues Universe IPTV For Mass Copyright Infringement

          DISH Network has filed a new copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States against 'pirate' IPTV provider Universal IPTV. The complaint alleges that the defendants illegally transmitted the company's officially-licensed channels over the Internet and demands well in excess of $5 million in damages.

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