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01.19.20

Judges Reject EPO Patents on Life as Constitutional Complaints Against the EPO Pile Up in Germany

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

5 challenges and counting…

Pile of old books

Summary: EPO judges throw out patents on life (CRISPR at least); there’s now growing hope that they’ll have the courage to do the same to patents on software

THERE HAS been mostly good news coming from the European Patent Office (EPO) in recent days. We hope there will be positive impact and perhaps an end to software patents in Europe.

“As fewer readers may know, there are currently quite a few constitutional challenges against the EPO.”As most readers know/are aware of, Team Campinos/Battistelli is unscientific and perhaps anti-scientific. The sole goal is granting as many patents as possible, irrespective of what the science says and what scientists need. It’s not in vain that examiners are protesting and it is not without reason.

As fewer readers may know, there are currently quite a few constitutional challenges against the EPO. Richard Gillespie wrote about Constitutional complaints against the EPO in Germany just under a day ago. There’s a decent roundup right there, naming 2 BvR 2480/10, 2 BvR 421/13, 2 BvR 756/16, 2 BvR 786/16, and, 2 BvR 561/18:

Patent Attorneys like myself are not known for their love of excitement. For example, I like reading lists. One regrettably exciting item that appears to have slipped off the ‘things to look out for in 2020’ lists that I have seen is the outcome of the constitutional complaints against the EPO in Germany. The outcome of these complaints could have potentially explosive implications for patent practice in Europe and they have not received enough attention.

At present there, are five constitutional complaints relating to the European Patent Office (EPO) before the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG), namely, 2 BvR 2480/10, 2 BvR 421/13, 2 BvR 756/16, 2 BvR 786/16, and, 2 BvR 561/18. At issues is the lack of sufficient legal remedies at the EPO against negative decisions of the Boards of Appeal. I believe there is a clear risk that the BVerfG will uphold at least some of the constitutional complaints relating to the EPO. Such an outcome would likely mean that the European Patent Convention (EPC) in its present form is incompatible with the German constitution.

My reasoning is as follows: according to these complaints there is a question (amongst others) on whether or not Articles 19(4) and 103(1) of the German constitution (i.e. the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany) have been violated. Article 19(4) states that if any person’s rights are violated by a public authority, they have recourse to the courts. Article 103 deals with the right to a fair trial.

[...]

As noted in by Vissel (GRUR Int. 2019, 25) it is instructive to note the submissions of the Federal Republic of Germany during the Travaux Préparatoires of the EPC (emphasis added):

“The delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany opposed this request [to delete para. (b) of Art. 135]. It pointed out that the application of a national procedure should be possible not only in cases in which the applicant suffered a loss of rights as a result of the omission of an act but also where the European Patent Office had given a negative decision. It was in precisely these cases that there was a constitutional problem in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Basic Law required that every administrative act should be capable of being examined by a court. The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office, although similar to courts of law, were not in fact courts proper so that the possibility of recourse to a German Court had to be maintained. It should, however, be borne in mind that the Federal Republic did not at present intend to avail itself of the option available under para. 1(b). However, even if this option were applied, there would be little danger of any delay in the procedure since it was unlikely that proceedings would be initiated before the German patent authorities and the German Court after the European procedure had been concluded.”

Hence, the provision of Article 135(1)(b) EPC was drafted for a situation in which the Boards of Appeal of the EPO could no longer be seen as independent courts.

This was a situation that had occurred within the German Patent Office when appeals against decisions of the Office were conducted internally. There was a constitutional complaint against the internal appeals of the German Patent Office because of a lack of sufficient legal remedies at the German Patent Office. This complaint was upheld and it ultimately lead to the establishment of the German Federal Patent Court.

We assume readers are aware of the constitutional complaint against the UPC and we have repeatedly shown that the press does not properly cover this (if at all). Amplifying the EPO's lies is not journalism and here’s a new example of it (“New EU Patent System On Course For End Of 2020, Says EPO”). The EPO lies and some people copy-paste the lies, just like so-called ‘reporters’ who publish “Trump says” pieces. From the outline:

Progress is being made towards the implementation of the EU’s new patent system, but the UK’s insistence on severing all ties with the European Court could spell the end for its participation.

Could or will? Will. Has. This is hardly news.

The EPO’s management has meanwhile moved on to its new lie (warning: epo.org link), having published this piece in which patent maximalists from all around the world push software patents agenda under the guise of “emerging” and “HEY HI” (AI). The EPO attributes this propaganda to “IP5” and says:

The five largest intellectual property offices held the inaugural meeting of their joint Task Force on New Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence this week in Berlin. Known as the “IP5”, the five offices – which are the EPO, the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – together handle about 85% of the world’s patent applications. The meeting was organised jointly by the EPO and KIPO.

Launched at the IP5 annual meeting last June in Incheon, South Korea, the new task force will explore the legal, technical and policy aspects of new technologies and AI, their impact on the patent system and on operations at our five offices. The aim is to pinpoint which areas can most benefit from joint IP5 responses, ranging from employing AI to improve the patent grant process, to applying the patentability requirements to inventions in the field of AI, and handling applications for inventions created by machines.

“This task force is the IP5 offices’ first joint response to a changing global patenting landscape and evolving user needs in the field,” said Christoph Ernst, the EPO’s Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs, opening the event. He added: “New emerging technologies and AI touch upon almost every aspect of daily life and seem to question the traditional models for the generation and utilisation of knowledge flows and decision-making. This translates into considerable challenges in IP, and the task force is a chance for us to demonstrate that we, as the world’s leading offices, are agile and responsive to change.”

It’s very clear that Campinos, Iancu and the others just want to grant as many patents as possible, no matter the legality of these. This includes software patents.

Having said that, this EPO agenda has just suffered a major setback because CRISPR patents turn out (again) to be fake patents. This can, by extension, doom many other European Patents on life and nature.

The EPO has just tweeted: “Heinz Müller, #patent expert at @ige_ipi, will talk about the #patent landscape of #CRISPR at this event in Zurich…”

Maybe the EPO did not get the memo, but around the very same time (maybe the same day) judges found the courage to say no to CRISPR patents.

A site advocating for such patents (pressure group of the “life science” monopolists) wrote:

In a dramatic reversal, a European Patent Office’s (EPO) board of appeal has upheld the revocation of a Broad Institute CRISPR/Cas9 patent.

Yesterday, the board indicated that it would refer several key issues at the heart of the case to a higher panel, potentially triggering a lengthy delay.

But today the board has announced that, after consideration, it is already equipped to decide the case and agreed with the earlier Opposition Division ruling that the Broad’s patent lacks a valid priority claim.

Daniel Lim, partner at Kirkland & Ellis, said the decision was “quite the change of heart” from the board.

“I can imagine that the stakes involved in this case and the level of interest and scrutiny have not made the Board’s life easy,” he said.

Yesterday’s proceedings opened with the announcement that the board intended to refer at least three questions to the EPO’s enlarged board of appeal.

This has also been covered by Rose Hughes (AstraZeneca), who said:

The Board of Appeal (3.3.08) finished hearing submissions on priority from the parties this morning. Proceedings were then adjourned until the afternoon whilst the Board conferred. The parties undoubtedly had a tense lunch. The Board was either going to decide on the issue of priority or refer the issue to the EBA for clarification. There was a strong feeling following the comments made by the Board of Appeal on Day 3 that a referral to the EBA was likely. However, news came soon after recommencement of the proceedings that the Board of Appeal was to dismiss the appeal. [In a classic fake news saga, Merpel watched with bemusement today the ongoing proliferation of reports that the Board of Appeal had referred the matter to the EBA].

The immediate impact of the referral would have been to prolong the dispute. Even if the EBA had accepted the referral (far from certain), any decision from the EBA would not have been the end of the matter. The EBA is there to provide clarity on points of law. After a EBA decision, the case would then have had to be sent back to the Board of Appeal. Those wishing for legal clarity will welcome the Board of Appeal’s decision to settle the matter today.

On the other hand, a fact easily forgotten amidst the all the excitement over this week’s appeal hearing, is that the patent in dispute, EP2771468, is far from being the Broad Institute only patent relating to CRISPR. Whilst today is the end of the road for EP2771468, there are 5 divisional applications in the same family as the patent in dispute: EP2784162, EP2896697, EP2940140, EP2921557, EP3144390.

[...]

The patent family of EP2771468 is also, of course, not the only family relating to CRISPR. There are many other patents relating to aspects of CRISPR technology, owned by the Broad Institute and other parties, most notably University California Berkeley.

Could this be the most courageous decision these judges have made in recent years? More importantly, will there be ‘consequences’ for it? Will they soon decide to rule out software patents (‘simulation’) as well? Let’s hope so.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 18, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 am by Needs Sunlight

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StartPage (System1) Found New Spin Allies. Some Have Been Offered StartPage Jobs. Some Might Already be Working for StartPage in Secret.

Posted in Deception, Search at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When you have critics and you pay people to discredit them, what does that make you?

StartPage gifts
From StartPage with love

Summary: Pro-StartPage voices appear to be paid (or have been promised pay) by StartPage; the key strategy of StartPage seems to be, attack and betray people’s privacy while paying people in particular positions to pretend otherwise

IT HAS been a while since we last touched the StartPage saga and little has changed. StartPage is still owned/controlled by a surveillance company and it is trying to muzzle/squash/discredit its critics.

“At this moment in time we do know for a fact about the conflict (some are more upfront about this than others), but we just don’t know the full extent of it.”Based on our understanding, as well as evidence we have but cannot divulge at this time, StartPage made job offers to people who are in a potential position to relist the company in privacy sites. In a sense, they’re trying to pay their way into re-acceptance, without disclosing pertinent details. It’s possible that some of these people are already on StartPage’s payroll because they refuse to answer very simple questions.

At this moment in time we do know for a fact about the conflict (some are more upfront about this than others), but we just don’t know the full extent of it. This corrupts or at least erodes trust in groups which claim to advance privacy agenda. If they receive money from surveillance companies, what does that tell us about them? Maybe some time soon we’ll be able to publicly name the culprits, too.

01.18.20

IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 17, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:28 am by Needs Sunlight

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Links 18/1/2020: Mir 1.7 and GNU Guile 3.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 1:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Kubuntu Focus Laptop is Now Ready for Pre-Order

        If you’ve ever wanted a KDE-specific, Linux-powered laptop, now’s your chance.

        The Kubuntu Focus is a new Linux laptop effort set to marry the Kubuntu Linux distro and a laptop aimed specifically for gamers, power users, developers, video editors, and anyone who seeks performance and seamless Linux compatibility.

        And now, this brand new laptop is ready for pre-order.

        The laptop was born from a collaboration between Kubuntu, Tuxedo Computers, and MindShareManagement Inc. The Focus will not only highlight the KDE desktop environment, it will be the first officially recognized laptop created specifically for the Kubuntu Linux distribution.

      • Kubuntu Focus: A new top-of-the-line Linux laptop arrives

        For years, there have been high-powered Linux laptops like Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition, System76′s Serval WS, and ZaReason’s UltraLap 6440 i5, but I’ve never seen anything quite as powerful out of the box as the Kubuntu Focus from the Kubuntu Council, MindShareManagement, and Tuxedo Computer.

        The specs alone are pretty darn impressive. It starts with the CPU. The Focus uses an Intel Core i7-9750H 6 core 4.5GHz Turbo processor. There are faster CPUs out there, but you’re not going to find many of them in a laptop. This is backed up by an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of video RAM.

        To run applications with all that processor power, the Focus comes with 32GB of Dual Channel DDR4 2666 RAM. This, in turn, gets its data from a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe-connected Solid-State Drive (SSD).

        What all that horsepower gives you is an outstanding performance. With the CPU set to ‘Performance’ mode via the CPU frequency widget, GeekBench 5.0.4, I saw single core measurements of 1,292 and a multi-core rating of 5,734. There are maxed up faster desktop systems, but you’d need to look long and hard for laptops that can give it a run for its money.

        That said, you may find yourself using the Focus in desktop mode more often than you’d like. With great power comes great battery drain. Running the machine hard, I saw a battery life of just less than three hours. When not beating the heck out of it, it came in at a respectable three and a half hours. Still, I’m used to getting five or six hours out of a laptop these days.

      • Can You Live Without These Five Companies That Rule Your Life?

        Want to get a PC that’s not a Mac or a Windows machine? Well, you’ve got to try using one that runs on Ubuntu or Linux, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Similarly, good luck trying to get around using Word, Excel and Powerpoint like apps without cozying up to Apple or Google for that.

      • I’m still on Windows 7 – what should I do?

        If Windows 10 runs well on your PC, you might decide to pay to authenticate it. If it doesn’t run well, you can still try a different option, such as Linux Mint, Ubuntu LTS or CloudReady.

        Alternatively, keep Windows 7 for offline use, and use a “live Linux” for internet access.

        Many people are familiar with the idea of running Linux from a “live CD” or DVD, which doesn’t interfere with the current desktop operating system. There are not many DVD drives around nowadays, so the modern equivalent is to run it from a thumb-drive. You can create one with a tool such as Rufus or LinuxLive USB Creator. Thumb-drives are slow, so you won’t get great performance, but it will keep you safe online. You’ll also find out if you can live with Linux.

      • How to Upgrade From Windows 7 to Linux

        If you’re still using Windows 7 because you just don’t like Windows 10, that’s understandable. But there’s an alternative upgrade path: You can install Linux on your PC for free, and you’ll have a supported operating system that’s still getting updates.

        This is easier than you might think. You can try Linux on your PC before installing it, and you can even install it alongside Windows 7 when you make the leap. Here’s what you need to know.

      • How to install Linux on your Chromebook

        Chromebooks can do a lot right out of the box. However, if you want just a little more, you can install Linux apps to most newer models (see the full list here) and have access to a full catalog of desktop-class applications.

        [...]

        The Pixelbook Go is one of the more expensive Chromebooks on the market, but for all you get, it’s worth it. You get an amazing keyboard, great battery life, and an Assistant key that lets you connect to the company’s smart assistant at any time. It is, like we said, pricey, but there are plenty of other great Chromebooks out there if you’re looking for something different.

      • 7 Best Windows 7 Alternatives You Can Use After Its Death

        Linux Mint is probably the closest replacement to Windows 7 in terms of look and feel. You get a similar taskbar and a menu bar that looks like the Start Menu. It appears that the initial learning curve won’t be steep as compared to other operating systems.

        To install apps on Linux Mint, you can take the help of the command line, but it also has a full-blown app store for the users.

        In terms of hardware, the popular Linux distro can run smoothly if your machine has 1GHz CPU, 2GB RAM, and 20GB of storage. However, it can manage to run with somewhat less capable hardware as well.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Accelerates Cloud-Native Development with Unified Hybrid Cloud Storage for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

          Enhanced with Multi-Cloud Object Gateway from Red Hat’s 2018 acquisition of NooBaa, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage 4 offers greater abstraction and flexibility so customers have the freedom to choose data services across multiple public clouds, while still operating from a unified Kubernetes-based control plane for applications and storage. In addition to helping customers avoid public cloud lock-in, this enables developers to keep their data close to applications through improved accessibility, delivering a more efficient developer experience.

          With a consistent Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) interface, enterprises now have built-in object storage and scalability needed to support portability for data-intensive applications across the hybrid cloud on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, previously unavailable through any container storage vendor in the OpenShift OperatorHub.

        • OpenShift and Kubernetes, with Clayton Coleman

          Five years ago, Clayton Coleman took a bet on a new open source project that Google was about to announce. He became the first external contributor to Kubernetes, and the architect of Red Hat’s reinvention of OpenShift from PaaS to “enterprise Kubernetes”. Hosts Adam Glick and Craig Box return for 2020 with the story of OpenShift, and their picks for Game of the Holidays.

        • Command Line Heroes season 4 trailer

          No one ever said hardware was easy. In Season 4, Command Line Heroes is telling 7 special stories about people and teams who dared to change the rules of hardware and in the process changed how we all interact with technology.

          The first episode drops January 28, 2020. Subscribe today and sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates and bonus content.

        • Deploying applications in the OpenShift 4.3 Developer perspective

          In this article, we take a look at user flow improvements for deploying applications in Red Hat OpenShift 4.3‘s Developer perspective. You can learn more about all of the developer-focused console improvements in the OpenShift 4.3 release article here. Since the initial launch of the Developer perspective in the OpenShift 4.2 release, we’ve had frequent feedback sessions with developers, developer advocates, stakeholders, and other community members to better understand how the experience meets their needs. While, overall, the user interface has been well received, we continue to gather and use the feedback to enhance our flows.

        • A ‘fail fast’ solution for end-to-end machine learning

          Enterprise AI solutions are characterized by an end-to-end workflow that involves data sourcing, querying, ETL, feature engineering, and training the machine learning algorithms. Did you know there’s an end-to-end machine learning pipeline, which can be built using Pythonic frameworks, that allows you to fail fast at TeraScale data levels?

        • Deploying your storage backend using OpenShift Container Storage 4

          This Blog is for both system administrators and application developers interested in learning how to deploy and manage Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage 4 (OCS). This Blog outlines how you will be using OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) 4.2.14+ and the OCS operator to deploy Ceph and the Multi-Cloud Object Gateway as a persistent storage solution for OCP workloads. If you do not have a current OpenShift test cluster, you can deploy OpenShift 4 by going to the OpenShift 4 Deployment page and then follow the instructions for AWS Installer-Provisioned Infrastructure (IPI).

        • What desktop OS do you use at work?

          We have all heard the age-old debate of what is the best operating system user prefer. Windows or Mac? Linux or nothing. The funny thing about this question is that in many places of business, the user does not get a choice. You are handed a laptop when you start and may be stuck with whatever is preloaded onto the machine. In some cases, you’re not even allowed to run something else in a virtual machine.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Destination Linux 156 – CES 2020, Disaster Recovery Tips, Fallback Safe Distros?, Firefox

        Topics covered in this episode:
        openEuler
        New Firefox 72 Released
        Linus Say No To ZFS In Kernel
        New Dell Linux Laptop
        Nvidia Wakes Up

      • No, But | User Error 83

        Context switching, improving Linux conferences, a positive approach to life, what makes us cringe, and more.

        #ErrorAsk: What’s the dumbest idea for an app that you can come up with?

      • LHS Episode #321: The Weekender XL

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

      • 2020-01-17 | Linux Headlines

        Nextcloud announces exciting changes to the platform, Puppet is now releasing both faster and slower, DigitalOcean?s restructuring is resulting in layoffs, and Fedora CoreOS reaches production-ready status.

      • Infrastructure Engineer: Seth McCombs | Jupiter Extras 47

        Ell and Wes are joined by Infrastructure Engineer Seth McCombs for a chat about how he got started in tech, the hard transition from legacy data centers to the cloud, and why being honest about both success and failure can lead to a better open source community.

      • 5 Things I Hate About Linux

        So I love Linux for my daily desktop driver, but there are some things that I hate about it. Here are the 5 things that I wish were different.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Red Hat Recommends Disabling The Intel Linux Graphics Driver Over Hardware Flaw

          It’s been another day testing and investigating CVE-2019-14615, a.k.a. the Intel graphics hardware issue where for Gen9 all turned out to be okay but for Gen7 graphics leads to some big performance hits. Besides the Core i7 tests published yesterday in the aforelinked article, tests on relevant Core i3 and i5 CPUs are currently being carried out for seeing the impact there (so far, it’s looking to be equally brutal).

          The contents of CVE-2019-14615 are still marked private, but the Red Hat Customer Portal has opened their guidance on this graphics flaw. Red Hat rates this CVE as having moderate impact. This Red Hat bug report does shed some more light onto the issue.

        • Mir 1.7 Released With Improvements For Running X11 Software

          Mir 1.7 was released today as the newest feature release for this Ubuntu-focused display stack that for the past two years now has focused on serving viable Wayland support.

          With the Mir 1.7 release there are a number of X11 client improvements, including the ability to show basic window decorations, a new configuration knob for specifying the XWayland executable to utilize for the support, and various code clean-ups.

        • Panfrost: Liberating ARM GPUs @ Linux Conf Au

          This talk covers the history, future and internals of the Panfrost driver for ARM GPUs.

        • Raspberry Pi 4 V3D Driver Reaches OpenGL ES 3.1 Conformance

          The V3D Gallium3D driver that most notably offers the open-source graphics support for the Raspberry Pi 4 is now an official OpenGL ES 3.1 implementation.

          Consulting firm Igalia has continued working on the V3D driver since Eric Anholt left Broadcom. Igalia had ironed out OpenGL ES 3.1 support and last month also went on to begin tackling geometry shaders and more.

        • Iago Toral: I am working on the Raspberry Pi 4 Mesa V3D driver

          Yeah… this blog post is well overdue, but better late than never! So yes, I am currently working on progressing the Raspberry Pi 4 Mesa driver stack, together with my Igalian colleagues Piñeiro and Chema, continuing the fantastic work started by Eric Anholt on the Mesa V3D driver.

          The Raspberry Pi 4 sports a Video Core VI GPU that is capable of OpenGL ES 3.2, so it is a big update from the Raspberry Pi 3, which could only do OpenGL ES 2.0. Another big change with the Raspberry Pi 4 is that the Mesa v3d driver is the driver used by default with Raspbian. Because both GPUs are quite different, Eric had to write an all new driver for the Raspberry Pi 4, and that is why there are two drivers in Mesa: the VC4 driver is for the Raspberry Pi 3, while the V3D driver targets the Raspberry Pi 4.

        • Raspberry Pi 4 V3D driver gets Geometry Shaders

          I actually landed this in Mesa back in December but never got to announce it anywhere. The implementation passes all the tests available in the Khronos Conformance Tests Suite (CTS). If you give this a try and find any bugs, please report them here with the V3D tag.

        • Raspberry Pi 4 V3D driver gets OpenGL ES 3.1 conformance

          So continuing with the news, here is a fairly recent one: as the tile states, I am happy to announce that the Raspberry Pi 4 is now an OpenGL ES 3.1 conformant product!. This means that the Mesa V3D driver has successfully passed a whole lot of tests designed to validate the OpenGL ES 3.1 feature set, which should be a good sign of driver quality and correctness.

          It should be noted that the Raspberry Pi 4 shipped with a V3D driver exposing OpenGL ES 3.0, so this also means that on top of all the bugfixes that we implemented for conformance, the driver has also gained new functionality! Particularly, we merged Eric’s previous work to enable Compute Shaders.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel graphics patch “wrecks” Gen7 iGPU Linux performance

        Earlier this week Intel released details about a vulnerability in its integrated graphics hardware. Its advisory ID was INTEL-SA-00314 and it talked about the CVE-2019-14615 vulnerability. Products from 3rd Gen Core up to 10th Gen are affected including the contemporaneous Xeon, Pentium, Celeron and Atom products. Intel was made aware of this vulnerability as far back as August so already has patches available and links to recommended new drivers for both Windows and Linux users (scroll down this page about half way).

        All so regular and nothing surprising so far… However, since the updated drivers have been released, Linux-centric tech site Phoronix has been busy checking and testing the new drivers (on Linux of course) to see if there are any performance penalties, or other aberrations, delivered with the vulnerability patches.

        Intel describes the CVE-2019-14615 vulnerability as follows: “Insufficient control flow in certain data structures for some Intel Processors with Intel Processor Graphics may allow an unauthenticated user to potentially enable information disclosure via local access.” Please note the key phrase – local access – but Phoronix thinks that WebGL within web browsers is another possible attack vector.

        In its Linux testing, Phoronix was initially unperturbed by results on processors sportin

      • Intel’s Mitigation For CVE-2019-14615 Graphics Vulnerability Obliterates Gen7 iGPU Performance

        Yesterday we noted that the Linux kernel picked up a patch mitigating an Intel Gen9 graphics vulnerability. It didn’t sound too bad at first but then seeing Ivy Bridge Gen7 and Haswell Gen7.5 graphics are also affected raised eyebrows especially with that requiring a much larger mitigation. Now in testing the performance impact, the current mitigation patches completely wreck the performance of Ivybridge/Haswell graphics performance.

        The vulnerability being discussed and analyzed this week is CVE-2019-14615. This CVE still hasn’t been made public over 24 hours later (though there are the Intel SA-00314 details for this disclosure), but from going through kernel patches and other resources, it certainly caught our interest right away and have been benchmarking it since yesterday evening. The CVE-2019-14615 vulnerability amounts to a new information disclosure issue due to insufficient control flow in certain data structures. Local access is required for exploiting this control flow issue in the hardware, but it’s not yet known/published if say WebGL within web browsers could exploit this issue. This is a hardware issue with all operating systems being affected. Our testing today, of course, is under Linux.

    • Applications

      • The 15 Best Physics Tools for Linux System in 2020

        There are different types of applications of Linux physics software in the study and research of theoretical and applied physics. So, it’s very difficult to call a single piece of software the best. Here we have enlisted a collection of 15 best Physics tools for Linux.

        Some of them are for analyzing data, some for numerical applications, some for simulation, and even some will help you in programming the solution of different physics-related problems. We are certain that no matter what your requirement is, you are going to love this curated collection of Linux physics software.

      • 11 Best Web Browsers I Discovered for Linux in 2020

        Web Browser is a software that provides an interface to surf the web. With an introduction in around 1991, there development and advancement have advanced many folds till the current stage which we see today.

        Earlier there used to be mostly text-based sites with few having images and graphical content, hence only text-based browsers sufficed with some of the early browsers being: Lynx, Netscape, and Opera.

        But, with the advancement of technology to support audio, video, images and even flash content, browsers also need to be that advanced to support such content. This has pushed the advancement of browsers to what we see today.

        A modern browser requires the support of many software which include: web browser engines like Geeko, Trident, WebKit, KHTML, etc, Rendering engine to render the web site content and display in a proper format.

        Linux being an open-source community gives freedom to developers across the globe to experiment with features they expect from an ideal browser.

      • Get started with this open source to-do list manager

        Last year, I brought you 19 days of new (to you) productivity tools for 2019. This year, I’m taking a different approach: building an environment that will allow you to be more productive in the new year, using tools you may or may not already be using.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Godot Engine 3.2 is almost here with a first Release Candidate

        Godot Engine, the quickly improving free and open source game engine is getting real close to a major release with the first Release Candidate now up for Godot 3.2.

        What was suppose to be a reasonable small release, has grown into something rather large with a lot of new features coming in to help developers make their games. With thousands of code commits by hundreds of different developers to the point that they expect Godot 3.2 to be “much more mature than 3.1 in all aspects”.

      • RELEASE CANDIDATE: GODOT 3.2 RC 1
      • The hero is dead so it’s up to you to fix a glitched world – Lenna’s Inception is out now

        In Lenna’s Inception you will be exploring a little island, filled full of dangerous dungeons as you work to bring order to a kingdom falling apart from glitches. Designed in a way that’s much like classic Zelda titles, however it has a clever idea of letting you play through in either 8-bit or 32-bit pixel art styles and they each have a distinct soundtrack.

      • Detailed open-world space sandbox game ‘Avorion’ leaving Early Access soon

        Boxelware have announced that Avorion, their procedural co-op space sandbox where you build your own spaceship will leave Early Access soon.

        After being in development for years, first appearing on Steam in early 2017 it’s been seriously fun to watch it grow into such a massive game. Incredibly fun too.

      • Wizard of Legend gets a little electric in a huge content update out now

        Contingent99 just released a massive upgrade to Wizard of Legend, their fast-paced magical action game and it continues to be brilliant.

        The Thundering Keep update brings in an entirely new stage complete with new enemies and a big boss battle which should make runs through it more interesting. Also added in this update you will find over 20 new Arcana (card spells), over 30 new Relics (items you equip to buff you up), new special moves, new outfits and plenty of balance changes and bug fixes.

      • Google is Reportedly Working to Bring Steam Support to Chromebooks

        It would appear that Google is working to bring official Steam support to its Linux-based Chrome OS operating system for supported Chromebook devices.

        According to a report from the Android Police website, Kan Liu, director of product management for Google’s Chrome OS, revealed the fact that Steam support could be enabled on Chrome OS in the near future by taking advantage of the implementation of support for Linux apps that landed in Chrome OS last year.

        While this might come as good news for Chromebook owners, the fact of the matter is that Chrome OS devices aren’t powerful enough to support many of the games available on Steam. If Steam comes to Chrome OS, most probably Google will only enable it only on its most powerful Chromebooks.

        Kan Liu did not said when Steam will be coming to Chrome OS, and neither Google or Valve have confirmed this news. However, it looks like Google will be working directly with Valve to enable official Steam support on Chrome OS, and Google is working to release more powerful Chromebooks this year.

      • Steam reportedly coming to Chrome OS – Linux gaming across even more devices

        Android Police have an article up mentioning that Google is reportedly working on getting Steam working officially and supported on Chrome OS. While the details of this are a little sketchy, since neither Valve or Google have announced this, Android Police claim they spoke directly to Kan Liu at CES, the Director of Product Management for Google’s Chrome OS who told them of their plans to make it happen.

        Note: You can get Steam working on it in some form with some manual effort now, although it’s not great. This seems to be about making it all official. Having it properly integrated, enabling ease of use would be good, part of what Chrome OS is supposed to be about?being simple and easy.

      • Exclusive: Google is working to bring official Steam support to Chrome OS

        Last week in Las Vegas while at CES, I spoke with Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google’s Chrome OS. In a wide-ranging discussion about the Chrome platform and ecosystem, Liu dropped something of a bombshell on me: the Chrome team is working—very possibly in cooperation with Valve—to bring Steam to Chromebooks.

        Liu declined to provide a timeline for the project, but did confirm it would be enabled by Chrome OS’s Linux compatibility. The Steam client would, presumably, run inside Linux on Chrome—a platform for which it is already available. Liu implied, though would not directly confirm, that Google was working in direct cooperation with Valve on this project. Valve’s motive here is largely in being the first major gaming storefront on a platform that, to date, has had no compatibility with mainstream PC or console releases. Valve also seems like a good fit, as the company has no particular loyalty to any one platform, and is increasingly facing competition from players like Epic and Microsoft on its most popular OS, Windows. Currently, it is possible to install the Steam Linux client on Chrome OS using the Crostini Linux compatibility layer, but there’s no official support, and performance has been pretty lamentable even when comparing identical Linux-native systems to Chrome. Even getting games running in a remotely playable way is kind of a nightmare.

      • A Long Way Down blends together Slay the Spire card combat with maze building – now in Early Access

        One thing is for sure, Slay the Spire truly has kicked off a deck-building indie game revolution of sorts. More and more are releasing with deck-building and A Long Way Down seems like one of the better ones so far. Note: Key provided by the publisher, Goblinz Studio.

        Quite derivative I would say though, in the nicest way possible. The deck-building card-based combat from Slay the Spire is merged in with maze building in a similar fashion to what’s seen in Guild of Dungeoneering.

      • The Humble Australia Fire Relief Bundle is up with 100% going to charity

        Humble are back with a new bundle, although this is a 100% charity bundle to help deal with the sad situation in Australia.

        The Humble Australia Fire Relief Bundle only has one tier at $25, which does include quite a lot of games. Here’s what’s included, I’ve highlighted in bold text those with Linux support….

      • Google plan over 120 Stadia games this year, 10 coming to Stadia before other platforms

        In their latest community update, the Stadia Team have given a small insight into what’s coming to the Linux-powered game streaming service Stadia across 2020.

        Missed our first impressions of Stadia? Check them out here.

        They said “more than” 120 games will be coming to Stadia this year, more interestingly though they also mentioned that 10 will be arriving in the “first half of this year” that will “only” be on Stadia when they launch. So that’s presumably some timed-exclusives they have going. No names were mentioned, so we just have to wait and see.

      • Move over Sonic, Surge has arrived with Open Surge – a game engine and retro platformer

        I grew up playing the early Sonic games so Open Surge really speaks to me. A retro Sonic-inspired platformer (that’s actually quite polished already) and a game engine for others to create with it.

        Open Surge is free and open source software (GPL license), so anyone can grab it from GitHub and do whatever they wish. Written from scratch in C, using the cross-platform Allegro programming library.

      • Boxtron, the Steam Play tool to run games through a native DOSBox on Linux has a new release

        Boxtron is another awesome Steam Play tool! Covered here a few times now, like Proton it enables you to play games on Linux that don’t have a Linux build setup on Steam only this is for DOSBox games.

        Rather than running DOSBox-powered games on Steam through Proton when they don’t have a Linux build of it all up, using Boxtron should give a better experience.

        Today a new release went up with Boxtron 0.5.4 fixing multiple issues including: games that use multiple CD images not starting like The Dame Was Loaded (and probably other FMV titles), they tweaked Retro City Rampage 486 to use “aspect=false”, several bugs around parsing user-supplied regex for MIDI synthesiser detection were fixed, they also fixed a bug preventing MIDI port detection if there are no soundfonts installed and there’s now several fallback soundfont names for various Linux distributions.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16 is Adopting Client Side Decoration by Default

        Xfce 4.16 will look a little different to long time users when it arrives later this year, as the popular desktop environment is adopting client side decoration by default.

        But before you cry tears over the loss of traditional app menus I should stress that the plan is to go full CSD, not full GTK header. It’s a subtle sounding difference, but an important one.

        Xfce 4.16 is switching to GTK header bars, but they’re more commonly referred to as client side decoration (CSD) as window borders are rendered client side (GTK), not by the window manager.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KPatience added to flathub. Which app should be next?

          This week we added KPatience to flathub.

          That makes for a quite a few applications from KDE already in flathub

        • KDE Connect Website SoK 2020 Week 1

          It had been great fun working with KDE Community on my SoK 2020 Project that is making a Website to promote KDE Connect. I started early off making the website from December by having a lot of discussion with my mentors Carl Schwan and Piyush Aggarwal, and the KDE Connect Developers. They were all very supportive and provided very constructive feedback. So when the project got accepted last week a lot of the work was already over. My proposal included the more work that is required on the website and taking the website to as much perfection as possible.

        • Plasma 5.18 LTS Beta (5.17.90) Available for Testing

          Are you using Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine, our current Stable release? Or are you already running our development builds of the upcoming 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa?

          We currently have Plasma 5.17.90 (Plasma 5.18 Beta) available in our Beta PPA for Kubuntu 19.10.

          The 5.18 beta is also available in the main Ubuntu archive for the 20.04 development release, and can be found on our daily ISO images.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • PaperWM: tiled window management for GNOME

          When I started using Linux on my personal computer, one of the first things I got excited about was tiny lightweight window managers, largely because my laptop at the time had 32MB of RAM and anything else was unusable.

          Then I got into tiling window managers like xmonad! I could manage my windows with my keyboard! They were so fast! I could configure xmonad by writing a Haskell program! I could customize everything in all kinds of fun ways (like using dmenu as a launcher)! I used 3 or 4 different tiling window managers over the years and it was fun.

          About 6 years ago I decided configuring my tiling window manager wasn’t fun for me anymore and switched to using the Ubuntu stock desktop environment: Gnome. (which is much faster now that I have 500x more RAM in my laptop :) )

          So I’ve been using Gnome for a long time, but I still kind of missed tiling window managers. Then 6 months ago a friend told me about PaperWM, which lets you tile your windows in Gnome! I installed it immediately and I’ve been using it ever since.

        • Alberto Ruiz: GTK: OSX a11y support

          Everybody knows that I have always been a firm believer in Gtk+’s potential to be a great cross platform toolkit beyond Linux. GIMP and Inkscape, as an example, are loyal users that ship builds for those platforms. The main challenge is the short amount of maintainers running, testing and improving those platforms.

          Gtk+ has a few shortcomings one of them, one of the biggest ones is lack of a11y support outside of Linux. Since I have regular access to a modern OSX machine I decided to give this a go (and maybe learn son Obj-C in the process).

          So I started by having a look at how ATK works and how it relates to the GTK DOM, my main goal was to have a GTK3 module that would walk through the toplevels and build an OSX accessibility tree.

    • Distributions

      • Introducing Zorin Grid: Manage All of Your Organization’s Computers as Easily as One.

        We’ve been working on a major new product over the past 2 years, and we’re excited to finally introduce it to you today.

        Since the beginning of the Zorin OS project in 2008, our mission has always been to bring the power of Linux to people who’ve never had access to it before. It has been downloaded millions of times since then, helping countless users switch to Linux and giving them a better, easier, and more secure computing experience.
        Now, we’re moving onto the next part of the Zorin OS master plan: to bring Linux into the working world; into businesses, schools, and organizations. We’re making this possible with the help of our new product called Zorin Grid.

      • Zorin OS Makes It Easy to Deploy Linux-Powered Computers in Schools, Businesses

        The Zorin OS development team announced today a new tool to make it easier for organizations to deploy a fleet of Linux-powered computers and administrate them from a a centralized place.

        Meet Zorin Grid, an in-house built tool whose whole purpose is to make it simple for IT administrators to set up, manage, and secure a fleet of Linux-powered computers in any type of organization, including small and medium sized businesses or schools and universities. The tool also provides a centralized place to administrate all these computers.

        “We’ve been working on a major new product over the past 2 years, and we’re excited to finally introduce it to you today. We’re moving onto the next part of the Zorin OS master plan: to bring Linux into the working world; into businesses, schools, and organizations. We’re making this possible with the help of our new product called Zorin Grid,” reads today’s announcement.

      • Meet Zorin Grid: A Slick Linux Desktop Management Tool For Schools And Businesses

        Zorin Grid is aimed specifically at organizations still running Windows 7 who want an alternative to upgrading or buying new hardware with Windows 10.

        In a nutshell, Zorin Grid is a cloud-powered tool with the intention of making it simple to set up, manage, monitor and secure a fleet of Zorin OS computers. The Zorin team says it’s like “putting your PCs on auto-pilot.” The concept seems very similar to the Google Management Console, which lets an entire fleet of Chromebooks be managed from a single device.

        From the announcement: “Imagine all of your organization’s computers working in concert. When you choose to install an app or make a new security policy, it’s deployed to your fleet automatically. It’s just as easy to manage computers that are off-site as on-premises. Fully-owned or BYOD. And all of this is accessible anytime, anywhere, in the cloud.”

        For the past 2 years, the Zorin team has been working with various organizations, soliciting feedback and building Zorin Grid.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Martin de Boer: Comparing uptime performance monitoring tools: StatusCake vs Freshping vs UptimeRobot

          When you host your own website on a Virtual Private Server or on a DigitalOcean droplet, you want to know if your website is down (and receive a warning when that happens). Plus it’s fun to see the uptime graphs and the performance metrics. Did you know these services are available for free?

          I will compare 3 SaaS vendors who offer uptime performance monitoring tools. Of course, you don’t get the full functionality for free. There are always limitations as these vendors like you to upgrade to a premium (paid) account. But for an enthousiast website, having access to these free basic options is already a big win!

          I also need to address the elephant in the room: Pingdom. This is the golden standard of uptime performance monitoring tools. However, you will pay at least €440 per year for the privilege. That is a viable option for a small business. Not for an enthousiast like myself.

          The chosen free alternatives are StatusCake, Freshping and UptimeRobot. There are many other options, but these ones are mentioned in multiple lists of ‘the best monitoring tools’. They also have user friendly dashboards. So let’s run with it.

        • Vinzenz Vietzke: Running for openSUSE Board #2: Questions and Answers

          Already in the beginning of 2019 I have been a candidate for the board of openSUSE. Since there are now two places open again, I am again available for the task and run for election.

          A general overview of my ideas and goals can be found here.

          In the run-up to the election all candidates of the community are of course open for questions. I have answered a catalogue of 5 questions from Gerald Pfeifer, currently chairman of the board, and would like to make it available here.

        • Q&A for openSUSE Board elections

          Our openSUSE Chairman has some questions for the candidates for the openSUSE Board. My answers are here:

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora CoreOS out of preview

          The Fedora CoreOS team is pleased to announce that Fedora CoreOS is now available for general use. Here are some more details about this exciting delivery.

          Fedora CoreOS is a new Fedora Edition built specifically for running containerized workloads securely and at scale. It’s the successor to both Fedora Atomic Host and CoreOS Container Linux and is part of our effort to explore new ways of assembling and updating an OS. Fedora CoreOS combines the provisioning tools and automatic update model of Container Linux with the packaging technology, OCI support, and SELinux security of Atomic Host. For more on the Fedora CoreOS philosophy, goals, and design, see the announcement of the preview release.

        • Fedora CoreOS Now Deemed Production Ready For Containerized Workload Experience

          Fedora CoreOS has graduated out of its preview state and is now considered ready for general use.

          Fedora CoreOS is the spin of the Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution focused on running containerized workloads and succeeds the earlier Fedora Atomic Host initiative as well as CoreOS Container Linux.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-03

          I will not hold office hours next week due to travel, but if you’ll be at DevConf.CZ, you can catch me in person.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Xfce vs Gnome

          XFCE is a light desktop environment compatible with low resource systems while keeping a nice visual interface and effects like screen rotation and transparency. Xfce is extremely user friendly and it is a lot more user friendly than new GNOME versions for PC users without touch screen.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Elementary OS 6 will be based on Focal Fossa Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Version!

          Elementary OS 6: The Co-founder and CXO of Elementary OS Cassidy James Blaede says, Elementary OS 6 will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa version. He also mentioned that the developers are working furiously to make the Elementary OS 6 more convenient and bug-free. The exact words from him are,

          Elementary OS 6. elementary OS is based on the Ubuntu LTS core and repositories under the hood. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be coming out this year, and subsequently, we plan to release elementary OS 6 with a 20.04 base.Cassidy James Blaede

        • Elementary OS 6 Will Release with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Base

          As Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is under the UI development phase with a recent desktop theme update, Cassidy James Blaede, Co-founder & CXO, mentioned in his latest blog that Elementary OS 6 will release with a 20.04 base.

          Reviewing 2019 and listing the great accomplishments and improvements along with the major release of elementary OS 5.1 Hera that broke the previous first-month downloads, his team has designed significant 2020 goals for making life much more comfortable with elementary OS.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 16 Open Source Cloud Storage Software for Linux in 2020

        The cloud by the name indicates something which is very huge and present over a large area. Going by the name, in a technical field, Cloud is something that is virtual and provides services to end-users in the form of storage, hosting of apps or virtualizing any physical space. Nowadays, Cloud computing is used by small as well as large organizations for data storage or providing customers with its advantages which are listed above.

        Mainly, three types of Services come associated with Cloud which are: SaaS (Software as a Service) for allowing users to access other publically available clouds of large organizations for storing their data like Gmail, PaaS (Platform as a Service) for hosting of apps or software on Others public cloud ex: Google App Engine which hosts apps of users, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) for virtualizing any physical machine and availing it to customers to make them get feel of a real machine.

      • Meet the newest Collaborans!

        What better way to start the new year than by highlighting the newest members of our engineering and administrative teams who joined in Q4 2019!

        Based in Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Greece, these newest Collaborans join our worldwide team of highly skilled engineers, developers and managers who all share a common passion for technology and Open Source.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google is finally killing off Chrome apps, which nobody really used anyhow

            Today, Google shared an updated timeline for when Chrome apps will stop working on all platforms. June 2022 is when they’ll be gone for good, but it depends on which platform you’re on (via 9to5Google). Previously, we knew that Chrome apps someday wouldn’t work on Windows, macOS, and Linux, but today, Google revealed that Chrome apps will eventually stop working on Chrome OS, too.

            A Chrome app is a web-based app that you can install in Chrome that looks and functions kind of like an app you’d launch from your desktop. Take this one for the read-it-later app Pocket, for example — when you install it, it opens in a separate window that makes it seem as if Pocket is functioning as its own app.

        • Mozilla

          • A brand new browsing experience arrives in Firefox for Android Nightly

            It’s been almost 9 years since we released the first Firefox for Android. Hundreds of millions of users have tried it and over time provided us with valuable feedback that allowed us to continuously improve the app, bringing more features to our users that increase their privacy and make their mobile lives easier. Now we’re starting a new chapter of the Firefox experience on Android devices.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • MariaDB X4 brings smart transactions to open source database

          MariaDB has come a long way from its MySQL database roots. The open source database vendor released its new MariaDB X4 platform, providing users with “smart transactions” technology to enable both analytical and transactional databases.

          MariaDB, based in Redwood City, Calif., was founded in 2009 by the original creator of MySQL, Monty Widenius, as a drop-in replacement for MySQL, after Widenius grew disillusioned with the direction that Oracle was taking the open source database.

          Oracle acquired MySQL via its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2008. Now, in 2020, MariaDB still uses the core MySQL database protocol, but the MariaDB database has diverged significantly in other ways that are manifest in the X4 platform update.

          The MariaDB X4 release, unveiled Jan. 14, puts the technology squarely in the cloud-native discussion, notably because MariaDB is allowing for specific workloads to be paired with specific storage types at the cloud level, said James Curtis, senior analyst of data, AI and analytics at 451 Research.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guile 3.0.0 released

            Version 3.0.0 of the Guile implementation of the Scheme programming language has been released. There’s a lot of work here, including a new, lower-level byte code implementation, interleaved internal definitions, a new exception implementation, and much more. “Guile programs now run up to 4 times faster, relative to Guile 2.2, thanks to just-in-time (JIT) native code generation. Notably, this brings the performance of “eval” as written in Scheme back to the level of ‘eval’ written in C, as in the days of Guile 1.8.”

          • GNU Mes 0.17 released
            We are delighted to announce the release of GNU Mes 0.17, representing
            64 commits over 6 weeks.
            
            Mes is now an official GNU package and we have bootstrapped gcc-4.7.4
            for x86-linux with a reduced binary seed (i.e., without regular toolchain).
            
            Next targets:
            
             - upstream the x86 Mes bootstrap to GuixSD
             - create a x86_64 Mes C Lib, see if that is is enough to bootstrap x86_64
             - reduce the 1MB ASCII M1 seed to ~5000 LOC/~100KB of M2 source
             - create a plan for Geesh and Gash and use them to reduce the
               bootstrap binary dependencies
             - and/or otherwise reduce the bootstrap binary dependencies
            
            Packages are available from Guix's wip-bootstrap branch.
            
            * About
            
            GNU Mes[0] aims to help create full source bootstrapping for GNU/Linux
            distributions such as GuixSD[1] as part of the bootstrappable builds[2]
            effort.
            
            It consists of a mutual self-hosting Scheme interpreter written in
            ~5,000 LOC of simple C and a Nyacc-based C compiler written in Scheme.
            This mes.c is being simplified[3] to be transpiled by M2-Planet[4].
            
            The Scheme interpreter (mes.c) has a Garbage Collector, a library of
            loadable Scheme modules-- notably Dominique Boucher's LALR[5],
            Pre-R6RS portable syntax-case[6] with R7RS ellipsis, Matt Wette's
            Nyacc[7] --and test suite just barely enough to support a simple REPL
            and simple C-compiler: MesCC.
            
            Mes+MesCC can compile an only lightly patched TinyCC[8] that is
            self-hosting.  Using this tcc and the Mes C library we now have a
            reduced-binary-seed bootstrap for the gnutools triplet: glibc-2.2.5,
            binutils-2.20.1, gcc-4.7.4.
            
            Mes is inspired by The Maxwell Equations of Software: LISP-1.5[9] --
            John McCarthy page 13, GNU Guix's source/binary packaging transparency
            and Jeremiah Orians's stage0[10] ~500 byte self-hosting hex assembler.
            
          • Mes Becomes An Official GNU Project, Mes 0.17 Released To Bootstrap GNU/Linux Distros

            GNU Mes 0.17 was released this weekend as the first release as being an official GNU project. Mes consists of a self-hosting Scheme interpreter and a Nyacc-based C compiler written in Scheme. From this Scheme interpreter to build its C compiler, it can then build a (slightly patched) TinyCC compiler and in turn that resulting TinyCC compiler can go on to building GCC 4.7, Glibc 2.2.5, and Binutils 2.20 for getting a toolchain in place to go on to build the rest of the GNU/Linux platform.

          • SecureMyEmail makes really private email surprisingly simple

            The service also allows seamless, key-free transmission to other SecureMyEmail subscribers and to others who use PGP software such as the PGP-compatible free-software GNU Privacy Guard.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Copy-left behind: Permissive MIT, Apache open-source licenses on the up as developers snub GNU’s GPL

            Permissive open-source software licenses continue to gain popularity at the expense of copyleft licenses, according to a forthcoming report from WhiteSource, a biz that makes software licensing management tools.

            Permissive licenses include the MIT and Apache 2.0 licenses and are known as such because the permit licensors to do more or less what they want with the covered software, with minimal caveats, and without imposing obligations like sharing code revisions.

            Copyleft licenses like GPLv2, GPLv3, and LGPLv2.1 convey similar freedom, while, to put it simply, requiring that licensors not release versions or derivatives of the licensed code that restrict said freedom.

      • Programming/Development

        • JetBrains’ New Font (Apparently) Makes Reading Code Easier

          A new free and open source monospace font has been released by software development powerhouse JetBrains.

          Their typographic creation is called (surprise) JetBrains Mono and, they claim, it makes reading code much kinder on the eyes.

          Admittedly it feels a bit like everyone has their own monospace font these days: IBM released ‘Plex’ in 2017; Microsoft has launched ‘Casacida; and even Ubuntu has its own one for when you need to get up close with the command line.

          But with JetBrains being — apologies in advance, you knew this obvious pun was coming — the brains behind some of the world’s best-loved development and code creation tools, it kinda makes sense for them to have their own one too, doesn’t it?

          And lo: the creation of JetBrains Mono.

        • 9 Best Free Git Clients

          Git is an open source distributed version control system which was originally designed by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, in 2005 for Linux kernel development. This control system is widely used by the open source community, handling small to extremely large projects with an emphasis on speed and efficiency, but maintaining flexibility, scalability, and guaranteeing data integrity.

          Git is one of a number of open source revision control systems available for Linux. Other popular tools in this field include Subversion, Bazaar, Mercurial, Monotone, CVS, and SVN. However, Git is frequently regarded by many developers to be the finest version control tool available.

          There are two Git tools that are part of the main Git repository each designed for a different job. Git-gui is a Tcl/Tk-based graphical user interface that concentrates on commit generation and single file annotation. gitk is a repository browser that is also written in Tcl/tk. Whilst these two tools, used in conjunction, offer reasonable access to the power of Git, they lack integration, and functionality that other Git clients provide.

          The purpose of this article is to provide an insight into the best free open source Git clients that are available. We have covered the best graphical and console based clients available, so hopefully there will be something here of interest for anyone involved in the development of software projects.

          There are a large number of projects that use Git to aid their development. Notable examples include the Linux kernel, Eclipse, Wine, X.org, Ruby on Rails, ALSA, Bacula, Drupal, FreeRADIUS, Puppet, VLC, and many more.

        • Code a Boulder Dash mining game | Wireframe #30

          Learn how to code a simple Boulder Dash homage in Python and Pygame. Mark Vanstone shows you how. 

        • Announcing Better Support for Fuzzing with Structured Inputs in Rust

          Today, on behalf of the Rust Fuzzing Authority, I’d like to announce new releases of the arbitrary, libfuzzer-sys, and cargo fuzz crates. Collectively, these releases better support writing fuzz targets that take well-formed instances of custom input types. This enables us to combine powerful, coverage-guided fuzzers with smart test case generation.

          Install or upgrade cargo fuzz with:

          cargo install –force cargo-fuzz
          To upgrade your fuzz targets, bump your libfuzzer-sys dependency to 0.2.0 on crates.io. That should be all that’s needed for most cases. However, if you were already using Arbitrary inputs for your fuzz target, some changes will be required. See the upgrading fuzz targets section below for more details.

        • C vs. Rust: Which to choose for programming hardware abstractions

          Rust is an increasingly popular programming language positioned to be the best choice for hardware interfaces. It’s often compared to C for its level of abstraction. This article explains how Rust can handle bitwise operations in a number of ways and offers a solution that provides both safety and ease of use.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Shorewall 5.2.3.5 Released!

            Shorewall 5.2.3.5 is now available for download. Shorewall is a gateway/firewall configuration tool for GNU/Linux, written in Perl.

        • Python

          • Mocking in Python

            The first mission is called “Univocalic davasaan” created by Phil15 and here you have to write a function named davasaan which calculates the integer division by 10, and make your code as short as possible.

            The second one is the “Tree Walker” mission created by quarkov where you are given a tree and a target and your task is to calculate the number of leaves or subtrees that are equal to the target.

          • Python Bytes: #164 Use type hints to build your next CLI app
          • Talk Python to Me: #247 Solo maintainer of open-source in academia

            Do you run an open-source project? Does it seem like you never have enough time to support it? Have you considered starting one but are unsure you can commit to it? It’s a real challenge.

            On this episode, we welcome back Philip Guo, who has been a solo maintainer of the very popular PythonTutor.com project for over 10 years. He has some non-traditional advice to keep your sanity and keep your project going while holding down a busy full-time job.

          • Leysin Winter sprint 2020: Feb 28 – March 7th

            The next PyPy sprint will be in Leysin, Switzerland, for the fourteenth time. This is a fully public sprint: newcomers and topics other than those proposed below are welcome.

          • Use this Python script to find bugs in your Overcloud

            OpenStack stores and manages a bunch of log files on its Overcloud nodes and Undercloud host. Therefore, it’s not easy to use OSP log files to investigate a problem you’re having, especially when you don’t even know what could have caused the problem.

            If that’s your situation, LogTool makes your life much easier! It saves you the time and work it would otherwise take to investigate the root cause manually. Based on a fuzzy string matching algorithm, LogTool provides all the unique error and warning messages that have occurred in the past. You can export these messages for a particular time period, such as 10 minutes ago, an hour ago, a day ago, and so on, based on timestamp in the log.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Apple may have to abandon Lightning connector cable

          The cable is used to charge and sync many Apple devices, such as the iPhone.

          But members of the European Parliament urged the European Commission on Monday to force tech giants to adopt a single universal charging method.

  • Leftovers

    • The Wonders of Modern Life Briefly Explained: An Anthropology of the Industrial Revolution
    • Health/Nutrition

      • Ex-Pharma Lobbyist Embedded in White House Tanked Drug Pricing Bill

        In 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump told voters that lowering drug prices would be a top priority of his domestic agenda. When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) introduced a bill to lower drug costs, Trump greeted it with enthusiasm. But in October, Trump executed an about-face, abandoning negotiations on the House bill, claiming it would “harm seniors,” and threatening to veto the bill if it passed the Senate.

      • 1st Malaria Vaccine Tried Out in Babies in 3 African Nations

        A pinch in the leg, a squeal and a trickle of tears. One baby after another in Malawi is getting the first and only vaccine against malaria, one of history’s deadliest and most stubborn of diseases.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Software tips for nerds

        I use Vim for almost a decade now, which is probably the longest I’ve sticked to some application. During that time, I repeatedly tried to use it as an IDE but inevitably failed each time. Let’s remember eclim as my Java IDE. I work almost exclusively on projects written in Python, which can be beautifully done in Vim but because of a gap in my skills, I was reliant on PyCharm. Thankfully, not anymore.

        My biggest issue was misusing tabs instead of buffers and poor navigation within projects. Reality check, do you open one file per tab? This is a common practice in other text editors, but please know that this is not the purpose of tabs in Vim and you should be using buffers instead. Please, give them a chance and read Buffers, buffers, buffers.

        Regarding project navigation, have you ever tried shift shift search in PyCharm or other JetBrains IDE? It’s exactly that thing, that you wouldn’t even imagine but after using it for the first time, you don’t understand how you lived without. What it does is, that it interactively fuzzy-finds files and tags (classes, functions, etc) that matches your input, so you can easily open them. In my opinion, this unquestionably defeats any other way of project navigation like using a file manager, NerdTree, or find in the command line.

        Fortunately, both of these problems can be solved by fzf.vim, which quickly became one of my most favorite Vim plugins. Please read this section about fzf plugin.

        I am forever grateful to Ian Langworth for writing VIM AFTER 11 YEARS, EVERYTHING I MISSED IN “VIM AFTER 11 YEARS” and VIM AFTER 15 YEARS articles. If you are a Vim user, those are an absolute must-read.

      • Proprietary

        • Was It an Act of War? That’s Merck Cyber Attack’s $1.3 Billion Insurance Question. [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In all, the attack crippled more than 30,000 laptop and desktop computers at the global drugmaker, as well as 7,500 servers, according to a person familiar with the matter. Sales, manufacturing, and research units were all hit. One researcher told a colleague she’d lost 15 years of work. Near Dellapena’s suburban office, a manufacturing facility that supplies vaccines for the U.S. market had ground to a halt. “For two weeks, there was nothing being done,” Dellapena recalls. “Merck is huge. It seemed crazy that something like this could happen.”

        • A Windows 10 Vulnerability Was Used to Rickroll the NSA and Github [iophk: Windows TCO]

          “What Saleem just demonstrated is: With [a short] script you can generate a cert for any website, and it’s fully trusted on IE and Edge with just the default settings for Windows,” Kenn White, a researcher and security principal at MongoDB, said. “That’s fairly horrifying. It affects VPN gateways, VoIP, basically anything that uses network communications.” (I spoke with White before Rashid had demonstrated the attack against Chrome.)

          The flaw involves the way the new versions of Windows check the validity of certificates that use elliptic-curve cryptography. While the vulnerable Windows versions check three ECC parameters, they fail to verify a fourth, crucial one, which is known as a base point generator and is often represented in algorithms as G. This failure is a result of Microsoft’s implementation of ECC rather than any flaw or weakness in the ECC algorithms themselves.

        • VirtaMove Announces Beta Version V-Migrate for Linux Container Migrations

          The new release of VirtaMove’s award-winning application migration product V-Migrate for Linux now moves legacy Red Hat and other Linux application infrastructure forward with a stateful re-install of applications into a container. You can now easily move legacy applications from Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL 5 and 6 to new Linux Docker containers on modern Linux releases and even run those containers on Microsoft Windows Server 2019. V-Migrate for Linux software automatically moves Linux-based applications from older to newer operating systems, on modern in-house servers or on hybrid or public cloud environments, including Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS clouds. RHEL 6 reaches End of Maintenance Support 2 on November 30, 2020. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft ended all support for Windows Server 2008 R2.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Confidential computing promises secure cloud apps

                Enterprises, governments and other organizations all sit on vast troves of data that cannot be processed due to security and privacy concerns. To address this limitation, researchers and vendors have developed various confidential computing techniques to safely process sensitive data.

                Confidential computing is particularly important for organizations in heavily regulated industries or sectors where opportunities for running workloads on the public cloud are severely limited, such as government, telecommunications, healthcare and banking. Confidential computing protects data at rest, which enables organizations to deploy sensitive workloads off premises and provides further protection to sensitive workloads on premises.

                [..].

                “If projects and products can show regulators and legislators that the levels of security are sufficient to meet their requirements, then deployment to public clouds becomes plausible for a great many more applications and use cases,” said Mike Bursell, chief security architect at Red Hat.

              • Akraino Edge Stack Enables Connected Car, AR/VR, AI Edge, and Telco Access Edge Application Use Cases

                LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced the availability of Akraino Edge Stack Release 2 (“Akraino R2”). Akraino’s second release furthers the power of intelligent edge with new and enhanced deployable, self-certified blueprints for a diverse set of edge use cases.

                Launched in 2018, and now a Stage 3 (or “Impact” stage) project under the LF Edge umbrella, Akraino Edge Stack is creating an open source software stack that supports a high-availability cloud stack optimized for edge computing systems and applications. Designed to improve the state of edge cloud infrastructure for enterprise edge, over-the-top (OTT) edge, and carrier edge networks, it offers users new levels of flexibility to scale edge cloud services quickly, to maximize the applications and functions supported at the edge, and to help ensure the reliability of systems that must be up at all times.

                “The Akraino community has grown rapidly in the past year, and now includes contributions from 70 percent of LF Edge Premium member companies and countless other ecosystem partners beginning to deploy the blueprints across the globe,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “With R2, strong community collaboration brings even more blueprints to the ecosystem that support current and future technology at the open source edge.”

        • Security

          • Patch Tuesday, January 2020 Edition

            As first reported Monday by KrebsOnSecurity, Microsoft addressed a severe bug (CVE-2020-0601) in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016/19 reported by the NSA that allows an attacker to spoof the digital signature tied to a specific piece of software. Such a weakness could be abused by attackers to make malware appear to be a benign program that was produced and signed by a legitimate software company.

          • Study Shows The Internet Is Hugely Vulnerable To SIM Hijacking Attacks

            U.S. Wireless carriers are coming under heavy fire for failing to protect their users from the practice of SIM hijacking. The practice usually involves conning or bribing a wireless employee to port a victim’s cell phone number right out from underneath them, letting the attacker then pose as the customer to potentially devastating effect. Carriers are facing numerous lawsuits from victims who say attackers used the trick to first steal their identity, then millions in cryptocurrency, or even popular social media accounts.

          • Restoring DNS Privacy

            Stefan and I have been taking last week to add DNS over TLS into IPFire – another step to make DNS more private. Here is what we have done.

            Cleaning up some mess

            IPFire has multiple places where DNS servers could be configured. If you were using PPP for your Internet connection, you would have set this up with your dialup settings. If you were using a static IP address, then you would have set up the DNS servers with it in the setup. If you were using DHCP, you had a page on the web user interface to go to. This is not only confusing for the user, but also there were the places in the code where those settings were applied.

            Now, we have created an entire new page which combines all of it together! You will have a list where you can set all DNS servers and set new settings.

            [...]

            This will be release with Core Update 140. Amongst the many new features, we have removed a lot of code that has caused us a lot of trouble in the past and rewritten many things entirely from scratch.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium), Fedora (gnulib, ImageMagick, jetty, ocsinventory-agent, phpMyAdmin, python-django, rubygem-rmagick, thunderbird, and xar), Mageia (e2fsprogs, kernel, and libjpeg), openSUSE (icingaweb2), Oracle (git, java-11-openjdk, and thunderbird), Red Hat (.NET Core), Scientific Linux (git, java-11-openjdk, and thunderbird), SUSE (fontforge and LibreOffice), and Ubuntu (kamailio and thunderbird).

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • US Government Challenges Apple on Encryption (Again)

              Expand

              Attorney General William Barr speaks during a tour of a federal prison in Edgefield, South Carolina, July 8, 2019.

            • Chief Justice Arrives at Capitol for Impeachment Trial

              The chief justice of the United States arrived Thursday at the U.S. Senate to preside over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, ready to swear in the senators with an oath to ensure “impartial justice” as jurors for only the third such proceeding in American history.

            • Free Press Advocates Decry ‘Unprecedented’ and ‘Unjustified’ Restrictions on Reporter Access to Trump Impeachment Trial

              “Americans expect and deserve a fully transparent impeachment trial… For the Senate to produce anything less would be a show of GOP contempt for the American people.”

            • Trump Was on Board With the Plan to Use Ukraine to Torpedo Biden, Parnas Says

              Lev Parnas, a close associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, claimed in a series of interviews that aired on Wednesday and Thursday that the president and top aides were aware of and on board with the plot to use Ukraine to torpedo former Vice President Joe Biden’s chances in the 2020 election.

            • Ukraine launches criminal probe into Trump allies’ alleged “surveillance” of Marie Yovanovitch

              “Ukraine’s position is not to interfere in the domestic affairs of the United States of America. However, the published references cited by the Washington Post contain a possible violation of the law of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat on the territory of the foreign country,” the agency said in a statement. “Ukraine cannot ignore such illegal activities on the territory of its own state.”

              The statement added that the agency reached out to the FBI for information and materials about “persons who may be involved in a possible criminal offense.”

            • Traficom sells license plate data for targeted adverts, research

              When customers drive into the shopping mall car park, a camera snaps a picture of their vehicle’s registration plate number. The camera was installed by Jyväskylä-based information technology and services firm Nodeon.

              Checking the registration number at the Transport and Communications Agency’s (Traficom) database, the firm is able to gather personal information about the owners of the vehicles, including their postal codes – and then sells that data to the shopping mall.

            • Breaking iPhone encryption won’t make anyone safer

              It only takes one disaffected government employee, one deeply inserted spy in government or a tech company, or one sophisticated criminal attack to successfully extract that key.

            • Pelosi rips ‘shameful’ Facebook behavior, accuses it of intentionally misleading users

              House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed tech giant Facebook on Thursday, accusing the social media company of abusing technology to mislead users and calling its behavior “shameful.”

              “The Facebook business model is strictly to make money. They don’t care about the impact on children, they don’t care about truth, they don’t care about where this is all coming from, and they have said even if they know it’s not true they will print it,” Pelosi said at a press conference.

              “I think they have been very abusive of the great opportunity that technology has given them,” she added.

            • Jack Dorsey Asks Elon Musk How to Fix Twitter

              “Basically, how do you tell if the feedback is real or someone trying to manipulate the system, or probably real, or probably trying to manipulate the system,” Musk continued. “What do people actually want, what are people actually upset about versus manipulation of the system by various interest groups.”

            • Facebook Foes Sue to Force Zuckerberg to Sell Majority Stake

              Facebook Inc. was sued by four potential competitors who accuse it of anticompetitive behavior and who asked a judge to order Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to give up control of the social media behemoth.

              The companies also said if Facebook isn’t forced to sell its WhatsApp and Instagram assets, it’ll integrate them into the social network, “consolidating its market power across the globe, likely permanently foreclosing competition in the relevant markets for decades to come.”

            • EU considers banning facial recognition technology in public spaces

              As the development of facial recognition technologies gains traction, lawmakers have been left with the task of working out how to control its use.

              The EU, as reported by Reuters, is considering a ban of up to five years on facial recognition in public areas — potentially including locations such as parks, tourist hotspots, and sports venues — to give politicians time to thrash out legislation to prevent its abuse.

              The proposals, as seen by the publication, are part of an 18-page whitepaper that suggests a ban could permit the time to create a “sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures.”

            • EU mulls five-year ban on facial recognition tech in public areas

              The European Union is considering banning facial recognition technology in public areas for up to five years, to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses, according to proposals seen by Reuters.

              The plan by the EU?s executive – set out in an 18-page white paper – comes amid a global debate about the systems driven by artificial intelligence and widely used by law enforcement agencies.

              The EU Commission said new tough rules may have to be introduced to bolster existing regulations protecting Europeans? privacy and data rights.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • How the President Became a Drone Operator

        We’re only a few days into the new decade and it’s somehow already a bigger dumpster fire than the last. On January 2nd, President Trump decided to order what one expert called “the most important decapitation strike America has ever launched.” This one took out not some nameless terrorist in a distant land or a group of civilians who happened to get in the way, but Major General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the mastermind of its military operations across the Middle East.

      • Russia’s Bid to Block UN Financing for Syria Probe Defeated

        In late December, United Nations member countries defeated an attempt by Russia to block funding for investigations into grave abuses in Syria, approving US$17.81 million for a team of investigators responsible for gathering evidence of serious crimes for future prosecutions and ensuring they have the resources necessary to do the work.

        The UN General Assembly created the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) in 2016 in response to a stalemate at the UN Security Council, where Russia had used its veto  six times since 2011 to block action on the Syrian conflict. Since 2016, Russia has used its veto eight more times to the same effect. But Moscow was unable to prevent the IIIM’s creation in the General Assembly or block its inclusion in the UN budget.

      • Nuclear Hubris

        If an attack of any sort kills “hundreds of thousands or even millions” of people—their deaths are instantly belittled if they aren’t Americans.

      • Trump’s Space Force Means Trump Not Satisfied Being Terrible Only on This Planet

        The U.S. military is creating an imaginary “space gap” to pour money into closing, wasting funds while increasing the risk of conflict.

      • Senate Urged to Convict Trump After GAO Says Freezing Ukraine Aid Was Illegal

        Sparking fresh calls for the Republican-controlled Senate to remove President Donald Trump from office, a federal watchdog agency announced Thursday that the White House violated the law by withholding congressionally approved U.S. military aid to Ukraine — a decision at the center of the impeachment probe.

      • Texas Baby-Killer Pleads Guilty to a New Murder

        Former nurse Genene Jones, suspected for decades of killing more than a dozen children but tried and convicted for only one, pleaded guilty Thursday in San Antonio to the murder of an 11-month-old boy in 1981 and was sentenced to life in prison. Jones’ sudden reversal — she had previously pleaded not guilty to five murder charges filed in 2017 — confirms her place as a serial baby-killer and ends a twisted criminal-justice saga that has played out over four decades.

        Jones, 69, unexpectedly sought the plea deal last week, just a month before she was to go to trial in the first of the five murder charges: for the death of Joshua Sawyer on Dec. 12, 1981.

      • Trump’s Unprecedented Attack on Iran and the Rule of Law

        It’s time to demand an end to the madness once and for all.

      • Go To War And One Day You Might Get A Dunny Named After You Too!

        Wondering how you can help the Morrison Government save $500 million on their War Memorial upgrade, and maybe redirect the money towards fighting climate change?

      • The Real Reason Trump Ordered Soleimani’s Killing

        President Donald Trump’s administration has trotted out an embarrassingly inconsistent series of justifications for the recent drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The ever-changing story of why Soleimani was killed underscores the Trump administration’s thin rationale for an action so provocative that it could have triggered an all-out war.

      • The Media Failed Us in the Lead-Up to the Iraq War

        In 2003, virtually every newspaper endorsed the war, and journalists reported as fact the false claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. This was an unchallenged lie pitched by then–Secretary of State Colin Powell, who has since professed remorse. Many journalists later expressed regret for falling for it. But our profession is shrinking, and I worry that our collective memory is, too.

        On January 3, Donald Trump ordered a US drone strike that killed Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. The ensuing swirl of political punditry and Trump’s continued erratic behavior give me a sinking feeling that we are about to repeat our worst mistakes.

      • Joe Biden won’t tell the truth about his Iraq war record — and he hasn’t for years

        Sen. Bernie Sanders’ camp has just highlighted a video of Biden speaking at the Brookings Institution in July 2003, after the invasion, in which he expresses support for “finishing this job” in Iraq and says: “The president of the United States is a bold leader and he is popular.”

        As far as showing Biden’s support for the war, that video is the tip of the iceberg.

      • [Old] Three Stooges first to blast Hitler

        The book both exposes and accuses Hollywood’s largest moviemakers — MGM, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox — as hideously bowing to the demands of Nazi censors in order to have their movies released in Germany, a large and steady commercial consumer of American movies.

        Urwand reveals many documents showing Adolf Hitler’s front men to have had great and sustained influence in Hollywood and on its executives, starting with Hitler’s rise to the Reich chancellorship in January 1933, through to the inevitable outbreak of World War II in September 1939.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s Dispute Is a Sign the Media Has Learned Little from the 2016 Election

        Media consumers have their own responsibility in this, especially as we share news on social media. Those of us who are extremely online should consider what fixating on these reality-TV-type moments means and how it affirms the models of for-profit media that thrive off drama. But similar to how plastic-straw bans ask individuals to step up while massive corporations bear far greater climate responsibility, placing the onus for change entirely on media consumers ignores the systemic problems that only those of us in content production can address.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • How Economic Despair Drives Workers to Their Deaths

        Maria Fernandes was a good-hearted American with a family, ambitions and a rock-solid work ethic.

      • ‘I Made a Lot of Bankers Look Very Good,’ Brags Trump as Wall Street Titans Enjoy $32 Billion Tax Bonanza

        “It looks like Trump just let the six largest banks ‘get away with murder’ something he promised he wouldn’t do as president,” said a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders in response.

      • Another Geithner Scandal

        Tim Geithner might have left his job as Treasury Secretary seven years ago, but his legacy lives on. The Wall Street Journal reported that the financial firm Morningstar had reached a settlement with the SEC over marketing it had done for firms whose bonds it had rated.

      • Trump’s Broad-Based Sanctions Failed in Iran and Will Fail in North Korea

        In both Iran and North Korea, the Trump administration has pursued an aggressive policy of “maximum pressure” — crushing economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation and military threats — in order to thwart their nuclear ambitions. In both cases, “maximum pressure” has not only failed to achieve the desired goal but has had the opposite effect: ramping up tensions and hardening both countries’ resolve to obtain nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, sanctions are having devastating consequences for ordinary citizens in both countries.

      • Treasury Inspector General Probes Possible Trump Tax Break Abuses

        The Treasury Department’s inspector general is looking into the opportunity zone program following stories by ProPublica and The New York Times about how the tax break meant to help the poor had been manipulated by billionaires.

        The development, which was first reported by NBC News, comes after three congressional Democrats wrote to Treasury’s inspector general in October asking for the probe and citing the ProPublica and Times stories.

      • Bose Closing All Retail Stores in North America, Europe, Japan, & Australia

        Bose will close all of its retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. Online sales played a significant part in Bose’s decision.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Warren-Sanders Squabble is Foolish

        The real issues in this campaign have nothing to do with who said what in 2018.

      • How Donald Trump Successfully Wagged the Dog, and More

        Although I have never seen Donald Trump with a pet, I do believe that he wagged the dog when he ordered the assassination of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The expression “wag the dog” comes from a 1997 film satire in which a president, caught up in a sex scandal, uses a war to divert attention from his peccadillo. It was released at about the time of the Monica Lewinsky/ President Clinton scandal and later U.S. bombing in Sudan. In Trump’s case, he more than wagged the dog. By ratcheting up tensions with Iran, he also increased his stature as commander-in-chief to the detriment of Democratic candidates and reinforced his image as a rogue head of state.

      • Death by Illogic, Lies and Stupidity

        Donald Trump continues to be under fire. He has been impeached for a gross abuse of power: attempting to blackmail the Ukrainian government into libeling his likely 2020 Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, with allegations of corruption. To induce the Ukrainians to do this, Trump ordered the withholding of military aid. This was an illegal act. When a congressional investigation followed, Trump and his rather clownish minions in Congress tried to obstruct it. This constituted yet another impeachable offense.

      • In Explosive Interviews, Giuliani Sidekick Lev Parnas Says Trump ‘Lied’ and ‘Knew Exactly What Was Going On’

        “It was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden. It was never about corruption.”

      • Standing With Labor, Farmers, and Climate Groups on Trump Trade Deal, Sanders Vows to Vote Against NAFTA 2.0

        “In my view, we need to rewrite this trade agreement to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, to combat climate change, to protect the environment, and stop the destructive race to the bottom.”

      • Progressive Groups Urge Sanders-Warren Unity to Defeat Corporate Democrats in Primary—and Then Donald Trump

        “When progressives fight each other, the establishment wins.”

      • Politics and Business in Seattle

        I am in Seattle for an academic conference, having last been here about ten years ago.

      • The welcome wagon Here’s what Russia’s new prime minister told lawmakers, immediately after they voted him into office

        On January 16, State Duma deputies approved the appointment of Federal Tax Service chief Mikhail Mishustin as Russia’s new prime minister. The new head of Vladimir Putin’s cabinet won the support of 383 deputies. Another 41 lawmakers abstained, and not a soul voted against him. At the hearing, Mishustin made a speech outlining his plans for the federal government and also answered a few questions. Meduza summarizes these remarks below.

      • With Bernhardt Running Trump’s Interior Dept., Former Corporate Clients Lavishing Tens of Millions in New Lobby Spending

        “The corruption is absolutely shameless.”

      • Should Facebook and Twitter Stop Trump’s Lies?

        Antitrust law was designed to check the power of giant commercial entities. Its purpose wasn’t just to hold down consumer prices but also to protect democracy.Antitrust should be used against Facebook and Twitter. They should be broken up. So instead of two mammoth megaphones trumpeting Trump’s lies, or those of any similarly truth-challenged successor to Trump, the public will have more diverse sources of information, some of which will expose the lies.A diverse information marketplace is no guarantee against tyranny, of course. But the system we now have – featuring a president who lies through his teeth and two giant uncritical conveyors of those lies – invites tyranny.

      • Scotty From Marketing Makes The Urban Dictionary: To Do A ‘Scomo’ Is To…?

        Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally made the big time… the Urban Dictionary.

      • Group Behind Wisconsin Voter Purge Lawsuit Has Strong GOP Ties

        This case has thrust Wisconsin to the forefront in this year’s voter suppression wars and reflects a larger Republican strategy to tilt the playing field by making it harder for low-income, student, and minority citizens to vote.

      • Wisconsin May Purge 200,000 Voters From State Rolls in 2020

        A Wisconsin appeals court on Tuesday put on hold a purge of approximately 200,000 voters from the state voter rolls. The court proceedings have been complicated, and how it will end is unclear, but this purge is a bad idea regardless of how the courts come down on its legality.

      • Pelosi Pushes for a Real Impeachment Trial With Witnesses and Cross-Examination

        In a historic move, the House of Representatives presented articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate Wednesday. It marks only the third presidential impeachment trial in all of U.S. history. Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference with the seven impeachment managers. The House vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate comes as The Washington Post reports explosive new information at the center of the impeachment inquiry. New material released by House Democrats shows text messages between former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut, in which the two have threatening exchanges about Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. In the text messages, Parnas and Hyde discuss how Yovanovitch was under surveillance. Yovanovitch has repeatedly said she felt threatened by Trump, who called her “bad news” in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. For more, we’re joined by Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation. “Pelosi at least thinks or hopes that there will be witnesses, there will be cross-examination, and this will be something more approaching a real trial situation as opposed to kind of just a show,” Mystal says.

      • Biden, Buttigieg and Corporate Media Are Eager for Sanders and Warren to Clash

        Corporate Democrats got a jolt at the end of last week when the highly regarded Iowa Poll showed Bernie Sanders surging into first place among Iowans likely to vote in the state’s Feb. 3 caucuses. The other big change was a steep drop for the previous Iowa frontrunner, Pete Buttigieg, who — along with Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden — came in a few percent behind Sanders. The latest poll was bad news for corporate interests, but their prospects brightened a bit over the weekend when Politico reported: “The nonaggression pact between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is seriously fraying.”

      • Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us.

        In a sense, this moment calls for Sanders and Warren supporters to be better than their candidates, who’ve descended into an avoidably harsh conflict that hugely benefits corporate power and corporate Democrats.

      • What Separates Sanders From Warren (and Everybody Else)

        In America, the term “middle class” has long been used to describe the majority of wage and salary earners, from those receiving a median annual income of around $50,000 to those who earn three or four times that amount. Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians from across the political aisle claim to represent the middle class—that vast-yet-amorphous segment of the population where the managers and the managed all seem to fit together.

      • Moscow City Court cancels fine against non-protester whose leg was broken by police before a protest

        The Moscow City Court has reversed a 10,000-ruble ($162) fine instituted against Konstantin Konovalov, who has said he was going on a run in central Moscow on July 27 when police violently arrested him, breaking his leg in the process. A protest was scheduled to take place three hours later; Konovalov claims he was not involved in the protest. Protest Apologists, a human rights organization whose attorney Fyodor Sirosh is representing Konovalov, posted about the court’s ruling on Telegram.

      • Zelensky withdraws bill decentralizing power in Ukraine for further revision

        Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has withdrawn a bill from the national legislature that would have increased the autonomy of individual regions, including breakaway regions in the country’s east. Zelensky introduced the bill into the Verkhovna Rada in mid-December and decided to withdraw it after meeting with legislative leaders from his party, Servant of the People.

      • Mikhail Mishustin formally appointed Russia’s prime minister as Medvedev takes on Security Council role

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially signed an order appointing Mikhail Mishustin to be Russia’s new prime minister, the Kremlin’s press service reported.

      • Pauline Hanson Weaponises Her Wilful Ignorance. Why Can’t We Call It Out?

        Pauline Hanson has been getting a free pass by mainstream media for far too long, writes Nico Bell.

      • New Report: Trump Violated US Funding Law at Center of Impeachment Trial

        But after an investigation, the Government Accountability Office ruled that “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.” It said that the Trump-controlled U.S. budget agency blocked release of the money “for a policy reason,” which is not allowable under U.S. law.

        The ruling by the GAO came less than two hours before the formal start of Trump’s Senate trial on two articles of impeachment, that Trump abused the office of the presidency by trying to get Zelenskiy to open the Biden investigations while withholding the military aid and then obstructing congressional efforts to investigate Trump’s Ukraine-related actions.

      • Senate Urged to Convict Trump After GAO Says White House Broke Law by Freezing Ukraine Aid

        The federal watchdog’s decision “should be a call to action for every senator to put country over party and vote to remove Trump from office.”

      • ‘Russia’s Political Transition Has Arrived Ahead of Schedule’

        In his annual State of the Nation address, Putin proposed changes to the constitution in a series of moves that appear to pave the way for the term-limited president to assume a new position of power after he leaves office. A few hours after Putin’s address, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced on live television that he and the entire Russian government would be resigning, saying that the Russian president will choose a new government.

        Putin later nominated Mikhail Mishustin, a 53-year-old technocrat who heads the Federal Tax Service and is best known for boosting tax collections and cutting graft, as Medvedev’s successor. Mishustin is a low-profile choice not seen as a power player in Moscow, making his prospects of transitioning into a major political force unlikely.

      • New allegations, watchdog report complicate GOP position on impeachment trial

        The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Thursday issued a stunning report, accusing the White House budget office of breaking the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine — the very issue at the heart of the Democrats’ impeachment effort.

        Separately, a close associate of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has delivered a trove of information to House Democrats related to Giuliani’s campaign to pressure Ukrainian leaders to find dirt on the president’s political rivals. Lev Parnas, a Soviet-born Florida businessman facing unrelated campaign-finance charges in New York, is also making the media rounds to deliver a damning message: Trump, he says, was privy to the pressure campaign from the start.

      • Sanders says he’s concerned about lost campaign time during impeachment trial

        Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is atop polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, said Thursday he is worried about losing valuable time on the campaign trail while he sits through an impeachment trial that could last for weeks.

        The Senate spent much of Thursday in a ceremonial session to mark the beginning of President Trump’s trial, which included all senators present taking an oath administered by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to uphold impartial justice. Senators then signed an oath book one by one.

        Asked later if he’s concerned about how participating in the trial will affect his White House bid, Sanders responded, “Yeah, I am.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Assange ‘denied access’ to lawyers in UK

        Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been denied access to evidence and even basic items like paper and pens by British prison officials, putting his US extradition case on the brink of judicial review, his lawyer has warned.

        Solicitor Gareth Pierce was shocked to learn that District Judge Vanessa Baraitser only intended to allow the defence team one hour to review evidence with the Australian in the holding cells at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday.

        He’s been charged in the US with 17 counts of spying and one count of computer hacking after WikiLeaks allegedly tried to help US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning conceal her virtual identity in the release of thousands of classified Pentagon files regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

        Some of those files have revealed US war crimes committed in both countries.

      • Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court

        Another slot of judicial history, another notch to be added to the woeful record of legal proceedings being undertaken against Julian Assange. The ailing WikiLeaks founder was coping as well as he could, showing the resourcefulness of the desperate at his Monday hearing. At the Westminster Magistrates Court, Assange faced a 12-minute process, an ordinary affair in which he was asked to confirm his name, an ongoing ludicrous state of affairs, and seek clarification about an aspect of the proceedings.

        Of immediate concern to the lawyers, specifically seasoned human rights advocate Gareth Peirce, was the issue that prison officers at Belmarsh have been obstructing and preventing the legal team from spending sufficient time with their client, despite the availability of empty rooms. “We have pushed Belmarsh in every way – it is a breach of a defendant’s rights.” Three substantial sets of documents and evidence required signing off by Assange before being submitted to the prosecution, a state of affairs distinctly impossible given the time constraints.

        A compounding problem was also cited by Peirce: the shift from moving the hearing a day forward resulted in a loss of time. “This slippage in the timetable is extremely worrying.” Whether this shows indifference to protocol or malice on the part of prosecuting authorities is hard to say, but either way, justice is being given a good flaying.

        The argument carried sufficient weight with District Judge Vanessa Baraitser to result in an adjournment till 2 pm in the afternoon, but this had more to do with logistics than any broader principle of conviction. As Baraitser reasoned, 47 people were currently in custody at court; a mere eight rooms were available for interviewing, leaving an additional hour to the day. In her view, if Assange was sinned against, so was everybody else, given that others in custody should not be prevented from access to counsel. (This judge has a nose for justice, albeit using it selectively.)

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • It’s 2020 and Florida’s Supreme Court Just Ruled in Favor of a Poll Tax

        “Florida cannot violate the U.S. Constitution’s protections. The right to vote cannot be contingent on the ability to pay.”

      • EU Parliament Calls for Release of Burundi Journalists

        The European Parliament today adopted a resolution condemning the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Burundi ahead of the May 2020 elections. It also called on authorities to drop charges and immediately and unconditionally release four journalists working for Iwacu, one of the country’s last remaining independent newspapers, and all others arrested for exercising their fundamental rights.

        Christine Kamikazi, Agnès Ndirubusa, Egide Harerimana, and Térence Mpozenzi, and their driver, Adolphe Masabarakiza, were arrested on October 22, 2019 while on a reporting trip to Bubanza Province, and later charged with being complicit in “threatening the security of the state.” Their judgment is due by the end of January.

      • The Trump Administration Weakens Standards for ICE Detention Facilities

        The new immigration detention standards set by the Trump administration weaken critical protections and lower oversight requirements. The consequences for the health and safety of people who are detained could be disastrous.

      • The Humanitarian and Environmental Disaster of Trump’s Border Wall

        Making America great again in a new wild west.

      • The Questions No One’s Asking About the Border Wall

        A new Wild West has taken root not far from Tombstone, Arizona, known to many for its faux-historical reenactments of the old West. We’re talking about a long, skinny territory — a geographic gerrymander — that stretches east across New Mexico and down the Texan Rio Grande to the Gulf of Mexico. It also runs west across hundreds of miles of desert to California and the Pacific Ocean. Like the old Wild West, this one is lawless, save for the law of the gun. But that old West was lawless for want of government. This one is lawless because of it.

      • Trump Has Suspended Nearly 50 Laws to Build the Wall

        A new Wild West has taken root not far from Tombstone, Arizona, known to many for its faux-historical reenactments of the old West. We’re talking about a long, skinny territory — a geographic gerrymander — that stretches east across New Mexico and down the Texan Rio Grande to the Gulf of Mexico. It also runs west across hundreds of miles of desert to California and the Pacific Ocean. Like the old Wild West, this one is lawless, save for the law of the gun. But that old West was lawless for want of government. This one is lawless because of it.

      • The Longue Durée: Commemorating RIC and Black & Tan Colonialism

        Most histories of modern Ireland tend to marginalise or completely disregard questions of language and culture. This neglect occurs within various fields, be it the study of the conquests of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the rise to power of Ascendancy Ireland during the eighteenth century, the expansion of the modern technocratic state during the nineteenth century as well as in the study of quasi-independent Ireland during the twentieth century.

      • Why Legal ‘Innovation’ Might be Bad News for Rights in Russia

        Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans for constitutional reform that, among other things, seem to clear a path for him to remain in power – albeit not as president – after his term expires in 2024.

        But the reforms have implications beyond Putin’s political future. Some, like me, are pondering the impact on the rights of millions of Russians if Putin’s call “to directly guarantee the priority of the Russian Constitution in our legal framework” becomes law.

      • Judge Says Chicago PD Must Release Nearly 50 Years Of Misconduct Files Before The End Of This Year

        The Chicago Police Department is one of the worst in the nation. There’s simply no denying this.

      • Morocco: 3 Years in Abusive Solitary Detention
      • Parental Leave Laws Are Failing Single Parents

        The two parties in Congress don’t agree on much these days. However, in the final days of December, they struck a deal that will give about 2 million federal workers paid time off following the birth of a baby, an adoption or the arrival of a foster child in their home.

      • Moms 4 Housing Speaks Out After Militarized Eviction From Vacant Oakland House

        We look at the fight for affordable housing in the Bay Area with Moms 4 Housing, the unhoused and insecurely housed mothers who were evicted Tuesday by a militarized police force from a vacant home they had been occupying in Oakland, California. The action ended a two-month standoff between the mothers and real estate developer Wedgewood Properties when sheriff’s deputies arrested two mothers and two of their supporters. All four were released on bail Tuesday afternoon. We speak to Misty Cross, one of the moms who was arrested, and her daughter Destiny Johnson. “It was never about trying to stay in that house,” says Cross. “The message we were trying to send out was to get people aware of policies and things that are in place that are making us not move forward in life.” We also speak to Carroll Fife, the director of the Oakland office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

      • A Christian Nationalist Group Is Quietly Shaping Bills for State Legislatures

        Fred Clarkson, a senior research analyst at the social justice think tank Political Research Associates, had studied the Christian right wing for decades when someone tipped him off about an intriguing link on the website of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF) — a group that seeks to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and promote prayer.” In early 2018, Clarkson clicked on the link, which led him to what was essentially a roadmap of the Christian right’s theocratic vision for state legislatures — a 116-page manual of model legislation aimed at advancing an anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, Christian nationalist agenda.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Blowing Whistle On Business Of War In Iraq—Plus, Honduras and DOJ Cheat Whistleblower

        On this week’s “Dissenter Weekly Update,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola discusses how military contractors are speaking out after President Donald Trump assassinated—and attempted to assassinate—leaders of militias aligned with General Qassim Soleimani.

        Current and former employees for a military contractor called Sallyport Global Services claim the Iranian-backed militia, Kataib Al Imam Ali, allegedly stole military hardware and issued death threats against their employees. The company, which had a billion-dollar contract with the Pentagon, bribed the militia with “free trucks” and a first, second, and third base for their operations. These fighters were aligned with the United States, probably fighting ISIS, wasting taxpayers dollars like most military ventures. It’s how the business of war works.

      • The end of Iraqi Christianity?

        Erbil has been a refuge for Christians escaping the horrors of ISIS during the militants’ occupation of Mosul and the nearby Nineveh Plains, home to some of the oldest Church communities dating back to earliest times. Such attacks have underlined the precarious state of Iraq’s now tiny Christian community, which continues to reel from an exodus triggered by genocidal persecution.

        According to research by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), within a generation, Iraq’s Christians have declined by 90 per cent to below 250,000. Some reports suggest that the actual figure may be lower than 120,000.

        Were the Iran crisis to become protracted, bishops from the region believe that the consequences for Iraqi Christians would be potentially catastrophic.

      • How to Organize Your Workplace Without Getting Caught

        In the last few years, American workers across multiple industries have unionized or mobilized collectively in an attempt to get better wages, demand accountability for sexual harassers in the workplace, push for real action to slow down climate change, and in general, change company culture.

        The movement seems to be popping up everywhere: Amazon, Google, Gawker, Riot Games, Salesforce, Tesla, Kickstarter, Uber, you name it. In fact, approval ratings for unions among Americans are at the highest level since the beginning of the 2000s, according to Gallup.

        As proud members of a union, we at Motherboard understand how important collective action is, and how challenging it can be. One of the biggest and perhaps most overlooked questions is: how do you form a union or organize a workplace walkout without tipping off the company that owns your computers and internet connection?

      • All the Single Ladies

        Still, much of this is assuming that men in educated dating pools prefer educated women. And for long-term relationships, they do. Compared with women, though, men tend to be more open to pairing up with less educated partners. And less educated women tend to be open to dating men more educated than themselves. What this means, then, is that educated women are not only competing against other educated women for educated male partners, but also against less educated women. To use Guttentag’s phrasing, the dating environment for educated men has an oversupply of women, and they are acting in line with Guttentag’s original findings. As Birger puts it in Date-onomics, describing why educated men are often reluctant to settle down, “Why make a lifetime commitment to one woman when you can keep her as an option while continuing to survey the market—a market that, for college-educated men, has an ever-increasing number of options?” This point has also been stressed by David Buss. In an essay titled The Mating Crisis Among Educated Women, Buss observes that it is no coincidence that the rise of hookup culture on college campuses has developed alongside the growing proportion of female students. Even Tinder, he suggests, is a part of the same phenomenon. Fewer men means more hookups.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Bad Ideas: Raising The Arbitrary Age Of Internet Service ‘Consent’ To 16

        We all know various ideas for “protecting privacy online” are floating around Congress, but must all of them be so incredibly bad? Nearly all of them assume a world that doesn’t exist. Nearly all of them assume an understanding of “privacy” that is not accurate. The latest dumb idea is to expand COPPA — the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act — that was put in place two decades ago and has been a complete joke. COPPA’s sole success is in getting everyone to think that anyone under the age of 13 isn’t supposed to be online. COPPA’s backers have admitted that they used no data in creating and have done no research into the effectiveness of the law. Indeed, actual studies have shown that COPPA’s real impact is in having parents teach their kids its okay to lie about their age online in order to access the kinds of useful services they want to use.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • False Profits and Anti-Christs™

        It doesn’t take many viewing minutes into Messiah, the new Netflix series, to make an old postmodernist like myself wonder what the fuck I’m wasting what’s left of my time with this stuff for. El-Masih, the YouKnowWho (played, this time, by Mehdi Debhi), shows up in “Palestine” out of nowhere to announce that it’s Armageddon Time, accompanied by the first of many signs: Just as Damascus is about to have a bad hair day with artillery fired on them by ISIS from mysteriously unguarded heights not far away, a locust-like sandstorm engulfs Assad-abad. Insh’allah intervenes, it seems, but on whose behalf I can’t tell.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber Wins Dubious Honor Of Being First Big Tech Company To Bully A Small Nation Using Corporate Sovereignty

        Six years ago, when Techdirt first started writing about the investor-state dispute system (ISDS) — or corporate sovereignty as we prefer to call it — it was largely unknown outside specialist circles. Since then, more people have woken up to the power of this apparently obscure element of international trade and investment deals. It essentially gives a foreign company the ability to threaten to sue a nation for millions — even billions — of dollars if the latter brings in new laws or regulations that might adversely affect an investment. The majority of corporate sovereignty cases have been brought by the extractive industries — mining and oil. That’s not least because many of the laws and regulations they object to concern environmental and health issues, which have come to the fore in recent years. New legislation designed to protect local communities might mean lower profits for investors, who then often threaten to use ISDS if they are not offered compensation for this “loss”.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Corellium CEO says Apple is trying to ‘eliminate public jailbreaks’ with latest DMCA filing

          The intensity of the lawsuit that Apple has filed against software virtualization company Corellium has reached another level as the latter’s CEO says a recent DMCA from Apple claims that it is “engaging in trafficking” and that Apple is trying to set a precedent to “eliminate public jailbreaks.” Corellium CEO Amanda Gorton has penned an open letter expressing her belief that “Apple’s latest filing against Corellium should give all security researchers, app developers, and jailbreakers reason to be concerned.”

        • Apple Lawsuit Against Cyber Startup Threatens ‘Dangerous’ Expansion Of Copyright Law

          As Apple and Corellium head towards mediation talks, the iPhone maker has been criticized for “dangerous” claims that the cybersecurity startup has broken copyright laws. Critics say the lawsuit could lead to an expansion of U.S. copyright law and legally endanger software creators and security researchers tinkering with Apple tech.

          Corellium “virtualizes” Apple iPhones. In other words, it creates software-only versions of the devices, helping researchers and developers better test hacks or the functionality of apps. For instance, if a developer wanted to see whether their app crashes iOS or breaks a phone entirely, they won’t have to restart or buy a new iPhone if they can just spawn a new software version at speed.

          But Apple believes this amounts to illegal replication of its famous phone. It first launched a suit in August 2019 but has ratcheted up the claims against Corellium, in particular around what the Cupertino giant says are breaches of its rights as protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

        • Corellium Accuses Apple of Using Lawsuit to ‘Crack Down on Jailbreaking’

          The lawsuit has been ongoing since August, but it is heating up after Apple amended its lawsuit in late December with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) filing, suggesting the Cupertino company believes jailbreaking is a violation of the DMCA. Corellium, says Apple, facilitates jailbreaking through its software.

          Corellium’s CEO Amanda Gorton has taken issue with Apple’s new filing, and yesterday penned a missive lambasting Apple for its jailbreaking position. “Apple’s latest filing against Corellium should give all security researchers, app developers, and jailbreakers reason to be concerned,” reads the letter’s opening statement.

        • Join Us in Washington D.C. to Celebrate Culture and Heritage on Public Domain Day

          In collaboration with the Internet Archive, the Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice, the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, and SPARC, this event will “bring together a diverse group of organizations, musicians, artists, activists, and thinkers” to celebrate the works entering the public domain in 2020 as well as highlight the “elements of knowledge and creativity that are too important to a healthy society to lock down with copyright law.”

        • RomUniverse’s Request to Dismiss Nintendo Piracy Lawsuit Fails

          A California federal court has denied RomUniverse’s request to dismiss Nintendo’s piracy lawsuit. The site’s operator, who is leading his own defense, argued that he is protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions. However, the court notes that a motion to dismiss is not the proper stage to bring this up and has refuted other arguments too.

        • Kim Dotcom Wins Back K.im Domain After Dispute & $100K Sell-Back Offer

          After falling into third-party hands the main domain of Kim Dotcom’s K.im project is set to be reclaimed. The Isle of Man domain recently expired and was quickly snapped up but, following a dispute process, it could be transferred back to the crypto project in a matter of days. Documents reviewed by TorrentFreak reveal that there was an attempt in December to sell the domain back for $100,000.

        • Why Is The NYC MTA Going After A Random Artist Who Created A Different Subway Map For Infringement?

          It’s been a while since we last wrote about the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), but in the past, it’s always been for incredibly stupid reasons. There was the time it claimed it owned the facts of its schedule and went after someone who created a better scheduling app. There was the time it claimed that its “unlimited rides” card really meant no more than 90 rides. We didn’t write about this other one, but a few years back, the MTA actually sued a bagel place for calling itself “F Line Bagels.” And now we have it filing an incredibly questionable copyright takedown notice over someone making a nicer subway map.

01.17.20

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 16, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:39 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

01.16.20

Links 16/1/2020: Mozilla Layoffs, PinePhone Braveheart Shipping, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Reaches Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Kubuntu Focus Offers The Most Polished KDE Laptop Experience We’ve Seen Yet

        As we mentioned back in December, a Kubuntu-powered laptop is launching with the blessing of Canonical and the Kubuntu Community Council. That laptop, the Kubuntu Focus, will begin shipping at the beginning of February while the pre-orders opened today as well as the embargo lift. We’ve been testing out the Kubuntu Focus the last several weeks and it’s quite a polished KDE laptop experience for those wanting to enjoy KDE Plasma for a portable computing experience without having to tweak the laptop for optimal efficiency or other constraints.

      • Kubuntu Focus Linux Laptop Is Now Available for Pre-Order, Ships Early February

        The previously announced Kubuntu Focus Linux laptop is now available for pre-order and has a shipping date and a price tag for those who want a premium computer.

        Unveiled last month during the Christmas holidays, the Kubuntu Focus laptop is a collaboration between Kubuntu, Tuxedo Computers, and MindShareManagement Inc., and it aims to be the first-ever officially recognized Kubuntu Linux laptop targeted mainly at gamers, power users, and developers.

        Kubuntu Focus is a premium and very powerful device that comes pre-installed with the latest Kubuntu release, an official Ubuntu flavor featuring the KDE Plasma Desktop environment, some of the most popular Open Source software, and astonishing hardware components.

        Today, Kubuntu announced on Twitter that the Kubuntu Focus laptop is now available for pre-order with a price tag starting at $2,395.00 USD for the base model, which features 32GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, and one power supply, but the laptop can go for up to $3,665.00 USD.

    • Server

      • Edge AI server packs in a 16-core Cortex-A72 CPU plus up to 32 i.MX8M SoCs and 128 NPUs

        SolidRun’s “Janux GS31 AI Inference Server” runs Linux on its CEx7 LX2160A Type 7 module equipped with NXP’s 16-core Cortex-A72 LX2160A. The system also supplies up to 32 i.MX8M SoCs for video and up to 128 Grylfalcon Lightspeeur 2803 NPUs via multiple “Snowball” modules.

        When people talk about edge AI servers, they might be referring to some of the high-end embedded systems we regularly cover here at LinuxGizmos or perhaps something more server-like such as SolidRun’s rackmount form factor Janux GS31 AI Inference Server. The system would generally exceed the upper limits of our product coverage, but it’s a particularly intriguing beastie. The Janux GS31 is based on a SolidRun CEx7 LX2160A COM Express Type 7 module, which also powers the SolidRun HoneyComb LX2K networking board that we covered in June.

      • IBM

        • CentOS Linux 8 (1911) Released: Free/Community Version Of RHEL 8.1

          Just four months after the release of first CentOS 8 series based on the Red Hed Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 source code, the second CentOS Linux 8 (1911) was released on Jan 15, 2020.

          If you’re aware, CentOS is the “community version” of RHEL. The current release for CentOS 8, tagged as 1911, is derived from RHEL 8.1 source code, which is fully compatible with the upstream product.

        • Red Hat ups its OpenShift Kubernetes hybrid-cloud game

          When they’re not working on Linux, Red Hat is making it darn clear that job one is the hybrid cloud by way of Kubernetes. In its latest steps to support this, Red Hat is releasing its Kubernetes-based Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 and Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage 4 to provide multi-cloud Kubernetes container support.

          OpenShift 4.3 is based on Kubernetes 1.16. Red Hat supports customer upgrades from OpenShift 4.2 to 4.3.

          Building on last fall’s developer-friendly OpenShift 4.2, the new OpenShift release brings stronger platform security to Red Hat’s Kubernetes take. Specifically, it brings the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) compliant encryption (FIPS 140-2 Level 1) to OpenShift. FIPS validated cryptography is mandatory for US federal departments that encrypt sensitive data.

        • Huawei has created an alternative to Android and Windows: the project openEuler

          A trade war between the US and Huawei has forced Chinese companies to look for a replacement Android, the license of which was revoked by Google. In the summer of 2019 mobile giant from China has introduced Harmony OS – the concept of a universal operating system for mobile devices, including smartphones, TVs and even wearable electronics. On the weekend unexpectedly Huawei has introduced another OS – openEuler.

          [...]

          It is worth noting that at this point in the project repositories, there was no documentation in languages other than Chinese. Wishing to establish openEulear yourself you can use an. ISO file (3.2 GB), but all the documentation is available in Chinese only.

          We will remind that earlier smartphones Huawei promised to ban in Google and lock your apps. Also Huawei has introduced a smartphone Mate 30 without the support of Google.

        • Google Cloud Now Offering IBM Power SystemsGoogle Cloud Now Offering IBM Power Systems

          With this, customers can now run IBM Power Systems as a service on Google Cloud—whether they are using AIX, IBM i, or Linux on IBM Power.

        • Crafting a future-proof application environment across the hybrid cloud

          Modern information technology (IT) success requires the right investment in infrastructure and tooling. Beyond the tooling, however, the real benchmark for accomplishment lies in the successful development, deployment and operation of applications that power an organization. Ultimately the applications are what drive value to customers, partners and employees.

          The challenge for IT becomes how to combine available technologies to empower development teams to do their work and successfully operate the resulting applications.

          Thinking of the overall organizational IT capacity as an application environment that spans the various cloud locations, on-premises resources and technologies deployed seems daunting. However, it provides a very useful lens through which to look at long term IT strategy.

        • The Red Hat Edge: How Red Hat OpenStack Platforms Delivers the Potential for Nearly 600 Percent ROI

          To conduct this study, IDC interviewed eight organizations asking survey respondents a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions about the impact that Red Hat OpenStack Platform has had on their IT operations, businesses and cost of deploying private cloud services. Interviewees encompassed the financial services, manufacturing, financial technology, information technology, medical research, automotive, education and healthcare sectors.

        • Red Hat Summit 2020 flash sale: get your hoodie before it’s gone!

          Planning to go to Red Hat Summit this year? You don’t want to miss the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology conference, and it’s coming up fast! We’ve got an added incentive for you to sign up today, until end of day January 23 or we run out, we’re giving a special bonus to folks who register for Red Hat Summit.

          Through January 23rd or until we’ve moved through our limited quantity (whichever comes first), those who register for Red Hat Summit will get an exclusive Red Hat Summit hoodie with their Summit registration. We expect these to go fast, so don’t hesitate to register today and take advantage of the flash sale to get Early Bird Red Hat Summit pricing and a little something extra.

        • OpenShift Container Storage 4: Introduction to Ceph

          This Blog will go through Ceph fundamental knowledge for a better understanding of the underlying storage solution used by Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage 4.

        • New and improved Topology view for OpenShift 4.3

          The Topology view in the Red Hat OpenShift console’s Developer perspective is a thoughtfully designed interface that provides a visual representation of an application’s structure. This view helps developers clearly identify one resource type from another, as well as understand the overall communication dynamics within the application. Launched with the 4.2 release of OpenShift, the Topology view has already earned a spotlight in the cloud-native application development arena. The constant feedback cycles and regular follow-ups on the ongoing trends in the developer community have helped to shape up a great experience in the upcoming release. This article focuses on a few showstopper features in the Topology view that were added for OpenShift 4.3.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 562: Kong

        Kong delivers a next-generation API and service lifecycle management platform designed for modern architectures, including microservices, containers, cloud and serverless. Offering high flexibility, scalability, speed and performance, Kong enables developers and Global 5000 enterprises to reliably secure, connect and orchestrate microservice APIs for modern applications.

      • 2020-01-15 | Linux Headlines

        We say goodbye to a community member, the latest Vulkan update is looking great, while GitHub, IBM, and CentOS all have announcements.

      • 2020-01-16 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla faces difficult choices after a major layoff, a new release of PyTorch adds long-awaited Java support, GNU Guile sees a significant speedup, and the LLVM community debates the future of decision making for the project.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 840

        nest, home, dan horror story

      • Compromised Cameras | Self-Hosted 10

        Wyze and Xiaomi suffer major cloud hosted blunders, so Alex tells us about his new fully offline camera secuirty system, tied into Shinobi.

        Plus Chris gets ready for Project Off-Grid’s solar upgrade, our new favorite self-hosted SpeedTest app, and a Ring alternative.

      • Unix keyboard joy | BSD Now 333

        Your Impact on FreeBSD in 2019, Wireguard on OpenBSD Router, Amazon now has FreeBSD/ARM 12, pkgsrc-2019Q4, The Joys of UNIX Keyboards, OpenBSD on Digital Ocean, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • A medley of performance-related BPF patches

        BPF programs cannot run until they are “attached” to a specific call point. Tracing programs are attached to tracepoints, while networking express data path (XDP) programs are attached to a specific network device. In general, more than one program can be attached at any given location. When it comes time to run attached programs, the kernel will work through a linked list and invoke each program in turn.

        Actually executing a compiled BPF program is done with an indirect jump. Such jumps were never entirely fast, but in the age of speculative-execution vulnerabilities those jumps have been turned into retpolines — a construct that defeats a number of Spectre attacks, but which also turns indirect jumps into something that is far slower than they were before. For cases where BPF programs are invoked frequently, such as for every incoming network packet, that extra overhead hurts.

        There have been a number of efforts aimed at reducing the retpoline performance penalty in various parts of the kernel. The BPF dispatcher patch set is Björn Töpel’s approach to the problem for BPF programs, and for the XDP use case in particular. It maintains a machine-code trampoline containing a direct jump instruction for every attached BPF program; this trampoline must be regenerated whenever a program is added to or removed from the list. When the time comes to call a BPF program, the trampoline is invoked with the address of the program of interest; it then executes a binary search to find the direct-jump instruction corresponding to that program. The jump is then executed, causing the desired program to be run.

        That may seem like a lot of overhead to replace an indirect call, but it is still faster than using a retpoline — by a factor of about three, according to the performance result posted with the patch series. In fact, indirect jumps are so expensive that the dispatcher is competitive even in the absence of retpolines, so it is enabled whether retpolines are in use or not. This code is in its fifth revision and seems likely to make its way into the mainline before too long.

      • Removing the Linux /dev/random blocking pool

        The random-number generation facilities in the kernel have been reworked some over the past few months—but problems in that subsystem have been addressed over an even longer time frame. The most recent changes were made to stop the getrandom() system call from blocking for long periods of time at system boot, but the underlying cause was the behavior of the blocking random pool. A recent patch set would remove that pool and it would seem to be headed for the mainline kernel.

        Andy Lutomirski posted version 3 of the patch set toward the end of December. It makes “two major semantic changes to Linux’s random APIs”. It adds a new GRND_INSECURE flag to the getrandom() system call (though Lutomirski refers to it as getentropy(), which is implemented in glibc using getrandom() with fixed flags); that flag would cause the call to always return the amount of data requested, but with no guarantee that the data is random. The kernel would just make its best effort to give the best random data it has at that point in time. “Calling it ‘INSECURE’ is probably the best we can do to discourage using this API for things that need security.”

        The patches also remove the blocking pool. The kernel currently maintains two pools of random data, one that corresponds to /dev/random and another for /dev/urandom, as described in this 2015 article. The blocking pool is the one for /dev/random; reads to that device will block (thus the name) until “enough” entropy has been gathered from the system to satisfy the request. Further reads from that file will also block if there is insufficient entropy in the pool.

      • Oracle, OpenZFS respond to Linus Torvalds saying ‘Don’t use ZFS’ from @Lunduke on LBRY.tv
      • Oracle, OpenZFS respond to Linus Torvalds saying ‘Don’t use ZFS’

        The reporting around his comments — coming from a wide array of news outlets (some Linux-centric, others less so) — has been heavy on opinion… but light on commentary from the key parties involved.

        In fact, I have yet to see a single article on this topic where the journalist has reached out to the folks that own ZFS (Oracle) or the maintainers of OpenZFS (which was forked from an earlier, open source version of ZFS).

        Let’s correct that.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel’s Mitigation For CVE-2019-14615 Graphics Vulnerability Obliterates Gen7 iGPU Performance

        Yesterday we noted that the Linux kernel picked up a patch mitigating an Intel Gen9 graphics vulnerability. It didn’t sound too bad at first but then seeing Ivy Bridge Gen7 and Haswell Gen7.5 graphics are also affected raised eyebrows especially with that requiring a much larger mitigation. Now in testing the performance impact, the current mitigation patches completely wreck the performance of Ivybridge/Haswell graphics performance.

        The vulnerability being discussed and analyzed this week is CVE-2019-14615. This CVE still hasn’t been made public over 24 hours later (though there are the Intel SA-00314 details for this disclosure), but from going through kernel patches and other resources, it certainly caught our interest right away and have been benchmarking it since yesterday evening. The CVE-2019-14615 vulnerability amounts to a new information disclosure issue due to insufficient control flow in certain data structures. Local access is required for exploiting this control flow issue in the hardware, but it’s not yet known/published if say WebGL within web browsers could exploit this issue. This is a hardware issue with all operating systems being affected. Our testing today, of course, is under Linux.

    • Applications

      • broot Is An Interactive Treeview Directory Navigation Tool For The Command Line

        broot is an interactive command line tool written in Rust for navigating directories using a tree view and fuzzy search. It also incorporates a ncdu like disk usage mode.

        The tool is inspired by the tree command (which is not interactively searchable though, and doesn’t act as a launcher) and the excellent fzf command line fuzzy finder, allowing users to navigate to a directory and locate a particular file with the minimum amount of keystrokes.

        It runs on Linux, macOS and Windows. There are some rough edges on Windows though – some things need fixing, and it’s quite slow on Windows for now. It works great and it’s very fast on Linux though (and I assume macOS, although I don’t own a Mac so I didn’t try it).

      • VokoscreenNG – Vokoscreen Screencaster Rewritten From Scratch

        VokoscreenNG, open-source screen recording software formerly called Vokoscreen, released its first stable version days ago.

        Vokoscreen 2.5 is the last version with ffmpeg and will not more continue developed. The new VokoscreenNG, which is based of Qt and GStreamer, has been rewritten from scratch with new modern UI. And it works on Linux and Windows.

        VokoscreenNG so far does not provide any binary packages, though Linux binary Appimage and Flatpak package were requested. At the moment, you can build the software from the source.

      • Kubic with Kubernetes 1.17.0 released

        The Kubic Project is proud to announce that Snapshot 20200113 has just been released containing Kubernetes 1.17.0.

        This is a particually exciting release with Cloud Provider Labels becoming a GA-status feature, and Volume Snapshotting now reaching Beta-status.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • When Kickstarter goes wrong for indie games: Drift Stage

        A lot of the time Kickstarter (and other crowdfunding services) for indie games goes well, in fact the vast majority of the time all is fine. Sometimes though, everything breaks down as is the case with Drift Stage.

        Drift Stage was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in February of 2015, with a reasonable sum (compared with other projects) of $57,720 to make their modern take on retro racing a reality. Over the years, they released multiple demo versions and showed it off at Minecon (the Minecraft convention) in 2016 which you can still find a demo of here on itch.io and all seemed well on the surface.

        Time went on, backers noticed a lack of new details and progress on it with many trying to find out what was actually going on. In December of 2018, the Artist on the project Charles “DelkoDuck” Blanchard posted on Steam to finally clear it up and it wasn’t good. The programmer and co-creator, Chase Pettit, apparently did a bit of a disappearing act, becoming hard to get in contact with and claimed they were just too busy for it.

      • Open-world puzzler ‘Bonfire Peaks’ has you climb mysterious ruins and set fire to your belongings

        Arriving with Linux support on May 5, from the developer of Pipe Push Paradise and Hiding Spot is the open-world puzzle game Bonfire Peaks.

        Not much info on it yet, with it only just being announced. From what the developer said it’s a “difficult open world puzzle game about climbing mysterious ruins and setting fire to your belongings” that’s being made in Unity. They do at least have a trailer up you can see below:

      • Action-packed drone building game ‘Nimbatus’ has a huge update, we have 3 copies to give away

        We’ve teamed up with Stray Fawn Studio again to give away three copies of their space drone construction game, Nimbatus, plus there’s a massive update out now.

        So what’s new in the “Mothership Update”? A lot and it sounds awesome!

        Your Nimbatus mothership can be upgraded now, there’s some Steam Achievements with drone skins you can unlock and they will be adding even more in the next update. There’s a new “Programmer” Captain to pick which unlocks everything but it only allows you to build autonomous drones (no manual piloting), proper save file management giving more freedom, new difficulty settings, multiple new locations including a Jungle Ruin and new rewards when you advance through the campaign. There’s also new building parts, bug fixes and balancing changes

      • Core Defense aims to mix up the Tower Defense genre with deck-building and randomness – out now

        Core Defense, available today in First Access on itch.io is a Tower Defense game that’s trying to be a little different. Throwing out predefined waves and rewards, in favour of a little random generation. Note: The developer provided an early key for GamingOnLinux.

        Having everything mostly set in place is usually a big part of Tower Defense, since you know what you will be dealing with and often from where. Throwing that out to keep you on your toes is certainly interesting, as is the rewards system of getting you to pick from a randomised set of rewards each time which could be a new tower or an upgrade.

      • Chaotic platformer with a curved gameworld ‘CreatorCrate’ getting a demo next week

        You’ve played plenty of platformers before, but have you played a platformer where the entire world is a great big spinning space station with variable gravity? CreatorCrate has a fun idea.

        In CreatorCrate you play as a little robot that eats anything, to then print out shiny new objects that might be a bit more useful. Gravity is different throughout the space station, except in the middle where it vanishes altogether. Currently in development by Jori Ryan, it sadly didn’t pass the Kickstarter test with it not getting enough funding. Ryan carried on development and they’ve let us know that next week on January 22nd it’s going to get a public demo.

      • The Frictional Games strange teaser appears to be growing

        Frictional Games, the team that craft some very interesting horror experiences like SOMA and Amnesia are teasing something and it appears to now be growing.

        We posted about it recently, since then checking back each day on their dedicated teaser website to see if anything is different. It appears the video file playing has a date on it when checking the page source, which they update each time a new video is put up.

      • Valve give a little more info on what ‘Gamescope’ actually does for Linux gaming

        Recently, a Valve developer revived steamcompmgr (the SteamOS compositing and window manager) and renamed it to Gamescope. After writing about it yesterday here on GOL, they’ve now given some more info on what it actually does.

        Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais is spearheading the effort and a few hours ago they actually gave it a readme, mentioning that “gamescope does the same thing as steamcompmgr, but with less extra copies and latency”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16 Desktop Environment Switches to Client-Side Decorations

        Work on the upcoming Xfce 4.16 desktop environment continues in 2020 with a lot of new features and improvements that the community can test drive using the Xfce 4.15 development branch.

        Xfce developer Simon Steinbeiß reports on the latest changes and improvements that have been added to the forthcoming Xfce 4.16 desktop environment release, and the biggest new feature so far is support for client-side decorations (CSD) or GtkHeaderBars for all dialogs.

        “The first big step in this direction has now happened in libxfce4ui, our main user interface library. With the change, almost all dialogs will be converted to using CSD by default without any code changes in existing projects,” said developer Simon Steinbeiß in a recent blog post.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • November/December in KDE PIM

          Following Kévin here’s the summary of what happened around KDE PIM in the last two months. While this post got slightly delayed due to the holidays, work didn’t slow down at all. More than 1300 changes by 26 contributors landed in the KDE PIM repositories, and we got the 19.12.0 release out in December.

        • Jonathan Riddell: KUserFeedback 0.9.90 Beta Release

          KUserFeedback is a framework for collecting user feedback for applications via telemetry and surveys.

          The library comes with an accompanying control and result UI tool.

        • Plasma 5.18 LTS Beta

          This new version of your favorite desktop environment adds neat new features that make your life easier, including clearer notifications, streamlined settings for your system and the desktop layout, much improved GTK integration, and more. Plasma 5.18 is easier and more fun, while at the same time allowing you to do more tasks faster.

          Apart from all the cool new stuff, Plasma 5.18 also comes with LTS status. LTS stands for “Long Term Support” and this means 5.18 will be updated and maintained by KDE contributors for the next couple of years (regular versions are maintained for 4 months). So, if you are thinking of updating or migrating your school, company or organization to Plasma, this version is your best bet. You get the most recent stable version of Plasma for the long term.

          Read on to discover everything that is new in Plasma 5.18 LTS…

        • Here’s What’s New in KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS

          With a beta build now available for testing I figured it was time to recap the key changes included in KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS so that those of you who ride the plasma wave have some idea of what to expect when it arrives.

          And do expect a varied set of changes when it does, as there’s lots planned, including notifications that are easier to understand, streamlined organisation of system settings, better integration of GTK applications, and plenty more.

          Let’s take a closer look.

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Reaches Beta With Much Better GTK App Integration

          Out this morning is the first beta of KDE Plasma 5.18, which is also the project’s first long-term support (LTS) release since Plasma 5.12.

          Some of the changes to find with the forthcoming KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS include:

          - Support for GTK applications using client-side decorations. Additionally, GTK applications now inherit Plasma settings for fonts / icons / cursors and more.

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Desktop Environment Enters Beta, Here’s What’s New

          The KDE Project announced today the general availability of the beta version of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems and Linux-powered devices.

          KDE Plasma 5.18 is a major version of the popular Linux desktop environment as it’s the third LTS (Long Term Support) series, coming three and a half years after the first LTS branch and two years after the second one. This means that KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS will be supported with maintenance update for the next two years.

          “LTS stands for “Long Term Support” and this means 5.18 will be updated and maintained by KDE contributors for the next couple of years (regular versions are maintained for 4 months). So, if you are thinking of updating or migrating your school, company or organization to Plasma, this version is your best bet,” reads today’s announcement.

    • Distributions

      • Top 5 Linux Distros for Windows Users

        When Microsoft initially released Windows 7 in October 2009, the software giant committed to providing ten years of support for its popular operating system. The much-maligned Microsoft was true to their word, support for Windows 7 ended just yesterday a little over ten years after its release.

        According to NetMarketShare, the Windows 7 EOL will affect over one-third of PCs that use Windows 7. That’s hundreds of millions of people. Many no doubt will foolishly continue to use the unsupported OS, placing their PCs at “greater risk for viruses and malware.” Still, a great many others will incur the $139 to “upgrade to Windows 10.

        However, there is a third option. A much better option. To upgrade is to “raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular, improve (equipment or machinery) by adding or replacing components.”

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Running for the openSUSE Board again or: reelect (Sarah);

          I was in the openSUSE Board for 2 years in the past and I have enjoyed this time to bring along the openSUSE project.

          I want to run for the openSUSE Board again after a short break about 1 year. I am happy that the existing openSUSE Board has proceeded my idea with the foundation so successfully. But I would be happy about being allowed to finalize this/ my topic together with the other Board Members as my old idea.
          Additionally, I have watched the decreasing reputation. Public representations of openSUSE have been missing by the openSUSE Board in the last year. I would increase that on the same way I have done that at our university.

      • Arch Family

        • Now using Zstandard instead of xz for package compression

          zstd and xz trade blows in their compression ratio. Recompressing all packages to zstd with their options yields a total ~0.8% increase in package size on all of their packages combined, but the decompression time for all packages saw a ~1300% speedup.

          We already have hundreds of zstd-compressed packages in our repositories, and as packages get updated more will keep rolling in. No user-facing issues have been found as of yet, so things appear to be working.

        • Everything you need to know about pacman
        • rsync compatibility

          Our rsync package was shipped with bundled zlib to provide compatibility with the old-style –compress option up to version 3.1.0. Version 3.1.1 was released on 2014-06-22 and is shipped by all major distributions now.

          So we decided to finally drop the bundled library and ship a package with system zlib. This also fixes security issues, actual ones and in future. Go and blame those running old versions if you encounter errors with rsync 3.1.3-3.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • A brand-new desktop theme in works for Ubuntu 20.04

          As we get closer to the release of Ubuntu 20.04, we’re finding out more and more information about how the new operating system update would look like. From what we’ve learned thus far, there’s a new desktop theme in the works that will give the users a fresh look and feel of Ubuntu.

          As Ubuntu users would already know, the operating system has been using Yaru as its UI theme since v18.10. Of course, this is an important period for Canonical as the release of Ubuntu 20.04 is right around the corner, or the 23rd of April, to be more specific. So, the minds behind Yaru considered this the perfect time to conduct a meeting with Ubuntu’s design team at the official Canonical headquarters located in London.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Gets Fresh Desktop Theme

          As Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is due to be released in April 2020, the Ubuntu Desktop team has announced a new default theme.

          For those who don’t know, Yaru is the theme being used since Ubuntu 18.10. Yaru, Canonical Design, and Ubuntu Desktop team have geared up collaboratively to ship the successor of the Yaru theme in the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version.

          [...]

          The option of switching between these variations will be available in the settings. These variations will also be available for shell elements, such as the top bar and notification bubbles.

          To make the upcoming Ubuntu Desktop version more distinctive, more upgradation in the design of the folder icons and other elements is continued, which will be disclosed at a later stage.

        • Our 2019 in Review

          2019 was an intense and record-breaking year for us at elementary. You can read about the monthly updates in detail, but let’s take a look back at milestones from the year—and then look forward to our goals for 2020.

        • elementary OS 6 Will Be Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa)

          The elementary OS team is kicking off 2020 with a retrospective of the things they managed to do in 2019 and a set of goals for the year ahead as they want to further improve their Linux-based operating system.

          In a recent blog post, elementary co-founder Cassidy James Blaede talks about an “intense and record-breaking” 2019 and also highlights some of the major goals for 2020 while also revealing the fact that work on the next major release, elementary OS 6, is on the way and it will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system.

          “Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be coming out this year, and subsequently we plan to release elementary OS 6 with a 20.04 base. We’ve begun some of the underlying work to migrate to and build against newer libraries, but much of that work still lies ahead,” said Cassidy James Blaede, Co-founder & CXO of elementary.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 3 open source tools to manage your contacts

        I have collected a lot of email addresses over the course of my, well, life so far. And managing all that data can be a bit of a pain. There are web-based services, but they aren’t as fast as a local copy.

        A few days ago, I talked about vdirsyncer for managing calendars. Vdirsyncer also handles contacts using the CardDAV protocol. Vdirsyncer supports google_contacts and carddav to do contact synchronizations in addition to the filesystem store it uses for calendars, but the fileext setting will change, so you won’t be trying to store contacts in calendar files.

      • Top Open Source Machine Learning Tools

        Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft and other tech giants including renowned developers have already taken a nimble step towards the Machine learning and Artificial intelligence to make the dream of human beings of creating a highly intelligent machine. And to armed others to partake in this journey of building a conscious machine for the future, there are quite a good number of open source tools avail by tech giants to integrate artificial intelligence into applications.

        Yet, the artificial intelligence and machine learning are at very early stage, so don?t expect something like some sci-fi movie, however developers those are into AI and ML can use the open-source software we are going to discuss for writing apps for better speech recognition, Image recognization, Voice assistance, developing a neural network and more? Take a look at some of the most popular open-source solutions.

      • Events

        • Call for FOSDEM 2020 Booth volunteers

          This year we’ve got one of the high-traffic locations, on the ground floor where Free Software Foundation Europe set up last year, right next to the stairway to *all* the dev rooms. So we’re looking for volunteers to come and talk about both Perl and Raku at FOSDEM 2020 in Brussels. If I haven’t already talked to you, please email me at drforr [at] pobox (dot) com and give me an idea of your availability and what you’d want to do. We’ve made arrangements for the usual booth swag, and will have pamphlets to hand out and books to sell on both Raku and Perl.

        • A day in the life at SUSECON 2020. Here’s what to expect!

          We are roughly about 9 weeks out from SUSECON 2020 taking place in Dublin, Ireland! Wondering what you can expect from this years event? I’ve got you covered!

          Plan to be inspired by keynotes, 150+ breakout sessions and more certification opportunities than ever before! Expect the latest innovations in Linux, Ceph, Cloud Foundry, and a host of other great open source technologies now available from SUSE and from our technology partners. You can also plan to network with open source technologists and experts in their field, gain new skills in our deep dive hands-on technical sessions and gain insight through talking with peers. Your SUSECON pass brings you the best content and value of any conference in the industry, from hands-on training to complimentary certifications to meeting with experts — it’s all here!

        • Daniel Stenberg: You’re invited to curl up 2020: Berlin

          curl up is the main (and only?) event of the year where curl developers and enthusiasts get together physically in a room for a full weekend of presentations and discussions on topics that are centered around curl and its related technologies.

          We move the event around to different countries every year to accommodate different crowds better and worse every year – and this time we’re back again in Germany – where we once started the curl up series back in 2017.

          The events are typically small with a very friendly spirit. 20-30 persons

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Google to kill third-party Chrome cookies in two years

            So it’ll slowly squish third-party cookies, but only after it’s found alternatives. What does that squishing look like, and what are those alternatives?

            The company already announced that it would limit third-party cookies to HTTPS connections, which will make them more secure. It plans to start doing that next month.

            It will also treat cookies that don’t use the SameSite label as first-party only. SameSite is a tag that developers can include with cookies. It sets the rules for exchanging the cookie with other sites. A bank could use it to avoid sending session cookies to another site that links to a customer’s transaction page, for example, so that a third party couldn’t harvest session information. So in future, developers have to be upfront about how third-party cookies will work, or Chrome won’t send them between sites at all.

          • Chrome’s Move To Stomp Out Third Party Cookies? Good For Privacy, Good For Google’s Ad Business… Or Both?

            We’ve talked in the past how efforts solely focused on “protecting privacy” without looking at the wider tech ecosystem and the challenges its facing may result in unintended consequences, and now we’ve got another example. Google has announced that it’s beginning a process to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome. Looking at this solely through the lens of privacy, many privacy advocates are celebrating this move, saying that it will better protect user privacy. But… if you viewed it from a more competitive standpoint, it also does much to give Google significantly more power over the ad market and could harm many other companies. Former Facebook CSO, Alex Stamos’ take is pretty dead on here:

          • Windows 10 users: Google reveals when it’s killing off Chrome apps

            Chrome apps that work offline for Windows, Mac, and Linux have been around since 2013, but Google has now committed firm dates for switching off support for them.

          • Google sets final timeline for killing and replacing Chrome Apps

            Back in 2016, Google announced that it was killing Chrome Apps in favor of the web. This process began with that category disappearing from the Web Store in late 2017, and Google now has a final timeline for the deprecation.

            Chrome Apps launched in 2013 to a different state of the web. “Packaged Apps” were built with HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript to offer an “experience comparable to a native application.” They were touted as allowing for a wider user base than just one OS, and targeted towards device manufacturers and educators.

            Citing “substantial progress” since then, Google believes that “modern browsers puts the Web in a good position to answer the vast majority of use cases.” Touted first-class experiences include Google Earth and Figma for designers, as well as Progressive Web Apps.

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 73 Enters Development with New Default Zoom Settings, Improved Audio

            With the Firefox 72 release hitting the stable update channel last week, Mozilla kicked off the development of the next version of its popular, open-source and cross-platform web browser, Firefox 73.

            Now that Mozilla has adopted the monthly release cycle for new Firefox versions, the Open Source company aims to address various bugs and improve the functionality, reliability, and stability of its web browser for all supported platforms.

            Firefox 72 introduced Picture-in-Picture support for Linux and macOS users, the ability to block fingerprinting scripts by default on all supported platforms using the built-in Enhanced Tracking Protection feature, new developer features, and removed the annoying notification request pop-ups.

            With the Firefox 73 release, Mozilla adds the ability to set a default zoom level that’s applicable for all websites. The new option will be implemented in the Preferences page under the “Language and Appearance” section, allowing users to scale the zoom levels up or down from the default 100% setting.

          • Readying for the Future at Mozilla

            Mozilla must do two things in this era: Continue to excel at our current work, while we innovate in the areas most likely to impact the state of the internet and internet life. From security and privacy network architecture to the surveillance economy, artificial intelligence, identity systems, control over our data, decentralized web and content discovery and disinformation — Mozilla has a critical role to play in helping to create product solutions that address the challenges in these spaces.

            Creating the new products we need to change the future requires us to do things differently, including allocating resources for this purpose. We’re making a significant investment to fund innovation. In order to do that responsibly, we’ve also had to make some difficult choices which led to the elimination of roles at Mozilla which we announced internally today.

          • Mozilla lays off 70 as it waits for new products to generate revenue

            In an internal memo, Mozilla chairwoman and interim CEO Mitchell Baker specifically mentions the slow rollout of the organization’s new revenue-generating products as the reason for why it needed to take this decision. The overall number may still be higher, though, as Mozilla is still looking into how this decision will affect workers in the UK and France. In 2018, Mozilla Corporation (as opposed to the much smaller Mozilla Foundation) said it had about 1,000 employees worldwide.

            “You may recall that we expected to be earning revenue in 2019 and 2020 from new subscription products as well as higher revenue from sources outside of search. This did not happen,” Baker writes in her memo. “Our 2019 plan underestimated how long it would take to build and ship new, revenue-generating products. Given that, and all we learned in 2019 about the pace of innovation, we decided to take a more conservative approach to projecting our revenue for 2020. We also agreed to a principle of living within our means, of not spending more than we earn for the foreseeable future.”

          • Mozilla lays off 70 employees to prepare for tough years ahead
          • Layoff survival guide

            If you’re reading these lines, you may have recently been laid off from your job. Or maybe, depending on your country and its laws, you’re waiting to know if you’re being laid off.

          • No Mo’zilla for about 100 techies today: Firefox maker lays off staff as boss talks of ‘difficult choices’ and funding

            On Wednesday Mozilla Corporation, maker of the Firefox browser and would-be internet privacy protector, said it plans to lay off an undisclosed number of employees.

            “Creating the new products we need to change the future requires us to do things differently, including allocating resources for this purpose,” said Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker in a blog post.

            “We’re making a significant investment to fund innovation. In order to do that responsibly, we’ve also had to make some difficult choices which led to the elimination of roles at Mozilla which we announced internally today.”

            A Mozilla spokesperson declined to provide a copy of Baker’s internal memo discussing the job cuts, said to affect 70 people. The spokesperson declined to confirm a specific number of affected employees but said the organization’s total number of employees “was just under 1,100 prior to today’s announcement and will be just over a 1,000 going forward.”

          • Niko Matsakis: Async Interview #4: Florian Gilcher

            Hello! For the latest async interview, I spoke with Florian Gilcher (skade). Florian is involved in the async-std project, but he’s also one of the founders of Ferrous Systems, a Rust consulting firm that also does a lot of trainings. In that capacity, he’s been teaching people to use async Rust now since Rust’s 1.0 release.

            [...]

            We discussed the futures crate for a while. In particular, the question of whether we should be “stabilizing” traits by moving them into the standard library, or whether we can use the futures crate as a “semi-stable” home. There are obviously advantages either way.

            On the one hand, there is no clearer signal for stability than adding something to libstd. On the other, the future crate facade gives a “finer grained” ability to talk about semver.

            One thing Florian noted is that the futures crate itself, although it has evolved a lot, has always maintained an internal consistency, which is good.

            One other point Florian emphasized is that people really want to be building applications, so in some way the most important thing is to be moving towards stability, so they can avoid worrying about the sand shifting under their feet.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Welcoming the new Board of Directors at The Document Foundation

          In December, members of The Document Foundation voted for a new Board of Directors. The Board is the main administration of the Foundation’s projects and teams – including LibreOffice and The Document Foundation. The new Board will begin work after FOSDEM in February – and there are some new faces to welcome! Let’s hear from them…

        • Image Compression

          Finally LibreOffice image compression did what you expect. Shrink your image or the impress presentation and don’t destroy your pictures.

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS 7.3

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 7.3!

          IMPORTANT: this is a critical security update for CVE-2019-19844: Potential account hijack via password reset form!

          Also migrates to Django 3.0 and includes several other improvement and bug-fixes!

        • WordPress Leaders Nominated for CMX Awards

          Two members of the WordPress leadership team were nominated for excellent work in their field in the first ever Community Industry Awards. Andrea Middleton is nominated for Executive Leader of a Community Team and Josepha Haden Chomphosy is nominated for Community Professional of the Year.

          [...]

          Andrea has been a vital community strategist for the WordPress project since 2011. Her work to build and support a vibrant community has played a part in the success around the popular open source CMS. Her work is sponsored by Automattic, where she leads a team that focuses on educational efforts, funding, and in-person community-driven events that serve a global base.

          Josepha has been the Executive Director of the WordPress project since 2019. Her work to coordinate and guide volunteer efforts spans 20 teams and involves thousands of volunteers. Her work is also sponsored by Automattic, where she leads the open source division that focuses on all aspects of open source contribution including design, development, volunteer engagement, and the health of the overall WordPress ecosystem.

      • BSD

        • Insight into Why Hyperbola GNU/Linux is Turning into Hyperbola BSD

          In late December 2019, Hyperbola announced that they would be making major changes to their project. They have decided to drop the Linux kernel in favor of forking the OpenBSD kernel. This announcement only came months after Project Trident announced that they were going in the opposite direction (from BSD to Linux).

          Hyperbola also plans to replace all software that is not GPL v3 compliant with new versions that are.

          To get more insight into the future of their new project, I interviewed Andre, co-founder of Hyperbola.

      • FSF

        • First LibrePlanet 2020 keynote announcement: Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced Brewster Kahle as its first keynote speaker for LibrePlanet 2020. The annual technology and social justice conference will be held in the Boston area on March 14 and 15, 2020, with the theme “Free the Future.”

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guile 3.0.0 released

            We are ecstatic and relieved to announce the release of GNU Guile 3.0.0. This is the first release in the new stable 3.0 release series.

            See the release announcement for full details and a download link.

            The principal new feature in Guile 3.0 is just-in-time (JIT) native code generation. This speeds up the performance of all programs. Compared to 2.2, microbenchmark performance is around twice as good on the whole, though some individual benchmarks are up to 32 times as fast.

          • GNU Guile 3.0 Released With JIT Code Generation For Up To 4x Better Performance

            GNU Guile 3.0 has been released, the GNU’s implementation of the Scheme programming language with various extra features. The big news with Guile 3.0 is better performance.

            GNU Guile 3.0 adds just-in-time (JIT) code generation yielding up to four times faster performance. JIT code generation for Guile is enabled automatically and transparently. Guile 3.0 moves its virtual machine instruction set to be lower-level now to allow for more optimizations and has a variety of other improvements.

          • GNU Guile 3.0.0 released
            We are delighted to announce GNU Guile release 3.0.0, the first in the
            new 3.0 stable release series.
            
            Compared to the previous stable series (2.2.x), Guile 3.0 adds support
            for just-in-time native code generation, speeding up all Guile programs.
            See the NEWS extract at the end of the mail for full details.
            
            
            The Guile web page is located at http://gnu.org/software/guile/, and
            among other things, it contains a copy of the Guile manual and pointers
            to more resources.
            
            Guile is an implementation of the Scheme programming language, packaged
            for use in a wide variety of environments.  In addition to implementing
            the R5RS, R6RS, and R7RS Scheme standards, Guile includes full access to
            POSIX system calls, networking support, multiple threads, dynamic
            linking, a foreign function call interface, powerful string processing,
            and HTTP client and server implementations.
            
            Guile can run interactively, as a script interpreter, and as a Scheme
            compiler to VM bytecode.  It is also packaged as a library so that
            applications can easily incorporate a complete Scheme interpreter/VM.
            An application can use Guile as an extension language, a clean and
            powerful configuration language, or as multi-purpose "glue" to connect
            primitives provided by the application.  It is easy to call Scheme code
            from C code and vice versa.  Applications can add new functions, data
            types, control structures, and even syntax to Guile, to create a
            domain-specific language tailored to the task at hand.
            
      • Programming/Development

        • Federico Mena-Quintero: Exposing C and Rust APIs: some thoughts from librsvg

          Librsvg exports two public APIs: the C API that is in turn available to other languages through GObject Introspection, and the Rust API.

          You could call this a use of the facade pattern on top of the rsvg_internals crate. That crate is the actual implementation of librsvg, and exports an interface with many knobs that are not exposed from the public APIs. The knobs are to allow for the variations in each of those APIs.

          This post is about some interesting things that have come up during the creation/separation of those public APIs, and the implications of having an internals library that implements both.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RQuantLib 0.4.11: More polish

          New year, new RQuantLib! A new release 0.4.11 of RQuantLib arrived overnight on CRAN; and a Debian upload will follow shortly.

          QuantLib is a very comprehensice free/open-source library for quantitative finance; RQuantLib connects it to the R environment and language.

          This version does three new things. First, we fixed an oversight on our end and now allow a null calendar (as the C++ API). Second, the package switched to tinytest as a few of my other packages have done, allowing for very flexible testing during development and deployment—three cheers for easily testing installed packages too. Third, and per a kind nag from Kurt Hornik I updated a few calls which the current QuantLib 1.17 marks as deprecated. That lead to a compile issue with 1.16 so the change is conditional in one part.

        • Top Skills In Demand For 2020 [Ed: One cannot properly study jobs in need based only on ads in a site owned and controlled by Microsoft]

          The start of the year, when it is traditional to come up with self-improving resolutions, is a good time to contemplate new job opportunities. So what are employers looking for in 2020? Here we have two lists of the most sought skills.

          The first thing to note is that both of them are biased and there is little common ground between them. The divergence is because they have been constructed with differing goals. As a jobs site Dice is on the look out for the terms that crop up in job postings while LinkedIn Learning is hoping to sign you (or your employer) up to its skill building courses which are provided by Lynda.com, the online learning platform which LinkedIn acquired in 2015.

        • Google open-sources tool to boost 2FA adoption in npm

          Google has open-sourced an npm publishing tool for heightened security across organizations? client libraries.

          The tool, Wombat Dressing Room, aims to reduce the security risks associated with the automation of npm publishing.

          ?On my team, a small number of developers manage over 75 Node.js libraries,? Benjamin Coe, developer engineer at Google, said in an announcement on Friday (January 10).

          ?We see automation as key to making this possible,? he said.

        • This Week in Rust 321

          Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

        • LLVM Developers Discuss Improved Decision Making Process

          LLVM project founder Chris Lattner has proposed a new decision making process for the LLVM compiler stack around new sub-project proposals, new social policies, changes to core infrastructure, and other key changes.

          Lattner is proposing a process similar to the Swift language’s Evolution Process (to which Lattner has been involved with Swift), Rust’s RFC process, Python PEP, and other similar processes for different programming languages. The motivation is to provide clearer steps for developers wishing to propose effectively fundamental changes to the project with no code owners. And, yes, there still is the LLVM Foundation for more project related matters where as the process changes here are technical focused.

        • LLVM 10 Adds Option To Help Offset Intel JCC Microcode Performance Impact

          Disclosed back in November was the Intel Jump Conditional Code Erratum that necessitated updated CPU microcode to mitigate and with that came with a nearly across the board performance impact. But Intel developers had been working on assembler patches for helping to reduce that performance hit. The GNU Assembler patches were merged back in December while now ahead of LLVM 10.0 that alternative toolchain has an option for helping to recover some of the lost performance.

          On the GNU side the exposed option is “-mbranches-within-32B-boundaries” for altering the handling of jump instructions to aide in reducing the performance hit from the Intel CPU microcode update for Skylake through Cascadelake. (More details in the original JCC article, which includes early benchmarks of the JCC impact and of the mitigated support that has been available within Intel’s Clear Linux since the disclosure date.)

        • RcppRedis 0.1.10: Switch to tinytest

          Another minor release of RcppRedis just arrived on CRAN, following a fairly long break since the last release in October 2018.

          RcppRedis is one of several packages connecting R to the fabulous Redis in-memory datastructure store (and much more). RcppRedis does not pretend to be feature complete, but it may do some things faster than the other interfaces, and also offers an optional coupling with MessagePack binary (de)serialization via RcppMsgPack. The package has carried production loads for several years now.

          This release switches to the fabulous tinytest package, allowing for very flexible testing during development and deployment—three cheers for easily testing installed packages too.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn COBOL

          COBOL is an acronym which stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. The US Department of Defense, in a conference, formed CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Language) to develop a language for meeting business data processing needs which is now known as COBOL.

          COBOL is a standard language that can be compiled and executed on various machines. It’s ideally suited for business-oriented applications as it can handle huge volumes of data. It provides numerous debugging and testing tools. COBOL is a structured language; it has different divisions, so it’s easy to debug. The language is not designed for writing systems programs.

          COBOL is one of the oldest computer languages.

        • Perl / Raku

        • Python

          • The 9th Annual PyLadies Auction

            If you haven’t attended one previously, you’re missing out! There’s charity. There’s competition. There’s laughter, food, and drinks. There are auction paddles flying in the air as people graciously give money where it has impact.

            The PyLadies auction holds a special place in my heart – I attended my first PyCon in 2015 thanks to financial aid from PyLadies. If you haven’t heard of PyLadies before, we are an international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community. Last year, the auction raised over $44,000 from the 58 items auctioned off.

          • A Primer on the Python Game Framework

            Computer games are a great way to introduce people to coding and computer science. Since I was a player in my youth, the lure of writing video games was the reason I learned to code. Of course, when I learned Python, my first instinct was to write a Python game.

            While Python makes learning to code more accessible for everyone, the choices for video game writing can be limited, especially if you want to write arcade games with great graphics and catchy sound effects. For many years, Python game programmers were limited to the pygame framework. Now, there’s another choice.

            The arcade library is a modern Python framework for crafting games with compelling graphics and sound. Object-oriented and built for Python 3.6 and up, arcade provides the programmer with a modern set of tools for crafting great Python game experiences.

          • Things You Need to Know Before Hiring Developers for Your Startup
          • More efficient way to sum a list comprehension

            List comprehensions in Python let you create a list declaratively, much like the way you would describe the set in English.

          • Airflow Case Study: ProofPort

            Airflow is an open source tool under the Apache Software Foundation developed by Airbnb. Simply put, Airflow is a workflow orchestration platform. Even so, it is most commonly used for data processing (ETL). It has been very successful and has become the industry standard for batch data processing.

          • Python pip
          • Reuven Lerner made one of the first 100 websites… ever… and other things I learned recording his DevJourney
          • Create a daily earning database with Python SQLite

            In this chapter, we will start a project which will then record my daily earning in the future. We will create the earing table and populate the first row of data into that table. I can then view my earning table using DB Browser which is a browser uses to create, edit, plot and view the SQLite table’s items.

            First of all, let us go to the homepage of DB Browser to download DB Browser through this link. I will temporarily use this tool to view my SQLite table but my final objective is to create my own SQLIte table viewer using the tkinter module. I will go phase by phase to accomplish my objective.

          • Build REST API with Flask & SQLAlchemy

            Flask is a great framework that enables you to build web applications quickly with Python. It’s fast, small, and fun to work with. In this tutorial, we’re going to build a RESTful API with Flask framework, and some other supporting tools.

            The objective of this tutorial is to understand the concept of building a Flask server from the ground up, learn how to commuticate with SQL databases via object-relational mapper, as well as design a RESTful API with object-oriented design pattern.

          • User Accounts With django-allauth – Building SaaS #41

            In this episode, we added django-allauth to create accounts that default to email instead of using usernames. We added the package, configured some templates, and created tests.

            We continued to look at Will Vincent’s django-allauth post on creating user accounts with email and passwords.

            django-allauth let’s us swap out username and email so that users won’t need to create a username, which is the behavior that I want for this service.

          • Variable-Length Arguments in Python with *args and **kwargs

            Some functions have no arguments, others have multiple. There are times we have functions with arguments we don’t know about beforehand. We may have a variable number of arguments because we want to offer a flexible API to other developers or we don’t know the input size. With Python, we can create functions to accept any amount of arguments.

            In this article, we will look at how we can define and use functions with variable length arguments. These functions can accept an unknown amount of input, either as consecutive entries or named arguments.

          • Some median Python NaNsense

            Anybody who has ever taken a numerical analysis course understands that floating-point arithmetic on computers is a messy affair. Even so, it is easy to underestimate just how messy things can be. This topic came to the fore in an initially unrelated python-ideas mailing-list thread; what should the Python statistics module do with floating-point values that are explicitly not numbers?
            Kemal Diri doubtless did not mean to start a massive thread with this request to add a built-in function to the language to calculate the average of the values in a list. That request was quickly dismissed, but the developers went on to the seemingly strange behavior of the statistics module’s median() function when presented with floating-point not-a-number values.

          • Toward a conclusion for Python dictionary “addition”

            One of Guido van Rossum’s last items of business as he finished his term on the inaugural steering council for Python was to review the Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) that proposes a new update and union operators for dictionaries. He would still seem to be in favor of the idea, but it will be up to the newly elected steering council and whoever the council chooses as the PEP-deciding delegate (i.e. BDFL-Delegate). Van Rossum provided some feedback on the PEP and, inevitably, the question of how to spell the operator returned, but the path toward getting a decision on it is now pretty clear.

            [...]

            At the beginning of December, Van Rossum posted his review of the PEP to the python-ideas mailing list. He encouraged the authors (Brandt Bucher and Steven D’Aprano) to request a BDFL-Delegate for the PEP from the steering council, noting that he would not be on the council after the end of the year. D’Aprano indicated that he would be doing so. Apparently that happened, because, tucked away in the notes from the November and December steering council meetings was a mention that a BDFL-Delegate had been assigned—none other than Van Rossum himself.

            In his review, he comes down strongly in favor of | and |= and had some other minor suggestions. He said: “All in all I would recommend to the SC to go forward with this proposal, targeting Python 3.9, assuming the operators are changed to | and |=, and the PEP is brought more in line with the PEP editing guidelines from PEP 1 and PEP 12.” Given that, and that he is the decision maker for the PEP, it would seem to be smooth sailing for its acceptance.

            That did not stop some from voicing objections to the PEP as a whole or the spelling of the operator in particular, of course, though the discussion was collegial as is so often the case in the Python world. Van Rossum thought that | might be harder for newcomers, but was not particularly concerned about that: “I don’t think beginners should be taught these operators as a major tool in their toolbox”. But Ryan Gonzalez thought that beginners might actually find that spelling easier because of its congruence to the Python set union operator.

            Serhiy Storchaka is not a fan of the PEP in general, but believes that | is a better choice than +. He thinks there are already other ways to accomplish the same things that the operators would provide and that their use may be error-prone. He also had a performance concern, but Brett Cannon pointed out that it might only exist for CPython; PyPy and other Pythons might not have the same performance characteristics.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Automating Helm deployments with Bash

            Some of our applications are hosted in a Kubernetes cluster, and we use GitLab Continuous Integration (CI) to automate deployments and Helm 2 to deploy our applications. Helm charts enable the storage of templates of Kubernetes object YAML files with variables that can be programmatically set from command-line arguments passed when the chart is used during deployments. This allows us to store critical secrets in GitLab-protected environment variables or in Hashicorp Vault and use them within the CI deployment job.

            [...]

            The script performs all tasks required to deploy a Helm chart for an application to Kubernetes and waits for the deployment to be ready using kubectl and Helm. Helm runs with a local Tiller installation instead of running Tiller in the Kubernetes cluster. The Kubernetes HELM_USER and HELM_PASSWORD are used to log into the Kubernetes CLUSTER_SERVER and PROJECT_NAMESPACE. Tiller is started, Helm is initialized in client-only mode, and its repo is updated. The template is linted with Helm to ensure that syntax errors have not been accidentally committed. The template is then deployed in declarative mode, using helm upgrade –install. Helm waits for the deployment to be ready using the –wait flag.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Schneier: “It’s really too late to secure 5G networks”

          Schneier points to a variety of factors contributing to 5G’s intrinsic, irreparable unsuitability: first, the US government pushed for weaker security in order to ensure that it could conduct domestic surveillance; the standards themselves are so complex as to be impossible to implement securely; and the system calls for software running on dynamically configurable hardware, which “dramatically increases the points vulnerable to attack.”

          Moreover, 5G is backwards compatible with earlier protocols, inheriting all their insecurities, and generating new ones where these protocols’ weak spots can be chained together to create attacks that each protocol was, in and of itself immune to, but which the system remains vulnerable to.

        • The trouble with IPv6 extension headers

          It has taken longer than anybody might have liked, but the IPv6 protocol is slowly displacing IPv4 across the Internet. A quick, highly scientific “grep the access logs” test shows that about 16% of the traffic to LWN.net is currently using IPv6, and many large corporate networks are using IPv6 exclusively internally. This version of the IP protocol was designed to be more flexible than IPv4 in a number of ways; the “extension header” mechanism is one way in which that flexibility is achieved. A proposal to formalize extension-header processing in the kernel’s networking stack has led to some concerns, though, about how this feature will be used and what role Linux should play in its development.
          In both versions of the IP protocol, the header of each packet contains a collection of information about how the packet is to be handled; at a minimum, it contains source and destination addresses and a higher-level protocol number. In IPv4, the contents of the header are rigidly specified; it is difficult to add new types of information to the header. When IPv6 was designed, extension headers were added as a way to (relatively) easily add new information in the future.

          A few extension header types are defined in RFC8200 (which describes IPv6). Two of particular interest are the “Hop-by-Hop” and “Destination” headers; the former is meant to be acted upon by every system that handles the packet, while the latter is only for the destination node’s attention. These headers may contain one or more options, each encoded in a type-length-value (TLV) format. RFC8200 only defines a couple of options that insert padding into the header, but there is interest in adding a number of others.

          For example, In-situ Operations, Administration, and Maintenance options are meant to allow providers to collect telemetry information on packets passing through their networks. The Path MTU mechanism uses a Hop-by-Hop option to discover the maximum packet size a path can handle. Firewall and Service Tickets (FAST) are a Hop-by-Hop option that documents a packet’s right to traverse a network or pass through a firewall. The Segment Routing options allows a packet to contain the path it should take through a network. And so on.

  • Leftovers

    • Life was a cabaret – the Roaring Twenties in Cairo

      Less than two years before Ashbee saw her performance in that village, she had left behind the life of a nightclub singer to make her theatrical debut on the stage of the Printania Theatre on Alfi Bey Street. She was said to be the first Egyptian Muslim woman to become a professional actress – before then actresses had largely been Christian or Jewish and from Ottoman Syria. The next year she became the first Egyptian woman to lead her own theatrical company.

      Long after Ashbee saw her, Mounira remained one of the biggest names of the riotous underworld of parties and nightlife that flourished in Cairo throughout the 1920s and ’30s. In this period, downtown Cairo was thick with theatres, cabarets, dancehalls, and cinemas, and had an entertainment scene to rival other global cities – Berlin, Paris, or New York.

    • Education

      • Traversed by Tensions: Quebec’s Religious Symbols Law

        Fatima Ahmad, 23, an Education student at McGill University in Montreal, says that Bill 21 prevents her from working as a public school teacher in Quebec. A fourth year student, graduating in April 2020, she is already making plans to move to the United Arab Emirates or Calgary once she graduates. She is photographed wearing a niqab. Thirty-seven year old Nadia Naqvi is a high-school teacher in Quebec. But she is blocked from advancing up the ladder. “Bill 21 has turned me into a second-class citizen in my own profession—my peers can advance professionally, but I cannot. That’s state-sanctioned discrimination” (Globe and Mail, December 21, 2019). She is wearing a beautifully flowered hijab.

      • real world crypto talks

        Real World Crypto 2020 was last week. It’s a conference I like because the talks are usually pretty interesting. The crypto talks have real world applications and the real world application talks have crypto. Afterwards, there’s usually not just something to be learned, but something to be done. I didn’t actually attend every talk, but here’s some notes.

      • France Says Netflix, Disney Must Plow 25% of Local Revenue Into Content

        France is finalizing a bill to force video-on-demand services from Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Walt Disney Co. and others to invest at least 25% of their revenue derived in the country to fund local productions.

        The French legislation falls under a European Union directive requiring such companies to ensure that at least 30% of their catalogs are comprised of European-made content. The French Culture Ministry, which shared a presentation made Tuesday in Paris with Bloomberg, didn’t comment on how France is planning to measure sales of the platforms in France.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Analysis of 30 Years of Single-Payer Research Shows Medicare for All Would Absolutely Save US Money

        “Across the political spectrum, there is near consensus among these economists that a single-payer system would save money.”

      • Study Shows Being Rich Buys 9 Extra Years of ‘Healthy’ Living in US and UK

        “In both countries, efforts in reducing health inequalities should target people from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups.”

      • A Truly Antiwar Agenda Must Include Free College and Medicare for All

        Last night’s debate brought home a reality for me: A truly antiwar agenda is not confined to priorities traditionally seen as “foreign policy.” It must include bold plans to address climate change, education, institutional racism and sexism, health care and immigration justice. And our movements must reflect that broad-based vision.

      • States Can’t Protect Themselves From the Harmful Effects of ACA Repeal

        The Trump Administration and 18 state attorneys general are asking the courts to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) as unconstitutional. With a cloud of uncertainty hanging over coverage and protections for tens of millions of people, some states are looking for ways to protect their residents. On their own, however, states can do nothing to stop most of the harmful consequences of ACA repeal: the only solution is for the courts to uphold the law.

      • The Year in Disability Rights

        People with disabilities around the world face serious obstacles to realizing their rights on an equal basis with others. Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2020 documents abuses such as violence, discrimination, segregation, and unlawful detention of people with disabilities in 32 countries including Australia, Tanzania, Kazakhstan, Mexico, and the United States.

        Due to prevalent stigma and lack of adequate mental health services, thousands of people with mental health conditions are shackled – chained or locked up in small confined spaces – in many countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Indonesia, and Somaliland. Human Rights Watch has documented cases of shackling in homes, traditional and religious-based healing centers, schools, psychiatric hospitals, and state-run rehabilitation centers. Those shackled are often exposed to physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and isolation. Though shackling persists in Indonesia, government agencies have made some progress by signing an agreement to monitor places where people with mental health conditions have been shackled. Governments should ban shackling and develop quality, accessible community-based support and mental health services.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Amazon to invest $1 bn in India to digitise small, medium businesses, says Jeff Bezos

          Under the initiative, Amazon would establish ‘Digital Haats’ in 100 cities, villages, and communities to help businesses integrate into the digital economy. Digital Haats would be in local neighbourhoods and available to MSMEs irrespective of their association with Amazon, a company statement said.

        • Jeff Bezos Says Amazon To Invest $1 Billion To Digitise Small And Medium Businesses In India

          The company will use its global footprint to export USD 10 billion worth of Make In India goods by 2025, Bezos said at the Amazon smbhav summit which will focus on discussions around how technology adoption can enable small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India.

        • CGI to hire 15,000 over the next 5 years

          CGI plans to hire nearly 15,000 people in India over the next four to five years, the Canadian IT services provider’s founder said.

          The software services company’s India offices, which currently employ nearly 15,000 people, play a strategic role in service delivery across key markets. The about $12 billion company follows a strategy of setting up bases close to client locations, either organically or through acquisitions, Serge Godin, founder and executive chairman of CGI told ET in an interview. India continues to be one of the largest facilities outside Montreal, he added.

        • Security

          • Celebrating a million dollars in bounties paid

            But it’s about much more than a million dollars in bounty payments. Our journey to this point has been an iterative one, gaining strength and improving along the way as we grow, learn and receive feedback from the security research community. We believe our journey models our commitment to building a strong and secure product for our customers but also our dedication to the open source and security community; one where everyone can contribute and also reap the rewards.

          • GitLab Celebrates $1 Million In Paid Bounties

            GitLab has officially awarded more than $1 million in bug bounties to hackers on HackerOne for reporting valid vulnerabilities in the past year.

            The milestone comes hot on the heels of the GitLab security team completing one year of its public bug bounty program in December 2019. The vulnerability disclosure program (VDP) was first launched in 2014 and soon moved to a private, paid bounty program.

          • Kubernetes Bug Bounty Program Announced

            Google has joined forces with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and HackerOne to launch the bug bounty program for Kubernetes. The program has been running in a ‘beta’ mode with invite-only researchers for several months now.

            While driving awareness of Kubernetes’ security model, it aims to secure one of the most widely used open source technologies through the support of the developer and hacker communities.

            Interested in helping lock down Kubernetes? Well, the Kubernetes bug bounty program will reward researchers who find vulnerabilities in the container orchestration system, with bounties ranging from $100 to $10,000.

          • Micro Focus Introduces Industry’s First Active Directory Bridging Solution that Extends Security Policies and Access Controls to Cloud-based Linux
          • Microsoft, NSA confirm killer Windows 10 bug, but a patch is available

            The flaw, CVE-2020-0601, was found in the usermode cryptographic library, CRYPT32.DLL, that affects Windows 10 systems. (Contrary to earlier rumors, it does not affect Windows 7, which coincidentally is being shut down Tuesday as well.) Fortunately, Microsoft reported that the library was not in active use, though that doesn’t prevent an attacker from weaponizing it now that it’s been disclosed.

            Specifically, the attack could allow malware to hide behind a spoofed cyrptographic signature. Antivirus software could therefore identify malware as legitimate applications, or fake banking sites could use the vulnerability to trick a user’s PC into thinking it was legitimate.

          • Malware Marketer NSO Group Looks Like It’s Blowing Off Facebook’s Lawsuit

            In late October of last year, Facebook and WhatsApp sued Israeli surveillance tech provider NSO Group for using WhatsApp to deliver device-compromising malware. The lawsuit sought to use the CFAA to stop NSO from using WhatsApp as an attack vector.

          • Some FCC Subsidized Low Income Phones Are A Chinese Malware Shitshow

            We’ve long talked about the problems with the FCC’s Lifeline program, which was created by Reagan and expanded by Bush Junior (yet somehow earned the nickname “Obamaphone”). The $2 billion program doles out a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to choose one). But for years, the FCC has struggled to police fraud within the program, with big and small carriers alike frequently caught “accidentally” getting millions in taxpayer dollars they didn’t deserve.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (debian-lan-config and phpmyadmin), openSUSE (openssl-1_1), Oracle (firefox and kernel), Red Hat (.NET Core, git, java-11-openjdk, and thunderbird), SUSE (Mesa, python3, shibboleth-sp, slurm, and tigervnc), and Ubuntu (libpcap and nginx).

          • Linux 5.6 Crypto Getting AVX/AVX2/AVX-512 Optimized Poly1305 – Helps WireGuard

            Now that lead WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld has managed to get this secure VPN tunnel technology queued for introduction in Linux 5.6 mainline, he’s begun optimizing other areas of the kernel for optimal WireGuard performance.

            Poly1305 is used by WireGuard for the message authentication code and that’s the latest bit being optimized in mainline to not only benefit WireGuard but other crypto users as well. Donenfeld has provided x86_64 vectorized implementations of Poly1305 for AVX, AVX-2, and AVX-512F. These AVX/AVX2/AVX-512 optimized versions are proving to be clearly faster — though with AVX-512 is only enabled for Cannonlake/Icelake and newer as for Skylake the AVX-512 down-clocking is causing the performance to come up short.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Company Sells Surveillance Cameras Hidden In Tombstones, Threatens Websites For Talking About Its Tombstone Cameras

              Thanks to a FOIA request by Open the Government policy analyst Freddy Martinez, we now know someone’s trying to sell cops cameras they can hide in… gravestones?

            • The Internet Should Hide Your Data, Not Share It

              This is where default options matter. If every browser window automatically opened in incognito mode, then it wouldn’t be considered incognito browsing, but regular web browsing. But if only outlaws take the time to safeguard their privacy, then privacy becomes a de facto outlaw product.

            • Did Giuliani Goons Plot Against US Ambassador? ‘Incredibly Disturbing’ House Impeachment Docs Raise Serious New Questions

              “The new documents from Lev Parnas are chilling, and damning,” said Rep. Ted Lieu. “Is Donald Trump a thug? I don’t know. But Trump certainly used thugs to help him abuse the power of his office.”

            • Giuliani Associates May Have Surveilled U.S. Ambassador, New Evidence Shows

              Associates of U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer appeared to physically, and perhaps electronically, surveil the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine last spring as they dialed up their pressure campaign on authorities in Kyiv, according to new evidence released by House Democrats on Tuesday.

              The new revelations came on the eve of Wednesday’s House vote to hand over articles of impeachment to the Senate, and it could increase pressure on Republicans to call for further evidence and witness testimony as part of the president’s Senate trial, which is expected to get underway next week.

              The trove of documents includes notes and messages provided to lawmakers by Lev Parnas, a Republican donor and associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Parnas was indicted in October for campaign finance violations.

            • Security expert offers hacking advice to students whose campuses have implemented pervasive wireless surveillance

              In a followup Gizmodo article, Vick delves into the deficiencies with the notifications, consent and privacy policies associated with these services — which are a typical mess of overbroad grabs that are subject to change without notice, couched in deceptive language.

              Vick also puts campus location-tracking in the context of campus information security, which is historically very poor, with low-quality passwords, a lack of access auditing, and interconnection of services and networks that allow both outside attackers and insider threats (such as a professor who wants to stalk a student) to operate with wide latitude and a low likelihood of being caught. Adding location-tracking to such a system vastly increases the risks of the kinds of cyberattacks that are already endemic to campuses.

            • Toronto business and government signal full support for Sidewalk Labs’ dominance of the city and beyond

              I’ve previously written about how Sidewalk Labs is poised to gain control of a vastly larger area than Quayside alone, thanks largely to eager enabling by our municipal, provincial and federal governments and by Waterfront Toronto, which is a creation of these three levels of government.

              The company hasn’t been secretive about its goal to use Quayside as a launching pad for much bigger ambitions. But now it appears they’re confident enough – due to the successful co-opting of our governments and business communities, together with much of the mainstream media and the public – to broadcast more of the scope of their plans.

            • Cards not used for online payments to be disabled of service, says RBI

              “Existing cards that have never been used for online/international/contactless transactions shall be mandatorily disabled for this purpose,” said the central bank, in a notification on Wednesday.

              For existing cards, which have seen the online or ‘card-not-present transactions’, the banks have been directed to carry out a risk assessment and take a call on disabling them based on the risk perception.

              Card transactions are usually divided in two categories — card-present transactions and card not present transactions. In the case of the former, the customer physically interacts with payment machinery using his or her card and in case of the latter, the cardholder does not or cannot physically present the card for a merchant’s visual examination.

            • No documents will be asked or biometric taken for NPR, says Home Ministry

              Amid concerns expressed by Opposition parties and states like West Bengal on the National Population Register (NPR), the Home Ministry on Wednesday said that no documents will be asked or biometrics taken while updating the register.

              A form carrying questions as part of the NPR exercise will be finalised soon, ministry officials said. However, the information available on the website of the office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, the NPR database would contain demographic as well as biometric details.

            • Apps are sharing more of your data with ad industry than you may think

              Those laws aren’t doing squat to protect us from the digital marketing and adtech industry, according to a new report from the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC).

              What chance do laws stand against policing what the NCC describes as a shadowy network of companies, “virtually unknown to consumers,” with which popular apps are sharing exquisitely personal behavior/interest/activities/habits data, including our religious preference, menstruation cycle, location data, sexual orientation, political views, drug use, birthday, the unique IDs associated with our smartphones, and more?

              The current situation is “completely out of control, harming consumers, societies, and businesses,” the NCC writes, as evidence continues to mount against what it calls “the commercial surveillance systems” at the heart of online advertising.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Fifty Years and Still the Unrelenting Drumbeat of War

        History tells quite a different story of  Democrats who have run for president supporting war and/or war funding. Look to the failure of the antiwar candidacies of Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern as Democrats who didn’t even get remotely close to the presidency. Eugene Debs ran as an antiwar candidate on the Socialist Party of America ticket and got 3.4% (in his 1920 bid from prison) of the vote in his last run for the presidency. There’s lots of money to be made from war and more power for the empire.

      • Who Wins and Who Loses in the Iran Crisis?

        In the latest phase of the US-Iran confrontation, who came out on top is not clear-cut; both countries made gains and losses from the crisis and some of its the results are still to come.

      • Vague Imminence: US policy, Pre-emptive Force and Qasem Soleimani

        International relations is typified by its vagueness of definition and its shallowness of justification. Be it protecting citizens of a state in another, launching a pre-emptive strike to prevent what another state might do, or simply understanding the application of a treaty provision, justifications can prove uneven and at odds.

      • Missiles, Lies and Assassinations

        Since President Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Qasam Soleimani in Iraq, I’ve seen some well meaning people sharing a video entitled “My 2 cents on current events” on social media. It is by Iranian-American Saghar Erica Kasraie. In the video Kasraie states she is a “human rights activist” and proclaims that Iranians are celebrating the assassination of Soleimani. She then goes on to thank President Trump for this illegal and brazen act of war. I couldn’t help but be reminded of another “viral video” that was circulated by Venezuelan-American comedian Joanna Hausmann when the US was targeting Venezuela for a coup against Maduro last year. She also praised the American led actions against the country, albeit in a manner more appealing to her progressive audience.

      • ‘Huge’: House to Consider Lee- and Khanna-Backed Measures to Stop Trump’s March to War With Iran

        The Congressional Progressive Caucus said the two bills are “our best chance to avoid future conflict.”

      • American Murder

        Clausewitz said, “War is the continuation of politics by other means”, but  American Presidents have modified his apothegm.  No one knows when it was first judged–How to put it?  Not legal, no; not moral, no, surely not.  Conceiveable..?  Permissible..?–politically safe, for a nation to assassinate a human being, a foreign enemy.  There is no record of that meeting of our government’s most powerful men–only such a group could plan so radical an action–when one of them first dared to say, “Suppose we kill him?”

      • Support for Combat Troop Withdrawal Is Not Enough to Stop Endless Wars

        Six Democratic presidential candidates sparred on Tuesday night in Des Moines, the last debate before the crucial Iowa caucuses. The debate, hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register, focused heavily on foreign policy and rising tensions with Iran following the U.S. assassination of that country’s top military commander, Qassem Soleimani. As the presidential field continues to narrow, the U.S. Senate is preparing for the historic impeachment trial of President Trump, for which Senators Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar are all expected to leave the campaign trail to serve their role as jurors.

      • Trump’s Unprecedented Attack on Iran and the Rule of Law

        The assassination of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3 in Baghdad is what happens when the steady erosion of congressional war-making powers intersects with the tenancy of a madman in the Oval Office.

      • Citing Threat From Armed Groups, Virginia Gov. Declares Emergency and Bans Guns at State Capitol

        “This isn’t about the Second Amendment,” said activist Molly Conger, “this is about threats of terrorism.”

      • ‘A Truly Historic Moment’: 50 Years After Congress Passed ERA, Amendment Meets Constitutional Threshold With Virginia’s Approval

        The amendment is likely to be tied up in court battles following a Justice Department statement that the deadline for ratification has passed.

      • China-Backed Pakistan Bid To Raise Kashmir At UN Fails To Make Noise, Again

        Last month, France, the US, the UK and Russia foiled an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC.

        China has been critical of India’s reorganisation of J-K, and has particularly criticised New Delhi for making Ladakh a union territory. China lays claim over several parts of Ladakh.

      • China isolated on Jammu and Kashmir in informal UNSC talks

        China and Pakistan tried, for the third time, to raise the Kashmir issue at the United Nations, in part to embarrass India on the international stage and, in part, to stoke fires in Kashmir Valley, according to officials aware of the development who said the efforts were thwarted by India’s diplomatic allies who left Beijing isolated.

        China got a “stinging response” when it raised Kashmir at a closed-door informal consultation of the UN Security Council (UNSC), Syed Akbaruddin, the Indian envoy to the UN, said in a late-night tweet.

      • Canada investigates reports that Iran is harassing families trying to repatriate remains of crash victims

        Little is known at this point about how the repatriation process will play out. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, something that’s been an issue in past consular cases; a government official said it’s too early to say what impact that factor could have in this case.

      • The Kariye Museum in Istanbul – a Byzantine masterpiece under threat

        aFollowing the Ottoman conquest of the city in 1453, the Byzantine church was appropriated for Muslim worship and its frescoes and mosaics were gradually (never completely) covered by a thin layer of dye and lime. After the building was declared a national monument in 1945 under the secular Turkish republic, the Kariye Camii underwent a major conservation program, which restored the 14th-century Byzantine paintings and mosaics to their original splendour. Today the Kariye Camii Museum is a major tourist destination in Istanbul.

        The decision to return the Kariye (or Chora) Museum from its non-confessional status to a mosque is a populist one intended to appeal to the pious, nationalistic base of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party).The transformation of Byzantine churches into mosques is the ultimate manifestation of AKP’s neo-Ottomanist vision, its main legitimising cultural policy. If the court’s verdict is indeed implemented, it sets a clear precedent for the most politically charged landmark of the city: Hagia Sophia, the liturgical and political centre of Byzantine Constantinople, which was claimed as the imperial mosque by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II in 1453 and has been serving as a museum since 1934.

      • Iran arrests person for sharing video of missile striking Ukrainian airliner

        On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that it had verified security footage that showed two missiles hitting the plane. The first disabled the jet’s transponder before the second missile struck.

        The footage was captured by a camera on a building four miles away from an Iranian military site. The video was uploaded to YouTube by an Iranian user about 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to The Times.

      • Biden Says His Vote for War Wasn’t Really a Vote for War. He’s Still Lying.

        I found myself tumbling through a time warp during the opening segment of Tuesday night’s debate in Iowa. I was sitting there attentively, listening to the six candidates discuss their various stances on the Iraq War … when all of a sudden, I flashed back to October 25, 2002.

      • Joe Biden skates by again

        But Biden did back Bush on Iraq. He backed Social Security cuts. He backed a bad bankruptcy bill in 2005. And he lauded a bad budget deal with Republican Mitch McConnell as an example of sound bipartisan policymaking.

        This pattern of behavior raises, to me, a real worry about a potential Biden presidency. Not that his talk of a post-election Republican Party “epiphany” is unrealistic — every candidate in the field is offering unrealistic plans for change — but that he has a taste for signing on to bad bargains. There’s potential for a critique of Biden that isn’t just about nitpicking the past or arguing about how ambitious Democrats should be in their legislative proposals, but about whether Biden would adequately hold the line when going toe-to-toe with congressional Republicans.

      • Joe Biden Is Still Lying About His Role in Invading Iraq

        In the former vice president’s new telling of events, he and other Democratic politicians who preferred a multilateral, diplomatic solution were misled by a Bush administration hell-bent on taking America into a war he then promptly set out to oppose.

        The facts say something very different. Biden was one of the Iraq invasion’s most zealous boosters — supporting it vocally and publicly throughout 2003 and 2004 — and it was not until a debate with Dick Cheney the following year that he would finally deem his vote to authorize it a “mistake.” In July 2003, some four months into the invasion, Biden could still be heard saying: “It was the right vote then and would be a correct vote today.”

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • NPR’s sanitizing of Trump’s Milwaukee rally shows how he’s broken the media

        The disconnect between the real Trump and the whitewashed version that emerges from mainstream reporting was captured nicely by Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor in a piece she wrote last September headlined, “As a foreign reporter visiting the US I was stunned by Trump’s press conference”:

        I’ve read so many stories about his bluster and boasting and ill-founded attacks, I’ve listened to speeches and hours of analysis, and yet I was still taken back by just how disjointed and meandering the unedited president could sound.

    • Environment

      • UN warns more extreme weather ahead after hottest decade on record

        The past decade has been the hottest on record, the UN said Wednesday, warning that the higher temperatures were expected to fuel numerous extreme weather events in 2020 and beyond.

        The World Meteorological Organization, which based its findings on analysis of leading international datasets, said increases in global temperatures had already had dire consequences, pointing to “retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather”.

        WMO said its research also confirmed data released by the European Union’s climate monitor last week showing that 2019 was the second hottest year on record, after 2016.

      • ‘We are on the brink of a different world’ – Caroline Lucas MP turns to curating

        I knew I wanted to do something about the environment and nature; that’s what gets me up in the morning and that’s what my passion is. One of the lovely things about the Towner collection is that there are so many landscapes and seascapes, a lot of them quite local, so there was a real familiarity with a part of the world I understood. But beyond nature, environment and climate being the theme, my starting point was the David Nash exhibition which opened a couple of months before mine [closes 2 February]. I feel so lucky I was able to meet him, and also visit his studio and the gallery at Capel Rhiw. It was a wonderful immersion in his work and in his thinking. And I was struck by the fact that his exhibition is a retrospective – 200 seasons, 50 years looking back at his work. So my own starting point became: what do we know about the next 200 seasons, what can we be certain of, do we even have 200 seasons of safe life on this planet? That question led me to choose landscapes and seascapes, many of them local, many familiar, but now with a question mark over them. What happens to this over the next 50 years? These outlines of landscapes and seascapes that have long been taken for granted can no longer be assumed to be permanent and unchanging.

      • Drinking water: Key challenge this decade

        “Almost 22% of the groundwater in the country has either dried up or in the critical and over-exploited categories,” said Jal Shakti (Water Resources) Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The water bodies across the country continue to disappear in an alarming pace amid errant real estate growth, needless infrastructure development, citizens’ irresponsibility, corruption and administrative apathy.

        According to the Ministry of Water Resources, the water bodies, excluding the rivers and lakes, cover an area of about seven million hectares. The total length of rivers and canals runs around 1,84,000 km. Unfortunately, the majority of the water bodies are not performing to improve the living condition of people.

      • Copernicus: 2019 was the second warmest year and the last five years were the warmest on record

        The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) announces today that 2019 was the fifth in a series of exceptionally warm years and the second warmest year globally ever recorded. Meanwhile, Europe saw its warmest year on record by a small margin. Together with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), C3S also reports that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have continued to rise. Their data provide the first complete, global picture of 2019 temperatures and CO2 levels. The results are in line with previous projections from WMO and the Global Carbon Project (GCP) for 2019. The WMO estimated that 2019 was likely to be the 2nd or 3rd warmest year on record, while both WMO and the GCP indicated that atmospheric CO2 concentrations had continued to increase.

      • We Spent $17b On One Fleet, We Won’t Spend $500m On The Other. Which Do You Think Is More Urgent?

        Australia’s immediate security concerns have nothing to do with foreign powers and cold wars. Professor Anthony Burke explains the biggest security threats facing Australia right now, and how we can best confront them.

      • Geo-engineering could make poor countries richer

        There is still no certainty that geo-engineering could save the world. But, paradoxically, if it did work it might repair climate injustice.

      • Climate Groups Thank Sanders for Being Only Candidate at Debate to Stand Against Trump-Led Trade Deal

        “We can do much better than a Trump-led trade deal that does not even have the phrase ‘climate change’ in it.”

      • To Help Australia, Look to Aboriginal Fire Management

        Cultural burning is proactive, while Western-style controlled burning, also called hazard reduction burning, is reactive.

      • Shuttered Refinery in Philly Shows Climate Activists Cannot Ignore Labor

        In the early morning hours of June 21, 2019, a catastrophic explosion tore through the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) oil refinery in the southwest section of Philadelphia. The training and quick thinking of refinery workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, averted certain disaster and saved millions of lives. One month later, on July 21, PES declared bankruptcy — their second in as many years — and began to close down the refinery in the following months, laying off almost 2,000 people with no meaningful severance. According to workers who spoke with In These Times, the refinery stopped running crude oil in early August, although there are fewer than 100 workers who were kept on as caretakers for the waste water and steam generating units.

      • ‘Unquestionably Alarming Signs’: New Data Confirms Earth Just Had Hottest Decade on Record

        2019 was also the second warmest year on record, and the past five years were the five warmest on record.

      • Cory Booker’s Halt on Factory Farms Would Help the Climate

        Data from the EPA shows a steady increase in agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions, much of it linked to industrial systems of crop production and the rise of factory farms over the last two decades.

      • Energy

        • Australia on the Chasm of Climate Catastrophe

          Australia: coal and Murdoch are kings 

        • Compromised: Genie Energy and the Murdoch media’s climate denial

          Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney, former CIA director James Woolsey, former US Treasury head Larry Summers, former US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, hedge fund boss Michael Steinhardt and Jacob Rothschild have something in common. They are all on the board of oil and gas explorer, Genie Energy. Gas industry whistleblower Simone Marsh explores Rupert Murdoch’s fossil fuel interests.

          Psychological warfare, or psywar, is the use of propaganda against an enemy, supported by such military, economic or political measures as may be required. Such propaganda is generally intended to demoralise the enemy, to break his will to fight or resist, and sometimes render him favourably disposed to one’s position.

          Psychological warfare, winning the “hearts and minds” of the civil population, has been integral to the climate war.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Australia’s Bushfires Expose an Extinction Crisis Decades in the Making

          The hundreds of fires racing across Australia have captured the world’s attention and left an indelible scar on the continent, with at least 27 human lives lost, 15 million acres consumed and nearly 2,000 homes destroyed. And then, of course, there are the animals, shown dead or scarred in unforgettable photos. The exact number of wild creatures killed in the blazes won’t be known for a while, but one estimate, from University of Sydney ecologist Chris Dickman, puts it at a staggering 1 billion animals.

        • Scientists hope to revive near-extinct northern white rhino in Kenya

          The northern white rhino came closer to extinction in 2018 when the last known living male died in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The only surviving northern white rhinos now are a mother and daughter, which also live at the site, making them the world’s most endangered mammal.

          Researchers collected sperm from male rhinos before their deaths and developed three embryos using eggs collected from the two living females last year. They plan to implant the embryos in female southern white rhinos, which are more populous.

        • The Koreguaje Tribe: Threatened Guardians of the Northwest Amazon
        • Help Us Understand Logging and Timber Practices Across Oregon

          The timber industry for decades drove the economy in Oregon, a state where nearly half of the land is forest.

          Today, the industry has changed. Logging in federal forests, once a major source of lumber, is a fraction of what it was before environmental restrictions. Dozens of mills have closed. Stands of trees that once required a crew of loggers to cut can now be felled by one person in a single machine.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A Fine Republic, But Can We Keep It?  

        As Benjamin Franklyn was leaving Independence Hall on the final day of the Constitutional Convention, the story goes, a woman asked him, ‘Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”  He is said to have replied without hesitation, “A republic, if you can keep it.”*

      • Calling Bernie Sanders a ‘Champion’ for Immigrant Families, Make the Road Action Endorses Vermont Senator for President

        “Bernie Sanders is the champion our community needs and is helping to lead the movement that will help us defeat Trump in 2020.”

      • France at a Crossroads
      • City Problems: A Fairly True Barcelona Story

        We won the elections. We won by an absolute minority and there’s some merit in that. When you win you have to do a lot of incomprehensible things and no one explains them to you, among them negotiating who’ll end up being mayor at the investiture. Since you’re the winning force (sic) you’ve got to take the lead in the negotiations. They don’t tell you how, it’s not in the “Handbook for Commons Citizens Who Win the Elections”, but there’s a certain logic to it. Then you learn that there’s no such manual and, anyway, if it did exist and tried to reproduce the logic operating in The Castle, it would profane Frege’s grave. I even wondered if the logic of the negotiations is based on quantum physics. Some famous physicist with a few notions of sociology should study the phenomenon.

      • Ilhan Omar Warns Progressives Escalating Warren-Sanders Disagreement Only Fuels Trump’s Attacks on Both Candidates

        “Let’s stay focused on the task ahead: defeating Donald Trump in November and fighting for the America we deserve.”

      • Indian Students Refuse to Give an Inch to the Far Right

        With her head bandaged and her arm in a sling, university student Aishe Ghosh went before the cameras to say that the students of the university she attends in New Delhi would move “not an inch back.” The students would continue to agitate to defend Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and its union, and to fight against the divisive and toxic politics of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

      • The Wrong Question for Democrats to Be Asking About Trump
      • Sanders and Warren Show Differences on Trade and Health Care in Debate

        The final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus had moments that further highlighted the distinctions between the leading candidates on issues like free public college and health care but for the most part it covered familiar ground.

      • It Is Clear the Establishment and Corporate Media Would Prefer Trump Reelection to President Bernie Sanders

        Sanders is likely to face two strikes—one in the capitol and one from capital—if he wins the Democratic nomination and later the White House.

      • Putin nominates Federal Tax Service head Mikhail Mishustin to become Russia’s prime minister

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed Federal Tax Service (FNS) head Mikhail Mishustin to the State Duma as a candidate for the post of prime minister of the Russian government. The Kremlin’s press service reported Putin’s decision to the news agency Interfax.

      • Russia’s government resigns as Putin offers spot on Security Council to Medvedev

        Following Vladimir Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday, where the president called for major constitutional reform, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has announced that Russia’s entire ministerial cabinet, commonly referred to as “the government,” will formally resign.

      • A modest proposal Putin has suggested a bunch of Constitutional amendments. Here’s what he wants to change.
      • Putin proposes national referendum on Russian Constitutional amendments

        In a state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin proposed a national referendum on amendments to the Constitution that would shape the Russian government in the years after the president’s current term ends in 2024. Putin noted that Russia’s parliament is legally capable of changing the Constitution, but he argued that a national vote is necessary to make the amendments legitimate.

      • Russia’s government has resigned. What happens now?
      • ‘Vice President Medvedev’ Russia’s prime minister is about to become Putin’s deputy in the Security Council. What does that mean?

        Vladimir Putin has offered Acting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who resigned the prime minister’s post on January 15, a new position as the deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council. This will make Medvedev deputy to Putin himself: Russia’s primary security law dictates that the Security Council is always chaired by the president. Medvedev’s former position, meanwhile, will be occupied by Federal Tax Service head Mikhail Mishustin.

      • Putin Engineers Shakeup That Could Keep Him in Power Longer

        President Vladimir Putin engineered a surprise shakeup of Russia’s leadership Wednesday, proposing changes to the constitution that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024.

      • House Leaders March Trump Impeachment Articles to the Senate

        In a dramatic procession across the U.S. Capitol, House Democrats carried the formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate late Wednesday, setting the stage for only the third trial to remove a president in American history.

      • Sanders’ Wife on Feud With Warren: ‘This Discussion Is Over’

        Jane O’Meara Sanders, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, has a clear message about the simmering dispute between her husband and Elizabeth Warren: It’s over.

      • CNN Debate Moderators Pilloried for Blatant Anti-Sanders Bias

        Critics of the corporate media as well as supporters and staffers of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign blasted the moderators of the CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night for employing centrist talking points and demonstrating a bias against Sanders in how they framed questions.

      • ‘CNN Is Truly a Terrible Influence on This Country’: Democratic Debate Moderators Pilloried for Centrist Talking Points and Anti-Sanders Bias

        “This is an unusually vile performance by CNN,” tweeted Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi.

      • CNN, Clinton Democrats Sow Discord In Democratic Presidential Race

        Senator Bernie Sanders did everything he could to help Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton defeat President Donald Trump in 2016. In 1988, during a C-SPAN appearance, he said, “A woman could be elected President of the United States.” He even encouraged Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2015.  Yet, before, during, and after the last presidential debate before the Iowa Caucuses, CNN and Clinton Democrats sowed discord among Democratic voters by promoting a spurious story against Sanders—that he told Warren a woman could not win the election during a private meeting in December 2018.

        It is still gaining traction, especially since CNN waited until 24 hours after the debate to release audio of a “tense confrontation” between Sanders and Warren that occurred.On January 15, CNN moderator Abby Phillip asked Sanders about the network’s story. “CNN reported yesterday that — and Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren confirmed in a statement, that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why did you say that?”The question was not, what do you recall from that meeting? That would have undermined what CNN reported. Sanders responded, “Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States.”He mentioned he “deferred” to Warren in 2015, when there was a movement to draft her to run for president. He also said, “Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. How could anybody in a million years not believe that a woman could become president of the United States?”The CNN moderator pressed Sanders further:

      • The Big Loser in the Iowa Debate? CNN’s Reputation

        The biggest loser from last night’s Democratic debate (1/14/20) was CNN’s journalistic credibility.

      • CNN Asked No Questions About Immigration at First All-White Democratic Debate

        As the federal government plans to divert an additional $7.2 billion from the military budget for the construction of President Trump’s promised border wall, and tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central America, the Caribbean and other regions are stranded throughout the U.S.-Mexico border, CNN moderators failed to question Democratic presidential candidates on border and immigration issues. We speak to Julio Ricardo Varela, co-host of the Latinx political podcast “In the Thick” and founder of Latino Rebels. “Anyone who thinks that a wall is going to protect us, the statistics aren’t there. … But that is what the American people are led to believe,” Varela says. “The only way you fight against this is that you challenge that propaganda, because that is what it’s becoming. It has become propaganda. And political journalists need to do a better job in challenging what the president says.”

      • In Iowa Debate, Progressives Resist Efforts to Divide Them

        The moderators did all they could to start a fight, but Sanders and Warren refused to bite.

      • ID cards required to enter Hong Kong universities following campus protest clashes last year

        PolyU began its new semester on Monday with entry gates installed at entrances. Students and staff members must now present their identification cards to enter.

      • Facebook’s problems moderating deepfakes will only get worse in 2020

        Hwang argues that the dilution of the term deepfakes could actually have benefits in the long run. “I think the great irony of people saying that all of these consumer features are also deepfakes, is that it in some ways commoditizes what deepfake means,” says Hwang. If deepfakes become commonplace and unremarkable, then people will “get comfortable with the notion of what this technology can do,” he says. Then, hopefully, we can understand it better and focus on the underlying problems of misinformation and political propaganda.

      • Lev Parnas implicates president in first TV interview: “Trump knew exactly what was going on”

        Former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal and former Department of Justice official Joshua Geltzer wrote in a joint Washington Post op-ed that the new evidence turned over to Congress by Parnas earlier this week “demolished” Trump’s defense ahead of his looming trial.

        “These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging,” they wrote. “The documents released Tuesday now show what Trump has been so afraid of.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Facebook’s Soleimani Ban Flies in Face of First Amendment

        If sanctions can be invoked by a social media network to take down certain content, what is next?

      • Content Moderation At Scale Is Impossible: YouTube Says That Frank Capra’s US Government WWII Propaganda Violates Community Guidelines

        You’ve heard me say it over and over again now: Masnick’s Impossibility Theorem is that it is literally impossible to do content moderation at scale well. There will always be dumb mistakes. The latest example? Rogue archivist Carl Malamud had posted filmmaker Frank Capra’s classic Prelude to War on YouTube. If you’re unfamiliar with Prelude to War, it’s got quite a backstory. During World War II, the US government decided that, in order to build up public support for the war, it would fund Hollywood to create blatant American propaganda. They had Frank Capra, perhaps Hollywood’s most influential director during the 1930s, produce a bunch of films under the banner “Why We Fight.” The very first of these was “Prelude to War.”

      • US company offers free cybersecurity assistance to campaigns

        The new “Cloudflare for Campaigns” program will offer free cybersecurity services including firewall protection and and internal data management for campaigns. It will also assist staffers with access to internal systems from accidentally being exposed to malware and other viruses.

      • Wikipedia access restored in Turkey after court ruled against ban

        Access to Wikipedia was restored in Turkey on Wednesday after more than two and a half years, the Wikimedia foundation announced.

        The access comes after Turkey’s highest court ruled at the end of last year against the country’s ban on the website, calling it a violation of freedom of expression.

      • Easing of restrictions will lead to separatist activities in Kashmir, warn intelligence

        Inputs gathered by the intelligence Agency suggest that restoration of [Internet] services and easing of other curbs will lead to separatist activities in Kashmir Valley. Agencies also warned that Pakistan’s ISI is planning a strategy to exploit the situation once [Internet] services are fully operational in the Valley.

        Meanwhile, the Official Spokesperson, Mr. Rohit Kansal told reporters that Terror outfits have been using encrypted mobile communications and Voice on Internet Protocol (VoIP) to plan infiltrations into India and reactivate their cadre in Kashmir.

      • Five Years After Charlie Hebdo: The West is on its Knees

        Tuesday was the fifth anniversary of the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in which Islamic terrorists murdered twelve people in the name of Allah. In the years since the attack, the West has become even more craven, and is even less willing to engage in frank discussion about the nature of Islam or the Islamization of Europe.

      • SHAH: Criticism of Islam is not hate speech

        As a university lecturer, Hafeez drew harsh criticism from the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami political party for being “too liberal” and was later arrested after being accused of criticizing the Prophet Muhammad on social media in 2013. He was held in solitary confinement for five years awaiting his sentence. Those who represented him were also targeted. Hafeez’s first lawyer abandoned the case after multiple death threats. His second lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was gunned down in 2014.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • We Must Remedy Discrimination in Our Media System

        If we’re going to foster journalism that actually meets community needs, we must address how the foundation of the U.S. media system is built on racism and sexism.

      • Former Charlie Hebdo Columnist: We Hope to Avoid Creation of ‘French Islamic Republic’

        That day, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi killed 12 people and wounded 11 others in one of the worst attacks on the press in history. Jokes the magazine made about Islamic leaders and Prophet Muhammad, as well as its depictions of the prophet, considered a sin in Islam, are understood to have been the primary motive behind the attack.

        Speaking on a French radio network ahead of the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, Patrick Pelloux defends the beliefs the magazine still holds.

      • Where is the Reporting on PetroCaribe?

        January 12 marks ten years since Haiti’s deadly earthquake. Usually, Haiti appears in international news when there’s a scandal, a disaster, violence. There was a flurry of coverage in October when daily protests, begun with a nine-week general strike – in Haitian Creole, peyi lòk – met with government repression, including the death of three journalists. The mobilization has been ongoing since July 2018, leading to a partial report naming high-ranking government officials of mismanagement of PetroCaribe funds published at the end of May 2019.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • They Were Promised Broadband and High-Tech Jobs. They’re Still Waiting.

        A year ago, Mary Lou Muncy landed her dream job advising home health care agencies on wound care.

        The timing seemed perfect. Muncy’s contract as a nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Lexington had ended, and she wasn’t ready to retire. With an annual salary of $77,000, Muncy would have enough money to help her daughter pay for medical school.

    • Monopolies

      • Cancelling a Covenant-Not-To-Sue

        In a divided opinion, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment against the patentee Molon — holding that a 2006 covenant-not-to-sue remained in force despite a subsequent 2007 settlement agreement stating that prior covenants “concerning the subject matter hereof” are “of no further force or effect.”

        The Subject Matter of a Contract: The majority opinion penned by Judge Lourie and joined by Judge Hughes concludes “that the two agreements concern different subject matter” and and thus finds the merger and cancellation clause inapplicable. Writing in dissent, Judge Reyna came to the opposite conclusion since both the 2006 covenant and the 2007 settlement agreement focused on a license to practice the ‘915 patent.

        [...]

        One interesting additional issue not addressed here is the extent that a unilateral covenant-not-to-sue can be revoked, even by agreement. If we think of the covenant as a conveyance (of property rights), a revocation would ordinarily be insufficient to transfer rights back to the patentee. Rather, we would need an express conveyance or release. A covenant-not-to-sue could also be seen as an abandonment of rights — something like a ‘release.’ Historically courts have distinguished between a release and a covenant-not-to-sue, although that distinction appears to have lifted based as covenants now operate as a complete bar to a subsequent underlying action rather than their historical role of only creating a breach of contract action. See Skilstaf, Inc. v. CVS Caremark Corp., 669 F.3d 1005, 1017 (9th Cir. 2012).

      • Patents

        • Hospira, Inc. v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          It seems that memes can be as compelling in the law as in social media, and the meme of the moment in patent law is inherency, particularly as applied to obviousness determinations (see, for example, Persion Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Alvogen Malta Operations Ltd.; Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. v. Roxane Labs., Inc.). This tendency was most recently illustrated in the Federal Circuit’s decision in Hospira, Inc. v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC.

          [...]

          On appeal, Hospira argued that the evidence that the 2% limitation was inherent was adduced from samples made according to the patent disclosure, and thus not prior art; the weakness of this argument is that inherency almost by definition arises where the inherent property existed in the prior art but was not appreciated in the art. The opinion notes that, as here, “extrinsic evidence can be used to demonstrate what is ‘necessarily present’ in a prior art embodiment even if the extrinsic evidence is not itself prior art,” citing Monsanto Tech. LLC v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 878 F.3d 1336, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2018), and Schering Corp. v. Geneva Pharm., Inc., 339 F.3d 1373, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2003). In addition, the opinion states that “the work of the inventor or the patentee can be used as the evidence of inherency,” citing Alcon Research, Ltd. v. Apotex Inc., 687 F.3d 1362, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2012), and Telemac Cellular Corp. v. Topp Telecom, Inc., 247 F.3d 1316, 1327–28 (Fed. Cir. 2001).

          [...]

          In addition to the promulgation of the idea that inherency is available to be used to support for obviousness, this decision makes clear that the Court (or some members of the Court) is of a mind to consider claims in a restrictive, rather than permissive way. It is clear that like “mere” isolation in other contexts the discovery of novel properties, not appreciated in the prior art will be treated as inherently present in the art and thus can be used for determining obviousness. This tendency has support in earlier Federal Circuit decisions (for example, that “[i]t is well-settled that the inclusion of an inherent, but undisclosed, property of a composition does not render a claim to the composition nonobvious,” Atlas Powder Co. v. Ireco Inc., 190 F.3d 1342, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 1999)) but its extension to obviousness under the recent case law indicates that prudence suggests applicants limit statements of discoveries as the basis for their inventions and to include some evidence that claims to an invention, like this one, contain limitations that distinguish over any inherent properties (e.g., by reciting the need for treating the diluted formulation by nitrogen sparging). Doing so might (just might) provide a basis for asserting that what provokes or illustrates the inherent property was itself not inherent and thus preclude determining that the invention is obvious.

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

          Last week, the Federal Circuit affirmed invalidation of claims to methods for reducing Protein A leaching in affinity column chromatographic methods important inter alia in purifying monoclonal antibodies, in Genentech, Inc. v. Hospira, Inc. In doing so, the panel majority (over a dissent by Judge Newman) illustrated anew the importance of the deference the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (and particularly the Patent Trial and Appeal Board) is due under the Administrative Procedures Act, and how that deference can be outcome determinative under the right circumstances.

          The case arose before the PTAB in an inter partes review (IPR) of U.S. Patent No. 7,807,799, which claimed methods for purifying antibodies comprising a CH2/CH3 region using Protein A affinity chromatography. The claimed methods are directed to an improvement wherein the amount of Protein A contaminant in the antibody eluate is minimized (substantially to zero). The opinion characterized the claimed method as a “standard purification technique,” relying on high affinity, reversible binding to CH2/CH3 regions, which methods were capable of “reducing leaching of protein A . . . by reducing [the] temperature” of the “composition that is subjected to protein A affinity chromatography.” The inventors found that leaching can be minimized by performing chromatography at temperatures between 10-18°C (the specification also disclosing a broader range of 3-20°C).

          [...]

          The majority’s opinion closes with the Court’s rejection of Genentech’s challenge that inter partes review are an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment (for reasons substantially identical to the Court’s earlier opinion in Celgene Corp. v. Peter, 931 F.3d 1342, 1356–63 (Fed. Cir. 2019)), nor the Seventh Amendment nor Article III.

          Judge Newman dissented, on the basis inter alia that the invention had actually solved a real world problem and that the majority’s affirmance ignored the value the invention brought to the art. “The court presents a hindsight determination that this apparently simple solution to a difficult problem is anticipated and obvious, although it was not known or obvious to the scientists who were attempting to solve the problem of leaching contamination, and the experts for both sides agreed that the solution presented in the ’799 patent was new to them,” Judge Newman writes. She sees the complexities involved in arriving at this solution, and the failure in the art to disclose the solution rebuts, for the Judge the Board’s invalidation on anticipation and obviousness grounds. On the merits, Judge Newman discounts the overlap at 18°C as supporting anticipation, because her understanding of the law would require the temperature range disclosed in the ’389 PCT publication (18-25°C) to be the same as the claimed temperature range (10-18°C).

        • CRISPR hearing days 2-3: Board of Appeal poised to refer to the EBA?

          In brief summary, the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patent was revoked by the opposition division for lacking a valid priority claim under the well-established EPO approach to priority, based on mountains of Boards of Appeal case law. The Patentee’s argument on appeal is that the EPO approach to priority is wrong because it is not in line with the Paris Convention or a proper interpretation of Article 87 EPC. There are three threads to the Patentee’s argument: (I) Entitlement to priority should not be assessed by the EPO, (II) the EPO incorrectly interprets the phrase “any person” in Article 87 EPC and Article 4 Paris Convention, and (III) US law should govern the interpretation of “any person” in Article 87 EPC when the priority application is a US provisional.

          In a dramatic development this morning, it seems that the Board of Appeal (3.3.08) were poised to seek clarification from the EBA on each of the three strands of the patentee’s argument. The Board of Appeal indicated that the referral would be justified on the grounds that the points of law in question were of fundamental importance (Article 112 EPC). Thus, the Board of Appeal announced that it was their intention to refer questions on the issue of priority to the EBA. A break ensued to allow parties to consider their response. IP Magazine’s twitter account reported that a referral had in fact been made. These reports turned out to be false [Merpel: Fake News!].

          [...]

          The Board of Appeal has indicated that they would contemplate a referral on the ground that the issues at stake are of fundamental importance. The criteria for what constitutes an “issue of fundamental importance” was supplied by the EBA in G 1/12: “a point of law is…to be regarded as of fundamental importance if its impact extends beyond the case in hand. Such importance is established if it could be relevant to a large number of similar cases”. As Opponent 1 pointed out, the “large number” of cases to which the issue could be said to be relevant in this case, are all cases of the Patentee that claim priority from the same US provisional…

          If there were to be a referral from the Board of Appeal, this would arguably not seem to be keeping with the norms of EPO legal practice. It is hard to argue that there is not uniform application of the law of priority across the Boards. It is also difficult to see how their can be said to be an issue of fundamental importance (except to the Patentee). To refer the issue to the EBA would be extraordinary. In this Kat’s view, if the technology to which the patent relates wasn’t so valuable, and if the case wasn’t so high profile, it seems highly unlikely that a Board of Appeal would even contemplate a referral.

          Stay tuned to IPKat for Day 4 as the hearing continues.

        • US patents hit record 333,530 granted in 2019; IBM, Samsung (not the FAANGs) lead the pack

          We may have moved on from a nearly-daily cycle of news involving tech giants sparring in courts over intellectual property infringement, but patents continue to be a major cornerstone of how companies and people measure their progress and create moats around the work that they have done in hopes of building that into profitable enterprises in the future. IFI Claims, a company that tracks patent activity in the US, released its annual tally of IP work today underscoring that theme: it noted that 2019 saw a new high-watermark of 333,530 patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

          [...]

          Consider the so-called FAANG group, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google: Facebook is at number-36 (one of the fastest movers but still not top 10) with 989 patents; Apple is at number-seven with 2,490 patents; Amazon is at number-nine with 2,427 patents; Netflix doesn’t make the top 50 at all; and the Android, search and advertising behemoth Google is merely at slot 15 with 2,102 patents (and no special mention for growth).

          Indeed, the fact that one of the oldest tech companies, IBM, is also the biggest patent filer almost seems ironic in that regard.

        • US Patents Hit Record 333,530 Granted in 2019; IBM, Samsung (Not the FAANGs) Lead the Pack

          IFI Claims, a company that tracks patent activity in the US, reports that 2019 saw a new high-watermark of 333,530 patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

        • Nokia on losing track in LTE-essential patent infringement case against Daimler in Mannheim and rumored to struggle in Munich case, too

          Next Tuesday (January 21, 2020), the Mannheim Regional Court is scheduled to hold a trial in a Nokia v. Daimler case over EP2286629 on a “method and apparatus to link modulating and coding scheme to amount of resources.” With mediation having practically failed (though the mediators might invite everyone to another meeting, it wouldn’t be likely to yield a result), the assumption is still that the trial will go forward.

          Nokia is going to lose that one in all likelihood. Presiding Judge Dr. Holger Kircher notified the parties and the numerous intervenors (various Daimler suppliers) that, on a preliminary basis, his panel has concluded the patent-in-suit is not essential to the 4G/LTE standard–neither on the basis of a literal infringement theory nor the German equivalent of the Doctrine of Equivalents (DoE).

        • German ministry of justice outlines patent “reform” bill: thick but void smokescreen, designed only to cement the status quo on injunctions

          It’s a rehash of the Emperor’s New Clothes. It’s a smokescreen devoid of any substance. A Fata Morgana for those longing for relief from plaintiffs’ unfettered access to injunctive relief. And a boon for those benefiting from a huge number of mostly meritless patent infringement actions being brought in Germany for leverage. The ministry officials don’t even pretend to be concerned with economic policy, job creation and sustainment, innovation, consumer choice. They’re the guardian angels of a patent litigation system that is out of control–and now gets thje ministry officials to cheer (“Citius, Altius, Fortius” for the patent judiciary–not for the economy, not for society, just for patent judges, patent litigators, patent attorneys involved in litigation, patent trolls, and failed or failing businesses increasingly reliant upon a patent licensing revenue stream).

          To be fair, one must make a distinction here between what constitutes a political achievement for the pro-reform movement and an assessment of suitability-to-task of the measure as it stands. This is like applauding a boxer for having been allowed to challenge his rival, for not getting knocked out in the first round, and for the winner quickly hugging the loser before walking away to cash in and celebrate with his supporters.

          In that sense, it was no small feat to get the ball rolling at all. Originally, the German Federal Ministry of Justice envisioned a minor update to patent law with changes ranging from the cosmetic replacement of the term “Patent Office” with “German Patent and Trademark Office” to a more digital process at the German PTO (almost every patent-in-suit I ever saw in my industry was an EPO patent anyway…). They didn’t go to the drawing board with an intention to redress the balance between plaintiffs and defendants. Then there were some dynamics that shifted the focus to injunctive relief and the injunction gap resulting from the German bifurcation system. Arguably, the pro-reform movement “hijacked” the process. But, so far, to no avail.

          [...]

          If the German legislature adopted the proposal, it would deal a blow to the centuries-old notion of the Separation of Powers. The legislative branch of government would reduce itself to the judiciary’s secretariat. Instead of telling the judges what to do, it would merely restate what the judges have been saying all along. It’s not a conspiracy theory, especially in light of what government insiders know, to presume that the patent judges of the Federal Court of Justice had a hand in this. Whether the ministry officials merely decided to stick to existing case law or whether the Federal Court of Justice simply authored the bill (in Germany, there’s no written or unwritten rule preventing that from happening) is secondary. The result is nothing more than a smokescreen.

          The ministry officials were standing at the drawing board. Instead of sketching a superior solution, they threw their pens away and contented themselves with being mere photographers. It’s now a challenge–but also an opportunity–for the reform movement to appeal to the German Federal Parliament’s institutional self-conception of a legislative institution that looks ahead, not back.

          German government wants to change patent law

          Yesterday the Federal Ministry of Justice in Germany published the first draft of a new patent law. It provides for tighter deadlines for nullity proceedings before the Federal Patent Court. It also covers greater discretion for patent judges when granting automatic injunctions. The German automotive and telecommunications industries, which had previously called on the government to update the law, welcome the changes.

          [...]

          Now the German government wants to make it mandatory for the Federal Patent Court to send a qualified opinion on the validity of a patent to the infringement court after six months. The qualified opinion was imposed on the Federal Patent Court when the patent law was last amended in 2009, albeit with no time limit. The new six-month deadline shortens the time between the filing of a nullity suit and the qualified opinion.

          The opinion indicates to the infringement court if a patent has been rightly granted. Therefore the judges can decide whether to suspend infringement proceedings until the Federal Patent Court has ruled on the patent’s validity.

          However patent experts claim that, all too often, this qualified opinion is either not provided at all or comes too late for the infringement case. This leads to the so-called and oft-criticised injunction gap.

          Furthermore, patent experts have repeatedly called on the government to employ more staff at the Federal Patent Court in Munich. A change in the allocation of work in favour of the nullity senates could also help. Although the government can provide the patent court with more funds, it has no influence on the allocation of work.

        • Software Patents

          • Barcelona Courts approve Trade Secrets Protocol that may indirectly impact patent cases

            Barcelona Commercial Courts have a well-deserved reputation for being dynamic and creative. Not surprisingly, it was Judge Ferrándiz, already retired from the Supreme Court, who back in 1993, when he was sitting at Section 15 of the Court of Appeal of Barcelona, had the idea of specializing that Section on a small number of commercial matters, including intellectual property matters. This was the seed of the specialization introduced across the country on 1 September 2004, the date when Commercial Courts, which have exclusive jurisdiction for patent matters, came into force. These little changes resulted in a modernization of the patent enforcement system that was further enhanced by the coming into force of the new Patents Act on 1 April 2017. Since then, the standards of patent litigation in Spain are approaching the benchmark set by the most experienced European patent courts.

            Among the practical measures introduced by the Commercial Judges in Barcelona during the last few years, the Mobile World Congress Protocol, discussed in other blogs, stands out. Over Christmas, a few months after the coming into force of the 2019 Trade Secrets Act, they circulated a new Protocol that deals with trade secrets.

      • Trademarks

        • Carve It All Up: Compumark Report Shows Trademark Registrations, Claims Of Infringement Both Rising Fast

          As we’ve talked about for some time, one of the long-tail effects of the increased use of intellectual property in American culture has been the supercharging effect it’s had on fomenting a permission culture in general. This effect is compounding, as permission culture breeds IP protectionism, which breeds permission culture. The overall effect this has is to cause far too many people to believe that everything that exists can be owned and controlled.

      • Copyrights

        • Conservancy Joins Mozilla’s Amicus Brief in Google v. Oracle

          We are pleased to announce our participation in an amicus brief filed by Mozilla with the United States Supreme Court. The amicus brief calls on the court to reverse the Federal Circuit’s earlier decision. The earlier decision came down in Oracle’s favor and held Oracle’s Java API copyrightable. We Amici (Latin for “friends of the court”) are asking the Supreme Court to find in favor of Google and take the stand that copyright law should not be expanded to include API’s. Developers rely on the ability to use API’s without fear of retaliation to provide users with interoperability, additional choices, and modifiable software. Forcing payment agreements in this new area disproportionately harms smaller projects and projects in the public interest.

          In addition to Conservancy, Mozilla was joined by other charities including Creative Commons, Open Source Initiative, and Wikimedia Foundation, as well as a number of small to medium tech companies that rely on FOSS and the freedom to innovate.

        • Google v. Oracle: Amici Weigh in on Why the Supreme Court Should Reverse the Federal Circuit’s Rulings

          In the past week 28 amicus curiae briefs were filed in the Google v. Oracle case, including one written by me and Catherine Crump (of which more below). All but two support reversal of one or both of the Federal Circuit’s copyrightability and fair use rulings.[1]

          Especially significant are IBM’s brief with Red Hat arguing against the copyrightability of computer interfaces and Microsoft’s brief criticizing the Federal Circuit’s unduly rigid fair use analysis and indifference to the need for flexible rules that promote interoperability in today’s highly connected world. The briefs are substantively excellent, and significant because these firms are such prominent developers of software.

          For those interested in the case who are not computing professionals, I recommend the amicus briefs submitted by 83 computer scientists and by the Developers Alliance which explain the Java API technology and why reuse of Java declarations and interfaces generally is so important to enabling compatibility. Several other briefs, including one for the Center for Democracy and Technology et al., and another for R Street and Public Knowledge, offer numerous examples of compatible software systems that benefit consumers as well as software developers

          By my count, more than half of the 28 amicus briefs focus only on the copyrightability issue and another 9 address both the copyrightability and fair use issues. Only 4—the Microsoft, Tushnet, Snow, and Rauschenberg Foundation briefs–address only fair use. This was a something of a surprise given that the fair use decision seems quite vulnerable to challenge. After all, a jury rendered a verdict in favor of Google’s fair use defense, and appellate courts are supposed to defer to jury verdicts. Several amicus briefs take the Federal Circuit to task for substituting its judgment on the merits for the jury’s as to issues about which there was conflicting evidence in the record. Also much criticized are the Federal Circuit’s analysis of the four fair use factors and the manner in which it weighed the factors together.

          One very pragmatic reason why some amici would prefer that the Court rule on the copyrightability issue over the fair use issue is that fair use is a fact-intensive, complex, and much debated limitation on copyright. Google may be able to litigate software interface copyright cases for a decade or more, as it has done in this case, but startups and other small and medium-size companies as well as open source developers would prefer the certainty of a no-copyright-in-interfaces rule, as several amicus briefs pointed out. If the Court rules that interfaces are not protectable by copyright law, litigation over reuses of interfaces is much less likely. And if some developer does bring suit, chances are good that the case can be won on a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment

        • Jetflicks Piracy Trial Delayed After Canada Hands Over Masses of Discovery Data

          The trial of six defendants who allegedly operated the ‘pirate’ streaming service Jetflicks will now take place in July 2020. The delay is in response to Canadian authorities handing over masses of discovery data, including subscriber information and support tickets of the defunct service. The original request for information was made around 22 months ago.

        • Operator of Popcorn Time Info Site is Liable for Piracy, Supreme Court Rules

          The Danish Supreme Court has upheld a conditional prison sentence against the operator of a website that provided information on the piracy app Popcorn Time. The site itself didn’t host the infringing software, but the detailed instructions it provided were enough to warrant criminal liability for copyright infringements of the site’s users.

        • Paris Museums Just Released 321,178 Works of Art Online for Free

          Paris is home to hundreds of thousands of works of art. I’s various museums hold paintings from Francisco Goya, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and countless others. Paris Musées, a public institution incorporating the city’s 14 museums, has just made it easier to see those masterworks. Paris Musées has uploaded 321,178 works of art—including paintings, photographs, and coins—to its website. More than 150,000 of those images are in the public domain and users can download them in glorious 300 DPI high definition. The other artworks can be viewed, but aren’t available in high definition.

        • Thoughts on “Non-Amicable” Enforcement of CC Licenses

          Broken Hill Wall Mural-07= by Sheba_Also 43,000 photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

        • iHeartRadio Replaces Hundreds of Workers With ‘Technology and AI’

          Yesterday, we first reported on iHeartMedia’s mass layoff of employees nationwide.  Now, the company has explained why those people were let go.

        • Rights Groups to European Commission: Prioritize Users’ Rights, Get Public Input For Article 17 Application Guidelines

          The implementation of Art 17 (formerly Article 13) into national laws will have a profound effect on what users can say and share online. The controversial rule, part of the EU’s copyright directive approved last year, turns tech companies and online services operators into copyright police. Platforms are liable for any uploaded content on their sites that infringes someone’s copyright, absent authorization from rightsholders. To escape liability, online service operators have to make best efforts to ensure that infringing content is not available on their platforms, which in practice is likely to require scanning and filtering of billions of daily social media posts and content uploads containing copyrighted material.The content moderation practices of Internet platforms are already faulty and opaque. Layering copyright enforcement onto this already broken system will censor even more speech. It’s paramount that preserving and protecting users’ rights are baked into guidelines the EC is developing for how member states should implement the controversial rule. The guidelines are non-binding but politically influential.The commission has held four meetings with stakeholders in recent months to gather information about copyright licensing and content moderation practices. Two more meetings are scheduled for this spring, after which the EC is expected to begin drafting guidelines for the application of Article 17, which must be implemented in national laws by June 7, 2021.The fifth meeting was held today in Brussels. The good news is EFF and other digital rights organizations have a seat at the table, alongside rightsholders from the music and film industries and representatives of big tech companies like Google and Facebook. The bad news is that the commission’s proposed guidelines probably won’t keep users’ rights to free speech and freedom of expression from being trampled as internet service providers, fearful of liability, race to over-block content.That’s why EFF and more than 40 user advocate and digital rights groups sent an open letter to the EC asking the commissioners to ensure that implementation guidelines focus on user rights, specifically free speech, and limit the use of automated filtering, which is notoriously inaccurate. The guidelines must ensure that protecting legitimate, fair uses of copyrighted material for research, criticism, review, or parody takes precedence over content blocking measures Internet service providers employ to comply with Article 17, the letter says. What’s more, the guidelines must make clear that automated filtering technologies can only be used if content-sharing providers can show that users aren’t being negatively affected.Further, we asked the commission to share the draft guidelines with rights organizations and the public, and allow both to comment on and suggest improvements to ensure that they comply with European Union civil and human rights requirements. As we told the EC in the letter, “This request is based on the requirement of transparency, which is a core principle of the rule of law.” EFF and its partners want to “ensure that the guidelines are in line with the right to freedom of expression and information and also data protection guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”The EC is scheduled to hold the next stakeholder meeting in February in preparation for drafting guidelines. We will keep the pressure on to protect users from censorship and content blocking brought on by this incredibly dangerous directive.

Microsoft is a Market Leader in Lying and Corruption

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Microsoft Continues to Get Away With Serious Crimes Very Cheaply

Music Night Club
Keep spinning, Microsoft…

Summary: Microsoft is working hard to describe itself as the exact opposite of what it is and what it has been; ‘Internet rot’ helps a lot with this agenda, not to mention control of the media (the narrative)

TO distrust Microsoft is not to “hate”; not any more than a cop chasing a thief does so out of “hatred”…

Microsoft did more than plenty to lose trust; it also lost antitrust cases. Microsoft is a convicted abuser. It continues to exist, sure, because political ties help a lot..

“Microsoft did more than plenty to lose trust; it also lost antitrust cases. Microsoft is a convicted abuser.”Several new readers of ours (we’re definitely growing so far this year) have asked for more indexes that help document particular patterns of abuse; thankfully, several folks have also offered help with it. Over time the site will improve and we’ve been made aware of large-scale legal actions that fish evidence out of Techrights. Some of these actions are against Microsoft (e.g. for sexism), but some pertain to patents — our ‘bread and butter’ in recent years.

It’s really regretful that many articles about Microsoft’s past crimes are vanishing from the Web. ‘Internet rot’ will make many not-so-flattering articles and quotes rot away, allowing PR ‘puff pieces’ to fill the gap with revisionism and marketing. That’s a huge problem and this is why we must take stock of old articles too (because their domains expire, along with copies). Only this way material and quotes can be verified. Obfuscation facilitates denials and societal/historical amnesia.

The other day we quoted Bill Gates and someone told us he was unable to locate the source of that quote. Eventually it was found on a quotes sites. “Then AZQuotes would be the source,” he said, but actually that site merely makes a copy of the original (with context, source and even date missing). “A very long time ago,” I responded, “about a decade [back] I got the quote copied into my notes from somewhere I saw as reliable.”

“That’s a huge problem and this is why we must take stock of old articles too (because their domains expire, along with copies).”Sometimes it seems like the death of many news sites will benefit most those whose past is full of evil deeds. They can craft a fictional history for themselves, hoping nobody will dig any deeper.

“Yes,” the person above noted, “that rot has been happening for a while. It even applies to articles promoting open standards. I supposed unlike with print, there is no authoritative copy archived anywhere on the planet. That’s one reason I donated to the Internet Archive this year, another was the FSF’s mistreatment of RMS and ongoing refusal to fix things up on any level so far.”

“The Internet may forget, but the Internet Archive never forgets (as long as it’s sufficiently funded).”We’ve often used the Internet Archive to highlight Microsoft’s older crimes. We’ll soon use the Internet Archive to show some really embarrassing things about Gates and his family. The Internet may forget, but the Internet Archive never forgets (as long as it’s sufficiently funded).

The person continued: “But back to the general rot, this quote has disappeared from Spaf’s home page in recent years: “Securing an environment of Windows platforms from abuse – external or internal – is akin to trying to install sprinklers in a fireworks factory where smoking on the job is permitted.” (by Prof. Eugene H “Spaf” Spafford, father of the field of Internet Security)

“Speaking of revisionism, Microsoft is once again trying to rebrand itself as anti-patent trolls. Yes, Microsoft…”“Governments could legally end Microsoft in an instant, with or without force, if the politicians were not so thoroughly bribed by Bill, Bill’s dad, and their friends.”

“Yes,” I responded, but “this is applicable to many kinds of companies. In more than one country.”

Speaking of revisionism, Microsoft is once again trying to rebrand itself as anti-patent trolls. Yes, Microsoft…

There’s this new article (behind paywall) with the title “Apple, Microsoft and BMW urge EU to stop patent trolls” and it’s mentioned in some tweets this week.

How can Microsoft — and Apple too to a lesser degree — pretend that it opposes trolling? Together with IBM and OIN it recently said the same thing, never mind if Microsoft is one of the world’s biggest trolls and it’s arming many as well. Microsoft has outsourced the trolling to a subsidiary and to proxies, so is Microsoft asking the EU to stop itself? Nope. Those liars just hope to magically change the written record.

“How can Microsoft — and Apple too to a lesser degree — pretend that it opposes trolling?”Take note of this tweet/reply: “When we sold our patent about 10 years ago – only co we could find to by it was a Patent Troll 1/3 owned by Microsoft execs…” (by DataInforms (@DataInforms) January 16, 2020)

Intellectual Vultures we assume (see the reply from the former Microsoft employee, Rick Falkvinge, and see our wiki on “Intellectual Vultures”).

What DataInforms said on Twitter was seen alongside similar replies, such as: “They dont give a shit about innovation. The only reason why they changed their minds is, because they ran into some patent-walls for stuff that THEY want to profit / patent. If they could, they would gladly file those patents. Big companies dont have morals.”

“So now Microsoft claims to be champion of the fight against patent trolls.”There’s also this : “What i know have Apple on one hand been fighting patent trolls since the 80:ties. On the other hand they are acting like trolls to gain marketing and legal advantages. I guess that goes for all the big ones.”

So now Microsoft claims to be champion of the fight against patent trolls. What a bunch of liars and crooks. They sued Foxconn over Linux less than a year ago.

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