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Links 21/9/2020: KTechLab 0.50.0, Linux 5.9 RC6

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 155

        We try out the new GNOME "Orbis" release and chat about Microsoft's new Linux kernel patches that make it clear Windows 10 is on the path to a hybrid Windows/Linux system.

        Plus, the major re-architecture work underway for Chrome OS with significant ramifications for Desktop Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.9-rc6
        Another week, another rc, and things look fairly normal: the diffstat
        looks fairly flat (implying small changes) and we don't have any
        unusual amount of activity.

        The one thing that does show up in the diffstat is the softscroll removal (both fbcon and vgacon), and there are people who want to save that, but we'll see if some maintainer steps up. I'm not willing to resurrect it in the broken form it was in, so I doubt that will happen in 5.9, but we'll see what happens.

        The other stats also look normal: about 60% of the patch is drivers (and yes, the softscroll is a noticeable part, but not overwhelmingly so - there's sound, gpu, mtd, i2c, usb etc). And the usual arch updates, along with some vm fixes (including the fix for the performance regression noted last rc) and perf tooling updates.

        We also have a (test regression (not the performance one) in the VM that we know about - the test that triggers this was admittedly buggy, but if the test was buggy it is quite possible that real uses are buggy too. We don't actually have any known case of any such real user breakage, but we do have a nice fix for the test regression that is very much the RightThing(tm) to do in the long run, so that has been actively discussed.

        We know what the fix looks like, and a few initial patches have been floating around, but a final patch doesn't exist yet, and depending on how that goes this might be something that pushes out the final 5.9 by a week. We'll see.

        So there's still some development going on, but honestly, that VM case is a very odd corner case that normal users should never hit, so it should not keep anybody from testing this in the meantime.

        Holler if you see anything odd,

      • Linux 5.9-rc6 Released With Soft Scrollback Removed, Performance Regression Fixed

        The sixth weekly release candidate to Linux 5.9 is now available with at least two notable changes in particular.

        Prominent in Linux 5.9-rc6 is the fix for the previously reported performance regression hitting 5.9. In case you missed it from the end of last week, see the article on controlling page lock unfairness as part of addressing the performance regression. That code is now in Linux 5.9-rc6 and the performance is back on track with Linux 5.8 while I will have out more benchmark numbers soon on the revised Linux 5.8 vs. 5.9 performance state.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.9-rc6

        The 5.9-rc6 kernel prepatch is out.

      • AMD and Intel

        • Linux 5.10 Adding Support For AMD Zen 3 CPU Temperature Monitoring

          The next version of the Linux kernel will allow monitoring temperatures of the upcoming AMD Zen 3 processors.

          While CPU temperature monitoring support may seem mundane and not newsworthy, what makes this Zen 3 support genuinely interesting is that it's coming pre-launch... This is the first time in the AMD Zen era we are seeing CPU temperature reporting added to the Linux driver pre-launch. Not only is it coming ahead of the CPUs hitting retail channels but the support was added by AMD engineers.

        • FFmpeg Now Supports GPU Inference With Intel's OpenVINO

          Earlier this summer Intel engineers added an OpenVINO back-end to the FFmpeg multimedia framework. OpenVINO as a toolkit for optimized neural network performance on Intel hardware was added to FFmpeg for the same reasons there is TensorFlow and others also supported -- support for DNN-based video filters and other deep learning processing.

        • Intel SGX Enclave Support Sent Out For Linux A 38th Time

          For years now Intel Linux developers have been working on getting their Software Guard Extensions (SGX) support and new SGX Enclave driver upstreamed into the kernel. SGX has been around since Skylake but security concerns and other technical reasons have held up this "SGX Foundations" support from being mainlined. There has also been an apparent lack of enthusiasm by non-Intel upstream kernel developers in SGX. This past week saw the 38th revision to the patches in their quest to upstreaming this support for handling the Memory Encryption Engine (MEE) and relates SGX infrastructure.


          The Intel SGX foundations v38 code can be found via the kernel mailing list. The Linux 5.10 merge window is opening up next month but remains to be seen if it will be queued for this next cycle or further dragged out into 2021.

        • Intel SGX foundations
          Intel(R) SGX is a set of CPU instructions that can be used by applications
          to set aside private regions of code and data. The code outside the enclave
          is disallowed to access the memory inside the enclave by the CPU access

          There is a new hardware unit in the processor called Memory Encryption Engine (MEE) starting from the Skylake microacrhitecture. BIOS can define one or many MEE regions that can hold enclave data by configuring them with PRMRR registers.

          The MEE automatically encrypts the data leaving the processor package to the MEE regions. The data is encrypted using a random key whose life-time is exactly one power cycle.

          The current implementation requires that the firmware sets IA32_SGXLEPUBKEYHASH* MSRs as writable so that ultimately the kernel can decide what enclaves it wants run. The implementation does not create any bottlenecks to support read-only MSRs later on.

          You can tell if your CPU supports SGX by looking into /proc/cpuinfo:

          cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep sgx
    • Applications

      • Best Torrent Clients for Linux

        This article will cover various free and open source Torrent clients available for Linux. The torrents clients featured below have nearly identical feature sets. These features include support for magnet links, bandwidth control tools, tracker editing, encryption support, scheduled downloading, directory watching, webseed downloads, peer management, port forwarding and proxy management. Unique features of individual torrents clients are stated in their respective headings below.

      • Best Free and Open Source Terminal Session Recording

        The vast majority of computer users depend on a graphical user interface, and fear the command line. However, the command line holds significant power and versatility. Commands issued from a shell offer system administrators a quick and easy way to update, configure and repair a system.

        The benefits of the command line are not only confined to system administration. The ability to transverse the file system quickly, give more information about files and directories, automate tasks, bring together the power of multiple console tools in a single command line, and run shell scripts are just a few examples of how the command line can offer a potent, multifarious toolbox.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Week report 0

          Hello every one in the KDE planet and beyond, this is the progress weekly report on O².

          So The week surprisingly started Monday and after the initial chock and accompanying usual work day at KDAB, I decided to do a little bit of progress on O² style mock ups...

        • Announcing KTechLab 0.50.0

          I’m happy to announce KTechLab release version 0.50.0. KTechLab is an IDE for microcontrollers and electronics. In this new release every user-visible functionality is the same as in previous releases, however, the codebase of KTechLab has been updated, so now it is a KF5/Qt5 application and it does not depend anymore on KDELibs4Support libraries.

          This release should compile and run on systems where KDELibs4Support libraries are not available.

          In its current state KTechLab’s codebase is ready for fixes and enhancements, as it only depends on modern libraries like KDE Frameworks 5 (KF5) and Qt5. As a side note, KF6 and Qt6 have been announced, and the first release of Qt6 has been scheduled to the end of 2020.

        • KTechLab git master doesn't depend on deprecated Qt5/KF5 API anymore

          KTechLab git master doesn’t depend anymore on deprecated Qt5/KF5 APIs. Thank you for everybody who made this possible!

          Using only up-to-date APIs should help with long-term maintenance of KTechLab and probably it helps distributors of KTechLab, too.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Matthias Clasen: GtkColumnView

          One thing that I left unfinished in my recent series on list views and models in GTK 4 is a detailed look at GtkColumnView. This will easily be the most complicated part of the series. We are entering into the heartland of GtkTreeView—anything aiming to replace most its features will be a complicated beast.

        • Oculus Rift CV1 progress

          For that video, I had the algorithm implemented as a GStreamer plugin that ran offline to process a recording of the device movements. I’ve now merged it back into OpenHMD, so it runs against the live camera data. When it runs in OpenHMD, it also has access to the IMU motion stream, which lets it predict motion between frames – which can help with retaining the tracking lock when the devices move around.

        • Keep Tabs on Your To-Do Lists With This GNOME Extension

          Task Widget is an open source GNOME extension that shows your to-do list embedded in the GNOME message tray (also known as the calendar or notification shade). This widget area displays your pending to-do items, and lets you check off tasks as you complete them.

          Task Widget is is able to integrate “…with GNOME Online Accounts and a number of GNOME applications, such as Evolution and To Do” but it is is not, by design, intended to replace any of those apps or services.

          Or to put it another way: it’s not a standalone task manager or to-do app. You can’t, for example, add a task from the widget area, or edit one either. You can only mark a task as done (or unmark it as done).

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Garuda Linux 200817

          One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Garuda Linux, an Arch-based distribution that offers several enticing features. By default Garuda is intended to be run on the Btr file system, which offers all sorts of attractive features such as multi-disk storage volumes and snapshots. Btrfs has been paired with Timeshift on Garuda and the system is reported to take automatic snapshots before each package upgrade, making the system much easier to recover. I especially like the idea of having automated filesystem snapshots on a rolling release distribution such as Arch. The openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release has offered automatic snapshots of the system prior to upgrades for a while now and it is nice to see this feature catching on in other projects.

          The Garuda distribution ships with the Calamares system installer to make setting up the operating system easier. We are also given a desktop tool for managing drivers and Garuda's website mentions proprietary NVIDIA video drivers are optionally available. Rounding out some of the key features, Garuda ships with the Zen Linux kernel with the goal of providing better desktop performance.

        • EndeavourOS Review: A Beginner's Arch Linux Based Distribution

          If you are looking for an Arch-based beginner's Linux distribution and easier to use and install, offers all possible desktop environments for all of your needs, EndeavourOS is the one.

      • New Releases

        • New EndeavourOS ARM Arrives Along With September ISO Release

          few weeks ago, we reported the arrival of EndeavourOS for ARM computers. Following the same, Bryan Poerwoatmodjo (aka Bryanpwo), founder and project leader at EndeavourOS, has finally launched EndeavourOS ARM.


          At last, you can go for the installation, which follows two stages: One for installing Archlinux ARM base, and the second for running a script that guides through the installation process to install EndeavourOS as a Desktop machine or as a headless server.

          For more details about the installation of EndeavourOS ARM, you can head over to the official manual. It also includes a special guide for Pinebook Pro, PINE64, and Rock64 hardware.

        • Linux Weekly Roundup #96

          We didn't have to many Linux distro releases in this week, only PC Linux OS 2020.09 and 4M Linux 34.0.

      • BSD

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Geniatech XPI 3128 RK3128 SBC is Equipped with an NXP WIFi 5 Module

        Geniatech XPI family of single board computers was first introduced in 2018 with the launch of the XPI-S905X development board following many of Raspberry Pi 3 Model B features and form factor.

        The company has now added another board to the family with XPI 3128 single board computer powered by a Rockchip RK3128 quad-core Cortex-A7 processor coupled with up to 2 GB RAM and 64 GB flash, as well as an NXP WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2 module.

      • Cambrionix SyncPad54 USB Hub Offers 56 USB 2.0 Ports

        This week-end FanlessTech posted a tweet about Portwell PEB-9783G2AR Intel Xeon board featuring twenty USB 3.0 Type-A ports. After I retweeted it, some smart asses clever people noted it was just not enough:

      • How coffee makers and teddy bears could be putting your network at risk

        Ever worry that your smart TV might be sending data to someone who shouldn’t be looking at it? Have you ever wondered if your kids’ smart teddy bear is secretly recording them? We get it — cyberattacks are common. But you’re not being paranoid, either. Despite how safe they might seem on the surface, a huge percentage of IoT devices are actually at risk for attack.

        A new security report from Palo Alto Networks tells us that 57% of IoT devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks of “medium to high severity.” That’s well over half of all smart devices out there — and IoT tech isn’t just limited to gadgets anymore, either.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The great filter of open source projects

        So, with the recent layoffs at Mozilla — among other things — a bit of discussion on the sustainability of open source projects has been reignited. There was a wide range of takes: from “FOSS is dead” (no) to “we need to re-decentralize the internet” (yes). I could not quite help putting forth opinions on the matter myself and did so on a short twitter thread. Fundamentally though, the opinions expressed on this matter seem to almost talk past each other — and I think the reasons for this might be found in history of open source(1).


        Another — later — project, that I am assuming to have been quite resilient and which I am assuming will continue to be quite resilient is gentoo linux: By requiring users to compile all software themselves, this distribution makes their users either give up on their installs or gets them at least halfway to be packagers (and for a distribution, packagers are contributors) themselves. Also, by not having to deal with binaries, gentoo reduces its infrastructure needs to a minimum. And even while there are some signs of downsizing at gentoo, I am hopeful that the flexibility mentioned above makes gentoo more sustainable and self-reliant than others for quite some time to come.


        All of the above projects, commoditized their complements and this allowed users, who were not contributors to still benefit from the work of those who were as these contributors were interested in protecting the complement.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome OS 87 Dev Channel brings working LaCrOS and Nearby Share to Chromebooks

            Can’t wait to try the latest upcoming features of Chrome OS? You’re in luck if those features are LaCrOS and Nearby Share of files to Android phones. The latest Dev Channel for Chrome OS pushes both of these features to your Chromebook in a mostly working state.

            My Chromebook got the Chrome OS 87 Dev Channel upgrade over the weekend and I noticed I could test these features out. If you’re not familiar with them, here’s a short recap.


            That will greet you with the Linux version of Chrome, which you can set as your default browser. I wouldn’t recommend that while LaCrOS is in development, but that’s up to you.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 81 Is Now Available for Download, Here’s What’s New

            Firefox 81 continues the monthly release cycle and brings a bunch of new features and improvements to make your web browsing experience better, faster, more stable, more secure, and ultimately more enjoyable.

            The biggest new feature in Firefox 81 appears to be new media controls that allow users to control audio and video playback through the hardware media keys on a keyboard, the media keys on a headset, or a virtual media control interface.

            On Linux, this release enables the VA-API/FFmpeg hardware acceleration for video playback by default on systems using the traditional X11/X.Org Server display server.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Hackaday Links: September 20, 2020

            The GNU Radio Conference wrapped up this week, in virtual format as so many other conferences have been this year, and it generated a load of interesting talks. They’ve got each day’s proceedings over on their YouTube channel, so the videos are pretty long; luckily, each day’s stream is indexed on the playbar, so along with the full schedule you can quickly find the talks you’re interested in. One that caught our eye was a talk on the Radio Resilience Competition, a hardware challenge where participants compete head-to-head using SDRs to get signals through in an adversarial environment. It sounds like a fascinating challenge for the RF inclined. More details about registering for the competition can be had on the Radio Resilience website.

      • Programming/Development

        • Ned Batchelder: Scriv

          I’ve written a tool for managing changelog files, called scriv. It focuses on a simple workflow, but with lots of flexibility.

          I’ve long felt that it’s enormously beneficial for engineers to write about what they do, not only so that other people can understand it, but to help the engineers themselves understand it. Writing about a thing gives you another perspective on it, your own code included.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSpdlog 0.0.2: New upstream, awesome new stopwatch

          Following up on the initial RcppSpdlog 0.0.1 release earlier this week, we are pumped to announce release 0.0.2. It contains upstream version 1.8.0 for spdlog which utilizes (among other things) a new feature in the embedded fmt library, namely completely automated formatting of high resolution time stamps which allows for gems like this (taken from this file in the package and edited down for brevity)...

        • Perl/Raku

          • [Perl] Week #078: Leader Element & Left Rotation

            First thing first, I managed to do video session for both tasks this week. It is so satisfying when everything goes as per the plan. For the last couple of weeks, I could only do one video session. One day, I would like to video with PIP. At the moment, I am little uncomfortable showing my face in the video. There is another reason why I can’t do it now. I don’t have my personal office in the house. I have been working from home since mid-March, nearly 6 months, sitting on sofa, 9-5. I must confess it is not easy. I miss my office chair and noise-free environment. I have 3 years twin girls. Luckily the school started last week, I get no-noise moment for few hours during the day. Also this week, I found time to do coding in Swift.

        • Python

          • Searching Greek and Hebrew with regular expressions

            According to the Python Cookbook, “Mixing Unicode and regular expressions is often a good way to make your head explode.” It is thus with fear and trembling that I dip my toe into using Unicode with Greek and Hebrew.

            I heard recently that there are anomalies in the Hebrew Bible where the final form of a letter is deliberately used in the middle of a word. That made me think about searching for such anomalies with regular expressions. I’ll come back to that shortly, but I’ll start by looking at Greek where things are a little simpler.

        • Java

          • Java 15 Gains Garbage Collection, Text Block Features

            Java 15 became generally available on Sept. 15, marking the second release in 2020 of the widely deployed programming language.

            The Java 15 release follows Java 14, which debuted in March, and is noteworthy for a number of improvements, as well as the fact that the release was not delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • All the Options for Schooling Are Bad—But We Have to Choose Safety

        On parents' impossible decision.

      • ErnÅ‘ Rubik on why his famous cube is a "metaphor" for the human condition

        In doing so, Rubik makes a number of assertions, each of them quite wise. He insists that "play," which many adults dismiss as a childish waste of time, is in fact essential to both healthy intellectual development and one's capacity to produce great things for society. He argues that curiosity is an underrated virtue in our culture, that we should encourage people to seek knowledge simply because it is fun and cathartic rather than on the condition that the information we find yield some monetary reward. Indeed, although he is clearly not a fan of having grown up "within the economic system of state socialism," Rubik writes that it did bring about the benefit of creating "an overall disregard for financial gain," meaning that creative people could exercise their intellectual powers as fulfilling ends in their own right.

        Perhaps most tellingly, though, Rubik says that he enjoys "the fact that the Cube is a healthy microcosm of both success and failure." For him, of course, it was a success in that it made him "comfortably well-off" before he turned 40. Yet even if it had never become a commercial sensation, Rubik writes he still would have considered it an accomplishment for the simple reason that he was able to invent such a successful puzzle. Beyond that, Rubik notes that even people who fail to successfully solve his puzzle still learn from their efforts to do so.

        The following is a transcript of an email interview with Rubik; as always, this interview has been condensed and edited for print.

    • Hardware

      • Softbank's two major competition cases: Apple-Intel antitrust suit against Fortress, and merger review of Nvidia's envisioned acquisition of ARM

        Softbank--though huge--was mentioned on this blog for the first time when Intel and Apple brought an antitrust action against its Fortress Investment subsidiary over the industrialized abuse of patents. That case is still pending, and another major competition case involving Softbank is around the corner: its contemplated sale of chip company ARM to Nvidia for $40 bilion is likely to draw regulatory scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions.

        While my focus will definitely remain on App Store antitrust cases (as an app developer and antitrust commentator, I'm doubly interested) and component-level licensing of standard-essential patents, the Apple and Intel v. Fortress litigation and the upcoming Softbank-ARM merger reviews are also worth keeping an eye on. In this post I'd like to share a few observations on both matters.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The Haves and the Have-Nots

        By not permitting the United States to participate in Covax, Trump is depriving the WHO effort of funding it desperately needs to develop the vaccine.

      • Trump's EPA Reauthorizes Use of Herbicide Linked to Congenital Disabilities

        The Trump administration alarmed environmental and public health advocates on Friday with the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reauthorize the use of atrazine, an herbicide common in the United States but banned or being phased out in dozens of countries due to concerns about risks such as congenital disabilities and cancer.

      • What the Flint Water Crisis Meant for My Family

        Take it from me: You don't want to go through what we did. Every community deserves water, life, and dignity.

      • Upgrading Building Codes Can Curb Drinking Water Contamination Due to Wildfires

        Less than halfway through the 2020 wildfire season, fires are burning large swaths of the western U.S. As in previous years, these disasters have entered populated areas, damaging drinking water networks. Water systems have lost pressure, potentially sucking in pollutants, and several utilities are warning of possible and confirmed chemical contamination.

      • I’m Living in Fear of COVID as New People Get Transferred Into the Prison I’m In

        Washington State’s Department of Corrections (WDOC) is continuing to transfer prisoners between facilities during COVID-19 outbreaks, a practice that public health experts warn dramatically increases the risk of the virus spreading. It matters to me because as an incarcerated individual, the WDOC is responsible for my health and well-being, and it should matter to you, because prisoners can’t protect themselves from the spread of the virus and the impact of infected prisoners goes far beyond the prison walls.

      • Insufficient COVID Protections for Postal Workers Pose Threat to Mail-in Voting

        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.

      • Tucker Carlson Cries Censorship After His COVID-19 Posts Flagged as Misinformation by Facebook, Instagram

        On Wednesday, Facebook and Instagram placed warning labels over video posts from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that said, “This post repeats information about COVID-19 that has been reviewed by independent fact-checkers.”

      • Enduring insights into US-China relations

        British China expert Jude Woodward, who sadly passed away recently, had given us the essential The US versus China, Asia’s new cold war? Moreover she left us two documents, which will give us an insight into the true nature of the US-China contradiction in 2020, during and after the COVID-19 crisis as well: the Introduction to the Dutch language edition of her book, published in Belgium (EPO, 2018), and The US offensive against China, her speech at the launch in Brussels, January 2019.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Why you need Apple support to secure the C-suite

          That’s a pattern that continues today. Your employees may not be living like the Jetsons at work, but your CEO, CFO, COO and all the other Cs and near-Cs are far more likely to be giving it a go. Which means your corporate data is already on iPhones, iPads and Macs – and it’s not just any old data: This is the most confidential data your company holds – the information your executive teams use to run the business that pays your team’s wages.

        • Security

          • Open Source Security Poscast Episode 216 – Security didn’t find life on Venus

            Josh and Kurt talk about how we talk about what we do in the context of life on Venus. We didn’t really discover life on Venus, we discovered a gas that could be created by life on Venus. The world didn’t hear that though. We have a similar communication problem in security. How often are your words misunderstood?

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Wayback Machine and Cloudflare Want to Backstop the Web

              The Internet Archive says it welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Cloudflare for Always On. And the organization has recently expanded its focus on website reliability and technical integrity across the web. In February, it announced a project with the Brave browser to offer a recent cache of a website if users run into a 404 error. Some browser extensions have provided this functionality over the years, but the Internet Archive says that integrating it fully in a browser and offering it through Always On is a positive step.

            • Facebook Tried to Limit QAnon. It Failed.

              Perhaps the most jarring part? At times, Facebook’s own recommendation engine — the algorithm that surfaces content for people on the site — has pushed users toward the very groups that were discussing QAnon conspiracies, according to research conducted by The New York Times, despite assurances from the company that that would not happen.

            • TikTok and WeChat both managed to avoid their Sunday bans

              But as of Sunday afternoon, each has received a reprieve from a US ban, at least temporarily. President Trump said Saturday he had given a deal between TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart his “blessing,” prompting a one-week delay from the Commerce Department on TikTok’s ban. And a judge in California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration’s WeChat ban.

            • WeChat and TikTok see US downloads climb ahead of Trump administration ban

              Messaging app WeChat had its biggest one-day download numbers in nearly two years on Friday, ahead of a ban on new downloads from the US Commerce Department expected to take effect tomorrow. Preliminary data from analytics platform Sensor Tower showed Chinese-based WeChat had 10,000 installs in the US Friday, a 150 percent increase from Thursday and a 233 percent week-over-week increase. That’s the largest number of WeChat installs in the US in one day since October 7th, 2019.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Water shortages in U.S. West likelier than previously thought

        Compared with an average year, only 55 percent of Colorado River water is flowing from the Rocky Mountains down to Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona line. Due to the below-average runoff, government scientists say the reservoirs are 12 percent more likely to fall to critically low levels by 2025 than they projected in the spring.

      • You Don't Have to Be a Democrat to See the Wildfires for What They Are

        Despite our current president's stated belief that nobody knows what's causing our explosion of wildfires, America's scientists do, in fact, know. We are doing this to ourselves. We, as a species, are continuing to burn fossil fuels. Our planet is growing hotter, and the western U.S. is trending both hotter and dryer. And as a result, we're experiencing both longer fire seasons and larger, more catastrophic wildfires. It's a clear causal relationship that has been confirmed by science, and that's true regardless of what climate deniers might claim or which political party you belong to.

      • Open Letter: For the Sake of Transatlantic Security, Stop Nord Stream 2

        In light of this latest malign action, which we believe can only have been carried out or sanctioned by the Kremlin, we are calling on the European Commission, and the Governments of all European Union Member States, as well as the United States, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova to take immediate action to stop the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

        We have long supported the Transatlantic relationship and the idea of European unity, and believe Nord Stream 2 undermines both for the following reasons: [...]

      • Climate Science Is Vulnerable to Politics

        We as voters must ensure that climate science is immune from political meddling and elect leaders who will respect the scientific process.

    • Finance

      • Review: Lower Ed

        It is a deep look at the sociology of for-profit higher education in the United States based on interviews with students and executives, analysis of Wall Street filings, tests of the admissions process, and her own personal experiences working for two of the schools. One of the questions that McMillan Cottom tries to answer is why students choose to enroll in these institutions, particularly the newer type of institution funded by federal student loans and notorious for being more expensive and less valuable than non-profit colleges and universities.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Risk of Progressive Reversal

        People worried about their basic safety are not particularly interested in new social experiments.

      • Democrats, It's Time for Constitutional Jiujitsu

        Trump and his party must be defeated. They must be out-maneuvered, brought down, and decisively vanquished.

      • Republicans Aren't Hypocrites: A Lesson in Power in the Aftermath of RBG's Death

        Charges of hypocrisy are insufficient to change the course of the RBG's replacement or, in fact, in other Republican attempt to race-bait, disenfranchise voters, or increase the wealth of the affluent.

      • Affirming Jim Crow, Israeli Parliament Votes Down Bill Guaranteeing Equality for Palestinian-Israelis

        During the past year, the Knesset has shot down numerous proposals to amend the National Law to forbid discrimination against non-Jews.

      • Life in the US Has the Hallmarks of a "Low-Grade War Zone"

        Countless red flags have sprung up in recent months indicating a creeping authoritarianism coming into full form. Vigilante forms of far right “justice” have become commonplace, as in the high-profile case of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the numerous cases of far right violence and intimidation directed at Black Lives Matter activists since nationwide protests erupted in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in May. The president dog-whistles to his white supremacist base regularly, and may not even accept the election results this November if he loses. This is what it looks like, feels like, when a nation’s social fabric frays, when a society eats itself alive, and the center can no longer hold.

      • 'A Farce': Trump Critics, European Allies Challenge Pompeo Claim About Snapback of UN Sanctions on Iran

        "With a track record of failure on Iran, the Trump administration's spin machine appears to be going into overdrive heading into November."

      • As Anti-Fascist T-Shirts Are Removed, Far Right Apparel Remains on Retailer Site

        Over the last couple of years, the term “antifa” has been moved from its historic role describing a type of militant anti-fascist organizing to a codeword for any militant, left-wing protest by right-wing ideologues bent on manipulating white anxiety. As a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests began in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a frantic far right in the U.S. has accused every demonstration as being orchestrated by “antifa,” despite no antifascist organization being in the driver’s seat and the protests being an organic mass uprising. Donald Trump has accused antifa “outside agitators” as being responsible for riots and looting, and Attorney General William Barr has suggested that antifa is staging a revolutionary war in the streets of the U.S. Many on the right, from Fox News to Sen. Ted Cruz, intimate that anti-fascists are responsible for all things lawless, and despite the lack of evidence for any of these claims, the rhetorical abuse continues.

      • Biden’s Foreign Policy Advisors Show Loyalty to Israel, Defense Contractors

        When Donald Trump was elected president, the foreign policy apparatus that Barack Obama’s administration built did not disappear. The power brokers went to think tanks and lobbying firms, cashing in on the uncertainty with help from defense contractors and other corporations. 

      • Do the Right Thing: Obey RBG's Last Wish

        Give Justice Ginsburg the proper send-off and let the election winner choose.

      • 400 Years in Eight Minutes

        The difficulty of speaking about this “historical moment” is that the “moment” has been going on for 400 years, featuring a lot of speaking and almost no structural change. There is everything to say. There is nothing to say. It’s all been said. It all must be said again. Words cannot express the rage we feel. Yet, words are all we have to express our rage. Words and the street. Who will hear us? What will it matter? The words have spoken. The flames have been lit. The street has burned before. It will burn again. What has changed? What will change? How can it be made to happen?

      • Dems Pressured to 'Pick a Fight for Once' Over RBG Seat as Collins and Murkowski Oppose Pre-Election Vote

        "To pretend that norms will constrain Trump or McConnell would be folly, yes. But for Democrats, the media, and the public to concede the ground in advance is to do their dirty work for them."

      • American Style Coup d'etat

        The cover photo for Wilmington’s Lie by New York Times reporter David Zucchino (Grove/Atlantic Press) is both shocking and utterly revealing of the truth-telling to come. A gang of armed, self-satisfied white men, dressed in their Sunday best, stand before the smoldering remains of the Wilmington Daily Record, a black-owned newspaper. The Record’s editor, Alex Manly, had written an editorial that provided the excuse for a murderous plot to go into overdrive. The result was America’s only coup d’etat — the overthrow of Wilmington, North Carolina’s bi-racial city government in November, 1898. When the shooting stopped, at least sixty, and perhaps two hundred, black men lay dead. The true number has never been established.

      • The Death of Neoliberalism

        The coronavirus pandemic roared through an already destabilized global economic system suffering from a deep crisis of legitimacy.

      • Celebrities, Politicians Remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Legacy

        Amid the grief and mourning also comes a call to action; Ginsburg’s passing, with less than two months until the presidential election, poses an opportunity for President Donald Trump to appoint another judge to the Supreme Court. Many public figures have spoken out about the political implications of the Court vacancy, while amplifying Ginsburg’s final wishes: to have her seat filled only after a new president is elected.

      • Secret documents show how North Korea launders money through U.S. banks

        North Korea carried out an elaborate money laundering scheme for years using a string of shell companies and help from Chinese companies, moving money through prominent banks in New York, according to confidential bank documents reviewed by NBC News.

      • Kroger sued for allegedly firing workers who refused to wear rainbow symbol

        The rainbow flag has long been used as a symbol of LGBTQ pride, displayed especially during Pride Month in June. Kroger, however, declined to confirm whether the symbol was intended for pride purposes, telling NBC News in an email that the company cannot comment on pending litigation.

      • Europe’s Failed Migration Policy Caused Greece’s Latest Refugee Crisis

        For many years, Europe did not return migrants to Greece exactly due to the deplorable conditions for asylum seekers. Keeping Moria as a slum was just another flawed attempt at deterrence. The European Commission on Wednesday announced that the Dublin system would be replaced, with details on its asylum reform package to be announced next week. Seasoned migration experts are not optimistic, having seen a string of other dysfunctional policies over the years.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Read Frank Zappa’s motivational letter sent to a fan trying to the fight against censorship

        The hearing was held on September 19, 1985, and saw Zappa go toe-to-toe with the likes of Al Gore on “the subject of the content of certain sound recordings and suggestions that recording packages be labelled to provide a warning to prospective purchasers of sexually explicit or other potentially offensive content.”

        During his statement, Zappa stated, “the PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal’s design.”

        Prior to the hearing, Zappa did everything in his power to try to change public opinion by sending the following letter to members of his fan club in a rallying cry in the censorship war. This was a topic that he felt extremely passionate about because he worried it would stop musicians being able to express themselves freely which would have a catastrophic result on art.

        Read his letter in full, below. [...]

      • Judge throws out defamation case against Tesla by former employee

        Tesla identified Tripp as the source of the leaked information, which Tripp later confirmed. He was fired, and Tesla filed a lawsuit claiming he had “unlawfully [cracked] the company’s confidential and trade secret information.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk emailed Tesla staff telling them an employee had tried to “sabotage” company operations.

      • Iran Removes Girls' Image From Math Textbooks

        A new version of the third-grade math textbook no longer features images of girls in school uniforms on the cover. Meanwhile, the schoolboys' image has been kept untouched on the cover of the newly-published textbook for the new Iranian academic year.

        The previous version of the boom for the eight to nine-year-old students showed images of three boys playing along with two girls under a tree.

      • California School District Considers Ban on Classic Books

        The books in question grapple with complicated and difficult realities of America’s past and present. But curricula have been developed that make it possible to teach the books with sensitivity and compassion. Both The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird are included on the Library of Congress list of “Books That Shaped America” and have been taught in schools throughout the country for many years. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was awarded the prestigious Newbery Medal in 1977. The Cay is an award-winning young adult novel that tells the powerful story of how an 11-year-old boy learns to reject the racist views of his upbringing and to recognize the humanity of those normally deemed the “other” by society.

        At a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans are in the streets protesting systemic racism, it is more important than ever for educators to teach books that help their students understand the role that race has played in American history and how it continues to shape our society. The Burbank schools have an obligation to help its students understand why the books are so painful and their responsibility for confronting racism. To do so, they must provide teachers with the resources and support they need to teach these books successfully.

      • Self-censorship in the US

        The US nominally enshrines the most far-reaching freedom of speech, thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Yet the average number of Americans who self-censor is slowly beginning to approximate that of Germany, where... "Nearly two-thirds of citizens are convinced that 'today one has to be very careful on which topics one expresses oneself', because there are many unwritten laws about what opinions are acceptable and admissible".

      • Hindu jailed in Muslim Bangladesh for insulting Prophet Mohammed

        A Hindu has been jailed for seven years in Muslim-majority Bangladesh for insulting the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook, a prosecutor said Thursday.

        Although Bangladesh is officially secular, criticism of Islam is taboo in the conservative nation of 168 million people and violent protests have previously erupted over social media posts deemed blasphemous.

      • Unicef condemns jailing of Nigeria teen for 'blasphemy'

        The UN children's agency Unicef has called on the Nigerian authorities to urgently review an Islamic court's decision to sentence a 13-year-old boy to 10 years in prison for blasphemy.

      • Man gets life for desecrating Holy Quran

        The police recovered the desecrated copy of the holy book and registered a criminal case against the accused under section 295-B of the blasphemy law. After a five-year trial, the court of additional sessions judge-III, Shah Wali Khan, convicted Ayaz and sentenced him to life (25 years).

      • Law Firm Volunteers To Assist Kano Government In Ensuring Killing Of Musician Accused Of Blasphemy Against Prophet Mohammed

        The law firm in a letter to the Kano State Attorney-General said it was acting on behalf of one Muhammed Lawal Gusau, who noted that he desired to render a “selfless service towards the advancement and upliftment of the goals and ideals of Islam in all positive spheres”.

        Gusua stated that he was ready to dedicate all resources to ensure that the musician was hanged for blasphemy.

      • White House bans TikTok and WeChat: A major intensification of internet censorship

        The move is a frontal assault on the freedom of expression and an effort to consolidate control of the internet by a handful of massive corporations working in partnership with the American government. TikTok is used by millions of people every day to connect with friends and family, share ideas and communicate, and has been used to organize social protests. WeChat is a major link of communication between the United States and China.

      • Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok

        They were charged under a cybercrime law passed in 2018, as well as existing laws in the Egyptian Penal Code that have been employed against women in the past.

        Yasmin Omar, a researcher at The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, said the cybercrime law is vague when it comes to defining what’s legal and what isn’t.

        “It was written using very broad terms that could be very widely interpreted and criminalizing a lot of acts that are originally considered as personal freedom,” she said. “Looking at it, you would see that anything you might post on social media, anything that you may use [on] the internet could be criminalized under this very wide umbrella.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 13

        Friday gave us the most emotionally charged moments yet at the Assange hearing, showed that strange and sharp twists in the story are still arriving at the Old Bailey, and brought into sharp focus some questions about the handling and validity of evidence, which I will address in comment.

      • Tens of Thousands Attend Bangladesh Islamist Leader's Funeral

        Shafi made his mark in national politics when he marched tens of thousands of his followers into central Dhaka in May 2013, demanding harsh blasphemy laws and the execution of atheist bloggers.

        The rally ended in violence when police evicted his followers from the capital's main commercial center. About 50 people were killed in clashes with security forces, most of them shot, in some of the worst political violence the country had ever seen.

        Around half a dozen bloggers and secular activists were later hacked to death by Islamist extremists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Want to reform the police? That must start with decriminalizing drugs

        It is an American obsession to funnel drug users into the criminal justice system. Recently released numbers on incarceration in Ohio show that of the nearly 14,000 commitments in the past year, 25 percent were due to drug offenses or drug trafficking. Those numbers build on data from 2016, when the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch found that more than one in nine arrests made by state law enforcement is for drug possession — a total of 1.25 million arrests each year.

      • Iranian teens convicted of stealing reportedly will have fingers chopped off

        Three teenage boys found guilty of stealing in Iran will now endure the barbaric punishment of having their fingers hacked off, according to a report.

        The teens — identified as Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Sharafian and Mehdi Shahivand — were ordered to have four fingers on their right hands amputated, according to an Iran Supreme Court verdict, The Sun reported, citing British-based Persian-language television station Iran International.

        The boys lost an appeal this week to have the gruesome sentence overturned.

      • Iraqi activist’s murder casts doubt on authorities’ ability to end killings

        Since Iraqi protesters took to the streets last October, Iran-backed militias have been accused of carrying out numerous assassinations against prominent activists and critics.

      • Report: Hundreds of Ethiopian Christians Killed in 'Targeted Genocide' Since June

        Reports in Ethiopian media confirm what Barnabus is reporting about a spate of killings earlier this summer. The violence involves religious as well as ethnic cleansing, but the situation is complicated and appears to also involve political motivations.


        It's been reported that some of the attackers even had lists containing the names of Christians and had received the help of local authorities in trying to find specific individuals who had been actively involved in supporting the Church in the region.

      • Women are fighting the misogyny of Iran's mullahs

        There were expressions of outrage and disgust internationally in August when a court in Iran sentenced a man to only nine years jail for beheading his 14-year-old daughter in an honor killing.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • [Older] Big Brother Is Watching You

        Few years back Facebook hit the news with their chatbots Alice and Bob making waves. Facebook’s claim was that their chatbots had ‘developed’ a language, that seemed indiscernible to humans, to communicate with each other. The bots were pulled down because they quite did not fit into what Facebook wanted out of them — to communicate more effectively with humans. Worse still, whatever the version of the story is from Facebook, the media did make a fuss about the fear of A.I. taking over.


        Technology began becoming part of the individual’s life with the telephone — probably the first thing that was personal to us. There was a time when in North America, if you wanted to use a phone, you had to go to AT&T. The strategy was not to share the advanced long-distance network AT&T had, with local independent carriers.

        For quite some time, AT&T solely had the luxury of funding pure research projects. The Bell Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey was the Mecca for such projects. Though AT&T held monopoly over the telephone for about a century, the legacy would be cut short by restrictions on AT&T to sell computer systems, just for the fear of AT&T’s monopoly in the computer industry. An offering this situation had in store for the world was an operating system — UNIX, and the free communal development culture that came with it.


        Transparency is Truth. The best brand names we could sport on ourselves is ourselves. We need to be reminded of the efforts of selfless individuals Stewart Brand, Tim-Berners Lee, Richard Stallman, Linux Torvalds, and many of the unsung greats like Nikola Tesla to stop, alight and think where we are treading. Life has more to offer than just ‘likes’ on Facebook and views on YouTube. And as Carl Sagan once said,

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • China’s first anti-suit injunction; Apple CEO rejects efficient infringement; CRISPR patent battle latest; EPO and USPTO heads’ covid warning; CBM back from the dead?; plus much more

          Speaking at IPBC Connect, the EPO and USPTO leaders say covid-induced changes are here to stay and warn of decreased user engagement caused by the pandemic.

        • An EPO Case Law Round-Up: Added Matter

          What is the historic guidance? Generally, these types of amendments have only been allowed where the isolated feature does not have any clearly recognisable functional or structural relationship with the original combination of features[1]. The common test used by the EPO when assessing these amendments, is whether the extracted feature is ‘inextricably linked’ with the combination of features in the original disclosure[2], i.e. incidental to the proper functioning of a specific embodiment[3], and that the overall disclosure must justify the generalising isolation of the feature and its introduction into the claim.

          What is the case law saying now? There has not been much game-changing case law in this area, following an apparent consolidation by the Board in T 1906/11. Here, the EPO said that the most relevant question in the assessment of intermediate generalisations is whether a skilled person faced with the amended version of the application or patent would derive any additional technically relevant information over the disclosure of the original version. Only if this type of information is derived is there a contravention of Article 123(2) EPC. This was revisited in 2018 where it was confirmed that this information would be derived if the original disclosure conveyed the teaching, explicit or implicit, that all the features of that combination had to be present together in order for a specific technical effect to be obtained[4]. In this case, claiming only some of those features would present the skilled person with additional technical information.

        • Opinion: It won’t be courts that drive virtual litigation

          In some white-collar circles, not many issues are more divisive right now than working from home – whether it works or it doesn’t, and whether it can really be sustained beyond this year.

          Anecdotally, many people in UK industries such as journalism and law have enjoyed their new setup. This is supported by figures showing that less than 35% of British office workers are back at their desks (although other factors, including health and safety, will also be at play). In stark contrast, the numbers for France and Germany are 83% and 70% respectively. Workers in the US are also more negative than others about returning to work.

        • Why counsel should copy competitors when optimising patents

          Panellists from BAE Systems and Arm discussed best practices for optimising patent portfolios at the IP Corporate Strategy Summit on September 10, which was held virtually by Managing IP.

          Rob Calico, vice president of IP and litigation at semiconductor company Arm in California, said a company should base its calculation for how many patents it needs partly on how many registrations belong to its competitors.

      • Copyrights

        • 'Copyright Troll' Loses Legal Battle and Must Pay $172,173

          Every year rightsholders collect many thousands of dollars in settlements from alleged copyright infringers. However, these enforcement efforts can backfire as well. Photographer and attorney Richard Bell, who filed dozens of lawsuits over a single photo, has lost one of his legal battles and is now ordered to pay $172,173 in attorneys' fees and costs.

        • Spanish Piracy Giant 'Megadede' to Shut Down, Successors Queue Up

          The Spanish pirate streaming giant Megadede will shut down within a week. The site's operators announced their surprise decision without providing any further detail. Megadede is among the 100 most visited sites in the country and will be missed by many. However, there certainly is no shortage of alternatives, as other sites are queuing up to welcome stranded pirates.

        • TuneIn Blocking Debacle: Bombing Internet Radio Back to the Stone Age

          We've come a long way since the days of shortwave radio and analog pirate radio stations. The Internet promised a lot, allowing broadcasters to reach an international audience keen to soak up culture from all over the world. Sadly, the latest actions by the UK music industry against TuneIn feel like an attempt to bomb radio fans back to the stone age.

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Selling Out to Microsoft Makes You Dead Beef
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Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer