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Links 19/9/2020: Taiwins 0.2 and a Call for Ubuntu Community Council Nominations

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Three tips to implement Kubernetes with open standards

        The technologies chosen by enterprise IT departments today will have a long-term impact on their performance, operations and overall strategy. Sometimes it can take well over a decade to realize the full implications of a technology solution.

        This can put a great deal of weight on the shoulders of IT management, especially when it comes to emergent technologies whose utility, importance and trajectory may not yet be fully known. Placing a bad bet on new software can lead to difficult integrations and disruptions across an organisation’s entire tech stack, which in the long-term can lead to lost productivity, wasted budgets, and the likelihood of losing ground to competitors.

        Kubernetes, the open source container orchestration platform, was until recently regarded in the same way, with IT departments struggling to fully appraise its long-term value. However, with Kubernetes now running 86 per cent of container clusters, it has emerged as the de facto standard for cloud-native infrastructure. This means that the main concern for IT departments is not whether Kubernetes has a future, but how to ensure that their implementation of Kubernetes has a future which doesn't present a bottleneck to integrations, industry practices and use cases.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Python Bytes: #199 Big news for a very small Python runtime
      • Talk Python to Me: #282 pre-commit framework

        Git hook scripts are useful for identifying simple issues before committing your code. Hooks run on every commit to automatically point out issues in code such as trailing whitespace and debug statements.

      • Bad Voltage 3×13: The Winter Of Our Content
      • [Older] Unearthing the History of Unix: Warner Losh
      • OpenBSD for 1.5 Years: Confessions of a Linux Heretic
      • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #27: Preparing for an Interview With Python Practice Problems

        What is an effective way to prepare for a Python interview? Would you like a set of problems that increase in difficulty to practice and hone your Python skills? This week on the show, we have Jim Anderson to talk about his new Real Python article, “Python Practice Problems: Get Ready for Your Next Interview.” This article provides several problems, which include skeleton code, unit tests, and solutions for you to compare your work.

        David Amos also joins us this week, and he has brought another batch of PyCoder’s Weekly articles and projects from the Python community. We cover these topics: Structural Pattern Matching, Common Python Data Structures, A Tax Attorney Uses Python, Discover the Role of Python in Space Exploration, and Five Pairs of Magic Methods in Python That You Should Know.

      • Force Students To Run Spyware To Stop Cheating In Online Exams

        Ever since everyone started working remotely more of these online exam proctoring tools and monitoring tools have been popping up and I thought wouldn't it be fun to go and see how they plan to stop cheating and even better how fundamentally flawed this plan actually is. Almost 100% of people who do an online exam will cheat, and cheating should be expected if you don't like that then don't hold an online exam.

      • Normalizing Surveillance

        Doc Searls, Katherine Druckman, and Petros Koutoupis talk about Amazon's Alexa for landlords program.

        Show notes:

        00:00:23 For starters, let's begin with Normalization of Surveillance. 00:50:00 Amazon Alexa for landlords. 00:10:15 Is this really jus another way to discover new markets? 00:19:03 Doc the mechanic?! 00:27:49 If you're young do you really not care about privacy? 00:30:49 A couple of things that will clue people on privacy, are: Health data, and political issues

      • "Hey, DT. You Need A Better Studio!" (Plus Other Comments I Get)

        In this lengthy rant video, I address a few questions and comments that I've been receiving from viewers. I discuss alternatives to the Ubuntu Software Center, alternatives to the term "proprietary garbage", what software you should install alongside your window managers in Arch Linux, VirtualBox versus Virt-Manager, and my recording setup and why I need a proper studio.

    • Kernel Space

      • Preparing for the realtime future

        Unlike many of the previous gatherings of the Linux realtime developers, their microconference at the virtual 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference had a different feel about it. Instead of being about when and how to get the feature into the mainline, the microconference had two sessions that looked at what happens after the realtime patches are upstream. That has not quite happened yet, but is likely for the 5.10 kernel, so the developers were looking to the future of the stable realtime trees and, relatedly, plans for continuous-integration (CI) testing for realtime kernels.

      • Profile-guided optimization for the kernel

        One of the many unfortunate consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic was the cancellation of the 2020 GNU Tools Cauldron. That loss turned out to be a gain for the Linux Plumbers Conference, which was able to add a GNU Tools track to host many of the discussions that would have otherwise occurred at Cauldron. In that track, Ian Bearman presented his group's work using profile-guided optimization with the Linux kernel. This technique, which he often referred to as "pogo", is not straightforward to apply to the kernel, but the benefits would appear to justify the effort.

        Bearman is the leader of Microsoft's GNU/Linux development-tools team, which is charged with supporting those tools for the rest of the company. The team's responsibilities include ensuring the correctness, performance, and security of those tools (and the programs generated by them). Once upon a time, the idea of Microsoft having a GNU tools team would have raised eyebrows. Now, he said, about half of the instances in the Microsoft cloud are running Linux, making Linux a big deal for the company; it is thus not surprising that the company's cloud group is his team's biggest customer.

        There was recently, he said, an internal customer working on a new Linux-based service that asked his team for performance help. After some brainstorming, the group concluded that this would be a good opportunity to use profile-guided optimization; the customer would have control of the whole machine running the service and was willing to build a custom kernel, making it possible to chase performance gains at any level of the system. But there was a small problem in that the customer was unable to provide any code to allow workload-specific testing.

      • Conventions for extensible system calls

        The kernel does not have just one system call to rename a file; instead, there are three of them: rename(), renameat(), and renameat2(). Each was added when the previous one proved unable to support a new feature. A similar story has played out with a number of system calls: a feature is needed that doesn't fit into the existing interfaces, so a new one is created — again. At the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference, Christian Brauner and Aleksa Sarai ran a pair of sessions focused on the creation of future-proof system calls that can be extended when the need for new features arises.

        Brauner started by noting that the problem of system-call extensibility has been discussed repeatedly on the mailing lists. The same arguments tend to come up for each new system call. Usually, developers try to follow one of two patterns: a full-blown multiplexer that handles multiple functions behind a single system call, or creating a range of new, single-purpose system calls. We have burned ourselves and user space with both, he said. There are no good guidelines to follow; it would be better to establish some conventions and come to an agreement on how future kernel APIs should be designed.

        The requirements for system calls should be stronger, and they should be well documented. There should be a minimal level of extensibility built into every new call, so that there is never again a need to create a renameat2(). The baseline, he said, is a flags argument; that convention is arguably observed for new system calls today. This led to a brief side discussion on why the type of the flags parameter should be unsigned int; in short, signed types can be sign extended, possibly leading to the setting of a lot of unintended flags.

        Sarai took over to discuss the various ways that exist now to deal with system-call extensions. One of those is to add a new system call, which works, but it puts a big burden on user-space code, which must change to make use of this call. That includes checking to see whether the new call is supported at all on the current system and falling back to some other solution in its absence. The other extreme, he said, is multiplexers, which have significant problems of their own.

      • Lua in the kernel?

        BPF is, of course, the language used for network (and other) customization in the Linux kernel, but some people have been using the Lua language for the networking side of that equation. Two developers from Ring-0 Networks, Lourival Vieira Neto and Victor Nogueira, came to the virtual Netdev 0x14 to present that work. It consists of a framework to allow the injection of Lua scripts into the running kernel as well as two projects aimed at routers, one of which is deployed on 20 million devices.

        Neto introduced the talk by saying that it was also based on work from Ana Lúcia de Moura and Roberto Ierusalimschy of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), which is the home organization of the Lua language. They have been working on kernel scripting since 2008, Neto said, developing the Lunatik framework for Linux. It allows kernel developers to make their subsystems scriptable with Lua and also allows users to load and run their Lua scripts in the kernel.

      • OpenZFS 2.0-RC2 Released With Dozens Of Fixes

        Nearly one month ago OpenZFS 2.0 saw its first release candidate while now it's been succeeded by another test candidate in time for some weekend exposure.

        OpenZFS 2.0 is a huge update for this open-source ZFS file-system implementation in that it mainlines FreeBSD support alongside Linux, there is Zstd compression support, many performance optimizations, fast clone deletion, sequential resilvering, and a lot of other improvements and new features.

      • New /dev/random Implementation Hits 35th Revision

        Going on for more than four years now has been creating a new /dev/random implementation and this Friday marks the 35th revision to this big set of patches that aim for better performance and security.

        The code has been through many changes over the years for this new "Linux Random Number Generator" (LRNG).

      • Linux 5.10 To Support AMD SME Hardware-Enforced Cache Coherency

        Linux 5.10 is set to support a new feature of AMD Secure Memory Encryption (SME) as part of the Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV).

      • Linux 5.9 To Allow Controlling Page Lock Unfairness In Addressing Performance Regression

        Following the Linux 5.0 to 5.9 kernel benchmarks on AMD EPYC and it showing the in-development Linux 5.9 kernel regressing in some workloads, bisecting that issue, and that bringing up the issue of the performance regression over page lock fairness a solution for Linux 5.9 has now landed.


        Long-term Linus Torvalds and other upstream developers will be looking at further improving the page lock behavior, but merged today for Linux 5.9 was a short-term solution. The change is allowing a controlled amount of unfairness in the page lock.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

          Most GPU drivers found in Arm processors are known to be closed-source making it difficult and time-consuming to fix some of the bugs since everybody needs to rely on the silicon vendor to fix those for them, and they may even decide a particular bug is not important to them, so you’d be out of luck.

          So the developer community has long tried to reverse-engineer GPU drivers with projects like Freedreno (Qualcomm Adreno), Etnaviv (Vivante), as well as Lima and Panfrost for Arm Mali GPUs. Several years ago, Arm management was not interested at all collaborating with open-source GPU driver development for Mali GPUs, but as noted by Phoronix, Alyssa Rosenzweig, a graphics software engineer employed by Collabora, explained Panfrost development was now done in partnership with Arm during a talk at the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference (XDC 2020).

        • Taiwins 0.2 is out
          Hi all,

          A long while ago [1]. I introduced the Taiwins wayland compositor. It was built upon libweston. It turned out despite my attempts, I couldn't get my patches to merge in libweston. Libweston has quite a few bugs and missing features to fit the role of a daily driver.

          These past few months, Taiwins was going through a long refactoring process in migrating from libweston. Today, taiwins uses a very thin layer of wlroots for hardware abstraction, the next release will target on removing the reliance of wlroots as well. Today it has the features of:

          - dynamic window management. - extensible and easy configuration through lua. - very efficient GL renderer, updates only the damages. - a widget system and you can create widgets through lua as well. - built-in shell and application launcher. - configurable theme. - emacs-like key sequence based binding system. - built-in profiler and rendering debugger.

          Along the way, I developed Twobjects [2], a backend agnostic wayland object implementation for compositors. This library implements basic wayland protocols as well as various other wayland protocols like 'xdg-shell' and many more. Using twobjects, you can focus on building your own unique features for the compositor and let it handle the most tedious protocol implementations.It doesn't expose everything as `wl_signals` like wlroots does, so you don't need to write additional glue code for it.

          Taiwins is still in development but missing features are getting less and less, you can check out its website or if you would like to help, check out the project page for getting started.

          Thanks, Xichen

        • Taiwins 0.2 Released As Modular Wayland Compositor That Supports Lua Scripting

          Back in May the Taiwins Wayland compositor was announced as a compact compositor based on Libweston while Thursday marked its second release.

          With Taiwins 0.2 the switch was made from using libweston as a basis for the compositor to now using Sway's WLROOTS library. Libweston was dropped over open bugs and other issues and in part the ability to get patches easily merged back into upstream libweston. So with the shortcomings of the Weston library, Taiwins 0.2 is now running on WLROOTS. However, by the next release they hope to have their thin layer over WLROOTS removed so that library isn't needed either.

        • Etnaviv Gallium3D Adds On-Disk Shader Cache Support

          Etnaviv as the open-source, reverse-engineered OpenGL graphics driver for Vivante graphics IP now has support for an on-disk shader cache.

        • V3DV Developers Lay Out Plans For Upstreaming The Raspberry Pi 4 Vulkan Driver In Mesa

          Building off the V3DV driver talk at XDC2020 about this open-source Vulkan driver for the Raspberry Pi 4 driver, the Igalia developers responsible for this creation have laid out their plans on getting this driver upstream within Mesa.

          In a mailing list post today they note they are down to just 18 test cases failing for the Vulkan CTS while 106,776 tests are passing for this Vulkan Conformance Test Suite. Vulkan games like the respun versions of Quake 1-3 and OpenArena are working along with various game emulators. Various Vulkan demos also run well too.

        • Libre-SOC Still Persevering To Be A Hybrid CPU/GPU That's 100% Open-Source

          The project that started off as Libre-RISC-V with aims to be a Vulkan accelerator but then decided on the OpenPOWER ISA rather than RISC-V is still moving ahead under the "Libre-SOC" branding.

          Libre-SOC continues to be led by Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton and this week he presented both at the OpenPOWER Summit and X.Org Developers' Conference (XDC2020) on his Libre-SOC dreams of having a 100% fully open SoC on both the software and hardware sides while being a hybrid CPU/GPU. Similar to the original plans when targeting RISC-V that it would effectively be a SoC but with new vector instructions optimized for graphics workloads, that's still the plan albeit now using OpenPOWER as a base.

        • X.Org Is Getting Their Cloud / Continuous Integration Costs Under Control

          You may recall from earlier this year that the X.Org/ cloud costs were growing out of control primarily due to their continuous integration setup. They were seeking sponsorships to help out with these costs but ultimately they've attracted new sponsors while also better configuring/optimizing their CI configuration in order to get those costs back at more manageable levels.

        • Intel Submits More Graphics Driver Updates For Linux 5.10

          Building off their earlier Intel graphics driver pull request of new material queuing ahead of the Linux 5.10 cycle, another round of updates were submitted on Friday.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Long Week

          Once again, I ended up not blogging for most of the week. When this happens, there’s one of two possibilities: I’m either taking a break or I’m so deep into some code that I’ve forgotten about everything else in my life including sleep.

          This time was the latter. I delved into the deepest parts of zink and discovered that the driver is, in fact, functioning only through a combination of sheer luck and a truly unbelievable amount of driver stalls that provide enough forced synchronization and slow things down enough that we don’t explode into a flaming mess every other frame.


          I’ve fixed all of the crazy things I found, and, in the process, made some sizable performance gains that I’m planning to spend a while blogging about in considerable depth next week.

          And when I say sizable, I’m talking in the range of 50-100% fps gains.

        • Watch the ACO shader compiler and Vulkan Ray Tracing talks from XDC 2020

          With XDC 2020 (X.Org Developers Conference) in full swing, we've been going over the various presentations to gather some interesting bits for you. Here's more on the ACO shader compiler and Vulkan Ray Tracing.

          You can find more info on XDC 2020 in the previous article, and be sure not to miss our round-up of Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais talk about Gamescope.

          More talks were done across yesterday, with the first one we're mentioning here being from Timur Kristóf who is currently a contractor for Valve who talked about ACO (the newer Mesa shader compiler for AMD graphics). The idea behind ACO which Valve announced back in 2019, for those not aware, is to give a smoother Linux gaming experience with less (or no) stuttering with Vulkan with faster compile times for shaders. Kristóf goes over lots of intricate details from being in the experimental stages to eventually the default in Mesa with it now having support across 5 different generations of AMD GPUs.

    • Applications

      • Best Free and Open Source Linux Guitar Tools

        There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar (Spanish guitar/nylon-string guitar), the steel-string acoustic guitar and the archtop guitar, which is sometimes called a “jazz guitar”.

        Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker. Like acoustic guitars, there are various types of electric guitars including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars (used in jazz guitar, blues and rockabilly) and solid-body guitars.

      • 10 Useful Alternatives to the Top Utility

        The top utility will need little introduction to seasoned Linux users. top is a small utility that offers a dynamic real-time view of a running system.

        It allows users to monitor the processes that are running on a system. top has two main sections, with the first showing general system information such as the amount of time the system has been up, load averages, the number of running and sleeping tasks, as well as information on memory and swap usage.

        The second main section displays an ordered list of processes and their process ID number, the user who owns the process, the amount of resources the process is consuming (processor and memory), as well as the running time of that process.

        Some versions of top offer extensive customization of the display, such as choice of columns or sorting method.

      • Todoist is Now Available on GNU/Linux

        FossMint has a good list of unique-style quality organization applications with titles such as Copyu, Takswarrior, and Zenkit ToDo but there is one app that has been far away from the reach of Linux users and we are excited to announce that it is finally available for users across the GNU/Linux platform.

        Todoist is a task and project management app designed to enable users to reliably keep track of their tasks as well as to arrange, analyze, plan, and collaborate on projects in an easy manner.

        Until the company released an electron wrapper version that can run on Linux platforms, Todoist was not available to most of the open-source enthusiasts. The good thing is that now that it is available as an Electron app, so are all the features! What is also cool is its ability to work offline so users can take it wherever they go in their pockets or rucksacks.

        As a freemium productivity app, you will find working Todoist a breeze because of its sleek ad and clutter-free UI. The free plan allows as many as up to 5 people per project for a total of 8 projects.

      • Terminal Image Viewer – display images in a terminal

        One of our favorite adages is “A picture is worth a thousand words”. It refers to the notion that a still image can convey a complex idea. Images can portray a lot of information quickly and more efficiently than text. They capture memories, and never let you forget something you want to remember, and refresh it in your memory.

        Images are part of every day internet usage, and are particularly important for social media engagement. A good image viewer is an essential part of any operating system.

        Terminal Image Viewer is different from the majority of image viewers. It’s a tiny C++ program (under 650 lines of code) that displays images in a terminal by outputting RGB ANSI codes and Unicode block graphic characters.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Can You Build a Gaming PC for $500?

        Of course, you don't have to use Windows -- Linux-based operating systems are free and many support a large library of games. Ubuntu is very popular, it's easy to set up, and well supported. Another alternative to consider is Valve's SteamOS. However, unlike Ubuntu, it's not as simple to install and its sole focus is playing games through Steam. It is free, of course, and that alone makes it worth considering.

      • Comedy point and click adventure Plot of the Druid to get a demo in October

        Plot of the Druid is an upcoming fantasy comedy point and click adventure, it's coming with Linux support and they're going to be putting out a demo on October 15.

        "Harness the power of nature to solve problems. Avoid awkward social situations by turning into a small furry creature. Befriend wood spirits that are very reclusive, especially when they have hangovers. Crash a radical party by the Druids Against Nature. Rescue a beautiful princess from a nasty bladder infection. And all while you’re trying to finish school. Which better happen soon, because an insanely dangerous tournament is about to start. No one’s ever won the tournament, but who cares when you’re a powerful druid, right?"

        Looks like it could be another good one, currently in development by Adventure4Life Studios who worked on the fan-made remaster of Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis, which ended up being shut down by Lucasfilm. Plot of the Druid uses high-definition hand-painted drawings that capture the feel of old-school pixel art, mixed with plenty of sarcastic humour found in the classics.

      • Faraway: Director's Cut getting a launch delay to be 'bigger and better'

        Faraway: Director's Cut, the upcoming PC release of the very popular mobile game was originally due next week but they're no longer setting a date.

        A promising looking game, with some fun puzzles but it wasn't enough time for Pine Studio. In a fresh announcement on Steam, they mentioned how it's going to be their first self-published game and so they have full control of the release so they 'want to do it right'. As for why such a sudden delay so close to release, this was due to an 'exceptional' closed-beta test with lots of feedback they want to consider.

      • Northgard hits 2 million copies sold, Clan of the Lynx DLC is out now

        After recently announcing an impressive 2 million copies sold milestone, Shiro Games have released the Clan of the Lynx DLC for their strategy game Northgard.

        "Led by Mielikki, the Beastmaster, and her lynx companions, Brundr and Kaelinn, Northgard's newest force excels at hunting more so than open warfare. Prowl through dense forests, stalking animals and mythological creatures, and return victorious with Hunting Trophies to unlock powerful abilities for the fearsome felines."

      • Want to play Soldat 2? We have some copies to give away

        The classic side-scrolling multiplayer action platformer shall return in Soldat 2 on September 22, so we've teamed up with Transhuman Design to offer a few copies to GOL readers.

        Soldat 2 is a 2.5D shooter directly based on the original, with an aim to create a more modern version with lots of enhanced content. This includes customization, modding with Steam Workshop support, randomly generated levels, custom game rules and modes, new weapons, vehicles and so much more. Developed by Michal "MM" Marcinkowski - creator of the original.

      • Helheim Hassle is a seriously funny adventure puzzle-platforming mix

        What could take the crown for the funniest Linux game this year, Helheim Hassle released earlier in August and it's a genuine delight to play through. Note: key provided by the developer after the release.

        Created by Perfectly Paranormal, the same developers who made Manual Samuel, with Helheim Hassle taking place in some weird shared universe they created. You are Bjørn, a pacifist viking who runs away from battle surrounded by those who thirst for a good fight but you end up dying and go to Valhalla.

      • Add throwing mechanics to your Python game

        My previous article was meant to be the final article in this series, and it encouraged you to go program your own additions to this game. Many of you did! I got emails asking for help with a common mechanic that I hadn't yet covered: combat. After all, jumping to avoid baddies is one thing, but sometimes it's awfully satisfying to just make them go away. It's common in video games to throw something at your enemies, whether it's a ball of fire, an arrow, a bolt of lightning, or whatever else fits the game.

        Unlike anything you have programmed for your platformer game in this series so far, throwable items have a time to live. Once you throw an object, it's expected to travel some distance and then disappear. If it's an arrow or something like that, it may disappear when it passes the edge of the screen. If it's a fireball or a bolt of lightning, it might fizzle out after some amount of time.

        That means each time a throwable item is spawned, a unique measure of its lifespan must also be spawned. To introduce this concept, this article demonstrates how to throw only one item at a time. (In other words, only one throwable item may exist at a time.) On the one hand, this is a game limitation, but on the other hand, it is a game mechanic in itself. Your player won't be able to throw 50 fireballs at once, since you only allow one at a time, so it becomes a challenge for your player to time when they release a fireball to try to hit an enemy. And behind the scenes, this also keeps your code simple.

        If you want to enable more throwable items at once, challenge yourself after you finish this tutorial by building on the knowledge you gain.

      • The first Life is Strange 2 episode is now permanently free

        Have you been on the fence about picking up Life is Strange 2? Well, now you have a much better chance to take a look at it. DONTNOD Entertainment have now made the entire first episode permanently free to grab.

        "After a tragic incident, brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz run away from home. Fearing the police, and dealing with Daniel's newly manifested telekinetic power – the power to move objects with your mind – the boys decide to travel to their father's hometown of Puerto Lobos in Mexico for safety."

        youtube video thumbnail

      • C-Dogs SDL, the classic run and gun game has a new release

        C-Dogs SDL is something of a classic. A free and open source overhead run-and-gun game that continues being updated and a fresh release is out now.

        What is it? C-Dogs is the followup to Cyberdogs, a classic from back in 1994 that ended up being really popular. Originally created by Ronny Wester as a freeware DOS game back in 1997, it was later open sourced and now it continues on with it using SDL for more modern platform support.

        The new C-Dogs SDL 0.9.0 release is a major upgrade, which brings with it a complete Doom campaign filled with secret levels, ammo/health pickups and persistent guns.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Beta is out and it's huge

          While GNOME recently had their own big release, the KDE team aren't far behind for showing off their latest modern Linux desktop environment with Plasma 5.20 Beta.

          Lots of work went into the look and feel of this release with one of the major changes here is the move to using an Icon-Only task manager by default, plus the panel is slightly thicker. So instead of seeing window / application names, you get a tidy bar full of icons. Do popups annoy you? They get on my nerves and thankfully the KDE team are looking to improve that too. On-screen displays for things like changing volume and brightness (just examples) have been redesigned to be less obtrusive — hooray.

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Looks Like an Awesome Update

          KDE developers are promising an ‘absolutely massive’ Plasma 5.20 release next month, so in this post we take a look what makes it such a major upgrade.

          With the final stable KDE Plasma 5.20 release date is set for October 13, 2020 the KDE Plasma 5.20 beta is out for testing. It’s this development milestone that gives us our first proper look at what devs have planned for this desktop environment.

          Do keep in mind that development is still underway and it’s possible that some of what’s featured here gets held back or tweaked before October.

          If a notable change or improvement you know about isn’t in this list then let me know about it in the comments section below and I’ll try to add it in.

        • Submit a KSyntaxHighlighting Color Theme

          The KSyntaxHighlighting framework provides support for color themes.

          These color themes specify all colors (text/background/selection/…) and font style roles (italic/bold/…) that are used for the highlighting. The definition happens in some easy to understand JSON file format.

          Starting with the upcoming KDE Frameworks 5.75 release, all KTextEditor framework based application will support these color themes for their embedded editors.

          This includes Kate & KWrite, but naturally a lot more, like for example KDevelop, Kile and RKWard.


          With the recent additions we already cover some more well known text editor color themes. But if you just search a bit around the internet or look what other text editors ship per default, we still lack a lot of well known ones.

          For example even our GitLab instance provides the Monokai theme in the configuration for its web highlighting that we still lack.

          Therefore, we are eager to get submissions for more MIT licensed color themes we can bundle with KSyntaxHighlighting.

          All users of applications using this framework will enjoy to be able to choose between more themes with ease if you help us!

          Therefore, take the chance and help us out, provide some more themes as merge request.

          License must be MIT, this seems to be no problem for most themes out there, at least it seems most of the ones I stumbled over are MIT licensed.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • The 10 Best New Features in GNOME 3.38

          Gnome 3.38 is released. This new version with the codename “Orbis” brings along a lot more new features and improvements. This post will look at some of these features that you should expect. Even though this powerful Desktop Environment includes all the features we will look at, their availability may differ from one distribution to another.

          The downstream packaging process mainly causes that. Some of these features might be renamed, relocated, or omitted for later versions of the particular distro.

          Since Ubuntu 20.04 is an LTS release, you can’t install the Gnome 3.38 here. If you are in dire need to test this new release, you can download the ISO file for GNOME 3.38 BETA and use it as a virtual machine. Alternatively, you can wait for the release of Ubuntu 20.10 in October as it is meant to ship with this new GNOME release.

    • Distributions

      • 4 Best Lightweight Linux Distros to install on USB Drive for Portable OS

        Well, it doesn’t mean the only scenario one requires one of the best Live USB bootable Linux distros when he or she needs to use the computer that is not trustable. There are other situations as well, such as your current system is running Windows and you don’t want to have dual boot on your system, and still want to try out Linux? Then use the USB running Linux system.

        One of the main reasons that make Linux Distro an extremely portable operating system is the low consumption of RAM, depending upon the OS version or GUI, and support to run in a Live environment. This also beneficial for testing, preparing, backing up, or handling drive of the system that are crashed somehow… Furthermore, the machine without a hard disk can also be used with USB drive Linux OS

        Although we can install any Linux distro on a USB drive, however, here we will show the best open-source Linux distributions that are light in weight, consume less RAM, and other hardware resources to become a perfect portable OS option for Pen drives.

      • Deepin 20 Review: The Gorgeous Linux Distro Becomes Even More Beautiful (and Featureful)

        Deepin is already a beautiful Linux distribution. Deepin version 20 puts in a different league altogether with all those visual and feature improvements.

      • Kali Linux: Win-KeX Version 2.0

        We have been humbled by the amazing response to our recent launch of Win-KeX. After its initial release, we asked ourselves if that is truly the limit of what we can achieve or could we pull off something incredible to mark the 25th anniversary of Hackers? What about “a second concurrent session as root”, “seamless desktop integration with Windows”, or – dare we dream – “sound”?

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD Instant-workstation 2020

          A little over a year ago I published an instant-workstation script for FreeBSD. The idea is to have an installed FreeBSD system, then run a shell script that uses only base-system utilities and installs and configures a workstation setup for you.


          The script is updated intermittently when new PRs come in, or when I have to reinstall a machine and things do not behave the way I think they should. If you want a quick live KDE Plasma experience with FreeBSD, head on over to FuryBSD which does live ISO images with a variety of environments.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/38

          An average week, with an average number of 5 snapshots (0910, 0914, 0915, 0916, and 0917 – with 0917 just being synced out). The content of these snapshots included:

          KDE Applications 20.08.1 Qt 5.15.1 PackageKit 1.2.1 Systemd 246.4 Virt-Manager 3.0.0

      • Arch Family

        • PinePhone CE With Manjaro Linux ARM Now Available For Pre-order
          PINE64 announced its next PinePhone Manjaro Community Edition (CE) last month and today it is available for pre-order. The new PinePhone CE features Arch Linux ARM-based Manjaro Linux ARM by default for the first time.

          If you want to place an order right now, go to the official PINE Store. However, at the time of writing, PinePhone maker PINE64 has not made any official announcement yet.

        • PinePhone Manjaro Edition Pre-Orders Go Live

          The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here, you can now pre-order the PinePhone Manjaro Edition Linux phone from PINE64’s online store for as low as $149 USD for the 2GB RAM model or $199 USD for the so-called Convergence Package variant, which comes with 3GB RAM and a USB-C dock to turn the phone into a PC when connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

          The PinePhone Manjaro Community Edition was announced last month. It comes pre-installed with Manjaro Linux ARM, which is based on the Arch Linux ARM operating system. Three variants of Manjaro Linux ARM for PinePhone are available for you to try with UBports’ Lomiri, Purism’s Phosh or KDE’s Plasma Mobile.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat Named a Leader by Independent Research Firm in Multicloud Container Development Platforms Evaluation

          Red Hat was evaluated for The Forrester Waveâ„¢ based on 29 criteria across three categories: Current Offering, Strategy and Market Presence. Red Hat OpenShift received the highest scores among evaluated products in each of these categories, with the maximum possible score in both the Strategy and Market Presence categories.

          According to Forrester’s evaluation, "OpenShift is the most widely deployed multicloud container platform and boasts powerful development and unified operations experiences across many public and on-premises platforms. Red Hat pioneered the ‘operator’ model for infrastructure and application management and provides a rich partner ecosystem and popular marketplace. Red Hat and IBM aim to make ‘build once, deploy anywhere’ a reality; both companies’ deep commitment to Kubernetes-powered modernization has paid off, moving OpenShift further ahead of the market since Forrester’s last evaluation."

        • In the Clouds with Red Hat Leadership: Joe Fernandes

          Red Hat’s senior leadership is having to execute at an ever-increasing pace. This episode of In the Clouds provides host Chris Short inviting thoughtful and candid discussions with the one and only Joe Fernandes, VP & GM Core Cloud Platforms.

        • IBM Publishes Quantum Computing Roadmap

          IBM has published a roadmap for the future of its quantum computing hardware, which indicates that the company is on its way to building a quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits—and somewhere between 10 and 50 logical qubits—by the end of 2023.

          IBM’s Dario Gil believes that 2023 will be an inflection point in the industry, with the road to the 1,121-qubit machine driving improvements across the stack.

        • How emotionally intelligent leaders handle 6 difficult situations during the pandemic

          Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has always been an important component of effective leadership. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has both heightened the awareness of EQ in the workplace and also tested it. What’s more, the pandemic is just one of multiple stressors IT leaders and their employees may be dealing with right now. There’s also a divisive upcoming election. High levels of unemployment. Civil unrest. Any of a number of natural disasters. And then the normal day-to-day stress of work.

          “Essentially, when we are tired, or sick, or stressed, we don’t have the same ability to manage our reactions. So we might not react in a way that’s consistent with who we want to be as a leader, manager, or team player. Right now, we’re dealing with a lot of different stressors at once,” says Janele Lynn, owner of the Lynn Leadership Group, who helps leaders build trusting relationships through emotional intelligence.

        • Justin W. Flory: A reflection: Gabriele Trombini (mailga)

          Two years passed since we last met in Bolzano. I remember you traveled in for a day to join the 2018 Fedora Mindshare FAD. You came many hours from your home to see us, and share your experiences and wisdom from both the global and Italian Fedora Community. And this week, I learned that you, Gabriele Trombini, passed away from a heart attack. To act like the news didn’t affect me denies my humanity. In 2020, a year that feels like it has taken away so much already, we are greeted by another heart-breaking loss.

          But to succumb to the despair and sadness of this year would deny the warm, happy memories we shared together. We shared goals of supporting the Fedora Project but also learning from each other.

          So, this post is a brief reflection of your life as I knew you. A final celebration of the great memories we shared together, that I only wish I could have shared with you while you were still here.

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.23RC1 and 7.4.11RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.11RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32-33 or remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 31 and Enterprise Linux 7-8.

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.23RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 31 or remi-php73-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Man-DB Brings Documentation to IBM i

          IBM i developers who have a question about how a particular command or feature works in open source packages now have an easy way to look up documentations, thanks to the addition of support for the Man-DB utility in IBM i, which IBM unveiled in late July.

          Man-DB is an open source implementation of the standard Unix documentation system. It provides a mechanism for easily accessing the documentation that exists for open source packages, such as the Node.js language, or even for commands, like Curl.

          The software, which can be installed via YUM, only works with open source software on IBM i at the moment; it doesn’t support native programs or commands.

        • Open Mainframe Project Announces Record Growth with the Launch of Four New Projects, a COBOL Working Group and Micro Focus as a New Member
        • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 228

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from Cockpit version 228.

        • Managing the security of your Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment with Red Hat Insights

          When it comes to managing security risks, enterprises face an increasing number of challenges. One of these challenges is managing the security health of the IT infrastructure and this is a critical, ongoing, constantly evolving need. As an enterprise, managing the security risks on your infrastructure without any disruption to the business has become a critical exercise.

          The security of your infrastructure is no longer a concern only for the security roles in your organization. Security topics are repeatedly brought up in the C-suite and in board discussions. When the stakes are high and the health or your business depends on it, you need to have a game plan to stay ahead of these risks while keeping the operational costs in check.

        • Supporting the touchless banking customer experience

          In this new-experience economy, banks are going to need to not only meet, but exceed customer expectations. What are financial institutions going to do to ensure that their customers can have the experience that they desire while feeling safe when visiting a branch, interacting with an advisor, or conducting routine and complex financial transactions?

          Supporting the touchless customer experience will require the right amount of technology and acceptable in-person interactions to ensure that the financial institution is providing the necessary level of empathy while ensuring that the customers and employees remain safe. While handshakes will need to be put on hold, there are ways banks can safely engage with customers from the time that they enter the branch or reach out through digital channels.

        • Kubeflow 1.0 monitoring and enhanced JupyterHub builds in Open Data Hub 0.8

          The new Open Data Hub version 0.8 (ODH) release includes many new features, continuous integration (CI) additions, and documentation updates. For this release, we focused on enhancing JupyterHub image builds, enabling more mixing of Open Data Hub and Kubeflow components, and designing our comprehensive end-to-end continuous integration and continuous deployment and delivery (CI/CD) process. In this article, we introduce the highlights of this newest release.


          In an effort to allow data scientists to turn their notebooks into Argo Workflows or Kubeflow pipelines, we’ve added an exciting new tool called Elyra to Open Data Hub 0.8. The process of converting all of the work that a data scientist has created in notebooks to a production-level pipeline is cumbersome and usually manual. Elyra lets you execute this process from the JupyterLab portal with just a few clicks. As shown in Figure 1, Elyra is now included in a JupyterHub notebook image.


          As part of our effort to make Kubeflow and Open Data Hub components interchangeable, we’ve added monitoring capabilities to Kubeflow. With ODH 0.8, users can add Prometheus and Grafana for Kubeflow component monitoring. Currently, not all Kubeflow components support a Prometheus endpoint. We did turn on the Prometheus endpoint in Argo, and we’ve provided the example dashboard shown in Figure 3, which lets users monitor their pipelines.

        • Call for Code Daily: regional finalists, problem solvers, and Kode With Klossy

          The power of Call for Code€® is in the global community that we have built around this major #TechforGood initiative. Whether it is the deployments that are underway across pivotal projects, developers leveraging the starter kits in the cloud, or ecosystem partners joining the fight, everyone has a story to tell. Call for Code Daily highlights all the amazing #TechforGood stories taking place around the world. Every day, you can count on us to share these stories with you. Check out the stories from the week of September 14.


          In precarious times like the ones we are dealing with right now, it’s important to recognize that everyone is feeling the repercussions. While COVID-19 impacted corporations, schools, and retailers at scale, it also impacted young children around the world who are adjusting to their new normal. In an effort to engage this community and provide an outlet to relieve stress and anxiety for those that fall into this category, the TravelQuest team, comprised of Kode With Klossy Scholars, developed an app that blends gamification with educational entertainment to boost the emotional states for all its users.

        • Why go with agile integration?

          You probably have heard about agile integrations, and you may wonder why should you adopt it anyways? Well, technology today is becoming smarter than ever. This is the time to not only trust the technology, but also to rethink of how you can modernize your applications in a distributed, hybrid and multicloud world.

          Data is growing dramatically over the years, and enterprises are challenged to derive rich insights and knowledge from the huge amounts of data. However, enterprises face many challenges and bottlenecks when connecting various systems or applications within heterogeneous environments, due to portability and interoperability limitations. In addition, there is an increasing demand for continuous integration and continuous delivery and continuous deployment (CI/CD). Businesses today acquire the agility and rapid response to changing business demands in a continuous manner. In such scenarios, a centralized traditional integration might not be the best idea. Comparatively, an agile integration perfectly fits and helps to reduce the costs and increase the speed, and additionally allows a room of innovation.

        • Q&A: Unleashing the Beast—Bringing Linux to IBM Z

          Bringing Linux to IBM Z was an important moment in IBM’s history. What was it like to start your career at such an exciting moment?

          Betzler: When I started at IBM, we were looking at green screens—quite different from the IBM Z user experience today. But what I really saw behind the screen was the potential to innovate. How could I get more access to this amazing computer? How could we unleash the beast of Linux on Z?

          Adlung: We knew there was a need for a smart way to bring Unix back to the mainframe. The answer was open source and Boas proposed using Linux for it—and I was ready to be among the first to attempt it.

          Betzler: I knew if we could get Java onto the mainframe, we needed an operating system. If we could use open and modern technology and code that was available as open source, I knew we could innovate. We started on what was supposed to be a fun project. But it quickly turned into an overnight and weekend activity.

          Adlung: People often asked us “Why are you doing this?” And 20 years earlier I’d always say, “because we can.”

          We had a vision—not just programming for the sake of programming. We wanted to bring the Linux experience to the mainframe, which implied embracing open source programming, which was unheard at that time. And with a spirited team working at 3 a.m. in our spare time, we had the potential to go from a skunkworks project to a strategic imperative for the company. We were pushing the envelope at every turn.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth makes peace with Ubuntu Linux community

          Of the three major Linux companies, Canonical, Red Hat, and SUSE, two have separate community Linux distros: Red Hat with Fedora, and SUSE with openSUSE. While in both cases these distros are closely tied with their corporate releases, their community of fans and developers have a say in their direction. With Canonical, though, and Ubuntu Linux, there's only the one distribution.

        • Call for Ubuntu Community Council nominations

          As you may have noticed, the Ubuntu Community Council has been vacant for a while. Happily, a decision has recently been made to repopulate it. Thus, this official announcement for nominations.

          We will be filling all seven seats this term, with terms lasting two years. To be eligible, a nominee must be an Ubuntu Member. Ideally, they should have a vast understanding of the Ubuntu community, be well-organized, and be a natural leader.

          The work of the Community Council, as it stands, is to uphold the Code of Conduct throughout the community, ensure that all the other leadership boards and council are running smoothly, and to ensure the general health of the community, including not only supporting contributors but also stepping in for dispute resolution, as needed.

          Historically, there would be two meetings per month, so the nominee should be willing to commit, at minimum, to that particular time requirement. Additionally, as needs arise, other communication, most often by email, will happen. The input of the entire Council is essential for swift and appropriate actions to get enacted, so participation in these conversations should be expected.

        • Linux Mint Cinnamon Vs. MATE: which one to choose?

          Linux Mint is by far one of the most popular Linux distros on the market, especially among Windows users who are jumping into the Linux bandwagon. This is mostly because Linux Mint comes with a familiar desktop environment that resembles the classic Windows desktop. It offers tons of quality of life features, making it very user-friendly for users who have never tried Linux before.

          Since Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, you get access to the largest Linux community to help you out with all your problems and issues.

          With that being said, when you got to download the Linux Mint ISO, you will be presented with three desktop environments to choose from.

        • The Expandables – snapcraft extensions and the secret code

          If you’re a snap developer, you know that snap development is terribly easy. Or rather complex and difficult. Depending on your application code and requirements, it can take a lot of effort putting together the snapcraft.yaml file from which you will build your snap. One of our goals is to make snap development practically easier and more predictable for everyone. To that end, we created a framework of snap extensions, designed to make the snap journey simpler and more fun.

          In a nutshell, extensions abstract away a range of common code declarations you would normally put in your snapcraft.yaml file. They help developers avoid repetitive tasks, reduce the knowledge barrier needed to successfully build snaps, offer a common template for application builds, and most importantly, save time and effort. But what if you want – or need – to know what is behind the abstraction?

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Software Freedom Day 2020: Software Freedom is More Important than Ever

        “For more than a century we’ve seen examples of how sharing, making ideas, products and projects available to modify, expand and rework has resulted in better technology”

        Open source and Free Software are now synonymous with the software industry, which is still a relatively new area of computing, all things considered, writes Jan Wildeboer, EMEA open source evangelist, Red Hat. However, the earliest known “open source” initiative dates back to 1911 when Henry Ford launched a group that saw US car manufacturers sharing technology openly, without monetary benefit. Similarly, in the 1950s Volvo decided to keep the design patent open for its three-point seatbelt for other car manufacturers to use for free.

        In universities, in big companies and public organisations, sharing software was the norm. Computers were very expensive, specialised and the majority of software was developed more or less from scratch to solve specific issues. Over the years, computers became more ubiquitous and standardised, so software could be separated from the hardware. This gave way to pure software companies that decided they needed to protect their source code of their products. Proprietary software became the norm.

      • 10 Best Open-source Self-hosted Collaborative Text Editors Alternative to Google Docs

        Collaborative writing is a term referred to team and group of writers involving in writing and editing the same document or writing project.

        The project can be an essay, a technical documentation, a book or a research paper.

        When groups and teams members join together in a writing project, They often face the challenge of choosing a tool.

        Are you a researcher, book writer or a novelist? Maybe you are a technical writer or a software developer who works with a team. It's essential for you and your team to choose the right tool for the job. So according to your use-case what's your best option? That's what we are trying to answer in this article.

      • Parsing PAN-OS logs using syslog-ng

        Version 3.29 of syslog-ng was released recently including a user-contributed feature: the panos-parser(). It is parsing log messages from PAN-OS (Palo Alto Networks Operating System). Unlike some other networking devices, the message headers of PAN-OS syslog messages are standards-compliant. However, if you want to act on your messages (filtering, alerting), you still need to parse the message part. The panos-parser() helps you create name-value pairs from the message part of the logs.

        From this blog you can learn why it is useful to parse PAN-OS log messages and how to use the panos-parser().

      • Intel Releases HAXM 7.6.5 Execution Manager

        Intel has debuted a new version of HAXM, its Hardware-Accelerated Execution Manager that serves as an accelerator for the Android Emulator and QEMU via Intel VT enabled CPUs.

      • Update devices remotely with this open source tool

        The ability to access, connect, and manage multiple devices remotely through a single account is important. Going a step further, being able to completely update devices remotely is another way for sysadmins to reduce effort and minimize headaches.

        UpdateHub is an open source solution that allows you to do complete device updates, including firmware and bootloaders, remotely. Its goal is to make it easier to do device updates and reduce rework and risk, whether you're updating thousands of devices or managing small deployments. UpdateHub handles all aspects of over-the-air (OTA) updates, including package integrity and authenticity, while you take care of your other work.

      • Daniel Stenberg: My first 15,000 curl commits

        I’ve long maintained that persistence is one of the main qualities you need in order to succeed with your (software) project. In order to manage to ship a product that truly conquers the world. By continuously and never-ending keeping at it: polishing away flaws and adding good features. On and on and on.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird implements PGP crypto feature requested 21 years ago

            Mozilla's mail reader Thunderbird has implemented a feature first requested 21 years ago.

            The somewhat garbled request – "I'd appreciate a plugin for PGP to ede and encrypt PGP crypted messages directly in Mozilla" [sic] – appears to have gone unimplemented due to concerns about US laws that bar export of encryption, debate about whether PGP was the right way to do crypto, and other matters besides.

            Thunderbird eventually chose to use Enigmail and its implementation of OpenPGP public key email encryption. However, it was an add-on rather than integrated. Commenters in the Bugzilla thread stemming from the request kept the dream of an integrated solution alive, though.

            Then in October 2019, the Thunderbird blog announced that Thunderbird 78 "will add built-in functionality for email encryption and digital signatures using the OpenPGP standard."

            Thunderbird 78 emerged in July 2020, and late in August Thunderbird contributor Kai Engert (:KaiE:) posted: "We have released support for OpenPGP email in Thunderbird version 78.2.1. Marking fixed."

          • Upcoming US Holidays (for Mike Taylor)

            This is my last full week at Mozilla, with my last day being Monday, September 21. It’s been just over 7 years since I joined (some of them were really great, and others were fine, I guess).

          • Update on Firefox Send and Firefox Notes

            As Mozilla tightens and refines its product focus in 2020, today we are announcing the end of life for two legacy services that grew out of the Firefox Test Pilot program: Firefox Send and Firefox Notes. Both services are being decommissioned and will no longer be a part of our product family. Details and timelines are discussed below.

            Firefox Send was a promising tool for encrypted file sharing. Send garnered good reach, a loyal audience, and real signs of value throughout its life. Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Send to ship malware and conduct spear phishing attacks. This summer we took Firefox Send offline to address this challenge.

            In the intervening period, as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service. Because the service is already offline, no major changes in status are expected. You can read more here.

          • Mozilla Browser Extension to Track YouTube Recommendations

            It’s easy to get caught up in YouTube as it recommends an endless array of videos, with each one offering you more of the same type of content. But it’s not always the same content. Sometimes the process gets convoluted, and you wind up watching something you have no interest in. Mozilla is curious why this happens and created a browser extension to track YouTube recommendations.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • The best LibreOffice extensions. Yaru icon theme

          Paul Kepinski made a new nice LibreOffice icon theme. Its name is Yaru. He wanted include it into LibreOffice source code, but then he made an extension and now you can download it by the link. Just enjoy!

        • Spread the word – add LibreOffice to your email signature!

          Love LibreOffice? Want to let more people know about it? An effective (and easy) way is to add a mention of the software to your email signature. This is the piece of text that’s automatically added to emails that you send, and typically includes some information about your job, or other contact details.

          Many people also use their email signatures (aka “sigs”) to spread the word about causes they support – such as free and open source software projects. So, you could use your signature to raise awareness about LibreOffice, for instance! When people read your emails, if they also check out the signature, they’ll learn something.

        • Locale-independent Writer templates

          Users create new documents in various ways. When they do so in Online or via Windows Explorer’s context menu (New → …) then actual templates are not involved in the process, technically. What happens instead is that there is a plain empty Writer (or Calc, Impress) document that gets copied. The reason for this is that by the time the document gets created, the WOPI-like protocol or Windows Explorer doesn’t have a running soffice process to create a document instance from a template: it’ll just copy a file.

      • CMS

        • Benefits Of Using Odoo For Small Businesses

          In this tutorial, we will be showing you how using Odoo can benefit a small or medium-sized business.

          As times have progressed, businesses big and small have become more complex in their operations. With several departments having to function and share information to one another, the need for an integrated system has grown by leaps and bounds.

          More and more small business are implementing ERP systems. In fact, once an ERP system is implemented, it often becomes the backbone of many corporate-scale businesses. Such systems can seamlessly integrate business lifecycles, such as production, inventory management, order processes, and more. An example of this system would be Odoo, one of the most popular ERP systems currently available.

        • Best WordPress Backup Plugins 2020

          It is at most important to keep multiple backups of your WordPress site. In case the website is compromised or any plugin update breaks your site, WordPress backups can help you restore it quickly.

          Mainly, a WordPress site consists of three important parts, the database, user-created files such as plugins, themes, and uploaded files, and finally the WordPress core files.

          If anyone of these three parts is missing or corrupted, the website will not function properly or will not function at all. When we create a backup, we create a backup of the site database and the user-created files. WordPress core files can be downloaded and installed separately.

      • FSF

        • FSF: Volunteers needed: Help maintain our webmail page

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) needs your help! We are looking for several reliable volunteers to keep our Free Software Webmail Systems page up to date, and respond to community questions about webmail programs as they come in. Between 1,000 and 2,000 visitors check out this resource every month, and we want to make sure our recommendations are accurate! If you're interested, please contact us at

          Our Free Software Webmail Systems page is used to share resources for people interested in using their email over the Web without compromising their freedom. Many webmail systems meet at least some of our standards for respecting users, including compliance with GNU LibreJS standards, but they're constantly changing, and new services are popping up every day. When sites listed on this page change their services for the better or the worse, they don't tend to notify us, which means that some vigilance is required to make sure that this resource stays useful.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Top 50 Programming Languages to Learn Coding

          Gone are the days when a handful of people were considered as top computer programmers and developers. The dawn of the digital age has now made it possible to everyone to play with codes and write a computer program. What all this need is to have a solid grasp of emerging technology and programming languages. However, it is not as easy as it seems since there are a large number of programming languages out there and choosing one and master in it might be challenging. Thus, before getting started into the world of coding, you must make the right choice and come up with the one that best suited for you.

        • How to use C++ Pointers

          The memory of a computer is actually a long series of cells. The size of each cell is called a byte. A byte is a space occupied by an English character of the alphabet. An object in the ordinary sense is a consecutive set of bytes in memory. Each cell has an address, which is an integer, usually written in hexadecimal form. There are three ways of accessing an object in memory. An object can be accessed using what is known as a pointer. It can be accessed using what is known as a reference. It can still be accessed using an identifier. The focus of this article is on the use of pointers and references. In C++, there is the pointed object and the pointer object. The pointed object has the object of interest. The pointer object has the address to the pointed object.

          You need to have basic knowledge in C++, including its identifiers, functions, and arrays; to understand this article.

        • Python

          • SDF record walkthrough

            In this essay I'll walk through the major parts of a simple V2000 SDFile record.

            Richard Apodaca summarized the SDfile format a few months ago, with details I won't cover here. You should read it for more background.

            Bear in mind that the variety of names for this format name leads to some confusion. It's often called an SDF file, which technically means structure-data file file, in the same way that PIN number technically means personal identification number number. I tend to write SD file, but the term in the documentation is SDFile.

          • I Want to Learn Programming but I Don’t Know Where to Start

            Software development is a challenging and lucrative career option. Our daily utility items — light bulbs, televisions, cars, banking, shopping — everything is driven by intelligent pieces of codes.

            If you want to learn programming but do not know where to start, you have come to the right blog. I have compiled a step-by-step guide that will get you started on your software development journey and eliminate your apprehensions.

          • Handling the SDF record delimiter

            In this essay I'll point out a common difficulty people have when trying to identify the end of an SDFile record.

          • Stack Abuse: Kernel Density Estimation in Python Using Scikit-Learn

            This article is an introduction to kernel density estimation using Python's machine learning library scikit-learn.

            Kernel density estimation (KDE) is a non-parametric method for estimating the probability density function of a given random variable. It is also referred to by its traditional name, the Parzen-Rosenblatt Window method, after its discoverers.

          • How to Create a Python Hello World Program

            There is a major difference between python 2 and python 3. For instance, one difference is the print statement. In python 2, the print statement is not a function. It is considered as a simple statement. Whenever we use the print statement in python 2, we do not use the parenthesis. On the other hand in python 3, print is a function and it is followed by the parenthesis.

            In any programming language, the simplest “Hello World” program is used to demonstrate the syntax of the programming language. In this article, we create the “Hello World” program in python 3. Spyder3 editor is used to creating and running the python script.

        • Java

          • Java 15 Reaches General Availability

            Oracle has announced that Java 15 is now generally available. The announcement was made in the opening keynote of Oracle Developer Live, an online version of the usual CodeOne and OpenWorld conferences.

            This is the first release of 'official' Oracle Java following the language’s 25th anniversary in May.

          • Oracle open-sources Java machine learning library

            Looking to meet enterprise needs in the machine learning space, Oracle is making its Tribuo Java machine learning library available free under an open source license.

            With Tribuo, Oracle aims to make it easier to build and deploy machine learning models in Java, similar to what already has happened with Python. Released under an Apache 2.0 license and developed by Oracle Labs, Tribuo is accessible from GitHub and Maven Central.

  • Leftovers

    • "The Music Never Stopped" | Grateful Shred
    • I Watched "Cuties" So You Wouldn't Have to (But You Should)

      A brigade of pearl-clutching, virtue-signaling, cancel-culture keyboard warriors wants you to know that Cuties (Mignonnes — it’s actually a French film) is a bad, bad movie that no one should watch and that Netflix should immediately remove from its lineup.

    • Roaming Charges: Smoke on the Water, Lies Burning in the Sky

      Let’s reset the scene from last week. On Labor Day evening, the winds shifted in Oregon, coming rigorously out of the North East, ripping down tree limbs and knocking down powerlines, sending embers from forest fires aloft and to the west, spreading illicit fires from hunting and RV camps. By Tuesday morning, the skies in the Willamette Valley turned the color of an ugly bruise, the air clotted with smoke. Big, uncontrolled fires from the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon to the Clackamas River canyon in northern Oregon were charging west, out national forests and BLM lands toward the populated foothills of the Cascade Range.

    • How to tell genuine from fake in 2020

      No shortcuts. I told you this in my fake news article. In fact, the whole online drama about reviews is just a continuation of the wider problem of personal accountability and willingness to learn. It's easier to blame others than oneself. It's easier to expect miracles from Amazon than spend actual time trying to make sure you do not fall prey to greed, mistake or chance.

      If you want to make sure you end up buying satisfactory products, roll up your sleeves and dive into the cesspool called the Internet, and start fishing for the nuggets of wholesome and true hidden in its murky depths. Everything else leads to bitterness, resentment and disappointment.

    • Hardware

      • The ’90s are back: Gateway laptops have been resurrected as Walmart exclusives

        Remember Gateway laptops? If you grew up in the ’90s, they were probably the brand of your first laptop. Like a revival of your favorite childhood television show, the Gateway brand has been raised from the dead — cow imagery and all. The brand, which is owned by computer maker Acer, is making its own comeback with a line of new laptops, tablets, and convertibles that will be exclusive to Walmart.

        So, what’s forcing these cows out of hibernation? For Gateway parent Acer, its about new silicon from Intel and AMD, including the successsul new mobile Ryzen 4000 processors.

      • Ericsson Buys CradlePoint in $1.1 Billion Deal to Build 5G

        Ericsson AB has agreed to buy CradlePoint Inc., a U.S. provider of wireless solutions that the Swedish technology giant says will help it expand its 5G footprint.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Poorly Protected Postal Workers Are Catching COVID-19 by the Thousands. It’s One More Threat to Voting by Mail.

        For months, one postal worker had been doing all she could to protect herself from COVID-19. She wore a mask long before it was required at her plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. She avoided the lunch room, where she saw little social distancing, and ate in her car.

        The stakes felt especially high. Her husband, a postal worker in the same facility, was at high risk because his immune system is compromised by a condition unrelated to the coronavirus. And the 20-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service knew that her job, operating a machine that sorts mail by ZIP code, would be vital to processing the flood of mail-in ballots expected this fall.

      • Are You Participating in a Vaccine Trial? Are You Running One? We’d Like to Hear About It.

        Are you participating in a coronavirus vaccine trial? Are you a scientist or manufacturer working to develop and bring a vaccine to market? Or do you work for or with a government agency charged with making sure a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe and effective? Help us understand what we should be covering or serve as an expert to make sure we’re on the right track.

        Our stories focus on holding the powerful accountable in service of the public. We have already reported on failures in testing, the effectiveness of popular hand sanitizers and hospitals retaliating against medical providers for bringing their own masks to work. The development and deployment of a vaccine will affect everybody on the planet. Let’s work together to identify and tell important stories.

      • Trump Knew Covid-19 Could Kill. He Just Didn’t Care.

        Trump and his falsehoods are responsible for most of America’s 200,000 coronavirus deaths to date.€ 

      • Poisonous Gas Not Tear Gas

        For many decades governments around the world, especially in the USA, have fired tens of thousands of rounds of CS gas at their own people in an attempt to control “civil unrest”. The media falsely labels CS gas as “tear gas” rather than calling it what it is, poisonous gas. The original tear gas was relatively benign, irritating the eyes and mucus tissues but was not poisonous. CS gas, on the other hand, will kill you if you are exposed to enough of it.

      • 'One of the Most Callous Sentiments Ever Uttered' by US President: Trump Falsely Says Covid Death Toll Not So Bad 'If You Take Blue States Out'

        "Trump thinks of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans like a poll number or a stock market price."

      • Life in Cancer Alley

        State and local powers have approved a 14-plant plastics-production complex that would more than triple the levels of carcinogens in the region. It’s up to the residents to fight back to save their community.

      • Another Day of COVID, Another Failed Stimulus, Another Thousand Deaths

        Another COVID day of death and dismay, another day of Republican indifference, greed and spite.

      • For the First Time Ever, the House Has Passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

        Kimberlie Michelle Durham had big goals for her career before she got pregnant. In 2015, she was a basic emergency medical technician in Alabama with plans to go back to school and become a paramedic. She loved being “out there in the field and helping people,” she said. “It was something I felt really passionate about.”

      • House Passes 'Historic' Legislation to Protect Pregnant Workers From Discrimination, Prompting Calls for Senate to Follow Suit

        "With this step forward, we are paving the way for gender equity not only for pregnant workers, but for their co-workers, their families, and their communities."

      • I'm Still Mad About COVID. We All Should Be.

        Today, I attended online classes all day and then curled up with the new Bob Woodward book, Rage. Rage is what I feel about the mishandling of COVID that led to all of my classes being online.

      • Vaccines for the Rich

        It was a disappointing headline, but it didn’t come as much of a surprise. It appeared in the Wall Street Journal on September 1, 2020.€  It was short and to the point.€  “Nations With Wealth Tie Up Vaccine Doses.” That which could be considered a harbinger of the headline, insofar as the United States is concerned, had occurred almost four months earlier.

      • Liberal Establishment Promotes “HERD IMMUNITY-lite”

        (Of course it doesn’t work that way, but it sounds “lesser evil”!)

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • DeskProto€® releases free CAM software for Linux

          Delft Spline Systems announces that the DeskProto CAM software now also is available for Linux users, as native 64 bits AppImage file that will work on various Linux distributions. Projects made on Linux, on Mac and Windows are interchangeable. Licenses for DeskProto V7 can be used to activate DeskProto on all three platforms, so existing users can switch to a Linux without extra cost.

        • German Hospital Hacked, Patient Taken to Another City Dies

          German authorities said Thursday that what appears to have been a misdirected hacker attack caused the failure of IT systems at a major hospital in Duesseldorf, and a woman who needed urgent admission died after she had to be taken to another city for treatment.

        • Woman dies during a ransomware attack on a German hospital [iophk: Windows kills]

          The cyberattack was not intended for the hospital, according to a report from the German news outlet RTL. The ransom note was addressed to a nearby university. The attackers stopped the attack after authorities told them it had actually shut down a hospital.

        • Windows Exploit Released For Microsoft ‘Zerologon’ Flaw

          Proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code has been released for a Windows flaw, which could allow attackers to infiltrate enterprises by gaining administrative privileges, giving them access to companies’ Active Directory domain controllers (DCs).

          The vulnerability, dubbed “Zerologon,” is a privilege-escalation glitch (CVE-2020-1472) with a CVSS score of 10 out of 10, making it critical in severity. The flaw was addressed in Microsoft’s August 2020 security updates. However, this week at least four public PoC exploits for the flaw were released on Github, and on Friday, researchers with Secura (who discovered the flaw) published technical details of the vulnerability.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Notes from an online free-software conference

                An online event requires an online platform to host it. The Linux Foundation, which supports LPC in a number of ways, offered a handful of possibilities, all of which were proprietary and expensive. One cannot blame the Linux Foundation for this; the events group there was under great pressure with numerous large events going up in flames. In such a situation, one has to grasp at whatever straws present themselves. We, though, had a bit more time and a strong desire to avoid forcing our attendees onto a proprietary platform, even if the alternative required us to build and support a platform ourselves.

                Research done in those early days concluded that there were two well-established, free-software systems to choose from: Jitsi and BigBlueButton. Either could have been made to work for this purpose. In the end, we chose BigBlueButton for a number of reasons, including better-integrated presentation tools, a more flexible moderation system, and a more capable front-end system (though, as will be seen, we didn't use that part).

                BigBlueButton worked out well for LPC, but it must be said that this system is not perfect. It's a mixture of highly complex components from different projects glued together under a common interface; its configuration spans literally hundreds of XML files (and some in other formats). It only runs on the ancient Ubuntu 16.04 distribution. Many features are hard to discover, and some are outright footguns: for moderators, the options to exit a meeting (leaving it running) and to end the meeting (thus kicking everybody else out, disposing of the chat session, and more) are adjacent to each other on the menu and look almost identical. Most worryingly, BigBlueButton has a number of built-in scalability limitations.

                The FAQ says that no BigBlueButton session should have more than 100 users — a limitation that is certain to get the attention of a conference that normally draws around 600 people. A lot of work was done to try to find out what the real limitations of the platform were; these included automated testing and running a couple of "town hall" events ahead of the conference. In the end, we concluded that BigBlueButton would do the job if we took care not to stress it too hard.

              • September 2020 Linux Foundation Newsletter
              • Open Source Collaboration is a Global Endeavor, Part 2

                The Linux Foundation would like to reiterate its statements and analysis of the application of US Export Control regulations to public, open collaboration projects (for example, open source software, open standards, open hardware, and open data) and the importance of open collaboration in the successful, global development of the world’s most important technologies. Today’s announcement of prohibited transactions by the Department of Commerce regarding WeChat and TikTok in the United States confirms our initial impact analysis for open source collaboration. Nothing in the orders prevents or impacts our communities’ ability to openly collaborate with two valued members of our open source ecosystem, Tencent and ByteDance. From around the world, our members and participants engage in open collaboration because it is open and transparent, and those participants are clear that they desire to continue collaborating with their peers around the world.

              • Linux Foundation Certified IT Administrator Exam To Be Launched Soon
              • Linux Foundation launches new entry-level IT certification

                If you're Linus Torvalds, you don't need a certification to get a job. People know who you are. But most of us trying to get a start in technology need a certification. Now, The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit, open-source powerhouse organization, and Certiverse, a certification testing startup, have announced they're working on a new entry-level IT certification offering: The Linux Foundation Certified IT Associate (LFCA).

        • Security

          • Zerologon – hacking Windows servers with a bunch of zeros

            The big, bad bug of the week is called Zerologon.

            As you can probably tell from the name, it involves Windows – everyone else talks about logging in, but on Windows you’ve always very definitely logged on – and it is an authentication bypass, because it lets you get away with using a zero-length password.

            You’ll also see it referred to as CVE-2020-1472, and the good news is that it was patched in Microsoft’s August 2020 update.

          • Rethinking Security on Linux: evaluating Antivirus & Password Manager solutions

            Recently I had an experience that let me re-evaluate my approach to Security on Linux. I had updated my Desktop computer to the latest openSUSE Leap (15.2) version. I also installed the proprietary Nvidia drivers. At random points during the day I experienced a freeze of my KDE desktop. I cannot move my mouse or type on my keyboard. It probably involves Firefox, because I always have Firefox open during these moments. So for a couple of days, I try to see in my logs what is going on. In /var/log/messages (there is a very nice YaST module for that) you can see the latest messages.

            Suddenly I see messages that I cannot explain. Below, I have copied some sample log lines that give you an impression of what was happening. I have excluded the lines with personal information. But to give you an impression: I could read line for line the names, surnames, addresses and e-mail addresses of all my family members in the /var/log/messsages file.


            I needed to find out what was happening. I needed to know if a trojan / mallware was trying to steal my personal information. So I tried searching for the ZIP archive which was referenced. This might still be stored somewhere on my PC. I used KFind to lookup all files which were created in the last 8 hours. And then I found a lot of thumbnail files which were created by… Gwenview. Stored in a temp folder.

            I started to realize that it might not be a hack, but something that was rendering previews, just like in Gwenview. I checked Dolphin and detected that I had the preview function enabled. I checked the log files again. Indeed, whenever I had opened a folder with Dolphin, all Word and Excel files in that folder were ‘processed’. I browsed several folders after deleting Calligra and there were no more log lines added. I re-installed the Calligra suite and noticed the calligra-extras-dolphin package. I browsed the same folders and indeed, the log lines started appearing all over again. I had found the culprit. It wasn’t a hack.

          • New vulnerabilities allow hackers to bypass MFA for Microsoft 365

            Critical vulnerabilities in multi-factor authentication (MFA) implementation in cloud environments where WS-Trust is enabled could allow attackers to bypass MFA and access cloud applications such as Microsoft 365 which use the protocol according to new research from Proofpoint.

            As a result of the way Microsoft 365 session login is designed, an attacker could gain full access to a target's account including their mail, files, contacts, data and more. At the same time though, these vulnerabilities could also be leveraged to gain access to other cloud services from Microsoft including production and development environments such as Azure and Visual Studio.

            Proofpoint first disclosed the these vulnerabilities publicly at its virtual user conference Proofpoint Protect but they have like existed for years. The firm's researchers tested several Identity Provider (IDP) solutions, identified those that were susceptible and resolved the security issues.

          • NIST Password Guidelines

            The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines security parameters for Government Institutions. NIST assists organizations for consistent administrative necessities. In recent years, NIST has revised the password guidelines. Account Takeover (ATO) attacks have become a rewarding business for cybercriminals. One of the members of the top management of NIST expressed his views about traditional guidelines, in an interview “producing passwords that are easy to guess for bad guys are hard to guess for legitimate users.” ( This implies that the art of picking the most secure passwords involves a number of human and psychological factors. NIST has developed the Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) to manage and overcome security risks more effectively.

          • Steps of the cyber kill chain

            The cyber kill chain (CKC) is a traditional security model that describes an old-school scenario, an external attacker taking steps to penetrate a network and steal its data-breaking down the attack steps to help organizations prepare. CKC is developed by a team known as the computer security response team. The cyber kill chain describes an attack by an external attacker trying to get access to data within the perimeter of the security

            Each stage of the cyber kill chain shows a specific goal along with that of the attacker Way. Design your Cyber Model killing chain surveillance and response plan is an effective method, as it focuses on how the attacks happen. Stages include,

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and netbeans), Oracle (mysql:8.0 and thunderbird), SUSE (rubygem-rack and samba), and Ubuntu (apng2gif, gnupg2, libemail-address-list-perl, libproxy, pulseaudio, pure-ftpd, samba, and xawtv).

          • The new BLESA Bluetooth security flaw can keep billions of devices vulnerable

            Billions of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Linux-based IoT devices are now using Bluetooth software stacks that are potentially susceptible a new security flaw. Titled as BLESA (Bluetooth Low Energy Spoofing Attack), the vulnerability impacts devices running the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol.

          • Are you backing up ransomware with your data?
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Twitch Experiments With Intrusive Ads That Piss Off Its Most Important Asset, Its Talent

              As any internet platform matures, the growth it undergoes will inevitably lead to experimenting with revenue models. For a healthy chunk of the internet, advertising plays some role in those experiments. And, like anything else, there are good experiments and bad experiments.

            • Three Interactive Tools for Understanding Police Surveillance

              This post was written by Summer 2020 Intern€ Jessica Romo, a student at the Reynolds School of Journalism at University of Nevada, Reno.€ 

              As law enforcement and government surveillance technology continues to become more and more advanced, it has also become harder for everyday people to avoid. Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are using body-worn cameras, automated license plate readers, drones, and much more—all of which threat people's right to privacy. But it's often difficult for people to even become aware of what technology is being used where they live.€ 

            • Latest developments in the long-running and crucial Schrems vs. Facebook GDPR privacy battle

              Back in July, this blog reported on a major victory for the privacy campaigner Max Schrems at the Court of Justice of the European Union, (CJEU). Following that win, the big question now is: what effects will it have on the handling of personal data by the Internet giants? A quick fix is unlikely, but the US and EU have already started discussions on “an enhanced EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework to comply with the 16 July judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Schrems II case”. Another important move is the creation of a European Data Protection Board taskforce to consider how to apply the CJEU ruling (original press release in German), largely in response to Schrems’ recently-filed pan-European GDPR complaints.

            • Tor’s Bug Smash Fund, Year 2: $106,709 Raised!

              Let’s start this post with a rousing THANK YOU to the Tor community!

              This August, we asked you to help us fundraise for our second annual Bug Smash Fund campaign. This fund is designed to grow a healthy reserve earmarked for maintenance work, finding bugs, and smashing them—all tasks necessary to keep Tor Browser, the Tor network, and the many tools that rely on Tor strong, safe, and running smoothly.

            • Researchers were able to figure out which American phone numbers use Signal

              Privacy flaws in contact discovery have led to a research team being able to enumerate all American Signal users. Enumeration means that using the contact discovery built into the Signal app, researchers were able to perform a large-scale crawling attack and figure out which American phone numbers were attached to a Signal account. The new research paper was released by Christoph Hagen, Christian Weinert, Christoph Sendner, Alexandra Dmitrienko, and Thomas Schneider. It is titled: “All the Numbers are US: Large-scale Abuse of Contact Discovery in Mobile Messengers.”

            • New CBP propaganda on facial recognition and other biometrics

              US Customs and Border Ptotection (CBP) has launched an entire new subdomain of its website,, devoted to propaganda intended to persuade the traveling public to submit to, and airlines and airport operating authorities to collaborate in, the use of facial recognition and other biometrics to identify and track travelers.

              There’s nothing in CBP’s happy-talk sales pitch for facial recognition on this new website that we haven’t seen before. And there are still no answers to any of the questions we’ve asked CBP officials about these practices and the legal basis (not) for them.

            • Twitter mandates lawmakers, journalists to beef up passwords heading into election

              Twitter announced Thursday it will order some political candidates, lawmakers and journalists to strengthen their passwords as the platform looks to allay security concerns heading into Election Day.

              The platform said in a blog post that the accounts of members of the executive branch and Congress, governors and secretaries of state, various political candidates and “Major US news outlets and political journalists” will be required to have what Twitter deems to be a strong password.

            • Tor 0day: Finding IP Addresses

              To determine if the hidden service that is connected to your guard is on this list, you just need to connect to each onion service and transmit a burst of traffic.

            • TikTok’s enormous value isn’t just in its algorithm

              TikTok’s proprietary algorithm has been called its “secret sauce” and is one reason why companies have jumped at the chance to buy the app’s US operations. But if the algorithm is TikTok’s secret sauce, then its consumer-friendly advertising experience is the protein: A critical part of the app’s growth and the foundation of its still untapped potential.

            • Former NSA chief Keith Alexander has joined Amazon’s board of directors

              Gen. Keith Alexander is joining Amazon’s board of directors, the company revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today. (Alexander has also been added to the company board’s official site.) A former director of the National Security Agency and the first commander of the US Cyber Command, Alexander served as the public face of US data collection during the Edward Snowden leaks, but he retired from public service in 2013.

              Alexander is a controversial figure for many in the tech community because of his involvement in the widespread surveillance systems revealed by the Snowden leaks. Those systems included PRISM, a broad data collection program that compromised systems at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook — but not Amazon.

            • Daniel Lange: Getting rid of the Google cookie consent popup

              If you clear your browser cookies regularly (as you should do), Google will annoy you with a full screen cookie consent overlay these days. And - of course - there is no "no tracking consent, technically required cookies only" button. You may log in to Google to set your preference. Yeah, I'm sure this is totally following the intent of the EU Directive 2009/136/EC (the "cookie law").

    • Defence/Aggression

      • US Cuts Aid to Yemen While Fueling War and Famine

        The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is deepening amid the pandemic and cuts to international aid from the United States and its allies, leaving millions of Yemenis facing famine after years of a brutal U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign that has devastated the country. CNN’s senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir says what is happening in Yemen is not a natural disaster but a “man-made catastrophe” directly tied to U.S. policies. Elbagir says, “Not only is the U.S. profiting from the war by selling weapons to the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” but it is also ignoring the impact on civilians. We also feature her exclusive CNN report, “Yemen: A Crisis Made in America.”

      • ‘Stepfather’ at large Former convict added to federal wanted list following the brutal murder of two children in Rybinsk

        On the night of September 15, two young girls were killed in Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Region: 8-year-old Elena and 13-year-old Yana. The children’s bodies were found by their 40-year-old mother Valentina after she returned home from work. The Telegram channel 112 reports that their bodies were “brutally slashed with a knife.” Knives and axes used in the murder were found at the scene of the crime, the local outlets YarNews and Yarnovosti report. According to the Telegram channel Life Shot, the girls had been dismembered. The Yaroslavl-based news site reported that the younger girl was “cut into pieces” and the older girl had been “raped and torn apart.” Investigators reported the rape of both girls (without specifying if it took place before or after they were killed). The Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case for murder and rape, which is being investigated by the agency’s Main Investigative Directorate.

      • Whistleblower Report Alleges Military Police Sought Use of a Heat Ray to Disperse Crowd at White House Protest in June

        "Our government shouldn't be conspiring to use heat rays against us for exercising our constitutional rights."

      • Navalny’s team reveals hotel room search that uncovered water bottle with traces of Novichok-type poison

        On Thursday, September 17, Alexey Navalny’s team shared a post on Instagram, explaining that they found the water bottle with traces of the substance used to poison him at the Xander Hotel in Tomsk. The bottle in question became the key piece of evidence that allowed laboratories in several countries to confirm that the opposition figure was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent. Navalny stayed at the Xander Hotel during a trip he made to Tomsk to film an investigation about local United Russia politicians. On the morning of August 20, he left the hotel for the airport, where he boarded a plane to Moscow — he fell ill while on board the flight and was hospitalized immediately following an emergency landing in Omsk.

      • Lukashenko announces closure of Belarusian borders with Lithuania and Poland

        Belarus is closing its borders with Lithuania and Poland, and “strengthening the border” with Ukraine, announced President Alexander Lukashenko, as quoted by RIA Novosti.€ 

      • A Crisis Made in America: Yemen on Brink of Famine After U.S. Cuts Aid While Fueling War

        The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is deepening amid the pandemic and cuts to international aid from the United States and its allies, leaving millions of Yemenis facing famine after years of a brutal U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign that has devastated the country. CNN’s senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir says what is happening in Yemen is not a natural disaster but a “man-made catastrophe” directly tied to U.S. policies. Elbagir says, “Not only is the U.S. profiting from the war by selling weapons to the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” but it is also ignoring the impact on civilians. We also feature her exclusive CNN report, “Yemen: A Crisis Made in America.”

      • Yemen aid plea, Mali power struggle, and Storm Alpha: The Cheat Sheet

        People are mentioning the F word and Yemen in the same breath once again, nearly two years after it seemed like the country had narrowly avoided a massive famine (if not the widespread hunger and the associated deaths). On Tuesday, UN relief chief Mark Lowcock warned the Security Council that “the spectre of famine has returned” to Yemen, as conflict escalates and the UN’s appeal for money to fund aid programmes in the country is massively underfunded, at around 30 percent. Lowcock singled out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait – all members of the coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen – for criticism, saying they have a “particular responsibility” to donate. In addition to war and (the lack of) money, obstruction by various parties is a major obstacle to the humanitarian effort: In a new report on this subject, Human Rights Watch calls for sanctions against Yemeni officials responsible for breaking international humanitarian law by denying civilians the aid they need.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Seas and forests are muddying the carbon budget

        As climates change, forests may not absorb more carbon as expected. But a new carbon budget could appeal to the oceans.

      • Abnormal heat spreads floods and wildfires globally

        From the Arctic Circle to tropical Africa, abnormal heat is bringing mayhem and destruction and costing lives.

      • Reducing CO2 Emissions to Reverse Global Warming

        We know that Global Warming can be reduced during the years of the century ahead of us if we — our civilization — steadily reduces its emissions of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into the atmosphere.

      • A New Jersey Law Makes a Clean Environment a Right. Other States Should Follow.

        On August 27, the New Jersey legislature approved a far-reaching new environmental justice bill intended to reduce the harmful effects of pollution in low-income communities and communities of color. Gov. Phil Murphy has announced he will sign the bill into law on September 18.

      • Is Bill Barr Trump’s Most Dangerous Sidekick?

        Speaking before an audience at Hillsdale College last night, Attorney General Bill Barr declared that the stay-at-home orders issued to protect people from Covid-19 were the grossest attacks on freedom seen in this country since slavery.

      • Energy

        • This Billionaire Governor’s Coal Company Might Get a Big Break From His Own Regulators

          West Virginia environmental regulators are proposing to reduce the fines that a coal company owned by the state’s governor could pay for water pollution violations that are the focus of a federal court case. The move comes after the company stopped paying penalties required as part of a settlement four years ago to clean up its mines across the Appalachian coalfields.

          Environmental groups allege that the Red Fox Mine, a large strip-mining site in southern West Virginia owned by Gov. Jim Justice’s Bluestone Coal Corp., continues to exceed discharge limits for harmful substances. The suit could result in substantial payouts — the maximum potential federal penalties are nearly $170 million — that would go to the U.S. Treasury.

        • Is it the end of the oil age?

          There have been oil slumps before, but this one is different. As the public, governments and investors wake up to climate change, the clean-energy industry is gaining momentum. Capital markets have shifted: clean-power stocks are up by 45% this year. With interest rates near zero, politicians are backing green-infrastructure plans. America’s Democratic presidential contender, Joe Biden, wants to spend $2trn decarbonising America’s economy. The European Union has earmarked 30% of its $880bn covid-19 recovery plan for climate measures, and its president, Ursula von der Leyen, used her state-of-the-union address this week to confirm that she wants the EU to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 55% over 1990 levels in the next decade.

    • Finance

      • By the numbers: A snapshot of Chicago’s economy six months into the pandemic

        The coronavirus pandemic quickly inflicted damage on Chicago’s economy as government shutdowns and social distancing restrictions forced business slowdowns and closures.

        During a six-month period, hundreds of thousands of area jobs were lost, consumer spending dropped 43%, and more than half of temporary business closures became permanent.

        Despite hopes to “get back to normal,” the recovery has been slow, and it’s unclear what any long-lasting changes are, said Jose J. Vazquez-Cognet, an economics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

        “When a business person and a consumer don’t know what to expect, they can’t make decisions very well,” Vazquez-Cognet said. “That’s the worst thing for the economy.”

        Here is a snapshot of the economic impact of the virus on the Chicago area over the past six months.

      • Landslide Vote by Nurses in North Carolina Delivers Biggest Hospital Unionization Win in US South in 45 Years

        "I'm so grateful this victory will allow us to be better advocates for our community," one nurse said.

      • Could the Days of the Conventional Office Be Over?

        The COVID-19 lockdown left many people the world over with no alternative but to work away from their offices, generating a rapid growth in working from home (WFH) as a result.

      • Howie Hawkins Calls for a federal Financial Transaction Tax

        Howie Hawkins, the Green and Socialist Party candidate for President, stood in front of the New York State Exchange today to call for a federal Financial Transaction Tax.

        Hawkins also called on state lawmakers to stop rebating $13 billion annually to Wall Street speculators from the state stock transfer tax that has existed for more than a century.

        “It is time to tax the rich. We need the wealthy to bear their fair share of the costs of lifting up America from the COVID recession and to mitigate the climate change they have greatly profited from. 40 years of conservative fiscal policies promoted by both major parties have combined tax cuts for the rich with spending cuts on public services and infrastructure. This trickle-down voodoo economics hasn’t worked. It just made the rich richer,” said Hawkins, a retired Teamster from Syracuse.

      • Hawkins to Hold News Conference Friday, Sept. 18 on Wall Street to Call for Stock Transfer Tax

        Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President, will speak in favor of a federal Stock Transfer Tax in front of the New York Stock Exchange, 11 Wall Street, at 11 AM on Friday, September 18.

        Hawkins, a three-time gubernatorial nominee for the Greens, has long advocated that New York stop rebating the century-old state stock transfer tax to Wall Street speculators and use the funds to invest in domestic needs, such as saving local governments, climate mitigation, workers, small businesses, school and hospitals. Hawkins will march over to City Hall at noon to speak about the state’s fiscal crisis, with Cuomo imposing a 20% cut in aid to local governments and schools. Hawkins will call on de Blasio to support the Stock Transfer Tax and urge Cuomo to do so too.

      • USPTO Fees

        USPTO Fees are changing at the end of the month. PCT Fees are changing on October 1, 2020; US National fees are changing on October 2, 2020. In general, the fees are going up, not down. Beat the fees – file by September 30, 2020.

      • USPTO Announces Deferred-Fee Provisional Application Pilot Program to Encourage COVID-19 Related Inventions

        In a notice published in the Federal Register (85 Fed. Reg. 58038) earlier today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it was implementing a deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program in order to promote the expedited exchange of information about inventions designed to combat COVID–19. In the notice, the Office states that it recognizes that its charge to issue high-quality patents to inventors goes hand-in-hand with the dissemination of important technical information, and that the free-flow of such information is now more important than ever in view of the urgent challenges posed by COVID–19.

        Applicants who participate in the pilot program will be allowed to defer payment of the provisional application filing fee (which is currently $280 for large entities) until the filing of a nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of the provisional application in exchange for permitting the Office to make the technical subject matter disclosed in the provisional application available to the public via a searchable collaboration database maintained on the Office's website. In order to qualify for participation in the pilot program, the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application must concern a product or process related to COVID–19, and such product or process must be subject to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for COVID-19 use. According to the notice, a provisional application qualifies for participation in the pilot program if such FDA approval "has been obtained, is pending, or will be sought prior to marketing the subject matter for COVID–19." The notice indicates that such approvals include an Investigational New Drug (IND) application, an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE), a New Drug Application (NDA), a Biologics License Application (BLA), a Premarket Approval (PMA), or an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The notice also indicates that the subject requirement for participation in the deferred-fee provisional patent application pilot program is the same as that for participation in the COVID–19 prioritized examination pilot program, which was announced in May (see "USPTO Announces COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Pilot Program").

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Is Trump Afraid of It?

        The Trump administration recently released an Office of Management and Budget memo denouncing the expenditure of federal moneys on trainings on “critical race theory, white privilege, or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” Citing unnamed news sources, the memo asserts that federal employees have been subjected to trainings in which they are required to acknowledge that “virtually all Whites are racist” and that they have benefited from racism, in contravention of basic American values. Trump’s Department of Education recently took up the effort to censor Critical Race Theory, announcing that it would review training materials and even employee book clubs to eliminate this allegedly “un-American propaganda.”

      • Trump’s Climate Denial Gains Strength If We’re in Denial About His Neo-Fascism

        Spiking temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, catastrophic hurricanes and unprecedented wildfires are clear signs of a climate emergency caused by humans. Denying the awful reality makes the situation worse. The same can be said of denial about the current momentum toward fascism under Donald Trump.

      • Why America’s Political Fights Are as Fake as Pro Wrestling

        I recall being devastated when I learned that the professional wrestling I watched as a kid was fake. How could combatants show such contempt for their opponents in the ring and yet all work for the same company?

      • Trump's Properties Billed Taxpayers $1.1 Million for Secret Service Rentals

        Properties owned by President Trump have billed the U.S. Secret Service at least $1.1 million in rental stays and other charges since he took office more than three years ago, according to The Washington Post.

      • Historians Blast Barr for Comparing Stay-at-Home Orders to Slavery

        Attorney General William Barr compared social distancing rules instituted to halt the spread of coronavirus to chattel slavery in the United States, resulting in a torrent of criticisms from lawmakers, commentators and historians.

      • House Passes Election Security Bill That Finally Adds Security Researchers To The Mix

        Everyone agrees elections should be secure. But hardly anyone in the federal government is doing anything useful about it. The shift to electronic voting has succumbed to regulatory capture which isn't doing anything to ensure the best and most secure products are being deployed. On top of that, it's become a partisan issue at times, resulting in legislators scoring political points rather than making voting and voters more secure.

      • Aligning Ignorance With Bigotry: Trump Attempts to Rewrite History

        In what appears to be a blatant appeal to the white supremacists in his base, President Donald Trump has made clear his attempt to both defend and rewrite the history of racial injustice in the United States while eliminating the institutions that make visible its historical roots.

      • Raising Fear

        Donald Trump and some of his loyal sycophants are getting hysterical, trying to frighten everyone with fantasy tales of insurrections and martial law in the event he loses re-election. They’re doing it purposely, a desperate ploy to counter his sagging polls.

      • 'Tired of Being Quiet,' Another Woman, Amy Dorris, Comes Forward to Accuse Donald Trump of Sexual Assault

        "I'm sick of him getting away with this," Dorris said.€ 

      • Belgorod Region Governor Evgeny Savchenko steps down after 27 years in office

        The Belgorod Region’s long-time governor, Evgeny Savchenko, has resigned ahead of schedule, reports Interfax, citing a press release from the region’s administration.

      • The US Safety Net Is Degrading by Design

        The pandemic has thrown millions of people out of work while mean-spirited government policies ended emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits. More and more families are left with no choice but to turn to public assistance programs like the dysfunctional Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF).

      • ‘Open Russia’ director arrested immediately after release from Moscow jail

        Andrey Pivovarov, the executive director of the organization Open Russia, was arrested at the exit of a special detention facility in Moscow, where he had just finished serving 14 days administrative arrest, reports the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.€ 

      • Voters Should be Wary of USA Today’s False Balance on Election 2020

        One thing readers can count on every election season is false balance in the press (, 12/9/16, 10/3/12; Extra!, 11–12/08;, 9/30/04), and despite the current threats to democracy (, 9/15/20) that one might hope would lead journalists to up their game, this year is no different.

      • Do Florida Democrats Want to Win the State Senate This Year?

        Florida Democrats are locked out of state-level power by a GOP trifecta that runs the governor’s office, the House, and the Senate. But they only need to pick up three Senate seats to achieve at least a tie in that chamber, and thus reach a power-sharing arrangement with the GOP, which is especially important as the state takes up redistricting next year. Party leaders and local observers seem to agree that two Democratic candidates have a decent chance to flip GOP-held open seats, in the Miami-Dade and Orlando areas. But a 21-19 balance gets the party very little in terms of legislative clout, particularly when it comes to redistricting.

      • Warning Trump Poses 'Existential Threat' to Social Security, Group Founded by FDR's Son Endorses Biden for President

        "Many older Americans cannot afford—let alone survive—another four years of President Trump."

      • American Athletes Can Decide This Year’s Election

        Last year, when LeBron James described some of President Trump’s public statements as “laughable and scary,” Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham ordered the basketball superstar to “shut up and dribble.”

      • Susan Collins Is Donald Trump’s Essential Ally in the Senate

        Maine Senator Susan Collins won’t say whether she will vote for Donald Trump on November 3. But she votes for him when it counts: on the floor of Senate and in the court of public opinion.

      • A Conservative Lawyer Is Holding Voter Fraud Meetings With Republicans Only

        Starting in early spring, as the coronavirus took hold, a conservative lawyer at the forefront of raising alarms about voting by mail held multiple private briefings exclusively for Republican state election officials, according to previously unreported public records.

      • Faith and Labor Movements Are Bridging Trump’s Racial Divide With Hope and Love

        This election year, America faces interlocking crises—a global health crisis, economic collapse, and systemic racism. Even as we live in fear of disease and economic ruin, we have had to watch the on-camera murders of unarmed Black people by officers who have sworn to protect and serve us. So many of us have stood outside nursing homes and hospitals as our loved ones died inside, alone. In response, we are struggling with despair and asking, Dare we hope for profound change in our public life?

      • Democrats Removing Me From Ballot May Cost Joe Biden Wisconsin – Status Coup
      • Dem WAR On Green Party Exposes Voter Suppression Hypocrisy
      • American horror story: how the US lost its grip on pop culture

        Many are wondering whether the era of US dominance is coming to an end, with the coronavirus pandemic the final nail in the coffin. “Covid has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism,” wrote the anthropologist Wade Davis in Rolling Stone last month, observing that Americans “found themselves members of a failed state, ruled by a dysfunctional and incompetent government largely responsible for death rates that added a tragic coda to America’s claim to supremacy in the world”.

        On top of its out-of-control pandemic, today’s United States is a place of economic decline, rampant inequality and racial animosity. It is a place where culture is now discussed primarily in the context of warfare. In 2015, Donald Trump famously declared the American dream dead, and since he became president, you could say that’s one promise he has fulfilled.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Daniel Ellsberg Warns U.S. Press Freedom Under Attack in WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Extradition Case

        Legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London could have far-reaching consequences for press freedoms. The WikiLeaks founder faces an ever-evolving array of espionage and hacking charges related to the release of diplomatic cables that revealed war crimes committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assange faces almost certain conviction, if extradited, and 175 years in prison. “The American press has remained in kind of a state of denial for 40 years, really, since my case, that the Espionage Act has wording in it that could be aimed directly at them,” says Ellsberg, who testified in Assange’s defense at his extradition trial via video stream from the United States. “Now the American press is staring right down the barrel at the use of the Espionage Act against American journalists and publishers for doing journalism.”

      • Assange on Trial: Diligent Redactions and Avoiding Harm

        Day Seven

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 11

        Yet another shocking example of abuse of court procedure unfolded on Wednesday. James Lewis QC for the prosecution had been permitted gratuitously to read to two previous witnesses with zero connection to this claim, an extract from a book by Luke Harding and David Leigh in which Harding claims that at a dinner at El Moro Restaurant Julian Assange had stated he did not care if US informants were killed, because they were traitors who deserved what was coming to them.

      • Day 8: September 17, 2020 #AssangeCase

        John Sloboda, co-founder of€ Iraq Body Count, an independent NGO devoted to continuously counting killings civilians in Iraq, testified today about working with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks on the Iraq War Logs, released in October of 2010.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 12

        A less dramatic day, but marked by a brazen and persistent display of this US Government’s insistence that it has the right to prosecute any journalist and publication, anywhere in the world, for publication of US classified information. This explicitly underlay the entire line of questioning in the afternoon session.

      • Assange’s Extradition Trial: Court Hears About History Of Political Prosecutions Under Espionage Act

        “There has never, in the century-long history of the Espionage Act, been an indictment of a U.S. publisher under the law for the publication of secrets,” declared Carey Shenkman, an attorney who has co-authored a first-of-its-kind peer-reviewed book on the Espionage Act.Shenkman testified during WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition trial and added, “There has never been an extraterritorial indictment of a non-[United States] publisher under the Act.”“During World War I, federal prosecutors considered the mere circulation of anti-war materials a violation of the law. Nearly 2,500 individuals were prosecuted under the Act on account of their dissenting views and opposition to U.S. entry in the war,” Shenkman added.Assange is accused of 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime that, as alleged in the indictment, is written like an Espionage Act offense.The charges criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets from the United States government. It targets common practices in newsgathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • US Cops Are Treating White Militias as "Heavily Armed Friendlies"

        A video from the uprising in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shows police giving water to a group of armed white men. One officer uses his vehicle’s loudspeaker to tell them, “We appreciate you guys. We really do.” Soon thereafter, one of the group, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, shot three protesters, killing two.

      • Mobilizing the National Guard Doesn’t Mean Your State Is Under Martial Law. Usually.

        Hello, trusty newsletter readers. Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s Thursday, not Friday, the day you would typically receive this newsletter. That’s because you’ll be hearing from us on Thursdays, starting today. Happy Thursday!

        I’ve been curious about the National Guard for months. It started in March, after a video that appeared to show a train loaded with military vehicles headed toward the Chicago area went viral. The video fueled a rumor that the Illinois National Guard was being sent to the city to put it on “lockdown.” This was shortly after Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared a state of emergency because of rising COVID-19 cases. Truth is: There was a train, but it was not coming to Chicago to put the city on lockdown. It was part of a routine military equipment delivery.

      • ‘The Court Has Refused to Fashion Concrete Legal Standards About the Rights of Protesters’

        Janine Jackson interviewed constitutional law attorney Kia Rahnama for the September 11, 2020, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

      • Civil Rights Commission Calls for End to Subminimum Wages for People With Disabilities

        "Paying workers with disabilities a subminimum wage is discrimination—plain and simple—and it's way past time we repeal this outdated policy."

      • Police Bureaucracy and Abolition: Why Reforms Driven by Professionals will Renew State Oppression

        The demands are clear: defund and abolish police. As those calls grow, so will efforts by reformers to propose new rules and regulations that they say will “improve” and restore “legitimacy” to policing. These bureaucratic reforms reflect the failed thinking that built up the carceral state, and they will make policing harder to dismantle. Reforms like this are meant to pacify social movements, replacing community self-determination with the “expertise” of lawyers, academics, and other professionals who are complicit in oppression.

      • After Fire Destroys Moria Refugee Camp in Greece, Demands Grow for Relocation, Not Another Camp

        We get an update on the massive fire at the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece, which has left 13,000 refugees and migrants from Afghanistan, African countries and Syria without access to shelter, food or sanitation. The fire has raised concerns about a coronavirus outbreak and comes as migrants protest their living conditions during the pandemic. Some of the asylum seekers — many of them women and children — are demanding they be allowed to leave the island of Lesbos, but the Greek government is refusing to relocate most people displaced by the fire to the mainland. “The calculation of the Greek government was, in my opinion, to really break people’s spirit,” says reporter Franziska Grillmeier, who joins us from Lesbos.

      • UN Amplifies Ethiopian Migrant Detainees’ Cries for Help in Saudi Arabia

        VOA’s September 2 interviews with Teshome and 30-year-old Kadir echo those of recent reports. In mid-August, Human Rights Watch reported that at least hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of Ethiopians were being held in Saudi Arabia, in part because of pandemic concerns.

      • UN slams Saudi Arabia in rare rebuke

        Dozens of countries have called on Saudi Arabia to release jailed women's rights activists and provide transparency Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi's killing. German diplomats said it was time for "full accountability."

      • Working from (your parents') home

        Reasons for moving home vary. The coronavirus recession has hit young people especially hard, and many are living with family because they've lost their jobs or haven't been able to find work after college or grad school.

        Others wanted some company during lockdowns.

      • Uber and Lyft Drivers’ Fight Against Independent Contractor Status Isn’t Going Away

        Amid the pandemic, Uber and Lyft drivers are more precarious than ever. Even as the companies dodge court rulings, the battle for drivers to be legally classified as employees is growing.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • West African Cotton Company Limited v Hozelock Exel: How may a petitioner establish lack of novelty of a registered design in Nigeria?

        With a petition filed before the Federal High Court (FHC) in December 2015, the Petitioner – West African Cotton Company Limited (WACCL) – sought the nullification of Registered Designs Nos. RPD/D/F/RD/2010/96 RPD/D/F/RD/2010/97 (the “2010 designs”) belonging to Hozelock Exel (Hozelock) relating to diaphragm knapsack pump sprayers.

        Nullification was sought on grounds that the designs are not new, having been, contrary to section 13 of the Patents and Designs Act made public prior to their registration. To support its claim that the designs were made public prior to their registration, WACCL tendered a sample of its own diaphragm knapsack pump sprayers as well as shipping documents showing the importation of its sprayers prior to Hozelock’s application for registration of the 2010 designs. WACCOL’s argument was that there are significant similarities between its sprayers (which existed prior to the Hozelock’s application for registration) and the pump sprayers made from the 2010 designs. [By virtue of section 13(3) of the Act, “an industrial design is not new if, before the date of application for registration, it has been made available to the public anywhere and at any time by means of description, use or in any other way…”]

        In response, Hozelock tendered its application/acknowledgment of application for registration of the 2010 designs, certificates of registration for the 2010 designs and a sample of its pump sprayers, which was manufactured using the 2010 designs. Hozelock submitted inter alia that WACCOL’s shipping documents do not contain or portray any designs that may be compared with the 2010 designs to establish similarities that may be construed as evidence of prior publication.

        The key question before the court was whether – for the purposes of establishing absence of newness – WACCOL has discharged the burden on it in that regard.

      • Patents

        • FRAND, RAND, & the Problem at Hand: Increasing Certainty in Infringement Damages for Standard-Essential Patents

          When Standard-Setting Organizations (“SSOs”) set various industry standards, they often require the incorporation of certain technologies (and, therefore, their underlying patents) into the standard. Standard-Essential Patents (“SEPs”) generally require that a patent-holder agree to Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (“FRAND”) terms or Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (“RAND”) terms in the agreements incorporating their patent into a standard. These terms do what their names suggest and oblige the SEP-holder to, generally speaking, not charge unreasonable fees in licensing their SEPs. What is a “fair” rate? What is a “reasonable” rate? What constitutes “non-discriminatory” practices in the licensing of SEPs? SSOs generally decline to answer these questions themselves, further complicating the matter. Instead, courts solve these problems if and when these terms become the subject of litigation, which they indeed have, in cases across the country brought by SEP-holders, would-be SEP-licensees (“standard-implementers”), and even the FTC. The Federal Circuit has not established a clear-cut rule as to how to determine a FRAND or RAND (henceforth referred to collectively as “F/RAND”) royalty rate, and so this remains an area of high uncertainty today, even compared to the already uncertain field of patent litigation.


          Since Georgia-Pacific Corp. v. U.S. Plywood Corp (“Georgia-Pacific”) in 1970, courts frequently employ a “hypothetical negotiation” approach in damages calculation after a finding of patent infringement, wherein the court attempts to ascertain a royalty which the parties would have agreed to had they successfully negotiated an agreement prior to infringement. However, in a F/RAND context, application of this framework can be difficult. Variables such as whether to presume an SEP’s in-fact essentiality to a standard, whether to presume an SEP’s validity at litigation, the date of the hypothetical negotiation, and whether or how a court should consider comparable licenses can result in advantages or disadvantages for SEP-owners or infringers/licensees. Courts have answered these questions differently, increasing uncertainty in infringement damages calculation and further warranting SSO guidance regarding the framework for said calculation. However, reducing uncertainty requires careful consideration of the effects of the aforementioned variables. While blindly making decisions can decrease uncertainty, it can also result in disparate impacts on participants in SEP licenses and litigation.

          Georgia-Pacific established 15 factors for courts to consider when calculating damages in patent infringement cases. These factors did not contemplate usage with F/RAND-encumbered patents. As one example, the Georgia-Pacific factors include the availability of alternatives, but in the F/RAND context no alternative to the standard is possible. Because of this and other similar considerations, application of Georgia-Pacific in the F/RAND context has provided further layers of uncertainty. Some district courts have laid out prescriptive analysis of how or whether each factor should be considered when dealing with SEPs. However, the Federal Circuit has largely punted on the matter. In Ericsson, Inc. v. D-Link Systems in 2014, the Federal Circuit called largely for a context-driven approach to applying the factors in this context. Applying many of these factors to SEPs can create problems that range from mild concern to complete inequity. Without a more rigid framework, uncertainty in litigation abounds and a risk of inequity arises.


          Holistically, numerous concerns plague policy determinations regarding fairly and equitably determining a reasonable royalty rate. SSOs should consider several of the valuation methods employed in contemporary cases and discussed in legal literature, the concerns they implicate, and the contexts of their standards to design royalty-valuation schemes within their F/RAND terms that guide courts in infringement damages valuation. Doing so would simplify litigation, rectify inequitable litigation trends, and increase certainty in the calculus a court may use in determining a F/RAND royalty.

        • Software Patents

          • Ideahub patent determined to be likely invalid

            On September 17, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,641,849, owned by Ideahub Inc. The IPR was filed as part of Unified's ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The '849 patent relates to a video compression technique known as intra prediction.

            The '849 patent is a part of the HEVC Advance patent pool. HEVC Advance claims that certain claims of the '849 patent are essential to the HEVC standard.

      • Copyrights

        • MPA & ACE Team Up With Homeland Security to Dismantle Criminal Piracy Groups

          The MPA, Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, Homeland Security's National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and other groups have signed an agreement to collaborate on content protection efforts and launch a new public awareness campaign to deter citizens from engaging in IPTV, general streaming, and torrent-based piracy.

        • Disney's Mulan Crushes All Competition on Pirate Sites

          Disney's Mulan is a smash hit on pirate sites, where millions of people streamed and downloaded pirate copies of the film over the past week and a half. For days on end, the film has been pirated many times more than the competition, which is a rare sight. This 'success' is the result of a volatile mix of steep costs, low availability, and high-quality pirate alternatives.

        • Now Being Used to Crowdsource "The Torrent Man" Film

          Earlier this week the domain was sold at auction for $50,000. The domain was previously owned by the official TPB team who apparently forgot to extend the registration. The new owner could monetize the domain through advertising feeds or start a Pirate Bay copy, but that's not the case. Instead, it's being put up for sale again by "PirateBay Pictures" who say they are crowdfunding a new film; The Torrent Man.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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Covering Abuses and Corruption
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Letting Microsoft systemd Manage /home Was a Terrible Idea All Along
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Patriotism is OK, But We Need Facts and Reason, Not Blind Obedience to Authority
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