Links 21/1/2020: Wine 5.0 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • What Must be Considered Before Choosing a Container Platform?

        An increasing number of IT groups are incorporating development tools, such as containers, in order to create cloud-native apps that operate in a constant manner across public, private, and hybrid clouds.

        However, the trickiest part is to find the best container platforms for the organization. It is hard to make the correct decisions regarding container orchestration for managing lifecycles of the containers in order to function at scale and accelerate innovation.

        Containers can be Linux

        It is vital for every application to run on Linux since the containers are always running on a Linux host.

        Containers that are used for managing their lifecycles, work best with Linux. However, these days, Kubernetes is the popular container orchestration platform that was built on Linux concepts and make use of Linux tooling and application programming interfaces (APIs) for managing the containers.

        The companies are advised to opt for a Linux distribution that they know and trust before taking any decision on the OS for their container platform. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), an OS platform, suits well for operating company’s containers as it provides stability and security features simultaneously, allowing developers to be agile.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Enters Beta with Enhanced User Experience, More

          Packed with six months’ worth of updates and bug fixes, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 promises to enhance the user experience by implementing a new way for both new and existing users to register a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, directly from the installer. As such, users won’t have to perform a YUM update after installation to confirm the subscription.

          “Additionally, Red Hat Insights, Red Hat’s proactive management analytics service that helps to keep RHEL systems running at a high level, can be enabled during the installation process. This capability delivers Insights monitoring immediately after the installation is finished,” said Red Hat.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Beta now available

          Today, we’re pleased to announce that the latest beta version of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.2, is now available. Maintaining our commitment to a predictable, six-month release cadence for minor platform releases, RHEL 8.2 Beta is designed to make it easier for IT organizations to adopt new, production-ready innovations faster. This same cadence and engineering process is also intended to help our hardware partners more quickly deliver supported hardware configurations, furthering customer choice for their datacenter estates.

          Beyond the continued benefits of the regular release cadence, RHEL 8.2 drives enhancements to the user experience for both new and existing customers, extends monitoring and performance capabilities and adds new supported developer languages and tools.

        • RHEL gold images in Azure and user experience improvements for Red Hat Cloud Access

          Red Hat’s Cloud Access program is one of the ways that Red Hat helps its customers use their Red Hat subscriptions in the public cloud. In the last few weeks we’ve introduced significant enhancements and new features we don’t want you to miss, including self-service access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) gold images directly in Microsoft Azure, and a number of customer experience improvements.

        • First steps with the data virtualization Operator for Red Hat OpenShift

          The Red Hat Integration Q4 release adds many new features and capabilities with an increasing focus around cloud-native data integration. The features I’m most excited about are the introduction of the schema registry, the advancement of change data capture capabilities based on Debezium to technical preview, and data virtualization (technical preview) capabilities.

          Data integration is a topic that has not received much attention from the cloud-native community so far, and we will cover it in more detail in future posts. Here, we jump straight into demonstrating the latest release of data virtualization (DV) capabilities on Red Hat OpenShift 4. This is a step-by-step visual tutorial describing how to create a simple virtual database using Red Hat Integration’s data virtualization Operator.

        • Never enough: Working openly with anxiety

          I’ve spent most of my career in an organization built on openness and transparency, and yet I have rarely spoken about my mental health and how it might impact my work. In sharing these stories now, I hope to help reduce the stigma of mental health at work and connect with others who may be experiencing similar or related situations. Given the prevalence of mental illness globally, chances are good that if you don’t experience a mental health condition first hand, then you’re likely working on a daily basis with someone who does.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Software Freedom Podcast #4 about REUSE with Carmen Bianca Bakker

        In the monthly Software Freedom Podcast we talk with people who have inspiring ideas about software freedom. In this episode, we talk with Carmen Bianca Bakker about the REUSE project. By this we are covering the very broad topic of software licensing and the problems there, which REUSE is able to solve with three simple steps.
        OPUS FeedMP3 Feed

      • Brunch with Brent: Jim Salter | Jupiter Extras 48

        Brent sits down with Jim Salter, co-host of Jupiter Broadcasting’s TechSNAP and technology reporter at Ars Technica. We explore his relationship with computers via the US Navy, when code has it’s place in either proprietary or open source licensing, the value in being a social gadfly, and Jim’s motivations behind his writing and who he is hoping to reach and inspire.

      • Test and Code: 98: pytest-testmon – selects tests affected by changed files and methods

        pytest-testmon is a pytest plugin which selects and executes only tests you need to run. It does this by collecting dependencies between tests and all executed code (internally using Coverage.py) and comparing the dependencies against changes. testmon updates its database on each test execution, so it works independently of version control.

        In this episode, I talk with testmon creator Tibor Arpas about testmon, about it’s use and how it works.

    • Kernel Space

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Linux Gaming Performance

        As announced back at CES, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is being launched as the newest Navi graphics card to fill the void between the original RX 5700 series and the budget RX 5500 XT. The Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards are beginning to ship today at $279+ USD price point and offers great Linux support but with one last minute — and hopefully very temporary — caveat.

        The Radeon RX 5600 XT features 36 compute units, 2304 stream processors, up to 7.19 TFLOPs, a 1375MHz game clock, 6GB of GDDR6 video memory, and a total board power of around 150 Watts. The Radeon RX 5600 XT like the rest of the RDNA/Navi line-up is a 7nm part, supports PCI Express 4.0, and other common RDNA features.

    • Applications

      • Need a distraction-free art application on Linux? Try out MyPaint

        If you have a Wacom-style graphic tablet and you need a simple and distraction-free painting program, MyPaint seems like it could be a really good fit.

        The developer, Martin Renold, says it’s a “fast and dead-simple painting app for artists” and I can certainly appreciate the ease of use to it. Very handy for doing any kind of art really. Perhaps if you’re in the mood for some sketching, mockups or you’re designing art for a game it’s pretty sweet.

        A big new version is currently in testing, with a Beta that was released back in December. This brings with it great AppImage support to run it (hopefully) out of the box on any modern Linux distribution, along with tons of new features for artists like Spectral Paint/Pigment layer and brush mode, Linear blending for non-pigment layers and brush modes, Smudge enhancements, Fullscreen improvements, “fake inputs” for pressure and barrel rotation (allowing on-the-fly expressive adjustments to your brush even while using a mouse) and loads more.

      • bandwhich Shows What’s Taking Up Your Network Bandwidth On Linux And macOS

        This tool’s main purpose is to shows what is taking up your bandwidth. It was originally called “what”, but its name was changed to bandwhich about 3 weeks ago.

        bandwhich is able to show the current network utilization by process, connection and remote IP/hostname by sniffing a given network interface and recording the IP packet size, cross-referencing it with the /proc filesystem on Linux and lsof on macOS. Also, the tool attempts to resolve the IP addresses to their host names in the background, using reverse DNS “on a best effort basis”; this can be disabled using the -n / –no-resolve option.

        By default, bandwhich runs in interactive mode and it has 3 panes that show: network utilization by process name, utilization by connection, and utilization by remote address. Because bandwhich has a responsive terminal user interface, the terminal window in which you run bandwhich must be large enough for these 3 panes to be displayed – depending on the window width and/or height, only one or two of these panes may be shown.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.0 Released

        The Wine team is proud to announce that the stable release Wine 5.0 is now available.

        This release represents a year of development effort and over 7,400 individual changes. It contains a large number of improvements that are listed in the release notes below. The main highlights are:

        – Builtin modules in PE format.
        – Multi-monitor support.
        – XAudio2 reimplementation.
        – Vulkan 1.1 support.

        This release is dedicated to the memory of Józef Kucia, who passed away in August 2019 at the young age of 30. Józef was a major contributor to Wine’s Direct3D implementation, and the lead developer of the vkd3d project. His skills and his kindness are sorely missed by all of us.

      • Wine release 5.0
        What's new in Wine 5.0
        *** PE modules
        - Most modules are built in PE format (Portable Executable, the
          Windows binary format) instead of ELF when the MinGW compiler is
          available. This helps various copy protection schemes that check
          that the on-disk and in-memory contents of system modules are
        - The actual PE binaries are copied into the Wine prefix instead of
          the fake DLL files. This makes the prefix look more like a real
          Windows installation, at the cost of some extra disk space.
        - Modules that have been converted to PE can use standard wide-char C
          functions, as well as wide-char character constants like L"abc".
          This makes the code easier to read.
        - Not all modules have been converted to PE yet; this is an ongoing
          process that will continue during the Wine 5.x development series.
        - The Wine C runtime is updated to support linking to MinGW-compiled
          binaries; it is used by default instead of the MinGW runtime when
          building DLLs.
        *** Graphics
        - Multiple display adapters and monitors are properly supported,
          including dynamic configuration changes.
        - The Vulkan driver supports up to version 1.1.126 of the Vulkan spec.
        - The WindowsCodecs library is able to convert more bitmap formats,
          including palette-indexed formats.
        *** Direct3D
        - Fullscreen Direct3D applications inhibit the screensaver.
        - DXGI swapchain presents inform the application when the
          corresponding window is minimized. This typically allows
          applications to reduce CPU usage while minimized, and is in some
          cases required to allow the application window to be restored again.
        - Switching between fullscreen and windowed modes using the standard
          Alt+Enter combination is implemented for DXGI applications.
        - The following features are implemented for Direct3D 12 applications:
          - Switching between fullscreen and windowed.
          - Changing display modes.
          - Scaled presents.
          - Swap intervals.
          These features were previously already implemented for earlier
          versions of the Direct3D API.
        - The handling of various edge cases is improved. Among others:
          - Out of range reference values for the alpha and stencil tests.
          - Sampling 2D resources with 3D samplers and vice versa.
          - Drawing with mapped textures and buffers.
          - Usage of invalid DirectDraw clipper objects.
          - Creating Direct3D devices on invalid Windows, like the desktop
          - Viewports with a minimum Z larger than or equal to the maximum Z.
          - Resources bound through both shader-resource views and
            render-target or depth-stencil views at the same time.
          - Blits between formats with and without alpha components.
          Since well-behaved applications don't rely on these edge cases, they
          typically only affect one or two applications each. There are
          nevertheless quite a number of them.
        - Dirty texture regions are tracked more accurately for Direct3D 8 and 9
          texture uploads.
        - Uploads of S3TC-compressed 3D textures require less address space.
          Since 3D textures can be potentially large, and address space
          exhaustion is a concern for 32-bit applications, S3TC-compressed 3D
          textures are uploaded per-slice, instead of in a single upload.
        - The ID3D11Multithread interface is implemented.
        - Various lighting calculation fixes and improvements for older
          DirectDraw applications have been made.
        - Limited support for blits across swapchains is implemented.
        - More shader reflection APIs are implemented.
        - The wined3d CPU blitter can handle compressed source resources.
          Support for compressed destination resources was already implemented
          in a previous release.
      • Wine 5.0 Released With Big Improvements For Gaming, Countless Application Fixes

        Wine 5.0 has been released as stable as the annual timed release of this software for running Windows games and applications on Linux, macOS, and other platforms.

        Wine 5.0 is another big step forward in allowing modern Windows applications to run well particularly on Linux and macOS. Thanks to CodeWeavers and funding by Valve for their work on the Wine-based Proton downstream, there are many game fixes that have been incorporated over the past year especially. So Windows games are in better shape plus there is Vulkan 1.1 support, FAudio integration, and countless other improvements.

      • The bottle for Wine 5.0 has officially been popped open as it’s out now

        The day has arrived, the official stable release of Wine 5.0 has arrived bringing thousands of improvements and a bunch of new features.


        Wine 5.0 as a release is also being dedicated to the memory of Józef Kucia, a major contributor to Wine’s Direct3D implementation and he lead developer of the vkd3d project who sadly passed away in August 2019.

    • Games

      • New stable Steam Client up, fixing Steam Survey and NFS mounts on Linux, plus other Steam news

        The first stable update for the Steam Client of 2020, pulling in all the recent changes from the Beta versions.

        For Linux users, it’s a good one. It fixes the Steam Library not working on some NFS mounts, fixes a crash while prepare the Hardware Survey and some tweaks to the Steam Runtime system info gathering to only run when needed.

      • If you enjoy Slay the Spire you should try the opt-in Beta for a better experience

        Now that the huge update to Slay the Spire is live adding in The Watcher as the fourth character, Mega Crit Games have also updated their opt-in game engine upgrade Beta.

        For a while now, they’ve had a “libgdx199″ Beta available on Steam to improve the foundation the game is built upon. However, that’s only compatible with save files from the previous major build. A new opt-in Beta “libgdx199.main” has been put up, which is compatible with the current version of the game.

      • Feeling extra competitive? The creative platformer DASH now has online multiplayer

        DASH (Danger Action Speed Heroes), a platformer that’s built for people who love creating and competing across user-made levels just recently expanded with a big new online multiplayer mode.

        It’s one thing to create levels, play those made by others and see the Ghost of players from their times. It’s a whole different experience to run, jump and fail with others right there with you. That’s exactly what the new update to DASH will offer. This Competitive Run game mode might be the first of multiple, with it being a big all-for-one mode too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 Includes a System Report Tool — But It’s Strictly Opt-In

          So, to help fill in the knowledge gap, KDE is including a new feedback tool in the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.18 release, due in February.

          Now, before anyone gets antsy about it, let me stress that this new data collection feature is strictly opt-in (just like Ubuntu’s system reporting). It’s also up to distribution maintainers to decide whether to package the relevant module as part of the Plasma desktop.

        • Krita Weekly #9

          With everyone getting back into work, we have managed to control the number of bugs. There are 2 fewer bugs than what I reported last time. I know it is still not a lot, but with Dmitry not available for most of the time and team having to divide its time between the resource rewrite & bug fixing, it is pretty good that the number is decreasing.

        • Reference lines and image elements

          We continue working on the plotting capabilities of LabPlot. In the next release we will be adding two new worksheet objects to provide more flexibility and features to create attractive looking visualizations. In this short blog post we want to report on this recent development.

        • Skipping functions from entire directories while debugging (e.g. skip all functions from system headers)

          So, today I got finally so tired of navigating (or explicitly stepping over) all the internal functions in gdb (you know, all the inline functions from STL containers, from Boost, from this pointer wrapper class, that string class) that I finally googled ‘gdb skip system functions’. And guess what, it’s been there since gdb 7.12, from 3 years ago, and it’s almost trivial, just adding something like this to ~/.gdbinit:

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • It’s Not Your Eyes: Why HQ Desktop Backgrounds Look Blurry on Ubuntu

          Well, stop blaming your eyes because it’s turns out that this is a rendering bug — and I’m (personally) pleased to carry word that a fix for the pixel smudging flaw is on the way!

          Regular omg! readers won’t be surprised to hear that the patch in question comes courtesy of prolific Ubuntu developer Daniel Van Vugt (he’s contributed major performance improvements to GNOME Shell and Mutter in the past).

        • GNOME Work Is Underway For Sharper Background Images

          Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt continues working on a variety of interesting performance optimizations for upstream GNOME as well as other usability enhancements for this desktop environment. One of the latest items being tackled is improving the quality of background images on GNOME.

          Long story short, for where the background/wallpaper image is larger than the desktop resolution, OpenGL is used for downscaling the image. But the existing means of downscaling could lead to blurry images or just not as sharp as possible images. But now with patches pending, the mipmap level is being limited to still downscale with OpenGL but to have the maximum sharpness possible for the display.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora’s Scientific & Audio/Music Spins Could Be On Their Last Leg

          Fedora 32 could be two spins lighter with two little known variants of Fedora Linux set to be removed unless maintainers step up.

          Fedora Jam, a spin of Fedora catered to audio/music enthusiasts, is set to be eliminated with Fedora 32 if their existing or new maintainers don’t step up to work on it. Likewise, Fedora Scientific, a spin catered to shipping scientific software out-of-the-box, is also on the chopping block unless there is maintenance happening.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.04 Ditches A Feature That’s Been Annoying You For Years

          You install Ubuntu and there it is: the familiar app dock with Firefox, Thunderbird, Files, the Software Center and the seemingly permanent, much-derided shortcut to Amazon.com. It’s been a fixture on the dock since 2012, but it’s about to make an exit. Yep, when Canonical’s upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Long-Term Support) release lands this April, that Amazon icon will be no more.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Is Finally Dropping The Amazon Web App

          Does the Amazon web app also give you a hard time on Ubuntu?

          If yes, then it’s time to cheer for you as the much-awaited Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” has finally removed the pre-installed amazon web launcher from the dock. Now you won’t have to worry about the affiliated search results from the Amazon in the dash.

        • Canonical debuts Anbox Cloud for highly scalable Android apps

          Canonical Ltd. has come up with a way to distribute compute-intensive applications from the cloud so they can run seamlessly on low-powered Android devices.

          The solution, announced early today, is a platform called Anbox Cloud. It uses Android as a guest operating system to containerize workloads so they can easily be distributed from the cloud, where they run, to any kind of mobile device.

          “The ability to offload compute, storage and energy-intensive applications from devices to the cloud enables end-users to consume advanced workloads by streaming them directly to their device,” Canonical noted in its pitch. “Developers can deliver an on-demand application experience through a platform that provides more control over performance and infrastructure costs, with the flexibility to scale based on user demand.”

        • Anbox Cloud disrupts mobile user experience

          With the launch of the iPhone in 2007, mobile users were introduced to the smartphone as we still know it today: touchscreen, cameras and app stores. The launch of Android spurred low-cost alternatives to the iPhone, bringing the smartphone to the masses. Popularisation and growth in app consumption drove demand for mobile broadband.

          Smartphones, app stores and mobile broadband are the foundations of mobile UX today. However, we’ve been using mobile devices the same way for over a decade now. But, with Anbox Cloud delivered by telcos, this is about to change.

        • Canonical’s New Cloud Tech Can Stream Android Apps and Games to Phones, Desktops, Etc

          We’re also fast becoming comfortable with the notion of game streaming too, thanks to Google Stadia.

          But app streaming?

          Well, that’s the use case that Canonical’s new Anbox Cloud service is taking aim at.

          Why? Who’s it for? How does it work? And where will it be supported?

          For all those details and more, keep reading.

        • Canonical Gets Into Cloud Gaming & More With Anbox Cloud For Cloud-Based Android Apps/Gaming

          Canonical this morning has announced Anbox Cloud for containerized workloads using Google’s Android as the guest operating system.

          Canonical is advertising Anbox Cloud for enterprises wanting to distribute Android-based applications from the cloud. Interestingly, Canonical is also using Anbox Cloud to talk up “cloud gaming” with Android games but equally so also talking up possibilities for enterprise workloads, software testing, and mobile device virtualization.

        • problem-oriented

          Don’t get me wrong; the MAAS doc is pretty solid. I just want to do more with it. As in not just update it for new versions, but make it come alive and show off what MAAS can do. I also want to pick up some of the mid-range applications and situations. MAAS is well-envisioned in large datacentres, and there are obviously hobbyists and small shops tinkering, but that’s not the bulk of people who could genuinely benefit from it. I want to dig into some of the middle-industry, small-to-medium-size possibilities.

          Since I already know something about small hospital datacentres, having worked with them for about ten years, that might be a good place to start. Hospitals from 50-200 beds tend to have the same requirements as a full-size facility, but the challenges of a somewhat smaller budget and lower IT headcount. It really feels like a good sample problem for MAAS.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Nextcloud Hub takes on Google Docs and Office 365

        For years, Nextcloud has set the standard for run-your-own Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) private clouds. Now with the open-source Nextcloud Hub, it’s taking on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) office programs such as Google Docs and Office 365.

        Nextcloud has long offered Collabora Online Office, a SaaS version of the open-source LibreOffice office suite to its customers. Hub, though, is a new product. It combines Nextcloud’s outstanding cloud file system, Nextcloud Files, with Ascensio System’s ONLYOFFICE. Together they are a complete productivity office suite with word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software document management, project management, customer relationship management (CRM), calendar, and mail.

      • ProtonVPN Applications are Now 100% Open Source

        But can you trust your VPN service provider? On more than one occasion, the VPN providers have been caught logging, snooping or sharing data with third party. What to do in such cases?

        I have shared a list of privacy focused VPNs for Linux in the past and ProtonVPN is one of them. The good news is that ProtonVPN has just open sourced all its apps and underwent an independent security audit.

      • Road Map for 2020

        Following the last year’s leitmotif of “bridging worlds”, we turn our attention to the removal of the hurdles faced by aspiring developers and users. During the annual road-map discussion on our mailing list, we identified four tangible approaches towards that goal. First, making Sculpt OS more user friendly. Second, reinforcing trust in Genode by fostering the framework’s high quality. Third, making the tooling around Genode a joy to use. And finally, the illustration of Genode’s versatility in the form practical use cases.

      • Genode OS Draws Up 2020 Plans Of USB Audio, A Kernel Written In Ada

        The Genode operating system framework that’s been going strong for over a decade and continuing to employ a micro-kernel architecture continues to plan for an interesting future.

        The twelve year old Genode OS open-source project has drawn up an interesting road-map for 2020. Some of their plans for this year include:

        - 64-bit ARM (specifically the i.MX8 SoC) support for its general purpose Sculpt OS operating system.

      • FSF

        • Peggy Siegal Sends Her Regrets

          Some, including Siegal, point to sexism. Matt McKenna said Siegal’s gender made her a media target: “That it was a woman who helped Jeffrey Epstein come back? I think that narrative was too seductive for the trades.” Several people I spoke to argued that Siegal would not seem so “brusque” if she were a man and invoked seemingly unsinkable male Epstein associates such as Wexner and Black. But has gender protected those men, or has their status and wealth? Some men have lost prestigious posts: Joi Ito, director of the MIT media lab, resigned after his role soliciting donations from Epstein came to light. MIT computer scientist Richard Stallman stepped down amid controversy over leaked emails discussing a different scientist’s Epstein-related sexual assault allegation. Prince Andrew may have been forced into early retirement. “I think we wonder, are we somehow not giving her the pass that we would give to men?” said the observer who thought the scandal revealed Siegal’s larger issues. “But it’s like, no! She’s a person who had no issue kind of orchestrating the social reinvention of David Koch and Jeffrey Epstein,” this person said, referring to Siegal’s relationship with the late billionaire activist. “That’s a specific person. And sometimes ruthless ambition is loathsome.” There are publicists who rehabilitate criminal reputations for a living, a different publicist noted. But Siegal’s job is to bring people places. “She cultivates an audience. You want to feel good about that person.” When the mix is the message, there isn’t room for any error in judgment.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Make makes it to 4.3

            GNU Make 4.3 shot out of the door this weekend, promising a raft of bug fixes and a smattering of new features.

            The venerable build automation tool has been around in one form or another for 43 years, which makes the latest version number particularly appropriate. The previous update was 4.2.1 back in 2016.

            New features include grouped explicit targets for explicit rules, via a single invocation. Pattern rules have always had the ability to do this. Also new is an .EXTRA_PREREQS variable, which can either be global, applying to all targets, or a target-specific variable.

            The previous limit of 63 jobs under -jN on MS-Windows has been increased to 4095. That limit includes the subprocess started by the $(shell) function, the make team adds.

            Meanwhile, error messages printed “when invoking non-existent commands have been cleaned up and made consistent.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Server-side Swift’s slow support story sours some: Apple lang tailored for mobile CPUs, lacking in Linux world

          The Swift programming language has suffered some setbacks in its quest for ubiquity since Apple released it under an open-source license in 2015.

          In December, IBM said it had reevaluated its priorities and decided to back away from server-side Swift development. Then last week, Vapor Cloud, a server-side Swift hosting biz, and a related service called Vapor Red, announced plans to shut down in February.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Scala

          Scala is a modern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based programming and scripting language that’s released under the Apache License 2.0. It blends functional and object-oriented programming models. Scala introduces several innovative language constructs. It improves on Java’s support for object-oriented programming by traits, which are stackable and cannot have constructor parameters. It also offers closures, a feature that dynamic languages like Python and Ruby have adopted.

          Scala is particularly useful for building cloud-based/deliverable Software as a Service (SaaS) online applications, and is also proficient to develop traditional, imperative code.

          The language helps programmers write tighter code. It uses a number of techniques to cut down on unnecessary syntax, which helps to make code succinct. Typically, code sizes are reduced by an order of 2 or 3 compared to an equivalent Java application.

        • 13 of the best React JavaScript frameworks

          React.js and React Native are popular open source platforms for developing user interfaces (UIs); both rank well for desirability and use in StackOverflow’s 2019 Developer Survey. React.js was developed by Facebook in 2011 as a JavaScript library to address the need for cross-platform, dynamic, and high-performing UIs, while React Native, which Facebook released in 2015, is used for building native applications using JavaScript.

          The following are 13 of the best React JavaScript frameworks; all are open source—the first 11 (like React) are licensed under the MIT license and the latter two are licensed under Apache 2.0.

        • Espacio de Datos: fulldome installation

          Espacio de Datos is a site-specific, immersive audiovisual installation, consisting of a fulldome projection and a spatialized audio track that I created in collaboration with sound artist Mene Savasta for the +CODE 2018 festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was originally comissioned by Cristian Reynaga and Merlina Rañi, organizers of the festival. Espacio de Datos was also shown at the 2018 edition of the Domo Lleno festival in Bogotá, Colombia, the 9th International Festival of Science Visualization in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2019, and finally at the Elektra Festival XX in Montréal, Canada, in June 2019. This blog post goes in more depth into the background for this project, and the process we followed to create its images and sounds.


          The sound palette was informed by the thematic field of the data, which contained anonymized clinical information of patients affected by Lassa fever, a virual hemorrhagic fever endemic in West Africa. The tragedy of a deadly disease, reduced to indices and values that are then visualized in a cosmic and minimalistic vision. Mene considered these aspects to construct a noisy and glitchy while simultaneously clean palette, where the tragic element is manifested in the dynamic range, such as contrasts and accumulation.

        • Git Update Improves DevOps with Partial Cloning Feature

          On Jan. 13, Git 2.25 was released, bringing to one of the most commonly used developer tools new capabilities that will help improve performance and overall developer productivity.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 2020.03 Trait::Traced

            Ben Davies has published a module that may well change ad-hoc debugging in Raku: Trait::Traced. It introduces the is traced trait that can currently be attached to any type (class), or to any subroutine or method. So, to find out anything that is happening while executing code in your class Foo, simply do use Trait::Traced and change class Foo { to class Foo is traced {. Yours truly feels this could become a core module rather sooner than later!

        • Python

          • Solving Python Error- KeyError: ‘key_name’

            As per Python 3 official documentation a key error is raised when a mapping (dictionary) key is not found in the set of existing keys.

          • Python’s Execution Time Is Close To C++ And Go Language: Study

            Python is the most preferred programming language for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, but it is also the least preferred for being slow to solve certain problems that involve loops.

            To challenge this fact, researchers at EPFL Computer Vision Laboratory published a report in which they presented the competitiveness of Python against C++ and Go by solving the popular N-queens puzzle.

        • PHP

          • PHP in 2020

            It’s no secret among web developers and programmers in general: PHP doesn’t have the best reputation. Despite still being one of the most used languages to build web applications; over the years PHP has managed to get itself a reputation of messy codebases, inexperienced developers, insecure code, an inconsistent core library, and what not.

            While many of the arguments against PHP still stand today, there’s also a bright side: you can write clean and maintainable, fast and reliable applications in PHP.

            In this post, I want to look at this bright side of PHP development. I want to show you that, despite its many shortcomings, PHP is a worthwhile language to learn. I want you to know that the PHP 5 era is coming to an end. That, if you want to, you can write modern and clean PHP code, and leave behind much of the mess it was 10 years ago.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • Incentivizing Accessible Design

          When scholars contemplate the legal tools available to policymakers for encouraging innovation, they primarily think about patents. If they are keeping up with the most recent literature, they may also consider grants, prizes, and taxes as means to increase the supply of innovation. But the innovation policy toolkit is substantially deeper than that. To demonstrate its depth, this Article explores the evolution of designs that help people with disabilities access the world around them. From artificial limbs to the modern wheelchair and the reshaping of the built environment, a variety of legal doctrines have influenced, for better and for worse, the pace and direction of innovation for accessible design.

          This Article argues that two of the most important drivers of innovation for accessible design have been social welfare laws and antidiscrimination laws. Both were responsible, in part, for the revolution in accessibility that occurred in the second half of the twentieth century. Unlike standard innovation incentives, however, these laws operate on the “demand side.” Social welfare laws and antidiscrimination laws increase the ability and willingness of parties to pay for accessible technology, ultimately leading to greater supply. But in doing so, these laws generate a different distribution of the costs and benefits of innovation. They also produce their own sets of innovation distortions by allowing third parties to make decisions about the designs that people with disabilities have to use.

          The law can promote innovation, and it can hinder it. The law’s relationship to the wheelchair, the most important accessibility innovation of the twentieth century, produced both results. Policymakers have choices about which legal incentives doctrines they can use and how they can use them. This Article evaluates those tools, and it provides guidelines for their use to encourage accessible technology in particular and innovation generally.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Organizing for Innovation: How Team Configurations Vary with Modularity and Breadth of Application

        While innovation has increasingly become a collaborative effort, there is little consensus in research about what types of team configurations might be the most useful for creating breakthrough innovations. Do teams need to include inventors with knowledge breadth for recombination or do they need inventors with knowledge depth for identifying anomalies? Do teams need overlapping knowledge to integrate insights from diverse areas or does this redundancy hamper innovation by creating inefficiencies? In this paper, we suggest that the answers to these questions depend on the characteristics of the technologies, which explains why prior evidence based on single domains or that aggregates all technologies have yielded inconclusive findings. Focusing on the degree of modularity and the breadth of application in patent data, we find that differing team configurations are associated with different technological domains.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Can the Linux Foundation Speak for Free Software?

                The kindest interpretation of this situation is that the Linux Foundation has a public relations problem that it is unaware of and is overdue to correct. A more cynical interpretation is that, from its very start, the Linux Foundation has been a slow coup, gradually usurping an authority to which it has no right. Ask me on alternate days which one I believe.

                Whatever the case, the solutions are the same. A concerted effort to get community members elected to at-large positions might help, although they would still be a minority. Many, too, might not want to legitimize the foundation by participating in it. A more promising response might be to see that community organizations are strengthened to provide a counter-balance, but that would be a slow solution if it worked at all.

                I don’t pretend to have an answer. But I believe that free software owes its success to the fact that it is diverse. Centralizing the authority in the community means an end to free software as we know it — and that is something to be avoided at all cost. The very real good that the Linux Foundation does cannot disguise the harm that its orientation may cause.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (openconnect), Fedora (e2fsprogs, glibc, kernel, and nss), openSUSE (Mesa, php7, and slurm), Oracle (.NET Core, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, and thunderbird), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk, openvswitch, and openvswitch2.11), Scientific Linux (java-1.8.0-openjdk), SUSE (java-11-openjdk, libssh, libvpx, Mesa, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (libbsd and samba).

          • KeePass2 2.44 Released with True Key 4 CSV Import

            KeePass 2.44 was released a days ago as the latest stable mono password manager. Users of any previous 2.x version are recommended to upgrade.

            KeePass Password Safe was a Windows only password manager. Through the use of Mono, KeePass 2.x works on Linux and Mac OS.

          • Convenience over security: Mobile healthcare apps open up fresh risks to patients’ data

            Healthcare is increasingly going mobile, as hospitals and medical practitioners look to reduce waiting room times by harnessing the benefits of treatment on the go. But patients are often placing too much trust in these apps, which can often expose them to fresh security and privacy risks.

            The rapid growth of mobile healthcare app market was borne more out of necessity than any medical advancement, in the view of Adam Piper, a software developer working in the UK.

            “If I want to get a doctor’s appointment, it has to be today, and by 8.01am all the appointments are gone,” Piper told The Daily Swig.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Nuclear Hubris

        One thing that becomes clear to me when I wander into the world, and the minds, of geopolitical professionals — government people — is how limited and linear their thinking seems to be.

      • Teaching War So That It Matters

        Students need to be taught a more nuanced and complete narrative on the endless wars America has been involved in.

      • Instead of Real-Time Commentary, Eight Common-Sense Reason for Not Going to War with Iran

        In the wake of the assassination of Iranian military leader Major General Qasem Soleimani and nine other people by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, tensions between the United States and Iran are at their height. The immediate threat of war is real. Real-time news and expert commentary across the nationwide spectrum of media outlets probably have the heads of American citizens spinning. When things are moving so fast, perhaps it is best to move away from the ever-changing and confusing real-time commentary about what should happen and what will happen. Let’s look for the obvious reasons for not going to war with Iran. Here are eight:

      • Worldwide Furor Sparked by U.S. Assassination of Iran’s General Suleimani

        The Trump administration’s January 3 drone missile assassination of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani just outside Iraq’s Baghdad airport brought the world to the brink of yet another catastrophic U.S. war. That the Iranian government would retaliate in a matter of days, if not hours, was unquestioned.

      • Best Enemies Forever: The Iran-U.S. Kabuki Show

        The recent conflict between the U.S. and Iranian regimes brings to mind that hilariously famous scene from Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Dr. Strangelove, with the U.S. president calling the Soviet leader to warn him about a foolish mistake that had led to a hydrogen bomb heading their way from an American base. The President is amiable, polite and concerned-sounding, patient and contrite, approaching the situation with the goal of cooperative damage control.

      • 10 Ways Trump’s Aggression Against Iran Hurts Americans and the Region

        The U.S. assassination of General Qasem Soleimani has not yet plunged us into a full-scale war with Iran thanks to the Iranian government’s measured response, which demonstrated its capabilities without actually harming U.S. troops or escalating the conflict. But the danger of a full-blown war still exists, and Donald Trump’s actions are already wreaking havoc.

      • Nepal Falters on Justice Pledge for Conflict Abuses

        The horrors of Nepal’s ten-year insurgency weigh greatly on the country, with a heavy toll of killings, rapes, disappearances, and torture.

        The conflict ended in 2006 with a peace agreement and since then, Nepal’s leaders have tried their best to shrug off responsibility for crimes committed during the insurgency. Last week, former Maoist leader, and twice prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who used the nom-de-guerre “Prachanda”, blurted out that he can “only” be blamed for 5,000 deaths, while “state forces” had killed as many as 12,000. 

      • Martin Luther King Jr. Warned That the Poor Pay for War With Their Lives

        Sheyda Shadkhoo called her husband from Flight 752 and said she was scared. The U.S. had killed a top Iranian general. Iran vowed revenge. Hassan told her, “Not to worry. Nothing’s going to happen.” As the plane took off from Tehran, two surface-to-air missiles were fired from a nearby military base. Sheyda, along with 175 others, were killed.

      • Gun Control Advocates Counter Pro-Gun Richmond Rally, Lobbying for Regulation and Calling for Nonviolence

        “We’re advocating today, and everyday, honoring Martin Luther King’s legacy with actions that would have been impossible if not for his dedication to justice and nonviolent protest.”

    • Environment

      • It’s Time For Revolution. Our Climate Crisis And Our Future Demands It.

        The crisis that has engulfed Australia this summer means we can no longer afford ‘business as usual’, writes George Grundy. And by ‘business as usual’, he means a complete absence of real leadership, and a free pass for corporations that take and don’t give.

      • If Alan Jones Was A Climate Activist…

        Kirk Owers dreams of a better world. One where shock-jocks surprise not for the depth of their ignorance, but for their inspiring activism, unshakeable commitment to equality and social justice, lustrous beards and sensible shoes. Ever the optimist, Kirk has penned an ‘alternate transcript’ of Sydney radio personality Alan Jones’ response to the climate crisis gripping our nation.

      • ‘Global Precedent’ Set as UN Rules Climate Refugees Cannot Be Sent Back to Life-Threatening Conditions

        Advocates praised the ruling as an “excellent step forward in refugee rights.”

      • The Humanitarian and Environmental Disaster of Trump’s 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.

      • A Matter of Quality: Air Pollution, Tennis and Sporting Officialdom

        They are disgruntled and have every right to be. Whatever one’s feelings about tennis, expecting athletes to perform in subpar conditions is a rank matter that should see officials taken to task. But administrators of a game are often distant from the practice of the game itself. Being on different, cognitive paths, the players can be left stunned by decisions that have the estranging effect of being made in committee.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Owyhee Initiative Wilderness and Public Lands Deal Critique: Ten Years After

          The Owyhee Initiative (OI) wilderness and public lands legislation passed Congress in 2009 as the Owyhee Public Land Management part of an Omnibus package bill. Hoopla on the bill’s ten-year anniversary generated a spate of articles extolling collaboration and idolizing individual cattlemen. OI collaboration talking points are being parroted by supporters of a new round of Quid Pro Quo wilderness proposals.

        • New forests mean permanently lower river flows

          Planting trees helps to combat the climate crisis by cutting greenhouse gases. But the price can be permanently lower river flows.

        • Some Trees: Los Angeles

          Los Angeles, the desert city, may have more species of trees than any other city in the United States, almost none of which are native to the basin. Thank Luther Burbank, the Johnny Appleseed of southern California. Trees in LA are used to advertise, decorate, disguise, shade, beautify, camouflage, capture carbon, barricade, cool and conceal. I spent an hour or so each day for the last couple of weeks walking the neighborhoods of the Valley and its nearby canyons surveying LA’s mad assemblage of trees, lustily taking root where no trees should grow. – JSC

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Glenn Greenwald Charged With Cybercrimes in Brazil

        Federal prosecutors in Brazil on Tuesday charged the American journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes for his role in the spreading of cellphone messages that have embarrassed prosecutors and tarnished the image of an anti-corruption task force.

        In a criminal complaint made public on Tuesday, prosecutors in the capital, Brasília, accused Mr. Greenwald of being part of a “criminal organization” that hacked into the cellphones of several prosecutors and other public officials last year.

        Mr. Greenwald could not immediately be reached for comment.

        The Intercept Brasil, a news organization Mr. Greenwald co-founded, has published several articles based on a trove of leaked messages he said he received last year.

        In a 95-page criminal complaint, prosecutors say Mr. Greenwald did more than merely receive the hacked messages and oversee the publication of newsworthy information.
        Citing intercepted messages between Mr. Greenwald and the hackers, prosecutors say the journalist played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.”


        The articles raised questions about the integrity, professionalism and motives of key members of Brazil’s justice system — particularly of figures directly involved in the investigation of a vast corruption scheme that resulted in the imprisonment of powerful business and political figures.

        Among the revelations in the articles, for instance, were chats in which Sérgio Moro, a former federal judge who handled the prosecution of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2017, provided strategic guidance to prosecutors, in violation of legal and ethical norms. Mr. Moro is now Brazil’s justice minister.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Loophole for the Lawless: “Qualified Immunity” Must Go

        On August 11, 2014, officers from the Caldwell, Idaho Police Department asked for Shaniz West’s permission to enter and search her home. They were looking for her ex-boyfriend. West authorized the search and handed over her keys.

      • The Power of Righteousness
      • Qatar: End of Abusive Exit Permits for Most Migrant Workers
      • ‘Sit This One Out’: FBI Slammed for Social Media Shoutout to Martin Luther King Jr.

        “FBI, translated: Of all the people we have wiretapped, blackmailed, and tried to drive to their deaths through suicide, there are none we think more highly of than Dr. King.”

      • In Anti-Communist Fervor, FBI Built a 500-Page File on Coretta Scott King

        The FBI’s aggressive efforts against Martin Luther King Jr. remain a huge stain on the Bureau, and exemplary of the dirty work it carried out during the long 1960s. Less known, but of no less consequence, was the unwanted attention it directed at Coretta Scott King, the wife of the late civil rights leader. Scott King was meticulously monitored by the Bureau, which compiled over 500 pages of records on her. Her file offers not only a clear view of the FBI and government’s preoccupation with Communist infiltration during the Cold War — and the depths the FBI would sink to in attempting to undermine anyone associated with it — but the larger racist ugliness festering in U.S. society, one still very much present.

      • Dr. King Called On Us to Express the Better Angels of Our Souls

        Dr. King’s commitment provides a wonderful example for all of us, but particularly for the young. By the wisdom of his teaching, the justice of his cause, the intensity of his commitment, he helped transform America.

      • Countering Annual Whitewash of His Legacy, Progressives Remember the ‘Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist’ Martin Luther King Jr.

        King “saw racial injustice, economic injustice, and war as three of the world’s great evils.”

      • MLK and the Ghost of an Untrue Dream

        In his keynote address for the Civil Rights Movement’s March on Washington, DC in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his despair and disappointment that a century after emancipation, freedom still was not a lived reality in the United States of America:

      • A King Is Born
      • Dr. King’s Radical Revolution Of Values

        Dr. King’s spirit lives on in the new Poor People’s Campaign, and in every place radicals gather to change the world.

      • Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition

        Every year, until The Revolution comes again, the counter-revolution manipulates the historic birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, that so many people fought for, as their symbol of Black “integration” into imperialism and “non-violent” acquiescence to, at best, Barack Obama’s cynical negation of his dream. As Donald Trump has just assassinated Iranian General Quassem Soleimani—with Democratic Party token opposition at best and acquiescence at worse, Dr. King reminds us that “the United States, my government, is the greatest purveyor violence in the world.” As Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren squabble for position and too often, reduce the meaning of life to a barren economic populism, Dr. King reminds us that U.S. society is a moral disgrace and we need a revolutionary movement to challenge its “racism, militarism, poverty, and materialism.” His thoughts offer Democrats and the Movement a challenge. There is an urgent need for a revolutionary worldview to challenge the racism and reaction of Donald Trump’s Make America Great fascist appeal. Meanwhile, on the ground, Black and Latino communities and the world are suffering the worst political, economic, and ecological catastrophe with little help in sight. In this context the most engaged and introspective study of Dr. King’s theory and practice is an urgent corrective than can offer hope and inspiration.

      • The MLK Lesson America Needs Most in 2020

        As we celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., it’s natural to remember his courageous advocacy for racial equity. But before he was assassinated, King had also begun to broaden his efforts to unify the around economic justice.

      • Race and Selective Legal Memory: Reflections on Invention of a Slave

        In 1858, the United States Attorney General issued an opinion, Invention of a Slave. Relying on the Supreme Court’s recent declaration in Dred Scott v. Sandford that African Americans were not citizens, he created a formal racial barrier to the patent system, declaring inventions by all African Americans, enslaved and free, unpatentable. Within a few years, legal changes that overruled Dred Scott and abolished the law of slavery rendered the opinion obsolete. This brief opinion became, as far as lawyers and legal scholars were concerned, forgotten. Unlike many overruled opinions dropped from the legal canon, however, Invention of a Slave and the associated story of an enslaved blacksmith who invented an innovative plow have been continuously remembered. Women and men committed to fighting the legacy of slavery maintained both in the collective memory of those seeking full civil rights for African Americans. Our legal forgetting was an act of persistent blindness to their efforts and publications. This Essay excavates the generations of African American writers and activists who have worked to remember the opinion and argues that legal forgetting has carried a cost. Their remembering was not casual storytelling but rather deliberate, strategic, and political. I offer Invention of a Slave as a case study of race and selective legal memory, tracing an unacknowledged color line that demarcates legal memory and the costs of that line. Because of our forgetting, the opinion appears as an obscure part of the antebellum past. When we understand their remembering as a political act, we can see what they have always seen: There is a connection between the patent system and the legal and social definition of citizenship. At a time when the boundaries of citizenship and the contours of who is worthy to be considered an American are hotly contested in ways related to race and ancestry, learning from those who remembered Invention of a Slave offers lessons that link this piece of the past to our present and future, with implications both for the patent system and for our on-going conversation about race, equality, citizenship and the laws that affect them.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Apple Sued for Patent Infringement by Masimo and Affiliate

          Apple contacted Masimo in 2013, the lawsuit alleges. Following that, a series of meetings were held, after which the tech giant hired away important employees at both Masimo and Cercacor. Two notables to depart were Masimo Chief Medical Officer Michael O’Reilly and Cercacor Chief Technology Officer Marcelo Lamego.


          The disputed Masimo and Cercacor patents cover noninvasive technologies that use light to monitor aspects of a user’s health. Health monitoring was a novel selling point of the Apple Watch when it was launched.

        • BlackBerry led Canadian tech firms in U.S. patent grants last year

          BlackBerry Ltd. beefed up its patent portfolio last year, leading a list of Canadian technology companies that received new patents in the United States.
          The Waterloo, Ont.-based company received 322 U.S. patents in 2019, according to patent data firm IFI Claims. That’s down slightly from 337 in 2018, but still highest among Canadian firms.

          Other tech players in Canada that added substantially to their patent holdings included OpenText Corp. and Pratt & Whitney Canada. That’s based on research by IFI, which was provided to BNN Bloomberg.

        • 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.

          The figures are notable for a few reasons. One is that this is the most patents ever granted in a single year; and the second that this represents a 15% jump on a year before. The high overall number speaks to the enduring interest in safeguarding IP, while the 15% jump has to do with the fact that patent numbers actually dipped last year (down 3.5%) while the number that were filed and still in application form (not granted) was bigger than ever. If we can draw something from that, it might be that filers and the USPTO were both taking a little more time to file and process, not a reduction in the use of patents altogether.

        • Sonos vs. Google: Amazon won patent for ‘distributed speaker synchronization’ four years ago

          Is this why Sonos decided to sue Google rather than going after Amazon?

          Our search of U.S. patent records this afternoon, following news that the high-tech speaker maker is suing the search giant for patent infringement, turned up an interesting and potentially relevant patent that was granted to Amazon in 2016, based on a 2013 patent application.

          Under the title, “Distributed speaker synchronization,” the patent describes a system that uses a “signal synchronization component” to perform calculations “to align signals corresponding to the output audio of the electronic audio devices and then determine a delay for the output audio transmitted from the electronic audio devices with respect to each other.”

      • Copyrights

        • UFC 246 Twitch Piracy Fail Raises Questions For Amateur Pirates & UFC Alike

          The much-heralded return of Conor McGregor this weekend ended in a stunning 40-second victory for the UFC’s biggest star. The event also resulted in one of the biggest piracy fails in recent memory when a Twitch user broadcasting the PPV event illegally managed to expose details of his personal life to more than 130,000 people. This incident and others like it raise questions not only for amateur pirates but also the UFC.

        • New Pirate Sites Line Up to Fill IndoXXI’s Shoes

          Pirate streaming giant ‘IndoXXI,’ stopped offering pirated movies at the start of the year. This left millions of Indonesian pirates without their favorite site. However, according to anti-piracy group AVIA, many others have jumped in to fill this gap. Industry insiders are now calling on the government there to consider criminal prosecutions.

Startpage/System1 Almost Definitely Pay for People to Lie About Their Surveillance

Posted in Deception, Search at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Startpage/System1 lacking a sense of humility. They even exploit MLK, whom the FBI spied on very heavily (this is well documented) until his death.

Startpage/System1 on MLK

Summary: A longterm investigation suggests that there are forces in the debate that aren’t objective and are being super evasive and dodgy; this typically happens only when somebody has much to hide

AS WE pointed out in two separate articles recently [1, 2] (lots of research went into them, even if they’re short) Startpage is going very dark, very malicious. It’s still a surveillance company disguised as a privacy-respecting shelter. It spends a lot of money on media campaigns (to maintain the ‘cover’). System1 is a very large “Sugar Daddy”, so it can spare a buck or two (or even a million bucks) to glue/affix/attach some false labels. This has gone on for more than a year and the cover was secured for nearly a year.

“It’s still a surveillance company disguised as a privacy-respecting shelter.”Having inquired and reached out to people, including those whom we suspect to be working for Startpage/System1 (no response since we last mentioned it two days ago), we almost must conclude that there’s a business relationship. Its nature, however, is unknown to us (courting, employing, contracting). There’s an opportunity for the accused to issue a response; but they don’t exercise the right of defense. Does that mean there’s no valid defense? Running away is not a potent form of defense.

We suppose our readers now wonder, who is this all about and what was it all along? There are clues in our IRC channels, but not names… (we often redact names in the pursuit/interests of privacy).

“People who believe they enjoy discreetness online are in fact spied on by a surveillance giant. In some contexts or in oppressive nations this can lead to death.”Well, we don’t wish to name the culprits or divulge the proof just yet (as the names would inevitably become apparent). We are definitely not done and we shall ‘drill on’. Eventually, the whole world needs to know what Startpage (or StartPage or ixquick) became. As a former user — for about half a decade! — I have much at stake too. I know a lot about this company. As they’re pouring money into disinformation campaigns it is growingly important to refute them. People who believe they enjoy discreetness online are in fact spied on by a surveillance giant. In some contexts or in oppressive nations this can lead to death.

The Internet is an Appalling Medium for News and It Has Only Gotten Worse

Posted in Deception at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Social Control Media is Bad for Freedom and Its Net Benefit — If Any Exists — is Only Traffic, Not Information

Stack of Newspapers

Summary: Something ought to change in the way people gather and assess news; at the moment — as proper journalism runs out of steam (and budget) — things only deteriorate and quality suffers; this rapidly exacerbates as people come to rely on — and then relay — hearsay, not fact-checked bodies of work

‘Traditional’ (physical) newspapers have many associated downsides that are substantial. Among them: cost of printing, cost of distribution and profound effect on the environment. Then there’s of course the cost of staff, including reporters’ salaries. It’s all tilted in favour of the rich — those able to afford not only to read but also to produce (or run/subsidise printing houses).

But the Web presents many other issues, some of which we explored here before, occasionally in relation to press coverage about the European Patent Office (EPO). Those with vested interests can bribe the media to parrot their message/s, however misleading. It’s even cheaper online. Disinformation flows like water. Advertising budget can be a form of bribe and there are many other ways to bribe publishers without as much as basic oversight. It’s totally unregulated.

“It’s all tilted in favour of the rich — those able to afford not only to read but also to produce (or run/subsidise printing houses).”There are no easy solutions to all this other than teaching people critical skills and making them sceptical of sources and people, based on pertinent interests and funding sources, amongst other factors.

It’s no secret that we oppose so-called 'social' (control) media and we deliberately lack presence in it. Last year there was this good talk on this subject.

“Society and culture are harmed by what people nowadays call “media”.”If an alternative emerges, like a successor to the Internet or just the World Wide Web, we intend to embrace it early if not prematurely. A lot of the political climate worsened not owing to economic woes alone but a divisive, confrontational, partisan set of echo chambers online. Society and culture are harmed by what people nowadays call “media”.

I quite enjoyed Bryan Lunduke’s video entitled “Twitter is a vile hate machine.”

Three weeks ago he quit Twitter altogether and did some videos on the subject. The summary months ago was:

Twitter is a vile hate machine that provides no positive value (real or perceived) and I am stupid for using it.

Twitter is one of the worst out there, the worst likely being Facebook. Techrights has no presence there and none in Mastodon/Pleroma/Fediverse and Diaspora, either. It’s not really a proper type of medium in which to organise and relay information. As Richard Stallman explained a long time ago, the underlying concept may be flawed, whether it’s free/libre or not and whether it’s decentralised or not. Hopefully by the end of this year we will have produced more articles than we did over the past decade (on an annual basis). This past weekend — a long weekend that was a holiday (yesterday) — was slow for us and we were out of town, but throughout the rest of this week expect us to pick up the pace.

Media Reactions to the EPO Coming to Grips With Fake Patents That It Granted (Spoiler: the Media is Controlled by Lawyers of Monopolists and EPO Partners)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Invalid Patents (IPs) or European Patents (EPs)? Let the spin begin…

‘Free’ propaganda

Summary: Appalling quality of reporting and truly awful bias in the media, primarily owing to the fact that it is dominated/manned not by actual reporters but the firms looking to patent life itself; they use their lawyers and operatives who are literally funded by these lawyers (wearing “journalist” badges to mislead)

TODAY’S European Patent Office (EPO) repeats all the same mistakes made by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which celebrates reduced patent quality this week (it’s all over the news and in our Daily Links too).

Non-scientists like António Campinos and Battistelli want us to believe that “success” means more patents and vice versa, neglecting — perhaps intentionally — to take account of what patents actually are. Iancu flagrantly snubs 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Campinos happily violates the EPC when he lobbies judges to allow software patents in Europe.

“When they say “inventions in the field of AI” they mean algorithms. They mean code with some logic in it.”World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR), a mouthpiece of the EPO (it wasn’t always like that, but staff changed), has just parroted the puff piece of Campinos, Iancu and others. They’re pushing the “hey hi” (AI) nonsense. To quote: “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.”

When they say “inventions in the field of AI” they mean algorithms. They mean code with some logic in it.

But let’s brush aside the whole controversy about those abstract patents and focus on what happened in Munich Haar last week. Many EPO patents that had been illegally granted on nature and life came under scrutiny. A large portion of these patents and all CRISPR ones have just been rendered worthless and the EPO still says nothing about it. It is a lying institution that deserves no respect.

Did it speak about it yesterday? Nope. Instead this: “Want to know what can be patented in #biotech? Join us for this event in Zurich” (it did the same around the time of the above decision).

So the EPO is happy to lie when it needs to distract from its law-breaking. When law-breaking becomes more visible the EPO says nothing. As we noted earlier this week, this CRISPR patent battle was only covered by monopolists and their mouthpieces. There has been virtually no journalism about this. Quickly came IAM out of the gate, with its Life [sic] sciences [sic] reporter [sic] Adam Houldsworth, basically a lobbyist for the monopolisers of life and nature (they pay him for it).

Then there was BioNews (UK), where Dr Yvonne Collins wrote:

The European Patent Office (EPO) announced that it will uphold an earlier ruling to retract a key CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing patent held by the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts.

The EPO Board of Appeal reversed its earlier decision to refer the case to a higher panel, and stated that it would uphold the 2018 ruling of the EPO’s Opposition Division to cancel the Broad Institute’s patent for failing to prove novelty and a valid priority claim.

The EPO panel concluded that:

‘This prior art became relevant because the opposition division did not acknowledge the patentee’s claim to priority from a US provisional application naming more applicants than the subsequent PCT application [Patent Cooperation Treaty application- this is the application that was made to the EPO] from which [the patent] is derived. Since the omitted applicant had not transferred his rights to the applicants of the PCT application the priority claim was considered invalid.’

Mondaq, a propaganda outlet of law firms (connected to IAM), is still posting nothing balanced at all. Aside from this latest litigation jingoism from Francois Pochart, Elodie Bardon and Lionel Martin (August Debouzy) it posted Broad’s CRISPR/Cas9 Patent EP2771468 Revoked By The European Patent Office by Lisa A. Haile. Check affiliation. To quote:

In the ongoing CRISPR patent battle, after four days of oral arguments, it was announced today that the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Technical Board of Appeal (Board) upheld the earlier EPO Opposition Division ruling from January 2018, stating that Broad Institute’s European patent EP2771468 is not novel and therefore fully revoked.

The Board confirmed the prior decision, finding that all claims of the Broad Institute’s patent for gene editing were invalid because the Broad Institute was not entitled to its earliest priority dates and therefore the claims lacked novelty in light of prior art. Thus, all claims of the Broad Institute’s patent remain fully revoked and the Opposition Division’s decision to revoke the patent is now final.

Where are the non-lawyers? This whole thing was mentioned by almost no scientists. The case was followed closely and subjectively by an attorney from AstraZeneca at IP Kat and yesterday we saw this article about AstraZeneca leveraging dubious European Patents against generics:

AstraZeneca is the holder of European Patents EP1250138 (EP’138) and EP2266573 (EP’573), which claim an intramuscular formulation of fulvestrant for the treatment of breast cancer. EP’573 is a divisional of EP’138 and both patents will expire on 8 January 2021.

AstraZeneca is also the holder of Patent EP1272195 (EP’195), which claims the use of fulvestrant for the treatment of a sub-type of breast cancer patients. This patent expires on 2 April 2021.

In July 2017 AstraZeneca sued Teva for alleged infringement of the formulation patents EP’138 and EP’573. It also requested and was granted an ex parte preliminary injunction. In January 2018 AstraZeneca sued ratiopharm for infringement of the same patents, plus use patent EP’195.

In parallel, in May 2017 the European Patent Office (EPO) Opposition Division revoked the divisional EP’573 due to lack of inventive step; AstraZeneca’s subsequent appeal was pending.

We’re still trying hard to find an actual investigation of what’s at stake, but it’s Googlebombed to death by lawyers of monopolists striving to ‘own’ all lives and nature. Misfiled under “European Union” was this piece by Christopher Wilkins (Dehns, Team UPC) entitled “CRISPR Patent Portfolio Edited: The Broad Institute Has Lost Its Appeal On A Key CRISPR Patent In Europe…”

“As I have discussed previously here,” he said in a blindly promotional fashion, “CRISPR-based techniques have revolutionized the field of gene editing in recent years. The Broad Institute is at the forefront of this technology and holds many of the original patents. However, the validity of some of those patents has been challenged at the European Patent Office (EPO) and developments this week are a blow to the Broad Institute’s patent coverage in Europe.”

So what? Are they your client? Or similar to them?

Speaking of the misfiling under “European Union”, this morning Benjamin Henrion wrote: “Still no answer on why the EPO, who will grant the Unitary Patent, is still not following the “rule of law” principle, and cannot be taken to court for maladministration.”

How come the EU’s rules are being ignored by the EPO? Need it be mentioned that the Unitary Patent is an EU system?

Can the EPO persist in this existence without any oversight whatsoever? This morning the EPO tweeted about its close connections to the EUIPO (EU), but later they tell us that the EPO has nothing to do with the EU.

It might also not help the EPO that the title “SeaTwirl Gets EU Patent” has just been published (along with “European Patent Office Nods to SeaTwirl”). Too many still think that EPO is EU (even applicants and journalists). The EU had already said “no” to such patents (patents like CRISPR) a long time ago, including last summer, but the EPO carried on ignoring it.

Links 21/1/2020: EarlyOOM Fedora Decision and AMD Zen 3 Microcode

Posted in News Roundup at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Here’s Why Windows 7 Users Should Switch to Linux

      Linux has so many different distros

      Linux Mint and Zorin OS are just a few Linux distros that are thought to be very Windows-user friendly. This means within no time, you should be up and running.

      Other distros like Ubuntu, Suse Linux and offer so much functionality without feeling cluttered.

      Many Linux distros are regularly updated. Microsoft might have stopped updating your Windows but if you switch to Linux, you are assured of regular security and feature updates, regardless of which distribution you choose.

      Also, if you install your applications from a central repository, all your applications will get updated via system updates. This means your whole computer will always be up to date. This eliminates the need to update each application independently.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Official Kubuntu ‘Focus’ Linux Laptop Goes on Sale
      • You can buy the official Kubuntu ‘Focus’ Linux laptop now

        Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems in the world. Why? Well, it is easy to use, preloaded with useful software, and has one of the best online communities.

        Not everyone likes the default GNOME desktop environment, however, so some folks opt for different flavors of Ubuntu, such as Xububtu (which uses Xfce) or Kubuntu (which uses KDE Plasma). Speaking of the latter, today, you can buy an official Kubuntu laptop. Called “Focus”. It is an absolutely powerhouse with top specs.

      • MNT Modular, Open Source ‘Reform’ Laptop to Hit Crowd Supply in February

        It’s easier than ever to make open source hardware that doesn’t rely on hardly any proprietary technologies. “Easier than ever” isn’t the same as “easy,” though, which is why it’s taken a few years for the MNT Reform laptop to officially debut. CNX Software reported Sunday that the wait should finally be over soon–the MNT Reform 2 is expected to hit the Crowd Supply crowdfunding platform in February.

        CNX Software said the original MNT Reform was envisioned as a DIY kit for which development started in 2017. MNT sent units to beta testers in 2018, and once it received their feedback, it started work on the MNT Reform 2. Now it’s reportedly set to debut on Crowd Supply in February; its placeholder page can be found here.

      • What you need to know about System76′s open source firmware project

        When you power on your computer, there’s a lot more going on than you might think. One of the most important elements involved is the embedded controller (EC). This is what is responsible for providing abstractions for the battery, charging system, keyboard, touchpad, suspend/resume, and thermal control, among others. These controllers are typically proprietary and usually run proprietary firmware.

        System76 is about to change that paradigm. Recently, the company adopted coreboot for their Galago Pro and Darter Pro laptop models. Now they intend to extend the open source approach to the EC. There is a project associated with Chrome OS devices called Chromium EC that is open source; however, it is only available for Chromebooks and specific EC chips. System76 wanted to supply their customers with an open source embedded controller firmware, too.

    • Server

      • Building a home lab: Sysadmin after dark

        Here at the dawn of the new decade (or, one year from now if you prefer to count from 2021), almost everyone owns and uses a computer—especially if you count smartphones as computers (which they are). System administrators, being employed in the IT industry, typically have at least one personal system (from which they do things like surf the web, purchase things, or access their online banking). They have other personal systems, whether virtual or bare metal hardware, on which they perform system administration functions for themselves in a safe, private environment entirely under their control.

      • IBM

        • Deploy Jenkins Pipelines in OpenShift 4 with OpenShift Container Storage 4

          Jenkins is one of the most important development infrastructure components, but can we make Jenkins pipelines run faster? Using OpenShift Container Storage we can speed up the build time of applications by using persistent storage to save the stateful data of dependencies and libraries, for example, that are needed during compilation.

        • IBM Ceases Work on Server-Side Swift Development

          Swift was originally developed by Apple in 2010 to make it easier for developers to build mobile applications. However, multiple groups, including IBM, have been working to extend Swift for server-side applications, participating in the Swift server workgroup. IBM has also been one of the primary contributors behind the Kitura server-side Swift framework. In late December, after almost four years of development effort, IBM decided to discontinue its server-side Swift efforts.

        • Google offers IBM AS/400 apps new home in its cloud

          Enterprises looking for a way to modernize legacy AS/400 workloads now have a new option: Move them onto Google Cloud Platform.

          Google won’t host your old AS/400 for you, but it is renting time on IBM Power Systems servers, the AS/400’s architectural successors. Its announcement follows a similar one from Microsoft in September.


          Its software now runs on IBM i but “it goes back to the heritage of System i and iSeries, and way back to the AS/400 days,” says VAI’s CIO Kevin Beasley. “Now Google hosts IBM i, IBM hosts it, Microsoft hosts it. … Back when we started there weren’t many places that you could actually find IBM i hosted.”

          Thousands of other companies are still running systems built on the old AS/400 architecture, according to all400s.com, a website that tracks job offerings for IT workers with AS/400 skills, prompting the cloud giants to look for ways to serve these businesses.

        • Google Cloud to support IBM Power Systems

          Enterprises looking for a way to modernise legacy AS/400 workloads now have a new option: Move them onto Google Cloud Platform.

          Google will not host your old AS/400 for you, but it is renting time on IBM Power Systems servers, the AS/400’s architectural successors. Its announcement follows a similar one from Microsoft in September.

          At the same time, Google is introducing a Premium Support plan to maintain high-availability services, making the GCP more attractive to CIOs averse to down-time.

        • Red Hat Upgrades Kubernetes Security With OpenShift 4.3

          Red Hat has announced the general availability of the latest versions of Kubernetes-based Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage.

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 delivers FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) compliant encryption and additional security enhancements to enterprises across industries. It also features support for remote enablement of Linux Unified Key Setup-on-disk-format (LUKS) encrypted volumes and the ability to encrypt sensitive data stored in etcd. These new features can help protect sensitive customer data with stronger encryption controls, according to the company.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • VIDEO: MX Linux 19 Features and Desktop Tour

        MX Linux is a Linux distribution based on Debian stable and using core antiX components. The distributions MX Tools is very popular among users and combined with other several ready-to-use tools, it is great for users who prefer to tweak their distro to their liking. In this video, we will take you through the features tour showing casing MX Linux 19.

      • 2020-01-20 | Linux Headlines

        Nextcloud follows up with good news for mobile users, breaking a Kubernetes install on purpose, and the amicable resolution for recent concerns in the Rust community.

      • Going Linux #384 · 2019 Year In Review

        In our annual review of the previous year we discuss Larry’s books on Ubuntu MATE, Microsoft’s transformation into an open source company, the distros we’ve tried, and predictions for 2020. We read a couple of emails from listeners and recommend podcasts and Linux applications.

      • File Systems | Which One is the Best? ZFS, BTRFS, or EXT4

        Let’s go over File Systems in this video. We will determine which one is the best ZFS, BTRFS, and EXT4. Each one might work for you based on YOUR needs!

      • Linux Action News 141

        Nextcloud’s new release is so big it gets a rebrand, why Mozilla had a round of lay-offs, and the real possibility of Steam coming to Chrome OS.

        Plus, the sad loss of a community member, and more.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 81

        The death of Windows 7 presents yet another opportunity for the wide adoption of Linux on the desktop. Is that just wishful thinking? Plus Y2K comes back, bad news for Mozilla, a great new Nexcloud release, and more in the news.

      • Building A Business On Building Data Driven Businesses

        In order for an organization to be data driven they need easy access to their data and a simple way of sharing it. Arik Fraimovich built Redash as a way to address that need by connecting to any data source and building attractive dashboards on top of them. In this episode he shares the origin story of the project, his experiences running a business based on open source, and the challenges of working with data effectively.

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD’s next generation Zen 3 CPU code will be added to the Linux kernel before 2020 starts

        Aside from something unforeseen and catastrophic, Zen 3 is definitely making its debut this year. We know this because AMD managing director Dr. Lisa Su has already indicated this several times, including in an interview in which she promised that “Big Navi” (Navi 20) would also make its debut in 2020. If anyone needs more evidence on this matter, just turn their attention to the underlying code that is added to the Linux kernel.

        Interestingly, patches for the Linux kernel have been great in the past to point to new hardware before it officially launched. And more recently, updates to the Linux kernel have given references to things like Navi 22 and Navi 23, which are two unpublished Navi GPUs. Now Zen 3 is doing a cameo.

      • AMD Includes Zen 3 Microcode In Linux Kernel

        After the success of Zen 2 powered CPUs, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO, formally disclosed in his recent interview that AMD is planning to release Zen 3 later this year.

        Additionally, famed Hardware leaker, Komachi Ensaka, also tweeted revealing the line of code added to the Linux kernel for the Family of 19h system, which is the family of AMD CPUs based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture.

      • AMD Zen 3 “Family 19h” Enablement Beginning With The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        With the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel cycle will be the first of many patches to come surrounding AMD Zen 3 “Family 19h” support.

        So far there haven’t been any AMD Family 19h patches to the Linux kernel besides k10temp driver support. But queued up ahead of the weekend were a couple changes relating to Zen3/19h beginning to collect in ras/core for the Linux 5.6 merge window kicking off in the next week or two.

      • AMD Zen 3 Linux update suggests a radically different CPU design to Zen 2

        The new Linux patch details support for Family 19h of AMD’s processor silicon, which is widely assumed to be a reference to the Zen 3 family given that the Family 17h refers to the current Zen 2 CPUs and APUs. As such this is definitely not the Linux code base getting prepped for the Ryzen 4000 APUs that have been launched at CES, but the Ryzen 4000 CPUs being launched, likely around Computex.

        Confusing? Nah, Ryzen 4000 chips are obviously not the same as Ryzen 4000 chips, that would be stupid. Anyways, the new Linux code doesn’t really give us any extra details about the new Zen 3 microarchitecture, beyond providing a pair of different Family 19h CPU device IDs. And those themselves tell us precious little aside from the fact there are AMD Zen 3 chips being prepped for testing.

      • AMD Zen 3 Microcode Spotted in the Linux Kernel

        AMD Zen 3 microcode has recently been spotted in the Linux kernel, months ahead of the expected launch of this new line of processors.

        The discovery was shared on Twitter by @KOMACHI_ENSAKA, who says the new code is linked with EDAC, or Error Detection and Correction.

        By the looks of things, the Linux kernel is updated to support the AMD Family 19h processors, which represents the new Zen 3-based chip family.

        As the leaker notes, AMD 17h series can still be used, as they’re already supported – Family 17h is the existing AMD Zen 2 series.

      • AMD’s next generation Zen 3 CPU code will be added to the Linux kernel before 2020 starts

        Aside from something unforeseen and catastrophic, Zen 3 is definitely making its debut this year. We know this because AMD managing director Dr. Lisa Su has already indicated this several times, including in an interview in which she promised that “Big Navi” (Navi 20) would also make its debut in 2020. If anyone needs more evidence on this matter, just turn their attention to the underlying code that is added to the Linux kernel.

        Interestingly, patches for the Linux kernel have been great in the past to point to new hardware before it officially launched. And more recently, updates to the Linux kernel have given references to things like Navi 22 and Navi 23, which are two unpublished Navi GPUs. Now Zen 3 is doing a cameo.

      • Zen 3: AMD’s new architecture microcode surfaced in the Linux kernel

        Despite the fact that it only seems to be yesterday that the Zen 2 chips for the Ryzen 3000 processors were released, we have noted that the Zen 3 is on its way, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering that AMD does everything possible to keep its CPU line up to date every year.

      • AMD Zen Thermal/Power Reporting Improvements Could Hit Linux 5.6 But More Testing Needed

        Last week I eagerly reported on Ryzen CPUs on Linux finally seeing CCD temperatures and current/voltage reporting thanks to new patches to the k10temp driver by Google’s Guenter Roeck who oversees the kernel’s hardware monitoring “HWMON” subsystem. The patches seem to be working well and are tentatively queued in hwmon-next, but more testing is still needed.

      • Samsung’s Better exFAT Driver Gets Revised Ahead Of Mainline Linux Integration

        While there has been the initial Microsoft exFAT file-system driver since Linux 5.4, that code is based on a vintage snapshot of prior Samsung code. Samsung engineers meanwhile have been working to upstream a much newer and better off exFAT implementation to replace that existing driver and it looks like it could be ready for Linux 5.6.

        That current exFAT driver within the Linux kernel’s staging area is on a several year old snapshot of the driver that Samsung has continued advancing internally for use on their Android devices and more. This newer Samsung driver code is more cleaned up, offers more meta-data operations, and fixes countless bugs. Once Samsung can get this driver upstream they plan to use that as their code-base moving forward.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Think Silicon’s GLOVE OpenGL-Over-Vulkan Library Now Works On Wayland, Windows + macOS

          One of several projects implementing the OpenGL graphics API over Vulkan has been Think Silicon’s GLOVE library. GLOVE currently is focuses on OpenGL ES 2.0 + EGL 1.4 support and is a standalone project unlike Mesa’s Zink Gallium3D driver working on OpenGL / GLES over Vulkan too. GLOVE 0.4 is out today as a big feature update.

          GLOVE 0.4 is the project’s first new release in more than one year and comes with greatly expanded hardware and software support.

        • Intel’s Vulkan Driver Begins Making Infrastructure Changes For Multi-GPU Support

          For months we have seen various Intel open-source Linux graphics driver patches that begin preparing for multi-GPU support where in moving forward with their Xe graphics cards there could be the iGPU + dGPU setup or even multiple Xe graphics cards in a single system. So far those Intel Linux multi-GPU preparations have been focused on their kernel-space driver while now it’s reaching into user-space with their Vulkan driver seeing early infrastructure changes.

    • Applications

      • Read Reddit from the Linux terminal

        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.

        Taking short breaks is essential in staying productive. One of the places I like to go when taking a break is Reddit, which can be a great resource if you want it to be. I find all kinds of articles there about DevOps, productivity, Emacs, chickens, and some ChromeOS projects I play with. These discussions can be valuable. I also follow a couple of subreddits that are just pictures of animals because I like pictures of animals (and not just chickens), and sometimes after a long work session, what I really need are kitten pictures.

      • LXMusic – music player designed for the minimalist

        The music scene is where I’m happiest in life. As an amateur musician, I spend a lot of time improving my technique, practicing, practicing, and practicing. I also love listening to professional musicians. Linux is my other passion. Linux is endowed with bountiful globs of open source multimedia software. I love testing out new multimedia software early in its development, or introduce myself to popular software that’s mature and laden with tons of features. The choice is bamboozling.

        I’ve covered the vast majority of free and open source music players for Linux, but there’s always more to look at. This week, I’ve been exploring LXMusic. It’s a minimalist music player for LXDE, a lightweight desktop environment. The project aims to be the default music player of LXDE, but it runs on any desktop environment.

        LXMusic is written in the C programming language, and uses GTK+, a highly usable, feature rich toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. LXMusic is based on xmms2, using xmms2d, a daemon through which XMMS2 clients playback and manage music.

      • OpenShot – If you have to … shot, shot, don’t talk

        As you probably know, my go-to video editor is Kdenlive, which I’ve used many times before, to great success, creating dozens of unfunny clips, all of them available on my Youtube channel. But then, I’ve recently had less luck with the program, having tested both 2018′s beta and last year’s 19.08 stable edition, and neither really impressed me.

        I came across bugs and crashes, and overall, it felt like the application has taken a nosedive. While older versions ought to keep working fine for quite a while longer, I wouldn’t like to be in a position where my artistic spread of majestic wings is curtailed for any reasons. Hence, alternatives, hence testing. And thus, I came across an old-new title, OpenShot, a free, cross-platform video editor. Funnily, I’ve seen it many times before, but never really used in properly. This article shall remedy that.

      • Evernote’s Official Linux Client is Coming Soon

        If you are an Evernote fan, you probably have been missing it on Linux desktop. There is the web version available but you cannot use it offline if you are not a premium user.

        Linux (almost) always has a way around. So, there are some third party applications that let you use Evernote on Linux. There are also some alternative applications to Evernote available on Linux.

        A native Linux client for Evernote has been requested for a long time and the good news is that it should finally be coming to Linux in the year 2020.

      • KeePassXC 2.5.3 Released with Microsoft Edge Integration

        KeePassXC password manager 2.5.3 was released today with stability improvements and new feature: browser extension for Chromium-based Edge browser.

      • GParted 1.1 Open-Source Partition Editor Is Out with Various Enhancements, Fixes

        Curtis Gedak released Gparted 1.1.0, a maintenance update aiming to include enhancements, bug fixes, as well as translation updates. Highlights include the adoption of faster minfo and mdir to read FAT16 and FAT32 usage, and the ability to calculate the size of JFS partitions more accurately.

        Moreover, this release adds support for recognizing ATARAID members, as well as to detect their busy status, and improves the moving of locked LUKS-encrypted partition. The xvfb-run dependency has been added and it’s required for the “make check” and “make distcheck” commands during compilation.

      • Comparison: Snap vs Flatpack vs AppImage

        New packaging formats like Snap, Flatpak and AppImage are providing distribution agnostic packages that work on most Linux distributions. This solves packaging problems faced by app developers who want to distribute their apps on multiple Linux distributions. Now they can focus on one build that works everywhere instead of going through different packaging standards.
        This article will list the main differences between these three packaging formats from end users’ perspective. Differences in packaging architecture and ease of packaging from developers’ point of view won’t be covered here.

        The table below summarizes the main differences between Snap, Flatpak and AppImage file formats. Most of them are self-explanatory, other points have been explained below the comparison table.

      • Syncthing: Open Source P2P File Syncing Tool

        Syncthing is an open-source peer-to-peer file synchronization tool that you can use for syncing files between multiple devices (including an Android phone).

        Usually, we have a cloud sync solution like MEGA or Dropbox to have a backup of our files on the cloud while making it easier to share it.

        But, what do you do if you want to sync your files across multiple devices without storing them on the cloud?

        That is where Syncthing comes to the rescue.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Thanks to Linux, Google and Valve are Bringing Steam to Chromebooks

        In yet another win for desktop Linux, Google and Steam are about to up the chromebook gaming field.

        On many supported chromebooks, it is already possible to run Linux applications on the chromebook. For certain user types, this has been a real boon. However, for gamers, not so much. That is about to change, thanks to a joint effort by Google and Valve.

        According to Kan Liu, Director of Product Management for Google Chrome OS, Steam is coming to chromebooks. What is Steam? Steam is a digital video game distribution service, offered by Valve, originally released in 2003 as a means for Valve to provide automatic updates for their own line of games. Eventually the service was expanded to include third-party publishers and is now one of the largest digital distribution systems for games.

      • Lucky Lanterns event is now live in Rocket League and there’s a brand new arena

        Psyonix have put the Lucky Lanterns event live now in Rocket League. No update is needed today, as one went out a few days ago to prepare for it.

        Working just like previous events, giving you a special currency for playing which you can then redeem for special customization items. This time around though, there’s no special game mode to play. Instead, there’s an entirely new arena called The Forbidden Temple Arena.

      • Amusing sticky-tongue physics platformer ‘Crumble’ has a big demo update, now with multiplayer

        A rolling-ball physics platformer where you move like slime, jump like a bouncy ball and swing using a sticky tongue like a weird version of Spider Man. Crumble has a lot of fun ideas going for it and a big demo update is out now with co-op.

        Covered a few times here now, as I’ve absolutely loved following the progress on this one. The developer posts a lot of upcoming bits for it on Twitter, and it looks like they have some pretty amusing plans for Crumble. Including a portal that turns you into a shadow that completely warps the gameplay.

      • Tower Of God: One Wish, a nice casual match-3 game released recently

        A genre Linux surprisingly doesn’t have a huge selection in is Match 3 puzzle games, thankfully if you love these casual games a new one is out with Tower Of God: One Wish.

      • The charming platformer & space shooter hybrid A.N.N.E to get a huge 1.0 update in May

        Gamesbymo have announced that A.N.N.E, the crowdfunded mixture of metroidvania style platforming with space shooter elements will get a big 1.0 update on May 20. See Also: Some previous thoughts here.

        While it hasn’t received much attention after being released on Steam last year, following a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, they have been making progress on it. Slow progress though, as it sounds like they don’t have much money left as written in the announcement they “had to get back to a barebone team” but it’s not all bad news. The good news is that a big content update was announced and it will be out on May 20, although they’re not sure if that will also end Early Access.

      • RetroArch to have the emulation ‘Cores’ as DLC when it releases on Steam, plus big updates

        The team behind RetroArch, the open source and cross platform frontend/framework for emulators (and a lot more like open source game engines), have stated their plans for handling the various emulators it works with for the Steam release.

        While there’s now no exact date for the Steam release, after being delayed from last year, work has continued on preparing for it. Part of this is dealing with the legal situation, since the application is licensed under the GPL, there are certain rules they have to follow.

      • Recent updates to Littlewood added a lot of bugs and a nervous looking Sea Monster

        Probably one of the most charming games I’ve ever played, Littlewood, just constantly gets bigger and more sweet with each update.

        What is Littlewood? A game set after the world has been saved, there’s no fighting here as it’s time to rebuild. It’s a peaceful and relaxing little building, crafting and farming sim from developer Sean Young. Currently in Early Access, each month seems to bring in a huge new update.

        December, for example, added in a massive update focused on Fishing. You can now meet Captain Georgie (who appears to be some sort of Monkey) and go out on their boat for some rare fish. It can take a while to be able to do this though, you need Level 30 in Fishing before they let you go.

      • OpenRA for classic Westwood RTS games has a new build in need of testing

        What is OpenRA? It’s an open source game engine that recreates and modernizes the classic Command & Conquer real time strategy games including Command & Conquer, Red Alert, Dune 2000 and with Tiberian Sun in progress. It’s awesome!

      • Obversion, a puzzle game from a former Google developer releases next week

        Former Google developer Adrian Marple quit to become an indie developer, with the puzzle game Obversion being their first title which is releasing next week.

        Marple said “the journey through the levels of Obversion is a coalescence of striking environments, philosophical quotes, geometric satisfaction, and intricately woven puzzles” and that if you’ve played games like Portal you should feel right at home.

      • DragonEvo, a trading card game mixed with RPG elements you can play in your browser

        Oh how I do love deck-building, card games and strategy stuffs. If you do too, you might want to take a look over at DragonEvo. Fully cross-platform, as DragonEvo is not a traditional desktop game. It’s browser-based, meaning you can play it on most things that have something resembling Firefox or Chrome.

        While we don’t usually cover many browser-based games, DragonEvo stands out as it’s actually quite good and it certainly has some unusual mechanics with how you play cards. Strategy is the key to victory, careful planning and card placement—not a random generator.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Contributing to KDE is easier than you think – Localization and SVN

          This is a series of blog posts explaining different ways to contribute to KDE in an easy-to-digest manner. This series is supposed to run parallel to my keyboard shortcuts analysis so that there can be content being published (hopefully) every week.

          The purpose of this series originated from how I feel about asking users to contribute back to KDE. I firmly believe that showing users how contributing is easier than they think is more effective than simply calling them out and directing them to the correct resources; especially if, like me, said user suffers from anxiety or does not believe they are up to the task, in spite of their desire to help back.

          This time I’ll be explaining how the localization workflow looks like for contributing to KDE; this should also immediately enable you to translate your favorite third-party Plasma widgets (if the project supports it), and generally allow you to translate any PO file with your preferred localization software. I will also explain a bit about CAT tools in general and how professional translation is done since it’s my field of expertise, but that will serve only as optional reading for those interested.

          Don’t get scared with how lengthy this blog post is: by the end of this text, you should be perfectly fine to start working with localization, that’s the point. The localization process is quite straightforward, I simply put a lot of explanations in-between so you don’t have many (or better yet, any!) doubts about how stuff works.

          This article should be timely in that a new Plasma version, 5.18, will be released in about two weeks. Contributions to the stable branch would be quite appreciated in the following days!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Founder responds to Code of Conduct concerns

          I like Federico’s straightforward stance on racism — one that I share — “racist behaviour will not be tolerated, irrespective of the race of those involved.” Clearly the GNOME team has their heart in the right place with that.

          With that in mind, it would seem to me to make sense to modify the GNOME Code of Conduct to reflect that. In its current state the document clearly divides racism and sexism into two categories: Those the GNOME team is going to act to stop, and those the GNOME team will allow.

    • Distributions

      • Have You Tried Kaisen Linux? — A New System Rescue Linux Distro

        Being a system administrator, lots of responsibilities and duties are to be taken care of, which are wide-ranging from covering backups, disaster recovery, hardware maintenance, automation, filesystem housekeeping, system security management, and many more to add to the list.

        To keep the system running smoothly and securely, a sysadmin has to rely upon several tools that sometimes become frustrating to install and configure regularly.

        Keeping that in mind, and to ease the life of sysadmins, 11 months back, Linux developer Kevin Chevreuil, along with his mate Eren Arslan, started the development of their own Linux distribution based on Debian 9, dubbed as Kaisen Linux.

      • Reviews

        • Zorin OS 15.1 Review

          Nothing restricts you to Zorn OS’s collection of installed software – its Software Center allows you to expand it with everything but the kitchen sink.

          Although it might be presented as a solid alternative to Windows, Zorin OS is also worth a look for everyone tired of trying to grasp with some distributions’ approach to organization. It’s uncomplicated in its use, beautiful to look at and fast. What’s not to like?

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora’s FESCo Has Deferred Any Decision On EarlyOOM By Default

          Some FESCo members have been okay with letting the workstation working group decide on their own defaults that would include the EarlyOOM decision (the Fedora Workstation WG already voted among themselves to ship with it enabled for Fedora Workstation 32), and others not necessarily being convinced by EarlyOOM with there being several ways to improve the low-memory Linux experience. Some are also waiting for systemd to integrate Facebook’s OOMD work, but that is still a number of months if not a year out.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Policy Updated Following Recent Systemd “Init System Diversity” Vote

          Following last month’s Debian init system diversity vote where the Debian developers decided on a general resolution of focusing on systemd but support exploring alternatives, the official Debian Policy has been updated to reflect that.

          Debian Policy 4.5 is the new version that incorporates guidance following that general resolution.

          The Debian Policy manual now states that packages with system services should include systemd service units, init scripts are encouraged if there is no systemd unit but optional otherwise, init scripts are encouraged to support the “status” argument, and use of update-rc.d is required if the package includes an init script.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • User Guide to Pantheon Desktop of elementary OS

          Unlike Windows, user interface in elementary OS has a name, and it is Pantheon Desktop. It is a beautifully designed and easy to use desktop environment. This article wants to be a user guide to Pantheon Desktop that is simple to read and practice. You will learn about basic concepts of Pantheon and then practice to use it for daily tasks. You will see here how to use Wingpanel (top panel), Slingshot (start menu), Plank (taskbar), Switchboard (system settings), plus understand Headerbars and Multitasking mode. Of course I also include frequently used Keyboard Shortcuts so you can work more quickly. For your information, I use elementary OS 5.0 Juno as basis of this tutorial. I hope everybody could take benefit from this article and next time I could refer here if I write again about elementary. Enjoy!

        • XanMod-ing Ubuntu To Perform Closer To Intel’s Clear Linux

          Earlier this month many Phoronix readers were interested in our fresh tests of the XanMod-patched Linux kernel for boosting the desktop and workstation performance compared to Ubuntu’s default Linux kernel. Among many patches, XanMod does pull in some kernel patches from Intel’s performance-optimized Clear Linux, so we figured it would be interesting to see how the XanMod’ed Ubuntu compares to Clear Linux performance.

          As covered more in the earlier article, the XanMod Linux kernel flavor makes use of the BFQ I/O scheduler, offers CPU scaling governor improvements, makes use of preemptive full tickless kernel settings, and has a variety of other patches from leveraging Clear Linux optimizations to the BMQ process scheduler to the Proton FSYNC patches to much more. This round of testing was using a daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with its current Linux 5.4 default kernel and then re-tested using the same Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installation but running on the 4.1.10-xanmod6 kernel at the time. Additionally, the same CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS as Clear Linux defaults to were also utilized.

        • Canonical introduces Anbox Cloud – scalable Android™ in the cloud

          Canonical today announced Anbox Cloud, a platform that containerises workloads using Android1 as a guest operating system enabling enterprises to distribute applications from the cloud. Anbox Cloud allows enterprises and service providers to deliver mobile applications at scale, more securely and independently of a device’s capabilities. Use cases for Anbox Cloud include cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing, and mobile device virtualisation.

          The ability to offload compute, storage and energy-intensive applications from devices (x86 and Arm) to the cloud enables end-users to consume advanced workloads by streaming them directly to their device. Developers can deliver an on-demand application experience through a platform that provides more control over performance and infrastructure costs, with the flexibility to scale based on user demand.

        • Implementing an Android™ based cloud game streaming service with Anbox Cloud
        • Canonical Announces Anbox Cloud, Ubuntu-Powered Scalable Android in the Cloud
        • Canonical announces Anbox Cloud allowing users to host Android apps in the cloud

          Canonical has announced a new service called Anbox Cloud aimed at enterprises. With Anbox Cloud, enterprises can distribute Android apps via the cloud in a container environment. By hosting the apps in the cloud, the businesses that opt to use the service will know that the app is secure and independent of a device’s capabilities. According to Canonical, it envisions this tech being used for cloud gaming, enterprise workplace applications, software testing, and mobile device virtualisation.

          If you use Linux already, you may have seen and used Anbox if you’ve ever looked for a solution to run Android apps on the desktop. With Anbox Cloud, several Canonical technologies will be included in the software stack including the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS kernel, LXD containers, MAAS, and Juju. Additionally, Canonical’s Ubuntu Advantage support programme is included to provide continuous support and security updates for up to ten years.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 614

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 614 for the week of January 12 – 18, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Ubuntu Finally Removes the Amazon Web App You Never Use

          First introduced in Ubuntu 12.10, the Amazon web launcher gives Ubuntu users an easy, out-of-the-box shortcut to the Amazon website.

          And I do mean easy: an Amazon icon is pinned to the desktop launcher on all new installs by default.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • UN working group asking about corruption: is there any in open source?

        For example, why have so many organizations like Linux Foundation and the FSFE simultaneously eliminated their elections, shifting the balance of power towards certain corporations like Google? Why are messages about corporate influence routinely censored from the mailing lists of open source groups who claim to be both transparent and independent of the corporations funding them? Voting and censorship are both human rights issues. If we can’t get these things right in an organization of professionals, how can there be any hope for the developing world?

      • Orgs

        • If George Orwell was alive today, would he be an Internet troll?

          In 2017, a German organisation, FSFE e.V, elected me as their community representative. They had this odd approach to membership, approximately 28 people had been registered as members of the assocation. Their 1500 volunteers and donors were invited to join but kept off the books. As the organization’s contempt for membership became apparent, I started to feel Orwell’s animals coming to life. As he wrote all those years ago, All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. In FSFE’s case, we could say all Fellows are equal but some Fellows are more equal than others.


          Animal Farm is only one side of the Orwellian coin, the other being his uncannily accurate tour-de-force of the modern surveillance state, Nineteen-Eighty-Four. All of the organizations mentioned above (Debian, FSFE) are secretly funded by Google. Would you be less surprised to find a bible in a church than to find Nineteen-Eighty-Four under the pillows of Google’s founders? One of the most startling discoveries during my time as community representative was the extent to which all of these organizations had built their budgets around recurring annual contributions from Google. Their experiments in demotions arose at exactly the same time that women in Google’s workforce who spoke up against harassment found themselves being publicly demoted and humiliated. It was revealed that one of the organizations, Debian, had secretly banked $300,000 from Google under the radar at the same time that attention was on an identical-sized donation from a non-profit, the Handshake Foundation. What a convenient cover. After Linux Foundation and FSFE had decided to eliminate their annual elections, Google’s money had a community representative “demoted” to a lower status in Debian just days before the call for nominations in leadership elections.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 72.0.2 Improves Playback Performance for Full-Screen 1080p Videos

            Coming almost two weeks after the Firefox 72.0.1 point release, which was an important security update addressing a zero-day vulnerability, the Firefox 72.0.2 update is a maintenance release that fixes various issues, such as the inconsistent playback performance for full-screen 1080p videos on certain systems.

            Firefox 72.0.2 also addresses a web compatibility issue with CSS Shadow Parts, which shipped as part of the Firefox 72 release, a hang that occurred when opening about:logins when a master password is set, issues reported by users when attempting to open files containing spaces in their path, as well as various stability issues.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU make 4.3 released

            GNU make 4.3 is out. New features include explicit grouped targets, a new .EXTRA_PREREQS variable, the ability to specify parallel builds in the makefile itself, and more. There are also a couple of backward-incompatible changes; see the announcement for details.

      • Programming/Development

        • MIR: A lightweight JIT compiler project

          For the past three years, I’ve been participating in adding just-in-time compilation (JIT) to CRuby. Now, CRuby has the method-based just-in-time compiler (MJIT), which improves performance for non-input/output-bound programs.

          The most popular approach to implementing a JIT is to use LLVM or GCC JIT interfaces, like ORC or LibGCCJIT. GCC and LLVM developers spend huge effort to implement the optimizations reliably, effectively, and to work on a lot of targets. Using LLVM or GCC to implement JIT, we can just utilize these optimizations for free. Using the existing compilers was the only way to get JIT for CRuby in the short time before the Ruby 3.0 release, which has the goal of improving CRuby performance by three times.

          So, CRuby MJIT utilizes GCC or LLVM, but what is unique about this JIT?

          MJIT does not use existing compiler JIT interfaces. Instead, it uses C as an interface language without losing compilation speed. Practically the same compilation speed as with the existing JIT interfaces is achieved by using precompiled headers and a memory filesystem.

        • Red Hat Developer’s MIR Is A Lightweight JIT Compiler

          Not to be confused with Ubuntu’s Mir display stack or Rustlang’s MIR, the new MIR effort by Red Hat developer Vladimir Makarov is a new project focused on providing a lightweight JIT compiler.

          MIR in this context is the Medium Internal Representation (Rustlang’s is the Mid-Level Internal Representation) and is striving to be a lighter-weight JIT compiler than the JIT interfaces offered by GCC or LLVM.

          Initially, MIR is aiming to suit the just-in-time needs of CRuby and/or MRuby and from there expand out. This IR is strongly-typed, based on the concept of modules, and you can get to MIR through LLVM IR as one of the options.

        • DocKnot 3.03

          DocKnot is the software that I use to generate package documentation and web pages, and increasingly to generate release tarballs.

          The main change in this release is to use IO::Uncompress::Gunzip and IO::Compress::Xz to generate a missing xz tarball when needed, instead of forking external programs (which causes all sorts of portability issues). Thanks to Slaven Rezić for the testing and report.

          This release adds two new badges to README.md files: a version badge for CPAN packages pushed to GitHub, and a Debian version badge for packages with a corresponding Debian package.

        • The Titler Revamp – The QML MLT Producer is testing ready

          The last time I blogged about the Titler, I promised that the next update would be when we have some sort of a backend ready – and I’m happy to announce now that now we have some sort of a backend ready!

        • The Meson Manual is now available for purchase

          Some of you might remember that last year I ran a crowdfunding campaign to create a full written user manual for Meson. That failed fairly spectacularly, mostly due to the difficulty of getting any sort of visibility for these kinds of projects (i.e. on the Internet, everything drowns).

        • anytime 0.3.7

          A fresh minor release of the anytime package is arriving on CRAN right now. This is the eighteenth release, and it comes roughly five months after the previous showing the relative feature-stability we have now.

          anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, … format to either POSIXct or Date objects – and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub README.md for a few examples.

          This release brings a clever new option, thanks to Stephen Froehlich. If you know your input has (lots) of duplicates you can now say so and anytime() (and the other entry points for times and dates, UTC or not) will only parse the unique entries leading to potentially rather large speed gains (as in Stephen’s case where he often has more than 95% of the data as duplicates). We also tweaked the test setup some more, but as we are still unable to replicate what is happening with the Fedora test boxen at CRAN due to the non-reproducible setup so this remains a bit of guess work. Lastly, I am making use of a new Rcpp #define to speed up compilation a little bit too.

        • Merging Of Flang/F18 Fortran Compiler Support Into LLVM Has Been Delayed

          The modern F18/Flang Fortran front-end to LLVM had been set to land in the LLVM mono repository last Monday that could have made it included as part of the LLVM 10.0 branch set for that day. The LLVM 10.0 branching happened as planned but the landing of this Fortran support did not.

          Landing of the Flang front-end was delayed to allow for last minute changes to happen. Their revised target for merging was 20 January.

        • Connect your Raspberry Pi 4 to an iPad Pro

          Have you ever considered attaching your Raspberry Pi 4 to an Apple iPad Pro? How would you do it, and why would you want to? Here’s YouTuber Tech Craft to explain why Raspberry Pi 4 is their favourite iPad Pro accessory, and why you may want to consider using yours in the same way.

        • C

          • 2019 was the “Year of C”

            The TIOBE Programming Community has released an index indicating the popularity of programming languages in which it recognised C as the programming language of the year 2019.

            OK, it was not at the top – Java is still King – but was a number two above Python – which is a little surprising.

            C is considered the red-headed stepchild of programming these days and most people consider Python emerged as the most productive and popular language in recent times and, apparently, the language had a good year due to the Internet of Things.

            C is really good with small devices that are performance-critical with limited resources. It is a feature-rich programming language, including direct access to machine level hardware APIs. There are lots of C compilers, deterministic resource use and dynamic memory allocation.

          • Fundamental C – Files

            This extract, from my new book on programming C in an IoT context, explains the basics of files the C way. As with all things C it starts simple and then gets a little more involved.

        • Python

      • Standards/Consortia

        • This Blog Has Moved

          I moved my blog back to a self-hosted WordPress, but am powering it with Jetpack to offer many of the same features as during the seven months it ran on WordPress.com. I am also using the same theme, just have rearranged a few things. The privacy policy was updated to reflect the new status.

        • 5G: The outsourced elephant in the room

          In a break from the usual GPS/Galileo, DNA and C++ posts, here is a bit on 5G and national security. It turns out that through PowerDNS and its parent company Open-Xchange, we know a lot about how large scale European communication service providers work – most of whom are our customers in some way.

          In addition, in a previous life I worked in national security and because of that I have relevant knowledge of how governments (your own and foreign ones) “interact” with telecommunication providers. So what follows is based on lived experience.

          Note: this article is mostly about Europe. Considerations and conditions in the US and the rest of the world are very different.

  • Leftovers

    • The importance of culture

      Being abroad in Japan the last couple weeks, I’ve noticed that the high efficiency -from crossing roads to almost everything- they do (cooking/public transportation/etc) is due to the fact of using small queues for every step of the process. Reaching to a maximum throughout with small effort.


      Is about the feedback you will get from your customers and colleagues, is about the respect to your work. Is about being happy.

      For the first time in my life, I took almost 30days out of work, to relax, to detox (not having a laptop with me) to spend some time with family and friends. To be happy. So if any colleague from work is reading this article:

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Y2038: It’s a Threat

        On Unix-derived systems, including Linux and MacOS, time is stored internally as the number of seconds since midnight GMT, January 1, 1970, a time known as “the Epoch.” Back when Unix was created, timestamps were stored in a 32-bit number. Well, like any fixed-size value, only a limited range of numbers can be stored in 32 bits: numbers from -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647. (Without going into technical details, the first of those 32 bits is used to denote a negative number. The asymmetry in range is to allow for zero.)

        I immediately got pushback: did I really think that 18 years hence, people would still be using 32-bit systems? Modern computers use 64-bit integers, which can allow for times up to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 seconds since the Epoch. (What date is that? I didn’t bother to calculate it, but it’s about 292,271,023,045 years, a date that’s well beyond when it is projected that the Sun will run out of fuel. I don’t propose to worry about computer timestamps after that.)

        It turns out, though, that just as with Y2K, the problems don’t start when the magic date hits; rather, they start when a computer first encounters dates after the rollover point, and that can be a lot earlier. In fact, I just had such an experience.

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Docker, Perl and GitHub

              There are many reasons to use Docker Images, from setting up a development environment to pushing your code to production. The primary/first reason which pushes me to start using some Docker Images is “Continuous Integration”.

              When maintaining a Perl package used by multiple users/companies (or not), you absolutely want to know how your code behaves on different versions of Perl. Even if you could have multiple versions of Perl installed on your development environment, most of the time, the development is only performed using a single version of Perl.

              Continuous Integration system like Travis CI or GitHub Workflows allows you to run your test suite on every push, pull request… without the need of testing manually on all Perl Versions.

              When testing your code on a container (or Virtual Machine) you do not want to install or compile a fresh version of Perl each time… This is a slow operation, that ideally, should be done once.

              This is where Docker Images come to the rescue. They are “snapshots” of a pre-set linux environment.

            • Week notes – 2020 w03 – worklog – Murphy

              Also GitHub decided to revive our anonymous bugs, around 39,000 bugs are back. We haven’t yet reactivated our anonymous reporting.

        • Security

          • It’s Friday, the weekend has landed… and Microsoft warns of an Internet Explorer zero day exploited in the wild

            Still using Internet Explorer? Don’t. There’s another zero-day
            Microsoft let slip on Friday an advisory detailing an under-attack zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2020-0674) for Internet Explorer. The scripting engine flaw can be exploited to gain remote code execution on a vulnerable machine by way of a specially crafted webpage. The flaw can be mitigated by restricting access to the JavaScript component JScript.dll, and thus far there is no patch available.

            “Microsoft is aware of this vulnerability and working on a fix,” the software giant noted.

          • Verifying your system state in a secure and private way

            This is solved using a procedure called Remote Attestation. The TPM can be asked to provide a digital signature of the PCR values, and this can be passed to a remote system along with the event log. That remote system can then examine the event log, make sure it corresponds to the signed PCR values and make a security decision based on the contents of the event log rather than just on the final PCR values. This makes the system significantly more flexible and aids diagnostics. Unfortunately, it also means you need a remote server and an internet connection and then some way for that remote server to tell you whether it thinks your system is trustworthy and also you need some way to believe that the remote server is trustworthy and all of this is well not ideal if you’re not an enterprise.

            Last week I gave a talk at linux.conf.au on one way around this. Basically, remote attestation places no constraints on the network protocol in use – while the implementations that exist all do this over IP, there’s no requirement for them to do so. So I wrote an implementation that runs over Bluetooth, in theory allowing you to use your phone to serve as the remote agent. If you trust your phone, you can use it as a tool for determining if you should trust your laptop.

          • Telnet credentials of 515,000 routers, servers & IoT devices dumped on hacker forum

            A hacker has reportedly dumped Telnet credentials associated with more than 515,000 home routers, servers, and Internet-connected devices on a popular hacker forum.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (git, java-11-openjdk, and thunderbird), Debian (cacti, chromium, gpac, kernel, openjdk-11, ruby-excon, and thunderbird), Fedora (chromium and rubygem-rack), Mageia (suricata, tigervnc, and wireshark), openSUSE (glusterfs, libredwg, and uftpd), and Ubuntu (linux-hwe and sysstat).

          • Amazon’s Ring blamed hacks on consumers reusing their passwords. A lawsuit says that’s not true.

            After a series of high-profile incidents in which hackers gained access to live footage of Ring security cameras inside people?s homes, the company blamed consumers for reusing old passwords. Two plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit accusing the company of negligence and invasion of privacy say that?s not the issue ? instead, they say their passwords were unique and that the company didn?t implement basic security measures to protect users. A security expert enlisted by Recode found that Ring?s devices lack widely adopted safety precautions.

          • DDoS Mitigation Firm Founder Admits to DDoS

            A Georgia man who co-founded a service designed to protect companies from crippling distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks has pleaded to paying a DDoS-for-hire service to launch attacks against others.

          • Siemens Warns of Security Risks Associated With Use of ActiveX

            Some of Siemens’ industrial products — the list includes SIMATIC WinCC, SIMATIC STEP 7, SIMATIC PCS 7, TIA Portal, and S7-PLCSIM Advanced — rely on ActiveX components and customers need to use Internet Explorer to execute these components.

            However, the German industrial giant has warned that using Internet Explorer to access untrusted websites can pose serious security risks. Siemens recommends using a web browser that does not support ActiveX if accessing web pages other than the ones associated with the company’s products.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Self-hosted web fonts

              Today on Lobsters I found a link to Kev Quirk’s blog post How to self-host your web fonts. For the last nine years I’ve been using Google’s font-hosting service, which whilst very convenient, carried some privacy concerns (which Joey Hess originally brought to my attention) and (it turns out) does not appear to have been faster, in network terms, than bundling what I was using locally. This is something I’ve been meaning to get around to doing for almost that long.

            • Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo, report says

              The app, says the Times, works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it’s scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there other info could be dug up online.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Gun Rights Showdown Brewing in Virginia
      • The Virginia Anti-Gun Control Protests
      • Most Millennials Expect World War III in Their Lifetime

        A survey of 16,000 millennials in 16 countries at peace and at war indicates a majority is nervous about the future, and a large plurality believes heightened global tensions are likely to lead to a catastrophic war. Launch of the report was commissioned last year by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

        The ICRC survey finds millennials are deeply pessimistic about the future they face. The results indicate this generation of young people, now between the ages of 25 and 39, is worried about future conflicts and nuclear weapons. Other top concerns include unemployment, increasing poverty and terrorism.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Documents reveal how ‘Africa’s richest woman’ stole fortune from her country

        The New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with newspapers such as Munich’s Suddeutsche Zeitung to reveal the “Panama Papers” tax haven scandal in 2016.

        Its latest series called “Luanda Leaks” zeros in on Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angola president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

    • Environment

      • Climate Change Is Killing Alpine Skiing as We Know It

        At the northern edge of the Alps, ski runs near the foot of Germany’s highest mountain snake down the greenish-brown slopes in narrow white ribbons of artificial snow.

        Like other resorts at relatively low altitude, global warming has left its mark on Garmisch-Partenkirchen — the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics—putting the town’s identity and affluence at risk. It’s January, and there’s so little natural snow that anxiety is building whether upcoming ski races can go ahead.

        In Garmisch and across the Alps, tourism is a key support for local economies. In neighboring Austria, it makes up just over 6% of economic output, while in the mountainous region of Tyrol the share is more like 18%. The ratio is similar for the Swiss canton of Graubünden, thanks to resorts like St. Moritz, Klosters and Davos.

      • Energy

        • ‘Pirate state’: Cyprus slams illegal Turkish drilling

          Turkey has attempted to drill in Cypriot coastal waters four times since last July, most recently in an area already licensed to Italian oil company Eni and French firm Total.

          In response, the EU has set up a mechanism to impose sanctions on any individuals or companies involved in illegal drilling off Cyprus. Possible sanctions could be put in place as soon as Monday, officials said.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The never-ending migration of wildebeest is one of nature’s great spectacles

          The scene: Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and The Great Migration. Part magnificent spectacle, part great tragedy. One thing is certain for those who bear witness, the migration evokes a variety of emotions from awe to empathy and everything in between.

          There are few places in the world that compare to the wide-open grass plains and bush-covered Savannah of Tanzania, Africa which is home to a staggering volume and diversity of wildlife.

          It’s one of the main reasons visitors flock here. They come with the hopes of seeing nearly two million wildebeest, along with thousands of other plains animals, travel across the country in the world’s largest overland migration that takes them from the Serengeti to the south of Kenya’s Masai Mara.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘An investigation loves silence’ What little we know about Igor Krasnov, Russia’s next attorney general

        On January 20, 2020, Vladimir Putin dismissed long-time Attorney General Yuri Chaika and asked the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament to approve a replacement, Igor Krasnov, who’s known for his work as a senior official on several high-profile criminal cases at Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee. Unlike his predecessor, Krasnov hasn’t been muddied by a series of corruption scandals and has generally avoided the public spotlight, Meduza investigative correspondent Maxim Solopov learned in this special report.

      • Putin replaces his attorney general

        Russia is getting a new attorney general. On Monday, Vladimir Putin dismissed Yuri Chaika, who’d served in the position since June 2006, and appointed Igor Krasnov, the deputy head of the Federal Investigative Committee, as acting attorney general. The upper house of Russia’s Parliament, the Federation Council, will reportedly vote on Krasnov’s confirmation on Wednesday, January 22. 

      • What MLK Would Make of the Israeli Occupation
      • Senators Know They Don’t Know the Whole Story

        Parnas’s recent media interviews did two crucial things that deserve urgent attention. First, he directly linked President Trump to the delivery of an ultimatum to Sergey Shaffer, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that he was instructed to deliver what he described as “a very harsh message,” and to do so in “a very harsh way, not in a pleasant way.” Parnas explained, “Mayor Giuliani, Rudy, told me after, you know, meeting the president at the White House. He called me. The message was, it wasn’t just military aid, it was all aid. Basically, their relationships would be sour, that he would—that he would stop giving them any kind of aid … unless there was an announcement made.”

        The key words here? That Giuliani spoke to Parnas “after meeting with the president at the White House.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Erasure of Political History at the National Archives

        The Post and others who went on to pick up the story noted that the director of the Archives, David S. Ferriero, was appointed by Obama. This is indeed an important point, because it provides a measure of how far we, as a society, have drifted under President Donald Trump. By the third anniversary of his inauguration, an organization created for the purpose of creating a historical record—and headed by someone who is not a Trump appointee—has falsified the historical record.

      • Wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi inspired by global solidarity

        It was Raif Badawi’s outspokenness that landed him in court in 2013. After criticizing the role of religion in Saudi Arabia, the young blogger and journalist was initially sentenced to death. Later, his punishment was reduced to a 10-year jail term, a fine and 1,000 lashes.

        Badawi had not only criticized Wahhabism, the state religion in Saudi Arabia, but also the power of clerics in the country. The court ruled that he had insulted Islam.

      • Raif Badawi in isolation, 5 years after his first 50 lashes

        In 2012 Saudi writer and activist Raif Badawi was imprisoned for advocating liberalism and secularism, and for “insulting Islam”. Last month, Badawi was arbitrarily moved into isolation, As was his lawyer, Waleed Abulkhair. Humanists International and other human rights organizations call upon Saudi Arabia for their immediate release.

      • [Old] Raif Badawi among Saudi political prisoners to launch hunger strike over arbitrary detention

        Three prominent Saudi political prisoners – blogger Raif Badawi, activist Khaled al-Omari, and lawyer and human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair, have gone on hunger strike in prison to protest the conditions they are being held under and their arbitrary detention.

        The “Prisoners of Conscience” Twitter account, which monitors the situation of Saudi political prisoners, said on Sunday evening that Abu al-Khair and Badawi began their hunger strike on December 11 in protest at being held in solitary confinement.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Women work for free while billionaires accumulate wealth

        This means not only do women earn less every day or that they earn less over the course of their lives, but also that they get a smaller pension. Germany has the largest gender pension gap among OECD countries at 53%.

        The most-affected women do not live in Germany, but in poorer countries in the Global South. There, women have less infrastructure, opportunities to afford domestic help and less technical labor-saving equipment. Women in low-income communities in Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, the Philippines and Kenya spend on average one year more during their lifetime on care work activities than women from better-off households.

      • France’s Transit Workers: “We’re Fighting for Everyone”
      • 5 Absurdly Petty Abuses Of Power By The Cops

        Our personal relationship with the police at the moment is … complicated. Well, that’s how we put it. They say “Wanted,” but that feels a little needy. Our collective cultural relationship with the police is also a little strained. It’s clear that some officers view their badges as a license to do whatever they want to whoever they want. Like how …

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Amazon Empire’ Documentary Shows How Jeff Bezos Took Over Everything

        Amazon is rapidly metastasizing into an invisible infrastructure that mediates our economy, politics, social relations, and culture. It is important we have a clear understanding of that and reject its rosy PR about simply wanting to provide goods to customers cheaply (and profitably).

        Catch the PBS Frontline documentary about Amazon’s empire on February 18.

      • Patents

        • Patent Dominance: Top 5 Companies Leading the Charge

          “Patents protect the interests of inventors whose technologies are truly groundbreaking and commercially successful, by ensuring that an inventor can control the commercial use of their invention,” according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

        • Patent case: Intrakardiale Pumpvorrichtung, Germany

          The patentee is not limited on appeal to defending the patent in the (limited) version pursued in the first instance, but may revert to the version as granted and to other limited versions. A declaration in the response to the nullity action that the patent is defended in a limited form has no limiting effect; this effect only enters into force with the final decision in the nullity proceedings. The declaration does not constitute a waiver either, unless a waiver is explicitly declared by the patentee.

        • China apex court ruling will provide more patent consistency

          In-house counsel and lawyers believe that a decision by the IP tribunal at China’s Supreme People’s Court will help to give more consistency to patent litigation.

        • One year after trial loss against FTC, Qualcomm approaching Ninth Circuit hearing on far stronger basis: scope of reversal hard to predict

          On February 13, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hold the appellate hearing in FTC v. Qualcomm. Apart from a misleading citation that I criticized, and a few other weak spots, Qualcomm’s reply brief, which I have read more than once, was very powerful. All in all, Qualcomm’s lawyers have done far better work than the FTC’s appellate team–and than most of the FTC’s amici, though some amicus briefs (especially the ones submitted by Intel and MediaTek) were very persuasive.

          Qualcomm has made so much headway on appeal that I’m sure at least parts of the district court’s ruling will be reversed, if not by the Ninth Circuit, then by the Supreme Court.

          In the meantime, the Ninth Circuit has heard Qualcomm’s appeal of Judge Lucy H. Koh’s certification of a consumer class. The most likely outcome, based on what the circuit judges said, is that the class action will go forward, but limited to customers based in California and, possibly, other states with similar antitrust laws governing indirect-purchaser claims. However, the consumer case is based on the FTC’s claims against Qualcomm, so if Qualcomm defeated the FTC’s case on the merits, the consumers wouldn’t be entitled to anything regardless of class certification.

          With respect to Qualcomm’s appeal of the FTC ruling, the Ninth Circuit granted, as expected, an unopposed motion by the United States Department of Justice last week, allowing the DOJ to deliver, on behalf of the United States of America, five minutes of oral argument in support of Qualcomm.

        • Software Patents

          • Browse3D Settles with Unified

            On January 17, 2020, the Board issued an order terminating IPR2019-01265 pursuant to a joint settlement request filed by Unified Patents and Browse3D LLC, an NPE. The IPR involved US Patent 10,031,897, which is generally directed to providing website recommendations by monitoring a user’s selection of hyperlinks within a current web page, has been asserted against various retailers such as Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Carter’s.

      • Copyrights

        • Spotify Preparing To Acquire Podcasting Network the Ringer — Report

          In the wake of analysts from both Evercore and Bernstein giving Spotify an underperform rating, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company is in early talks to acquire a podcasting network called the Ringer.

        • A Tool That Removes Copyrighted Works Is Not a Substitute for Fair Use

          YouTube, which has become essential for video creators to build an audience, has a new tool that’s supposed to help users respond to its copyright filter. Is it something that makes fair use a priority? No, it’s a way to make it easier to remove the part of a video that someone has claimed they own.

          In December, YouTube released a list of “New YouTube Studio tools to help you deal with copyright claims.” Mostly what it’s done is make it easier for you, as a video creator, to sort through all the copyright claims that have been filed against you and what that’s done to your videos. That is, so you can see difference between a “copyright strike” that is the result of the takedown process—which YouTube does in order to comply with the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA—and something which has been flagged by Content ID—a copyright filter voluntarily built and deployed by YouTube and subject only to YouTube’s policies.

        • It’s Copyright Week 2020: Stand Up for Copyright Laws That Actually Serve Us All

          We’re taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of copyright law and policy, addressing what’s at stake and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

          While culture is shared, copyright law has increasingly been used to lock people out of participating in it. Although copyright law is often treated as the exclusive domain of major media and entertainment industries, it actually should be serving all of us. Because, of course, it affects all of us.

IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 20, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:27 am by Needs Sunlight



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